The White Sox are 11 out, they're only 8 over .500, and they may drop behind the Tigers for 3rd place. The only way things could get more dire were if Kenny Williams were negotiating a contract extension with Scott Linebrink RIGHT NOW as I type. Hold on, I'm going to fetch a few blankets to stop myself from shuddering.
As the season is functionally over, what better way to reflect that than in the lineup?
1. Juan Pierre LF (Ozzie may be contractually mandated to put him here)
2. Omar Vizquel 2B (Beckham's hurt, and Lillibridge throws like a Mr. Bucket run over by a car)
3. Manny Ramirez DH (He just needs to get his timing right! We swear!)
4. A.J Pierzynski C (The first part of a two-part message to Sox fans. It reads, "F@#$--)
5. Mark Kotsay 1B ("--YOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUU!!!!!!!)
6. Alexei Ramirez SS (Exactly who the hell would his backup be?)
7. Mark Teahen RF (A left-handed Quentin in every way at this point. Not a compliment)
8. Brent Morel 3B (Because the White Sox think you should wait the longest for the person you want to see)
9. Alejandro de Aza CF (Hey, why the hell not?)
If the Sox are going to straight-up acknowledge that the season is over by taking the top-two WAR position players out, I don't see how that lineup doesn't have Tyler Flowers or Dayan Viciedo in it. I guess we want to make sure we're positive we're not re-signing Manny and Kotsay next year...that or we want to give the 5,000 Oakland fans their money's worth.
Game Time's upon us. Hit the jump to get the commentary as it comes. As always, there are going to be typoes galore until post-edit.
Aaaaannnd we're going to be tortured with the last five minutes of "Life Unexpected" on WGN. Oh, the daughter cheated on the test and got a 95, and now her parents are thrilled, and she's all guilty and stuff. I'm more distracted by the Jason Mraz knockoff music in the background. Never though I'd long for the real thing....
Hawk opens things by recapping last night's game. How nice of him to say that "the bullpen let us down" and not "Scott Linebrink".
OH MY GOD ARE THERE EVEN 2,000 people there!?!?!?
My roommate Joe doesn't realize his casual, innocent observations are barbs
"Is it a 7-game losing streak...oh...yes, there it is....he said it"
"Manny Ramirez isn't working out too well I hear....I guess it'd be one thing if he were playing the outfield and screwing up--"
"That'd make him Carlos Quentin" I retort. He giggles. I'm getting a beer, dammit.
Pierre and Vizquel have both grounded out instantaneously. At least Vizquel shattered his bat in the first part of our secret plan to win the game--Kill Daric Barton
Manny is announced in an extremely monotone voice, to the loudest booing this crowd of 432 people can muster.
"Why do they hate him?" Joe queries
"Because screw Manny, that's why" I inform
"I guess so."
Manny walks, representing the best possible result for this scenario.
Oh wait, apparently they're capable of booing a little louder for A.J. Manny may be an overpaid juicer, but at least he didn't bleach his hair and cheat during the ALCS....unless you count the juice.
A.J. whiffs on a sinker just after Hawk finishes talking about how hot he's been this month. I'm digging the pace of this game.
Heh, wow, way to delete ALL of my Bottom of the 1st inning, Movable Type! I'm sure everyone will appreciate that. Oakland scored after Buehrle allowed at least three bullet line drives, Teahen somehow made a sliding catch that harkened to the days of Magglio, and not-beaten-down-from-injuries Quentin. And it all happened really fast.
Speaking of fast, there are already two outs after Kotsay tried to do his best Viciedo impression and struck out, and Alexei hacked the first pitch to 3rd. Good God, this lineup is smoking tonight.
Mark Teahen stares at strike 3 over the middle with a slow, leisurely ease that reflect the sweet time he's taken to come into his own as a player....as in never
Good God, Mark Buehrle has already struck out Jack Cust. Can we have a mound meeting!??! Something!!?!? Slow down! I'm dying!
Alexei Ramirez makes a great pick up the middle, spins and fires to get Matt Carson at 1st. Maybe he's only going to be a defensive specialist, but that's better than the guy he threw it to: Mark Kotsay - Beard Specialist
Buoyed by getting the first hit of his career off Linebrink last night, Chris Carter hits a bullet line drive the other way for his 2nd hit. Is it weird to say that I though Morel looks great diving in vain? I think it is. Reminds me of other great White Sox third basemen diving in vain. The high socks are very Crede too.
Crowd shot to show obese man wearing sunglasses, neon green wig, and yellow-green full body sock.....Thank you, WGN
Can't help but notice how many pitches by Buehrle are being drilled tonight. It'll probably come back to bite us later in the game. Maybe when it's 1-0 in the 7th a half hour from now.
A lazy popup to right is fielded by Mark Teahen via the "Oh crap, the ball!" He's like Quentin if CQ didn't follow up every time he made you worry by actually confirming your worst fears.
Buehrle is racing through the lineup because it's his nature to, whereas Cahill is racing through the lineup because we can't touch him to save our damn lives. Morel down on strikes.
Oh...the sound cut out. I'd like to take this moment to announce that tonight's broadcast is brought to you by Comcast Infinity...and as I say that....the video cut out too.....
....and we're back! de Aza is out for some reason, and everyone's voice sounds higher.
Juan Pierre bounces the ball immediately back to Cahill. I think it's safe to say his sinker is working tonight. I'm officially putting us on Cahill No-hitter watch
Rajai Davis is first-pitch hunting and sprays one to right. A mortified and sprinting Teahen tries to pull of the same sliding catch he made in the first inning and....fails....heh...at least he kept it in front of him. As he walks back to his position, Teahen looks skyward as if to say "Damn you, God....Damn you."
Daric Barton has no interest in seeing Davis vs. Buehrle's pickoff move. He's swung early for fielder's choices twice in a row with the 2nd leading basestealer in the league on 1st.
Hawk has declared Rickey Henderson the greatest offensive player he's ever seen. Uhhh......
"And no athlete ever took the same type of beating on his body as Rickey"
# of football games seen by Hawk - 0
The trend of A's hitting the ball hard continues with a flyout to right by Mark Ellis...
....and an RBI double by Kurt Suzuki to the left field corner. Barton scored from first thanks to Juan Pierre and the Bra-Strap Cannon.
Kouzmanoff drills a few foul balls. Oakland is clocking the ball....the White Sox are being no-hit....this is a problem.
Brent Morel dives and saves a screamer down the line, rises and fires a dart across the diamond for the 3rd out of the inning. Alright, I'm convinced, he's Joe Crede. Have to have him every day. His average is currently .231---JUST LIKE '09 JOE CREDE!!!!
The VISA Debit card about a kid backpacking through Europe as his parents transfer him money has sent Joe into volcano mode about his post-college experience. The night has it's high point now.
Chad Pennington boots a grounder in the hole from Vizquel, and we have our first hit! T-E-C-H-N-I-C-A-L-I-T-Y!!!!!
A sample of Oakland fans as Manny strolls to the plate
"You suck Manny!"
Manny strikes out looking on a fastball on the outside edge as Stone announces "He watched 3 fastballs go by"
4 million dollars. four-MILLION!!
It's always great to see one of the greatest power-hitters of all-time blatantly hoping to get walked.
A hot drive from Pierzynski spells redemption for Pennington, as he dives to his right, and nearly starts a double play.
This brings Bill to life
"OOOOHHHHHH MY GOD! THAT WAS AWESOME."
"If Vizquel stood up a second earlier on that throw, there's a dead person on the field right now" Bill notes.
The crowd is announced at 11,000-plus for the game...Hawk and Stone remark that this is a bigger crowd than last night. Perhaps franchise contraction should be considered again.
Kotsay pops up to 1st. I can't really say it made me like him less
The logic of the kinda homophobic Miller Light commercials is questioned
"Who goes to a bar and says, 'I want a beer, but I don't care which one' or 'Give me your worst beer'?"
"I once asked for 'a shot of your worst whiskey'"
"Well, did you say 'worst' or 'cheapest'?"
Cust sprays a line drive single to right field to lead things off, only for Carson to strike out swinging, putting Chris Carter (.057 BA) at the plate. This is not the heart of Oakland's order.
Hawk mentions that Twins bullpen has been the best in the league. Interesting to hear that Mijares is back for Twins given that I was at the game where his leg buckled underneath and he dropped like Gardenhire had pulled the five point exploding heart trick on him.
And now there's no stopping Chris Carter. He singles to center, and by some cruel punishment of God I have to watch Jack Cust run to 3rd on this. EVEN THEIR FAT GUYS RUN BETTER THAN OUR FAT GUYS!!!
Wait...Pennington's first name isn't Chad....whatever, Pennington lines a fly ball to the left field wall, Pierre chases it and runs head first into the wall at full speed....splat. As he slowly slides down, de Aza scoops up the ball and hurls it to Ramirez. Cust has already scored, and Carter circles around to score as Alexei throws the ball oh....I'd say 18 feet to the right of where Pierzynski is standing. Pennington to 3rd. 4-0 A's. This game took the express train to Incompetenceland where it will marry a fine lass, and raise a whole family of little incompetent games that will grow into big, strong, incompetent games.
Rajai Davis grounds to 3rd, and Pennington--in the theme of the game--wanders incompetently into a run-down. Davis scampers to 2nd in this time, because he's fast as all hell.
Because Barton can't hit a fielder's choice with Davis on 2nd this time, he chooses to hit a looper in front of de Aza. 5-0 A's
"This game is super over" quips Bill. His girlfriend and her friend have now attended. There is now a bevy of people in this room wondering why the hell I am still watching this awful game.
Buehrle strikes out Ellis to prove that he can still get AA-quality hitters out
Alexei strides into the box
Joe: ".309 OBP? That's not good, is it?"
Alexei and his newly grown evil goatee line a double down the line. It's the 2nd hit for the Sox. The A's have 9.
Teahen grounds to 2nd, a failure in every normal aspect, but at least it moved Ramirez over...he could've done something far more incompetent.
Oakland is conceding the run (because why the hell not?? They're up 5 for crissakes!), so Morel's grounder to short scores Alexei. And the White Sox have put one on the board
The upside - First run of the series
The downside - First run of the series
Brent Morel looks like Sam Rockwell
De Aza grounds out to first. I guess the 26 year-old who can't lift the ball off the ground probably isn't going to be a factor on the team next season
Buehrle induces a groundout from Kuzuki as the A's continue to hack the 1st pitch. Why not?? They're all strikes and under 90 mph. Maybe this guy isn't worth double-digit millions...
No wait, he struck out Kouzmanoff
Did I say Morel looks like Sam Rockwell? Because the obvious answer in Ringo Starr. The way his nose bridges is---OH MY GOD IS HAWK BEMOANING 2004 AGAIN RIGHT NOW??? What prompted this??! Maggs leg went bad, Thomas was too old, and then the next year we won the World Series. What a tragedy.
Cust singles easily to right, putting Mark Teahen in the horrifying position of having to field a grounder. I imagine this is what acid-induced Vietnam flashbacks are like
Morel breaks his error cherry, and lets a ball go through the wickets for two bases.....Not the greatest of signs.
Thank God we could stop Chris Carter. Had three straight hits going into that at-bat. He's already better than Carlos Quentin.
Two Fat Tires have prompted the first bathroom break of the game. I expected to see Pierre in his home run trot when I returned....instead he hit a glorified popup for a single.
Stolen base #59 for Juan! These type of personal milestones are pretty much the only reason to stay glued to the Sox. That and my transcendent writing....I spelled transcendent wrong on my first try.
Vizquel singles to center, but somehow doesn't manage to score the fastest guy on the team. At least one of the greatest power-hitters of all time is coming to the plate...
RBI Double play groundout for Manny...
Joe questions whether Manny's contribution can still be considered completely worthless given that a run scored.
I assure him it can be.
Two of the slowest men in the history of the whole damn world have just singled back-to-back. Pierzynski on 2nd, Kotsay on 1st....Alexei up with two outs. "Tying run at the plate!" Hawk exhorts.
I'm not buying it.
Alexei on the other hand, is buying anything. I remember seeing Miguel Cabrera once line a single that was in the left-handed batters box, but Alexei's attempt to recreate this feat falls woefully short. 6 Ks for Cahill.
Is the White Sox lineup tonight inept enough that Pennington bunting for a base hit up 3 can be considered poor sportsmanship? I am desperate to see a brawl. But these teams barely care enough to be here, let alone break someone's jaw.
I wonder how much better Rajai Davis would be if he could hit? A slow dribbler to Ramirez moves Pennington to 2nd.
Wow, that wasn't graceful. Buehrle reacts to a grounder back to the mound like he's being attacked by bees, but manages to scoop it and fire to first. Yes, he does have a gold glove. I have to assure Joe of this.
And Mark Ellis strikes out, where was his terribleness at when he was doubling in the first inning and putting us in a hole?
The dry monotone way the Oakland PA announces Mark Teahen's name perfectly mirrors my feelings toward him. 7 strikeouts for Cahill.
Lucas Harrell is warming up in the pen! D-d-d-d-d-downgrade
This is not one of those nights where Morel is showing that he can help a whole lot at the plate. He can't get from on top of Cahill's sinker, and that grounder makes him a very non-descript 0-3
Hawk announces that tomorrow's game starts at 2:37...that's 11:37 local time......that makes sense.
Alejandro De Aza corkscrews a ball to left for the 3rd out of the inning. By far the best result he's had so far.
No! I can feel the doldrums of this game dragging me down! I'll fight it! Let's go Harrell! Try to give up less than 8 runs!
After a strange half-minute of weird electro nu-metal interlude music, Harrell is on the mound and ready to deal
"Harrell needs to prove to Ozzie and Coop that he can throw strikes" Faaantastic!
Minnesota has won tonight, so if the result stay, White Sox will drop to 12 back. I do this a lot, but I feel it's necessary that I say "12...12!"
Wouldja look at that? Harrell induces a groundout from the lead man! I guess everyone's warming up to the idea of going home.
Kouzmanoff strikes out swinging at a pitch after Harrell threw it through Pierzynski's legs. He's looked awful, I think you'd have to decline a trade offer of him for Teahen.
Jack Cust walks up to the plate to a song that clearly shows that Jack Cust thinks he's way cooler than he is. Let's give Harrell the benefit of the doubt and say that his walk of Cust, and the 51-foot pitch that counted for ball four were just part of a ruse to get to Matt Carson
Cust, and his beer gut slide safely into 2nd for a stolen base. How the hell does something like that happen? Harrell apparently keeps runners on 1st worse than Jake Peavy holds back muscles on his scapula.
Oh wait, Carson is terrible... Inning over! Hurrah. We're only one 3-run HR that no one in this lineup can hit away from tying this sucker.
Alright Sox, it's rally time! Time to pull this one out, time to show some heart and show what it means to be---oh crap, Cahill is still in the game. Fudge.
Pierre grounds nice and easy to Pennington at 1st, who bobbles the ball inexplicably. Reached on an error for JP.
Feeling for his fellow middle infielder, Vizquel assuages Pennington's guilt by grounding easily for a double play. Manny up. Rally over.
Showing his incredible hitting prowess, Ramirez swings at the first pitch and dribbles it to short. Make no mistake, I am beginning to hate the bejeesus out of this man
Oh crap, the game's back...I was reading. Harrell is showing that trademark control by running 3-0 to defensive replacement Gabe Gross to start things off, before allowing the hardest hit ball of the night for a double. Do Harrell and Chris Sale talk? Or can they not relate in any meaningful way?
Cliff Pennington...his name is Cliff. Cliff tries to bunt Gross over to 3rd...can't we pretend to be offended for no reason? What's the fun in slowly losing without a fight?
Pennington can't seem to lock in on Harrell's 90 mph fastball down the middle. Chances are once this guy's defense goes, so does his major league career. Cliff hits a sinking liner that Omar catches and very casually tries to flip to Ramirez for a double play. It doesn't work...Ramirez is almost off the bag when it's caught, and Gross was back. Omar argues a bit anyway, and rightly so, as Davis lines the first pitch to right to make this 6-2.
Breslow, the guy Oakland's been using as a backup closer, has sat down as this is no longer a close game by any reasonable standards. When the Oakland A's are giving up on your comeback...maybe you should too.
Harrell goes and decides to walk the backup 1st baseman hitting .172. Was Carlos Torres too tired for tonight?
Rajai Davis sprints for 3rd, and A.J. responds by bouncing the throw past Brent Morel and into left field. Davis scores, and Larish comes all the way to 3rd on the double steal. If this is what has to happen for us not to re-sign A.J......so be it.
Oh, so if the Sox lose tonight, Minnesota clinches the division. Looks like I'll be having more beer after all. Hawk starts reiterating his "bullpen is the only thing that matters" point....I wonder if I can induce myself to yawn on command.
Harrell walks Suzuki. Minnesota chills champagne. I successfully stare an actual hole into the TV set.
Mark Teahen has no quit in him, he breaks poorly on a sinking liner, but recovers to make a diving catch. A true Quentin-in-June play.
Any chance we pull out all the stops to save the division? I sure hope not.
So long, A.J. I will miss you swinging as hard as you can at pitches that might hit you.
Kotsay drills a single to left-center. He is unwilling to let the season that might be his last major-league contract die.
Alexei starts the at-bat at 0-2...as was agreed upon before the first pitch. Another double down the line for Ramirez. Kotsay wisely doesn't try to score (for once!). Come on! WE CAN PRETEND LIKE WE THINK WE CAN DO THIS!
Teahen's pulled for pinch-hitter Andruw Jones as the A's bring on Sorta-Closer Craig Breslow. After swinging and missing twice to get to 0-2, Andruw begins to try some stretches.....glad that he made time for those.
Breslow pulls a come from ahead walk, and loads the bases for Brent Morel. "Tying run on deck!" Hawk cries! Make this stop.
Up 2-0, Hawk pleads "Don't help him out here Brent". Brent refuses, whiffs on three straight balls. Tying run still on deck!
Konerko comes out to pinch hit, and pad his walk stats.
More than anything, Paul seems cold.
Konerko grounds out to 2nd to end the game, mark the season officially as a failure, allow everyone to return to their warm hotel rooms.
Well that's it, meaningful baseball on the Southside has now reached its de jure end. And it did so in notable fashion. It was the first time the Sox lost a game I liveblogged on ChicagoNow, it was the first time I started browsing the web for a while and realized "Oh crap, I'm supposed to be writing right now!", and thanks to Juan Pierre, it's the first time I saw a grown man run into a wall at full speed, collide, and slide down like a dead bird. Ultimately, the Sox were doomed by a bad night from Buehrle, horrible defense, and a one-hand-behind-the-back lineup. Not that they should have been playing the starters...if anything play less of them. What possible reason do we have to give at-bats to Kotsay? At least you could claim they were trying to see if Mark Teahen could play right field.
Whatever, there's no real point in pretending that if Ozzie tinkered the roster the exact way I wanted to would have made up for the Twins being flat-out better.
8 losses in a row. Guh.