It took 4 hours and 4 minutes in the sweltering Texas heat for the Sox and Rangers to finally conclude their game. Even before the game started, I was willing to bet that the event would be sponsored by Murphy’s Law. Why was I terrified? Let me count the ways: A.J. was out because of the injury he incurred the previous day, Grandpa Jose was pitching, and Juan Uribe had been announced as taking over third base for Joe Crede (Who, unfortunately won't get as much rest as the others because of the All-Star Game). Despite all the things that could have gone wrong (and did), the White Sox put forth a great effort and came up just short in a 12-11 ballgame, unable to extend their 1.5 game lead over Minnesota.
Right away, everything I predicted as going wrong didn’t. The Sox lead off the game with three runs scored in the first inning (including a two-run homer from Carlos Quentin). Even Juan Uribe did well at bat today, accounting for a triple (that bounced off the top of the fence, just an inch away from being a home run!), and later, unexpectedly made a Joe Crede-like dive, catch, and save. In fact, even Mr. I Help the Other Team, Toby Hall was a consistent hitter today, going 3-for-4. Jermayne Dye accounted for another solo home run. Had this game been played against any other team, the Sox would have been clear winners. The men got 22 hits tonight and 5 walks. The only player not to get a hit today was Paul Konerko, who seems to have used all his hitting strength yesterday.
I expected the bullpen to be more solicited today, but Ozzie showed confidence in Contreras, only exchanging Grandpa Jose for Nick Masset in the bottom of the 5th, after earning seven runs. Masset was the only pitcher of the night to escape the rangers without a hit. Admittedly, he had happened to pitch in the two innings in which the defense worked the best. Logan and Russel, as well as Matt Thornton all made appearances, but could not keep the Rangers from taking the lead.
Despite this loss, I can’t complain today. The Sox really did put forth a great effort. We can’t say what might have happened had a better starting pitcher been out on the mound, but as Gavin Floyd and John Danks proved in the last two games, even the best had a hard time in Arlington. Although the day is marked as a loss, the Twins also lost today, there are four days of rest for the guys to breathe until their next game, and Texas really was a difficult team to defeat.
Check back often for editorials throughout the All-Star break and submit your ideas and commentary through the mailbag, on MySpace, or through comments. Good luck to Joe Crede and Carlos Quentin, who are headed for the All-Star game in New York!