Results tagged ‘ Angels ’

After a Tough Loss, the Sox Try to Make the Best of a Brutal Schedule

Halfway through yesterday’s game, with the Sox leading 6-0, I started to think about what I was going to write about the Sox’s two-game sweep over the Tigers.

Then came the  top of the sixth inning and all I could think about is “Hold the Presses.”

Andy Dirks singles. Miguel Cabrera homers. Prince Fielder doubles. Alex Avila grounds out, Fielder to third. Brennan Boesch is hit by a pitch. Ryan Raburn homers. Jhonny Peralta walks. (Will Ohman replaces Jake Peavy). Pinch-hitter Delmon Young is hit by a pitch, Peralta to second. Austin Jackson homers. Dirks pops out. Cabrera lines out to center.

D-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.

Heading into the ninth trailing 10-6, The Sox did make it interesting. They scored twice and had runners on second and third with Dayan Viciedo representing the winning run at the plate. Tank hit a long drive to right that came within a few feet of sending Sox fans home happy. But it was not to be.

Now comes the fun part. After losing a tough game, the Sox entourage took the long flight to Cali to face the Angels in a two-game series, today and tomorrow. Then it’s back to Chicago to face the Media Darlings at Bartman Field. What were the schedule-makers thinking?

Sox Note of Note:  A.J. Pierzynski was on fire yesterday, going 5 for 5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

It’s easy to point to the sloppy defense and bad baserunning as the reasons for  last night’s 5-4 defeat at the hands of the Angels. A loss, by the way, that dropped the Sox to 6 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the A.L. Central.

But the truth is that it’s the same old story for the Sox that has plagued them throughout this maddening season. Suffice it to say that, in my view, if Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham had just decent seasons that 6 1/2 game deficit would be wiped out and the Sox, with their solid pitching, would be on top of the division.

Just look at what one man–Justin Verlander–has done for Detroit. The team is 12 games above .500 with him on the mound, a .500 team without him. Think about the impact Dunn, Rios and Beckham would have had with fairly good seasons.

Here are the numbers through 127 games:

–Dunn: .167, 11 homers, 40 RBIs

–Rios: .214, 8 homers, 31 RBIs

–Beckham: .238, 9 homers, 34 RBIs

It’s hard to reach the postseason when three key cogs in the offense perform at such a low level.

We Need More Nights Like This

uYNIgGIU.jpgDuring the course of the long baseball season, certain games stand out as being more memorable, more significant or both. For a variety of reasons, we know last night’s 10-inning, come-from-behind White Sox victory over the Angels was memorable. Our hope is that as the season moves on, it will hold a great deal of significance as one of the key moments in the Sox turnaround.
Why was last night so memorable?
–It was Jake Peavy‘s 2011 debut as he pitched six innings, allowing four runs and seven hits along with zero walks and four strikeouts. No one could mistake him for Roy Halladay or even the Peavy of old, but considering the circumstances the effort should certainly be considered a success.
–The Pale Hose completed their second consecutive West Coast series victory.
–The Sox were able to rally for two in the ninth and two in the 10th to chalk up the “W” when all seemed lost–something that hasn’t been done much in this young season.
–We witnessed a rarity in the 10th inning as the winning run scored from third on a wild pitch as Angel pitcher Kevin Jepsen was intentionally walking Paul Konerko with runners on second and third.
–Being at the plate during the intentional walk/wild pitch in the 10th was only the beginning of an inning for the ages for Konerko.  It started with the walk and continued as he proceeded to steal second base (who, Paulie?). In the bottom of the frame, he made a spectacular leaping catch off the bat of Maicer Izturis for out No. 2 (who, Paulie?) and ended the game with a behind-the-back toss to Matt Thornton on a bunt by Torii Hunter (See photo above of Konerko and Thornton having a laugh over it). It undoubtedly brought to mind Mark Buehrle‘s award-winning between-the-legs play last season and prompted A.J. Pierzynski to joke, “Konerko had the best five minutes of his life.”
–In that Thornton recorded the last out in a 6-4 game, it’s obvious that he got credit for the save. But let me underscore that: the 2010 All-Star actually recorded a save after three losses and four blown attempts.
Adam Dunn continued to climb out of his early season hole by smashing a homer and a double and reaching base five times.
Sergio Santos continued his year-long Mariano Rivera imitation as he pitched two scoreless innings. His ERA remains at 0.00.
The South Siders are still eight games under .500, 9 1/2 games behind the first place Tribe and their winning percentage is better than only the Twins and Astros. But I’m enjoying this victory as much as any other this season and hoping it’s a sign of good things to come.

