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The Sox finish up their three-game set with the Oakland A's out in lovely Northern California.
We're in chilly Chicago, but have been told to pay attention to the game.
Welcome all fair readers--that's means you, too, Linda S.
Make yourself comfy, grab your favorite office-appropriate beverage and come along as we drift off to baseball land together. Freddy Garcia versus Oakland right-hander Kirk Saarloos. Kenny Williams' smart-ball versus Billy Beane's Moneyball. And, of course, Hawk Harrelson versus the English language.
And....we're off. Scott Podsednik grounds one to Mark Ellis at second base for the game's first out. Willie Harris, in for Tadahito Iguchi, grounds out, as well. Saarloos, who's long on vowels, walks the irascible Carl Everrett. Paul Konerko splits the gap in right-center and here comes the irascible one, chugging all the way from first to score. That brings up Jermaine Dye. Is this guy the Sox's version of Fred McGriff--just here to collect a pay check. It would be one thing if the guy was hitting a lick, but no, and now his so-called big, bad defense is MIA. The guy looked like Sammy Sosa out in right last night, throwing to the wrong base, letting pop-ups ping off the heel of his glove. Dye lines one off the backside of third-base coach Joey Cora. Ouch. Yes, X, a reader on the message board, last night's game was just bizarro. Dye fans to end the inning.
Sox 1, A's 0
Hawk just made a funny. Talking about the weirdness of last night's game, he said the only guy who had a good game was that ballboy down the left-field line. If you saw the game, you'll know what he's talking about. Poor kid probably did about 50 wind sprints. I think the Oakland bullpen catcher was missing those balls on purpose just make him run into the outfield to retrieve the wayward ball.
Mark Kotsay leads off and send the first pitch deep but Aaron Roward catches up to it near the warning track. Yes, strange lineup for the Sox. Joe Crede playing short with Chris Widger at third. Juan Uribe and Pablo Ozuna both got hurt last night. Not sure what's up with Iguchi, though, he got taken out on a hard slide, so maybe he's hurting, too. Garcia gets Kendall. Eric Chavez works the count full and drawa a two-out walk. That brings up Scott Hatteberg, "Pickin' Machine." Hawk just said he thought last night's game between Mark Buehrle and Rich Harden was going to be a "gem-dandy." I take back what I said about him and the English language. "Gem-dandy" needs immediate inclusion into the OED. Forget about the mandatory five-year waiting period. Hatteberg flies out to right and Dye catches the ball.
Hey, hey, Linda S. on board. Good to have you here. And K-Dog, the coiffure is hair-dandy. Thanks for asking. Rowand walks to lead off the second. AJ Pierzynski bounces one to Ellis, who starts the 4-6-3 DP. Widger flies out to Nick Swisher in right. Quick inning for Saaarlooos.
Erubiel Durazo rips one to left but Podsednik drifts back and makes the catch easily. How solid has Podsednik been so far? Ellis follows suit and hits it to left, as well. This one much easier for Podsednick. That brings up Swisher, another "Moneyball" star. Swisher, great name, pops it up in the middle of the diamond. Garcia scurries out of the way and Konerko takes it.
Mike, yeah, maybe that's harsh on Dye. But seriously the guy hasn't done didly-squat. And Ryan Lipscomb, you are correct, sir. Hawk said, "Jim Dandy." So I know take back what I said about taking back what I said about him mangling the language. So I'm going to claim "gem-dandy" as my own. Not that that's going to get me anywhere.
Crede continues to hit with a single to right. Just don't test his range at short. Podsednik bounces one back to Saarloos, who turns a double play. Very, very close play at first. In fact, Podsednik appeared safe from this angle 2,000 miles away. Harris bounces out to end the inning.
This Redroof Inn commercial with the guy on bed who says, "Chances of me working are... remote" while holding the TV remote is hilarious. At least that one part.
