After a Detroit sweep, the White Sox had something to prove: that they could still win games. There was a pre-game ceremony at U.S. Cellular Field honoring departed Sox batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey, and many bearded Sox players honored him by shaving down to just a mustache. They may just keep them, as the luck has changed, and the White Sox once again find themselves sole possessors of first place.
White Sox (73-61): 4
Again, it’s a spot starter to put the team in a winning position. Hector Santiago, the man that started the season as the White Sox closer, made the first start of his career. Not too shabby either. In 5 innings Hector struck out 6 batters and allowed just a single run. That run did happen to be Jamey Carroll’s first HR of the year. Still, as the only score managed by the Twins, Hector did his job and then some.
Scoring is necessary too, you say? Gordon Beckham has got you covered. Beckham sat the previous contest against the Tigers as Orlando Hudson got a chance to play, and it’s possible the relief of not having to try hitting Justin Verlander paid off. Gordo put the Sox on the board with a 2-run HR in the 2nd inning. It may be just me, as I don’t have the keenest eye for hitting, but I think the pitch he took deep was exactly the type that he’s been popping up on the infield a large portion of the year.
The bullpen managed to get through their workload only giving up one run. 6 pitchers combined in 4 innings of work. Current whipping boy Matt Thornton was charged with the run and it was Brett Myers, who is a front runner to upend Thornton’s position with the fans of late who let the inherited runner score. Addison Reed: Closer shut things down in the 9th with minimal damage to the viewer’s fingernails.
What started out as an insurance run, but ended up being the game winner was provided by a mustachioed Paul Konerko as he hit a single to knock in a mustachioed Kevin Youkilis in the 7th. Gordon Beckham would put on a true insurance run in the 8th for his 3rd RBI of the night.
Plus: The starting pitching is a cause for stomach pain these days. We’ve only been able to rely on a couple of guys and it seems like our ace is wearing down as the season grows old. Hector Santiago coming in and showing he’s got the stuff to go through the lineup a few times is huge moving forward.
Minus: A big problem with the losses endured over the last week was runners left on base. The game started off with runners stranded in the first, and it seemed like it could be a big problem again. With 10 hits and 3 walks only 4 men came back to cross the plate so converting baserunners is still something to keep an eye on. The White Sox have hit well in “clutch” situations most of the year so hopefully they can regain that timeliness and scratch some extra runs across.
Player of the Game:
Gordon Beckham – .228 WPA