Perhaps live game blogs are the type of thing that one wants to announce beforehand, but I've always found that it's just as fun to read a funny writer reacting to things as they happened after the game as over as it is to read while they're writing. Or at least it is with Bill Simmons, who knows what reading me is like. Plus, I'll have time to clean up the typos by the time you get to this. I won't necessarily do so, but I'll have the chance. The White Sox have been somewhat rejuvenated these past two days, and have the chance to go for a sweep and a 4-2 record for the week. Both accomplishments might trick people into thinking that this is a respectable team. Let's Begin!
Aaaaaaannndd....it's a rain delay. No predicted start time has
been announced, and we're being 'treated' to a conversation between
Steve Stone and Marketing suit Brooks Boyer talking about how it's not
too late to buy more tickets. Seeing as I've already put down for 15
games so far, sitting through this borders on harassment. Drug dealers
are not this persistent.
Brooks reassures us that we have a
team that "is always going to try to find a way to win". Frankly, I
was already aware that I did not root for the Baltimore Orioles. The
part about Ozzie saying the team look determined after Jose Lopez'
back-breaking home run on Friday was a little bit encouraging.
actor Jeremy Piven is in the booth to tell us about buying malaria
nets. Piven is on the short list of "Celebrities who are the most
unimpressive looking in person", he looks to have not shaved/not had a
whiskey & coke at breakfast for several days now. What are the
odds that Piven got roped into this because he contracted malaria
himself and got the bejeesus scared out of him? Oh wait...he already
announced that as I was typing it. Most importantly the tarp is coming
off the field. Piven reveals to Stone that his character on Entourage
will be getting into sports ownership in the next season. Too bad that
show stopped being good 4 years ago.
Announced first pitch
time is 1:45 pm. Until then we have the privilege of watching an
pre-game press conference with Ozzie Guillen, one that was apparently
filmed when Ozzie was on the toilet. Right now "Can you as a manager
tell when a lineup is coming out of a slump?" is the leader for dumbest
question. I imagine things like players driving the ball, making
consistent contact, and looking confident at the plate are dead
Press conference footage ends with a freeze frame
of Ozzie as the video feed stops with the WGN theme music playing over
it for a solid five seconds. Is this going to cost the production team
a shot at a local broadcast Emmy?
Rather than watch John
Danks warm up, we get treated to a White Sox Legends video concerning
the statues in Center Field.....there are statues in Center Field??!
Wait...Minnie Minoso is still alive??!?!?! My father looks up from his
newspaper to comment that Minnie accusing the Sox organization of
racism for refusing to call up his son from the minor leagues for being
black is usually a detail that is left out in retrospectives done about
him. Today is no exception.
Billy Pierce reminisces on how he
hated getting traded to the Sox because of the stench of the stockyards
at the time. This video is not firing me up. I don't think Harold
Baines is going to suddenly vault me into rah rah mode either. Nope,
the crazy hypocrisy of the White Sox trading Baines, but loving him so
much that they retired his number isn't doing the trick for me. It
would help if Harold could get his pulse over 40.
of rain delay and it's...still raining. John Danks is going to take
the mound to try to continue his terror of a beginning as Steve Stone
reveals that Jose Lopez has been absolutely murdering Danks over his
career. Some men are born to be downers. Good God, Danks' numbers are
good. A starter who's giving up less than a baserunner an inning is
just ridiculous. As the game begins, the rain is pouring down more and
the temperature has dropped. Danks, a native Texan, is probably not
really used to this at all.
Ichiro grounds out aimlessly as Hawk
reveals that there is no reasonable expectation that this game will be
completed given the weather. I made an excellent choice to liveblog
this game. Danks waives through Chone Figgins with that great changeup
on the outside corner. He kinda has that pitch working right now.
