…except if it’s losing two out of three.
Still, there were some promising signs, especially out of today’s win. The Sox were able to successfully manufacture runs today, on a day where their power swings were just not quite getting the ball out of the park. Through six innings, the game was tied at 2, but the White Sox had scored those two runs on one hit. They were able to move runners over, put them on third, and get them in through timely production.
Nick Masset also turned in a pretty impressive performance. 4.2 innings in relief of an injured Mark Buehrle (who himself showed signs of settling in after an early home run), giving up only a solo home run to Jason Michaels. Masset looks like he’ll be a valuable asset in long relief for the White Sox, who may also turn to him as an emergency starter and a possible future replacement should one of the starters succumb to injury or ineffectiveness.
Of course, there are always concerns…Matt Thornton blew leads in both yesterday’s game and today’s game, and both on home runs off of pitches that were straight-line fastballs over the meat of the plate. Those are pitches you just won’t get away with throwing in the Major Leagues. Ozzie might do well to keep him on a short leash for the first part of the season until he works his command issues and pitch selection problems out.
Today’s freak accident notwithstanding, the Sox starters in the next series need to find a way to get through six or seven strong innings before dipping into the bullpen. The ‘pen got a lot of work in this season-opening series and I’m sure Guillen and Cooper wouldn’t mind if they can avoid going to the bullpen so much for the next few days. Obviously, you can’t predict something like Buehrle’s injury (which was only a contusion, meaning that Buehrle should be set to go for his next scheduled day in the rotation) but if it can be helped, it would be advantageous for Javier Vazquez and John Danks to go deeper into the ballgame than Contreras and Buehrle did in this past series.
Sunday’s game could be an early key game – the Sox hitting will certainly get a true read on how far they’ve come when they go up against Johan Santana. Jose Contreras will also get a challenge, and after Monday’s debacle, let’s hope he’s up for it.