Road Trip


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It was a 4-6 homestand filled with blown saves, errors and lack of clutch hitting against the Rays, A’s and Angels. As the White Sox head to Tampa Bay, Detroit and New York for 11 games in 11 days we can only hope that the quality of play will improve. 
The euphoria we felt after the Sox pummeled the Indians in the first two games of the season has been replaced with frustration and bewilderment. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. By the way, how’s the Tribe doing these days?
Perhaps the worst part of all of this is that the club brass, after loading up with payroll in the offseason, was counting on a quick start so the fans would start believing and proceed to fill the sets at the Cell. You have to wonder if the Sox faithful will continue to believe if the South Siders continue to reel.
I know, I know, it’s a long season. We’re only a game under .500 and gave a better effort today against a tough customer in Dan Haren. But it’s not only the won-lost record and the four-game losing streak that bothers me, it’s the way we’re playing. Sure, things could turn around in a heartbeat and these early season woes will just be a bad memory. But when? And we all know that the next three series will be anything but easy.
I’m waiting.

Peavy’s Start Overshadows Weak Sox Offense

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Jake Peavy gave White Sox fans a big boost today as he delivered a sterling performance in his first appearance since he walked off the mound in agony last July 6 against these same Angels. The righthander pitched two scoreless innings, striking out a pair while walking one. In all, he made 26 pitches, 16 for strikes.

Peavy’s performance gave the five Sox starters the distinction of hurling five straight 
games–10 innings–without giving up a hit. Jake was preceded by Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and John Danks, each of whom hurled two innings in their first spring starts.
The Ups:
Sadly, Peavy, the “streak” and one scoreless inning apiece by Chris Sale, Sergio Santos and Charlie Leesman were pretty much the only positives for the Sox as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Halos to go 1-4 on the spring. After getting shut out through eight frames, the South Siders finally scored as Brent Lillibridge singled in Jim Gallagher, who led off the ninth with a triple.
The Downs:

The Pale Hose offense collected only seven hits and left the bases loaded in both the fifth (with one out) and the sixth (with nobody out)…Not that he was the only inept Chicago hitter, but Adam Dunn went 0 for 4. He’s now hitting .091…After driving in the first (and only) Sox run in the ninth, Lillibridge killed a potential rally by getting picked off of first base with none out. Not a good thing if you’re on the roster bubble.
The Sox face the Indians tomorrow in Goodyear.

Sox Win! Sox Win! “Marks” Save the Day

 

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I know that the White Sox have been eliminated.

I know that the recent eight-game losing streak was too much to bear.
I know that we’re still in danger of finishing in third place.
All that said, today’s 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the A’s, giving the Sox their first victory since September 12, put a smile on my face. I needed it to cure my baseball blues.
Two forgotten South Siders–Mark Kotsay (above, top) and Mark Teahen 
(above, bottom)–came to the rescue today with key ninth-inning pinch hits. Manny Ramirez, bless his heart, was nowhere to be found.
So it’s on Anaheim. My hope is we can close out the season against the Angels, Red Sox and Indians with three series victories. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
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A.J. Explodes, Buehrle Outstanding as Sox Rip Royals for 6th Consecutive Victory

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Two days ago I commented to my Sox posse that I was concerned about A.J. Pierzynski‘s recent hitting slump. One of my guys said his toughness, ability to call a game and his durability outweighed what he did with the bat. Another said A.J. had lifetime immunity due to his now-legendary run to first base on a strikeout in Game 2 of the 2005 American League Championship Series against the Angels.
After hearing their reaction I was sorry I even brought up the subject. Now, after A.J.’s two-homer, four RBI performance in the 8-2 White Sox victory against the Royals last night, I was compelled to send the posse an apology.

Sox Vets Rise Above the Rest
In the wake of the LeBron James PR fiasco, where apparently no thought was given to humility and common sense, we Sox fans need to realize that we have two of the most authentic sports role models in our midst–Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko.
Their leadership, humble nature and on-field performance should be an example to everyone in the sports world. Ironically, because of their low-key demeanors relatively few outside of the South Side recognize what outstanding examples they are. 

Buehrle On Top of His Game

Speaking of the Sox lefty, Buehrle’s seven innings of scoreless ball last night continued his recent mastery of A.L. hitters. Mark is now 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last six outings, all being quality starts. Buehrle and his fellow starters have surrendered only 16 runs in their last eight games against the Rangers, Angels and Royals.
Standings Update

Sox are now 47-38, a half-game behind the Tigers and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Twins. We’ve won six in a row and 23 of the last 28. Pretty amazing.


