…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.
Well, after having had 24 hours (or so) to reflect on the debacle yesterday, it’s time to put it past and get ready for game #2, tomorrow.
I’m not yet worried about Jose Contreras, nor am I worried about the rotation. I want to see Contreras over three or four outings, and I won’t begin to judge the effectiveness of the entire rotation until I see the complete package over two or three weeks.
In terms of offense, I’m very excited. The Sox are starting to ratchet up the bats and not only are they hitting home runs, they’re getting singles and doubles and starting to string hits together. I was a bit disappointed that they blew bases loaded and one out at a point in the game where a 4- or 5-spot would have vaulted them back into the game, but if they can avoid making that the norm for the season, I’ll let it pass.
My early thanks to the Angels for passing Erstad along to us, as well… 🙂
In other news:
Apparently DWI does not apply to zamboni drivers.
One of the most hushed-up stories of the new season: Apparently Ray Durham is batting cleanup behind Barry Bonds. I remember when Durham was leading off for the White Sox, and he couldn’t find the outfield wall with a compass. My, how times change.
If only Mike Tyson had this opportunity.
Speaking of Bonds and prison, the Bonds watch begins tonight. I’m not particularly interested, one way or the other; if he breaks Aaron’s record, great. Congratulations to him. If he doesn’t, life will go on. I’ve not ever been a big fan of the HR records. I’d rather see someone chase DiMaggio, Williams, or another one of the fundamental hitting records. Even Hack Wilson’s 191 RBIs holds more allure for me. Still, I do have this opinion: whether morally/ethically correct or not, MLB did not begin testing for steroids and performance-enhancing drugs until a couple of years ago. Because of this, it was never against the rules of the game. If Bonds did use any performance-enhancing drugs, the burden is solely on his own conscience. He deserves the record and the recognition as much as anyone else because despite everyone else’s moral obligations, he played the game by the rules laid out under the jurisdiction of Major League Baseball.
Now, if he broke the law and goes to jail under the U.S. legal system, that’s his fault and I don’t feel the least bit sorry for him. You make your bed, eventually you’ll have to sleep in it.
Oh, and some have been asking for playoff predictions. So here they are:
White Sox over Angels
Tigers over Red Sox
White Sox over Tigers
Phillies over Cardinals
Dodgers over Braves
Dodgers over Phillies
White Sox over Dodgers
Come on, you don’t think I’m actually going to bet against my hometown boys, do you?
I do actually think they’ll go to the playoffs. If anything, they’ll lose to the Tigers in the ALCS, but the Tigers will still beat the Dodgers in the World Series. So there. If I have to do it impartially, I’ll say that the Tigers will win.