Tagged: Twins

A Day to Remember

White Sox 4, Twins 3.

That statement alone will turn some heads as the Sox defeated Minnesota this afternoon for the first time in 2011 after dropping nine in a row dating back to last year. It also broke a four-game Pale Hose losing streak on their current homestand.

In a game that was headed toward another Twinkie victory, a couple of clutch two-out hits (I’m not kidding) in the late innings turned the tide. In the eighth, Carlos Quentin delivered a single to tie the score at 3-3 and Alexei Ramirez, who homered in the first to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead, singled to center in the ninth. It scored A.J. Pierzynski from second for the game-winner.

Former Twin Jesse Crain got the win after pitching a perfect ninth. Starter Mark Buehrle authored another fine performance, but got the no-decision. All three Minny runs off of Buehrle were unearned.

Can the Sox make it two in a row and split the four-game series? Jake Peavy will try to do it tomorrow before the Sox head into the All-Star break.

Sox Note of Note: One negative on the day. Backup catcher Ramon Castro suffered a broken hand on a play in the eighth inning, setting the stage for Pierzynski to enter the game. No official announcement has been made, but it’s likely Tyler Flowers will be called up from AAA Charlotte to replace him.

A New Chapter, the Same Old Story

It doesn’t rival one of those extra inning walkoff losses, but last night’s defeat to the Twins was tough to take. Ozzie put it this way: “Hard to watch.”

The Sox finally sustained a rally by scoring five runs in the first after the Twins got on the board with a run in the top half of the inning. But Gavin Floyd, who hasn’t shown much lately, couldn’t hold the lead. He was gone after 3 2/3 innings and was responsible for two more runs–seven in all–when the immortal Luke Hughes took Will Ohman deep for a three-run homer.

After  the six-run Minnesota fourth, it was Twins 8, Sox 5–and that was the final score. The home team showed absolutely no life in their last six at bats.

That’s nine losses in a row against the Twins, 28 of the last 34, and four straight to K.C. and Minny on this homestand.

The All-Star break can’t come soon enough.

We Just Can’t Beat ‘Em

 

Minnesota 1, White Sox 0.

There’s not much left to say. We just can’t beat the Twins, even without the majority of their starters in the lineup. We’re now 0-4 against them this season, scoring a total of three runs.

Our stay in the Twin Cities amounted to one run, 11 hits and two losses. We drop to four games under .500 and 5 1/2 in back of the division lead.

Mark Buehrle was excellent this afternoon, giving up only a Michael Cuddyer homer and three other hits. But there was more frustration on offense as we got shut out for the seventh time and grounded into two more double plays, both stalling potential rallies. The clutch hits just weren’t there–again.

Interesting pitching matchup tomorrow night in Phoenix as we reprise interleague play against the D-backs. It’ll be Edwin Jackson (4-5, 4.39) for the Sox vs. the man they gave up last summer to get him,  young Daniel Hudson (7-5, 3.82).

Sox Rainy Day Notes and Quotes…

 

Peavy will do what it takes

There is no “i” in team and apparently no “i” in Jake Peavy.  Before last night’s postponement, the Sox injury-plagued righthander said the following about his pending return from the DL:

“We’re sitting here talking about me coming back, and I’m telling Don Cooper and these guys, ‘I’ll do whatever needs to be done.'”  If I need to go to the bullpen and help out there, we have five starters doing their thing. I certainly think I can be a leader in the rotation as well and be as good as these guys have been. But I’ll do whatever it takes because there is no weak link right now on this team. We’re swinging the bat offensively. We’re starting to catch the ball and play fundamentally a lot better than we did early in the year.”

What do KW and Ozzie think? Word is that they think it’s too early to make the call.

 

You knew someone would bring it up and who better than Ozzie?

After all those years playing in what was a house of horrors for the White Sox, the skipper put it all in perspective:

“Where’s the Metrodome when you need it?” Ozzie, of course was referring to the fact that last night’s game wouldn’t have been called if the Twins still played indoors.

Finally, something positive for the Sox to say about the Twinkiedome.

 

Here and there…

No makeup date has been determined for the rainout…Gavin Floyd and Carl Pavano will still be the starters…Jesse Crain, an important Twins contributor for several years, is making his first trip back to his former baseball home since joining the Sox…Ozzie on Brent Lillibridge: “Can he show us he can play every day? Well, that would be nice. If you can produce very day, I’ll get you the shot. But, right now, we have to wait and see”…KW on Dayan Viciedo: “It would be awfully interesting to have him in this lineup. He’s ready. He’s obviously got some things he still needs to work on, but I would have no qualms about bringing him here.”

They’re Still the Twins

The Minnesota Twins are in strange territory for the middle of June. They are 13 games below .500 and in the basement of the A.L. Central as they host the White Sox for three games beginning tonight.

