Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wheezy in the Windy City

White Sox 3, Twins 1

The Twins had 14 hits, a walk, and a batter hit by a pitch, yet could only score one run in the 9th when Matt LeCroy drove in Shannon Stewart with a pinch-hit single. Our offense left 12 runners on base, 6 left in scoring position, batted 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and grounded into 3 double plays. It looked an awful lot like the previous night, in other words. In the two games combined, the Twins had 33 baserunners and cashed in 5 runs. Like a well-oiled machine, fans. The team brings those fireworks home today to take on the Royals. Ticket windows open at 8 am.

Intellectually, I know about regression to the mean. I know the offensive performance the last two nights was a fluke. I know the offense will not bat .208 with runners in scoring position every series. Still, even for two games that kind of production is slow torture to watch as a Twins fan, and I'd like to unleash my anguish on somebody. Yet I couldn't even enjoy ranting at Luis Rivas last night, since he had no part in the game until Gardy sent him in to pinch-run for LeCroy in the 9th. What is a frustrated fan to do?

Must we go through this every year? Stop me if you've heard this story before... The springtime crowing from the South Side of Chicago about how this year the White Sox Are Gonna Rule, and our team putting up feeble resistance in the early head-to-head matchups until we're about forced to admit that, yes, it looks like the Hosers have our number this time, before the Twins finally get their backs up and start collecting a pound of flesh in vengeance when August and September roll around. In short, it's like The Seven Samurai or Torii's kung fu video collection played out in a baseball season. And I dig the Kurosawa parallels as much as the next connoisseur of the aesthetic, but it would be nice to see the boys show a little artistic range this season. Mix it up a little. Maybe dispatch our nemesis before the end of Act One this time, so we can move onto other plot developments? Sounds like a summer blockbuster to me. A real crowd-pleasing popcorn flick.

No. As it stands, we won't see Chicago again until August 15, well after El Duque should be sputtering on fumes or collecting checks in the trainer's room. So I guess we'll be looking at the same old script.

At least for now, we did get to enjoy a little clinic on outfield defense put on by Torii and Jacque last night. Brad Radke pitched a fine game, but those two and Joe Mauer went above and beyond to make him look good.

The Sox would have put up a run in the 1st inning, as per Radke's custom, when Carl Everett lofted a flyball to CF which looked like it should easily score the speedy Scott Podsednik from 3rd base; but Torii rifled a throw home on a hop, and Mauer blocked Podsednik off the plate with his shinguard and tagged him out after the runner had slid past home. Then, after a Radke wild pitch advanced a runner to 3rd base, Paul Konerko hit a dying flare into RF only to be robbed by Jacque, diving and rolling to catch the ball just above the turf.

In the 6th inning, after Konerko had hit a homer out to CF, Aaron Rowand drove a ball into the RF gap and shifted gears to go for a double, but Jones made a throw unusually both strong and accurate to get the out at 2nd base. Then with a runner on 3rd, A.J. Pierzynski hit a deep drive to CF headed for the top of the wall, but Torii leaped against the padding to bring it down and end the inning. After the game, Torii blamed himself for getting a bad read on a Joe Crede liner over his head in the 5th inning, which brought in one run and led to Crede scoring another. He said, "I lost the game with a bonehead play." But he and Jacque together saved Radke from giving up at least 4 more runs on the night. He shouldn't be so hard on himself.

As long as he busts out the whipping stick and gets this offense untracked, like soon, all is forgiven. It's a long road back to Comiskey on August 15, and many stories to tell along the way.


At 4/20/2005 10:33 PM, Blogger commonsense2 said...

Yeah, it's tough losing to those Windy City wind bags, but a least we won tonight!

I know it's only the Royals, but I'll take it. My buddy Hawk (No relation to Hawk Harrelson) & I tried to show up at 7 tonight and get tickets...but there were 1,000's of people in the ticket lines!

We were stunned, even though we knew it wasn't on TV, it's not like it was the Yanks.

Anyway, feel free to add my site on your links:


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