Jake Peavy, he of the bad wing, was simply amazing this afternoon in our nation’s capital. A complete game 1-0 three-hit shutout over the Nationals was a whole lot more than we expected.
Where the Sox are now is even more hard to believe after our miserable start. But that’s baseball. Here are some things to chew on:
—We have now won five in a row.
–We’ve won nine of 10 and 10 of 12.
–We are 9-2 against the NL.
–A win tomorrow will put us at .500
—Ozzie‘s smart ball is at work. We haven’t hit a homer since last Friday–seven games ago.
–We squeaked by today without our two best hitters, Alex Rios and Paul Konerko, in the lineup. Dayan Viciedo didn’t make his big league debut. Should start tomorrow.
In two and a half months of mostly disappointing play, the White Sox have come alive. And we may look back on last night’s game against the Nats in D.C. as a real turning point. Here are some of the headlines:
–We won the “Stephen Strasburg game” despite scoring only a single run and collecting four hits against him while striking out 10 times. And while President Obama wasn’t in the house when the Sox won 2-1 in the 11th, he was there for most of the game–in a Sox cap.
–We have now won four in a row, eight of nine, nine of 11, stand only two games under .500 and 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Twins.
—Gavin Floyd more than rose to the occasion against Strasburg, allowing only a run and five hits while striking out a handful in eight innings. The starting pitching is really on a roll.
–The pen came through big time. Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz and Bobby Jenks combined for three scoreless frames.
—Alex Rios (no surprise here) drove in both Sox runs including the deciding RBI–an infield single–in the 11th.
No reason to stop now. How nice would it be to head back to Chicago with an 8-1 road trip and a .500 record? Let’s do it.
Notes of the day: Today will mark the major league debut of Dayan Viciedo, the 21-year-old Cuban prospect who arrived in the spring of 2009 with great fanfare. He’ll be at third base, backing up Jake Peavy…Peavy’s mound opponent this afternoon will be a righthander named J.D. Martin. For those more mature Sox fans, it’s J.D., not J.C. Martin of 1960s Pale Hose fame.
Don’t say things aren’t popping around the White Sox these days. Check this out:
* Sox sweep Pirates and have now won eight of 10–and are only three games under .500.
* South Siders brace for Stephen Strasberg and the Nationals tomorrow night. It’ll be Gavin Floyd for the Sox.
* Jake Peavy will go Saturday in D.C. The MRI showed no structural damage so he’s only being held back two days.
* And maybe the most intriguing bit of news is that the Sox have just designated Jayson Nix for assignment and promoted 1B-3B-DH Dayan Viciedo (pictured above) from AAA Charlotte. He was hitting .290 with 14 homers and 34 RBI in 62 games for the Knights. We could certainly use his bat and Nix was really a non-factor.
How many times have we heard this comment the past few years? The White Sox can’t win unless they hit homers. It’s even been a popular refrain this season when it was supposed to be a transition from power to speed and versatility.
Well, with tonight’s 7-2 victory over the Pirates behind a John Danks‘ gem, an 11-hit attack and six Pittsburgh errors, the Sox have now won seven of nine games and two in a row in Pittsburgh. But the most interesting fact is that they’ve won three of the last four (and should have won the Sunday night game at Wrigley) without a single home run. At least for now, it’s back to Ozzie’s smart ball and hopefully a formula for winning baseball games.
The South Siders go for the sweep tomorrow night and then it’s on to D.C. Friday as they try to hand Stephen Strasburg his first loss.
Time will tell whether or not the White Sox are legitimate contenders to catch and surpass the Twins–or the Tigers for that matter.
But we’re all adults here (most of us anyway) and we can face the reality of not making the postseason. After all, except for nine seasons (1906, 1917, 1919, 1959, 1983, 1993, 2000, 2005, 2008) in the club’s long history we’ve failed to accomplish it.
What I’m saying is that as Sox fans what we really want is something to root for–and the team’s performance in the early going has made it tough. But if the South Siders play an aggressive, exciting brand of ball with more wins than losses we’ll deal with it. We won’t be totally happy because in the past few years expectations have risen, but it’ll be OK and the summer won’t be ruined. Nothing’s worse than a summer without having fun rooting for your favorite team.
The good news is that contender or not the Sox are playing better, having won six of eight including last night’s 6-4 victory over the Pirates. And the best parts of the contest? Gordon Beckham looked like the 2009 Beckham with two hits and three RBI and the starting pitching continued its comeback. And the Juan Pierre-Beckham suicide squeeze (see picture above) was a real bonus.