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If This is a Dream, Don’t Wake Me Up

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After watching the White Sox play during the season’s first two months, this recent surge–which has seen the South Siders win 22 of their last 27 games–is an amazing phenomenon.
The latest development? John Danks‘ magnificent complete game, two-hit shutout against the Angels this afternoon. It gave the Sox the four-game sweep and a five-game winning streak. Think pitching is the name of the game? Here are the opponents’ run totals in the last two series against Texas and Los Angeles: 3, 3, 3, 2, 1, 2, 0, totaling 14. The Pale Hose countered with plenty to spare, scoring 30 during that span. As Hawk would say, that’ll work.
The Royals are next up as the Sox look to continue their dazzling play into the All-Star break. Now a half-game behind the idle Tigers, we have a real shot at being on top of the A.L. Central at the traditional half-way point of the season. Believe it.
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Surging Sox Overcome 5 Errors, Win 4th Straight Behind Freddy’s 9th Win

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For White Sox fans who didn’t survive last night’s rain delay, and heard this morning that the South Siders committed five errors, likely thought it had to be a sloppy, disappointing loss. But it wasn’t the case for these red-hot Sox, who have now won 21 out of their last 25.
Despite the five miscues the Sox won in neat fashion, taking their third straight from the Angels, 5-2, and claiming their fourth consecutive victory overall behind steady Freddy Garcia‘s ninth victory. They now have vaulted into second place, a game behind the Tigers and a half-game ahead of the Twins.
If winning despite five errors isn’t strange enough, then how about Brent Lillibridge being the DH and driving in a pair runs? The once-laughing stock of the Sox roster is now hitting .429 since being called up from Charlotte. He was joined by a team effort offensively with every man in the starting lineup getting at least one hit. Alexei Ramirez, Alex Rios and Paul Konerko had two apiece with Paulie driving in a pair of runs.
Peavy: He Gone?

I’m not burying the lead, it’s just that we’ve got to move on. Will the Sox miss Jake Peavy if he is indeed lost for the season? Undoubtedly, but it doesn’t help to whine. The hope is that Dan Hudson (or someone else that Kenny Williams acquires before the trade deadline) will be good enough to minimize the loss.

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                               “Dr. Andrews, it’s Jake Peavy…I need your help.”



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White Sox Bullpen a Sight to Behold

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Pena, Putz, Thornton and Jenks Seal Deal Against Angels

I don’t want to be the typical provincial fan who can’t see beyond his own team and, admittedly, I haven’t done the required research to make the case. But it’s hard for me to believe there’s a bullpen in baseball with as much quality and depth as the White Sox.

The pen was on display again last night against the Angels as it was put to the test when Jake Peavy left the game in the second inning with a back injury. Cause for concern? Not really.
Tony Pena, who has come through time and again as the long man, was outstanding in the relief of Peavy. He picked up the slack by pitching 4 1/3 innings, allowing a single run on only five hits. He was followed by J.J. Putz, All-Star Matt Thornton and closer Bobby Jenks, who each pitched a scoreless inning. It all added up to a 4-1 over the Halos and Jered Weaver, who in his previous five starts against the South Siders surrendered a total of two earned runs.
Stats don’t tell the entire story, but here are some bullpen highlights:
–Jenks has 18 saves and has improved as the season has gone on, despite missing a week on the bereavement list.

–Thornton has been good enough as a setup guy to be named to the A.L. All-Star team. He’s recorded a 2.78 ERA with five saves.

–Putz’s ERA is an impressive 1.69. He has also been credited with five wins and a pair of saves.

Sergio Santos, the converted infielder who is in his first season in the majors, has a terrific 2.03 ERA in 30 games and has rescued the Sox more than once with his clutch pitching. He’s exceeded everyone’s expectations.

–Pena, except for his recent slump, has been a godsend in his “long” role as he was last night. He also leads the Sox pen in innings pitched.
Notes of the day: Peavy will most likely head to the DL. We’ll know more today after his MRI, but it doesn’t seem as serious as it looked at the time…Dan Hudson, enjoying a fine season at Charlotte with an 11-4 record and a 3.47 ERA, is expected to replace Peavy on the roster…With last night’s victory, the Sox kept pace with the Tigers and Twins. We’re a game behind division-leading Detroit and a half-game behind second place Minnesota.
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