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White Sox Sat Apr 24 2010

White Sox Love The Unexpected: Sox Win Their First Series

SoxLogoSmall.jpegThere is so much about the White Sox that is unreliable. That fact, perhaps, is the only reliable thing about them.
It was reasonable for any White Sox fan to bet against the White Sox winning their first series this year against the Seattle Mariners, who have a strong team this year. The team has solid pitching from the likes of Félix (King Félix) Hernández or Doug Fister (who pitched today) who keeps a solid ERA always under 2.00, limiting any points to Seattle hitters like Ichiro Suzuki, Chone Figgins, and Mike Sweeney.

The contrast couldn't have looked greater. Yesterday Gavin Floyd had the mound, the same Gavin Floyd who was pitching when the Sox lost 4-7 against Cleveland. Yet the Sox eked out a win off of a bottom of the ninth walk-off homerun by Andruw Jones. Up until that last inning, it looked like the same old sorrowful story for the 2010 Chicago White Sox. Everyone, Sox and Mariners, alike, were stunned by the rapid shift of the tide.

Prospects seemed even more slim today. Freddy Garcia is arguably the Sox's weakest pitcher, regularly blowing games almost singlehandedly. How could he possibly keep master sluggers like Figgins and Suzuki from scoring homeruns or not get frustrated when most of the the White Sox bullpen (all of whom but two are hitting under .300) struggled to get home ever?

The game seemed to be unfolding in an all too familiar way until Alexei Ramirez doubled bringing Mark Teahen and Alex Rios home. It was a 2-1 Chicago lead until a gametying hit in the top of the seventh. At the top of the ninth the Mariners appeared to have locked in the game with a pair of hits off of closer Bobby Jenks. Freddy Garcia had managed to pitch seven excellent innings but that simply wasn't enough. By then Ozzie Guillien had been ejected from the game for arguing with an umpire. I can see where this is going, I thought. Two strikes later I was fishing for the remote. The Seattle closer, David Aardsma, a former Chicago White Sox who seems to have been saving his A-Game for a more Western-based team, was finally putting the game to and end. Paul Konerko had homered in that inning in the signature way the Sox do this year --with nobody on base. Alex Rios was up, by then Jayson Nix and Carlos Quentin had gotten on base. It could happen, but probably wouldn't. Except it did.

After a ball and a strike Aardsma wound up, ready to end the playing. The pitch came and connected with Rios, making that snap sounds bats make when a serious connection with the ball is made. The ball soared in a straight line into crowds of cheering Sox fans. The unexpected had happened, and it happened for the Sox. They won the game, and had finally won a series. It wasn't exactly a sure thing. But in reflection, Sox fans will realize it had happened --twice-- in games where Sox hurlers had pitched well, and Rios, Konerko, and Jones had hit well. The unexpected had become the fact that this might not be such a bad season for the South Siders. Who expected that?

Image by Michelle Dimuzio.

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