Monthly Archives: May 2011

Another win in Boston. Or: Too close for comfort.

Well, there was some great stuff tonight. Alexei was a machine on both offense and defense tonight (though, I’d still like to see him wallop one over the green monster this series), Beckham and AJ both coming up big, Chris Sale coming in for the last out of the game (in what should never have been a save situation) and providing a solid 3-pitch strikeout that brought back memories of his solid 3-innings of relief in Toronto, and – as usual – Phil Humber, just quietly and efficiently going out there and pitching solid 7 innings of work. He continues to make everyone in White Sox management continue to scratch their heads over what on earth they are going to do with the 6-man rotation. Extra bonus points for consistency.

I gather that there wasn’t much said about it on the Chicago broadcast, but I had the Boston feed and they were convinced there was fan interference on a weird play in the bottom of the 9th with 2 out. There was a catch that Lillibridge missed in the RF corner (though, props to him for a monster single that would have been a HR in any other park and was only a few inches short at Fenway), that they replayed about 15 times (THANKS FOR RUBBING IT IN!) and it was definitely the wrong call. A fan definitely touched the ball. But, after 15 viewings from 3 different angles, there was no way of telling out which side of the wall the interference was on. It should have been either a dead ball or a home run, but even the Boston announcers weren’t willing to be indignant on the Red Sox behalf. Instant replay? No help here.

And, all I am going to say about the 10-2 ballgame that became a 10-7 ballgame?

The bullpen happened.

Another in the win column and one more chance tomorrow. Go (White) Sox!

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Another fine Jake Peavy outing. Or: That was much more pleasant.

Thankfully, this game was a lot more fun than the last three. It would have been a heck of a lot more fun at Fenway today than it was at the Rogers Centre Sky Dome this weekend.

It wasn’t perfect – by a long stretch. Brent Lillibridge really needs to learn to relax before the 9th inning (though, it was still nice to see him in RF today. Rightly or wrongly, he gives me a sense of security out there), we left the bases loaded far more frequently than we really should, and Matt Thornton shouldn’t need to walk back to the dugout between innings like someone told him there was no Santa Claus in order to come out and pitch a strong inning.

And, then there was the weird stuff – Carlos Quentin getting hit by the pitch TWICE and Jesse Crain (who FINALLY gets to start an inning for the first time in forever and not come in to mop up someone else’s mess) gets nailed in the back/side by a line drive – and still manages to get the out – and the really odd late-strike-3 (possibly should have been ball 4) call for Juan Pierre and the late call when Lillibridge was possibly thrown out CS at 3rd. It seemed like a ball-4, late-throw to 3rd rather than a strike-him-out, throw-him-out that it was called. Or, maybe that’s what it looked like through my ChiSox-colored glasses.

Regardless, Peavy pitched a solid 7-innings today, Konerko got on the board with a solo homer that almost cleared the billboard 10 feet above the green monster, Matt Thornton really did pitch a solid 9th, everyone in the line-up got at least one hit tonight, there were clutch hits at least some of the time that we needed them… and, Ozzie gave a bat to a small boy sitting behind the ChiSox dugout.

Someone needs to get the White Sox bags of frozen peas to slap onto their bruised eyes, backs, and arms – because I’d like to do this all over again tomorrow.

Go Sox!

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A little optimism on a sunny Monday. Or: Today is a new day.

So, yesterday happened (and, unfortunately, due to some of the on-and-off-the-field actions and interactions, it is still happening in some respects). But, today is a new day and it’s time to fill up the glass again, since it was far less than half full after yesterday.

So, in order to do that, I am going to do a few things:

1. I am adding Carlos Quentin’s awesome sliding grab from yesterday’s epic-smushing of the ChiSox in T.O. to my ❤ defense page. Because, down 13-2 in the bottom of the 8th and he’s still running down a play like that? I don’t know about the lot of you, but this is a guy I want on my team 10 times out of 10.

2. I am going to post links to three great moments from this season, chosen in a completely random and biased fashion. Because, the emotional rollercoaster goes up and down and round and round, but baseball is a great game.

