The White Sox have started the season of being “All In” with a respectable 6-4 record after their first 10 games, but due to some serious bullpen woes and shoddy defense things don’t feel as good as they may seem on the surface.
Three of the Sox losses have resulted into a trio of Matt Thornton blown saves. The man who would be the successor to the much-maligned Bobby Jenks has yet to save a game. In their losses, the Sox have blown two three-run leads and a one-run margin made even worse by dropped fly balls and other miscues.
Take last night. Mark Buehrle was magnificent, throwing eight innings of scoreless, two-hit baseball. Then the roof fell in. In the ninth, Thornton gave up a leadoff double to Andy LaRoche and pinch runner Cliff Pennington scored when Juan Pierre (pictured above), for the second time in four days, dropped a very catchable fly ball. That tied the game and Kurt Suzuki hit the game-winning homer in the 10th to give Oakland a 2-1 extra inning victory.
If Thornton or his bullpen teammates don’t find the formula to save games and the defense doesn’t play better in clutch situations, the explosive offense will be negated and the summer of “All In” will be a bust.