Tuesday, August 26, 2008

31 (17*)

The White Sox lost the first game they played yesterday, 4-3, but after winning the second game by the same score, they now have a two-game winning streak. No, the second game doesn't count for two. The first game -- the completion of an April game that was suspended after 11 innings -- counts as having been played back then. This might just cause a warp in the space-time continuum, so it's better, and more fun, if we don't speak of that 14-inning affair and just focus on the second game.
Jim Thome broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning with his 28th home run of the season. Thome also broke a tie with Jimmy Foxx on the career homer list -- this was No. 535 -- and now trails Mickey Mantle by one. While it seems like Thome hasn't been here that long, it was his 105th home run since joining the Sox.
Thome wasn't the only offensive force for the Sox. Alexei Ramirez, batting leadoff and playing short, collected four hits. The Missile raised his average from .307 to .314 and continued to build his case for Rookie of the Year. We know that Evan Longoria is thought to have that sewn up, but Alexei is making it a horse race. Combine his hitting with all the Web Gems he has this season and you've got one hell of a year.
Speaking of rookies, Clayton Richard contributed a Quality Start and got the win, his second. Richard lasted six innings and yielded three runs before turning it over to Octavio Dotel, Matt Thornton, and Bobby Jenks, who each pitched one inning of scoreless relief. Jenks earned his 26th save, even after his "marathon" two-inning stint on Sunday.
Joe Crede made his return last night and played to mixed reviews. He went hitless in four at bats, but contributed some fine defense. It'll be interesting to see how Ozzie uses Crede, Ramirez, Juan Uribe, and Orlando Cabrera over the next month or so. Last night OC rested while Ramirez played short and Uribe -- the former starting shortstop -- played second. Looks like there's a lot of flexibility there, and that doesn't even count Chris Getz.
With the split and Minnesota's loss to Seattle -- thank you, Mariners -- the Sox have a one game lead and a Magic Number of 31. There are 31 games left in the regular season and it looks like it's going to be quite a ride. Go Sox!
*17 days until our future grandson's due date

Sunday, August 24, 2008

33 (18*)

The White Sox lost two out of three to the Rays over the weekend. It probably should have been a sweep, but the Sox battled back from the edge of defeat to take the finale, with a little help from their old friend, Doug Eddings. "Who's he?" you ask. Eddings was the ump behind the plate in the 2005 post-season when A.J. Pierzynski ran to first on the dropped third strike call.
This time, it was the 10th inning, and A.J. was perched on second base, having alertly tagged when B.J. Upton unnecessarily pirouetted in the outfield on Carlos Quentin's fly ball. Jermaine Dye grounded to the left side, and A.J. got caught in a rundown between second and third and was tagged by Rays' shortstop Jason Bartlett. Only thing was, A.J. extended his arm so that third baseman Willy Aybar ran into it after he had thrown to Bartlett. A.J. fell down on contact and began yelling "obstruction." Eddings agreed and instead of calling A.J. out on the tag, awarded him third base on the fielder's interference. (A.J. should also have been awarded the Oscar for best actor for his convincing-enough performance.) The Rays walked Jim Thome, loading the bases and bringing Alexei Ramirez to the plate. Ramirez ripped a shot to right that scored A.J. and gave the Sox a 6-5 win.
Other heroes on Sunday included Carlos Quentin, who drove in the first two Sox runs with his Major League-leading 36th home run, and Thome, who two batters later drove in two more runs with his 27th homer and 534th of his career. But those homers would have gone for naught and the A.J. and Alexei show in the tenth never would have taken place but for a piece of clutch hitting by Paul Konerko. With two out in the bottom of the ninth and a 3-2 count on him, Paulie laced a single to left. Pinch runner Brian Anderson looked like he was going to be out trying to score from second base on the hit, but the Rays' catcher dropped the ball, allowing B.A. to slide in safely with the tying run. Mercy! as Hawk would say.
A couple of losses by Minnesota against the Angels and Sunday's thrilling win at the Cell allowed the Sox to regain the lead they had lost earlier in the weekend to the Twins. It now stands at a half game, and the Magic Number is down to 33. The Sox travel to Baltimore to play one home game (the continuation of the suspended game against the O's in Chicago) and three road games there. Let's hope their recent success against the A's bespeaks an ability to beat all the teams whose names are vowels . Go Sox!
*days until our future grandson's due date

