Tagged: Rays

Mark Buehrle, White Sox legend

You can’t say enough about the things Mark Buehrle has done for this franchise. 

On The Field

– Career record: 132-90
– Since 2001, he has pitched more than 200 innings and won at least 10 games every year
– 4 All-Star game selections (1 start)
– Started Game 2 of the 2005 World Series (which the Sox won) and got the save in the wild Game 3 which went 14 innings  
– 2007 no-hitter against Texas (one walk to Sosa was the only blemish. Sosa was then picked off and Buehrle still faced the minimum) 
– Hit his first career home run this year in Milwaukee
– And now, a PERFECT GAME
Mark Buehrle’s style is something that makes this accomplishment even more special. For years, baseball “analysts” speculated he would never pitch a no-hitter. They would give him the benefit of the doubt for being a great pitcher, but said he’d never do it since his stuff is not overpowering and he’s a guy who relies on things like location and his defense. Never say never because Mark has made all those people look foolish. 
Mark is also a great defender and says one of his goals is to win the Gold Glove. Besides that, 20 wins (he had 19 in 2002) and the Cy Young, there isn’t much left for Mark to achieve. That’s saying a lot for a guy who really flies under the radar considering what he has accomplished. 
Off the Field

The best part of Buehrle’s success is that he’s a great guy. He has fun with the game and appreciates the fans. He is as close as an athlete can get to being a regular guy. He is very modest and humble. From spending times with the fans to sliding on the tarp during rain delays, Mark is one of the good guys in this game. Just like in his 2007 no-hitter, Buehrle spent most of the game talking to his teammates in the dugout, jokingly asking them “did you know I’ve got a no-hitter going on?”. His teammates love him for his personality, but also appreciate his traits on the field. The defense must love playing behind one of the quickest workers in baseball. Mark appreciates the White Sox and showed his loyalty by taking a favorable deal a couple years ago. He could’ve been traded at the time, gone on to make a lot more money, and pitched for teams like Boston (who were rumored to be the favorites to land Buehrle in a possible trade), but he took less and accepted an extension in Chicago.
Game Tidbits
There have been a lot of fun facts coming out from the game today. 
– The Sox offense today? 5 runs on 6 hits. That 5-6-0 looks just as special as the Rays’ line on the box score (A great job by Josh Fields today to take advantage of his start)
– The umpire, Eric Cooper, also called Buehrle’s last no-hitter. The real ironic part? Cooper’s number is 56, the same as Buehrle.
– Dewayne Wise, who had the amazing game saving catch, was a member of the 2004 Atlanta Braves. That is the team that Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against. I can’t say enough about Wise (and by the way, Wise robbed Gabe Kapler. Last year Chris Young had a perfect game in the 8th inning until Kapler hit a home run). I have given him and the Sox a beating regarding their decision to keep Wise on the major league team, but I will gladly eat crow today. Does history change if Wise was sent down this week when Quentin came back? The ground that Wise covered, the timing, holding on to the bobble, the circumstances…WHAT A CATCH
– The fact that it was done against the Tampa Bay Rays makes it even more impressive. The defending A.L. champs currently have the 3rd best batting average and 2nd best on-base percentage in the A.L.
– 1st place! This win put the Sox in a tie for first place with the Detroit Tigers. The Sox now go to Detroit for a huge 4 game series, including a double-header tomorrow. 
And I will finish this post with a cool little story Mark told after the game. Mark and A.J. Pierzynski have a running joke about personal catchers whenever someone else catches Buehrle. Today it was Ramon Castro (who actually caught Buehrle for the first time ever. Castro was acquired from the Mets this year. I guess there’s another fun little connection, since the Mets have never had a no-hitter in their history). Before the game, Mark and A.J. were joking with each other about it, and had a conversation that went something like this:
A.J: Come on, you never go deep into games anymore, you’ve got your own catcher, throw a complete game
Mark: I don’t know, I think I’ve past the point where I can finish my own game (something the Sox post-game crew joked with Buehrle about on July 2nd in KC. Buehrle pitched into the 9th but had to be pulled for Jenks to close the game)
A.J: Come on…just go out there and throw a no-hitter
Mark: But I’ve already got one of those
A.J: Alright, then throw a perfect game…
CONGRATULATIONS MARK BUEHRLE

