A man I have known for 30 years informed me yesterday that I was the nicest Satanist he knew. It was unclear how large a sampling he was referring to. Nevertheless he was mildly surprised to find out that I am not a Satanist. Never have been. He based his comment on the fact that I know Satanists, which is true. By that logic I am also a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Hindu, a Catholic, a Jain, a Copt, an atheist …..
It is not a good example of logic.
But it did blend well with the overall vibe.
Basically, it was a weekend of misconceptions for me. This next story should sum it all up nicely for you. I have been recently dating a young lady I was introduced to by a priest. She is near my age, a single mom and gainfully employed. We did gloriously boring stuff. We saw John Carter. Even with the half-price matinee it was a huge waste of money. All the same we had fun just because it was so bad. We went to a Bar-B-Q and other stuff like that. As I said, gloriously boring.
Saturday morning her boyfriend called me and asked me to bail her out of jail.
As you re-read the above sentence you can easily see the many problems I had with the whole concept. Anyway, that ended that and I have no idea if anyone ever made bail for her. I do know that, according to her boyfriend, I’m a complete a**hole. I can live with that.
Another misconception was recently posted in Sports Illustrated. They have the Cubs and Sox finishing dead last in their divisions. I have both teams making the playoffs. Who’s right? I am, of course. Quit asking silly questions.
Carrie Muskat will make you feel good about the Cubs.
Bryan LaHair hit an RBI double to back Paul Maholm, who struck out six over five scoreless innings and led a Cubs split squad to a 2-0 victory Monday over the Padres.
Maholm, expected to be the fifth starter for the Cubs, walked two and gave up four hits in his outing, his third in Cactus League play. He was sidelined this spring by the flu and has pitched in the Minor League camp.
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol appeared in his first game since last Tuesday when he had to exit because of cramps in his right hand and tightness in his neck and shoulders. He entered in the sixth and retired the first batter he faced on a groundout. Matt Clark was safe on a single that bounced off the first-base bag. Marmol struck out James Darnell, walked Jaff Decker and then got Everth Cabrera to ground out and end the inning.
Marmol did not have any problems in his outing, other than the walk.
“My body feels great and mentally I feel great,” he said. “It’s a good sign.”
The Cubs will likely try to get Marmol to warm up a little more before he gets into games. He could get some help if the Cubs decide to keep right-hander Rafael Dolis in the bullpen. Dolis, 24, walked one and struck out one Monday, picking up the save.
“They say I look strong,” Dolis said of the feedback he’s gotten from the Cubs coaching staff.
Marmol can’t pitch every day. Could Dolis be a late-inning pitcher someday?
“I’ll do anything they ask me to do,” Dolis said. “It doesn’t matter.”
With two outs in the Chicago first, Starlin Castro walked, stole second and scored on LaHair’s double. LaHair now is 6-for-9 in his last three games.
Jeff Baker doubled and scored three batters later on Reed Johnson’s single in the Cubs’ second.
Tim Stauffer gave up two runs on seven hits over five innings for the Padres. Brad Brach took over in the sixth and struck out the side.
See? I bet you feel better already.
Now let’s let newcomer Ken Gurnick make us feel good about the Southsiders.
Jerry Sands’ RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Dodgers over the White Sox, 4-3, on Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch.
White Sox left-hander John Danks, named the Opening Day starter after the game, retired the first 10 batters he faced in a seven-inning outing, and the bottom of the White Sox batting order scored twice and drove in a pair of runs. Danks allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits over seven innings, with four strikeouts and no walks.
Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley, who allowed 11 of the first 17 batters to reach base, retired the next eight batters to stop the damage. Veteran Jamey Wright, fighting for a bullpen role as a non-roster invitee, relieved Billingsley with a runner on third in the sixth and struck out Brent Morel.
Morel, Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham singled in runs for the White Sox. The Dodgers scored in the fifth on a single by Juan Rivera, a double by Andre Ethier and a single by Matt Treanor.
