Tagged: Yankees

Familiarity Breeds Contempt as White Sox Lose Series to Bosox; No Last Minute Deals This Year

For anyone who wants to understand the White Sox struggles through the club’s first 106 games just has to look at the last three innings of today’s disappointing 5-3 loss to the Red Sox. It serves as a microcosm of the team’s failure to be better than their 52-54 record.

7th Inning: The Sox lost their 3-2 lead (wasting another Mark Buehrle effort) , largely due to a deflected infield hit and a Tyler Flowers passed ball that moved the tying and winning runs into second and third. The two runners scored on a Dustin Pedroia base hit.

8th Inning: With two outs and Alexei Ramirez on second with his 22nd double, Juan Pierre failed to drive in the tying run. It is important to note that Pierre was hitting in the third spot only because he replaced Paul Konerko, removed from the game after being hit by a pitch.

9th Inning: Now down 5-3, the Sox had three of their supposed big bats in position to give it a shot. But they went down with a whimper as Carlos Quentin, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios all went down swinging. The problem, as we all know, is that Dunn and Rios are far from being big bats, despite the preseason expectations and the back of their baseball cards. They haven’t done it in the first four months and there’s no reason to believe things are going to change.

If Dunn and Rios continue their woeful offense and continue to fail when it counts, there’s no reason to believe the Sox are any better than a .500 team let alone a division contender.

Bad Timing?:  With two losses in a row, the Sox find themselves in a tough situation with the Yankees coming in for four games. To make matters worse, C.C. Sabathia is on the mound in Game 1 tomorrow night.

The Frank Thomas Statue Was Unveiled Before Today’s Game

A Loss, A Deadline and a Statue

It was inevitable.

The White Sox mastery over the “other” Sox (seven wins in a row) was bound to end some time. And it certainly did last night as the streak ended with a thud–a 10-2 battering at the hands of Boston.

With Edwin Jackson gone, Phil Humber is being counted on more than ever with the rotation going from six to five. For the first four innings he appeared to be up to the challenge, but he didn’t survive the fifth as a result of giving up a four-spot before being pulled from the game.

Jon Lester being on the mound didn’t help the South Siders’ cause. Our offense is problematic enough with facing the tough lefty, who gave up only two solo homers (Paul Konerko and Gordon Beckham), a total of four hits and struck out eight in eight innings of work.

The game was probably decided anyway, but Boston scored a run in the eighth and five in the ninth off of Brian Bruney, a rare meltdown by a bullpen that has been close to perfect. The good news is that Will Ohman, Jason Frasor, making his Sox debut, and Matt Thornton had effective outings out of the pen.

With the Yankees coming in for four starting tomorrow night, a series win today would be nice to see as we need to keep pace with the Tigers. Detroit remains three games ahead of us and a game and a half in front of the Indians. Both rivals have improved their pitching staffs as the trade deadline approaches. The Tigers acquired starter Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley from Seattle and the Tribe nabbed Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies.

Sox Notes of Note:  Kenny Williams indicated yesterday that the Jackson/Frasor deal very likely will be it as far as the Sox are concerned with the deadline this afternoon…The greatest hitter in the history of the franchise, Frank Thomas will be honored today with the unveiling of the newest outfield statue.

As SoxWorld Turns…

Rejoice White Sox fans, we’re back at .500 and seemingly on a roll after a nice, efficient 3-1 victory last night against the Red Sox.

Suddenly, things seem a lot bright brighter than they did a few days ago. Whether it’s the series victory over the Tigers, the emotional impact of the Edwin Jackson trade, the continued outstanding pitching, the callup of Alejandro De Aza and benching of Alex Rios or all the above, much more optimism is evident throughout White Sox Nation.

Certainly one of the biggest recent boosts has been the resurgence of Gavin Floyd, who lately has been lights out. In seven innings of work against Boston last evening he gave up a lone run (a homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia) on three hits with five strikeouts and in the process evened his record to 9-9.  The offense, which is still not where it should be, provided just enough, highlighted by A.J. Pierzynski‘s two-run, seventh inning home run.

Three games back of Detroit and just a half-game behind second place Cleveland, it seems the Sox are going to make a serious run. But before I get too crazy, we still have two more games against the Red Sox, four vs. the Yankees and three in Minnesota. And who knows what trades are going to be made in the next two days that will impact the club.