Hawk reveals that Danks uses the changeup in all counts and in all
situations. I can't really fault this approach.
falling behind to the last two hitters, Danks induces an easy pop up
for a 1-2-3 inning that ends very quickly. Apparently every inning
needs to go this way as the game needs to end in the next fifteen
minutes to avoid a hurricane.
I should note that a Horseshoe Casino ad just used the term "VIP Slot Room". This is antithetical.
manages to convince the umpire that he was hit by a pitch. This is a
classic example of why we need instant replay so that players stop
getting away with blatantly lying to umpires. Beckham gets a grounder
into the hole as Figgins is out of position in the middle of the
infield. Runners at first and second with no one out for Andruw. This
a fine time to get a run early, then sit on a lead and hope we can get
through six innings. Pierre races and steals third without a throw.
When on base, he's been brilliant. Getting on base however....
is not up on how to hit Mariners' starter Jason Vargas changeup at all,
as he swings and misses badly three times. Call me a cynic, but I've
seen too many inning ending double plays this season to not smell one
coming right now. Konerko manages to check up on a change up that
should have struck him out on 2-2, and then lines a shot just foul of
the left field line that makes Hawk scream "Dad Gummit" for the first
time today. Vargas is a no name, but is left-handed with a good
changeup, essentially the exact type of pitcher you would pick if you
wanted someone to no-hit the Sox. Seattle catcher Adam Moore drops a
high ball, and it squirts behind him as Juan comes into score and
Beckham moves to second. 1-0 Sox. When your catcher bats .138 and
can't catch high fastballs...what justifies his existence? Does he
know a great weed dealer or something? A rattled Vargas walks Konerko
to get to A.J., who just might be the worst #5 hitter in human history.
suppose A.J. is too entrenched to be replaced by Lucy by way of Ozzie's
"Whoever is hitting gets playing time" principle, but goodness, Konerko
is '03 didn't look this bad. Adam Moore and Jason Vargas have now
stopped the game to talk to one another for the third time. Perhaps
they're having trouble agreeing on signs, perhaps Vargas is barely
resisting the urge to murder Moore. Pierzynski grounds to short with
the worst swing in the world, as Seattle inexplicably decides to not
try to turn two. It's nice when games are handed to you.
that back, as Carlos waves at a changeup somewhere near the left-handed
batter's box, and then later weakly grounds to short. He's also
hitting under .160.
Jose Lopez, the guy said
to be dominant against Danks, hits a very non-dominant looper into
center that the crowds boos Alex Rios for not diving at. This brings
up Mike Sweeney, who I honestly thought was retired. Even with a back
that Larry Bird wouldn't trade for, Sweeney scares the crap out of me.
A quick flash of his ridiculous numbers against the Sox for his career
renew my dread. Sweeney hits a sharp grounder in the hole between
third and short to put two runners on with no one out to start. This
brings up Casey Kotchmann. Wait...Seattle's 3-4-5-6 hitters are
Franklin Gutierrez (hit his first home run yesterday), Jose Lopez
(nice, but not a 4 hitter in any universe), Mike Sweeney (legally
declared dead back in '08), and Casey Kotchmann? Were they hoping to
not allow any runs all year? Kotchmann grounds into a double play that
the Sox seriously could have turned in three minutes and still retired
two. Danks strikes out Eric Byrnes to completely end the threat
because Byrnes' prime was four years ago and he didn't hit for contact
then. Terrible, terrible Seattle lineup. Can they campaign to allow
Ichiro to hit twice in the nine-man order?
and Stone announced that Rios is playing just like the two-time
all-star that he was in Toronto. Alright, let's clean ourselves up
fellas, he's not Rod Carew out there. Rios walks on four pitches, and
Adam Moore goes out to talk to Vargas again, surely at some point
Vargas will punch him in the face.
Is there any explanation
on why Mark Teahen comes to bat to salsa music every time? Is this an
inside joke amongst the White Sox staff? Play salsa music for the
palest man on the roster? Let's play Hank Williams for Juan Pierre
while we're at it, or pipe in Lawrence Welk during interviews with
Ozzie. Teahen gives the ball a decent drive but gets too far under it,
flying out to Ichiro for the first out.