July 23rd Pregame – Sox face Rays this afternoon in series finale

Very quickly, the lineup (Scott Reifert Twitter update http://twitter.com/InsideTheSox/status/2801850600 ) :

Podsednik – LF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Konerko – DH
Quentin – LF
Beckham – 3B
Nix – 2B
Castro – C
Fields – 1B
Buehrle – SP
A bit of a diluted lineup today. Thome gets the day off and Fields seems to be getting a little more of a chance lately. Piezynski gets the day off after the night game, which was expected. It’s good to see Quentin in the lineup today. He had a nice sliding catch last night, and it’s good to see that an ailment is not keeping him out of the lineup. Other than Podsednik, every hitter is right handed, which feeds into Guillen’s matchup obssesion (even though, again, the opposing pitcher, a lefty, gives up hits at a higher rate against lefties). 
Today the Sox face Scott Kazmir who is having a rough season (and battling injuries), though he has been much better on the road this year. He is coming off a good outing in KC. Tampa Bay also has its second highest winning percentage when Kazmir starts games.
So, we end this great series with a rematch of Game 2 of the 08 ALDS, let’s hope for a different result!

July 22nd Postgame – Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cuban

The Sox rebound nicely after last night’s disaster and set themselves up for no worse than a split heading into the series finale. Alexei Ramirez and Jermaine Dye save the Sox offense with the help of some terrible CF defense by B.J. Upton. Even more unlikely then the Rays’ gaffes this series was the home run by Scott Podsednik. Carlos Torres kept the Sox in the game, and you can’t say enough about his effort. A quality start with 6 IP and 3 ER in his major league debut against a very good lineup comes up big, followed by D.J. Carrasco’s quick inning of holding down the Rays were part of a great effort in the win. 

Ozzie Guillen had Matt Thornton go 2 innings to close out the game. I normally don’t like relievers being stretched out when not used to it, but it worked tonight. There can be a few different schools of thought towards not going to your closer tonight, but I have no problem with Jenks getting the night off. Jenks will get a chance to redeem himself, but returning to the scene of the crime too soon could’ve led to another meltdown. One thing that troubled me tonight was the performance of Jim Thome, who is now 0 for 9 since sitting in the series opener. At the time, Thome was red hot and coming off a ‘Player of the Week’  award. Even if he would’ve faced a lefty, you shouldn’t really mess with what’s working, especially when dealing with a future hall-of-famer. 

July 22 Pregame – White Sox look to recover against Rays; Torres makes debut, Poreda sent down

As we learned yesterday, John Danks is missing his start tonight. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be anything serious and this should be the only missed start. The Sox have called up Carlos Torres to face the Rays tonight. Torres has nice numbers in AAA, going 8-4 with a 2.20 ERA. It’s only AAA, but those are solid numbers considering he pitches in a hitter’s park in Charlotte. He will have a tough test against the Rays lineup. Hopefully he can have some sort of edge by this being a last minute change and the Rays not knowing much about Torres. 

The Sox sent down Aaron Poreda to make room for Torres. I thought Poreda should have gotten a shot at the 5th starter spot, but he was taken away from pitching regularly and was being used too sparingly. For this reason, I like the move of him going back down and starting again. 
Tonight the Sox face James Shields, who is starting to rack up multiple good years in the majors. Shields will throw strikes and he doesn’t give up a ton of walks, so the Sox will have to be able to put a few hits together and play smart to score tonight. The same lineup as last night per beat writer Mark Gonzales’ blog on the Tribune website: 
Podsednik – CF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Thome – DH
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – LF
Getz – 2B
Beckham – 3B

Jenks blows brilliant outing for Richard – July 21st Postgame

There is no other way to put it. This loss rests entirely on the shoulders of Bobby Jenks. It’s one thing to get hit around. It’s another thing to hit batters and give up walks in critical spots. Unfortunately, the unbelievable outing by Clayton Richard gets lost in the shuffle.

More to come later in the night…I need a break after a game like that

Alright, Clayton Richard deserves some more attention. 8 IP, 4 hits, 2 walks, 7 K’s and 1 earned run. His fastball really had some action tonight. I’m not sure if the extra rest helped him. It could also be a matchup factor with the Rays, who Richard performed well against in last year’s playoffs (1.42 ERA in 6 and a third, out of the bullpen). His mentality may have also helped him. This was a big start for both Clayton and the team, and he probably gained some confidence after the Rays came out of the 3rd inning with just one run. Bottom line, Clayton came up huge for the Sox tonight. It’s a shame his start was wasted and the Sox threw away a possible win with such an unlikely performance.

Like I said, all the blame goes to Jenks. Could the Sox offense have done better? Sure, they squandered some opportunities, but Niemann is a great pitcher and in the end, it was a Sox lead in the 9th and Jenks did not do his job. As a fan, I can only hope that this type of game doesn’t have a carryover effect.


A blog post wouldn’t be complete without complaining about an annoying Ozzie Guillen tendency. Again, I hate a pinch hitter being used against a closer, and I hate Ozzie’s obsession with avoiding R/R and L/L matchups. This happened when Nix pinch hit for Getz, even though Getz, a lefty, has a better average against lefties, and Howell, a lefty, has a higher batting average against stat against lefties.

Also, an important note for tomorrow’s game. John Danks has been scratched because of a blister and the Sox have called up Carlos Torres to make his debut and start in his place. http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090721&content_id=5980586&vkey=news_cws&fext=.jsp&c_id=cws


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July 21 Pregame – Sox and Rays back at it again

Has everyone recovered from last night’s game? Well, it doesn’t matter, because baseball has a short turnaround and players better be ready to go the next day. Tonight’s lineup, per Mark Gonzales’ Twitter update ( http://twitter.com/MDGonzales/status/2762568463 ):

Podsednik – CF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Thome – DH
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – LF
Getz – 2B
Beckham – 3B

Clayton Richard – SP

With the exception of any injuries, trades, a 2nd base platoon and maybe a few spots in the order, this is the Sox lineup for the rest of the year, and I have to say, it looks pretty damn solid. Today the offense has a tough test in Jeff Niemann. Niemann is coming off a complete game shutout against Oakland. The Sox may be lucky to score 3-4 runs tonight. The Rays clearly have the edge tonight, as they face Clayton Richard. Richard wasn’t bad against the Rays in the playoffs last year, but he is starting to show he is not a reliable starting pitcher. Richard last started on July 9th against Cleveland, and couldn’t register more than one inning. The Sox really need to hope for the unexpected tonight.

Back to last night…who happened to see the Oakland-Twins game? The Twins blew a huge lead and ended up losing on a questionable call at the plate. Former Sox prospect Gio Gonzalez gives up 11 earned runs and comes away with a no decision. Check out the box score:

So, a wild Sox win and a crazy game blown by the Twins leads to great night for the Palehose, who are now 1 game back of Detroit. Let’s hope the Sox can ride some sort of momentum wave into tonight’s game.


Sox win! – July 20th Postgame

Mercy!

Bobby Jenks makes it way too interesting, but he closes out a big win against a good team. Tonight felt like an uncharacteristic night for the Rays. Tampa Bay didn’t turn a couple double plays, had a few errors, and were caught on the base paths a couple times. The Sox let the Rays off the hook in the 6th, 7th, and 8th without being able to bring in runners in scoring position. At the end of each of those innings, I told my friend, “oh crap, the Rays are too good, they’ll let you pay for not capitalizing”, and it was close in the 9th. Two mainstays for the Sox this year, Podsednik and Konerko, did the damage tonight. Podsednik got on base all four times he went to the plate, forced the issue on the base paths, and continues to be an amazing pickup. Konerko homered and just missed his 2nd HR later in the game, showing David Price that he isn’t afraid to turn around a fastball. Konerko has now surpassed his RBI total from last year. Quentin had a base hit in his return, but otherwise looked as one would expect after coming off a rehab stint, as he had issue catching up to the fastball in his first at-bat.

