Results tagged ‘ Orioles ’

Is it Just “One Game” or the Beginning of the End?

55523626.jpgLet me state the obvious: It’s a very long season with many ups and downs. If you don’t believe it’s true, just look at where the White Sox were at the beginning of June.
Where they are now is an interesting subject to ponder. You can look at how much ground they’ve gained in the last two months and see them in a positive position. Or you can look at the last seven games where they were 2-5 against the Orioles and Twins. You can also judge where they are in the standings two ways–you can say that they are ONLY a game out of first or you can view it as a huge disappointment that they’re now out of first place and a full game behind the Twins.
All this doesn’t matter because it’ll be played out on the field. But the troubling thing to me is that we lost two of three to Minnesota at home and last night’s 6-1 defeat was as disappointing and demoralizing a loss that the Sox have had since beginning their turnaround. Add to that, the sinking feeling that comes from seeing that however we’re playing and whatever we do, the Twins are that much better on a consistent basis. It also doesn’t make me any happier that we face them three more times next week at Target Field.
Much of what I’ve written above comes from the frustration of watching the Sox load the bases three times last night–once with no outs and once with one out–and come up empty each time in what was, at this point at least, a pivotal game.
OK, that’s enough. We have to move on. And the Sox will do exactly that tonight against the Tigers behind Mark Buehrle. For the record, I’ll be scoreboard watching with the Twins hosting the A’s.
Sox notes of note: The Sox sent Dayan Viciedo back to Charlotte after the game last night and brought Mark Teahen back from his rehab assignment. Viciedo will surely be brought up September 1 when the rosters expand. For a while it looked like it was going to be a tough decision, but Viciedo’s play both offensively (no walks, too many strikeouts) and defensively (very shaky at third) made it an easier call for the club’s brass to send down Dayan and recall Teahen.
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Castro: “They Were Hitting Everything”

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It was over early last night. Carlos Quentin‘s three-run blast got the White Sox within two runs in the second inning, but the Twins never let up and went on to overwhelm the former first-place South Siders, 12-6, to take a one-game lead in the A.L. Central. 

Sox backup catcher Ramon Castro, who was behind the plate last night, pretty much said it all with above quip. The usually steady Freddy Garcia gave up six runs, including three homers, in 2 1/3 innings and the relievers had no answer for the Minnesota bats either.
The Sox have hit some hard times since winning three of four from Detroit last week–losing three of four to the Orioles in Baltimore and starting the Twins series this way. It’s also troubling that The Good Guys have lost seven of the first 10 games to their rivals up north and are below .500 in the A.L. Central.
That said, these resilient Sox will be looking for a turnaround tonight behind John Danks. They’ve come back from adversity all season so this is no time to panic. All that’s needed is a win to get us back into first place.
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“O” My, This Was Hard to Watch


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It was a series for the taking. The first-place White Sox against the last-place Orioles with a pitching staff laden with double-digit losers.
But these aren’t the same woeful Orioles–at least right now. Since Buck Showalter took over as the skipper, Baltimore swept a three-game series against the Angels and just took three of four from the South Siders–all one-run victories with two extra inning walkoff wins. While the Sox pitching was outstanding during the series, giving up only 11 runs in the four contests, the Hose scored only 10.
So the Sox come home to face the Twins, who are now in a dead heat with The Good Guys for the division lead, after a 4-4 road trip. I guess we should just chalk it up to circumstance: We were due for hitting slump and Showalter’s arrival was just bad timing. 
One thing you can say for these Sox, they’re shown resiliency time and time again. Down in the ninth both yesterday and today, they made it interesting on both occasions. Ramon Castro hit a two-run blast yesterday as the Sox inched within a run before losing and tonight Paul Konerko tied up the game 2-2 before the O’s won it on a Brian Roberts homer in the 10th.
Bring on the Twinkies, our bats can’t stay this silent for much longer.
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A Sunday to Forget

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BALTIMORE–The White Sox gave every indication that they were going to get to Oriole righthander Jeremy Guthrie in the early going today, but the runners they got on base never came around to score. As a result, Guthrie settled down and proceeded to stymie the Hose, giving up only a single run in eight innings of work as Baltimore hung on to win, 4-3.
The bats that were so silent in the season’s early going and so explosive since the beginning of June have been back to being silent the past three games at Camden Yards. The big Sox blow today was the two-run home run by Ramon Castro (pictured above after slugging a homer earlier this season at the Cell ) in the ninth. Unfortunately it was too little too late.
 
The loss combined with the Twins 5-4 victory in Cleveland, decreased the Sox lead in the A.L. Central to a half-game. The South Siders are hoping for a split of the four-game series here tomorrow night with Edwin Jackson making his second Sox start.
 
