We've got ourselves a game here, people. Two teams battling for division supremacy, two pitchers on top of their games and a series hanging in the balance.
With a win the Sox will leave Detroit having gained a game in the standings. A loss and all hope for the division hardly is lost but they may want to keep an eye on the Yankees and the Wild Card race.
This is new from the Comcast Sportsnet pregame show: There's a controversy from last night's game and stunningly it involves A.J. Pierzynski. The catcher and Craig Monroe bumped into each other around home plate last night after Monroe's grand slam and evil-eyed glances were exchanged.
Ozzie Guillen was asked about it before today's game and in typical fashion he launched into a 15-minute monologue on the state of today's game compared to when he played.
"It was a man's game [when I played]," he said on Comcast. "This, this is a bunch of little weasels game. Come on, just play the game hard."
He paused, searching for the right word, before saying "weasels," perhaps mentally running through the key points from his recent sensitivity training sessions.
This is quite the pitching matchup between the 9-1 Jose Contreras and the 11-3 Kenny Rogers. All camera people should be on their toes.
Ozzie trots out eight right-handed batters and Jim Thome in an attempt to thwart the lefty Rogers. Pablo Ozuna will play left and leadoff and the catching duties fall to Chris Widger, whom I hate to say doesn't add much despite which hand he uses to wield a fork.
It's a warm summer afternoon, albeit rainy, so hop aboard this train bound for nowhere with us. It beats working.
The tarp is off, the rain has stopped (I think) and we have some lineups. What else could we ask for?
A delay? No, that's not what we asked for. This game is set to go at 12:35 Chicago time, which gives me time to make a cafeteria run and get my TWIB on.
And we're off and Ozuna quickly flies out to Maggs in right. Tadahito Iguchi grounds out to Brandon Inge at third. Thome hits the first pitch to T.F. South and UIC guy Curtis Granderson in center and that was right quick for Rogers.
The aforementioned Granderson leads off and rips one deep, deep, deep to right...but it's just foul. A long strike. Granderson comes back with a sharp single to center. Placido Polanco pokes one towards the hole on the right side but the Gooch eats it up on the grass, spins and nails Polanco at first. That was pretty. Granderson took second on the play. Pudge grounds out and Granderson hangs at second. Maggs bounces back to Contreras and that's that for the first inning.
Konerko grounds to short for the first out. Jermaine Dye singles to center for the Sox's first hit. Crede, however, quickly hits into a double play, ending any shot of getting something going early.
Carlos Guillen hits it on the button but it's right at Dye. DH Marcus Thames digs in and bounces out to Crede. He's now 0-for-8 in the series, which I'm told isn't that good. Last night's villain Craig Monroe pokes one over Brian Anderson's head in center and he's off and running. He slides into third with a two-out triple. DJ accuses Monroe of sliding for no reason just to get his uniform dirty. More controversy! OK, he's only kidding. Chris Shelton grounds to third and the triple goes to waste.
Score? What score?
Juan Uribe bounces a single past the out-stretched glove of shortstop Guillen. Rogers toys with Widger a bit with a variety of big curves and change-ups before striking him out. Anderson reaches out and sends a fat breaking ball to left for a single. Anderson has a nine-game hit streak going, Hawks says. Ozuna reaches out and weakly grounds the first pitch the other way where Polanco starts an 4-6-3, inning-ending double play. Not the greatest piece of hitting by Ozuna.
Inge singles to left. If you like singles and double plays, boy, this game is for you. Yes, another one! Inge takes off for second and Granderson lines to the Gooch, who flips to Konerko to complete the DP. Polanco grounds to the Gooch and we move on.
More from the Gooch. Though, not much. He grounds out to short. Rogers doesn't like the looks of Thome and walks him. He pitched around him. Konerko works the count full. Rogers is no where close on ball four and that's back to back walks. Dye pops one in to no-man's land in right and it falls between three Tigers. Unfortunately Thome and Konerko aren't exactly Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson, so that just loads the bases. Crede knocks a single to left, scoring Thome. He jumped all over a first-pitch breaking ball. The Sox have something going with one out. Uribe pops up a change-up right in front of the plate and the Sox have a little less going now with Widger up with two outs. Widger actually gets the bat on the ball but it's a routine fly ball to left. The Sox leave the bases loaded but get a run across. I'm thinking backup catcher is a concern.
White Sox 1, Tigers 0
We have a Playboy ad on our site? I keep getting University of Phoenix. Pudge goes up the hacking and Contreras strikes him out with a high fastball. Maggs lines out to Crede. Guillen grounds out to Uribe and is out by a mile at first but still appeals to the first base ump with a safe sign. That must be some running joke between them.
