With today's win to take them up to 9-13 (I use 'up' in a relative sense), the Sox move a half-game ahead on the still 8-13, cellar-dwelling Kansas City Royals. Better yet this win, just like the end of last night, featured multiple players mired in slumps coming alive, right as we head to New York to play the best team not named the Tampa Rays.
Surely it's lost on no one that this is still the 5th series the White Sox have dropped out of 7 this year, and that the White Sox lost the first two games of this series against a fellow sub-.500 team. One should not react to this win with gloating, you should simply put down the razor, and step out of that warm bath....slowly, because your legs have probably atrophied to some degree.
A few standout performances have kept the White Sox well...not afloat, but...uh...not drowned. John Danks, Andruw Jones, Matt Thornton to name a few. But the most important player so far has definitely been 2005 Paul Konerko Transplanted Into the Future. Now, no one really knows when exactly 2005 Paul Konerko Transplanted Into the Future snuck behind 2010 Paul Konerko, chlorophormed him, dragged him off to an abandoned equipment room where he still remains, and assumed his identity, but whenever it was, it was truly a blessed day. Clearly it occurred sometime in Spring Training, because 2005 Paul Konerko Transplanted Into the Future has been on fire since Opening Day. His 2 HR on the day pushed him to a Major League leading 10 on the year, and he now has an insane OPS of 1.148! Think of OPS as a grade percentage in class. Someone with an OPS in the 700s has a grade percentage in the 70s and is a C student, 800s is a B student, 900s is an A, and below 500 is A.J. Pierzynski. That would make Paul Konerko a student with a 115% in his class. Not only does he have an A+, the teacher is probably pregnant with his child. 1.148 makes Paul 2nd in the AL behind the injured Nelson Cruz, meaning he is the best hitter in the league playing right now. Paul Konerko! At 34 (OR IS IT 29?!?!?) years of age! If Paul plays even close to this level for the rest of the year the White Sox will have to take the prospect of re-signing him very seriously. As for now at the very least, Mark Kotsay should be forced to give him a foot massage.
Beyond Paulie, who's been hot all year, the White Sox got yet another resurrection special today from several players. Gavin Floyd had his first good start since the first week of the season, and demonstrated uncharacteristicly great control on top of his great curveball. It was truly a fine day for Gavin and his weird stick-your-butt-out-awkwardly delivery. It'll be nice to return to having marginal confidence in four of the starters, and not just wait for Matt Thornton to get into the game. By the way, Matt Thornton got into today's game, and was pretty awesome.
While A.J. Pierzynski only went 1-4 today, his RBI single sparked what became an utterly disastrous 7th inning for the Rangers. It was a critical moment in the game that Pierzynski didn't shrink from; unthinkable as recently as just this past weekend. We might not have to take him out back and shoot him like Old Yeller after all. I'm thrilled...to save the bullets.
Even the great white hope, Gordon Beckham decided to stop scaring living daylights out fantasy baseball players across the nation by reaching base three times and scoring a run. Perhaps Gordon found himself motivated by Ozzie's weird press statement about how Beckham, as a 2nd year player, is inherently terrible and shouldn't worry about being good. Once again Ozzie proved himself to be a master motivator through the time-tested tool of making statements so perplexing and bizarre that they distract his players from all their insecurities and doubts. Give him a raise!
Now this game was not without its warts; in some ways Texas sparked the White Sox rally through a massively-condensed clump of incompetence that exploded during the top of the 7th inning, Juan Pierre didn't reach base in an 0-5 effort that...ugh....God, he sucks and I have nothing more to say, and Bobby Jenks decided he's only reliable in save situations so he decided to make the game into a save situation by allowing two runs and putting the tying run onto 1st before ending things.
I'll address such concerns in order:
1. It's not our responsibility to beat Texas in admirable fashion. Baseball teams beat themselves all the time, credit the White Sox for taking advantage.
2. Juan is really bad, and I don't think I can discuss it every day without...um....I don't want to talk about it!!! Okay??!
3. Bobby has been unable to pitch in non-save situations since 2006 now, and it's probably another reason we won't be able to trade him for anything valuable or shiny. What's strange is that he emerged in 2005 not initially as the closer, but just as a late inning guy who could blow people away in the 7th and 8th. Now he's the baseball equivalent of the guy from The Hurt Locker who's addicted to the adrenaline rush, only if the main character was instead a mediocre-at-best bomb defuser who dies 45 minutes into the film. Suffice it to say that Jenks is not my favorite player on the team.
What's important now is that the Sox are confident and ebullient, because they're about to play the Yankees.