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After yesterday's exciting ninth-inning big-ball explosion, the White Sox are back at it again for Game 3 against the Cleveland Indians.
Jose Contreras gets an opportunity to right his ugly Spring Training as goes against lefty Cliff Lee on a chilly spring day in Chicago.
Let's hope the game is better than the previous two paragraphs.
We'll have baseball soon...right after I get some coffee. And remember, don't be shy. If you've got something to say, share it with everyone by using the message board on the right side of the page.
Here we go. Contreras works to Coco Crisp. Hey, the same guy who was sitting behind home plate for the opener is back today. And he's wearing his M&M jacket again. Nice touch. Crisp bounces one to first and Contreras hustles over to cover the bag for the first out. Alex Cora dribbles one back to the pitcher and Contreras flips it under-hand to Konerko. Two away. For those of you wondering, Rahula Strohl, who brought you yesterday's Cubicle, is resting in the adjacent cube. He's scheduled to type a simulated game tomorrow. Travis Haffner bloops one to left. A hard-charging Scott Podsednik can't get there and traps the ball. Haffner rounds first but stays put. The newly minted Victor Martinez flies out to Aaron Rowand in center. Rowand throws the ball to a fan (nice guy) and trots in.
Podsednik leads it off by taking three straight balls before watching a strike down the pipe. He lofts the fifth pitch he sees to Crisp in left. To answer a reader's question on the message board, the weather today is not so great, though, it looks like the sun is making a cameo on the South Side. When I walked to lunch it was cloudy and about 50. The crowd, as far as I can tell, is a bit sparse. But there may be more people enjoying the game. After all, it's Dollar Dog day. Tadahito Iguchi singles to left. Hai! The irascible Carl Everett digs in. But first some sort of delay where Cliff Lee has called on the trainer, who brings out two tongue depressors and tapes them together. Lee then uses it to clean his spikes. MacGyver-esque. Everett rips a double to left. Iguchi stops at third. Konerko, in a nice at-bat, dumps a single to right-center, scoring Iguchi (Hai!) and Everett. Jermaine Dye hits one deep but Tom--sorry, Grady--Sizemore settles under it for the second out. Rowand grounds out to end the inning.
Sox 2, Indians nada
So much for my hope for another fast game like Monday's Buehrle gem. That first inning was about as long. Aaron Boone bounces one to Iguchi at second. One out. The sound on this broadcast is all out of whack. The sound from actual game is very poor. You can barely hear the bat hitting the ball, but then Hawk chimes in and it's like he's right next to you yelling in your ear. It's like watching the Masters and then flipping the channel to "Around the Horn." Contreras fans Broussard. And DJ isn't half as loud as Hawk. I think Hawk controls the volume and turns DJ down when he's had enough or wants to talk. Veteran move. Sizemore draws a walk. Casey Blake bounces out to Uguchi and we're on to commercials. Ah-nold implores us to visit "Colly-fornia" and all that.
AJ Pierzynski gets his big ball on and yanks the first pitch he sees from Lee into the Indians' bullpen beyond the right-field wall. Crede flies out to Crisp in left. Juan Uribe draws a walk. Podsednik hits one to left that Crisp butchers in an attempt to make a diving catch. The ball goes by him, Uribe coasts into third and Podsednik takes second. Uguchi sends one to left that's deep enough to score Uribe. Hai! Everett joins the party and Podsednik steals second--I mean third. Everett eventually fans.
Sox 4, Indians nil
For those of you wondering, Rahula's word-count in tomorrow's simulated game is 100. But this is the Tribune Co. and its trainers we're talking about, so he's probably typed his last sentence of the year. He's destined for Terry Pluto surgery. Jhonny Peralta grounds out to start the inning. Quick first out. Crisp bounces one to Konerko, who steps on the bag himself. Cora hits one to Crede, who makes a high throw to first. Konerko can't spear, spin and make the tag. He's not exactly Elvis Stojko over there. And we're all thankful for that. Hafner is retired to end it and that's the last reference to a male figure skater you'll get out of me. Again, I'm sure we're all thankful.
