As LeBron James said after he won the Finals with the Heat last year, “It’s about damn time.” That’s exactly how I felt after watching the White Sox end their five-game losing streak today, and I’m sure many of you shared the same reaction as I did. There were aspects of this game that weren’t pretty, but when you are on a slide like the Sox were, the “a win is a win” cliché is certainly accurate.
PEAVY’S MAGNIFICIENT OUTING
On Friday, we saw Jose Quintana have his best outing in a White Sox uniform. Today, this could have been Jake Peavy’s best White Sox outing. It has got to be in the conversation at least, right? The Jakemeister tallied 11 strikeouts with NO walks and five hits in 11 innings. After the leadoff home run to Michael Bourn, Jake really was never in any trouble all game long.
I have a feeling that this is going to be a common theme for Jake Peavy this season, as his stuff just looks better than it has in years past. It could be that he is finally fully healthy from the shoulder and other various injuries he has had. We heard about the spike in velocity from him in Spring Training, and so far this season, he’s shown that he can maintain those few extra miles per hour throughout the course of a game.
His ERA is now down to 3.93 and he's already got 2 wins after only being able to scrap out 11 last season.
HOME RUN OFFENSE
A common complaint from White Sox fans is that they live and die by the longball. Today, that was certainly the case. Thank God for the homeruns from Paul Konerko and Alejandro De Aza, as those were the only two plays that generated any offense from the Southsiders.
It’s great to put the ball in the seats (when your home park is The Cell, that should be a focal point for you anyways), but this team does certainly need to improve their situational hitting. It plagued them the first two games in Cleveland, and if not for the two home runs, it could have today.
I’m not sure why Robin Ventura called a hit-and-run in the fifth with Tyler Flowers at the plate, but when you are called upon there, you have to execute.
We also saw the team get the first two men on, only to see Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, and Dayan Viciedo all fail to move the runners along. These are things that need to happen if this team is going to compete this season.
'PEN BOUNCES BACK
After a rough two games, the bullpen did its job today in the final two innings keeping the Tribe in check. Matt Thornton has now had two terrific relief appearances after a rough series in the nation’s capital, and Addison Reed continues to be automatic as closer (although Carlos Santana hit a ball foul that may not have landed yet).
I’ve always felt like the bullpen is as equally important as a team’s offense, defense, and starting pitching. While this season has been frustrating so far for everybody, this bullpen still has the makings to be a real strength for the team.
What an interesting play in the bottom of the eighth inning with Michael Bourn at the plate. Trying to leg out an infield single, Bourn slid head-first into first base to avoid the Matt Thornton swipe tag. He did, but Thornton’s cleet got a piece of Bourn’s finger, and Thornton’s leg got a piece of the first base umpire as Thornton fell to the ground. As a result, all three ended up on the ground.
While it’s a play that was certainly “Not Top 10” worthy on Sportscenter, let’s hope Michael Bourn is OK, as he had to leave the game. Sure, he looks like he’s in the early makings of a “Sox killer” type season for the Indians, but you never want to see opponents get hurt.
The White Sox will head north of the border to face the struggling Toronto Blue Jays this week, and awaiting them on Monday will be a very familiar face. For the first time ever, Mark Buehrle will pitch against the White Sox, as he will oppose Gavin Floyd. Buehrle has struggled mightily this season, and as much as I’d like to see him right his wrongs, I hope it doesn’t start tomorrow.
Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports // Box Scores via USA TODAY online
Alejandro De Aza
Chicago White Sox
Toronto Blue Jays