White Sox 1, Tigers 0
Rogers goes full to Anderson to open the fifth. Anderson lines it back at Rogers, who gets his glove in the way. The ball bounces towards first, Rogers chases it, bare-hands it and tries to shovel it to first. But it gets by Shelton and rolls all the way to the tarp. Anderson takes second and maybe more. Hawk is screaming, "Come on, big guy!" Big guy thinks third is a bit ambitious and stops at second. Ozuna fouls one off and nearly gets a piece of the Gooch in the on-deck circle. Ozuna strikes out, balls in the dirt, he runs, blah, blah, blah. Ozuna not looking good today. Gooch grounds out to short and Rogers took a diving stab at that like he was Brooks Robinson or someone. Easy there, big fella. Rogers clearly wants no part of Thome. He's thrown six straight balls to him. Two crafty strikes and another ball and we're looking at a full count. Rogers throws a low and away breaking ball. The ump can't make up his mind. He starts, stops and then finally calls Thome out. Thome was inching towards first. Let's just say that one was close. I'd like to see a replay on that instead of this Joan Cusack commercial currently on my TV.
on that Pierzynski-Monroe snipping. Snipping? Sniping? Anyway, they take some shots at each other.
Ray Fosse, now an A's broadcaster, is in the booth with Hawk and DJ. How's that shoulder? Thames lines out to Crede. Fosse is yammering on about "back in the day." Save it. Where's Pete Rose? Honestly I'd rather hear from Bob Fosse. Jazz hands! Monroe sends one deep to center and Anderson catches up to it on the track and then bangs into the out-of-town scoreboard. Shelton bounces back to Contreras to end the inning.
Sox 1, Tigers 0
Konerko sends it to right and Maggs makes a decent running catch by the side wall. Rogers walks Dye and Fosse still is in the booth. Seriously these guys are just yammering on like a bunch of magpies at the weekly pinochle gathering. The game is an afterthought at this point. Crede flies out to left. We've moved past the 1970 All-Star game and are now on Sal Bando and Rollie Fingers. Uribe flies out.
Fosse will not leave. Doesn't this guy have a tee time or something? Inge flies out to left. Granderson bloops a double down the left-field line. Polanco bounces out to Uribe and DJ asks Fosse about the A's' Moneyball philosophy. Twenty minutes later....Thanks, DJ. Correction: Granderson did not take third on that ground ball. Pudge bounces a single up the middle just out of the reach of the Gooch, scoring Granderson to tie the game. The Sox pitch out, Pudge is running and Widger's throw is Michael Barrett-esque. No biggie. Maggs grounds out to Crede.
Sox 1, Tigers 1
Rogers is done and smoke-thrower Joel Zumaya enters. His first pitch is 100 mph and Widger bunts it foul. Uh, good luck up there, Chris. Zumaya strikes him out on a 102 mph fastball. I'm not sure I've ever seen that. There's another one. He takes a little off on a 101 mph heater and Anderson rips a single back up the middle. Scott Podsednik hits for Ozuna and pops out to third. The Gooch works it full before grounding to third. Inge's throw is low but Shelton picks it. Despite the outcome, the Gooch showed what he's made of there. He fouled off a number of pitches and seemed pretty unfazed by the gas.
Pods stays in the game to play left as Contreras deals with Guillen, who flies out to Anderson. Thames draws the first walk of the game off Contreras. Monroe grounds to Crede, who bobbles slightly and in the process hangs the Gooch out to dry. Thames just takes him out at second. The Gooch is down but the Gooch is tough. Two-footed tackle there, that's a straight red card. Shelton hits it in the left-center gap, scoring Monroe. That ball wasn't hit all that hard, just where they weren't. Contreras plunks Inge and that brings Ozzie out to the mound. He says some nice things and goes back to the dugout. Contreras' first pitch to Granderson bounces in the dirt and by Widger, allowing both runners to move up. Granderson sends it deep to left, but Pods makes the catch on the track. That slide by Thames was the difference.
Tigers 2, Sox 1
Alexis Gomez enters to play left for the Detroits. Zumaya starts Thome with a 103 mph ball. His changeup is 91 mph and that crosses for a strike. Thome grounds out to Polanco, who's on the grass in right. Konerko walks on four pitches. The immortal Ross Gload runs for Konerko. Zumaya rings up Dye with a curve on the outside corner and then blows Crede away with a number of hundies, out of the stretch no less.
Gload stays on to play first and Bobby Jenks takes the mound. Comcast showed a replay of Crede giving Zumaya a bit of a stare down after the strike out. I guess Crede didn't like all the fist pumping and arm flapping. Polanco leads off with a single to right. Pudge shows bunt but pops it foul out of play. Jenks eventually strikes him out. Polanco takes off and Maggs grounds out. It needs to be said, Maggs' hair sucks. They put the switch-hitting Guillen on to set up the force and get to Thames, who strikes out. We go to the ninth with the Sox needing some offense.
Todd Jones and his moustache look to close this out for the Tigers, while Alex Cintron looks to provide some life off the bench. Cintron flies out to left. Pierzynski now comes off the bench to hit and he flies out to Granderson. It's up to Anderson, who's been the Sox's best hitter today with three hits. Anderson gives it a ride to right but Maggs gloves it on the track and this one's over.
Final: Tigers 2, Sox 1
A tough loss for the Sox, who limp back to town after dropping two of three to the first-place Tigers. Contreras pitched well, but takes the loss because of no run support. Thanks for reading everyone. Sorry I couldn't bring you a victory.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times