Tagged: Win

July 31 Postgame – Bullpen and Offense Combine for Big Sox Win

What a day for the White Sox! They acquire Jake Peavy, lose their starter for tonight’s game in the process, only have the bullpen available against the Yankees’ offense, and they go on to win the game. The win puts Sox back into 2nd place and back in the A.L. Central race after losses by both the Tigers and Twins.

D.J. Carrasco had a rough start when he failed to cover 1B on what should have been an easy out on the first play of the game, but was decent enough in the next few innings. I normally criticize Ozzie Guillen for his bullpen choices, but I was very happy with the way it was managed. I’m not sure if Bobby Jenks was available tonight. I was at the game last night and was upset when Jenks wasn’t called in to close the game, but later learned he was out due to kidney stones. If he was available, I might have had Dotel pitch one less inning and fit Bobby in with a big lead before being thrown into another close situation. 
The Sox offense had a great approach tonight. They were down early, but still looked for base hits and didn’t try to solve everything with one big swing. The Sox also used speed with a double-steal (which included a successful steal of home) and took advantage of walks. Carlos Quentin also looked very good tonight. He seems to have started coming along recently and really boosted the offense with his home run (along with his double and walk). 
Overall, the Sox looked impressive with a big win against a very good team during tough circumstances!
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July 26 Postgame – Sox Fire On All Cylinders to Salvage Game in Detroit

Clayton Richard steps up again as the Sox avoid the sweep. Richard goes 8 innings for his 2nd straight start, giving up 5 hits and 1 run in the win. 

The Sox offense struck early against Porcello. A few hits and a couple of homers gave the Sox a 5-0 lead. On the flip side, the Sox were not able to score later in the game. Luckily for the offense, the pitching did the job and the Sox cruised to a big win. The Sox now travel back to Minnesota for another series with the Twins. 
The Sox are now faced with a tough decision as the trade deadline looms. Do the Sox trust Clayton Richard until the end of the season or do they use recent strong starts as leverage to make a deal? If the Sox can make a good deal for a pitcher, and not include a guy like Beckham, I would be all for it. We’ll see what happens…

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 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. 

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 18th Postgame – Sox squeak by Orioles

The Orioles’ rookie pitched himself a good game today, but one has to think that his psyche was rattled by the error in the 5th inning. Bergesen was cruising along until the error occurred. Sox hitters then followed with 6 straight hits (7 if you count the next half inning, since the 5th ended with a play at the plate). The 4 runs proved to be just enough. Bobby Jenks made things interesting, but saved the game. Mark Buehrle was his usual self, getting himself into a little trouble early, settling down, and then finding his rhythm to work to be both effective and efficient.

Today’s questionable Ozzie decision regards his use of the bullpen. Why in the world would you bring in Scott Linebrink to face Adam Jones after that matchup resulted in a home run last night? Even when you ignore the fact that Linebrink has been less than trustworthy during crucial moments, it’s a weird decision.
Other than Linebrink, there’s not much to complain about today. Good teams make the opposition pay for an error, and the Sox did that in this game. It may have not been pretty at times, but in the end, the team scored more runs than it gave up and Sox fans will take a win any way they can get it.

July 17th Postgame – Jim Thome edition – Sox take series opener

The story of the night is Jim Thome. The big man had 2 HRs, 7 RBIs, and 11 total bases   (EDIT: Thome had 8 total bases. I thought walks and advancing on the basepaths were included in that stat. I could’ve sworn an old box score I once looked at included both, but thanks to amick7 for the correction, looks like it’s just bases from hits) , and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy! The offense did its job and has really picked it up in July. This is a great sign considering Carlos Quentin has been out and should return soon. Scott Podsednik continues to be an amazing pickup, getting on base (5 times in 5 at-bats tonight) and setting the table for the big boys in the middle. 
John Danks was a bit disappointing tonight. Danks works himself into trouble way too often with walks. Even if he gets out of the trouble, it hurts his pitch count, keeps him from going deep into games, and taxes the bullpen. Danks clearly has the stuff to be a great pitcher, which implies his problems are mental. As I said in one of my first blog entries, I HATE it when the bullpen has to start the 6th. Tonight was a little more understandble since Danks had thrown a lot of pitches and the bullpen just had four days off. The pitching staff gave up too many runs tonight, but let’s not discredit the Orioles. Offense is not Baltimore’s problem, They have a nice mix of young talent (with guys like Markakis and Jones) and veterans (like Roberts and Scott). 
…Excuse me one second, Jim Thome’s grand slam just landed outside my window….
Back to Danks…tonight he gave up 2 leads very quickly. This is a good question for any fans of other teams that are reading: Do you feel like your pitchers often give up leads quickly (like the next half-inning)? I’m sure there’s a stat on giving up leads…I’ll have to find it. I’m just not sure if it’s a normal fan feeling (do those moments stick out since it’s such an annoying thing?) or if the Sox starters really do have a problem whenever the offense gets them a lead. Again, this could be another mental issue for pitchers. Most players who make it to the big leagues have the physical aspect down, but need to conquer the mental aspect of the game to succeed. Momentum also plays a big role, and shutting down the other team after scoring is a crucial point during a game. 
One more Sox lowpoint: Dewayne Wise. Wise was 0-5 and had a terrible defensive play where he almost knocked himself out by running into the wall. Dewayne Wise, you are no Aaron Rowand.