CWS @ NYY – April 26, 2011

  • Just what the recap says: Gavin Floyd struck out 10 and Paul Konerko went yard, but Brent Lillibridge sealed the win with back-to-back stunning grabs. Probably my favorite game of the year so far.
  • ~

    CWS @ OAK – May 13, 2011

  • Enter Jesse Crain in what has become his typical scenario: Bottom 7th, 0 out, runner on 1st and 3rd and the lead has just been sliced from 4-0 to 4-2 and, finally, after a whole season of coming up short, we manage to pick off someone, and catch someone stealing – home, no less – in the same game. Wacky happenings, but definitely a fun day at the ballpark.
  • ~

    CWS v. TB – May 7, 2011

  • Short and sweet. Sergio Santos practicing his little-used fielding skills and ending a sweet 3-6-1 double play. I should probably add this to the ❤ defense page. It’s not Sergio’s fault that I didn’t start this page until after he nearly split himself in two to make this play.
  • ~

    3. I am also going to link to an article I read this morning on another blog. Putting things into perspective – with a few laughs thrown in – always soothes the sting a little. Just a little advice for anyone else who is having trouble keeping the glass half full. – 8 Simple Ways to Enjoy Baseball

    Go Sox!

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    Toronto, Part Two. Or: Let’s not do that again sometime.

    Trapped at the ballpark today, surrounded by 18,000 Jays fans and not being able to change the channel…

    Instead, I am going to post a link to a video from yesterday – the first time in his 23 year career that Omar has played first base.


    “We talked about it in Spring Training. [Guillen] said I might have to play some first base this year, and I was like ‘Come on, you’ve got too many guys out there that can play first,'” Vizquel said. “I never thought I was actually going to have a chance.”

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    Today was almost a double-header. Or: More wacky Canadian hijinks. (Up close and personal.)

    Before I talk about today (which, believe me, I will), I have to mention one thing about last night’s 4-2 loss in Toronto. I had to laugh a little in exasperation when John Farrell tried to argue that Mark Beurhrle was pitching too quickly. Ordinarily, I don’t have much to say about the newly-minted Blue Jays manager, but that was slightly silly. I know that his current superstar likes to take the opportunity to stretch out every muscle in his back as frequently as possible (and, I have truly nothing but respect for Jose Bautista and the amazing numbers he is putting up, and he really seems like a very genuine person, from most accounts), but I’m not sure that the little-used rule that says that the batter can’t wander in and out of the batters box and has to be ready when the pitcher sets, has a clause about the time that a pitcher must wait between successive pitchers. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

    His speedy nature is the thing I like best about watching Beurhrle pitch. Sign, Set, Throw. No rituals, no head-shaking negotiations with the catcher, he just gets the sign, and he’s ready to go. All business, all the time. He did a great job and, as always, it was a pleasure to watch him pitch.

    Now, onto today. Game one of my two-day adventure to The Rogers Centre Sky Dome.

    I’m now going to try to talk about 14 innings of baseball in 200 words or less (and fail miserably. Bear with me, there were a lot of memorable things about today. Because I am biased. And, I was there. Which always makes it more memorable.)

    The Highlights:

    • The LINE-UP. Getting to T.O. and getting this twitter update? Was awesome.
      However, at the end of the day, the starting line-up almost became irrelevant in the face of the way the game ended up unfolding. I was kinda bummed that I was missing both Gavin Floyd and Mark Beurhrle, but getting Omar (get well soon, Beckham!) and Lillibridge in the line-up for my first game of the season was exciting. Omar is, well, Omar and Lillibridge has been such a spitfire this year, I was looking forward to seeing the both of them.
    • Getting to hang out and watch the Sox just having a good time during batting practice. Even Dunn almost seemed relaxed.
    • The roof was open in time for the game. Everything’s better with the roof open.
    • Falling behind thanks to current Home-Run King Jose Bautista’s 20th HR of the season so quickly in the first inning didn’t sting so much after Brent Lillibridge stepped up to the plate at the top of the second and BLAM! A 2-run HR of his own.
    • Watching Edwin Encarnacion hobble (literally) to and from the plate for a pinch-hitting appearance that was met with boos was kind of a downer. He and Adam Dunn could proably have a chat, though I wonder if it would end up helping or hurting both of them. But, man, he sure had the same beat-up expression on his face.
    • The completely over-the-top booing EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Rios came to the plate was almost unbearably obnoxious. I was embarrassed on behalf of my hometown.
    • Jesse Crain, being pulled into the game in a typical post-Thornton-meltdown 2-on, 2-out, Jose Bautista at the plate, Juan Rivera on deck scenario, finally gives it up. Just like Sergio, it was bound to happen to him eventually. But, he’s still my clutch-man. Getting it right 9-times out of 10? He’s more than earning his salary in my book.
    • My biggest (biased) source of frustration today? Well, since I was sitting behind third base, I had a stellar view of the Jays’ outfield not having a clue what to do with Lillibridge’s extra-base hit in the 8th. And, also, of Jeff Cox punking out at third base put up the stop signal when there was more than enough time for him to make it home for an inside-the-park homer. The Jays’ defense had clearly given up on the play (seriously. They were practically having a conversation), sure that Lillibridge’s speed would have him halfway to home. The outcome ended up the same, when Lillibridge scored on a passed ball about a minute later. BUT IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING.
    • Did I mention Chris Sale pitched 3 great innings of relief? In a pressure-situation? Who knew?!
    • When I get done here, I am adding Brent Lillibridge’s almost-blooper-turned-wacky-defense to my ❤ defense page. It was the only time today I missed having the instant replay.
    • So we’re in the top of the 11th, and in comes Quentin to pinch hit for McPherson (who was in after pinch-running for Konerko in the 9th) and signalling the offical start of Dugout Musical Chairs.

