Art Berke, a lifelong White Sox fan, has worked at the highest levels of the sports industry with Major League Baseball, ABC Television and Sports Illustrated. He grew up in Northwest Indiana, in the shadow of old Comiskey Park, and proudly proclaims 2005 as the best year of his life. Art offers his glass half-full opinions and observations as he lives and dies with the Sox.
While there has been Manny talk all day, all night and all week, when the White Sox needed a boost this afternoon it was South Side mainstay Paul Konerko who had the last word. His eighth inning three-run homer overcame a subpar Sox performance and paced his teammates to a 6-4 comeback victory and a sweep of the depleted Indians in Cleveland.
Paulie, whose season has been nothing short of sensational, is now hitting .319 with 33 homers, 98 RBIs and an OPS of .986.
For most of the game the Sox were stymied by rookie Carlos Carrasco and their own defense, which committed three errors. But a home run by Alexei, not Manny, Ramirez in the eighth and Konerko’s clutch blast later in the inning made up for it. It also didn’t help that Freddy Garcia gave way to Tony Pena after four innings because of a strained lower back.
The game was also highlighted by Alex Rios‘ 20th homer of the season, which gave The Good Guys a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and Chris Sale‘s first save of his career. Manny reached base twice in his Sox debut. He singled and was hit by a pitch.
It’ll be a day off tomorrow, then three games in Boston against two tough customers–Clay Buchholz and John Lackey–on Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s Red Sox starter is TBA. We’ll counter with John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Mark Buehrle. One bit of good news for us is that Matt Thornton is expected to be ready for action after a stint on the DL.
Oh yeah, I might have buried the lead. Manny will be returning to the scene of the crime.
The calendar has turned to September and the White Sox have expanded their roster.
Reporting today from AAA Charlotte will be catcher Tyler Flowers and speedy outfielder Alejandro De Aza (above), who was a sensation in spring training. Promoted immediately from AA Birmingham is righthander Gregory Infante, who will be dispatched to the Sox bullpen. Dayan Viciedo, who was sent down to AAA when Mark Teahen returned, will join the South Siders in Boston. Carlos Torres, the odd man out when Manny Ramirez arrived, will be brought up after the Charlotte season is over on September 6.
Tale of the tape for the three players arriving today :
* Flowers slugged 16 homers, drove in 53 and batted .220 in 100 games at Charlotte.
* De Aza hit .302 in 79 games with the Knights.
* Infante, after being called up to Birmingham from Winston-Salem, was 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA.
It’s not easy watching these White Sox but, at least for tonight, all’s well that ends well as the South Siders eeked out a 4-3 win against the Tribe in Cleveland.
Before running into some trouble in the ninth inning, Edwin Jackson was spectacular once again, getting the victory and striking out 10 or more for the third straight game. He finished with 11 before tiring (he threw 129 pitches) and giving way to Bobby Jenks, who chalked up his 25th save with two outs and the winning run on base.
With the score knotted up 1-1, A.J. Pierzynski smashed what turned out to be the game-winning three-run homer in the ninth–his first since July 9–as the Sox clinched the series which concludes tomorrow afternoon.
Aside from a short stint in the on-deck circle during the Pierzynski at-bat, Manny Ramirez spent the night in the dugout. He would have made his Pale Hose debut had A.J. not homered, but Ozzie decided to pull him back and stay with Brent Lillibridge, who entered the game earlier as a pinch-runner for DH Mark Kotsay.
Freddy Garcia will be on the hill tomorrow afternoon as the Hose go for the sweep before an off-day and a weekend series against the Red Sox in Boston.
Manny on deck just before Pierzynski’s clutch homer
It was deja vu for Bobby Jenks as the husky one gave up three runs in the ninth, allowing the Tribe to tie the score at 6. But the resilient Hose scored four in the 11th (including a two-out, nobody-on BrentLillibridge homer), Scott Linebrink hurled zeroes in the two extra frames and we rallied to beat the Indians,10-6.
