It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it doesn’t matter who is wearing the Yankee pinstripes, they will find a way to beat us.
Both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira out of the lineup? Derek Jeter struggling? No problem. Rookie Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner and Marcus Thames break our hearts. Andy Pettitte on the DL? No worries, a youngster named Ivan Nova, with help from his bullpen, shuts down the South Siders.
So it was this weekend as the Yanks won two of three at the Cell. The Sox scored nine runs in each of the first two games in a 9-4 victory and 12-9 defeat, respectively, but couldn’t muster much offense off of Nova and his bullpen mates in the finale for the 2-1 loss.
A series victory would have helped matters, but time is now running out on the Sox with 32 games remaining. Next up…a 10 game, 11 day road trip to Cleveland, Boston and Detroit.
The Big Hurt Takes His Rightful Place
White Sox legends Billy Pierce (left) and Carlton Fisk unveil the brand new likeness of Frank Thomas as Hurt’s number was retired in a ceremony at the Cell today (pictured below). Pierce, Fisk and Thomas and their retired numbers will now be side by side by side on the left-centerfield wall.
If the White Sox had any chance of beating C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees tonight, John Danks (above) needed to be on his game. Unfortunately for the South Siders he wasn’t, and the Sox found themselves on the losing end of a 12-9 decision. It also dropped them to 4 1/2 games behind the Twins, 1-0 winners over the Mariners this afternoon.
Giving up a trio of two-run home runs in the first three innings, Danks put the Hose in a hole in which they could never escape. Trailing 6-1, the Sox narrowed the margin to a single run on the strength of a Paul Konerko two-run homer in the third inning and a two-run Andruw Jones blast in the fourth, but Danks and Tony Pena opened the flood gates again in the fifth by combining to surrender a fatal four spot. The Yanks, who smashed a total of four homers, padded their lead with two more runs in the final four innings. The Good Guys, resilient to the end, threatened in the ninth and had the tying run at the plate, but it was just too little too late–especially when you’re facing Mariano Rivera.
It’ll be up to Gavin Floyd tomorrow afternoon on Frank Thomas Day to help get the Sox a series win before they head to Cleveland, Boston and Detroit.
Pale Hose Notes of Note: The Sox outhit the Yankees 16-14, but Chicago pitchers walked an unacceptable nine men–which really was responsible for turning the tide…Lucas Harrell, recently recalled from Charlotte, entered the game in the ninth after Carlos Torres loaded the bases with one out. He was impressive, striking out Derek Jeter and getting Nick Swisher to line out to Juan Pierre in left.
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 Linebrink after 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.
For generations, the White Sox have struggled with their New York American League counterparts–whether it’s been Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris, Jeter, Rivera or a host of others. Year after year and decade after decade, the Sox and their fans have looked upon their rivalry with the mighty Yankees as a special challenge only to come out on the losing end with disappointment and frustration most of the time.
It has always been a big deal for us when the Yankees come to town. But as the late humorist Jean Shepherd, a true fan of the South Siders, once said (and I paraphrase): “Sox fans look at playing the Yankees as the biggest thing in the world, but the Yankees don’t even know they’re in a fight.”
However the Yankees and their faithful might feel, the tradition continues tonight as the Bombers arrive in Chicago. While it probably won’t mean much, the Yanks are struggling a bit and ARod and Andy Pettitte are on the DL. But it’s still a lineup with the likes of Jeter, Teixiera and Cano, the great Mariano is still in the pen and nemesis C.C. Sabathia is pitching tomorow night.
It’s an important weekend for the Sox, Yankees or no Yankees. The Twins, with a 3 1/2 game advantage in the division race, will be looking to bounce back after losing three of four in Texas as they head to Seattle.
We really need to win this series to keep pace with the Twinkies. And we all know that won’t be easy. After all, it’s the Yanks.
The three names most commonly bandied about for A.L. MVP honors are certainly worthy candidates–Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Robinson Cano of the Yankees and the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera.
Here are their numbers:
* Hamilton: 30 homers, 92 RBIs, 38 doubles, a .356 BA, a .405 on base percentage and a .634 slugging mark
* Cano: 25 homers, 87 RBIs, 36 doubles, a .322 BA, a .387 on base percentage and a .563 slugging mark
* Cabrera: 31 homers, 104 RBIs, 39 doubles, a .342 BA, a .436 on base percentage and a .642 slugging mark
With the exception of batting average, Cabrera has the statistical edge with Hamilton second and Cano third. But keep in mind that the voters usually like their top candidate to be on a contender and after a fast start the Tigers have faded and will likely finished third in the A.L. Central. That said, look for Hamilton, on a club that looks like a shoo-in to win the A.L. West, to be crowned the league’s MVP.
As prejudiced I am for the Pale Hose, I’m not saying that Paul Konerko should rank above any of the three mentioned above–although he’s pretty even with Cano. What I am saying is that he deserves to be in the conversation and at least among the top four as a result of the following numbers:
Konerko: 31 homers, 87 RBIs, 24 doubles, a .314 BA, a .393 on base percentage and a
.581 slugging mark. Among the four, he’s tied for the HR lead, tied for third in RBI, fourth in doubles, fourth in batting average, third in on base percentage and third in slugging percentage. And he’s the main offensive force on a serious contender.
Voters, give Paulie some love.
BALTIMORE–The White Sox scored a run in each of the 7th, 8th and 9th innings tonight to come from behind for the 4-2 victory. It gave Buck “Mr. Baseball” Showalter his first loss as the Oriole skipper and it was also the first game in the last three that the temporarily resurgent O’s didn’t win on a walk-off.
Tonight’s heroes were July’s A.L. Pitcher of the Month Gavin Floyd, who won his eighth game with another superb performance; Carlos Quentin, who broke the ice for the Hose with a fourth inning solo blast; Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz, who closed the door with an inning of scoreless relief apiece; and A.J. Pierzynski (double), Alex Rios (single) and Gordon Beckham (single), who drove in the Sox’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th runs in the last three frames, respectively. A.J.’s heroics may have been costly as he left the game with an apparent ankle injury after sliding hard into third. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.
Oh, that Markakis
Years ago, when the Yankees’ Don Mattinglywas battering American League pitchers, one of the Yankee announcers mentioned that he hit a little over .500 against the White Sox. My reaction was, when did he make the outs?
Having watched the Orioles’ Nick Markakis over the past few years, and the last two nights, in particular, I’m having Mattingly flashbacks.
For the record, he went 4 for 5 on last night and 1 for 3 with a walk tonight, but it seems like he’s on base every time up. There are certain guys who have killed the Sox over the years–Mattingly and Mike Sweeney for instance–and Markakis is certainly one of the them.
That’s right, Ozzie went to Putz tonight to close out the game. Frankly, it was a relief I didn’t have to sit in Section 44 at Camden Yards and chance another Bobby Jenks‘ meltdown. Now that the door is open and Putz breezed through the ninth, has Jenks lost his job? Stay tuned?
Carlos May, who played for the White Sox from 1968-1976, had a productive 10-year major league career. He was The Sporting News‘ Rookie of the Year, made two All-Star teams, hit .308 in 1972, posted a .274 lifetime BA and played in the 1976 World Series with the Yankees. That said, May’s career could have been much brighter if he hadn’t blown off his thumb in a 1969 accident while serving in the Marine Reserves.
Carlos, the younger brother of former major league star Lee May, is also known as the answer to a priceless trivia question:
Who is the only professional athlete to wear his birthday on the back of his uniform? Yep, it’s Carlos, who donned May 17 on the back of his Sox uniform.
Happy 62nd Birthday, Carlos.