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White Sox Thu Apr 22 2010
With the Sox, what we have here ladies and gentlemen, is a pitching problem (with a little hitting too). The Sox just ended their three game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and in total Tampa scored a total of 23 runs over three games. You read that right, 23. The one win the Sox got was a pleasant 4-1 that I wrote about here. That was the team the Sox need to be which also was the opposite of what they were in their last two outings.
In yesterday's game Jake Peavy pitched two strong innings allowing no runs while the Sox put two on the board. Then things fell apart. Peavy left the mound having walked seven and allowed just as many runs. The problem was control. There were moments when the Jake Peavy hurler of legend was on the mound, but those moments were all too brief. Most of the time he was pitching below his skill level. Watching him it was easy to see that Peavy's wasn't a problem of lack of skill, rather it was a problem of lack of control. Perhaps with a few more starts and some warmer weather (the game was played in the mid 40 degrees last night) Peavy will finally earn his keep.
White Sox hitting had its usual problems last night as well. Of the two runs the Sox did earn, one was off of a homerun by Mark Teahen and the other was a baserun by Juan Pierre. The homerun is what's been most problematic of Sox hitting this season. So far the South Siders have depended way too much on out of the park homeruns with no men on base to get points on the board. Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, and Alex Rios just aren't getting on base as often as they need to. If the Sox want to do well, they have to get men on base before a slugger gets fireworks in the air.
The thing about this series against Tampa Bay is that it perfectly encapsulated what the Sox could be (illustrated in the first game, which the Sox won) and what they are (that would be the last two games). The reason the Sox have lost most of the games they did this season is because of hitting like in yesterday's game and pitching like in yesterday's game.
The question now is whether the Sox will be that first game team or the team of the last two games. I have my doubts about whether the Sox will come around in the next series against Seattle beginning tonight. The Mariners have been playing very well this year thanks to both strong hitting (Doug Fister, and Ryan Rowland-Smith who will be pitching tonight) and potentially excellent hitting (Ichiro, Chone Figgins). We'll see what happens.
The upside is that even with the two humiliating losses this week and a potential blowout tonight, the Sox still won't be able to say they were on the losing end of the biggest blowout this week. That triumph goes to the Pittsburgh Pirates who lost 20-0 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Image by Michelle Dimuzio.