Of course White Sox fans would have loved a sweep at Wrigley, extend the club’s winning streak to five and to have gained a game on the Twins. But in light of last night’s developments, I’m just happy that Juan Pierre foiled Ted Lilly‘s no-no in the ninth so we didn’t have to suffer the indignity of enduring the feat amid the vines. And able to leave the North Side with a series victory.
Perhaps more important than winning a series on the road–and against the North Side Media Darlings at that–is that the Sox have begun to play entertaining, competitive baseball with solid starting pitching such as Gavin Floyd‘s gem last night. Frankly, it was getting difficult to watch their dismal play–even for the most loyal fans.
So, now it’s on to Pittsburgh and Washington starting tomorrow night. The hope is that we can continue winning series and maybe even give Stephen Strasburg his first major league loss on Friday night.
Question of the Day: Hate to be petty, but has anyone ever seen Ted Lilly smile?
It was a sight to behold–and I’m not referring to the young woman above. I’m talking about Mark Buehrle returning as the Buehrle we know and love and Paul Konerko continuing his red-hot hitting by driving in both runs today in the 2-1 White Sox victory at Wrigley against the North Side Media Darlings. With a sweep in their sights, the South Siders enter tomorrow’s finale with the series already won.
Buehrle, in winning his fourth game of the year, pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings while scattering eight hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The most impressive part of his performance was his ability to get out of jam after jam.
Following yesterday’s 2 for 5, two RBI day, Paulie was 3 for 4 today with the pair of runs batted in. He raised his BA to .296 and increased his RBI total to 46.
We can’t help but be encouraged with the streak now at four and the last two victories against you know who.
Just another day at the old ballpark for the opener of the Crosstown Series at Wrigley Field.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella ripped Steve Stone for criticizing the skipper. Ozzie admitted there is friction between he and Kenny Williams. And the White Sox scored 10 runs on 16 hits with three homers as Jake Peavy claimed his 100th major league victory in the 10-5 thrashing of the North Side Media Darlings. Furthermore, it was the South Siders’ third straight win–only the second time in 2010 they’ve won as many games in a row.
Since we’ve been starved for offense all season, allow me the luxury of examining today’s box score:
—Alex Rios, who has been terrific all season, went 4 for 4 with a homer, three runs scored and two runs batted in. He now has 13 homers, 31 RBI and is batting .322.
–-A.J. Pierzynski, whose bat seems to be coming around after a horrid start, went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBI.
—Paul Konerko, along with Rios the team’s most consistent offensive threat, went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and two RBI. His BA is up to .287 along with 44 RBI.
—Alexei Ramirez, whose average is now at a respectable .263, seems to be turning the corner. He pounded out two hits with two runs scored and an RBI.
–Rounding out the highlights: Carlos Quentin hit a pinch homer–his eighth roundtripper of the season–and even Brent Lillibridge got a hit. He’s now hitting .667 in his brief big league stint this year.
John Danks (seven scoreless innings), Omar Vizquel (a home run and two RBI), A.J. Pierzynski (a homer) and Sergio Santos‘ clutch K of Miguel Cabrera led the way today as the White Sox shut out the Tigers, 3-0, to win the three-game series against Detroit after dropping the opener.
The Sox have won three straight games only once this season so another victory tomorrow will encouraging. And, of course, it takes on even more importance because it will be the first of three at Wrigley against their “we haven’t won a World Series in 102 years” crosstown rivals.
Both clubs have been disappointing this year so the two regular season series aren’t as attractive as in years past–but it’s still Sox vs. Cubs. And if both teams continue to struggle, how they fare against each other will be a high point in their respective seasons.
But always keep this in mind: No matter how bad the Sox play, the Cubs are always worse. The 102-year famine proves it.
Last night’s 15-3 pummeling of the Tigers aside–which included another Freddy Garcia gem and a Brent Lillibridge three-run homer of all things–the 25-33 Sox are ready for a shakeup.
“Some changes need to take place,” Kenny Williams told reporters yesterday. “I don’t know what, and I don’t know when, but changes need to take place. Things aren’t happening that we envisioned and when they don’t happen the way you envisioned, you have to make an adjustment or two.”
Music to Sox fans’ ears.
Hail to the Blackhawks
The truth is that I’m not a hockey fan. I follow the trends and know the names of the best players, but that’s about it. However, growing up in the greater Chicago area it’s always special to me when one of the city’s teams wins a championship. So, I couldn’t be happier for the Blackhawks and their fans after last night’s Stanley Cup victory.