Sox notes of note: After leaving last night’s game with a “tweaked” knee, A.J. Pierzynski got his usual “day game after a night game” rest and should be good to go tomorrow night…Today, it was Gordon Beckham who was replaced as he strained a groin. Early word is that it’s not serious…Speaking of injuries, Mark Teahen will spend a little more time rehabbing in Charlotte. Seems that the Sox want him to spend more time at a variety of positions. The longer Teahen’s there, the more time they’ll have to make a decision on the necessary roster move when he’s ready to come back to the 25-man roster. And don’t forget, rosters expand on September 1…Mark Buehrle pitched well enough to win if only the Sox bats were clicking. He gave up 10 hits, but only three earned runs in seven innings. 


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Late White Sox Comeback Hands Mr. Baseball First Oriole Loss; Markakis is the New Mattingly

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BALTIMORE–The White Sox scored a run in each of the 7th, 8th and 9th innings tonight to come from behind for the 4-2 victory. It gave Buck “Mr. Baseball” Showalter his first loss as the Oriole skipper and it was also the first game in the last three that the temporarily resurgent O’s didn’t win on a walk-off.
Tonight’s heroes were July’s A.L. Pitcher of the Month Gavin Floyd, who won his eighth game with another superb performance; Carlos Quentin, who broke the ice for the Hose with a fourth inning solo blast; Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz, who closed the door with an inning of scoreless relief apiece; and A.J. Pierzynski (double), Alex Rios (single) and Gordon Beckham (single), who drove in the Sox’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th runs in the last three frames, respectively. A.J.’s heroics may have been costly as he left the game with an apparent ankle injury after sliding hard into third. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.
Oh, that Markakis

Years ago, when the Yankees’ Don Mattinglywas battering American League pitchers, one of the Yankee announcers mentioned that he hit a little over .500 against the White Sox. My reaction was, when did he make the outs?

Having watched the Orioles’ Nick Markakis over the past few years, and the last two nights, in particular, I’m having Mattingly flashbacks.
For the record, he went 4 for 5 on last night and 1 for 3  with a walk tonight, but it seems like he’s on base every time up. There are certain guys who have killed the Sox over the years–Mattingly and Mike Sweeney for instance–and Markakis is certainly one of the them.
Bobby Who?

That’s right, Ozzie went to Putz tonight to close out the game. Frankly, it was a relief I didn’t have to sit in Section 44 at Camden Yards and chance another Bobby Jenks‘ meltdown. Now that the door is open and Putz breezed through the ninth, has Jenks lost his job? Stay tuned?
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The Best Part of Tonight Happened in Cleveland

BALTIMORE–I arrived here today with the hope that the White Sox would derail the Orioles from their three-game winning streak under new manager Buck “Mr. Baseball” Showalter

Unfortunately, the streak hit four tonight as the O’s eeked out a 2-1, 10-inning victory over the South Siders. Aside from John Danks‘ outstanding seven-inning performance, Gordon Beckham‘s homer and a Mark Kotsay triple which eventually went for naught, there wasn’t much to cheer about.
That said, a few hundred miles North and West in Cleveland, a walk-off homer by Matt LaPorta (below) in the bottom of the ninth powered the Tribe over the Twins, 7-6, after Minnesota scored a pair of runs in the top of the inning to tie the score. And in the process, it made the Hose loss much easier to take as our game and a half lead is still in tact.
Thanks Matt.
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You Gotta Love the Way These Sox Bounce Back

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There’s no doubting the resiliency of these White Sox. And it was evident again last night as Mark Buehrle observed the first anniversary of his perfecto by snapping his personal Oakland jinx in a sparkling 5-1 complete game victory.