I guess all that will take care itself. But, for now, like the Sox I’m back in the game.

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.

Where’s That Potent Offense?

While the victories in the first two games of the Yankee series were exhiliarating and last night’s loss somewhat palatable because of the Monday and Tuesday wins, we’re still 10-15, in last place in the A.L. Central and set to face nemesis C.C. Sabathia tonight in the series finale.
With the pitching and defense seemingly getting better, we all know where the blame lies. Nine runs in the last six games–that’s the harsh truth about the White Sox offense.
We’ve known since the offseason moves were made that the pieces of the puzzle are there. But it’s gotten to the point where we’re grateful for just getting runners on base. Forget the big rally, it’s just not happening. Case in point was the second inning of last night’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Bartolo Colon. The Sox loaded the bases in the second inning with no outs after falling behind, 3-0, on the strength of Robby Cano‘s three-run homer. The result? Zip. A strikeout and two harmless fly outs.
What is going on? Let me count the ways:
Juan Pierre is struggling. The leadoff man not getting on base is a problem.
Alexei Ramirez is in his usual early season funk.
Adam Dunn has gotten a few hits lately, but we’ve yet to witness his mammoth power. He does get the benefit of the doubt because he’s still fighting his way back from the appendectomy.
Alex Rios is hitting like he did when he first joined the team in 2009. We’re missing the 2010 version of the centerfielder.
Gordon Beckham? Great spring, great first few games, now he’s back to where he was a year ago. Like so many of the other offensive developments, it’s inexplicable.
If it weren’t for Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin…well, I just don’t want to think 
about it.
With the way the South Siders played in Tampa Bay and Detroit we have to be happy with the developments this week in New York. At worst we get a split, which would have been acceptable going into Monday’s action. If we can survive tonight, taking three of four from the Yanks could be a significant sign that things are moving in the right direction. 
But will we be able to score enough runs?
Sox Note of Note: It had nothing to do with the result of the game, but it was obvious from the beginnning that home plate umpire Todd Tichenor was going to have a bad night. It started in the first inning with a couple of calls that resulted in Ozzie arguing to the point where he got ejected. To me, the telltale sign was that both teams were griping about his work. Now that I know a little bit more about Tichenor, it’s understandable. He’s a AAA umpire who will be filling in most of this season. At least for one night, his performance was strictly minor league.

Lilli to the Rescue as Sox Nip Yanks

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In the most improbable of endings, pinch-runner turned defensive replacement Brent Lillibridge (shown above being congratulated by Juan Pierre) stunned the 41,000 onlookers at Yankee Stadium tonight with two of the finest catches you’ll ever see, resulting in a thrilling 3-2 Pale Hose victory. Adding to the drama was that he robbed the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Robby Cano back-to-back with the tying and winning runs on base to end the game.
The amazing turn of events prompted Ozzie to come up with the quote of the night. “I think I finally found my closer–Lillibridge.”
Lilli’s heroics from his spot in right field and the subsequent Sox triumph were preceded by a stellar outing by Gavin Floyd and a clutch two-run homer by Paul Konerko. Floyd, who gave up only solo homers to Cano and Brett Gardner and two singles to Derek Jeter, struck out 10 in eight plus innings. Paulie’s blast gave the Sox the lead in the eighth–a margin they never relinquished, thanks to Lillibridge’s defensive wizardry.
Any two wins after beginning the road trip 1-6 would be welcome. But the fact we’ve won two close games against the Yankees in New York is special. How special? check out this fact:
It was the first time the White Sox overcame a deficit in the eighth inning or later to beat the Yankees in New York since 1996.
There was also a bonus moment for Sox fans when the cameras focused on Jeter’s expression of frustration and bewilderment after Lillibridge’s game-ending gem. He owes us a few of those.
Full disclosure: Readers of this blog know full well I’m not Lillibridge’s biggest fan–in fact, Sox Posse member Tim Clodjeaux reminded me of that tonight. I’ve said more than once that a player with his specific skills needs to be smart and do the little things. Too often Lilli has made mental mistakes and physical errors that have cost the Sox. But the two catches he made this evening were nothing less than magnificent and he deserves every accolade that will be bestowed upon him in the days ahead.