Thursday, July 20, 2006

White Sox Lose Last Two In Detroit

I watched game 2 of the Chicago / Detroit series last night and was impressed by Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman. He struck out the side in the top half of the first, then got another strikeout against A.J. Pierzynski to end the second. What's wierd is that he's a righty and the four strikeouts were all against lefties. Bonderman's just a kid, but this year, his fourth season after being chosen as a first round pick by Oakland, he's broken through. His walks and hits allowed are both down -- before it had only been one or the other -- and his ERA is down over a point from last year.

Bonderman gave up two solo homers -- to Joe Crede and Juan Uribe -- but aside from those pitched very well. For five innings, however, Sox pitcher Javier Vazquez was better. Then in the 6th inning it all fell apart.

Vasquez gave up four consecutive singles to start the inning. With one run in and the bases loaded, Marcus Thames grounded a ball to short. The standard regular season play would have been to trade the run for two outs -- the grounder was a likely double play ball. But Uribe, to the shock of catcher Pierzynski, fired the ball home to force out Ivan Rodrguez. The announcer Hawk Harrelson pointed out that Uribe must have had a lot of faith in his pitcher to have done that. Uribe, having watched Vasquez for five innings, probably did have faith in him. But Vasquez's curse this year has been giving up one big inning.

That's what happened last night. Vasquez hung a slider to the next batter,
Craig Monroe, who belted the ball to left field for a grand slam. The announcers saw what was going to happen before the ball got to the plate.

The score stayed at 5-2 for the rest of the game. The White Sox couldn't mount a comeback, but the Sox pitchers didn't give up any more runs either. That's at least a change over their performance in New York.

I missed today's game and though the Sox lost 2-1, at least Jose Contreras had a quality start. The pitching is what has been the concern, and except for one inning, the pitching has mostly been solid. The Sox come home for a weekend series behind the Tigers by 5.5 games.

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