Tagged: Red Sox

No Apologies, We’ll Take It

The way I look at it, we were due to win a game when the opposition commits three errors, including a misplayed flyball that scored a pair of runs (by Ezequiel Carerra, shown above).

The result? Sox 4, Tribe 2.

With the offense still far from where we need it to be, the good news continues to be the Pale Hose pitching–especially the bullpen, where Jesse Crain, Chris Sale and Sergio Santos followed a solid performance by Edwin Jackson and pitched flawless relief.

The Sox have now won six of seven from the Indians this season, a rare winning record against a division foe. But as thrilled as we might be about winning two in Cleveland and moving to within 2 1/2 of the second-place Tribe, the next 13 games could very well tell the story of our season.

Starting tomorrow night, it’s three against the Tigers, three vs. the Red Sox and four against the Yankees at the Cell. Then it’s on to Minnesota to face the Twins for three.

We should know a whole lot more about where we’re headed after the matinee against the Twinkies on Sunday, August 7.

Like you, I’ll be watching on the edge of my seat.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Headline: White Sox shut out Indians, 3-0.

Last night’s game began like so many others as the Sox stranded seven runners in the first three innings. Witnessing that familiar phenomenon, it was a “throw up your hands in disgust” moment for me, especially since it appeared that Ozzie’s rant in Kansas City had absolutely no effect on the troops.

But the South Siders overcame the slow start out of the blocks with a second straight post-All-Star Game gem by Gavin Floyd and a three-run homer by Carlos Quentin to go 4-3 on the road trip.

The win is certainly cause for cautious optimism, but not celebration–yet. There’s still two more games in Cleveland, then a stretch where the Sox will host the Tigers (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees (4) before heading to Minnesota (3). And our offense is still far from clicking. Case in point: Quentin, with three, has the only Sox homers since the break.

Where do we go from here? One day at a time.

Signs of Life

The White Sox, aka Road Warriors, completed their third three-city road swing since April 18 today by sweeping away the Red Sox in Boston, 7-4.  It was their seventh consecutive victory at Fenway Park and 13th win in the last 15 games against those “other” Sox.

Perhaps more important is that the Pale Hose finished the current trip to Texas (1-2), Toronto (1-3) and Boston (3-0) at .500, a lot easier number to swallow than the 2-5 mark we held on Sunday night after the mostly lost weekend in Toronto. The South Siders were 3-8 on the trip to Tampa Bay, Detroit and New York and bounced back to go 6-3 on the west coast against Seattle, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Oakland.

It’s hard to rank the many Sox positives as they head into tomorrow’s off-day and the three-game home series against the Tigers beginning Friday.  But here are a few to consider:

There’s the dominance against Boston, the fact we finally hit in the clutch during the three-game series, scoring 24 runs, and coming back today from a three-run deficit. And, of course, moving within four games of .500 for the season (27-31) and eight games behind the first-place Indians, who play tonight north of the border.

Individually, it was a team effort with almost everyone in the lineup making key contributions, though Adam Dunn and Alex Rios continue to struggle mightily. Alexei Ramirez, in particular, had a monster series with starters Jake Peavy, Phil Humber, Gavin Floyd (after early inning trouble today), a resurgent Chris Sale and dependable closer Sergio Santos among the mound stars.

There’s still a long way to go, but it’s an awfully nice way to start out the month of June.

In a Humber State of Mind

When the White Sox entered this season of “All In,” which of the following realities would you have thought was the most likely on June 1?

A.) Adam Dunn would be hitting .185 with just a handful of homers.

B.) Alex Rios would be a non-factor in the lineup and struggling to keep his batting average above .200.

C.) Phil Humber would be the ace of the White Sox starting staff with quality start after quality start and a 3.06 ERA.

I don’t think there’s any question that the most surprising individual development of 2011 is Humber. While we didn’t expect Dunn to be as bad as he’s been, we were well aware of his hit or miss persona. And while we expected Rios to duplicate his outstanding 2010 season, we saw how he struggled in 2009.

Humber, once a first-round draft choice projected to be a top of the rotation starter, seems to have finally arrived. He proved it again last night in the 10-7 Sox victory over Boston. For seven and two-third innings, he neutralized one of the most potent lineups in baseball. It was only David Ortiz‘s three-run bomb in the eighth off of Will Ohman with two inherited runners that brought Humber’s ERA over the 3.00 mark.