Thursday, August 21, 2008

36 (22*)

The Update needs help. The recent spate of home runs has left us searching for new ways to describe the ultimate hit. We've tried homer, tater, dinger, round-tripper, four-bagger, big fly, blast, shot, poke, going yard, going deep, and long ball, but the posts still sound repetitive given the propensity for the White Sox to touch 'em all. Send us your synonyms so we can adequately write about games like yesterday's 15-3 rout of Seattle, which again featured 4 HRs by the Good Guys.
Even Ken Griffey, Jr. got into the act, hitting the 609th of his career, tying him with ex-White Sox Sammy Sosa (didn't he play for another team too?) for fifth place on the all-time list. Junior's first since joining the Sox came in the second inning, after Alexei Ramirez had driven in three runs with his 14th in the six-run first inning. A.J. also plated three with his 12th in the fifth inning, and Nick Swisher hit the 100th of this career and 20th of the season in the sixth. Yesterday's game marked the 10th time in 2008 that the Sox have hit four in one game and extended their Major League-leading total to 188.
The Sox scored in each of the first six innings and were one of only three American League teams to have more runs than hits yesterday. And that's saying something since they had 14 hits. As a team, the Sox batted .400 and slugged .857 in Wednesday's contest. Most of you are probably thinking, I wish they'd save some of those runs for a game where they need them, but it doesn't work that way. It's use 'em or lose 'em, so just enjoy 'em. (We, however, are saving the letters "th," which explains the repeated use of "'em" in the preceding sentence.)
The main reason they didn't need 'em yesterday was Gavin Floyd contributed a quality start -- six innings, three runs, six hits (three by Ichiro), seven strikeouts, and only two walks. Horacio Ramirez and Adam "Don't call me Vicky" Russell provided three innings of shutout relief to preserve the win.
Speaking of wins, it was the third in a row over Seattle, another sweep, and the fifth in a row overall. It cut the Magic Number by one down to 36, but did not extend the lead over Minnesota, who also won. Now the Twinkies travel to Anaheim to play the Angels. The Twins are a much different team on the road (26-31) than they are at home (46-23), and they're playing the team with the best record in baseball. While the Sox take on the first-place Rays starting Friday, at least they get to do it in the Cell, where the Good Guys have a nasty 45-19 advantage. Tampa Bay, even better at home (47-18), is below .500 on the road (30-31). And given the way the Sox have been playing lately (admittedly against weak opposition), there's a lot to like. Go Sox!
*22 days until our future grandson's due date

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

37 (24*)

