The battle of the Sox was won today by the White over the Red as the Pale Hose swept a day-night doubleheader at Fenway with identical 3-1 scores to move within 3 1/2 games of the Twins. The suddenly “on-fire” South Siders have now won the first five games of their 10-game road trip with the time-honored formula of outstanding pitching and timely hitting.
John Danks outdueled 15-game winner Clay Buchholz, Gordon Beckham delivered a key RBI double in the seventh inning, red-hot Paul Konerko collected three hits and Sergio Santos and Bobby Jenks preserved the win out of the bullpen in Game 1.
Gavin Floyd was the winner and John Lackey the loser in Game 2 with Scott Linebrink and Chris Sale excelling out of the pen before Jenks got the last four outs for his second save of the night. Offensively, Carlos Quentin smashed a double and a triple while scoring a pair of runs and Mark Teahen had a 2 for 4 night. Due to a pair of Bosox errors, which resulted in two unearned runs, backstop Ramon Castro had the only Chisox RBI with a sac fly.
The Manny Watch: In his return to Boston, Manny Ramirez went 2 for 4 in the first game and 1 for 4 in the second, all singles.
The last time the White Sox were rained out, a disaster ensued as the Sox played three games in 22 hours and lost two of them. Admittedly, the current situation in Boston is a bit different than it was in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago.
If you remember, a Joe West error of judgment (He decided to start the game on that Friday night as the rains came and the contest was eventually washed out) cost the Sox the services of Edwin Jackson, forcing reliever Tony Pena to make a start in the second game of a makeup doubleheader the next day.
Whatever the circumstances, playing a day-night twinbill is not ideal for a pitching staff. That said, the good news is that rosters have been expanded and Matt Thornton has been activated from the disabled list. The bad news is that it’s always hard to win both ends of a doubleheader.
So it’ll be John Danks and Gavin Floyd vs. the Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz and John Lackey in a day-night DH tomorrow. Let’s hope for the best.
Brent Morel, who won the Arizona Fall League batting title in 2009, is now a major leaguer. He has been called up from Charlotte and will join the White Sox this weekend in Boston.
Having impressed the Sox brass in spring training, Morel hit .320 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in 81 games at Charlotte after being promoted earlier in the season from Birmingham.
In addition to the fact he has proven to be an outstanding gap hitter, Morel is a major league third baseman defensively right now. The hope is that he can contribute with that exceptional glove down the stretch.
While Gordon Beckham appears ready to play after the injury, who knows how he will perform. That would mean Omar Vizquel would see some action at second with Mark Teahen and Dayan Viciedo, who won’t be confused with Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt in the field, as the existing options at third.
Welcome, Mr. Morel.
While there has been Manny talk all day, all night and all week, when the White Sox needed a boost this afternoon it was South Side mainstay Paul Konerko who had the last word. His eighth inning three-run homer overcame a subpar Sox performance and paced his teammates to a 6-4 comeback victory and a sweep of the depleted Indians in Cleveland.
Paulie, whose season has been nothing short of sensational, is now hitting .319 with 33 homers, 98 RBIs and an OPS of .986.
For most of the game the Sox were stymied by rookie Carlos Carrasco and their own defense, which committed three errors. But a home run by Alexei, not Manny, Ramirez in the eighth and Konerko’s clutch blast later in the inning made up for it. It also didn’t help that Freddy Garcia gave way to Tony Pena after four innings because of a strained lower back.
The game was also highlighted by Alex Rios‘ 20th homer of the season, which gave The Good Guys a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and Chris Sale‘s first save of his career. Manny reached base twice in his Sox debut. He singled and was hit by a pitch.
It’ll be a day off tomorrow, then three games in Boston against two tough customers–Clay Buchholz and John Lackey–on Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s Red Sox starter is TBA. We’ll counter with John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Mark Buehrle. One bit of good news for us is that Matt Thornton is expected to be ready for action after a stint on the DL.
Oh yeah, I might have buried the lead. Manny will be returning to the scene of the crime.
The calendar has turned to September and the White Sox have expanded their roster.
Reporting today from AAA Charlotte will be catcher Tyler Flowers and speedy outfielder Alejandro De Aza (above), who was a sensation in spring training. Promoted immediately from AA Birmingham is righthander Gregory Infante, who will be dispatched to the Sox bullpen. Dayan Viciedo, who was sent down to AAA when Mark Teahen returned, will join the South Siders in Boston. Carlos Torres, the odd man out when Manny Ramirez arrived, will be brought up after the Charlotte season is over on September 6.
Tale of the tape for the three players arriving today :
* Flowers slugged 16 homers, drove in 53 and batted .220 in 100 games at Charlotte.
* De Aza hit .302 in 79 games with the Knights.
* Infante, after being called up to Birmingham from Winston-Salem, was 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA.