This is it – the final game against the White Sox this year. Given the facial expressions on Ozzie’s face last night, he’s really not expecting much. I hope our boys don’t take that for granted though. I want to see full effort from them but we still have most of our starters out there so I don’t think Gardy is going easy. Repko is still out there in Kubel’s place but Kubel is still dealing with some soreness. It’s better for him to get healthy and healed up right now than wait and lose him later.
You’ll also notice that Mauer is catching Pavano tonight instead of Butera. I think that is a way to make sure the guys are comfortable and familiar with each other again going into a possible post-season run. If you are in a division championship series or even further, you don’t sit one of the best players in the game because your starting pitcher has a preference. It makes me feel pretty good about the relationship between Gardy and Pavano – which one is the manager still seems to be clear. And I don’t think it was ever a tense issue either – I just think it’s good to know that he’s keeping ALL his options open. If it’s the appropriate move to have Mauer DH instead of catch, they have the option to put Butera out there but I don’t know if I want that to be the default position. Pavano is a professional, a veteran, AND an excellent pitcher so he has the ability to do a fantastic job no matter who is catching him. Go guys!
|Minnesota||@||Chi White Sox|
|Span, CF||Pierre, LF|
|Hudson, O, 2B||Vizquel, 2B|
|Mauer, C||Rios, CF|
|Cuddyer, 1B||Konerko, 1B|
|Young, D, LF||Ramirez, M, DH|
|Thome, DH||Quentin, RF|
|Valencia, 3B||Pierzynski, C|
|Repko, RF||Ramirez, A, SS|
|Hardy, SS||Morel, 3B|
|Pavano, P||Buehrle, P|
|Chi White Sox||0||0||1||1||0||3||0||0||0||5||9||1|
It was most DEFINITELY not pretty but they got it done. We swept the White Sox and the magic number is down to 8. Fantastic! Homeplate ump, Jerry Crawford, made a bunch more enemies tonight and REALLY contributed to more walks in this game than I have seen in a long time. I also think this was the longest game where Beuhrle pitched this whole season. Sheesh. It took forever.
There were some moments of … drama. Pavano clipped Paul Konerko across the face early in the game. I was glad to see that Konerko was for the most part unhurt and stayed in the game. That’s one tough boy right there. Of course, even though it was obviously unintentional, you knew there was going to be some retaliation. It was a bit amusing because Twitter and the Gamechat immediately lit up with speculation that Delmon was in for it now. I’m sure he also wondered – but breathed a sigh of relief when Cuddy, who had the first AB in front of him, took a hit to the shoulder in front of him. He just took it quietly, and took his base… and then managed to score in the course of the inning so that was cool. And Konerko got a little of his own back with a nice solo shot HR in his next AB. My fears that things would start to really escalate after that were allayed. There was another HBP later in the game that got Ozzie all riled up again because Crawford wouldn’t call a 2 strike pitch with RISP intentional… goodness.
Anyway, the whole bullpen deserves recognition for getting the job done tonight even though it made us all a little nervous. Every pitcher on our side except Capps gave up at least one walk tonight – which reflected more on Crawford’s strike zone consistency than their pitching I think. But for dropping the hammer when it mattered, I would like to present a whole buffet of pastries with which to treat themselves.
And the offense really had it going tonight too. Joe Mauer hit his 200th career double. He just keeps racking up mark after mark for himself. It’s amazing what he has done with his career so far and I still think of him as a kid – I’m going to have to get over that one of these days. But just as a nice reward, he gets a special order Peanut Butter and Jelly donut. If you’ve never had one, seriously, you should try it. It seems like something that would appeal to him. The BOD tonight goes to Delmon Young though. Again. He was 3/5 with 2 Runs, 2 RBI, a towering HR and a beautiful, surprise catch in the OF. It was a good night for Delmon.