Recent call-up, Clayton Richard, won his first big league game on Monday against the Mariners, 5-0. Richard, pitching in the injured Jose Contreras's spot in the rotation, came up big, blanking the M's on five hits over six innings. Richard got himself into a jam in the first inning, with men on first and third and no outs. Nick"Dirty 30" Swisher bailed him out, snaring Raul Ibanez's chopper hit down the first base line, stepping on first for the unassisted put out, and throwing home to nail Ichiro, who was trying to score, for the rare 3-2 double play. Matt Thornton, Octavio Dotel, and Bobby Jenks (pitching in a non-save situation because the recent spate of lopsided wins have kept him on the shelf) each contributed one inning of scoreless relief to preserve the shutout. (Richard was a likely candidate for a shaving cream pie in the face, courtesy of Toby Hall, who appeared to injure his shoulder when pulling that prank on Jermaine Dye the night before. Hall, who was wearing an icepack after the incident, claimed to be fine, and presumably was ready to initiate Richard. Turns out, Richard got a beer shower instead.)
The Sox failed to hit four home runs like they had the last two games, but they did go yard twice, boosting their Major League-leading total to 184. Swisher hit a solo shot in the fourth inning (his 19th), and Jim Thome did the same in the fifth (his 26th). Ken Griffey opened the scoring by driving in Thome with a sac fly in the second. The next inning Carlos Quentin doubled home A.J. Pierzynski, who himself had doubled, and Alexei Ramirez singled to drive in Q. (This marked the third consecutive game in which the Cuban Missile has driven in at least one run, a career high.) All told, the Sox had 14 hits for a .412 team batting average for the game; they had 24 total bases to rack up a .705 slugging percentage for the night. And they're doing it without one of their offensive weapons, Joe Crede. By the way, Crede played five innings for Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday, striking out and flying out to right, while notching three assists in the field.
The win moves the Sox to a season-high 19 games over .500 and improves their record at the Cell to 44-19, a .698 winning percentage. With Minnesota beating up on Oakland, the Sox simply maintain their 1.0 game lead over the Twinkies, but do cut the Magic Number to 37. The Good Guys have one more game against Seattle, on Wednesday afternoon when Gavin Floyd faces R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer who's already thrown 11 wild pitches this season. The Sox will be looking for a sweep of the series, and a win in the finale will give them one more win than they had all last season. Go Sox!
*24 days left until our future grandson's due date

Monday, August 18, 2008

38 (25*)

The White Sox again have a one-game lead in the A.L. Central, thanks to a 13-5 win over Seattle at the Cell and Oakland's 3-2 road win over Minnesota. The Sox hit four home runs for the second night in a row -- the best anyone's done since at least 1956 is three consecutive games -- accounting for eight runs via the long ball. Trailing 3-0 after a shaky first inning, Nick Swisher's 18th evened the score in the second. Orlando Cabrera's two-run shot (his 7th) gave the Sox the lead in the fifth, when they sent 12 men to the plate. Alexei Ramirez drove in three runs in the seventh, with his 13th round-tripper. (Ramirez added another RBI to bring his total to four for the game, the second time in two nights and only the second time in his career that he's plated that many in one contest.) The Major League home run leader, Carlos Quentin, was the fourth to set off the fireworks, slugging his 35th tater in the eighth inning. According to Hawk, it was his 11th first-pitch home run of the season.
The bats were booming all night long as the Mariners notched 15 hits and the Sox 11. Every Sox starter wound up reaching base, with Jim Thome and Juan Uribe making it to first on walks. In fact, Uribe walked twice -- only the 20th time in his 954-game career he's done that. Speaking of Uribe, he's one of three shortstops that started in the infield for the Sox, Cabrera and Ramirez being the others. You'd think that the defense would be pretty good with all those skill players out there, but you'd be wrong. The Sox butchered a tailor-made double play in the first inning. Nobody covered second on a ball hit back to the Mark Buehrle, who threw to the bag nonetheless. They wound up getting the runner at first, but not the force at second, which led to Seattle's first three runs. Hawk described it as a "brain cramp," which sounds about right.
Buehrle was not the sharp pitcher we've seen the last couple of outings, but the offense made up for his and the defense's shortcomings. Buehrle gave up five runs, 11 hits, and two walks in 5.2 innings. D.J. Carrasco and Horacio Ramirez shut down the Mariners for the remaining 3.2 innings while the Sox batters punished Seattle's pitching. Buehrle got the win to improve his record to 11-10.
After Monday's games, the Magic Number for the Sox is 38, with a couple more against Seattle on tap. Go Sox!
*number of days until our future grandson's due date.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

40 (26*)

