Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

No Apologies, We’ll Take It

The way I look at it, we were due to win a game when the opposition commits three errors, including a misplayed flyball that scored a pair of runs (by Ezequiel Carerra, shown above).

The result? Sox 4, Tribe 2.

With the offense still far from where we need it to be, the good news continues to be the Pale Hose pitching–especially the bullpen, where Jesse Crain, Chris Sale and Sergio Santos followed a solid performance by Edwin Jackson and pitched flawless relief.

The Sox have now won six of seven from the Indians this season, a rare winning record against a division foe. But as thrilled as we might be about winning two in Cleveland and moving to within 2 1/2 of the second-place Tribe, the next 13 games could very well tell the story of our season.

Starting tomorrow night, it’s three against the Tigers, three vs. the Red Sox and four against the Yankees at the Cell. Then it’s on to Minnesota to face the Twins for three.

We should know a whole lot more about where we’re headed after the matinee against the Twinkies on Sunday, August 7.

Like you, I’ll be watching on the edge of my seat.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Headline: White Sox shut out Indians, 3-0.

Last night’s game began like so many others as the Sox stranded seven runners in the first three innings. Witnessing that familiar phenomenon, it was a “throw up your hands in disgust” moment for me, especially since it appeared that Ozzie’s rant in Kansas City had absolutely no effect on the troops.

But the South Siders overcame the slow start out of the blocks with a second straight post-All-Star Game gem by Gavin Floyd and a three-run homer by Carlos Quentin to go 4-3 on the road trip.

The win is certainly cause for cautious optimism, but not celebration–yet. There’s still two more games in Cleveland, then a stretch where the Sox will host the Tigers (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees (4) before heading to Minnesota (3). And our offense is still far from clicking. Case in point: Quentin, with three, has the only Sox homers since the break.

Where do we go from here? One day at a time.

Where’s That Potent Offense?

While the victories in the first two games of the Yankee series were exhiliarating and last night’s loss somewhat palatable because of the Monday and Tuesday wins, we’re still 10-15, in last place in the A.L. Central and set to face nemesis C.C. Sabathia tonight in the series finale.
With the pitching and defense seemingly getting better, we all know where the blame lies. Nine runs in the last six games–that’s the harsh truth about the White Sox offense.
We’ve known since the offseason moves were made that the pieces of the puzzle are there. But it’s gotten to the point where we’re grateful for just getting runners on base. Forget the big rally, it’s just not happening. Case in point was the second inning of last night’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Bartolo Colon. The Sox loaded the bases in the second inning with no outs after falling behind, 3-0, on the strength of Robby Cano‘s three-run homer. The result? Zip. A strikeout and two harmless fly outs.
What is going on? Let me count the ways:
Juan Pierre is struggling. The leadoff man not getting on base is a problem.
Alexei Ramirez is in his usual early season funk.
Adam Dunn has gotten a few hits lately, but we’ve yet to witness his mammoth power. He does get the benefit of the doubt because he’s still fighting his way back from the appendectomy.
Alex Rios is hitting like he did when he first joined the team in 2009. We’re missing the 2010 version of the centerfielder.
Gordon Beckham? Great spring, great first few games, now he’s back to where he was a year ago. Like so many of the other offensive developments, it’s inexplicable.
If it weren’t for Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin…well, I just don’t want to think 
about it.
With the way the South Siders played in Tampa Bay and Detroit we have to be happy with the developments this week in New York. At worst we get a split, which would have been acceptable going into Monday’s action. If we can survive tonight, taking three of four from the Yanks could be a significant sign that things are moving in the right direction. 
But will we be able to score enough runs?
Sox Note of Note: It had nothing to do with the result of the game, but it was obvious from the beginnning that home plate umpire Todd Tichenor was going to have a bad night. It started in the first inning with a couple of calls that resulted in Ozzie arguing to the point where he got ejected. To me, the telltale sign was that both teams were griping about his work. Now that I know a little bit more about Tichenor, it’s understandable. He’s a AAA umpire who will be filling in most of this season. At least for one night, his performance was strictly minor league.

Lilli to the Rescue as Sox Nip Yanks


In the most improbable of endings, pinch-runner turned defensive replacement Brent Lillibridge (shown above being congratulated by Juan Pierre) stunned the 41,000 onlookers at Yankee Stadium tonight with two of the finest catches you’ll ever see, resulting in a thrilling 3-2 Pale Hose victory. Adding to the drama was that he robbed the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Robby Cano back-to-back with the tying and winning runs on base to end the game.
The amazing turn of events prompted Ozzie to come up with the quote of the night. “I think I finally found my closer–Lillibridge.”
Lilli’s heroics from his spot in right field and the subsequent Sox triumph were preceded by a stellar outing by Gavin Floyd and a clutch two-run homer by Paul Konerko. Floyd, who gave up only solo homers to Cano and Brett Gardner and two singles to Derek Jeter, struck out 10 in eight plus innings. Paulie’s blast gave the Sox the lead in the eighth–a margin they never relinquished, thanks to Lillibridge’s defensive wizardry.
Any two wins after beginning the road trip 1-6 would be welcome. But the fact we’ve won two close games against the Yankees in New York is special. How special? check out this fact:
It was the first time the White Sox overcame a deficit in the eighth inning or later to beat the Yankees in New York since 1996.
There was also a bonus moment for Sox fans when the cameras focused on Jeter’s expression of frustration and bewilderment after Lillibridge’s game-ending gem. He owes us a few of those.
Full disclosure: Readers of this blog know full well I’m not Lillibridge’s biggest fan–in fact, Sox Posse member Tim Clodjeaux reminded me of that tonight. I’ve said more than once that a player with his specific skills needs to be smart and do the little things. Too often Lilli has made mental mistakes and physical errors that have cost the Sox. But the two catches he made this evening were nothing less than magnificent and he deserves every accolade that will be bestowed upon him in the days ahead.