The folly of the hit
and run is revealed as Alexei Ramirez strikes out helmet-high as Rios
steals second. I think I'd prefer to still have only one out.
sends a grounder up the middle that has the strength of a chemo patient
to end the inning. Hawk and Stone point out that the Mariners are
hurting because both Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard are on the DL. Let's
not forget that they are also missing their best hitter in Milton
Bradley. Or the even worse crisis that their best hitter is Milton
We've reached the especially
moribund bottom of Seattle's order. A seemingly ordinary fly ball by
Adam Moore to right gets pushed by the wind and takes Quentin to the
warning track. This could be a problem later.
(spelling?) grounds out with an effort so mundane I am infuriated that
I have to write his name out to describe what he did. Danks runs 3-0
to Ichiro, followed by the requisite shots of Japanese fans taking
pictures of him like he just turned the umpire into water. I don't
blame the fans for fawning over a national hero, but why at this point
are we still being reminded that Ichiro is HUGE in Japan. It's known.
Ichiro grounds to short, and Alexei double clutches the throw because
apparently he enjoys tempting fate.
the race to make this an official game continues, Beckham and Jones do
their part by grounding out immediately to 3rd and Short. Jones does
not look like he has a bead on Vargas at all. Apparently I am using
the phrase "have a bead" to mean focused and locked in, because Hawk
has rubbed off on me to a preposterous degree. Konerko walks for the
2nd time in a row, and frankly, if A.J. bats behind him all year he
could walk 150 times. A.J. is already 0-2 as Hawk announces that he's
pulling off the ball in his swing. Part of me was a little excited
that A.J. flied out to center because the swing he used looked only
Chone Figgins lays down an
excellent bunt to the first base line that absolutely dies because of
the soggy grass it was placed in, Danks barehands it and throws up the
line while going to his right to just barely gun down Figgins. Danks
follows that up with a high change that is hammered by Gutierrez into
the left field bullpen to tie the game. Great, now our offense has to
score again with a least three certified corpses in the lineup. Jose
Lopez flies out easily, followed by Sweeney striking out on three
pitches to drop his average back down below .130 on the year. Danks
looks like he might take a walk back to the locker room this half
inning to punch something really hard.
So that was
unpleasant. Server problems just made loading an impossibility for the
last ten minutes. While Quentin, Rios, and Teahen all flied out in an
inning that defined the term non-descript, the Mariners took the lead
on a triple by Casey Kotchmann followed by a looping single by Adam
Moore. As preposterous as these two incidents sound, they indeed
occurred. Kotchmann hit a long drive to center that Alex Rios ran
down, but then inexplicably allowed to fly over his glove. Hawk
immediately announced that Rios would be the first person to announce
that he should have caught that ball. I suppose the accountability is
supposed to prevent me from being infuriated. Adam Moore got jammed
but dropped a single into right that wouldn't have been caught even if
Carlos Quentin wasn't a reprehensibly slow fielder who should never
play defense while Andruw Jones is the DH. All that aside, 2-1
Hawk manages to remind us that
the Sox are currently being one-hit by Jason Vargas today, the one hit
being a pretty softly hit grounder by Beckham. Alexei Ramirez works
the count full and teases us with the notion that he could draw his
first walk of the season before flying out to center. Pierre flies to
right, and Beckham ground weakly to 2nd as the Sox offense has shifted
to 'whimper weakly and die' mode. I love this mode.
Figgins is first pitch swinging and pops into center for the first
out. Not that Pierre or...really anyone on the roster is tearing it up
right now, but I'm really glad we didn't give 4 years, 36 million
dollars to the guy who led the league in times caught stealing last
Franklin Gutierrez clearly has some pop and his swing
scares me. He flied out to Quentin, but I really hope he catches a
random cold and doesn't hit again today. Especially if Randy Williams
Danks-killer Jose Lopez has his third weakly hit
ball of the day, grounding out to 2nd to end the inning. At this
point, I'm just calling him Danks-killer to mock Steve Stone.