Speaking of umps, yes, Bruce Froemming is a tub of goo, but was Keith Ginter safe or out at the plate last night? Hawk was pretty sure he was out. I couldn't tell. What do you guys think? Marco Scutaro hits one over Podsednik's head, just out of his reach, and hustles all the way around to third. Leadoff triple. Of course I was just talking up Podsednik. Though, that would've been a tremendous catch, had he made it. Some guy named Charles Thomas or Thomas Charles is up and just nearly threw his bat in the crowd while striking out. To answer some readers questions, Garcia looks pretty good. Nothing has been hit particularly hard. Chi-Town-Bobby, doesn't look like there are too many A's fans there today, let alone Sox fans. Kendall bounces one to Crede who flips to Harris for the inning-ending double play. Crede laughs and gets high-fives all around after handling his first chance at short like he was Omar Vizquel.
Matt, very weird. I was thinking the same thing about Omar. The Irascible Carl Everett takes another walk. Konerko bounces into a double play. Scott Merkin (former cs.com writer) on the Sox's site has a story about the injuries. Dye grounds out, as well. I'm sticking with my criticism of this guy. The Sox's Fred McGriff.
Chavez bounces one to short and there's that young guy Crede again with the play. Hatteberg, Picking Machine, flies out to Rowand. I don't know what happened in the top of the third. Kotsay was retired some how and it was Kendall how bounced into the DP. Sorry. Durazo rips a 3-2 breaking ball over the center-field fence to tie the game. OK, I'm butchering this. Of cousre Kotsay walked. Double play would be tough without a guy on first. Ellis flies out to end the inning and we should be set on the play-by-play now. Let's hope. We move to the eighth.
Sox 1, A's 1
I think they gave that ballboy down the left-field line the day off after last night. Earlier a foul ball went down yonder and it looked like a different kid shagged it. Rowand lines one to Scutaro at short. It's either raining in Oakland or the reception on this TV has gotten worse. Since a guy behind home plate is under an umbrella, we'll go with rain. From the Soxicle works. I would also accept From the Fudgesicle. Pierzynski walks and we do not want a delay. Widger walks. Crede rips one down the left-field line and Eric Chavez makes like Brooks Robinson with a diving snag. He gets to his feet, steps on third and then nearly nails Crede at first. First and second, one out. Podsednik bounces back to Saaroos for the third out.
Swisher flies out and I don't think the heavy stuff is going to come down for a while. Holy deluge. Scutaro pops out in the voluminous foul territory of McAfee Virus Protection Coliseum. Tom Chuck snaps an oh-fer-forever with his first AL hit and Kotsay flies out to Podsednik to end the inning.
Harris reaches with a single. A man named Huston Street is up in the A's pen. Everrett dumps one into right...and whoa Willie, Harris has to hold up at second. Do you like Pina Coladas? How about mound visits in the rain? Konerko digs in and rips one to Chavez who throws it around the horn for what would have been a DP, if not for Everrett taking out Ellis at second and forcing a bad throw. Konerko is safe. Saarloof exits. Enter Street. Cue really loud car commercials. Here's Dye, aka the walking double play. Four. Six. Three. Frank needs to heal up quick and get this guy out of the lineup.
Wow, talk about your bad timing. Comcast just ran a promo for Friday's game that seriously touted "Jermaine Dye and the White Sox take on the Detroit Tigers..."
Garcia fans Kendall and, in all honesty, making him look silly in the process. There's an annoying A's fan in the crowd who keeps honking some horn. "Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep." Though, you've got to give it to Oakland fans. They wave flags honk horns like it's a South American soccer match. Chavez grounds to Crede and Crede again has no problems. You know, at some point, a ground ball's a ground ball. Hatteberg hits one right at Podsednik. Inning over. Onward.
