A win is a win.
It's hard to complain about a 5-4 victory over the Royals, who went into today's game with a six-game winning streak over the White Sox. But I could have done without the ninth inning theatrics as shaky closer Addison Reed, who retired the first two batters in the inning, surrendered two runs and three hits before striking out the dangerous Lorenzo Cain with the tying run on second base. As we've learned, it's never easy when the Sox play the Royals.
And as of late, nothing's been easy for Reed either as he is finding out that the league is catching on to him and, in turn, he'll need to make some adjustments. I've been calling for the Sox to have savvy veteran Brett Myers close, but he's struggled as well. He gave up a run on three hits in the eighth before giving way to Matt Thornton.
While we stress about the back end of our pen, here are a few pleasant things to think about.
* Without Adam Dunn and Kevin Youkilis in the lineup for the second straight game, the Sox devised a new lineup to compensate--and it worked. Alexei Ramirez was moved to the second spot in the lineup and drove in a run. Dayan Viciedo, hitting third, went 2 for 4 with a first-inning homer and with A.J. Pierzynski DHing, Tyler Flowers came through with a two-homer out of the seventh hole. Paul Konerko, who hasn't been his usual potent self, homered for the Sox's fifth run and it proved to be the winning tally.
* It's certainly a positive sign that Thornton has had a couple of strong outings in a row. In relief of Myers today, he struck out two to end a K.C. threat.
* We also can't underestimate the importance of Chris Sale returning to form after a couple of so-so outings, allowing just a run and five hits with six strikeouts in six innings of work for his 16th win of the year.
* Last but not least, the Sox defeated Bruce Chen, scoring five runs on six hits with three homers off of their nemesis.