Similar to so many other occasions this season, the Sox were in position last night to finally take a step toward turning around their season of major discontent. Coming home off of a winning road trip at Cleveland and Tampa Bay and facing a June schedule of primarily home games, the scene was set.
It all looked so positive. And it got even better when the South Siders jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Rangers. But as things turned out, it was fool’s gold. Mark Buehrle imploded in the sixth and the Sox couldn’t come through in clutch situations in the 9-6 loss. Sound familiar?
I’m trying, I’m really trying to believe in this team. Games like last night, however, sour the most loyal and passionate fans–of which I am one.
The game got off to an awful start. After both Ozzie and Mark Buehrle were tossed early in the game by veteran umpire Cowboy Joe West–Guillen for arguing a balk call and Buehrle for tossing his glove in disgust after committing his second balk–things looked rather dim as Randy Williams jogged to the mound to relieve Mr. Perfect.
Williams didn’t last long, giving up a run and three hits in 2/3 of an inning. But the day was saved by Tony Pena (above), who pitched four scoreless frames while allowing only two hits. Offensively, Mark Kotsay smashed a homer with a man on and Mark Teahen clubbed a two-out, two-run double. The Sox needed every bit of it in the 5-4 win today against the Indians as Bobby Jenks imploded in the ninth by giving up three runs before getting out of a bases loaded, one-out jam.
Aside from being credited with the victory, Pena’s noble performance also saved the bullpen from work it didn’t need. The Buehrle ejection and the potential negative impact it could have had on the pen was the last thing we needed heading into a four-game series in St. Pete against the Rays. Hopefully Pena’s rescue effort will pay dividends this weekend.
Eight runs, 12 hits, a scoreless eight innings by Mark Buehrle, a perfect Sergio Santos ninth and a five RBI performance by Alexei Ramirez (above) were the highlights in the 8-0 White Sox victory over the Marlins last night at The Cell.
After entering the game a season-high eight games below .500, the Sox made it an enjoyable evening for Sox fans like me who are starving for something positive.
With Gavin Floyd on the mound, today is pivotal as the Sox try to win two in a row for the first time in a month. It’ll be a small move forward, but we have to start somewhere.
Like most White Sox fans I’m looking for signs. Signs that the Sox will bust out of their inconsistent play, go on a run and enjoy a lot more post-game celebrations.
Winning their second series of the season this week–the first against a division opponent–is a start. Jake Peavy‘s performance on Monday and Freddy Garcia‘s outing last night were encouraging, as was the nine-run outburst led by Andruw Jones and Alex Rios on Wednesday. But the inconsistency reared its ugly head on Tuesday in the 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the Royals, forcing Sox Nation to scratch their heads in confusion.
This weekend’s series should be telling. The Sox face the Blue Jays in a four-game set. Toronto is holding its own in the AL East and boasts a talented starting staff. One of the questions here is if the Sox staff, so highly touted entering the season, can match up with them. It’s almost been as baffling as the sometimes non-existent offense
“On paper, we were one of the best, and now when you look at that paper, we’re one of the worst in the league,” Mark Buehrle told the Sun-Times. “We haven’t done our job, and us going out there and lasting four, five innings messes up the bullpen. I think you point fingers at us on why they’ve had some problems in the bullpen.”
Tonight it’s John Danks (3-0, 1.85 ERA), the lone consistent performer on the Sox staff, vs. Dana Eveland (2-1, 4.76) who was impressive against us in Toronto. Tomorrow night it’s Buehrle (2-4, 5.30) vs. Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.12). It’ll be Peavy (1-2, 6.31) vs. Brett Cecil (2-1, 2.61) on Saturday night and Gavin Floyd (1-3, 6.89) vs. Ricky Romero (3-1, 3.00) on Sunday afternoon.
“Everything in life is about consistency,” our Ozzie told reporters. “When you’re not consistent doing something, you’re always going to fail. I think that happened here.”
You can look at today’s 7-6 White Sox victory against the World Champs two ways.
Option 1: The Sox charged to a 5-1 lead, highlighted by two Andruw Jones homers and one off the bat of Mark Kotsay, temporarily lost the four-run margin and had enough grit to come back and break their six-game Yankee Stadium (old and new) losing streak.
Option 2: The South Siders blew another lead, suffered through a nightmare inning by Scott Linebrink and were lucky to survive.
Whichever explanation you choose, the good news is that Sox won against arguably baseball’s best team at a place where they haven’t won much lately. And aside from the homers, A.J. Pierzynski broke out of a season-long slump with a 3 for 4 day and the game-winning two-RBI double (pictured above) while Bobby Jenks had a relatively calm ninth inning to earn the save.
Mark Buehrle goes in the rubber game tomorrow against Phil Hughes as the Sox attempt to win the series from the Yankees.