As I mentioned earlier today, pitching is going to be big for the Sox in this stretch, and Floyd was great. Again, I’m not happy with Linebrink being used in a big spot, and he almost blew it, but Thornton really saved him. And when we talk pitching, some credit has to go to the catcher, and Pierzynski really saved the Sox tonight. The Rays got caught stealing red handed twice tonight, and what a big out it was when Pierzynski threw out Crawford in the 8th. I’m really happy for A.J., because he has a bad rep around the league, but he really isn’t a bad guy. He’s brought an edge to the team, he’s consistent, and has played a big role in helping this pitching staff since 2005. During that season, I remember Jon Garland commenting that it was nice to have a great catcher around, and that A.J. was the best he’s ever worked with. A.J. is not known for being a great defensive catcher, but other than Buerhle, the Sox have a lot of pitchers that have a slow delivery, and that plays a big role in the opponents running all over you.

While the Sox weren’t perfect tonight, Sox mainstays Podsednik, Konerko, Pierzynski, and Thornton did it again tonight, and Floyd’s great outing was the perfect formula for the win.


Now excuse me, I may need a drink or some Pepto after this game…

July 20th Pregame – White Sox bring up Quentin, send down Anderson; Rays come to town

The Carlos Quentin is back…and it comes at the expense of Brian Anderson. Let’s start off with Quentin. Obviously, sticking Quentin in the middle of the order is going to help both the entire lineup and the bottom of the order. It’ll be interesting to see how Carlos does. The general belief is that he is still banged up, but the only way he’ll be able to play is to tough it out and play through pain. Because of this, Sox fans probably shouldn’t expect the MVP performance of last year, but he is still a welcome addition. 

Mark Gonzales, White Sox beat writer, has the lineup today per his Twitter account (http://twitter.com/MDGonzales/status/2743867038): 

Podsednik – LF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – LF
Beckham – 3B
Getz – 2B Nix – 2B (Update: Not sure if Getz was scratched or if Mark just had it wrong)
Fields – DH
Floyd – SP
Quentin starts off hitting 6th, which is a nice move since the Sox offense has been doing well recently and too much pressure isn’t thrown onto Carlos. I am a little surprised he isn’t a DH tonight. Thome is sitting against a lefty (even though he is red hot. Ozzie loves those %s…). Tonight the Sox face the talented David Price, who showed everyone what he had during last year’s playoff run. Price hasn’t won a game on the road this year, and has been roughed up in a few of his starts, but is coming off a good start. 
Let’s face it, the Sox offense has been fine recently. If the Sox want to win games, the pitching has to step it up. Floyd beat the Rays in Tampa this year, but has had his share of struggles. He has been good at home, and his great June showed hope of a return to last season’s form, but he has been average in his two starts in July (though his last start in Minnesota was better than his stats lead on). 
Now, back to Quentin…there has been speculation these past weeks about who would be the roster casualty, and it’s Brian. For many Sox fans, this is a tough pill to swallow. The move makes me wonder about Ozzie playing favorites and having some personal problem with Anderson. Since Anderson, a great defender, was slated to be the CF heir in 2006, he has battled Rob Mackowiak, Darin Erstad, and an older Ken Griffey Jr. for playing time. The problem with Anderson has always been his offense, but he has never really gotten a chance to prove himself. He had a tough start at the plate, just like Gordon Beckham when he came up, but Beckham got time and came out of his hitting woes in a fury. Now if you compare Dewayne Wise to Brian Anderson, you start to really wonder why this decision was made. Here are their stats this year:
Career numbers tell the same story. Anderson is also a good base runner and a much better defender. In fact, he has been used as a late game defensive replacement many times since 2005. Remember, Quentin in LF also moves Podsednik, who is not the strongest defender, to CF. Wouldn’t it be smarter to keep a guy like Anderson on the team…? Something’s not right here…