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White Sox Thu May 13 2010
The gist of the two game series between the White Sox and Minnesota that ended yesterday is that Minnesota can be beaten this year. In the first of the two game series Freddy Garcia pitched admirably, staving off even Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau while Alexei Ramirez, Alex Rios, and Juan Pierre among others brought in the runs. After a heart-wrenching ninth inning where Bobby Jenks closed the game, the Sox left Target Stadium with a 5-2 win. I admit, Bobby Jenks pitched better than he thought he would have (keep in mind I was at The Cell the game before this one where Jenks blew it for the Sox and won it for the Twins) but he still didn't look like a closer. This will be an ongoing problem for the Sox. Manager Ozzie Guillen seems set on keeping Matt Thornton in the setup man job so it's likelyt hat he'll either stick with Jenks or wait until Sergio Santos is ready to close every night. Judging by the fact that Santos was warming up in the ninth, Jenks days could still be numbered.
Game two was not as exciting or fulfilling if you were a Sox fan. John Danks pitched and it wasn't one of his better days. That's not to say he pitched badly, it's just that he's done much better too. The end score was 3-2 reflecting the one strong inning the Sox had at the beginning followed by three slow evenings in which the Twins scored each time, slowly creeping into a lead. The rest of the game was pretty slow. Despite some valiant efforts the Sox simply couldn't overcome the Twins' fair outfielding and Target Field's length. 3-2 may not be a win, but it's far more respectable a score than the Sox could have come away from.
One last note: it's clear that the Twins depend on their hitting and somewhat decent pitching, especially by Francisco Liriano who the Sox, mercifully, did not have to face. Kevin Slowey, in particular, was unimpressive. If the Sox play a game with Slowey at the mound again, they will have a great chance to beat the Twins. Wednesday's game against Carl Pavano, obviously, was a bit more serious. Still Pavano was not able to keep the Sox from getting a two-run lead in the first that was theirs to lose. Meanwhile almost everyone on the team seems to be improving. Alex Rios is mastering his center field responsibilities, Alexei Ramirez is hitting smarter, Juan Pierre is connecting with the ball more --hell, even A.J. Pierzynski is showing some improvement. The one problem is Gordon Beckham whose fielding has gone south along with his hitting. The mystery remains why Ozzie doesn't do the sensible thing and send Beckham back to triple-A until he gets out of this slump.