You’ve no doubt heard all of the details about the circumstances behind last night’s split doubleheader between the White Sox and Royals in Kansas City:
* The terrible decision to start the game on Friday when umpire Joe West was told a torrential downpour was on its way.
* The fact that Edwin Jackson lost his start and reliever Tony Pena (above) had to start Game 2.
* The Fox Sports edict that the first game had to start at 6:05 CT–with a day game on Sunday.
Those developments set the stage for an eight-hour marathon, which saw the Sox play two extra-inning games–a 6-5 defeat in Game 1 (11 innings) after they blew a 5-1 lead and a 7-6 victory in Game 2 (10 frames) after they came back after blowing a ninth-inning lead.
What can we take from what we saw last night?
–Although he loaded the bases that set the stage for Yuniesky Betancourt‘s game-tying grand slam in Game 1, Freddy Garcia did what he had to do in 6 2/3 innings.
–Bravo to Pena, who made his first start in years, and went seven strong innings in Game 2. Aside from a four-run fourth inning, he was stellar.
–He was the losing pitcher in Game 1, but No. 1 draft pick Chris Sale is a stud. He looked overpowering in his 1 2/3 innings of work. And it was Bobby Jenks who coughed up the winning run.
–Our bullpen has been awful. First it was Santos and Jenks in Game 1, then J.J. Putz blew his third consecutive save in the nightcap after striking out the first two after Scott Linebrink gave up a blast in the eighth. Miraculously, Putz shut the door in the bottom of the 10th.
–The Sox could have very well won Game 1 if Brent Lillibridge, running for Paul Konerko, hadn’t hesitated around second base in the 10th after Carlos Quentin’s gap double to right-center. It was inexcusable for him to be thrown out which would have been the lead run. Lilli needs to be a better fundamental player and avoid the brain freezes.
–In Game 2, Ramon Castro‘s two-run homer, Alex Rios‘s RBI single and Juan Pierre‘s clutch two-out double in the 10th to put the Sox ahead for good, saved the day.
The No. 1 takeaway is that for all of the problems the Sox have had in the past couple of weeks, they keep coming back. They could have packed it in after Game 1 and again after the Royals took the lead in Game 2, but they didn’t and kept fighting. Win or lose, that’s really the legacy of this team.
“To bounce back in the second game and play the way they did, what can be better than that,” Ozzie said in the wee small hours of the morning.
Lillibridge’s blunder: The run that should have scored in Game 1
I’ve said before in this space that all members of the 2005 World Champion White Sox have lifetime immunity with me and my Sox posse. And their comings and goings will always be newsworthy enough to secure a place here at Art of the Pale Hose.
With that in mind, it’s important to note that Scott Podsednik, he of the dramatic home run in Game 2 of the ’05 Series, is now a Los Angeles Dodger. Scotty Pods was traded by the Royals yesterday to bolster the L.A. outfield with both Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson on the sidelines.
Like we would with all the other ’05 champs, we wish Scotty the best and hope he is a smashing success in Hollywood. And it’ll be nice not to have to face him again in 2010.
Three homers (Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Andruw Jones), 12 hits, four doubles (two each by Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham) and a Gavin Floyd gem later, the White Sox walked away with an 11-0 thumping of the Mariners tonight at the Cell.
It was the ninth straight home victory for the South Siders and 16 of the last 17. The win, combined with the Twins’ victory over the Royals, keeps the Sox lead in the A.L. Central at one game.
Floyd continued his sparkling pitching run with seven innings of shutout ball. In his last 10 starts he has compiled an impressive 1.04 ERA and hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a game in almost two months.
The one thing that stands out to me more than anything else–including what Floyd has
done–is the recent play, both offensively and defensively, of Ramirez. He had a homer, three hits and three RBI tonight and has now brought up his average to .288. And he’s been virtually flawless in the field with his patented flair.
Simply put, Alexei’s performance alone has been worth the price of admission.
It’s never easy to lose, but losing to one of your biggest rivals is even harder to take.
So it really irritates me when we come out on the short end against the Twins, which we did last night for the second day in a row. Just hate to watch them celebrate.
To the neutral observer it was a good game, a 3-2 pitching duel between two hot hurlers (Mark Buehrle and Carl Pavano) played in under two hours. To me, when it comes to the Sox, I’d rather watch a poorly played game and have the Sox win.
While the third-place Twinkies gained another game on the Pale Hose, the good news came from Cleveland as the Tribe swept a twinbill from the Tigers, now a game and a half behind the first-place Sox.
The two consecutive losses is not a major downer. After the great run we’ve had in the past two months it was inevitable there would be some kind of letdown. Remember, after the 11-game streak we lost two of three to the Royals before starting another run.
