After a joint commiseration via text over our evening committments that were keeping us from enjoying and recapping the White Sox game in a timely manner, Kevin (for whom the White Sox have something around a 3-20 record when he recaps games--my estimate) and I decided that I would be available sooner to write a delayed wrap-up of Tuesday's game.
About five minutes after I was put in control, Kevin Youkilis lifted a three-run home run over the Green Monster in left field. Do with this information what you will.
It's not something that has any great reason to carry over from year-to-year, but Jon Lester has had his troubles against the White Sox (4.56 ERA coming into Tuesday), but this season that sentence could get simplified to 'Jon Lester has had his troubles'.
The embattled Red Sox lefty only made it through four innings, had a runner in scoring position in every one, but was still one strike away from exiting the fourth inning only down 3-2 in spite of nine baserunners. It was then that a full count, get-me-over fastball was taken out by Youkilis for a three-run blow that sealed his fate.
Staking him to a huge lead--later padded to 7-2 by a 6th inning De Aza RBI single--was an awfully nice 'welcome back' present for Philip Humber. Mr. Perfect shook off a rough starting frame where the Boston running game burnt him for two runs, to complete six solid innings that lacked a single free pass.
Ironically, Robin Ventura put out Matt Thornton for the 8th with a five-run lead after resting him the night before in a tighter situation. Even more ironically, Thornton was shelled for three runs and actually created a save situation for Addison Reed.
Who knows what stance to take on Monday night's bullpen usage now?
White Sox 7, Red Sox 5
Philip Humber - 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K - A welcome return of his old, strike-throwing ways.
Kevin Youkilis - 1 for 4, HR, BB, K, 3 RBI, 2 R - Are the baseball gods settling all their scores against Bobby Valentine in a single year?
Paul Konerko & Alex Rios - Both went 2 for 4, 2B, RBI - Rios stays scorching while a familiar punching bag made Konerko look rejuvenated.
Alejandro De Aza - 2 for 5, 2B, 2 K, 2 RBI - His slump only brought him down to the numbers it was hoped he could produce at the beginning of the year.
Alexei Ramirez - 2 for 4, 2B, 2 R - It's a nice surprise when he factors into this side of the equation.
After Jon Lester fell behind 3-0 to Youkilis with two on and two out in the 4th, there would seem to have been a lot of temptation to avoid him and set up a lefty-on-lefty matchup with Adam Dunn.
But instead, Lester rallied, grabbed two strikes, and the Boston crowd rose to their feet as they wished for a big stand from their embattled ace.
At which point, Youkilis sucked all of the air out of the stadium with a blast over the Green Monster. It was every bit the stinging barb of gut-ripping revenge that he likely longed for.
Things Would Be Different If...
After hitting 6 for 40 with runners in scoring position over their last four games, the Sox snapped back to their old clutch-hitting ways, pounding out five RBI hits in 16 at-bats, and returning the feeling of a charmed offensive season that's been enjoyed all year.
Besides further mugging and hot-dogging about just how thoroughly the White Sox are winning the Kevin Youkilis trade, the main points of the night are a successful return for Philip Humber to a rotation that desperately needs him, a decent-looking night for Konerko, and a game gained on Detroit and Cleveland.
Team Record: 50-40, 3.5 games up