Tonight, the Sox played the Rays on MLB Network, which means I finally got to watch them live for the first time all season. Unfortunately, my cable was acting up and I missed the first three innings. By the time my TV stopped cubing and freezing, we were up 5-0, en route to a 9-2 final score, which snaps our seven-game losing streak.
It was a lot of fun to watch this game, where everything seemed to click. It was clean, tight baseball. No sloppy fielding, no leaving the bases loaded, just a fun game to watch. Floyd did plunk a couple of guys and threw a wild pitch, but hey, as long as it didn’t lead to a barrage of runs by the Rays, I was happy. Plus, Juan Pierre picked me up another stolen base for my fantasy team, which is nice since I’m getting creamed in all other offensive categories. Apparently, all of the other position players I selected have decided to take the month of April off, with the exception of Ryan Braun. I sadly had to bid adieu to the only other two guys on my roster who are awake, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher, to obtain Neftali Feliz. (Thank you, Matt Thornton, for letting me down in the relief-pitching area and forcing me to make that trade. Yet another reason I am annoyed with you.)
Anyways, I’m hoping the ChiSox give me an encore of tonight on Monday, when I get to see them live and in the flesh at Yankee Stadium. The pitching matchup does not look pretty though: Philip Humber (he of the 4.42 ERA) against A.J. Burnett (he of the 4.37 ERA). Sigh. Maybe they’ll defy all logic and get me home by 11 so I can actually be conscious for my Spanish test 1st period. Then again, 1st period starts at 7:25 a.m., so that’s unlikely, game or no game.
I woke up this morning and put on my Mark Buehrle shirt for the first time in four months, even though it has a bleach stain on the front. I walked out the door, went to school, and basically told anyone who would listen that today was the White Sox’ first spring training game. I intended to watch it intently from the start to finish.
I missed the start of the game because I was too busy researching pre-college programs to realize that it started. But that’s okay. I walked in at the top of the second to see the Dodgers make lots of errors and was happy that Gavin Floyd only allowed one baserunner in his two innings of work. Will Ohman looked very impressive in his debut, pitching a perfect inning. Unfortunately, Tony Pena, who always puts knots in my stomach when he steps on the mound, allowed the Dodgers offense to get in there. I also did not like seeing Gordon Beckham make a weak throw from second, because I still don’t have total faith that he can play that position. But it’s only the first game. Maybe he’s a little rusty.
Either way, it was still great to see blue skies, green grass, and leather gloves. 31 days until this is for real. I can’t wait.
What a surprise…more snow. I look out my window and see a gray sky and more of this white slush. I need to move to Florida.
However, in my head this is a countdown keeping me sane. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and in 5 days, ChiSox pitchers and catchers will descend on Glendale, Ariz. to begin their run at the AL Central crown.
Yes, you read that above sentence correctly. The same White Sox who rolled over down the stretch last season will be playing in October, mainly due to the pitching staff. Don’t get me wrong, I have complete faith that Gordon Beckham will not face a sophomore slump and that PK can make this a year to remember, but they certainly do not boast the best lineup in baseball. However, I will make a strong argument that they have one of the best 1-2 pitching punches around. Discounting SF’s Lincecum-Cain and Boston’s Beckett-Lester (in my opinion, putting Lackey in the #2 spot is a mistake, but I digress), who tops Peavy-Buehrle? New York’s Sabathia-Burnett? I’m not going to go as far to say that Peavy is better than Sabathia, but if Peavy can perform like he did in his three starts at last season’s end (3-0, 1.35 ERA), we might have ourselves an argument.
As for Mark Buehrle…everyone feels the need to remind me of his collapse after the perfecto, as if that didn’t pain me too along with all other ChiSox fans everywhere. I will continue to argue that MB is a low-key guy, and the fanfare in Chicago (Mark Buehrle Day? Really?) overwhelmed him. More importantly, I will point to his first half stats, when he made the All-Star team with a spiffy 10-3 record. We all know what MB is capable of, and with all reminders of his perfecto pretty much gone (though I would suggest to the webmasters at whitesox.com that the link to his perfect game highlights should be removed…It was nearly 7 months ago. No one cares anymore.) I’m looking forward to seeing him in the All-Star game once more.
Backing up those two are John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Freddy Garcia. Personally, I favor Dan Hudson over Garcia, but I think Freddy’ll be fine for now. Danks and Floyd are solid third and fourth starters, and with a better bullpen behind them, their win totals should significantly improve. Which leads me to ah, the bullpen. Still not totally confident here, though I do like the addition of JJ Putz. I think that the addition of him significantly improved the middle relief corps, taking the load off of Matt Thornton. As for Jenks, I’m hoping some of Ozzie’s insults got to him and he lost some of the pounds (not to mention shaved that hideous goatee. Won’t help his pitching at all, but may make him look slightly less…AJ-ish. The less bleached hair on a team, the better). He belongs in the closer’s elite, where he looked to be heading before last season.
Only five more days, five more days, five more days…