Despite playing in their personal House of Horrors (McAfee Coliseum), the White Sox meat loafed (two outta three ain't bad) the A's over the weekend.
They should have won the first game of the series too, but Octavio Dotel. Horacio Ramirez, and D.J. Carrasco gave up four runs in relief of Gavin Floyd (5.2 innings pitched; six hits; one earned run) to leave the Sox on the short end of a 6-4 score.
The starters and the bullpen came through in fine fashion on Saturday and Sunday. John Danks tossed six innings of six-hit, one-run ball, and Carrasco, Matt Thornton, and Bobby Jenks (25th save) shut down the A's over the last three innings on Saturday for a 2-1 victory.
In the finale, Javy Vazquez held Oakland to one run in eight innings (four hits, eight strikeouts, no walks), and Clayton Richard blanked the A's in the ninth (no hits, two whiffs, no free passes) in a 13-1 Sox win that also featured four home runs by the Good Guys -- Carlos Quentin's major-league leading 34th tater, Jermaine Dye's 29th blast, Alexei Ramirez's grand slam (no, he wasn't eating breakfast at Denny's), and even a shot by Juan Uribe, his fifth.
The two wins allowed the Sox to keep pace with the Twins, who swept Seattle, and remain tied for first place in the division. They also cut the Magic Number to 40. The good news is that the Good Guys play 19 games at home, 19 on the road, and one home game -- the resumption of a suspended game -- on the road. The Update doesn't know how to characterize that last one. We get to bat last, but there's no home field advantage since this "home game" is taking place at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. (We're hoping to get to Baltimore at least once during the series.) Meanwhile, Minnesota plays three more at home, 14 on the road, six more at home, 10 more on the road, and then six at home, including three with the Sox. Hopefully, the Twins will continue to lose more than they win on the road and the Sox will continue to have success at the Cell. Go Sox!
On a personal note, yours truly accomplished two things I'd never done before. On the 149-yard par-3 seventh hole at beautiful Herndon Centennial Golf Course, using a seven iron, I hit a high draw that landed four inches from the cup and hopped left, into the jar. (See picture below showing where ball landed on green and in hole.) That was my first ace and my first eagle. One disaster hole kept me from breaking 80 for the first time, too. Maybe next week.

Friday, August 15, 2008

42 (28*)

"You can put it on the board ... Yes!!" In the sixth inning of yesterday's game, Hawk wore out his trademark home-run call as the White Sox tied a major league record by clubbing back to back to back to back -- that's four in a row in case you've lost count -- roundtrippers. Jim Thome started it off with a three run shot, followed by Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, and Juan Uribe each hitting solo pokes. The homers were part of an offense that produced nine runs on thirteen hits -- every starter had at least one; Uribe and Jermaine Dye had two each; and Paulie collected three. (Speaking of hits, Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch again, making six consecutive games he's been plunked.) Even with all the long balls the Sox managed to leave 10 men on base as a team (22 if you add up the individual totals since the same man can be left on base by more than one batter). Fortunately, the nine runs were more than enough to beat Kansas City, complete the sweep of the series, and finish the 10-game homestand with seven wins.
Lance Broadway, who had just been called up from Charlotte earlier in the week, made the start and got the win. Broadway lasted 5.1 innings, allowing only two runs on five hits and two walks. He was pretty accurate, throwing 62 of his 100 pitches for strikes (our crack statistician tells us that works out to 62%) and inducing 10 ground outs and only four fly outs. Newcomer Horacio Ramirez, D.J. Carrasco, and Adam Russell combined to pitch 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. The Big Three in the bullpen, Bobby Jenks, Octavio Dotel, and Matt Thornton, got some additional rest. So this just-what-the-Sox-needed performance sewed up a spot in the rotation for Broadway, right? No chance, Lance. Kenny Williams optioned him back to the minors just hours after the game. The explanation that we read is that Ozzie wants another reliever for the road trip to Oakland. Broadway wouldn't be due to pitch again until Tuesday, so maybe the Sox will bring him back in time to face Seattle on August 19.
The Twins were idle, meaning the Sox picked up a half game on them (the lead is now a full game) and chopped one more off the Magic Number (it's 42). While a three-game jaunt to the West Coast before returning for another homestand seems a bit odd, this is as good a time as any to play the A's. They've lost two in a row and eight of their last ten. Go Sox!
* 28 days until our future grandson's due date

