In an 162 game season, individual games get minimized as a matter of necessity. There's always a game tomorrow, so sometimes you've just got to decide to give 5 innings to Tony Pena so everyone can go the hell home.
Other times, without warning, single games morph into drawn-out wars of attrition, with the two squads sloshing through the proceedings like local schlubs waging a never-ending drinking contest without realizing they both have work in the morning.
Tuesday night's 8-6 win over Texas most resembled scenario #2
Oh, it began like a normal game; they all do. Jake Peavy started and was getting slowly bled due to a lack of the dominant
two-seam fastball he had in his last outing, while Derek Holland was doing well
enough save for an inability to keep anything Carlos Quentin hit in the
ballpark (2 HR, all 4 team RBI), and the Sox led 4-2.
At which point, the night turned.
Wind was whipping up in high gusts, storm clouds were on the radar, but
honestly I was divided in my attention due to the Bulls game, until I
got the most troubling text alert of all time:
"CHW at TEX has been delayed. THE GAME IS BEING DELAYED IN THE TOP OF THE FOURTH INNING
*Reply NESTLE Now!"
Yes, it always says 'Reply Nestle', but situation 0?!?!
Uh, yeah, situation 0
Black clouds surrounded the stadium, wind gusts forced evacuations of
the upper deck, rain poured on the field, long stretches of golf
ball-sized hail and tornado warnings evacuated the entire stands for a
But, you know, finding mutual off days for make-up dates are a real
to-do, so two hours and fifty-eight minutes later, there was baseball yet again.
Really wacky baseball.
The opening featured amusing contrasts in managerial approach, as Ron Washington
went with the rote response of finding a sub-standard bullpen guy
capable of slogging multiple innings with Brett Tomko, while Ozzie
countered by having his LOOGY pitch the 4th inning with Will Ohman.
Tony Pena entered in the 5th inning into a game seemingly woven from cotton for
him to be adorned in. Unfortunately, major leaguers are capable of
hitting 92 mph fastballs down the middle, and the game was tied 4-4 by the
time he had completed a single frame. I imagine Guillen might have had
aims to work Pena multiple innings, but ringing line drives speak for
In Pena's defense, this was a night where no reliever--and every single
one appeared--managed to look good. Sale allowed a walk and two hits,
and discouragingly scuffled through a 10-pitch at-bat against lefty
Mitch Moreland, failing to find a putaway pitch and allowing an RBI single before saving the Sox
one-run lead in the 6th by retiring Josh Hamilton. Crain worked
exclusively up in the zone and had to pitch over two walks to get
through the 7th. Thornton walked the leadoff man, and was lifted after
allowing two cheap singles and a run in the 8th.
Sergio Santos was fantastic pitching-wise for a four-out save, but also
threw a wild pitch that advanced the tying run in Josh Hamilton to 3rd
(with substantial help from a terrible call). Hamilton slid in
head-first to 3rd, after reaching by sliding head-first into 1st, after
getting hurt sliding head-first into home plate a few weeks back and
blaming his coach for it. It takes effort to be such a piece of work.
Then, in the midst of an easy 9th inning, Santos fielded a grounder up
the first base line, ran up to Texas' David Murphy, and suddenly came to the
assumption that actually tagging him was an unnecessary formality, and
that the umps would just get the gist of the play on their own.
They did. When Santos came to his senses and threw to 1st in a
bang-bang play to catch Murphy, they gave him the out just to keep
Sloppiness, shoddy pitching and the 6-hour+ running time gobbled up
attention from a fine offensive night for the supposed-to-be-power hitting
White Sox. Quentin clubbed the first three HR-game of his career--with not
a single one a cheapie--and accounted for 5 RBI.
The other 3 big blows
came from targets of plenty of criticism.
Dunn cranked a hanging curve into the second deck for a solo shot, Rios
drilled an RBI double, and Brent Morel knocked a grounder through the
infield for an RBI single.
This 8-6 triumph is going to seem distant by 1 in the afternoon on
Wednesday when Gavin Floyd starts for the Sox with not a single rested bullpen
arm ready to back him up, but if you're going to get embroiled into a
late-night marathon that witnesses 13 different pitchers used, you'd
prefer to win it.
Also, the prospect of Quentin losing his two HRs was just awful to contemplate.