It's hard for me to do my usual bit of griping tonight about some of the dinosaurs creaking around on the White Sox roster for two reasons. 1. One of them is Paul Konerko, effectively the best player in the AL through 23 games, and 2. The Yankees just came from behind and beat us using 35 year-old Derek Jeter, 34 year-old Alex Rodriguez, 37-year old Andy Pettitte, and 40 year-old Mariano Rivera. Well, I guess a lot of Rodriguez' physique is around 8-10 year old, not 34. It seems kinda unfair to still be needling Rodriguez over his past, but hey, not nearly as unfair as it is to use illegal steroids. While watching the Yankees overcome a 3-0 1st inning deficit to tie the game at 4 by the 5th inning, and scoring the go-ahead runs against our best reliever, this is the rare instance where the Sox should be commended for a solid effort.
It's additionally hard to needle the Sox over tonight given the level of competition they were facing. If they were going to get to Andy Pettitte and his perfectly cleffed chin, they would need to do it early before he established a rhythm, and the Sox did just that. Alexei and Gordon didn't record the most impressive base-hits of all time, but what's important is that they reached base to open the game, something that Juan Pierre has not accomplished in the calendar year (Okay, he probably has, but the main point you should take away is that he is really awful). This set the stage for Konerko, who continued his late-career renaissance season with yet another big home run. Konerko now has a major-league leading 11 to go with an OPS of 1.197 at the age of 34. If this was 2003 this would be really suspicious.
Now, as much as I think Juan should have been taken out of the leadoff spot, well actually I think it should go farther, I think we should just throw Juan a retirement party and see if he decides to just play along....you know what, let's start that sentence again. Now, as much as I think Juan should have been taken out of the leadoff spot, I can only hope that replacing him with Alexei Ramirez was some sort of joke, or perhaps Ozzie just wrote "Hanley Ramirez" on the lineup card and hoped it would come true. This man drew his first walk of the season on Wednesday. Worse yet, it wasn't that out of character for it to take them that long.
As encouraging as it was to see Quentin come back and DH (maybe we can make it permanent!), it was just as discouraging to hear that Andruw Jones was out with back spasms, leading to his being replaced by Jayson Nix in the outfield which confirmed that it is just and awful, awful time to be Mark Kotsay. Anyone who followed Michael Jordan's second stint with the Bulls knows that back spasms are a chronic condition that can strike at any time. Not only could this keep Andruw out a lot during the season, but could limit how physical he can be in the outfield. Part of me is glad that Nix was out there tonight instead of Jones, because when he dived after what turned out to be a game-winning triple by Jeter, I didn't think about whether Jones would have caught it, but how many ribs he'd break, and whether it would sound like popcorn as it happened.
Oh right, the actual game. Clearly Freddy didn't have his good control tonight, but it seemed like he could gut out six innings and deliver the bullpen a slight lead until he became extremely frazzled by Yankee speedster Brett Gardner reaching base in the fifth. At least I think Freddy was frazzled, I can't really tell, he was born without emotions. After throwing over to first enough times that Ozzie was probably considering calling time to give Konerko a new glove, Freddy tossed an absolute beach ball to Jeter, which he hit to Poughkeepsie to tie the game at 4. As Hawk Harrelson contemplated on endlessly, Freddy is really at a stage in his career where he needs to recognized his limitations. He can't pick off runners, he can't overpower hitters, all he can really do is try to get ahead of hitters to set up his breaking ball. So that is all he should worry about doing.
Called into to hold things even in the 7th, our best reliever Matt Thornton couldn't quite put away Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner, and just got worked over by Derek Jeter, a man I must begrudgingly acknowledge as an all-time great. While Thornton let us down, he did not look terrible, and there's no reason to lose confidence in him. He wasn't going to post an ERA of 0.00, and he almost certainly wasn't going to go through the season without a credited loss. Some nights you get beat, or in the case of the 12-0 loss to the Rays, some nights you get beaten, stabbed, whipped with belts, tarred, feathered, tied to the back of a parade float and dragged through the city while being pelted with eggs, before being strangled to death by an enormous polar bear.
Thankfully, tonight was an instance of the former.
(Ending note: Near the end of the night my mother complained to me "They have Mariano Rivera and we have Bobby Jenks". I reacted by staring off into space with a horrified expression on my face for four and a half minutes)