Dee Gordon’s speed tied the game in the sixth. He bunted for a single, stole second, took third on catcher Tyler Flowers’ throwing error and scored on Jerry Hairston’s sacrifice fly.
Were it not for Eric Stults pitching his way into minor league camp, the Sox would have won this game too. I should note that after a 2-10 start to the pre-season they are now 10-13.
That should make fans feel a little better.
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About 4 this morning my lower intestine felt the need to expunge a few hundred pounds worth or pressurized gas. The resulting sound woke me up. The resulting fumes made my eyes water. In the other room my cat, Pumpkin, also heard the noise and leaped from her perch, purring louder than traffic outside, and raced across the room to dive onto the fount of fumes. She rolled onto her back, made mewling noises while purring and then curled up behind me and went to sleep, still purring.
There is something seriously weird with that cat.
Then again, she lives with a guy who picked both the Cubs & Sox to make the playoffs this year. And did so while sober.
More importantly, I was able to focus on my reasons while listening to Pitbull’s new single, Bon Bon Bon. That, my friends, is a true example of focus and dedication.
First, some charity news; the White Sox and the Dodgers played a charity game for the Christina Taylor-Green Foundation which is dedicated to a 9 year old girl who was shot to death in Tuscon. See? It’s not just Chicago, although that doesn’t make it any better.
Anyway, both teams brought a couple of big league players and a lot of bubble players. The Dodgers won 17-4 but neither team talked about the game afterwards (that was out of mercy) and instead talked about the money and awareness raised. The family of the slain youth was pleased with both and hopefully this will all do some good some day. I, for one, am tired of seeing parents hugging each other in the middle of the street as the coroner carts their kid away.
In less depressing news, both teams played games that required people to pay attention.
MLB.com’s Thomas Harding was at the Cubs game ans shares what he saw.
Geovany Soto homered twice and drove in five runs as the Cubs outlasted the Rockies—and Carlos Gonzalez, who also drove in five runs—in a 10-8 slugfest on Friday afternoon at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Soto knocked two-run homers in the second and fourth innings off Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood, who gave up nine runs, seven earned, on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. Soto also added an RBI single in the fifth off Chatwood.
Chatwood is competing for the Rockies’ fifth starter spot, and the rough outing comes on the heels of veteran Jamie Moyer’s four perfect innings with four strikeouts in Thursday night’s 7-0 victory over the Giants.
Gonzalez swatted a three-run double to the opposite gap in the second inning and a two-run single in the fourth for Colorado. Also, Chris Nelson, battling for a roster spot in the infield, homered to open the second inning.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija gave up 10 hits and seven earned runs in four innings as he continued his bid for one of two openings in the rotation. Samardzija had held opponents to three runs in 10 innings before Friday.
The announced attendance of 12,584 is a record for a Cactus League game at Salt River Fields.
I have friends who are Cubs fans, as opposed to Iowa tourists, and they seem more excited than I can remember ever seeing them. When one of them saw what I wrote yesterday she called me and asked if I was kidding. When I said no she started making that noise women make right before they scream to God and get all flushed with color. Usually shades of red.
I haven’t had that effect on a woman in a while. Thanks Theo!
Scott Merkin has an interesting story about A.J. Pierzynski, the man who runs at the speed of yogurt, and it has a happy ending.
At least for Sox fans.
Over the 1,494 regular-season games played by A.J. Pierzynski in his distinguished career, he has never hit an inside-the-park home run.
That fact shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering the talented catcher has not exactly been blessed with world-class speed, producing 17 career triples and 13 stolen bases in 32 attempts over the course of 5,316 at-bats.
But during Friday night’s 6-3 victory for the White Sox over the D-backs at Camelback Ranch, Pierzynski provided one of the more exciting Cactus League moments in recent memory through his fifth inning dash around the bases.