Thursday, August 14, 2008

43 (29*)
Mark "of Zero" Buehrle earned his nickname last night, pitching seven innings of shutout ball to lead the White Sox to a 4-0 victory over visiting Kansas City. Although you can't spell his surname without the letters HR, Buehrle gave up only five hits and a walk (while striking out five) en route to evening his record at 10-10. Octavio Dotel and Bobby Jenks (non-save situation) each chipped in one inning of scoreless, hitless relief to preserve the win.
With the Sox failing to homer, small ball was the order of the day. After Orlando Cabrera singled leading off for the Sox in the first, A.J. Pierzynski sacrificed OC to second, and Jermaine Dye drove him in with a double to center. Ken Griffey, Jr. singled JD home for his third RBI since joining the Sox and his first since his initial game with the team. (The next inning, Junior saved some runs with a nifty sliding catch in center.) The third run resulted from even smaller ball: rookie Chris Getz, who got his first career start, moved Juan Uribe from first to third on a hit-and-run single, and A.J. plated Uribe with a ground-out in the fifth. Paul Konerko drove in the final run with a base hit that scored A.J. in the eighth.
With the win, the Sox maintain their half-game lead over the Twins and reduce the Magic Number to 43. The Sox go for the sweep against the Royals this afternoon, with recent call-up, Lance "They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright On" Broadway, taking the mound. The rookie won the only game he started last September, when the Sox were already out of it. Today's game bears a bit more importance and a bit more pressure. Let's hope Broadway is up to the task. The good news is he's pitching on a Thursday, when the Sox are 9-6, in the third game of a series, when they're 21-12, and at home, where the club is 41-19. Go Sox!
* 29 is the number of days until the due date for our future grandson.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

44 (30*)

"Babe Ruth's dead. Throw strikes!" Javier Vazquez took that legendary advice to heart last night and led the White Sox to a 9-0 win over the Royals. Vazquez was on fire, pitching eight shutout innings, scattering five hits, and notching 10 whiffs, while allowing only one walk. His control was about as good as it gets, with 81 of his 109 pitches being strikes. Adam Russell pitched a perfect ninth to preserve the shutout and Vazquez's ninth win of the season.
The Sox offense was also in high gear, chipping in three home runs to increase their league-leading total to 168. Jermaine Dye hit his 28th homer in the first inning to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. Nick Swisher added another run when he ripped his 17th of the season into the seats in right in the fifth inning, and A.J. Pierzynski hit his 10th of the year into the first row of seats in left in the sixth. Carlos Quentin, the A.L. home run leader sat out the game with swelling and numbness in his left forearm, likely the result of having been hit by a pitch in five consecutive games before last night. Even recent call-up, rookie Chris Getz got into the offensive act, garnering his first Major League hit -- a single to left-center in the eighth inning that plated the final run.
The win by the Sox, combined with a loss by the Twins, catapulted the Good Guys back into first place (by a half game) in the A.L. Central. That's five days in a row the division lead has changed hands. The Magic Number is now down to 44, and with KC at the Cell for two more games, there's no reason why the Sox can't shrink it even further and maintain or pad their lead over the Twinkies. Well, unless you think the absence of a fifth starter might hinder the team's chances. At least Javy's innings-eating performance allowed D.J. Carrasco to be available to start on Thursday. We're not sure that's the answer, but for now, it's the one the Sox are going with. And speaking of the Sox going, Go Sox!
* Starting today, which happens to be wife Judy's birthday (Happy Birthday, Jude!) we're calculating another Magic Number -- number of days until our future grandson's due date. The Update tried to call him KOJAK (Kid of Jeff and Kate), but no one else seems to like that acronym. Jeff's grandfather calls him Pancho (flashbacks to the Cisco Kid), which has its fans. Jeff and Kate apparently have a real name picked out, but they're not telling. Anyway, the due date is September 12, so that means the other Magic Number is 30.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