Yes, I'm aware It's Iguchi not "Uguchi" as I've probably typed 100 times already. I feel shame. Konerko strikes out. Dye is up. Dye is down after striking out on a checked swing. Rowand grounds to short, nearly hits himself in the head as he flips his bat and is thrown out at first. Oh, boy, more Geico commercials.
Martinez flies to Podsednik and we're graced by Aaron Boone's presence at the plate. But not for long. Contreras fans him. Dare I say the big Cuban is cruising? Brousard dribbles a ball down the line to Konerko who steps on the bag on the way to copping a squat in the dugout. Another quick inning. Tommy likee!
Jared's pimping Subway sandwiches. Do they ever show this guy from the waist down? I'm convinced he's a pear-shaped Grimace. All those sandwiches are stored downstairs. Just a theory. AJ Pierwhatshisface lines a single into center. Two hits for the catcher with the bad rap. Crede reaches with a single. Uribe has a bat in his hand. Rafael Betancourt is up in the Indians' pen. Uribe uses that bat to wave at balls in the dirt. He sits down next to Konerko in the dugout. Podsednik, who has looked decently OK so far, takes a few strikes. Podsednik hits one by a diving Cora, scoring Pierzynski. First and second with one out. A middle-aged man appears from the Cleveland dugout. Rumor has it it's Eric Wedge. He yanks Lee. Betancourt on and will pitch after a few beer and car commercials. ... I'm killing everyone with the play-by-play of this inning. Crede reached on a single. I tried to slip that in there after the fact, which probably added to the already confused state. Here's Iguchi nee Uguchi. He strikes out. Everett up with runners on first and second and two outs. He strikes out, but the Sox get another run.
Sox 5, Indians 0
Tough reputation of Sox fans taking a beating today. There's a dude sitting near the Indians' dugout decked head to toe in Burberry. That ain't baseball. Usher! Casey Blake leads things off in the fifth with a lazy flyball to center. Sizemore grounds one towards first, Konerko makes a diving stop but hesitates just a bit digging the ball out of his glove and that allows Heidi Fleiss' ex to beat the throw to Contreras. Contreras' pitch to Peralta is way wide and Sizemore takes second. Peralta looks at a nice fork ball for strike three. Two outs; Sizemore on second. Crisp hits a hanging fork ball into right, Dye, who's got a gun, comes up firing but his throw to the plate is high. Sizemore scores; Crisp slides into second. Contreras taking his time now as Cora fouls off numerous offerings. Don on the message board, who said anyone's interested in your comments? OK, cheap shot. Sorry. This inning is getting to me. Cora bounces back to Contreras and the top half of the fifth is history. Thankfully.
Sox 5, Indians 1
Konerko strikes out looking at a breaking ball down the middle. This game has slowed to the pace of a cricket match. Does Betancourt have to go through an entire series calisthenics between each pitch? Onward. Breaking for tea any minute now. Dye, like Konerko, strikes out. Apparently Betancourt's pilates routine is working, but come on. Rowand digs in but not before Betancourt gets down and does 50 crunches. Rowand hits one to Boone at third and Boone boots it. Rowand reaches with two outs. Pierzynski comes up, but Betancourt is very worried about Rowand at first. Is he even a threat to run? I guess so. Rowand takes off and Martinez nails him by a few steps.
Hafner to lead things off in the sixth. The guy wearing the M&M jacket sitting behind home plate is quite the social butterfly. He's in about his fifth different seat of the afternoon. Iguchi handles Hafner's ground ball with aplomb. Contreras, taking a page out of Betancourt's book, has slowed to a glacial pace, as well. Safe to say this game won't be over by the time "Jeopardy" starts at 3:30. Not that I watch since KenJen got eliminated. Contreras strikes out Martinez. Boone knocks one down the left-field line that scatters a bunch of ball boys and trots into second. Actually ball men, it looks like. Shouldn't there be an age limit for that job?
"Hey, Rick haven't seen you in 25 years. Not since high school. What are you up to?"
"Well, I sit on a stool at Sox games and shag foul balls."
