Daily Archives: June 25, 2011

There is no “I” in team. Or: It’s never dull on the South Side.

I ❤ the White Sox. They frustrate the snot out of me sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love ’em.

And, today was certainly a day on the South Side.

When your starter leaves the game after 1 2/3 innings of work, you have at least 2 problems. One: your starter is injured. Two: You have to make it through at least another 7 and 1/3 innings.

When it happens on a day after your entire bullpen was used in an epic 14-inning rollercoaster (and, not to mention that your traditional “long man” is on the DL), you have a whole extra set of problems.

Well, Brian Bruney (DFA’ed by Washington last year, coincidentally) came out and pitched 2 1/3 and then Jake Peavy made his first career relief appearance. His previous 238 appearances in the big leagues had all been starts. Anyone who follows the White Sox knows that when he was about to come off the DL, Peavy offered to take a place in the bullpen, if they wanted to disband the 6-man rotation and they felt that he could help from the pen. He’s an amazing competitor and, obviously, a real team player.

“We manage and coach big games, bad games, close games. But [I won’t forget] this one, just because the way the team stuck together at that particular time,” Guillen said. “When Danks went down, everyone knew much we were struggling in the pen. We couldn’t use a couple guys and all of a sudden three guys came up and said I’m ready to go just in case you need me. That’s class act. As a team, I hope this thing takes off to the next level and we start playing better.”

“I think Peavy jinxed it,” Guillen said. “He went to my office before the game and said, ‘[If] you need me, I’ll be available.’ I said, ‘[If] we need you, we’re in trouble.’ Well sometimes you’ve got to be careful what you say. All these games I’ve been managing in my career, I think this one I’m not going to forget.”
(Click here to watch Ozzie talk about the awesome team spirit attitude today in his post-game press conference)

Serendipitously, AJ Pierzynski was sitting out today (giving his knees a rest after the 14 inning Friday game) and had to catch for Peavy while he was warming up in the bullpen. Professionals and competitors, they appeared to have forgotten about their disagreement during Peavy’s last start, so we obviously all should as well.

I haven’t given out a gold star in a while, but I think today definitely deserves a gold star.

Peavy was dealing. 7K, 1H, 0BB and 0R in 4 innings of relief. If he hadn’t hadn’t had to sit so long on the bench while we grabbed a couple of insurance runs in the 8th, he wanted to come out and pitch the 9th. We were happy for the insurance runs and, hey, it’s always nice to watch Santos deal out a 3-out save.

And, since we’re focusing on the positive today and ignoring the nagging negative stuff: Brent Lillibridge continued his streak of diving in the outfield to save runs for John Danks (even when he’s not in the game anymore). Rios and Morel went 3-for-4 and Ramon Castro continues to be the best back-up catcher in the American League (and, I’m biased and I don’t care).

So, one more chance to eek closer to .500 tomorrow. But, win or lose. I still love my boys.

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And, the benches were cleared. Or: 14 innings is a long, long ballgame.

So, last night we lost a heck of a fight in 14 innings. Ozzie said post-game that he couldn’t tell if they played well or if they played badly. In reality, there was probably a little bit of both. There were some flashes of utter brilliance, followed by the same old story of failure to execute. And, there was just some plain old bad luck. And, I think we all feel a little bit like Matt Thornton (see left). Last night and this morning.

The Good: Mark Teahen improbably tied the game in the bottom of the 9th with his first pinch hit home run (a 3 run bomb). And, then we tied it up in the bottom of the 10th on a wild pitch. And, then AJ Pierzynski (riding a bit of a hot streak himself) tied it up again in the bottom of the 11th with a solo HR. We were gritty and scrappy and that was fun to see.

The Bad: We had 2 men on with 1 man out in the first two innings and couldn’t score any of them. We had the bases loaded with one out and couldn’t get anyone across the plate. We had a very-poorly timed error in the top of the 14th inning that was the catalyst for the winning runs. We are still the guinea pig for everyone else’s running game. We used everyone on our bench and, not to mention, our entire bullpen did a few days worth of work and they’re all going to be exhausted today. Not a great thing on the first day back from an off-day. In fact, had we not lost it in the 14th, Phil Humber would have been our next reliever – making a reliever out of one of our 6 starters for the second time this year.

The Bad Luck: There was a close call that went our way when it didn’t really matter (but have you EVER seen Paul Konerko confront an umpire before? I think we probably won that call on the basis of Paulie being pissed off for the first time in recorded history.), there was a close call that didn’t go our way when it really mattered, and – for the first time in a long time- Adam Dunn hit a 2-run homer that would have completely changed the landscape of the game and it was robbed from over the outfield fence.

In conclusion: UGH. It was the battle of the blown saves, and we came out on top. Or bottom. Or, you know, on the losing end.

And, I’m trying not to think about the last time we did the 14-inning loss. It was a month ago in Toronto and Edwin Jackson got the loss (though, he certainly pitched better last night) and then Johnny Danks was up the next day and we got our read-ends whipped soundly by the Blue Jays (14-3, was it?).

I worry for our interleague streak right now. And, of course, the continuing quest for .500.

Edited early afternoon to add:
So, my pet theory that Johnny Danks refuses to pitch unless Brent Lillibridge is in the outfield continues to be substantiated. In Danks’ last three starts (ie: his first three wins of the season), Brent has made a highlight-worthy, run-saving catch. The CF layout against SEA, robbing Coco Crisp of an 8th inning HR against OAK, and knocking a would-be HR back into the park for a no-RBI double instead of a 2-run homer against ARI.

And, here we are today with #18 getting the start in LF. Granted, it’s probably b/c in the hit-parade that was last-night, Juan Pierre went 0-fer, but I like my theory, so I’m sticking with it.

My brain is a fun place to live, thanks for asking.

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