April 2011

Sox Move On From Friday Meltdown as Humber Impresses With His Wicked Curve


A.J. Pierzynski, whose two-run double in the seventh proved to be the difference in today’s 4-2 White Sox victory, modestly told Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone in the post-game interview that the story of today’s game was fifth starter Philip Humber (pictured above). 


Humber’s outstanding performance was just what the Sox needed after last night’s ninth inning meltdown. The former No. 1 draft pick of the Mets, Humber allowed just one run, four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in his six innings of work. Pierzynski added that Humber’s curveball is one of the best he’s seen and rivals Gavin Floyd‘s hook as the best on the Sox staff.
SOX NOTES OF NOTE: Sergio Santos, who pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth inning still hasn’t allowed an earned run since the start of spring training. One of the charter members of my Sox posse is convinced Santos will be the Pale Hose closer by the All-Star break. Could be…Will Ohman seems to be back on track with a clean seventh and Chris Sale, despite giving up a ninth inning homer to Felipe Lopez, earned the save…For those of you that watched the game you witnessed one of the greatest catches you’ll ever see when rightfielder Sam Fuld robbed Juan Pierre of at least a triple and maybe an inside the park grand slam (see below). If you didn’t see it, make sure you find it on the highlight shows. Like Mark Buehrle‘s Opening Day, between-the-legs play last year, Fuld’s grab could very well be voted the outstanding catch of the year even though it happened so early in the season.


When a Good Win Turns into a Loss

It was all shaping up so nicely last night. The Sox built an early lead, added on as the Rays got closer and entered the ninth with a 7-4 advantage. All Matt Thornton and his teammates had to do was shut the door on a team which had yet to reach the win column in this young season. 
Not so fast.
A shaky Thornton, sloppy errors by Alexei Ramirez and Juan Pierre and a three-run homer by the mediocre Dan Johnson turned a Sox victory into a demoralizing 9-7 defeat and gave Tampa Bay its first triumph.
As unsettling as Thornton’s “closing” performances have been, it’s still early. Same goes for the Sox defensive meltdown last night so I’m resisting the urge to overreact. I just hope it doesn’t have an effect going forward–both on the South Siders and the now-rejuvenated Rays in the last two games of the series.
Silver Lining: Despite the tough loss, it’s only fair to point out a few positives…As the DH, Mark Teahen went 3 for 4 wth a homer and three RBIs…Jesse Crain pitched two perfect innings and looked great doing it…Paul Konerko collected two hits and an RBI and is very quietly hitting .393…Gordon Beckham‘s three hits, which included his first homer, elevated his BA to .355.

An Explosive Offense, a Thrilling Comeback and an Opening Day Gem Highlight Early Going

60732994.jpgHaving been missing in action, blog-wise, for close to a week, I have tons of thoughts about the beginning of the season.
There were enormous highs from the first two games in Cleveland and the downer that we couldn’t sweep. Then, the “so close, yet so far” 12-inning loss in the K.C. opener and the thrilling come-from-behind extra inning triumph the next night. Yesterday’s home opener was a joy and showcased Edwin Jackson, the man who could turn out to be the ace of the staff in 2011.
All in all, we have to be happy with the 4-2 mark and an offense that seems to be living up to the offseason hype.
Some more opinions and observations:
* Have to admit I was beside myself when the Sox fell behind 5-0 against the Royals in the game they would eventually win. For six innings they looked like the lackluster team from spring training. And I was thinking that maybe the Sox brass needs to rethink how they approach the time that’s spent in Glendale. But then came the rally and my blood pressure returned to a normal level.

* Carlos Quentin has been a monster. As I’ve said all along, a great year by CQ and the offense goes from very good to great.

* Speaking of the offense, almost everyone deserves kudos. A special shout-out to rookie Brent Morel, who certainly looks like he belongs.

* After an emergency appendectomy, is it really possible that Adam Dunn can DH this weekend?

* Bullpen has been hot and cold. I’m not really sure about Tony Pena and Will Ohman and how things will play out this season–frankly, it’s a little scary. Chris Sale has been good and bad–with the good coming in his most recent outing. Matt Thornton got his first blown save of ’11 before he recorded one. And Sergio Santos still has a 0.00 ERA that began in spring training.

* The Sox had no choice but to DFA Lastings Milledge. After the two extra-inning affairs another pitcher was needed. Jeff Gray, the former Cub, is the current answer to the 12th man in the pen.

* Ozzie, do me a favor and hide Mark Teahen’s glove. I know he made a fine play at first base in the Royals series, but…there’s an exception to every rule.

* I guess I’ll have to live with Brent Lillibridge, though I still contend he should be a smarter player than he is.

* So happy to see the great Minnie Minoso (below with Ozzie)  throw out the ceremonial first pitch yesterday. One of my all-time favorites and arguably the most popular player in the club’s history, he is one of a kind.

Big Bats Prevail…Sox Win Again, 8-3

Two games. Two victories. 23 runs. 29 hits.
And did I mention the impressive batting averages?: Carlos Quentin, .625. Gordon Beckham, .625. Adam Dunn, .429, Paul Konerko, .429. Juan Pierre, .375., A.J. Pierzynski, .333. Brent Morel, .333.
All is well so far in SoxWorld. Guess that 11-20-1 spring training mark didn’t mean a thing. John Danks will be on the mound tomorrow as the Pale Hose go for the opening series sweep.
Final Note: I will be off “on assignment” for the next week so Art of the Pale Hose might not appear as frequently. I’ll be back on my regular schedule soon.

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                                            Quentin and Beckham: On Fire

Sox Offense Definitely “All In” on Opening Day

OK, let’s take an Opening Day quiz. What was the best part of the White Sox’ 15-10 victory yesterday in Cleveland?
A. Sox won
B. South Siders scored 15 runs on 18 hits
C. Pale Hose didn’t commit an error
D. Carlos Quentin‘s 3 for 4 day, which included a homer and five RBIs
E. Adam Dunn‘s 2 for 4 afternoon, which featured a homer and four RBIs
F. Gordon Beckham‘s 3 for 4 day with three runs scored
G. Brent Morel‘s two hits and two RBIs
H. Paul Konerko‘s 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored
I.  A.J. Pierzynski’s 2 for 5 with two RBIs
J. Mark Buehrle headed into the sixth inning with a shutout
K. Every starter had at least one hit with the exception of Alex Rios

The truth is that there is no right answer and “all of the above” could be yet another category. Feel free to pick your favorite. Mine is “A” because, let’s face it, none of it would have mattered if the Sox hadn’t hung on despite the bullpen giving up 10 runs in the last four innings.
We’ve got 161 games to go, but so far we’re definitely “All In.”