Sox note of note: Three former Sox pitchers saw action for the Yanks today–Javy Vazquez, Damaso Marte and Boone Logan. Javy was tagged for five runs and Marte surrendered A.J.’s key double. Logan struck out the only batter he faced.
Let’s face facts, it really wasn’t the Rangers’ backup catcher Matt Treanor who beat Mark Buehrle and the White Sox, 4-2, last night. It was the Sox offense.
It’s true that Treanor, a .226 lifetime hitter who may be better known as the husband of Olympic volleyball gold medalist Misty May, proved to be the difference last night with a homer, double and three RBI. But it wouldn’t have mattered if the Sox had done their collective job–an unfortunate dynamic that’s developed into a pattern for the 2010 South Siders.
Juan Pierre, one of the Sox regulars who have been disappointing so far, said it best after last night’s game.
“I basically just put my uniform on,” said Pierre, who twice failed to drive in runners in scoring position. “I didn’t move the ball well.”
Misty and Matt when he played for the Marlins
Jake Peavy: 7 runs, 7 hits, 7 walks in 4 1/3 innings. White Sox lose to Rays 10-2 last night.
Mark Buehrle: 6 runs, 9 hits in 4 2/3 innings Wednesday night. Rays beat Sox 12-0.
The Pale Hose Offense: 4 hits Wednesday, 6 hits last night with a total of two runs.
Enough said for now. Mariners at The Cell this weekend.
The angst created by the slow start dissipated a bit last night after the White Sox rose to the occasion with a very satisfying 4-1 win over the red-hot Rays. It was highlighted by another John Danks gem.
After surrendering a first inning homer to Sox nemesis Carl Crawford, Danks was virtually untouchable. In eight innings he gave up two hits, both to Crawford, and struck out nine. He is now 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Bobby Jenks came on in the ninth for his third save.
The offense, while still far from where it should be, did just enough powered by Paul Konerko and Andruw Jones homers. I’m still waiting for Gordon Beckham, among others, to break out soon.
Kenny Williams Speaks
The Sox GM spoke to reporters before the game last night and talked about the fans and the poor start of the season:
“If you have a passionate fan base, you have to be prepared for a heightened sense of urgency or worry when things don’t go your way–just as you are the beneficiary of extreme excitement when it does go your way. You got to take the good and bad with it. Right now, everyone is a little upset with the way we’re playing. So are we.”
It will be an interesting dynamic tonight as Mark Buehrle faces the Rays for the first time since the perfect game.
If the first week of the season is any indication, 2010 is going to be a nerve-wracking year for the White Sox. In their first six games the Sox have played three one-run contests and two two-run games, a pair of 11-inning marathons among them.
Making matters more intense for Sox fans is that until Andruw Jones‘s pinch-hit single (pictured above) in the bottom of the eighth scored the winning run in today’s 5-4 come-from-behind win against the Twins, the Sox had lost four in a row. And this win was no walk in the park as the game ended with the potential tying run thrown out at the plate in the top of the ninth.
* Without his best stuff and location, Mark Buehrle gutted it out for eight innings after falling behind 2-0 and 4-2 for his–and the team’s–second win. He also helped the overworked bullpen catch their collective breaths.
* The South Siders needed a big hit badly and got it from Jones.
* There was no small ball at The Cell today as Paul Konerko, Mark Kotsay and Gordon Beckham all went deep.
* Even this early Mark Teahen is a concern. He looks like he’s in a fog and has to be among the major leaders in weakly hit ground ball outs.
* It’s a good sign that Carlos Quentin belted out a single and a double. Need him to get back to 2008 form.
* Bobby Jenks gave up two hits after easily retiring the first two batters in the ninth, but the good news is that he was consistently hitting 96 mph.
* It’s Jake Peavy tomorrow night in Toronto against the Jays in the first of four. Look for him to bounce back from his sub-par effort on Tuesday.
Breaking News: Sox lose fourth consecutive game, second in a row to the Twins by one-run. This time a Jim Thome walk and a Jason Kubel homer in the seventh inning did us in,
Sox offensive highlight: Mark Teahen doubled in AJ Pierzynski, who also doubled, in the fifth inning for the lone Sox run.
Sox pitching highlights: Freddy Garcia was outstanding, giving up two runs and five hits in seven innings. Scott Linebrink rebounded from a poor outing last night to throw two scoreless innings, including shutting down the Twins with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth.
Observations: If hitting is contagious, there is an epidemic on the South Side. Hard to win with the absence of any significant scoring…Also evident is that the hitters are pressing. Body language, specifically from Gordon Beckham and Paul Konerko, says it all…Mark Buehrle, the Opening Day winner, tries to stop the skid tomorrow against Nick Blackburn and the 5-1 Twins. Then on to Toronto, where it’s never a picnic for the Pale Hose.
Freddy was ready, but the offense wasn’t