Be sure to return Wednesday for another edition of From the Cubicle as the Sox take on the Indians in Game 2 of the series.
Welcome, everyone, to live play-by-play commentary of the White Sox home opener. If you're a Sox fan, stuck at work without a TV, you've come to the right place. By now we hope you know the drill. If not, updates will come as fast as humanly possible--or whenever I get around to it.
The Sox welcome their Central Division rivals from Cleveland on a beautiful day for baseball. I'm told through the grapevine that it's quite nice out there, possibly in the mid 60s with nary a cloud in the sky. But within the windowless, hermetic confines of the Tribune Tower basement, we're unable to confirm that. So in possibly a first in this town, the weather in early April is more suitable for baseball than curling. Not that there's anything wrong with curling.
The Sox send their left-handed ace Mark Buehrle to the mound to battle against Cleveland righty Jake Westbrook.
We'll have baseball soon as the Sox's small-ball era begins.
Does Tom Shaer work for free? This is Tom Shaer announcing the lineups, right?
Speaking of which, the Sox will send to the plate in order: Scott Podsednik, Tadahito Iguchi, Carl Everett, Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Aaron Rowand, AJ Pierzynski, Joe Crede and Juan Uribe.
Cleveland will counter with the following collection of nine misfits: Coco Crisp, Ronnie Belliard, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Aaron Boone, Casey Blake, Ben Broussard, Jose Hernandez and Jhonny Peralta.
Since when does 2:05 p.m. mean 2:09 p.m.? OK, enough whining. Baseball is here, folks. I feel better already. Buehrle starts Coco Crisp with a ball before he grounds to Tadahito Iguchi at the second. Iguchi handles his first official chance with aplomb. Ronnie Belliard, a free-swinging little guy, bounces one feebly back to Buehrle, who throws to Konerko for the second out. Travis Hafner, who for some reason answers to the nickname Pronk, grounds out to Uribe at short. One-two-three for Sox in the first.
Scott Podsednik grounds to a drawn-in Aaron Boone at third for the first out. Iguchi goes down swinging quickly. He looked over-matched, but will give him the benefit of the doubt. Nice guy Carl Everett digs in. Westbrook gets Everett to chase one away and the Sox go down in order.
Switch-hitting catcher Victor Martinez grounds to Uribe at short. And here's former recreational basketball player Aaron Boone. Boone lofts one to shallow left. Podsednik calls off Uribe and squeezes it for out No. 2. Casey Blake, a local guy, hits the first pitch to Rowand in center as Buehrle again sits the Indians down in order.
By the way, the new seats behind home plate at U.S. Cellular look nice. It's about time they put something down there. Before it looked horrible on TV with just a vacant tunnel and a camera. Anyway, Konerko is retired to start the inning. Jermaine Dye pokes the game's first hit into center. Rowand grounds to third and Boone makes a nice play to get him at first. Dye advances to second. I'm convinced Hawk Harrelson's mike is jacked up twice as high as Darrin Jackson's on the comcast broadcast. It sounds as if DJ is mumbling, so I turn up the volume and the Hawk chimes in and it nearly gives me a heart attack. AJ Pierzynski lines out and let it be known that at 2:33 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Hawk uttered his first "that was a hang with em" of the season. Book it. Onward.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Jose Hernandez strikes out. Well, he grounded out to second. Jhonny Peralta, great name, digs in. Though, what's with the "h" before the "o" in the first name, Jhonny? Peralta grounds to Uribe to end the inning. Apparently I missed what Ben Broussard did to lead things off. Buehrle works so fast, it's hard to follow sometimes. At any rate, he's retired nine straight.
Westbrooks retires Joe Crede and Juan Uribe before walking Podsednik. Let's see some small ball. They've got the speedster aboard. Let it be known, the high-rollers who sit behind the plate at Comiskey are about as into the game as their counterparts at Wrigley. One guy has his back to the action. Seriously. The game's this way, moneybags. Westbrook is concerned about Podsednik, throwing over to first repeatedly--and nearly nails him. Iguchi eventually pops out to Boone in foul territory.
Buehrle takes care of Crisp with a variety of pitches away. Belliard then flies out to Dye in right and Hafner fans to end it. Buehrle is cruising. He's retired 12 straight to start the game. Unfortunately the Sox can't get anything going on Westbrook.