    • Carlos Quentin to RF –> Brent Lillibridge from RF to 2B –> Omar Vizquel from 2B to 1B and Sergio comes into the game for 2 familiar-looking awesome innings. At this point, it is important to point out that it appears Omar is using Adam Dunn’s first baseman’s glove.

    • Because, for the final out of the inning, Patterson (more on him later) grounds out to Omar’s giant novelty-sized glove and he bobbles the ball a couple of times before flipping it to Santos, who was ready and waiting.
    • At this point, I will take a break from the long-winded recap and draw your attention to the header across the top of my blog.
      1. Jesse Crain – check. 2. Omar Vizquel – check. 3. Sergio Santos – check. 4. Brent Lillibridge – check.

    • And, at some point in the 12th inning when pretty much the only thing missing (for me) from this game popped up onto the LCD running between the second and third deck: Gavin Floyd was in the bullpen. CHECK. Finally. It only took 13 innings, but when he came in, Ozzie finally made good on his promise of beefing up the bullpen with the starting guys. And, the people in front of me finally clued in that I wasn’t rooting for Toronto. My hat was very subtle, obviously.
    • As Ozzie pointed out after the game, pretty much nothing happened offensively for the Sox (or the Jays) until the bottom of the 14th when Corey Patterson (the strangely, but wisely, appointed DH) blasted a walk-off homer in Gavin’s second inning of relief. (Who, up until that point, was pitching like the Dr. Jekyll half of his pitching personality.)

    In conclusion: a long, LONG game (I actually *had* to get up and stretch during the 14th inning stretch. My lower legs were starting to go numb). Ups and downs for everyone. And, if I have to watch a loss, at least it wasn’t a one-sided shutout and there was lots of good baseball to be had (and, okay lots of less-than-good as well). And, at more than 4 hours, I certainly got my (ticket and gas) money’s worth. My “drama-rama” (for noteworthy games) and “some people can do everything” (for my utility players) tags have never been more appropriate. At least for me. After today, I’m WIPED.

    And, now, it’s time for me to eat some dinner, catch up on the rest of the league, and start hoping for a win tomorrow, when I do it all over again.

    Go Sox!

    (and, if you made it to the end of that, I feel like you deserve a cookie. and, thank you.)

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    North-of-the-Border 9th inning drama. Or: The Sox play the Jays and wacky hijinks ensue.

    It’s no surprise to anyone who has watched any appreciable amount of White Sox baseball so far in 2011 that we have had (more than) our fair share of late inning drama.

    It’s also (apparently) no surprise to everyone who has watched any of the Blue Jays’ action, that the same could be said about them.

    Scoreless until the 5th, when A.J. Pierzynski singled, Omar Vizquel singled, (Beckham popped out) and Juan Pierre singled to Bautista in RF and AJ managed to beat the throw (seriously). The Jays tied it up in the 6th and that’s where it was when Jesse Crain came out to replace Phil Humber in the 8th. Patterson on first, Bautista at the plate and two out. A typical “let’s call Jesse” scenario, really. And, typically, Bautista walks and Jesse Crain makes it out of the inning safely.

