I don’t want to start the “what might have been” posts just yet, but a 6-4 home stand that easily been 9-1, putting the White Sox 2 back instead of 4 games, and the tinge of regret creeps in during early June. The other part making this home stand less than satisfying is that the Sox lost the series to the division rival, the team ahead of them in the standings, and won the two series against the AL West teams visiting. Of course it’s better than breaking even or losing the overall stand, but if you’re trying to make up ground and generate excitement, 6-4 is taking the slow road.
Coming off the sweep in Boston, the White Sox really seemed primed to come back to Chicago and take a couple of games from Detroit. I don’t think anyone thought they would chase Verlander so the money was on winning the opener on Friday and having a rubber match on Sunday. All went according to plan, winning the opener behind Buehrle. The loss to Verlander is one of the games that the Sox should have won, but a two-run two out homer by Miguel Cabrera ended that idea. Ozzie could have pitched around Cabrera but Martinez was on deck so it was a definite gamble either way. So the stage was set for a big Sunday game, win and take the series against a division rival, lose and a step back after a decent road trip. Unfortunately, the Sox didn’t really show up for this one, especially after Peavy went down with another injury. Of course before his fragile bad-ass could admit he was injured he loaded the bases and gave up a grand slam. I don’t mean to get on a guy for being injured, but if, as Peavy claims, he had felt a twinge in his previous start, then he needs to be responsible and get evaluated and make sure there isn’t a problem that could jeopardize a game in the immediate and, as is far too common with Peavy, put him on disabled list. Again. I wonder how much money that dude has made per start?
Luckily, I got to go to the opener of the Seattle series and see one of the more exciting young pitchers this year, Michael Pineda. He was pretty effective and I don’t know what the guys on Boers and Bernstein were watching, but he was varying his speeds and pitching very well. At least I think going from 83 to 96 to be a fair variety in speeds. But as good as Pineda was, John Danks was better and the Sox held on for the win. Even more the Sox got the best of Felix Hernandez in the next game especially behind the strong pitching of Philip Humber. Humber really has made the most out of this year and I think just to spread it around a bit, he should get the All-Star nod for the White Sox, even though Alexei Ramirez is currently the best shortstop in the league and Konerko is just putting on a clinic. Humber has had quite the circuitous route to the majors, so why not give him a little perk? Humber also revealed during an interview a little more about Don Cooper. Namely that Cooper does in fact teach his new pitchers a new pitch when they come to the Sox. Humber discussed how he never had a slider before he came to Chicago and that Coop pretty much encouraged him to use it and discussed overall pitching philosophy in way that he wasn’t used to. Love that Coop. Unfortunately, Sergio Santos Meltdown Number 1 occurred in the closing game and the sweep was prevented along with another opportunity to make up ground.
The four game series against the A’s was the end of the home stand and truly, I hate four game series. There is too much of an opportunity for a 2-2 tie and four games against one team just gets a bit boring. Either way, the Sox pounded the A’s in the opener and Sergio Santos implosion number #2 gave the game away on Friday. The last two games were probably a little more exciting at the end than they needed to be, but we got to see something that is becoming routine and something that is far too rare so far this season. Brent Lillibridge made another spectacular catch to preserve the win on Saturday. I think people are a little too sold on Lilly; over the course of a season I don’t think he’s an everyday player. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I don’t think Ozzie will be giving Lilly a starting job any time soon. Ozzie should, however, keep playing him while he’s hot and as a defensive replacement for Quentin and Pierre, best to stick with the hot hand.
The sight that is quite rare so far was the Adam Dunn bomb. Another bit of luck, for me anyway, was that I got to be there, though I didn’t get to see it so much as hear it. It was my annual trip to Father Daughter Day and it did not disappoint. The Goose and me got to go on the field again see a few players up close and get on the big screen. We even got on the big screen during the game this time and that was quite the treat. Like most trips with kids, sitting in the seats is a limited time offer, 3 innings. After that we need to go to the Fundamentals Deck and check out the sights. A great picture with Southpaw, some batting practice and running the first base sprint are all top priorities, the game not so much. Even so as I was watching Goose beat Scott Podsednik down the line the roar of the crowd let me know something was up and then fireworks, which when on the Fundamentals Deck are very loud. The crowd loved seeing Dunn’s big bomb and, again, it’s too early for what might have been, but I thought he would already had a highlight reel of big, towering home runs. Even though Goose was thrilled to hear Take Me Out to the Ball Game, the song she sang for Kindergarten Sing no less, the 7th inning was the limit and we made our way to the car. Amazingly, she fell asleep despite my exasperation toward Santos and his high wire act, but it all worked out and the Sox won 3 of 4 from the A’s and finished the stand on the winning side of the ledger. Even so, it still feels like money was left on the table. Now it is the Twins in Minnesota and the overdone gimmick of interleague play. The more important series, obviously, is with the Twins. The Sox hit the Twins right when they seem to have sorted things out and this will be an interesting test of the White Sox. It’s not crucial or anything like that, but I’ll admit it I’m excited for this series. I just hope, unlike years past, that the White Sox actually show up. I know this is a jinx, but if they can walk away with one win in three, that’s ok; two wins would be fantastic and a sweep would be… Ok, let’s not get carried away.