Two in a row is one thing. I’m not so crazy about making it three, so today I’m looking forward to us rebounding behind steady Freddy Garcia, who will be shooting for win No. 10.
Note of the day: Word is that 2005 World Champ Joe Crede is rounding into shape and will attempt a comeback in 2011 if not later this year. Wish him the best wherever he plays. All ’05 Sox have lifetime immunity with me and my Sox posse.
With the All-Star Game break, the blog has been dark for the past three days. But the Sox are back in action today–and so am I.
Here are a few thoughts as the Sox attempt to continue the surge that moved them into the A.L. Central lead after Sunday’s win against the Royals.
–The Sox have reported that Jake Peavy‘s surgery yesterday could not have gone better. Jake, see you in Glendale.
–The South Siders’ No. 1 draft pick, Chris Sale (pictured below), has been promoted from Class A Winston-Salem to AAA Charlotte after only four one-inning stints. Seems like he’s doing his Daniel Hudson imitation, only quicker. He could be in Chicago before too long.
–Those Adam Dunn to the White Sox rumors continue. Reports are that the Nationals are holding out for Gordon Beckham. If that’s the case, it won’t happen. Beckham’s 2010 struggles aside, Gordo is a keeper and the Sox know it.
–I haven’t seen it reported anywhere, but if the acquisition of Dunn doesn’t materialize–and I think Prince Fielder is out of the question–how about adding Raul Ibanez as a lefty bat in the Sox lineup? I’ve always liked him (actually hated him) because of his great success against the Sox over the years. Word is that the Phils wouldn’t mind parting with Raul.
–The Sox are hoping to start a new tradition tonight at Target Field. A tradition of dominating the Twins on their home field. The pitching matchups for the weekend:
TONIGHT: John Danks vs. Kevin Slowey
TOMORROW NIGHT: Gavin Floyd vs. Francisco Liriano
SATURDAY NIGHT: Mark Buehrle vs. Carl Pavano
SUNDAY: Freddy Garcia vs. Nick Blackburn
–After the four games in Minnesota, the Sox play three in Seattle, enjoy an off day and then travel to Oakland for three before returning home on July 26 vs. the Mariners.
With all the angst and negativity that the White Sox and their fans went through during the first two months of the season, it was beyond crazy to think that here at the All-Star break I can look you straight in the eye and say: The Pale Hose are in first place.
On the strength of winning 25 of their last 30 with superb pitching, clutch hitting and tight defense, the Sox are unbelievably on top of the A.L. Central 11 games above .500. Today’s 15-5 triumph over the Royals and the Twins victory in Detroit gave the South Siders their eighth straight win and a 1/2 game division lead over the Tigers.
The Happy Totals: The 15-run, 18-hit offensive explosion today at the Cell was a sight to behold and overshadowed Daniel Hudson‘s mediocre season debut. The Sox scored seven runs in the third inning powered by four home runs (Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Andruw Jones and Dayan Viciedo) and five in the sixth (highlighted by Quentin’s grand slam, his second two-homer game in as many days). Jones’ blast, a three-run shot, was his 400th career round-tripper…Other offensive highlights included Gordon Beckham’s 3 for 4, RBI day and a pinch-hit RBI double by the suddenly productive Brent Lillibridge, who is hitting .455 with 10 RBI since his call-up from Charlotte.
Dan Hudson (above), who was so impressive in his short stint with the White Sox last year and is 11-4 with Charlotte in 2010, takes the mound at the Cell today against Zack Greinke and the Royals as he tries to help the Sox win their eighth in a row.
Hudson’s appearance will follow another gem by a Sox starter. This time it was Gavin Floyd‘s one-run, 7 2/3 inning performance in last night’s 5-1 Sox win. It’s hard to believe how dominating Sox pitching has been. In the last three series–nine games–they have allowed only 17 runs and no more than three in a single game.
The South Siders have also found their homer stroke. Carlos Quentin hit a pair last night, Gordon Beckham slugged his third of the season and A.J. Pierzynski went deep twice the night before. Pitching, power and the recent outstanding defense is a pretty solid combination, right?.
Standings Update: With the Tigers’ second straight triumph over the slumping Twins, the Sox remain a half-game out of the division lead with the possibility of reaching the top today with a win and a Detroit loss to Minnesota…the Twins are now 3 1/2 games behind the Sox, amazing since the Chicagoans were 9 1/2 behind them as recently as last month…The Pale Hose have won 13 of their last 14 at the Cell.
Paulie an All-Star: It’s unfortunate that it was a result of someone else’s injury as he should have been selected out of the gate, but Paul Konerko has been named to the A.L. All-Star team to replace concussion-plagued Justin Morneau. He’ll join the entire 25-man Yankee roster in Anaheim (OK, I’m exaggerating).
All-Star Konerko congratulates Quentin after No. 20’s second homer last night