“Thing of Beauty”

The quote in the headline came in an e-mail last night from good friend and loyal reader Stu Wade after Phil Humber‘s virtuoso performance at Yankee Stadium.
Humber’s 2-0, seven inning shutout, in which he no-hit the feared Bronx Bombers for 6 1/3 innings and ultimately gave up only a single to Alex Rodriguez, was undoubtedly “a thing of beauty.”
For all the happiness it provided to beleaguered Sox fans, it was more a sense of relief. We finally won and we actually scored, though it took a grand total of 23 innings to accomplish the latter. And, believe it or not, we recorded a save (Sergio Santos).
Let’s face it, after losing 10 of 11 and getting whitewashed for two games plus, the prospect of coming to Yankee Stadium for a four-game series didn’t exactly inspire confidence. But the fact Humber and friends were able to win last night takes a little pressure off the club to tackle the remaining three games in the series. 
Not that there are any guarantees, and the offense is still a far cry from where we want it to be, but winning Game 1 is always a good thing. 
As A.J. Pierzynski said after the game, “It’s a start.”

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61045030.jpgA not-so-happy recap: Sox lose 10th in 11 games with today’s 3-0 whitewash at the hands of the Tigers…The loss completed a three-game Detroit sweep where the South Siders failed to score in the final 20 innings.
Can it get worse? Try a four-game series against the Yankees starting tomorrow night in The Bronx.
Nothing more needs to be said.

Road Trip


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.

Give it Up for Freddy


Take a close look, because you probably will never again see a Yankee logo in this blog–at least in a positive light. But if you’re a reader of Art of the Pale Hose you know that all the members of the 2005 World Champions have lifetime immunity with my White Sox posse and me.
So, despite never having rooted for the Bronx Bombers–even for a single game–I owe it to Big Game Freddy to give him his due. This afternoon in The Bronx he threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits, as he was the winning pitcher in the Yanks’ victory over the defending A.L. champion Rangers. It was his first win for the Yanks and the 134th of his outstanding 13-year major league career against just 87 losses.

Alexei to Extend Stay on South Side, Freddy to Don Pinstripes

With the days dwindling down before pitchers and catchers report on February 17, the White Sox made some news and heard some news yesterday.
First, sources say that the Sox have reached an agreement with shortstop Alexei Ramirez on a four-year, $32.5 million extension with an option for a fifth year. This is certainly a positive move as Alexei came into his own last season as he led A.L. shortstops in batting average, slugging percentage, home runs and total bases. Ramirez also won the Silver Slugger Award, the first Sox shortstop to do so.
The other news item making the rounds was the fact Freddy Garcia has signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. There was some thought that he may return to the Sox after his respectable 12-6 season a year ago. But it seems the uncertainty of a starting role and the reality that the Sox budget has pretty much dried up, convinced Garcia to sign elsewhere.
The back end of the Yankee rotation is in flux, but it’s no certainty that Freddy will make the club. He will be competing with former White Sox hurler Bartolo Colon, Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova and others for one, maybe two spots, depending on whether Andy Pettitte decides to return.

Former Sox Slugger Gus Zernial: The Man who Introduced Joe to Marilyn


Former White Sox slugging outfielder Gus Zernial, who once held the club’s single-season home run record with his 29 in 1950, died last week of congestive heart failure at the age of 87. 

For you younger fans unfamiliar with the name, the man affectionately called “Ozark Ike” broke in with the White Sox in 1949, played with the Pale Hose the following year and part of 1951 before he was traded to the Philadelphia A’s in a three-team trade which brought Minnie Minoso to Chicago from Cleveland. In all, he clouted 237 homers in 11 major league seasons with the Sox, A’s (both in Philly and Kansas City) and Tigers. He was an All-Star in 1953 as a member of the A’s.
Zernial also has a unique distinction that goes beyond baseball. He was the man who introduced Joe DiMaggio to Marilyn Monroe. It has been reported that DiMaggio saw that Zernial posed with Monroe for 20th Century Fox publicity photos (Gus is the catcher in the above illustration) and wondered how Zernial made it happen. Joe then got in touch with Marilyn via the former Sox outfielder–and the rest is history.