The irascible Carl Everett nearly gets plunked, has a few words with anybody near him and then grounds out to second. Konerko rips a single into left field. Dye flies out to Blake in right ... and we've just lost out satellite feed. OK, false alarm. We're back just in time to see Peralta back-hand an Aaron Rowand grounder deep in the hole and nail Konerko at second.
Martinez and Buehrle battle and Martinez wins, with a come-backer into center. Thought maybe Buehrle had him at 2-2, but the ump didn't agree. Martinez isn't on base for long; Boone bounces into a 5-4-3 double play. Hawk and DJ taking lessons from Al Michaels and John Madden? They're having an inane and interminable conversation about Tim Raines. I mean, Raines was a heck of a player, but the guy's the first base coach now and we've got a game going on. Blake pops out to center and we got to commercials.
AJ Pierzynski, who's big on the West Coast, grounds out to start the inning. Is this game flying or what? I think Westbrook and Buehrle have a date to watch the Illinois game together. Westbrook then gets Crede and Uribe in order.
Broussard squibs a swinging bunt down the first-base line that Buehrle handles himself. One pitch, one out. That's more like it. Jose Hernandez chases a ball that wasn't even in Bridgeport for strike three. Buehrle strikes out Peralta. This game is just over an hour old and we're in the middle sixth. I like it. Of course, on the other hand, I could see a 16-inning scoreless draw that runs right into the Illinois game. Buehrle makes an early statement for the title of best pitcher in Chicago. The only other worthy guy, Carlos Zambrano, gets going in a half hour.
Podsednik chips in with a swinging bunt of his own that Westbrook takes care of. I'm all for a change in the lineup but this is drastic, Kenny Williams. Where is the lumber in the Sox's lineup? What is this, the '82 Cardinals? Boone makes a nice stab of a ball hit by Iguchi, gets up and throws on target. Two outs. Everett makes the last out. Granted Westbrook is a pretty good pitcher. He was an All-Star last season, but the Sox have hit one ball out of the infield on a fly.
Coco Crisp rips a single into center. Belliard pops it up in the middle of the infield and Konerko takes it. Hafner walks before Buehrle escapes a minor jam by getting Martinez to ground into a double play.
Hey, an extra-base hit! Konkero doubles down the left-field line. His second rip of the game. Screw this small ball. I'm already tired of it. Let Dye hit. Dye hits one deep to right. Blake makes a nice play just to catch it and Konerko tags. Same as a sacrifice bunt but a lot more exciting. Rowand hits one right at Peralta at short, but he boots it. Konerko scores and Peralta is no Omar Vizquel. Official scorer Bob Rosenberg, the eternal homer, rules it a hit, which means Rowand gets an RBI. Please. Rowand steals second and Martinez's throw nearly goes into center, if not for Belliard backing up. Westbrook jams Pierzynski, but Pierzynski muscles it by the mound for a hit. Runners on the corners for Crede with one out. Alas, Crede bounces into a double play. But the Sox get on the board and with the way Buehrle is humming, that could hold up.
Sox 1, Indians 0
Boone flies out. I don't have a pitch count on Buehrle, but whatever it is, I bet it's low. Hey, 100 pitches, DJ says. Thanks. Blake flies out to right, as well. And Buehrle strikes out Broussard on three pitches. The high-roller behind home plate likes it. From here it looks like he's wearing a leather M&M jacket. Nice touch.
Uribe hits one long...and foul and then bounces out to second. Looks like that's it for Buehrle. Shingo will pitch the ninth. I don't agree, but who the heck am I? Podsednik fans. Iguchi dribbles one to Boone at third and bring on Mr. Zero.
I guess Ozzie's got to go with his guy, Shingo. But Buehrle barely was over 100 pitches and absolutely bringing it. One mistake and the game's tied, which is unfair to Buehrle. At any rate, Takatsu will face Alex Cora, brother of Sox third-base Joey Cora, to lead off the ninth. Ross Gload replaces Konerko at first. Takatsu gets Cora swinging. Peralta, I think, flies out to Rowand and Shingo is making me look dumb. I feel shame. Crisp bounces one down the line and Gload, the defensive replacement, makes a fine play, flips to Shingo and this one's over, people. Shingo jumps around like it's Game 7.
Final: Sox 1, Indians 0
Mark Buehrle was just solid. Westbrook pitched a decent game for the Indians, too. But the Sox take care of the Indians in under two hours. Crazy game. I'm not sure what to do with the rest of my afternoon.
Be sure to join us Wednesday at 1:05 for more fun when the Sox take on these same Indians in Game 2 of this series.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times