The South Siders pounded out 21 hits. Alex Rios led the parade with five, including a homer and four RBIs. Mark Kotsay had three and five players–Omar Vizquel,Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham collectedtwo hits apiece. Konerko added three RBIs to give him 95 for the season.
Speaking of Beckham, Gordo left the game in the seventh after getting hit in the wrist by Indian reiiever Frank Herrmann (pictured above). SoxWorld held their collective breath until it was announced at the end of the game that it was just a bruise and he’s day to day. Take it from me, it looked a whole lot worse at the time and I had visions of losing our red-hot second baseman for the rest of the season.
With the Twins idle, we narrowed their lead to four–with Manny Ramirez expected to be in the lineup tomorrow night.
With the White Sox hoping to win at least two of three in the weekend series vs. the World Champions to keep pace with the Twins and C.C. Sabathia on the mound tomorrow night, tonight’s convincing 9-4 Sox triumph was a welcome sight.
The combination of outstanding pitching by Freddy Garcia, clutch hitting, another poor performance by the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett and a number of Bomber mistakes, proved to be the difference.
Among the Sox heroes was the ageless Omar Vizquel, who has been a marvel all season. He went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a stolen base.
Pale Hose Notes of Note:The win tonight was the 70th of the season for the South Siders and the 11th for Garcia…The last thing the Sox needed was another injury to a reliever, but that’s exactly what happened. Lefty Erick Threets, after a scoreless eighth inning, was removed for Scott Linebrinkafter going 3-2 against Mark Teixiera. No word as to how serious it is…Is it my imagination or does Linebrink cough up a homer every time he appears in a game? He did it again tonight as he surrendered a two-run shot to Nick Swisher…With the Sox having claimed Manny Ramirez on waivers from the Dodgers, it’s now a waiting game to see what happens. The two clubs can either work out a deal or L.A, suddenly in contention for a wild card spot, can pull him back. Manny has a no-trade clause, but word is that he’ll agree to the deal.
As rumors swirled about the possibility of the White Sox making a waiver deal for the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez, the South Siders went down tonight to the suddenly “pain in the neck” Orioles by a score of 4-2. Look at the bright side: we didn’t blow a save and the Twins once again fell to the Rangers as The Good Guys remain 3 1/2 back.
So, what about the Sox obtaining Manny? I say, why not?
–When you have a chance to go for a division title, do whatever you can to make it happen.
–Manny can be a huge problem in the clubhouse, but there’s only five weeks left in the season.
–He can carry a club when he’s hot.
–Without another offensive force that would help make up for the injured and sagging bullpen, chances for the postseason are slim.
–The prospects we’ll be giving up probably won’t be blue-chippers. The money? It’s only money.
–I think we’re all getting tired of watching the failures of Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones at DH.
To me, it’s a no-brainer. But Manny has a no-trade clause so the decision is ultimately in his hands.
The false rumors about Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn being dealt to the White Sox might make it seem like the South Siders failed to get the job done at the trade deadline. I look at it quite the opposite. Sometimes the trades you don’t make benefit you the most.
I certainly don’t know exactly what the asking price was for either slugger, but adding one or the other could have hurt more than helped if it meant giving up the likes of Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin or Tyler Flowers. Not only for the future, but for the present–on the field and in the clubhouse. And we all know Kenny Williams. If there is a way to improve the club by claiming somebody on the waiver wire, he’ll do it.
With JakePeavy out for the season, Edwin Jackson (pictured above) is a fine pickup. I hated to part with Daniel Hudson, who has the potential of being a fine major league starter, but Jackson’s veteran presence will help fill the Peavy void. He’s also signed through next season.
Thought for the day: No need to dwell on last night’s 6-2 loss to the A’s. It was bound to happen after the amazing winning streak at home. The important thing is to come out today and beat former Sox Gio Gonzalez and stay ahead of the surging Twins, now just a half-game behind.