The White Sox maintained, then lost, then regained their lead in the Central Division over the weekend, beating the Red Sox on Friday and Sunday and losing to Boston on Saturday, while the Twins won their first two over the Royals and then dropped Sunday's game in extra innings. Saturday's loss cost the Pale Hose more than just the game, though, as Jose Contreras injured his Achilles tendon while covering (sort of) first base and is out for the season. In the wake of the injury and other developments (or lack of development in the case of the guys who were sent down to Charlotte), the Sox made a flurry of personnel moves. To save you the price of a scorecard, we'll review the roster for you:
  • On the DL: Contreras joined Scott Linebrink (still two weeks away from being ready to return) and Joe Crede (who knows when his back will allow him to come back). Andrew Sisco's there too, but he's not on the 40-man roster anymore.
  • Called Up: RHP Lance Broadway and INF Chris Getz followed recent call-up RHP Adam Russel to the big league club.
  • Sent Down: Struggling LHP Boone Logan, last year's phenom INF Josh Fields, up-and-down RHP Ehren Wasserman, and recent starter LHP Clayton Richard are all back playing AAA ball.
  • Acquired by Trade: Royals' LHP Horacio Ramirez, who has thrown almost half of his 16.2 innings in relief this season against the Sox -- without giving up a run-- and of course you remember Ken Griffey, Jr., who's hitting .200 since coming over. Paul Konerko was supposed to be odd-man out when Junior joined the team, but Paulie's hitting .304 since the trade.
The two wins over the weekend went to Mark Buehrle (fine effort) on Friday and Gavin Floyd on Sunday (good enough to win) and were powered by Orlando Cabrera's clutch hitting in the first game and home runs from the heart of the order in the third game -- Carlos Quentin's 32nd, Jermaine Dye's 27th, and Jim Thome's 24. Those three, the 3-4-5 hitters in the order, are on pace to hit 45, 38, and 34 home runs, respectively. In the post-steroid era, those numbers are not too shabby.
The Sox now stand one-half game ahead of the Twins in the division race and have a Magic Number of 46. They face the Red Sox in the fourth game of this wrap-around series on Monday, with John Danks, who's turned into a real Hoss, taking the hill against the Carmine Hose. Go Sox! (White Sox, that is.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


John Danks tossed 6.2 innings of four-hit, one-run ball last night to lead the White Sox to a 5-1 win over the Tigers. Danks, who struck out six while walking only one, lowered his ERA to 3.21, seventh lowest in the American League. In picking up his ninth win (17th best in the league), Danks gave the bullpen a much-needed rest. One night after all seven relievers combined to throw more than 10 innings, only D.J. Carrasco, Octavio Dotel, and Bobby Jenks (who warmed up when it was a save situation, but wound up coming in with a four-run lead) were needed -- and they delivered, blanking Detroit for 2.1 innings.
Jim Thome provided all the offense the Sox would need with a three-run, opposite-field home run in the first inning. Way to beat the shift, Jimmy! It was the 22nd time this season and 529th time in his career that Thome went yard. Alexei Ramirez padded the lead in the eighth inning with a bases-loaded single to right that drove in Jermaine Dye and Thome and almost allowed pinch-runner Brian Anderson to score as Ramirez got into a rundown while trying to reach second on the play. All five Sox runs came with two outs, which is a good sign of a team that won't quit.
Juan Uribe, who got the start again at third base (where have you gone Josh Fields?), turned in some nifty plays at the hot corner, including a bang-bang double play. Uribe snared a broken bat line drive and threw to first without a moment's hesitation to double off Gary Sheffield. His defense reminded us of how he played in 2005. (Speaking of 2005, Juan reached double digits in both sacrifice flies and sacrifice bunts that year, the last time anyone in baseball pulled off that feat.)
By the way, bench coach Joey Cora piloted the Sox last night. While Ozzie served the second game of his suspension, Cora picked up his second win of the season as manager and improved his lifetime record to 3-0. There's a lot of talk about Cora as skipper of the Mariners (like that nautical theme?) next year. We'd hate to lose him, but it's going to happen sooner or later.
The only bad news yesterday was that Minnesota finally beat Seattle, so the Sox remain one game ahead of the Twins. The Magic Number drops to 49, though. And tonight, we hope to break out the brooms and sweep the series with the Tigers. Then the Mannyless Red Sox come to town for a four-game series that promises to be tough. Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Got Your Number