Thanks to Tim Clodjeaux, a member of my Sox posse, I am reminded that after their three most heartbreaking defeats this season, the South Siders have rebounded in impressive style.
May 9 (Mother’s Day): The White Sox take a 7-5 lead into the ninth against the Blue Jays in Chicago, but Bobby Jenks implodes, giving up four runs, including a three-run homer off the bat of Jay Fred Lewis, in the 9-7 loss…Two days later, after an off day, the Sox put the Blue Jay defeat in the rearview mirror. Behind Freddy Garcia and a five-run fifth, the Pale Hose topple the Twins, 5-2, at Target Field.
July 18 (last Sunday): In arguably the most gut-wrenching loss of the season, the White Sox go into the ninth against the Twins in Minnesota up 6-3, but lose 7-6 on another Jenks implosion…The next night in Seattle the Sox acted like that heartbreaking loss never happened. Thanks to a fine performance by Dan Hudson and a balanced offense, sparked by Alex Rios, the Hose bounced back with a 6-1 triumph.
July 21 (last Wednesday): With the White Sox and the Mariners hooked up in a Gavin Floyd-Felix Hernandez pitching duel in the series finale, the teams are scoreless through 10. The Sox score a run in the top of the 11th, hoping it would hold up. Not so much. Jenks gives up a pair in the bottom of the inning and the Sox lose, 2-1…With Buehrle compiling an 0-6 record in Oakland and the Sox facing red-hot hurler Trevor Cahillfans couldn’t be blamed for doubting the club’s chances in the opener of the three-game series after an off day. But Buehrle was masterful last night and the Sox offense delivered.
The truth is that these kinds of games are going to happen–to every team, multiple times every year. The key is to minimize them and when they do happen bounce right back. The Good Guys have done that.
Standings update:  The Sox are now 53-42, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Tigers and three in front of the Twins. Minnesota lost last night to the Orioles and the Tigers and Blue Jays were rained out.
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The Springtime Ritual of Predicting the Winners

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We all know that preseason predictions mean nothing–nada, zilch, zero. And while we shouldn’t take them seriously, it’s still a lot of fun–especially when the so-called experts pick your team to win.
Historically, it’s very rare when the baseball media elite pick the White Sox to win their division, let alone the AL pennant or World Series. It’s not that much different this year as the Twins seem to be the most common pick to conquer the AL Central. That said, there are a few “big name” media types among those who have picked the South Siders:
* Hall of Fame electee Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and author of the forthcoming bio of George Steinbrenner.
* Fox SportsKen Rosenthal, who somewhat tongue-in-cheek picked the Sox to win the World Series while referring to them “Team Wacko.” Think that had anything to do with our Ozzie?
* ESPN‘s Tim Kurkjian, who doesn’t exactly wear a Sox jersey on the weekends.
* Jon Heyman, he of SI, SI.com and the MLB Network.
Since I’m drinking the prediction Kool-Aid, I might as well add my two cents. Here are my divisional picks for 2010:
AL CENTRAL

1. White Sox
2. Twins
3. Tigers
4. Royals
5. Indians


AL EAST 

1. Rays
2. Red Sox
3. Yankees
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays


AL WEST

1. Angels
2. Mariners
3. Rangers
4. A’s

NL EAST

1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals


NL CENTRAL

1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Brewers
4. Cubs
5. Pirates
6. Astros


NL WEST

1. Rockies
2. Dodgers
3. Giants
4. Padres
5. Diamondbacks

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Beckham in the Thick of AL “Rookie of the Year” Race

The list is certainly impressive.

Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, Gary Peters, Pete Ward, Tommie Agee, Carlos May, Britt Burns, Ron Kittle and Ozzie Guillen comprise the honor roll of Sox players who have been named American League Rookie of the Year by either the Baseball Writers’ Association of America or The Sporting News.

If Sox fans controlled the voting, Gordon Beckham would unanimously join this illustrious group in ’09 and claim the team’s first rookie award since Ozzie in 1985. He has been nothing short of spectacular since being called up from Charlotte on June 4, and he’s got my support, but as good as Beckham has been he’s not a shoo-in.

As I see it, it’s a six-player race with outfielder Nolan Reimold of the Orioles, A’s closer Andrew Bailey, Tigers hurler Rick Porcello, Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero and the Rays’ Jeff Niemann rounding out my top candidates.

Here’s the comparison:

* Beckham:  In 86 games he has knocked out 87 hits, including 11 homers and 25 doubles, scored 48 runs, driven in 53 and sports a .279 batting average with an on-base percentage of .353.

* Reimold:  In 103 games he has knocked out 99 hits, including 15 homers and 18 doubles, scored 49 runs, driven in 45 and sports a .279 batting average with an on-base percentage of .365.

* Bailey:  He has compiled a 6-3 record with a 2.03 earned run average and 24 saves. He also has struck out 81 while walking only 23.

* Romero: The talented lefty has bolstered the Jays’ staff with his 12-8 record. 4.22 ERA. In 153.2 innings he has struck out 119 and given up just 68 bases on balls.

* Porcello: He is 13-8 with a 4.21 ERA and has struck out 78 while walking 45 for the AL Central-leading Tigers.

* Niemann
: He has compiled a 12-5 mark with a 3.57 ERA and has K’d 106 while walking only 50. 

For us Beckham boosters, who have seen the gifted one play every day, it’s a closer competition than we’d like. But here’s hoping that Pale Hose justice prevails.                     

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