Jones comes up with his third opportunity to learn how to hit a change
up. His new approach of not swinging at pitches thrown in the dirt
works beautifully as he gets to 2-0 before lining a single past
Figgins. Figgins might be worthless.
Konerko lines the first
pitch into the left field corner with a shot that would have left the
yard if it wasn't off the end of the bat. It lands barely fair and
then bounces into the stands for a ground rule double. Slooooow
runners on 2nd and 3rd.
The Mariners keep the infield back to
avoid a big inning, which exictes Hawk as it means that Pierzynski's
typical weak grounder will score a run. A.J. takes Hawk one better,
and pops it to the catcher, so that no one scores. Victory! A.J.!
Quentin grounds out to 2nd very early in the count to score Jones.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, racks up the RBI groundouts like the Chicago
White Sox. Rios pops up to short to end the inning with just one run
scored as Hawk deftly waits till the commercial break to start cursing
about how awful that was.
changeups to quickly get 0-2 on Mike Sweeney's dead, cold, lifeless
body before inducing a weak grounder to third. Teahen was able to
throw out Sweeney on the slow roller because the long-time veteran
unfortunately slipped into rigor mortis halfway up the baseline.
grounds out to first to Konerko with what closely resembled a croquet
swing. This game has featured an inordinate amount of dead, lifeless
grounders to the infield.
It's kind of inexplicable how the ball
is carrying so very well to right and so very poorly to left. Byrnes
hammers a ball to deep left that sounds like a missile coming off the
bat, but settles easily into Pierre's glove before the warning track.
That brings us to the 7th-inning stretch rendition of God Bless
America, a solid reminder how deeply ingrained sporting events are to
ideas of national identity and support of other masculine enterprises
like the military.
As Vargas goes full
count to Mark Teahen and approaches 90 pitches, I can 't help but feel
that this is the inning to get to the young left-hander if the Sox want
to make some noise this afternoon. Teahen obliges by lining a leadoff
double to the gap. Alexei Ramirez comes for an at-bat that will
This is not the man I want up right now.
It just isn't.
falling to 0-2 on the worst swing at a changeup since the last time
Pierzynski was up, Alexei strikes out looking on an inside fastball.
It's always great when the hometown announcer is talking about how
horrible your at bat is.
Pierre weakly grounds to short on the
first pitch, as I start feeling the twinge in my left arm most
associated with heart attacks. The Sox so swiftly and so thoroughly
ruined their scoring chances in this inning that it feels like a
drive-by shooting, only if the Sox roster actually took part in a
drive-by all of their bullets would fly out weakly and roll to the feet
of their targets.
Not wanting to risk his tired starter against
a competent hitter, Vargas is pulled by his manager and Sean White is
brought in to face Beckham. White's stats show he has a 1.35 ERA with
a .320 batting average against. Hey! He's Seattle's Randy Williams!
Beckham makes solid contact but drives the ball right to Eric Byrnes in
left. Detroit manufactures cars better than the Sox do runs.
will go into the 8th because apparently he just does that now, and also
because he only has 81 pitches on the game. He's gotten to 3-2 on Adam
Moore, including an amusing instance where Moore hacked at a changeup
with a swing hard enough to kill Chewbacca. An absolutely filthy cut
fastball finishes Moore on strikes.
