Sunday, June 28, 2009
It wasn't a textbook game, not by any means. But backed by the phenomenal pitching of John Danks and just enough "offense" to finagle six runs, the White Sox beat Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs in the rubber game at the Cell Sunday afternoon to bring the club within one game of .500.
There is no doubt the pitching was there all afternoon. With his superb 7 innings of shut out ball, John Danks is now 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his career vs. the Cubs. Not too shabby. Scott Linebrink had something of a redeemer today also, pitching 2 hitless innings, striking out 4 and showing some 95 mph heat.
The offense, well it wasn't perfect. But they did manage 9 hits and 5 runs off of an ornery Zambrano, who lasted only 5.1 innings. Alexei Ramirez chipped in 3 hits, Jermaine Dye stayed hot with a late solo homer and Gordon Beckham and Dewayne Wise both lifted themselves above the Mendoza line for the season with base hits.
Still, the White Sox were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base in the game. The Sox inability to get a runner home with a runner on third and less than two outs, or similar scenarios, reminds me of Homer Simpson's financial situation. A paraphrase:
Financial "panther": Mr. Simpson, your intelligence profile indicates that you're too "stupid" to stick to a budget.
Homer: Yes, go on.
Financial "panther": So let me put this simply. You need more money.
The Sox are, for whatever reason, too "stupid" or inept to capitalize on a majority of situations with runners in scoring position. So they just need a whole lot of them and maybe they'll get lucky a few times. Or they'll score in some wacky, unconventional way-- like a botched-squeeze-wild-pitch-steal-of-home. Or a dropped infield fly.
Some hits or sacrifice flies would be nice once in a while. But hey, whatever works. Maybe the Sox need their own financial "panther." Or some kind of animal that mauls Greg Walker whenever he tries to impart advice on Sox hitters.
Greg Walker: Hey Gordon, I think you need to pull....
Ozzie Guillen: Get him, Sheba!!
In case you're wondering, the last Sox player to steal home was Pablo Ozuna, the good, pre-leg injury version, on September 8, 2005 against the Royals.
And, just for the record, the batter in the box at the time was Tadahito Iguchi. He was not hit by the next pitch from the Royals pitcher, J.P. Howell. Hmmm.
All this talk about the AL Central being the weakest division is beginning to run counter to the actual standings. The Tigers are not the 2001 Seattle Mariners; a 100+ win season from them, or anybody in the division, is not going to happen.
But some people might be surprised to see that, at 42-33, the Tigers do have the 4th best record in all of baseball. That .560 winning percentage is better than the Angels, Phillies and Brewers, all of whom are leading their respective divisions. Only the Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees have a better record than Detroit.
So that AL Central might not the "tallest midget" competition after all. It is going to take a serious winning streak by the Sox to put themselves in serious consideration.
One last thing about Ozzie. When asked by a reporter why the Sox don't draw many fans outside of the Cubs series, here was his response:
"Because our fans are not stupid like Cubs fans. They know we're (expletive)."
Ya gotta love Ozzie.