    Which, obviously, opened the 9th inning floodgates.

    The thing that was the surprise was that, often, the Sox have let it slip away in the end, and the Jays have a tendency to come roaring back.

    But, today, Alex Rios ends up with a single, but reaches second on a throwing error (I have a soft for Johnny Mac and was surprised it was him who opened the door) and then third on a wild pitch. Gordon Beckham gets HBP and then steals second (no, really!) and then both of them score on a ANOTHER throwing error. 3-1 Sox, and that’s where it ends (after Santos comes in and turns off the lights on the Jays).

    Other random oddities about tonight?
    -Juan Pierre had all of our RBIs
    -AJ, Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, and Omar had all of our hits
    -Quentin and Konerko, (and Dunn) were 0-fer
    -the ChiSox caught someone stealing (on a sketchy call)
    -the ChiSox stole 2 bases
    -Phil Humber pitches 7.2 awesome innings, Jesse Crain walks Bautista and gets Rivera to ground out and manages to bag the W (and, hey, I’ll be happy any time Crain gets a win – and he deserves it for saving the collective butts of the White Sox on a very regular basis – but, at times, the win/save/loss/hold/etc rules are still some of the most non-sensical rules in baseball).
    -It’s entirely possible that AJ actually has more friends in Toronto than Alex Rios. Wowie. Apparently the Jays fans know how to hold a grudge, sheesh.

    It’s like this entire game was turned on its head, like Canada is opposite-land.

    Today’s post deserves photos of the pitchers because, when you get down to it, it really was a pitcher’s duel.

    See you on the flip side, y’all.

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    If you need me, I’ll be watching the game from behind my hands. Or: This is going to a long four games in T.O.

    Watching my childhood team take on my “adulthood” team on the field I spent so much time at as a kid is always so nerve-wracking. This is hard on my sanity. I feel so conflicted (only not really, because I definitely want the Sox to win today) and for some reason these games always feel way more important and significant than they probably are.

    But, even though I know it’s just another game, this game is going to exhaust me.

    We’re 3 1/2 innings in and it’s 0 – 0, with one hit between the two teams, mostly 1-2-3 halves and we’re seemingly in the middle of a pitcher’s duel.

    Also noteworthy, Omar is on the starting line-up, I hope Ozzie sticks with him through the weekend, when I’m going to be there!

    Go Sox! I would love to get through the month of May without falling further out of the race. And, not to mention, there’s a war for bragging rights going on in my family and I could use a little help!

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    A new barometer for wackyness. Or: I think we were all delerious by the end of last night’s game.

    I blame the White Sox for the fact I was a zombie all day today. If I hadn’t checked twitter before going to bed,I wouldn’t have been up half of the night (with a few other crazy diehards on twitter) watching the Sox beat the Rangers.

    In the end, though, I’m glad I stayed up for it. Not only was it a win (and, turned out to be our only win this series), but I think everyone lost their minds a little during the weather delay and came back not quite at full capacity afterwards.

    • Josh Hamilton sliding (head first) in to first. And, second. And, third. IN A ROW.
    • Brent Morel swinging and missing when trying to tag Josh Hamilton out at third – after advancing on a wild pitch – or, a terrible call by the umps, one or the other (depends ify you’re drinking the ChiSox or the Rangers’ kool-aid).
    • Santos tagging David Murphy on the way to first for the second-to-last out of the game and a little drama about the call.
    • Adam Dunn improbably hitting a home run.
    • Juan Pierre manages to steal 2nd base AND successfully bunting.
    • The final out of the game also coming on a controversial score, so AJ tagging the batter with his glove while he trotted out from behind home plate – continuing his mission of making friends wherever he goes.
    • The see-saw score (White Sox – Rangers):
      Top 5th: 4-2
      Bottom 5th: 4-4
      Top 6th: 6-4
      Bottom 6th: 6-5
      Top 7th:7-5
      Bottom 8th:7-6
      Top 9th:8-6
    • Somehow, even after letting in two runs and giving up our 4-2 lead for a 4-4 tie, Tony Pena manages to collect the win, giving Jake Peavy a no-decision. As we already knew, the win/loss/hold/save designations could use a little re-vamping.
    • Lets not forget the runway show that was the path between the ChiSox bullpen and the pitcher’s mound. A different reliever started every inning for the ChiSox. When Santos had to bail out Thonton at the bottom of the 8th, we had used our entire bullpen. It was like the auditon for who is getting the boot out of the bullpen (or, at least down the pecking order) when they go back to a 5-man rotation. Holds for Sale, Crain and Thornton and a save for Santos. I wonder if Willl Ohman feels left out.
    • And, finally, being up with about 18 other diehards on twitter, watching all of these shenanigans unfold, right before our (very delerious) eyes.

