It’s not easy watching these White Sox but, at least for tonight, all’s well that ends well as the South Siders eeked out a 4-3 win against the Tribe in Cleveland.
Before running into some trouble in the ninth inning, Edwin Jackson was spectacular once again, getting the victory and striking out 10 or more for the third straight game. He finished with 11 before tiring (he threw 129 pitches) and giving way to Bobby Jenks, who chalked up his 25th save with two outs and the winning run on base.
With the score knotted up 1-1, A.J. Pierzynski smashed what turned out to be the game-winning three-run homer in the ninth–his first since July 9–as the Sox clinched the series which concludes tomorrow afternoon.
Aside from a short stint in the on-deck circle during the Pierzynski at-bat, Manny Ramirez spent the night in the dugout. He would have made his Pale Hose debut had A.J. not homered, but Ozzie decided to pull him back and stay with Brent Lillibridge, who entered the game earlier as a pinch-runner for DH Mark Kotsay.
Freddy Garcia will be on the hill tomorrow afternoon as the Hose go for the sweep before an off-day and a weekend series against the Red Sox in Boston.
Manny on deck just before Pierzynski’s clutch homer
I don’t know how the whole Manny Ramirez
saga is going to play out, but I want to go on record as saying that the White Sox powers-that-be–Jerry Reinsdorf, Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen
–deserve a great deal of credit for acquiring Manny and, in the process, doing everything they can to improve the Sox and help them win a championship.
Jerry, Kenny and Ozzie, the stars of the MLB Network’s “The Club,” get a great deal of criticism and, in my opinion, most of it is unfair. And I’m sure those same critics are ripping them for getting malcontent Manny, who has now been run out of both Boston and Los Angeles.
But the truth is, in my nearly 60 years of being a Sox fan, we’ve never had a group in charge that is more committed to winning (see 2005 for details). Whether or not Manny helps us win the A.L. Central is beside the point, I appreciate the effort.
It was deja vu for Bobby Jenks as the husky one gave up three runs in the ninth, allowing the Tribe to tie the score at 6. But the resilient Hose scored four in the 11th (including a two-out, nobody-on Brent Lillibridge homer), Scott Linebrink hurled zeroes in the two extra frames and we rallied to beat the Indians,10-6.
The South Siders pounded out 21 hits. Alex Rios led the parade with five, including a homer and four RBIs. Mark Kotsay had three and five players–Omar Vizquel, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham collected two hits apiece. Konerko added three RBIs to give him 95 for the season.
Speaking of Beckham, Gordo left the game in the seventh after getting hit in the wrist by Indian reiiever Frank Herrmann (pictured above). SoxWorld held their collective breath until it was announced at the end of the game that it was just a bruise and he’s day to day. Take it from me, it looked a whole lot worse at the time and I had visions of losing our red-hot second baseman for the rest of the season.
With the Twins idle, we narrowed their lead to four–with Manny Ramirez expected to be in the lineup tomorrow night.
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.
, the greatest hitter in White Sox history, will have his familiar No. 35 retired on Sunday as part of Frank Thomas Day at the Cell. In his remarkable 19-year major league career, The Big Hurt compiled a .301 lifetime batting average and produced 521 home runs, 1704 RBI, a .419 on base percentage, 2 MVPs, a batting title and a World Series ring.
There is little doubt that Frank will be honored in Cooperstown, hopefully on the first ballot, and his outspokeness against PEDs will only accelerate his election. So, the Sunday celebration is richly deserved.
While Big Frank had his problems with the organization during his career, that’s all in the past. He is now an official ambassador for the Pale Hose and his likeness will appear on the outfield wall with the other retired numbers. It’s only a matter of time before a statue is erected on the outfield concourse as well.
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
: 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.
As rumors swirled about the possibility of the White Sox making a waiver deal for the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez, the South Siders went down tonight to the suddenly “pain in the neck” Orioles by a score of 4-2. Look at the bright side: we didn’t blow a save and the Twins once again fell to the Rangers as The Good Guys remain 3 1/2 back.
So, what about the Sox obtaining Manny? I say, why not?
–When you have a chance to go for a division title, do whatever you can to make it happen.
–Manny can be a huge problem in the clubhouse, but there’s only five weeks left in the season.
–He can carry a club when he’s hot.
–Without another offensive force that would help make up for the injured and sagging bullpen, chances for the postseason are slim.
–The prospects we’ll be giving up probably won’t be blue-chippers. The money? It’s only money.
–I think we’re all getting tired of watching the failures of Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones at DH.
To me, it’s a no-brainer. But Manny has a no-trade clause so the decision is ultimately in his hands.