Tagged: Twins

July 28th Postgame – Buehrle Sets Record, But Sox Lose Game

The Sox lost another game in Minnesota tonight.

You don’t have a pulse if you didn’t have a nervous feeling while following this game. Buehrle lit up the sports world again as he brought a perfect game into the 6th inning, one start after making history against Tampa Bay. Mark still made history by breaking the major league record for consecutive batters retired when setting a new record at 45 (a streak that was snapped in the 6th after giving up a walk. The walk happened on a full count, and I thought Casilla swung at strike three, but the home plate umpire said he checked his swing). The previous record was held by a couple players, including teammate Bobby Jenks.

After the nostalgia was gone, the Twins went to work. Actually, I should say “the team that possesses the White Sox whenever they play in Minnesota” went to work. Bad defense killed the Sox again and lead to runs for Minnesota. Scott Podsednik had a terrible effort on a ball to LF which led to a run for Minnesota (a play that was clearly an error, but called a hit), and the next inning, Chris Getz darts to second base for no reason with a runner on first right before a ball shoots through the spot that Getz had just left. Quentin is likely to make Podsednik’s play. Maybe it would’ve helped the Sox if they were nostalgic and went with the same lineup used in Buehrle’s last game (Thome also sat, Quentin was in LF, and Fields at DH). Podsednik is an average defender and the constant shifting of positions seems to be exploiting him. Meanwhile, the Twins did their usual act of hitting balls that fall in at the perfect moment and showing good defense. 
The Sox offense did nothing against Scott Baker. The offense is starting to look lost when the top of the order doesn’t get on base. When that doesn’t happen, the team relies on home runs, which doesn’t work well in Minnesota.

July 28th Pregame – Sox vs Twins

Tonight, Mark Buerhle makes his first start since the perfect game. 

The Sox will face Scott Baker with this lineup (from Scott Reifert): 
Podsednik – LF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – DH
Getz – 2B
Beckham – 3B
Wise – CF
According to Sun-Times beat writer Joe Cowley, Jim Thome is out with a sore back and the Sox have decided to move Clayton Richard to the bullpen. Does this mean the Sox are entrusting Bartolo Colon and/or Freddy Garcia with the 5th starter spot? We’ll see with the trade deadline days away.
We’ll also see how the Sox recover from last night’s game. If you didn’t see it, A.J. and Alexei had some words after that terrible 2nd inning. I’m sure this happens all the time on teams, but can this type of stuff have an effect? Hopefully it gives the Sox a kick in the butt to get over the player’s mental hump of playing in the dome. 

July 27th Pregame – Sox back in Minnesota

This place again? The Sox return in Minnesota for another series in the little dome of horrors tonight. 

Mark Gonzales confirms that Matt Thonrton has left the team to be with his wife, who is having a baby. This means there are no lefties in the bullpen.
The Sox lineup, per ESPN:
Podsednik – CF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – LF
Beckham – 3B
Nix – 2B
Fields – DH
Danks – SP
Again, Ozzie sits many of the lefties, even though lefties are hitting over .350 against tonight’s starter, Glen Perkins. 
John Danks is back after missing a start. He had a very rough first inning when he last pitched in Minnesota, but he then came back and did very well. He needs to avoid all mental obstacles and keep himself out of trouble tonight.

July 12th postgame, White Sox get thumped, lose rubber game

Buehrle was the most disappointing aspect of today’s game. The offense did not look great early (making quick outs against a guy like Baker with a big deficit), but they did wake up later in the game. In the end, the deficit became too big and the Sox lose the series. At the start of this series I said that anyone in their lineup could beat the Sox, and sure enough, Carlos Gomez kills Sox pitching again, which is a shame since he’s gotten benched for his poor offense this season. 

Beckham had another miscue at 3rd today. I have to wonder if it’s time to end the experiment and move the kid to his natural position. Ramirez has not looked great at SS either, but he dazzled at 2B last year. The problem is that Getz would be the odd man out (who is having a great July and helps the Sox in the youth and speed department). The Sox really shot themselves in the foot by putting their money on Fields and having no else to go to at 3B. Unless Nix can play there, you might have to consider giving Fields another chance. He did look good very early in the season, with a good approach at the plate (and also providing youth and speed, similar to Getz), but that all disappeared fast. But let’s remember, he is a young player, and if he was given the job, he should have probably had more time to prove himself. 
Luckily, Beckham seems to be unfazed by the issues, coming up strong at the plate and on plays later in the game whenever he makes an error. However, it still makes me wonder if the Sox are mishandling another prospect. Beckham was a very good shortstop and has all the makings to be a star. The transition to the big leagues is very hard and we are making the kid learn a new position on top of that. Since expectations are so high for Beckham, I’d rather not mess with the kid at all.
We all know the Sox aren’t perfect in that regard. Examples:
– Bringing up prospects too early because of the 5th starter hole years ago. The likes of Munoz and co. were billed to be decent pitchers, but never recovered after being brought up to have big leaguers hammer their stuff (Fixing the 5th starter fiasco, by the way, is one of the big reasons I credit the Sox finally putting it all together in 2005. Even if you put an average pitcher in that spot, you still help the bullpen, don’t have an automatic loss, etc. I think Javier Vazquez would have been incredible in that role this year.)
– Never really giving Brian Anderson the reins to start in CF. Since Rowand left, Anderson has been forced to platoon with Rob Mackowiak, Darin Erstad, and now Dewayne Wise.
– And even more recently, how about Aaron Poreda? He is taken away from starting regularly in the minors, is used very sparingly, then is told he can’t start because he has to be stretched out. 
I have to wonder if Josh Fields will just be another name on the list…and I really hope the Sox don’t make similar mistakes with Beckham

