Every team in baseball has to deal with key injuries. Look at the Twins. Justin Morneau has been out since the All-Star break and Joe Nathan has been missing for the entire season. How about the Red Sox? Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Victor Martinez, Jacob Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and Clay Buchholz are among those who have been laid up and Youkilis, Ellsbury and Cameron are out or likely out for the year.
So as much as it took away from last night’s more-exciting-than-it-needed-to-be 7-5 victory over the Orioles and the reality that we gained a game on the Twins, we just have to deal with this unfortunate fact: both Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz are going on the DL and we’ve got to head into the stretch without two key components.
There’s no word at this juncture as to who will replace them. It’s expected that Erick Threets, who has been on a rehab assignment, will take Thornton’s spot–joining rookie Chris Sale as the two lefties in the pen. The other callup could be Carlos Torres or Lucas Harrell, who did such a stellar job when he was promoted to Chicago earlier this year. Or maybe it could be former “cup of coffee” major leaguer Ryan Braun, who has 18 saves and a 2.00 ERA at Charlotte.
Of course, the timing couldn’t be worse. The bullpen has been overworked and struggling as it is. Because of Sergio Santos‘ erratic performance last night and Putz’s injury, Bobby Jenks had to be summoned two days after hurling three innings in Kansas City. The good news is that he was terrific both times–and got the save last night–but how much longer can he hold down the fort by himself? And Ozzie, shown above making the change from Santos to Putz in last night’s harrowing ninth inning, will have to do a major juggling act.
In baseball, sometimes up is down and down is up and what’s expected plays out exactly the opposite. Let’s hope for that.
There’s really not much more to say. Despite the White Sox’s admirable resiliency and the ability to play the Twins close (it’s the third straight 7-6 Sox loss in Minneapolis), the Twinkies are clearly the better team right now and we’re getting dominated. Just want to get out of town and start fresh this weekend in Kansas City.
There’s nothing more unwatchable for me, baseball-wise, than seeing the White Sox play the Twins in Minny. And even though it’s a different venue than in the past, the tradition continues.
Frankly, I’m sick of it.
Ozzie knows best
Our manager is right about defending his decision to let Jim Thome go. Gentleman Jim has been terrific this season against the league and against the White Sox and has benefitted in terms of playing time from Justin Morneau‘s injury.
But amid all the emotion surrounding his game-winning blast two nights ago, which may have realistically ended the Sox season, let’s get real about Thome. For all his contributions, too many times during his tenure in Chicago he struck out, grounded out or walked when a run-scoring double or home run was needed–and he was a major clog on the bases.
I know he’s a great guy and Sox fans are making this a rallying point, but let’s not blow this out of proportion and, worse yet, revise history.
I don’t think my White Sox posse is much different than most Sox fans. We’ve been pretty hard on Mark Teahen
. First, he got off to a terrible start in spring training and then unpleasantly surprised us with his subpar defense at third base with an offensive game that was nothing to brag about.
Perhaps the biggest indictment of all is that he went on the DL with the bum finger at the same time the South Siders began their run to the top of the A.L. Central. Coincidence or not, when Omar Vizquel became the Sox regular third baseman the Hose began to roll.
So it’s been a running joke with us that the Twins will get Justin Morneau back from the DL and we get Teahen. Kind of a consolation prize. When somebody went for the laugh last night via e-mail, I responded by saying, “Wouldn’t it be funny if he made a huge impact down the stretch?”
Well, he’s off to a good start. In his first game back, the Rodney Dangerfield of Sox players batted fifth, played right field and went 2 for 4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored in the 8-4 Sox victory over the Tigers.
Kenny Williams pursued Adam Dunn, had Lance Berkman in the fold until the then-Astro nixed the deal and surely looked at others. I don’t want to overreact to one game, but maybe we had that lefthanded hitter we coveted all along. He was just on the DL.
And maybe the joke’s on us.
In promoting upcoming series, White Sox Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Bob Elson would say something to the effect of, “Folks, come out to the ballpark for a big series this weekend. The New York Yankees will be here with Mantle, Maris, Berra and all that gang.”
That was a half-century ago, but if Elson were around today he’d talk about the Minnesota Twins with Mauer, Morneau, Span, Kubel, Hudson, Thome and all that gang descending on The Cell for a three-game series this weekend.
After watching the Sox the past two nights, it doesn’t appear that it’s the best time for the South Siders to challenge the Twins. Two straight 5-3 losses to the Indians with weak hitting and bullpen woes have not given Sox fans a great impression of what’s to come in 2010. Plus the Twins are on fire, taking three of four from the Angels in Anaheim.
The pitching matchups:
Friday: John Danks vs. Francisco Liriano
Saturday: Freddy Garcia vs. Scott Baker
Sunday: Mark Buehrle vs. Nick Blackburn
As Hawk would say, strap it down. Joe Nathan is nowhere to be found, but the M & M boys will no doubt make ther presence known.