White Sox vs. Rangers - Live Game Blog

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Greetings from Not-Texas!

It's a rarely seen Friday night, for-the-most-part sober live game blog.  Amidst all the hub-bub about Bulls free agency activities, the not-that-intrinsically-exciting 40-37 White Sox face off against the red-hot Texas Rangers who sit at 47-31 and have won 17 out of their last 21.  Yeeesh.

The Sox are going to throw out Sweaty Freddy Garcia, who sits at 8-3
with a 4.66 ERA despite looking like he might give up 8 consecutive hits
at any moment, against Colby Lewis for the Rangers.  Colby has been a
surprising 7-5 with a 3.28 ERA and outstanding 1.07 WHIP, but also lost
to Garcia in a previous meeting this season that took place right before
Texas' run started.  Garcia will hope to finagle his way to another
win, while the Sox can only hope that Lewis throws 3 HRs again.   Lewis
did apparently have his start pushed back due to arm
fatigue.......whatever....I hate when the Sox play here....it reeks of
doom. 

The lineup is pretty standard with the exception of Ramon
Castro getting the start for A.J.  Mark Kotsay is the DH tonight,
getting the nod over other worthy candidates like Andruw Jones, Dayan
Viciedo, and a small child born without arms.

Apparently it's
raining in Texas (it rains in Texas?  Is it oily rain?), so the start
time is slated for 7:45 at the latest, so I'm going to make myself some
food.  Stop by if you're interested in steak quesadillas.

Actually,
don't stop by....that would scare the bejeesus out of me.

I
should mention this now: I'll just be publishing this post repeatedly,
then editing it over the course of the game, so just refresh after each
half-inning.  Unless you're waiting till the past-tense to read this,
then you won't need to concern yourself with this.  You will be missing
out on a lot of hilarious typos, though.

Rain Delay

Oh
right....Hurricane Alex.  I didn't factor that in.  Lotsa, lotsa,
rain.  Hawk Harrelson is taking long pauses between announcing names,
and Steve Stone just tried to argue that Freddy Garcia is pitching
better than Colby Lewis.  In both cases, we might need to have the crash
cart ready.  Maybe this game won't start for another few hours.  I TOLD
YOU I WASN'T GOING TO CATCH UP ON SLEEP TONIGHT!!

I would
dispute the notion brought up by this commercial that people across
Chicagoland are making Aurellio's Pizza 'part of their family
tradition', but a lot of the malpractice cases I was reviewing at work
today involved 400 lb-people dying from severe bowel complications
(read: explosions).  So maybe they're right.

Now we have
video of Ozzie talking next to a computer that probably isn't his about
Bobby Jenks and Omar Vizquel.  It's mostly unintelligible, and I am
cooking.

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These
belong to me.

 

As some weird piece about Lance
Briggs comes on, my temptation to change the channel is becoming
overwhelming.  Then again, maybe he'll do something crazy.

Well
this is going terribly.  The game is being estimated at 8:30 at the
earliest, the Lance Briggs piece was unwatchable, and I am definitely
not getting much sleep tonight.  This is an outrage.  I still haven't
finished cooking my quesadillas.  If the Sox lose tonight, my mood will be
best described with the word "nuclear".

....

Urgh...uh....oooohhhhhhhhhhhh,
that was one steak quesadilla too many.  This will be a negative
throughout the night.   We're still stuck with a "Baseball's Golden Age"
feature narrated by Alec Baldwin.  Apparently the first fan-voted
All-Star game was a disaster.  I would have never guessed.

Talks
of rain delay are shifting decidedly toward rain out.  I
sure can pick 'em.  Did I mention that there's rain in the forecast for
BOTH games I have tickets to this next week?  There's also intense,
possibly game-canceling rain in the forecast for next two games of this
series in Texas.  Personally I think it's great; Texas is red hot and
the White Sox just lost a series to the Royals.  Everyone loves a
weekend off.

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Anyone
under the impression that everything Alec Baldwin does is entertaining
should stare into the abyss that is this baseball documentary.  Old
baseball journalists arguing that everything was better when they were
kids, and marveling at how much more popular the sport was when it was
the only major sports league not in its infancy.  Yawn.