    Kudos to the very small number of fans who stuck it out at the game last night. Sorry it didn’t go your way (well, not really!), but your enthusiasm kept the momentum swinging, early into the morning. There are probably more than a few kids who didn’t have to go to school today in Arlington.

    And, beacuse that recap is approximately the size of a small novel, and posting about Gavin Floyd collecting a loss (especially after a good outing), and also posting about a game that I could not watch, I am going to limit my commentary on today’s game to:

    The three hits that Gavin gave up are apparently the smallest number ever given up that resulted in a win at the Rangers ballpark. And, the White Sox continuing to be their own undoing, failing on the run support and grounding into double plays like it is going out of style.

    And, finally:

    These boys need to get their act together. For my brother’s birthday, I am packing up and taking it on the road and we are catching the two weekend games of this weekend’s series in Toronto! I’m going to be one of the lone fans in black and white this weekend, so I’m going need a little back-up from the field.

    Go Sox!

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    It was a dark and stormy night. Or: I don’t like when my baseball comes with an intermission.

    We’re in a rain delay down in Texas.

    Actually, it’s not really so much a rain delay as it is “everybody run for cover, Mother Nature is pissed” delay.

    Too bad, really. Now that we’re getting a little momentum going (thanks to Carlos Quentin and 2-for-2 with 2 home runs!), having everything grind to a halt before it is an official game is kind of a giant bummer.

    However, not to dminish his accomplishments, it feels good to have Carlos Quentin back in the line-up. Welcome back, CQ.

    So, I’m flipping back and forth between the rain weather delay and Tampa Bay @ Detroit, where they just brought in Alburquerque into the game at a typical Jesse Cain moment. Top of the 8th, bases loaded, one out. Between this, the top of the 9th when Matt Joyce actually made a dent in the right-field wall with his knee (during a play that should end up all over the highlight reel tonight) and the bottom of the 9th that I caught of Jays @ NYY, there’s drama all over the American League tonight.

    And, now, we wait. Probably until tomorrow, but I’ve got another few hours of patience left in me and a big tub of ice cream, so we’ll just have to see how the night unfolds.

    (Edited to say: According to those in the know (ie: twitter), there is baseball-sized hail coming down. Stay safe down there, y’all. I think Mother Nature has closed the book on this one.

    You can say a lot of things, good and bad, about the 2011 ChiSox season. But, I thnk it would be fair to say that “boring” is not the first thing that comes to mind.

    Stay safe in Texas, y’all.)

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    I am overwhelmed with deja-vu. Or: Why do I usually have time to blog on days that frustrate me?

    So, watching the White Sox starter hang out on the mound for 8 innings, and throw more-or-less decent pitches while our bats go to sleep and we get shut out by the Rangers?

    I think we’ve done this before.

    *sigh*

    I know that these Rangers are not quite the Rangers we played a week ago (just in case Hamilton and Cruz thought we had forgotten about them), but there was something about this game that was just pretty painful. It was kind of like we just never were in it at all. The loss against the Dodger’s last week wasn’t nearly as painful, since there was some good baseball in there.

    It felt a lot like April up in here tonight.

    So, in the spirit of April, I’m going also going to try to hold onto my optimism. Because, I don’t have too much with a positive spin about tonight. But, that being said, if the Rangers weren’t the same team we played the last time, the White Sox weren’t the same team tonight that we’ve been lately.

    Alexei Ramirez was named AL player of the week this week. His bat was heating up at the same time as his defense, and it really was a good week for him. And, it also marks the first time since early April (another time where we were regularly winning) when both Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko made the list.

    I’m hopeful that this is a sign of further good things to come.

    Congrats, Alexei.

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