Last night's barrage of four home runs got me thinking about four-baggers that the White Sox hit in the Cell, so I went over to Baseball-Reference.com and started playing around with some of the research tools on the site. (Warning: Don't try this at home, kids. I am what President Bush might call a trained stunt player-arounder.) Anyway, I found out that:
  • The Sox have hit four dingers in a game 54 times since leaving Old Comiskey.
  • Their longest streak of games at the Cell since 1991 with at least one Big Fly is 23 games (starting May 13, 2004), while the longest with more than one is seven games (July 10, 1998).
  • Their longest dry spell at the Cell for multi-tater games is 56 games (May 9, 1998), while the longest they've gone without touching 'em all is a mere six games (July 16, 1992).

Enough about round-trippers, now back to work. Go Sox!


So last night was my wife's first night home in more than a week, and after chowing down on Italian Beef sandwiches (sweet and wet) made from genuine ingredients that she brought back from Chicago, I spent the rest of the night talking with her instead of listening to the White Sox play the Tigers. I did check the score briefly, found out that the Sox were losing 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth, and decided that I wasn't really missing anything. Boy, was I wrong!
Last night's game marked one of the great Sox comebacks ever. After Gavin Floyd continued the starters' streak of getting shelled early, the bullpen -- all seven members of it -- largely held Detroit in check long enough for Sox bats to awaken and overtake the Tigers in 14 innings.
Dr. Longball made another house call, as the Sox racked up four homers to fuel the comeback. Trailing 6-2 in the sixth, Paul Konerko (odd man out now that Ken Griffey, Jr., is on board) blasted one to left-field to narrow the gap to 6-4. In the seventh, Carlos Quentin, who had four hits on the night, poked his 29th homer just over the wall in left to make it 6-5. The next inning, Alexei Ramirez tied the game with his tenth home run of the season. Finally, in the 14th inning, after the Tigers had pushed across two runs to take an 8-6 lead and the Sox had rallied to get one of those back, Nick Swisher came to the plate with two men on and two out. On a 2-1 count, Swisher, who entered the game in the 11th after Konerko had been lifted for a pinch runner in the 10th, drove one into the crowd in center for a walkoff, three-run home run.
Meanwhile, Seattle came from behind again to steal one from the Twins. The combo (speaking of combos, I should have grilled some Italian Sausage to go with my Beef) of the Sox winning and Twins losing put the Good Guys back into sole possession of first place, one game ahead of the Twinkies. And it sliced (thin, like Italian Beef) the Magic Number to 50. Warning: Judy also brought back Vienna hot dogs and all the fixin's, so there'll be another food-filled post coming soon. Go Chicago delicacies! Go Judy! Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Good news! Raul Ibanez strapped the Mariners to his back in the seventh inning of last night's game against the Twins. Ibanez, who was rumored to be on the trading block right up to the deadline, hit a grand slam and drove in a total of six runs in the inning, leading Seattle to a 10-run frame and 11-6 comeback win over Minnesota. The loss drops the Twinkies back into a virtual tie with the White Sox -- the Good Guys lead by a percentage point -- and cuts the Magic Number to 52.
We've got Gavin Floyd, our best pitcher this season, going tonight at home against the Tigers. According to the Bill James log5 method of determining one-game winning percentages, the home Sox (35-16) have a 74.2% chance of beating the road Tigers (26-34). Since James was featured on Sixty Minutes last Sunday, let's hope he's as much of a guru as the show made him out to be and his formula proves correct. Go Sox!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