July 12th Pregame, Sox in Minnesota

Quite simply, this is a game the Sox should win. Baker is a pitcher the Sox should light up, and Buehrle is an All-Star. 

Again, Ozzie puts Podsednik in center, which worries me since Buehrle loves to rely on his defense. I’m sure Ozzie is testing this alignment for when Quentin returns, but the Dome seems to be the worst place for a test run. Also, with Anderson’s great game yesterday, one would hope he’d earn another start and more playing time. Hopefully the offense scores enough to ease the Sox into victory. 
Lineups:

July 11th Postgame – Sox escape Dome with win!

Mercy! 

Overall I can’t be mad at any of the Sox players after this win. The offense did its job (though it would’ve been nice to score a baserunner or two late in the game, and except for a few incidents, Floyd looked pretty dominant. While I didn’t like the way Jenks was used yesterday, I have no problem with brining him late in the 8th to get a big out with the game on the line. And even though I wanted to see Getz tonight, Nix still had a good game. It seems like he is always getting on base, yet his average is only in the low .200’s. It’d be interesting to see what he’d do playing everyday.
In the end, nice win, and it must be a real mental boost for the Sox to hold on to this one.

July 10th Postgame – Sox come short against Twins 6-4

The Sox gave another one away tonight. John Danks’ 1st inning from hell ends up costing the Sox. His four straight walks to start the game all come in to score and end up being the difference.

The positives in this game:
-The fact that Danks came back strong and saved the bullpen. I have to credit Ozzie for not pulling him too early.
-The team having another honorable comeback effort against a pitcher who is very good in his home ballpark. Other than Danks in the 1st, the Sox kept composure in a tough atmosphere. 
-I also loved the game Chris Getz had tonight. He hit the ball to the right side during the right situations a couple times and it helped him drive in a couple runs. 
You have to wonder if the extra day of rest affected Danks tonight. He did seem to improve his control issues as the game went on, and you have to figure that that little bit of rust came into play and may have been the difference in the game tonight. I personally hate changing around the rotation for a specific series if it’s going to mess with a pitcher’s routine, and you can argue that it may have cost the Sox two straight games. 
A couple more questionable observations:
– I still hate the defensive alignment the Sox used tonight. The last place I want to test Podsednik in CF is in this dome, and Wise is no defensive star himself. Wise’s bat is not that valuable and I thought this was a very risky move.
– Should the Sox have pitched around Mauer in the 7th? It’s pick your poison with Mauer and Morneau, but 1st base was open, and with that amazing average you figure Mauer has the better chance of getting the basehit. Thornton also has great stats against Morneau (3 for 18, .167 average). 
-Is it really necessary to use Jenks in the 8th the way he was used tonight? I really don’t like a closer being used in that situation.

July 10th Pregame – Sox in Minnesota

It’s that time of year again. Keep thinking to your self , ‘just one more year’ and the dome will be dead for Sox fans. I figure these games shouldn’t be as bad as a series like last year, right at the end of the season, but both teams are still close in the standings. The Twins are coming off getting swept, but you know they have a big mental advantage and must be thinking ‘the Sox are coming to town, here comes our slumpbuster’. The White Sox have tried to infuse a little more youth and speed into the lineup for games like this, so we’ll see how it works out. Tonight we have a great pitching matchup, a rematch of Game 163 last year, Danks vs. Blackburn. Lineups courtesty of ESPN:


Time for me to be critical of Ozzie again. In a place like the dome, defense is key, and I HATE the decision to put Wise in LF and Podsednik in CF. This seems like the perfect game to start Anderson. I really hope this doesn’t cost the Sox tonight.

Blackburn has been very good for the Twins. He is better at home and has gotten better as the season has gone on. Mauer, Morneau and Kubel really stick out in that lineup, but the Sox know that anyone in that lineup can burn them. This has all the makings to be a tough game for the Sox to win, but that’s why they play the game!