Broussard digs in. Contreras is up to 92 pitches--with about 10 minutes elapsed between each of them. Broussard walks, putting two men on and Don Cooper is on the phone in the Sox's dugout. Ozzie trots out to talk to Jose in the oldest time-kiling ploy in the book as Blake waits to hit. Neal Cotts is up in the pen. No need. Contreras quickly gets Blake to ground out to end the inning and escape a two-out mini-jam.
What follows is the Sox's half of the sixth, in case you're confused by my inane imaginary conversation between the ball man and his long-lost, high-school buddy. Pierzynski grounds out to start the inning. Crede quickly flies out. Two down just like that. I think that's it for Contreras. He's in the dugout drinking either blue Gatorade or Tidy Bowl. Everett sends one deep, but it's caught by Sizemore in center. More innings like that are needed.
Yes, Contreras is done. Cotts comes on to face Sizemore. Sizemore squibs one by Cotts, who makes a major-league spaz move trying to reach the ball, but Crede charges and makes a nice throw on the run to nail the runner. Jhonny "H before O" Peralta fouls off a few pitches before taking a walk. Crisp lofts one to center, Rowand comes on hard, dives and does a decent job of keeping the ball in front of him. That move saved a run. On TV it looked like the ball got past him and I let out a yell that made other people in the room stare. First and second with one out for Ronnie Belliard, who'll hit for Cora. Ozzie comes out to discuss table settings, candle-stick holders and the such. Cotts exits; Cliff Politte enters; Jared sells more sandwiches; this boy gets up to stretch. Belliard likes to take little strolls up the line between each pitch. He's also prone to ratchet up the straps of his batting gloves 50 times. Get in the box and stay in the box. Is that too much to ask? Politte goes 3-1 on Belliard before Belliard hits a fly ball to left that scores Peralta. And yet another pitching change. I missed who's coming on before Comcast flipped to commercial. ... It's Damaso Marte to face Hafner with a guy on first and two outs. What's taking my updates so long? There's no action to report unless you want play-by-play of the 500 commercials and protective cup adjustments. It's called a pitching change, K-Dog. Marte goes 2-2 on Hafner before Hafner flies out to Podsednik in left.
Sox 5, Indians 2
Belliard replaces Cora at second and David Riske comes on to pitch for the Tribe. Podsednik leads off the seventh for the Sox. Podsednik drags a bunt down the first-base line, but Riske pounces and throws on the money. Iguchi to bat with one out. Iguchi rips a single to left. I've got to say Iguchi looks solid. Josh in DC, I can't tell on the attendance. There aren't a lot of people out there, but I think Chairman Reinsdorf does not allow attendance numbers announced. Just like I'm sure he doesn't allow camera shots of empty seats. Contreras looked good. Slow and deliberate, but good. Everett works the count full. Iguchi takes off and Everett grounds out. Konerko up with Iguchi on second and two outs. Konerko hits it right at Sizemore in center.
To answer your question, Steroid fan, I'm not sure. Peralta advanced from second to third in the seventh some how. Dustin Hermanson comes on to pitch for the Sox. He'll face Martinez. He strikes out Martinez with a fork ball in the dirt. Boone hits the first pitch right at Crede. Broussard works the count full and then pops up to Iguchi. Nice inning by Hermanson. And by nice I mean quick.
Former South Sider Bob Howry takes the mound for the Tribe. This guy used to go by Bobby when he was in Chicago. Dye digs in and knocks one by Peralta at short. Once again, Jhonny Peralta is no Omar Vizquel. But who is? Rowand bounces to Boone, who flips to second to get Dye, but Belliard's throw to first is off and Rowand is safe. Pierzynski, who's 2-for-3 with two runs scored, steps in with an opportunity to do more damage. This. Game. Is. Dragging. Pierzynski strikes out, which he doesn't do often. Last year he did it only 27 times. Crede steps in with two out and Rowand on first. Crede grounds to his counterpart at third to end the inning.