Danks probably can't hit
95 with his fastball, but his changeup is so devastating that when he
uncorks his fastball at 93 mph he can blow hitters away like he just
did the brother of that guy who played quarterback for the Raiders.
listening to Hawk and Stone describe Ichiro makes it readily apparent
how much Ichiro terrifies them, as they beg Danks not to let him on
base. Ichiro softly loops a single into left that falls in front of
It's always weird when Hawk references Darrin
Jackson, as it brings to mind that they unceremoniously demoted him
after several good years for a shot at Steve Stone. Darrin wasn't
transcendent at any time, but was perfectly decent and seemed to
Figgins pops another little looper (I will not
use the term ducksnort like Hawk, as it is gibberish) over the head of
Gordon Beckham to put Ichiro to 3rd base with Franklin Guitierrez
coming up. Ozzie comes out to ask Danks if he feels he can get
Guitierrez, and I'm sure there's as good of a chance of Danks saying no
as there is of Mark Buehrle killing a man with his fastball. Danks
works Guitierrez to 0-2, but then decides to pick off Figgins rather
than work with his momentum to finish him off. Danks eventually gets
the fly out to center to end the inning, but that didn't exactly
Lotto commercials annoy me.
Were you not aware that winning the lottery was awesome before you saw
a 30 second commercial of an out of work actor jumping around and
screaming? Was that what was holding you back about paying money into
something that there is an infinitesimal chance of ever getting a
return from? That you wouldn't be happy enough when you actually won?
Also, whoever buys me an instant ticket as a present is getting flicked in the ear. Repeatedly.
pitcher Brandon League in the game to pitch the 8th. Andruw Jones
nearly takes the first pitch out to left, getting just under it to fly
out to Byrnes. It is not carrying well to left.
into one to left that slowly towers over the wall. By the time the
ball lands it looks like it's coming straight down. Just a high, high
fly ball. League is doing something where he's throwing this pitch, to
um...right handers...and they're uh...crushing it to left field...and
uh...he should probably be taken out.
Possibly the hardest ball
A.J. has hit this season is fielded by a diving Casey Kotchmann and
flipped to League for the first out. Quentin and Rios go out in order,
meaning we'll be submitted to Bobby Jenks going for a one run save. I
Jenks bedevils Lopez with an
array of...offspeed stuff? I feel like I just watched Chad Bradford
induce a groundball out of Craig Grebeck. Just an absurd at bat to
watch. I kinda liked it.
With 93 year old Mike Sweeney up,
Jenks predictably challenges him to catch up to a fastball before
revealing a pretty nasty changeup to finish him off. Genuinely
impressive. I am full of hope.
And said hope is defiled and
destroyed almost instantaneously by Kotchmann lining a shot to the gap
which becomes a double in the hands of Juan Pierre. Seeing Kotchmann
run like he's been shot in the back and still slide in safely because
Pierre's throw three-hopped to Beckham was kind of like watching a
little league game if all the eleven year-olds who can't throw were
being paid millions of dollars.
Jenks, ever game, walks the
free-swinging Eric Byrnes on five pitches to bring Griffey up. With
Thornton in the pen, it must be tempting to just go for Matt, who will
surely eviscerate Griffey, but completely emascualte Jenks in the
process. Ozzie is clearly tempted as he walks out and talks to Jenks
for a minute. Can I makes a request for next season's roster? Less
guys on the roster with names ending in -nks. After working him to 0-2
with hard stuff, Jenks strikes Griffey out on a high fastball that
clocked in at 96 mph. Griffey might've turned on that pitch in 1994,
but now it hits A.J.'s glove to give the Sox a much, much, much
needed sweep. Truthfully, high fastballs were never Griffey's
specialty, but throwing heat to guys over 40 is such an obvious
solution it's curious why he'd be brought in to face a hard-thrower
What makes this win especially sweet is that Danks
gets the win and is appropriately rewarded for keeping the Sox in a
game that they executed poorly enough on offense in to deserve to
lose. The Mariners truthfully didn't play that bad this weekend beyond
their bullpen getting tagged for home runs at um...less than opportune
times. With three wins to move to 8-11, the Sox season is back to
simply being a disappointment, rather than a degradation to the sport