So far
the highlight of the game has been a crowd shot of an enormous Texan
woman with hideous platinum blond cornrow extensions wearing a full-body
black jumpsuit, drinking a beer while seeming oblivious to the rain. 
But now it seems that the rain delay coverage has shifted into Michigan
High School Hockey footage....I'm rooting for a cancellation
announcement.

The tarp is off the field, the start time is
listed at 9:30.  I'm so tired.  Damn you, White Sox.  Damn you.

Good
God no more high school hockey documentary!  Please!  Agh!  Slow death!

1st
inning

Oh goodness, Sox game just cut in without any warning
whatsoever.  Everyone is wearing white funny hats in honor of the day
that is two days from now.  Steve Stone announces that these are two of
the hottest teams in baseball.  It's unclear if he's been in a coma all
week.

Juan Pierre starts the game with a grounder past 3rd
baseman Michael Young, who was playing at slow-pitch softball
depth....which probably wasn't that bad of an idea.  Juan should run; we
can't score otherwise.

Hold on, I was distracted by some jerk's
awful writing.  Omar Vizquel flies out using a curious uppercut swing.  I
guess the one home run he's hit this year is still fresh on his mind.

Some
part of me thought that Alex Rios' grounder was headed through the hole
for a base hit, then the camera zoomed out and showed that it had only
traveled around 50 feet.  1st baseman Justin Smoak nearly ruined
everything by contemplating throwing at Pierre.  He flips it to Colby
Lewis for the out, presumably staving off being strangled by him until a
later inning. 

Paul Konerko hits a grounder of equal strength
and distance as Rios.  Paul ran as hard as he could to 1st....it
was...um...strange to watch.

Bottom 1st

Freddy Garcia
is already sweating

Freddy's not exactly keeping the pitch count
down.  Elvis Andrus worked him into a 9 pitch at bat before grounding
out lazily to Alexei Ramirez.  Michael Young also makes very solid
contact out to Alex Rios in center.  I'd be worried, but this is kind of
Freddy's way; look shaky all night but somehow not get shelled.

Steve
Stone is still pushing the Freddy Garcia for the All-Star team issue. 
Is it an issue?  I had no idea.  No one's happier with Freddy's
contributions this year than I, but no one, not even Cal Ripken
returning to the league as a pitcher and leading the moribund Orioles to
the playoffs, deserves to be in the All-Star game with an ERA over
4.50.

Vladimir Guerrerro flies out to Rios in
center....everything is to center....always to center.

Top
2nd

High Comedy, Steve Stone introduces a poll of "What is Kenny
Williams' best mid-season acquisition?"

A - Jake Peavy
B- Alex
Rios
C- Jose Contreras
D- Freddy Garcia

Uhh....none of the
above?  Well, I guess Freddy by default.  But none of these guys were
impact players in the season they were acquired, which is the entire
point of acquiring someone mid-season, isn't it?  Freddy went 9-4
in his time with the '04 Sox, but posted a 4.46 ERA....that team was
all offense.

Hawk announces that there will probably be another
rain delay tonight.  I am going to kill something cute and fluffy.

Kotsay
stands at first, walking in the middle of two useless pop outs by
Quentin and Alexei Ramirez.  I just realized that Colby Lewis isn't
going to throw  a perfect game tonight, and am legitimately made happy
by this.  Stone and Hawk have now commenced talking about a prospect
that will probably be traded by Kenny for Roberto Alomar.

Ramon
Castro receives the second free pass of the inning.  Despite the control
problems, Lewis only has 30 pitches.  I know it's the 2nd inning, but I
move for a pinch runner.

Gordon smacks a fly ball that would be
out of a women's softball stadium, but in this case represents the third
out of the inning. 

Bottom 2nd

Freddy takes a 5
pitch break from throwing strikes, and now the lead runner is on for
Texas in the form of Josh Hamilton.  I suppose a runner on base for
Bengie Molina is better than a solo home run.

