As the New York media is obsessing over Joe Girardi's bullpen decisions in the White Sox's thrilling 4-3 comeback victory over Girardi's Yankees last night, let's go over yesterday's checklist of the "musts" the Sox need to accomplish to be successful in the four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Dylan Axelrod has to keep the Sox in the ballgame.
Axelrod did his job and more, allowing only two runs and six hits in seven innings of work to set the stage for the ninth inning dramatics. If his fellow starters continue the trend in the next three games, we'll be in good shape.
Alejandro De Aza has to get on base to set the table for the run producers.
Do you think De Aza did his part last night? All he did was go 4 for 5 with an upper deck homer. He was both a tablesetter and a table clearer.
The Sox need big weekends from Kevin Youkilis, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Alex Rios to continue the offensive momentum from the 12-run, 21-hit performance against the Twins on Wednesday.
Add A.J. Pierzynski to this group and the quintet went 3 for 18 with two walks, one run and no RBIs (the run and two hits were credited to Rios. Konerko collected the other hit, a double). The good news is that we still were able to win the game. (See Result #5 for details).
The young Sox bullpen has to overcome any intimidation they might feel by pitching against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium for the first time.
Overall, a success, with Addison Reed escaping with a save. And even though Hector Santiago coughed up a homer to Mark Teixiera in the bottom of the eighth that gave the Yankees an insurance run, he did strike out Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano and got credit for the victory.
The Cuban pair of Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez must rise to the occasion if the heart of the order above fails to deliver.
Ah, this one's my favorite. I just had a strong feeling that either Viciedo or Ramirez or both would be significant factors. My hunch came through in Game 1 as Viciedo hit the clutch three-run, come-from-behind homer in the ninth that stunned the Yanks and their fans. All good.
Sox Note of Note: The Sox remain 2 1/2 games over the Indians in the A.L. Central.