Sound the gong: Shingo Takatsu will face the bottom third of the Indians' lineup in the ninth--Blake, Sizemore and Peralta. Dave, who said I'm getting paid for this? Blake gave one a ride down the left-field line but it obeyed Hawk's wishes and hooked foul. This one doesn't. After knocking about 10 balls foul and working the count full, Blake hits one to the left-field bleachers. Another full count, this one to Sizemore. Shingo throws a nice pitch to get him looking. Sizemore thought it was a ball and was walking down the line when he got rung up. Shingo is not around the plate a whole lot here. Josh Bard pinch hits for Peralta. Bard lines one right at Rowand in center. Fans are waving brooms. Crisp is the Tribe's last chance. Even the guy in the M&M jacket behind home plate is up. Hey, I'm standing up. Crisp hits a homer to right. 5-4 game. Way too many pitches by Shingo. If he can't get any of those frisbees over, hitters just sit on his 40-mph fastball. Case in point: Belliard just tied it with a homer to left. One question: Why is Shingo still in there? Hafner could put one in the parking lot. He walks. Shingo's throwing whiffle balls up there. And finally Don Cooper comes out to the mound. Luis Vizcaino is throwing in the pen. Shingo remains to face Martinez, who rips the first pitch to center for a single. That brings out Ozzie and Vizcaino will be the Sox's seventh pitcher of the game. Three homers in the ninth--off one pitcher. When's the last time you saw that? OK, Boone bats with two on and two outs. Boone pops it up to Iguchi. Nightmare ninth for the Sox. But they can still end it in the bottom half with one swing.
Sox 5, Indians 5
Arthur Rhodes to pitch for Cleveland and to Uribe. Uribe bounces out to Jose Hernandez at short. Podsenik is robbed by Broussard, who stretched high to spear Podsednik's liner. Iguchi has a chance to bail out his countryman. A single to left will help. His third hit of the day. Good at-bat. The ball nearly found the gap. Here's Everett with a man on. After taking two huge swings, Everett hits the ball about five inches in front of home plate. Martinez jumps all over it and throws him out.
Vizcaino strikes out Broussard to start the 10th. Jon Garland is limbering up. It's the third game of the year and they're already out of pitchers? Blake grounds to Uribe at short. Sizemore grounds to Iguchi and Vizcaino makes quick work of the Indians.
Ross Gload, who replaced Konerko a while ago, leads off for the Sox. He strikes out--quickly. Dye lines out to right. And, yes, Garland is up in the pen. Maybe they won't need him. Rowand's got some pop. Instead he grounds weakly to second.
Vizcaino walks Hernandez to start the 11th. Hernandez takes off for second early in Crisp's at-bat and Pierzynski guns him down. I'm thinking all foul balls in extra innings should be strikes. Crisp grounds one off Vizcaino's glove and the pitcher can't recover to make the throw. One on, one out for Belliard. Belliard doubles to left and Crisp has to stop at third because of a nice play Podsednik to cut the ball off before it could roll to the wall. The Sox will walk Hafner intentionally. The bases are full of Cleveland baseball players as Martinez looks to do some damage. Martinez dumps a single into right, scoring two runs. First and third with still one out for Boone. Crede makes a nice diving play and guns Boone. Nice play by Gload at first, too. But another run scores. They'll put Broussard on. Blake bloops a single to left and Hafner scores from second. Second and third with two outs. Vizcaino is now the sacrificial lamb. He's not coming out of this one unless his arm falls off. Ho, boy. Sizemore singles and two more runs come in. It's 11-5 now. Hernandez bounces one to Uribe at short and he boots it. From bad to big-time worse. Someone flies out to center to mercilessly end this inning.
Indians 11, Sox 5
Matt Miller is the Indians' new pitcher. Pierzynski will start the Sox's big rally. Maybe not. He flies out to left. Timo Perez makes the second out and it's up to Willie Harris. Harris grounds back to the pitcher and this one's over.
Final: Indians 11, Sox 5
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Sox fans. This one was in the bag, 5-2, in the ninth. But as someone said on the message board--if Mariano Rivera can blow two straight saves, Shingo is allowed one. It's early. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend.