Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quentin Rallies Over Rangers: Sox - Rangers Game 3

The Sox were trailing 8-5 in the bottom of the 8th, and I figured on a day like this, I shouldn’t even bother to put on my rally cap. We seemed to be working with our scraps and leftovers in the field and at bat, and the scoreboard showed it. Minor Leaguer Richard was our pitcher, Toby Hall was catching, and Crede was still out (and he may be out for awhile). Paired with questionable hitting, how were we going to pull off a win? But after 5 runners crossed home plate in the 8th, the Sox put another W on the board. The Twins get swept by the Yankees, the Sox win against the Rangers 10-8 and extend their lead over the division back to 2.5 games.

Clayton Richard was the starting pitcher for the Sox today. I know he was in the Futures game, got chosen for the Olympic game and that’s something, but with a guy from the minors, you don’t know if you should be excited for something new and good that no one’s had to deal with or if you’re dealing with someone that can’t handle big-league pressure and has no big-league mentality. I’d have to rely on what I saw: the man is built like a wall, throws in the mid 90’s, but his delivery is a little scary. He has this staccato movement that makes you think he’s gonna miss. Reminded me of Wasserman. You see him throw, and you’re like “well, that’s not gonna make it over the plate, he just tripped” and somehow it does. He works fast, his balls aren’t up in space like Floyd, and he had some fairly solid innings despite his pitch count getting really high pretty fast. He only made it four innings, then Carrasco took over. Despite picking up an error after a pickoff attempt at first, I still love that underhand fastball that he has. Logan came in the 7th and got the score to 8-4, Dotel came in the 8th and had another perfect inning, and closer Bobby Jenks picked up another save with a little help from Anderson, Uribe, and Quentin.

Until the 8th inning, my notes were all depressing about the offense. It was one of those days when you see the lineup once or twice through and you just think, “well, there’s no way that this is gonna work today,” a game where you really felt the need for a good day from Crede or Anderson because no one else seemed able to do it. I added that it was unbelievable how much farther 2 home runs had gone yesterday, and how little they’d achieved today. Tension was high in the Sox dugout, so Ozzie got thrown out in 7th after that umpire called the 3rd bad “strike” of the day. He got somewhat of a standing ovation from the crowd who finally saw their frustrations acted out. The fielders were not helping their cause either. Ramirez, Uribe, Carrasco, and Hall all picked up errors. Dye and Quentin got into double plays, Swish and Hall totaled 3 walks, but no hits,

No, not a proud day, but like Crede says, “A W is a W, and we’ll take it any way we can.” The batters seemed revived in the 8th, after Ozzie’s outburst, and Konerko left his Mexican hat behind, leading off with a double, ran home on a single from Ramirez. Ramirez got to second on a wild pitch to Uribe, whose single somehow got him to 2nd and Ramirez to third. On a sacrificed fly from Cabrera (Another one of those RIGHT by the fence shots), Ramirez got home, followed by a walk by Swish. With two on base, home run #26 (He’d already hit a solo shot. And was already hit by a pitch again.) from Carlos Quentin, the Sox brought the score to 10-8. The crowd went wild, my hands were shaking, somewhere Ozzie Guillen must have been doing cartwheels.

Random notes: What happened to Texas’s starting pitcher, Millwood? He was suddenly taken out in the second. Ramirez had a great play at first in the 7th and Paulie bare-hands it for an out. Like Crede, does a great play make up for adding another error? Speaking of Crede, because of his back, who knows when he'll be back? And, finally, Texas reliever Guardado looks like a compressed Carlos Quentin. While TCQ is 6’3”, this guy has to be 4’8”.

Well, the Sox have a day off tomorrow, a break they will need in their difficult upcoming road trip. The good news? Thome has become the cleanup hitter a DH should be. Carlos Quentin seems to have shaken off his slump (although, I wish he would have more base hits), and Bobby Jenks’s return means that the bullpen should go back to normal. Gavin Floyd will pitch in the opener against Detroit on Friday.

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