The White Sox lost two out of three to Kansas City -- Kansas City? -- to fall out of first place in the A.L. Central for the first time since May 16. It's too painful to dwell on the details. Suffice it to say that the team doesn't play nearly as well on the road -- this finished up a 10-game trip to Detroit, Minnesota, and KC that we predicted would be a ball buster -- as it does at home.
The good news is that the Sox are the home team in 17 of their next 20 games (one of those "home" games actually will be played in Baltimore; it's the completion of the suspended game started at the Cell), while the first-place Twins, who've been having their own troubles away from home, play only nine games in the Metrodome during that same stretch. One caveat, however, the Sox play four games against Boston, and three against Detroit, Tampa Bay, Oakland (on the road) during that time, so no one should think that this is going to be easy. The other games are against the Royals and the Mariners, but we just witnessed how "easy" the Royals turned out to be.
The Magic Number for the Sox over the Twins is 53, while the Twins' Magic Number over the Sox is 52. That's how it works when you have a half-game lead, like the Twins now have over the Sox. Let's hope that the home cookin' makes a difference. Go Sox!

Friday, August 1, 2008


The big news yesterday was not the game, but the trade. The White Sox picked up Ken Griffey, Jr., from the Reds in exchange for pitcher Nick Masset and minor league second baseman, Danny Richar. Masset (who shares a birthday with Carlos May) has pitched in long relief and even started a game this year, compiling a 1-0 record and 4.63 ERA over 44.7 innings pitched. Richar failed to distinguish himself last year when he was handed the second-base job for 56 games at the end of the 2007 season. Nothing in those 56 games made anyone think of Joe DiMaggio, as Richar batted .230 and hit 6 home runs.
We're not sure those two will be missed too much, but the real question is where will Griffey play? At 38 years old, George Kenneth Griffey, Jr., no longer patrols the outfield like the ten-time (1990-1999) Gold Glove center fielder he was for Seattle. In fact, he hasn't even played center since 2006. We can't see Junior displacing either Carlos Quentin or Jermaine Dye in the outfield or even Jim Thome at DH (they're both lefties), so that means Nick Swisher will have to move to first base and the highly paid Paul Konerko will see his playing time cut. That's just sad. Not inappropriate, but sad just the same. Anyway, lets hope this Ken makes the other Ken (Williams) look like a genius.
As for the game, it was a stinker. The Sox jumped out to a 4-0 lead against the arch-rival Twins, and then John Danks and the bullpen proceeded to blow it. Danks gave up three runs and left after walking Denard Span to open the bottom of the seventh inning. That at-bat took longer than usual, as the Twins manager got booted for arguing a strike called aganst Span, and the fans reacted by throwing things onto the field. Ozzie pulled the Sox into the dugout to keep them out of harm's way, and visions of a Disco Demolition Night kind of forfeit danced in our head. It didn't happen, and when Danks returned five minutes later to finish off Span -- the count was 1-2 -- he walked him. A series of relievers allowed six runs to score, making the bullpen's total 44 earned runs in the last 72 innings pitched. It looks like the trade that was really needed was the much-rumored Huston Street of Oakland deal.
Anyway, the Magic Number remains the same and the lead is back down to a half-game. At least they escaped Minnesota still in first place. The streak of being in first place since May 17 is in jeopardy, but the Sox finish up this road trip with three games in KC starting tonight. Games against the Royals (on the road and at home) may be the only ones against a sub-.500 team until Seattle comes to town on August 18. So, Go Sox!