Friday, July 25, 2008

Barely Winning Ugly: Sox - Tigers Game 1

Friday’s game against the Tigers was declared as “important” by the front page. Well, thank you, Captain Obvious! Yes, with the Twins on our tail, Detroit playing good baseball right behind, and a few offensive and defensive hiccups, plus a losing road record, this road trip would, indeed, be important. It was not deserved, it wasn’t pretty, and it was unexpected, but the Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in the first game of their 10-game road trip. The Sox are now leading their division by 3.5 games.

With Gavin pitching, you always have to look to the first inning to foresee what is to come from him. His last two starts were big Sox losses, so I was hoping he’d start strong. Well, I couldn’t tell you what that first inning was. It wasn’t… awful, but it sure wasn’t the strongest inning I’ve seen from Gavin. Or our defensive set-up. But, true to form, that inning did set the tone, with errors robbing Floyd of easy-outs and inconsistent pitching. And While Gavin set up two separate double-plays, Cabrera and Fields couldn’t make anything of them until the third time the opportunity came along (this third time, at the hands of Nick Masset). Successful pitching came from Carrasco, Boone Logan (who stuck around to strike out just one), and Bobby Jenks picked up his 20th save for the year.

Now, let’s talk about these defensive slip-ups. First, there’s Cabrera picking up an error in the very first inning. After stepping on 2nd for the first out of the double play, he airmailed a ball to Konerko, and instead of another out, the ball produces a run. Fields, on the other hand lost the ball and couldn’t even get the easy out at first. Fields will be Crede’s replacement while he spends 15 days on the D.L. (You think I’m unhappy about this now? Just wait until we meet the Twins, and he’s not there!) Not just that, but he’s the guy some think would be good enough to take over his job permanently. His better counterpart, right? Well, it really depends on who you ask. Let’s start with the fact that his numbers from Charlotte weren’t anything impressive. Now, he’s had plenty of big league experience with the Sox, so shouldn’t he be a big fish in a little pond? Should be, but was batting a whopping .248 with 9 errors. But, there is the factor of an injury. Honestly, Uribe was the better third baseman today. We’ll see how he does once he settles in again. So far? He’s tallied a hit, a walk, and an error.

The great ones today were O.C., who ran to third on a pitch that got away, then ran home on a bad throw to tie the game, and had two singles for the night. Jermayne Dye came up empty all night, but a 2-run homer run brought the Sox a win in the ninth inning. Ramirez had two doubles and a single (aside from a double play in the 8th). The great disappointments were A.J., who hasn’t done much of anything (not just today, but in general) lately and Konerko, who continues on in his quest to see just how awful he has to be for the Twins to build a golden statue in his honor. I don’t remember Swish swinging his bat at all today. I’m sure he managed a walk at some point, but did a lot of looking, and not a lot of solid, productive contact. And, for the record, it’s okay to match a team run-for-run, but not when you’re the team batting in the top of the inning!

Join the Sox tomorrow, when John Danks meets the Tigers.

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