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.
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.
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.
Getz – 2B Nix – 2B (Update: Not sure if Getz was scratched or if Mark just had it wrong)