No Joe Mauer. No Joe Nathan. No Jim Thome. No Denard Span. No Jason Kubel. A different Justin Morneau. No Francisco Liriano (he won’t pitch in this series). Slumping Delmon Young and Danny Valencia and no Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch from a year ago. The pesky Nick Punto isn’t around anymore either.

Sounds like good news for the Sox, right? Wrong. As long as there are players wearing Twins jerseys, we can’t take anything for granted. And mark my words, they will give us fits.

There’s still Carl Pavano, who starts tonight for Minny, the always-troublesome Michael Cuddyer, exciting rookie outfielder Ben Revere and although Morneau, Young and Valencia aren’t yet themselves, it’s a good bet they’ll snap out of it against the Pale Hose. They always do, evidenced by the Twins 25-11 record against the Sox the last two seasons. The Twinkies also have rebounded a bit, having won eight of their last 10 games.

Gavin Floyd will be on the mound tonight for the South Siders in an attempt to get this six-game road swing off to a good start. A 4-2 trip in Minnesota and Phoenix will put us at .500. Hopefully we can do better than that.

An Early Look at the “Others” in the A.L. Central

baseball-caps-american-league-central-division-main.jpgThe White Sox go into the upcoming season as one of the favorites to win the A.L. Central, but it’s not going to be a cakewalk. The Tigers have improved, the Twins have lost a number of key components but are always strong and the Indians and Royals seem to be making strides as well.

The following is a thumbnail rundown of the Sox’s Central opponents and how they’re constituted going into the new season–in order of their finish in 2010. As we all know, the Pale Hose finished in second place behind you know who.

Twins
Our perennial nemesis has suffered a number of key losses, primarily Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes and Jon Rauch in the bullpen, second baseman Orlando Hudson, shortstop J.J. Hardy and infielder Nick Punto. But we know full well, they’ll be a contender once again. Minny still has All-Star catcher Joe Mauer, outfielders Denard Span, Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer, reliever Matt Capps, re-signed DH Jim Thome and starter Carl Pavano and are counting on comebacks from Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau and Pat Neshek. The Twins could get a huge boost if Japanese export Tsuyoshi Nishioka pairs up successfully with Alexei Casilla in the middle of the infield.

Tigers
C-DH Victor Martinez, reliever Joaquin Benoit and free agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez were the key additions over the winter. Along with Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer at the top of the rotation, the monster bat of first baseman Miguel Cabrera and the solid play of third baseman Brandon Inge and shortstop Jhonny Peralta, these Tigers will be growling. Detroit is also counting on a young group headed by outfielders Austin JacksonBrennan Boesch and Ryan Rayburn and second baseman Will Rhymes. A comeback by reliever Joel Zumaya would also be a key factor in their run at the division title.

Indians
The Tribe has a long way to go and were silent over the winter in terms of major acquistions. Cleveland appears to have a young, improving pitching staff with folks like Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco, and some good young players like shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, first baseman Matt LaPorta, outfielder Michael Brantley and arguably their best player, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. A big question mark centers around erstwhile star centerfielder Grady Sizemore and if he recovers from his injury problems. Based on the current roster, it’s improbable that they could gain on the Sox, Twins and Tigers in the standings.

Royals
We’ve been waiting a long time, but it finally appears as if KC is on its way with several blue-chip prospects. In fact, six of MLB.com’s Top Prospects are in the Royals system. Part of this youth movement has come from the Zack Greinke trade, which brought the likes of shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. Other “can’t missers” include first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and hurler Mike Montgomery. That’s the good news. The bad news is that odds are that very few, if any, will make an impact in 2011. In the meantime,  the Royals will have to count on a group of players led by Billy Butler in the field and starter Luke Hochevar and closer Joakim Soria on the mound to get them out of the cellar. Their odds to escape aren’t very good.

Dayan for a Victory

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In this season of White Sox schizophrenia, a constant has been the club’s ability to rebound from early deficits. It happened again last night as Dayan Viciedo lined a ninth-inning RBI single to leftfield for the 5-4 walkoff win against the Bostonians.
The South Siders were indeed “Dayan” for a win, having lost seven straight games at 
home–three to the Twins, three to the Tigers and the series opener against the Red Sox.
Sign him up:  As the speculation heats up about the futures of free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, one of the most valuable Sox of 2010, Omar Vizquel, has said he wants to come back.
“I got used to the city and the teammates,” Vizquel said. “And it’s nice to come back to a team where they know what to expect from you, and what kind of personality you have. In my career, I really have been jumping from team-to-team, and you always want to feel comfortable in a place you like. I like it here, so I hope they maybe can think about having me back.”

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