Sox Notes of Note:  The Sox won their sixth straight at Fenway Park last night, led by Alexei Ramirez‘s four-hit, three RBI effort. The night before, he collected two hits and two RBI. He’s currently elevated his BA to .290…In addition to Humber’s performance, the most satisfying take away from the first two games in Boston is the clutch hitting, which has been consistently invisible the first two months of the season…During the three, three-city road trips since April 18, the Sox are 13-16 with only this afternoon’s game left on the grueling portion of this schedule.

Sox Mojo to be Tested on 10-Game Trip

Ozzie‘s recent mantra has been to take one day at a time. For a team trying to come back from the dead, I agree that it’s the way to go. I just wish I could walk the walk.

As the White Sox were in the process this weekend of completing a 5-2 homestand on the heels of of an encouraging 6-3 road trip, all I could think of was the upcoming 10-game road swing to Texas, Toronto and Boston.

As the Sox move toward the .500 mark with a 22-26 record, they are about to face a huge challenge while trying to continue their winning ways.

* The defending A.L. champion Rangers are formidable enough, but to make matters more difficult, Texas gets both last year’s MVP Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz back from injury just in time for the Pale Hose.

* Toronto has always been a tough place for us to play and among the issues to deal with up North will be neutralizing the outstanding Blue Jay pitching and home run machine Jose Bautista. Bautista, by the way, is also hitting .353 in addition to his major league-leading 18 homers.

* We all know that the Red Sox are the Red Sox–always tough–and Boston has the major league RBI leader in newly-acquired Adrian Gonzalez (41) plus top-flight pitching.

Sox Notes of Note:  The Sox were able to win the rubber game of the Dodger series today on the strength of Alexei Ramirez‘s four hits, which included a two-run homer, and five RBI…Adam Dunn walked three times and had an RBI single while adding an eighth inning insurance run. WGN cameras caught him mouthing the words, “What was that?” after he got what amounted to his first hit of the series. At least he has a sense of humor…As a result of the Indians’ weekend sweep of the Reds, the South Siders remain nine games behind the Tribe.

I Love Sports Illustrated, But…

SI_RS_SotY.jpgI love Sports Illustrated. I love the people there. I spent the 20 most enjoyable years of my life as the magazine’s chief spokesman and I treasure every moment.

Now that I’ve expressed my undying love for my “alma mater,” I have to take them to task for minimizing my favorite baseball team in this year’s Baseball Preview Issue. This is nothing new. All I have to do is point to 2004 and 2005 to make my point. 
In ’04, the powers that be at SI went gaga over the first Red Sox world title since 1918, naming the team and its fans Sportsmen of the Year. In ’05, the Pale Hose won its first World Series since 1917–a year longer between championships–and not only didn’t they win the Sportsman award, there wasn’t even a mention of the feat in that particular issue. Instead, there was yet another story about Roger Clemens’ excellence representing the year in baseball. By the way, how did that work out for Roger?
So, here it is 2011 and the editors of my favorite magazine are at it again. Here’s an example:
–In the Who’s Hot/Who’s Not section, the Motor City is deemed as hot, the Windy City as not. The “Not” opinion was based on the White Sox and Cubs spring training records. What? Since when did spring training records mean anything? And the statement that neither team has much hope for the playoffs is evidence that whoever wrote this simply has no clue. Many of the foremost experts in the game, including several knowledgeable scouts, pick the Sox to win the A.L. Central.

–Although the editors pick the South Siders to finish third behind the Twins and Tigers in the A.L., I can’t complain. Reasonable people can disagree and it’s likely the three clubs will battle for the top spot all season long. But why am I not surprised that SI picked the our Sox third?

–To add insult to injury, SI falls into the same trap as most of the sports media by glorifying the Media Darlings from the North Side. They even hired political pundit Jeff Greenfield to write a fantasy about the Cubs winning the World Series. SI, it’ll never happen.

–Lastly, the magazine picks the Red Sox to win it all. What a coincidence that the baseball editor is a Boston fan. Stunning.
Am I too sensitive? Yes. Am I overreacting? Probably. I guess that’s what happens when a White Sox fan has to deal with the national media’s prejudice in favor of the Yankees, Red Sox and the other team in Chicago that plays in that overrated dump of a ballpark.
Get a good night’s sleep. Big day tomorrow in Cleveland.
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