You know how they say TV makes people look heavier? I think it also makes rain look worse than it is. Either that or everyone involved is thinking: Last game between these two, Sox don't come out here again...let's get this puppy in. Rain? What rain? Rowand leads off the Sox's seventh and hits it right to Kotsay in center. Pierzynski grounds out. Widger alliteratively walks. BobinATL, I blame cubicle mate, Rahula Strohl. I yelled out, "Do the Sox go out to Oakland again?" And he yelled back, "No." Yeah, it's always someone else's fault. So, OK, they could make this up in July. That said, we still don't need a delay. Full count to Crede. Here comes a guy with a bag of Diamond Dry and another with a rake to work on the mound a bit. Bolstered by his new footing on the mound, Huston strikes out Crede. Yeah, that was a bit sketchy there. Kind of like when that prisoner plowed the snow out of the way in New England so the Pats kicker could boot a game-winning field goal against the Dolphins.
Durazo rips a single to start the top half of the inning. Ellis bunts--Billy Beane must be out of town--Garcia bobbles the wet ball but gets Ellis at first. That would've been a double play had the Oakland ground grew not left a wet ball out there for Garcia. A wild pitch allows Durazo to go to third. Swisher pops out to Widger for the second out. Garcia fans Scutaro and escapes a jam. Fancy pitching.
Diminutive lefty Ricardo Rincon relieves Street and faces Podsednik. Podsednik flies out to Chuck Tom in left. What happened to that guy who was out there last night? Brutal. Harris rips one through the hole on the right side for a single. Damaso Marte is up in the pen. No balk jokes. Everrett hits it at Scutaro, who bobbles and has time only for Harris at second. Ken Macha comes and gets Rincon for a pitcher Hawk failed to identify before going to commercial. Justin Duchscherer or something like that. Rowand was retired some how. Not sure. I was looking up the spelling of that pitcher's name that I'm not even sure I got right. Everett takes off for second and goes to third on a bad throw. But Konerko pops out to end it.
Marte comes on for Garcia and will face Eric Byrnes, the left-field butcher of last night who has come on to hit for Charles Thomas. Byrnes walks. Kotsay squares to bunt but pushes it foul--twice. Marte eventually strikes out Kotsay. Kendall rips one to right, Dye again throws to third and Kendall takes second. Though, Dye may have had a play there; his throw hit Byrnes in the leg. They'll walk Chavez to load 'em up for Hatteberg. After a mini-battle, Marte gets out of it by inducing Hatteberg into a 4-6-3 DP.
Here's our guy, Dye. Byrnes, by the way, stays in to play left. Not that anyone cares. Dye flies out to Kotsay in center. Duchscherer plunks Rowand. After what seemed like an eternity Pierzynski walks. First and second with one out for Widger. Widger flies out to left. OK, Crede basically struck out. The ump missed the call. Next pitch was inside and Crede stuck his arm in the way. The ump wants no part of that. Now Guillen is out arguing with tub of goo Froemming. Ozzie gets tossed by the home plate ump. Please that was so obvious and now Hawk and DJ are all homered up, saying that's never called. Please. He stuck his arm in the way. That goes down as a ball. Crede is back up and then pops out. Crede is admonished by the ump for throwing his bat. Craziness has broken out. Correct call by the ump on the interference. Horrible blind announcing by Hawk and DJ. Crede was tossed also.
Hawk and DJ will not let it go. OK, now we've seen it all, people. Now playing shortstop, Jermaine Dye. I have seen that call at least three times in the last few years. Last night was one thing. This call was correct. I may have to turn the volume off. Durazo sends one to center and Rowand loses it in the sun that just came out. Whatever you want to say on the message board, but Crede stuck his arm in the way of that pitch to get hit. It was beyond obvious. Tough break. Dustin Hermanson will come on to pitch. Ellis bunts Durazo to second. They'll walk Swisher to face Scutaro. Scutaro rips one by Widger at third, scoring Durazo. Tough break and tough loss for the Sox.
Final: A's 2, Sox 1
Hawk sums it up thusly: "What a terrible series. What a terrible job [by the umps] this was. Just brutal."
Just two games, Sox fans. That's all. Plus, it's a wonder they were in that game with that crazy lineup. Freddy Garcia pitched well. Thanks for reading everyone. It sure was interesting.
I leave you with one word: Bulls.