Or not, Bengie
lines a drive over Alexei's head that shows that up and out over the
plate is not the best location for a 90mph fastball.

David Murphy
shows why he's the 4th outfielder by popping up early in the count to
give Freddy a gift out, and now Justin Smoak has finished things off
with a double play.  I think I can track the point in the Texas lineup
where the production falls off.

Top 3rd

Colby Lewis cannot seem to get Juan Pierre out, or figure out that he likes to to slap pitches on the outer half to right field.

After Lewis nearly throws a pickoff into right field, Juan takes off for second and draws a very good throw from Molina.  Sliding to the back of the bag, Juan is called safe in a call that is quest--well...he's called safe alright?  He's safe dammit, he's safe.

Juan takes off again for 3rd and arrives there without a throw on a pitch in the dirt from Lewis.

Omar Vizquel breaks his bat hitting a weak flare to second.  Juan remains on 3rd.  What does he say to Alex Rios on the way back to the dugout?  "The RBI is all yours," or "Did my best bro", or "Oopsies!"?

The RBI GROUNDOUT!  Is there a more dynamic play in baseball?  Rios falls down 0-2, then hits a grounder back to 3rd.  He didn't really do a great job hitting, Texas was just conceding the run.  Whatever, we're in the lead 1-0, and Rios didn't swing, miss, and hit himself in the face.  When it's already the point of the night where you planned to be asleep and the game is only in the 3rd, you gotta look at the positives.

Can't help but be reminded that Pierre's display in this inning is why he's valuable.  He created that run single-handedly.  Then again, a solo home run does the same thing, and is far more efficient.

Paulie hits a groundball that hits Lewis in the back, and kicks out to a spot that 2nd basemen Ian Kinsler just vacated in his rush to cover up the middle.  This may very well be Paul Konerko's first infield hit, at any level of his career.  He looks exhausted as he takes off all 43 of his protective braces.

Carlos Quentin hits an impressive array of missiles foul to the left before flying out off the end of the bat to center.  I feel like he could do something on Lewis later in the game when he gets his timing right.  THAT'S A PREDICTION!

Bottom 3rd

That's not going to help Paulie's UZR.  He stays back on a hot grounder hit by Julio Borbon (listed as 24 years old, looks 37), and it eats him alive, flying out to right as Quentin hops toward it on his one good leg.  Borbon slides into 2nd.

The Rangers are content to play small ball too, having Elvis Andrus bunt Borbon over to 3rd.

Now I don't play professional baseball, so I can't know what Michael Young's motivation was in swinging at three straight breaking pitches out of the zone, but it seems like his thought process was simply, "I don't feel like knocking in a run this inning."

Garcia goes 3-0 to Ian Kinsler of all people (if he's laying off, you might not be throwing in the same state), gets 2 close calls for strikes, only  to walk him anyway.  At least the Texas crowd has stopped screaming.

Ooops

Guerrero hits a sinking liner into left-center that falls right past a diving Alex Rios and rolls to the wall, both runners score, 2-1 Texas, Guerrero manages to run to 3rd and re-enact his favorite moment of March of the Penguins at the same time. 

Josh Hamiltton hits a ball harder than the previous play, but it ends the inning in Quentin's glove.

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Guerrero is so slow that THIS...is actually a video clip

Top 4th

A future Sox game was just pitched with the line "Andruw Jones and the Chicago White Sox..."  Was this spot recorded in mid-April?

Kotsay stares blankly at strike three, as if the ball told him the true identity of his father as it whizzed by.

Alexei lays into a ball with an uppercut swing, but it dies harmlessly in left-center.  Hmm...maybe cancel that Quentin home run prediction; ball's not carrying.

Ramon Castro lances a bullet single through the hole between 3rd and Short.  Do you think....with all of his power...that if he could just play decent defense...that maybe--...nnnaaahh forget it.

The White Sox, Kotsay aside, Kotsay always aside, made a lot of good contact this inning.  Even Beckham's easy liner to left looked like he was right on the ball.  More importantly, the game is going quickly.

Bottom 4th

Maybe a future post will examine that Freddy's effectiveness is inversely proportional to his sweatiness.  He is glistening right now.  He's also going through Molina, Murphy, and Smoak.  A murderer's row if what's being murdered is Texas' team OBP.

Molina pops out uselessly and Murphy fails in his attempt to hit a curveball off the bounce.  This looks to be a fairly quiet inning.

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However sweaty you think he looks here, multiply it by 5.

Smoak gets a high rolling curveball and grounds it foul.  I'm officially not worried about him for the rest of the game.  Smoak grounds the third out of the inning, but Beckham decides that this a fine time for his 8th error of the season.  Grown men always look silly chasing balls rolling away from them at slow speeds.

Borbon lines out to center.  He definitely hit the crap out of it, but this is Freddy Garcia, with him we call it "using the confines of the ballpark"

Top 5th

Juan Pierre, the source of the offense tonight, grounds out fairly sharply to short.  It's the 5th inning, and the Sox have 4 singles.  Consider me worried.

Apparently Omar and Juan are playing some sort of baseball version of H-O-R-S-E.  Two outs.

Alex Rios lines a grounder up the middle that appeared to go through Colby Lewis' feet.  Something makes me think this 2-out single won't start a rally.

Paulie has no read on Lewis right now, hitting yet another lifeless nubber to the middle infield.  This is in no way good.  Runs are needed.  Multiple runs.

Bottom 5th

Freddy is essentially copying Colby Lewis' effort with lots more pitches, lots more sweat, and one more run.  He induces a weak grounder from Andrus, but cedes a single to Michael Young.  Freddy needs desperately to get out of the inning to salvage a chance at this game.

The ever-aggressive Ian Kinsler pops out to 2nd, but GOOD GODD Guerrero is hitting .337?!!?  I knew he was doing great but that's terrifying! 

Guererro flies out to center.  The ball is just not carrying at all.  This game and this blog need a spark.  A shot of double-proof rum, perhaps?

Top 6th

Hawk's showing the spirit; he just announced the due up order of Carlos Quentin, Mark Kotsay, and Alexei Ramirez with more excitement than those names have been said with--or ever should be said with.  As always is the case with Hawk; it could be a stroke.

Quentin waves at three straight rolling breaking balls.  Can I cancel my prediction?  Right now?  Please?

Gotta give Kotsay credit.....wait...no I don't!  It's a full count...so whatever.

Hard hit foul ball by Kotsay dies in center field.  Can I predict "No HRs tonight?"  Is the 6th inning too late for game predicitions?

Hawk announces, "Even with the two hour and twenty-five minute rain delay, this is one lively crowd."

Uh...duh, if you're a baseball fan (check) and a drinker (check), rain delay games are awesome.  They serve drinks allllll throughout, all the kids and fake fans go home, and everyone is roudy by the time of the first-pitch.  The double play the Sox turned in the first inning during the Atlanta game the Wednesday before last got one of the bigger cheers I've heard all season.  Why?  Because it was 9:15 pm and everyone was hammered.  My sister and I refer to it as "All Drunks-No Kids" mode.  In moderation, it is very enjoyable.  If it happens two nights in a row, there's liable to be a murder committed.

Alexei hits another 2-out single, only to be stranded when Ramon Castro strikes out.   No, there has been no point where the Sox have recorded back to back hits tonight, thanks for asking.


Bottom 6th

Ah, there are some simple facts in baseball.  One of them being that no matter how bad the ball is carrying, home runs can always be hit if you leave a changeup high enough to Josh Hamilton.  Texas has very impressive fireworks for a team that's bankrupt.

Not wanting to distract from the majesty of Hamilton's HR, Bengie Molina grounded out very weakly to Ramirez..  I would encourage David Murphy not to watch tape of this game, it'll only make him very, very sad.

Justin Smoak really has the weak groundball to the right side down pat.  Texas is projected at having a 80% chance to win this game right now.


Top 7th

A leadoff man on base!  Beckham hits a soft liner that just barely gets over the head of Andrus at short.  Hawk refers to it as "a bullet".  Indeed it was...a bullet if it was thrown by a person.

Lewis has reached the 100 pitch mark, and both teams have their bullpens at work presently.  Probably need to get to Colby Lewis now.  You forget that Texas is pretty good because they play in a division almost as crappy as ours and are completely out of money.

Juan bounces (flicks? pats? tappa-tappa-taps?) a ball into the hole between 1st and 2nd, Beckham easily gets to 3rd because the ball is so softly hit.  Runners at 1st and 3rd, no outs, Lewis getting pulled.  I feel as though the explosions outside are unrelated though.  Juan is now 3-4 on the night, and while none of these balls were clocked, this past one was certainly the most softly hit.  This is a groundout in almost every other part of the field.

I'm genuinely sorry if you got excited.  Omar softly pops out to VERY shallow left, runners stay in their place, and now the inning-ending double play is set up.  Texas fans are doing the wave, so hopefully they're about to be karmicly punished for their ignorance and stupidity. 

Alex hits a sharp grounder up the middle that pokes beyond the outstretched glove of Andruws.  Hawk's words run together into some sort of unintelligible high-pitched chirping, Pierre runs into 3rd, game is now 3-2 Rangers.

Maybe Paulie will be less confused by the hard-throwing reliever Alexi Ogando than he was by Colby Lewis' methodical speed-changing ways.   Paul hits a breaker off the hands out to center, and Juan tags up to tie the game.  The Sox have scored 3 runs, in some of the most uninteresting ways possible.

Carlos Quentin swings and misses with a force that changes the future of alternate universes.

There might have been a full second between Hawk announcing "Alex is running" and Ogando throwing.  He is not quick to the plate.  Alex is safe at 2nd.

Carlos continues to make an ass of me by flying out to center.  Tied at 3 going into the bottom of the 7th.  Maybe this game will go into extras...maybe my head will explode.

Bottom 7th

After inducing a very easy groundball out from Borbon, Andruws shanks a sinking liner down the right field line, Quentin drags himself over to it, hops oddly because there seem to be hot coals stored in his jockstrap, then bobbles the ball twice, picks it up, flings it toward the infield, only for it to ricochet off Andruws' back as he slides into 2nd.  By the end of that play, I was almost expecting Andruw Jones' face to come in super-imposed and say "And that's why I feel that I should play right field."

Luckily, Andruws decides to take off for 3rd base waaay before Santos' releases his pitch, making him an easy pickoff victim.  A dugout shot of an amused Ozzie shows that he may have taken the time to line up his beard for the first time since his senior prom.

Michael Young hits a hot liner to the warning track in right, Carlos turns his head in different directions multiple times, before securing it for the last out.  As good as you could hope from him.

Top 8th

Frankie Francisco is in the game for Texas.  You may know as simply "They Guy Who Hit a Lady with a Chair at Wrigley Field That One Time".  Texas knows him as "The Lazy Goofball Who Got Fired From the Closer Spot".

Kotsay crushed a ball to right that inexplicably sinks for an out short of the warning track.  As good as you could hope from him.

After getting legitimately brushed back twice in a row, Ramirez hits a hot grounder between 3rd and Short for another single.  I would give up this laptop for an extra base hit.

Ramon Castro fouls back what may have been THE MOST HITTABLE PITCH IN THE WORLD.  He attones for it somewhat  with a liner single to left.  A replay shows that Beckham in the on-deck circle perfectly mirrored Castro's swing as he made contact.  Is this intentional?  Is Beckham going around and mirroring Castro's every move?  Maybe we've just figured out the cause of the slump.

Does Alexei try to steal 3rd here?

He's thinking about it.

I bet Ramon is not going for 2nd.

Beckham's bat splits to reveal....no cork.  I know you were worried.

Well, the Sox continue to foul back hittable high 92 mph fastballs.  I thought this team was supposed to be good at HRs.  What happened to the April squad we grew to hate?

I was just joking around when I called Francisco lazy, but Beckham grounds into what should be an inning ending double play, only to be given new life when Francisco fails to cover first.  There's a meeting at the mound now, presumably so that everyone can make themselves feel better by deriding Frankie's weight

Juan Pierre in an RBI situation...this is confusing for everyone involved.

Juan pops out weakly to left....uh...at least Rios and Konerko will be up in the 9th....right?

Bottom 8th

I don't care if his name is Putz....I have confidence in him.

Oh crap, the first pitch was two feet short.  Broken confidence!

Second pitch nearly takes Ian Michael Kinsler off of this Earthly plane.  Control issues early.

Leadoff walk on four pitches.   I'm going to need some grain alcohol...or a double play.

5 straight balls...time for a discussion.

Vlad inside-outs a pitch to right field that Carlos Quentin settles under.  Not crushed.  I'm slightly enthused.

Josh Hamilton is brought on with accompanying highlight footage of his epic home run.  I did not need that.

Hamilton bounces to short, and despite a game effort from Beckham, the Sox only get the force out at 2nd.

Molina laces a ball to right, the Texas crowds roars, I feel steak quesadillas bubbling in my stomach, but Carlos runs under it to end the inning.  The number of big catches in this game left up to Quentin has not been good for my health.

Top 9th

The Rangers are in full-on "not-screwing around" mode, bringing in their closer Neftali Feliz.  All that effort just to get Omar Vizquel to ground out again.

Rios looks legitimately late on two 97mph fastballs, only to turn on one for a sharp low liner that Andruws dives to stop.  He also fails to get up, and looks to be in obvious pain.  No trainers get out to help him.  Budget cuts, perhaps?

Paul grounds out into a would-be double play, only for Andruws to drop the ball in the transfer.  Paul is safe at 1st.  They really need to go out there and check on Andruws' hand.  Or not...better for us.

Lillibridge is subbed into the game to run for Konerko.  Good things happen when The Bridge is in.  Quentin is plunked with an inside fastball, then spends a second or two looking pissy about it.

It's all up to Mark Kotsay.........

This team fouls back a lot of good pitches to hit. 

Kotsay inside-outs a pitch to left field that drops right in front of a diving Josh Hamilton, and kicks off of him.  Lillibridge scores easily, Carlos Quentin and the grizzly bear on his back amble into score as the throw badly misses the cutoff man.  5-3 White Sox.  Kotsay claps his hands with the force of 3 months of frustration at 2nd.  I refer to my earlier statement on the effects of The Bridge on games.

A slow roller by Alexei dies in front of Michael Young at 3rd.  Runners at 1st and 3rd. 

Castro may not be able to do a lot, but he doesn't seemed overwhelmed by fastballs, this is proving to be a tough at bat.  He can however, be caught looking at a slow curve right down the heart of the plate.  End of the inning.

Texas deserves to lose tonight for all the outs they gave the Sox in the last three innings.  Plain and simple.


Bottom 9th

Matt "I Don't Like To Close, I Was the Best in the League at What I Did and Now You're Messing With It" Thornton is on for the 9th, and has already blown an 0-2 count to Nelson Cruz to a full count.

He blows Cruz away with a high fastball, and tries the set the umpire who called the 2-2 pitch a ball on fire with his eyes.

Wow, I thought Smoak looked bad from the left side of the plate, turned around to switch hit....well....let's just say he should not switch hit anymore.

Wait, the Rangers have a freakishly thin West Indian infielder too?  They just don't play him regularly.  Joaquin Arias just made my night.  He swings like Alexei too (read: at everything)

Thornton strikes out the side to close it out.  I guess the 'him not being comfortable closing' comments will have to go by the way side, because he looked awesome tonight...and also because Jenks will be back after this game.

Definitely a good win tonight.  No one's going to think that this team is a hitting juggernaut after tonight or think something as wild as Hawk and Stoney's proclamation that the White Sox can rely on coming from behind.  But the pitching kept this game in range for the team tonight, and this offense will look mighty good if they continue to do that for them.  Tonight marked the 4th straight quality start for the rotation, and the bullpen gutted out 3 tough innings of scoreless relief.  Not a gorgeous game to watch, and Texas definitely beat themselves to a degree, but a come from behind win against a top opponent on the road is just as important as it sounds.  I'm only a little mad that it's 12:30 and I'm awake.

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