With Alex Rios on first and reliever Brett Lorin on the mound, Pierzynski blasted a shot to straightaway center for his third extra-base hit in three at-bats. The drive hit off the top of the fence, just to the left of the 410-mark, and shot toward right-center. Pierzynski picked up steam around first and slid home just in front of the relay throw, with third-base coach Joe McEwing waving him all the way.
“I saw Joe waving me, and when I hit third, Blummer [former teammate Geoff Blum] was like, ‘You gotta go, tubby,’” said Pierzynski with a laugh. “So, I thought that was rather funny. It’s Spring Training and doesn’t count, but it’s nice to get some hits.
“When I hit it, I thought I hit it good enough that it was going to be a regular home run. It just kept going. I saw it hit and I wasn’t sure if it was out or still in. I saw [right fielder Justin] Upton chasing it and I was like, ‘It’s a foot race and he’ll probably win.’”
Pierzynski’s rarity overshadowed Dan Johnson’s three hits and three RBIs in his quest to claim the final position-player spot on the White Sox roster. Johnson singled home Pierzynski in the second and drove in two the third, with both two-out singles for the left-handed hitter coming off of left-handed starter Joe Saunders.
Saunders, who is penciled in as the D-backs’ No. 3 starter, gave up four runs on six hits over four innings. He struck out three and walked three, yielding all four runs after two were out.
Chris Young went deep for Arizona, using the old-fashion method for his long ball. The one-time top White Sox prospect took Chicago starter Gavin Floyd deep to open the fourth. Floyd didn’t have his best control, walking five over six innings, but pitched around trouble to give up just two runs.
Floyd was supported by Pierzynski, using his powerful bat and fleet feet. His run for glory had the fans on their feet as soon as he turned first base.
I should note here that spring training parks are usually twenty feet deeper than regular parks for the simple reason that they use that extra room for coaches to stay on the field during practices. That ball A. J. hit would have been in the fifth row at the Cell.
See? You learn something new every day.
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Here’s why predictions are fun; “People in Chicago are going to want to move.” That was how AccuWeather predicted our winter would be. It was supposed to be a winter of our discontent. A snowmageddon never to be forgotten.
Except it has been the 9th hottest winter on record. I slept with my windows open last night. And I had a fan on.
Every year sportscasters prognosticate on the fates of various teams and, with rare exceptions, make the above weather forecast appear accurate.
It is with that in mind that I have been paying attention to Chicago’s two baseball teams. Last year many prognosticators had the Sox winning their division going away. Behind a smoky path burnt through the darkling skies by Adam Dunn the Sox were locks to win big and go deep in the playoffs.
Detroit missed that memo. As did the Sox. The fallout was bitter and swift.
On the Northside Tom Ricketts didn’t need a soothsayer to show him the future. It sucked and it was going to keep right on sucking for another century unless he did something drastic.
He hired Theo Epstein and blew the team up.
So, knowing what we now know, it’s safe to say that only an idiot would pick either team to do well this year.
Well, as God is your witness, I am that idiot.
And, no, I’m not drunk.
I have been watching both teams as much as possible and have noted that they are playing like teams, not individuals who shop at the same Wal-Mart. More than just their accessories mesh. Certainly both teams have their “me first” players. The Cubs have Soriano and the Sox have Peavy, I think that neither will really matter to the overall effort of their respective teams. Both teams, despite potential drama lurking beneath the surface, seem to have the staffs now to keep things flowing smoothly.
Let’s let MLB.com’s T. R. Sullivan take a look at the Cubs.
Alfonso Soriano hit his Cactus League-leading fifth home run, this one off of Rangers starter Colby Lewis, to help lead the Cubs to an 11-4 victory at Surprise Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Lewis, expected to be the Rangers’ Opening Day starter, allowed six runs over five innings. Lewis, who led the American League in home runs allowed in 2010, also gave up a two-run home run to Joe Mather in the second inning. He allowed nine hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
“I felt like I threw the ball really good today,” Lewis said. “For me, it’s just getting the feel, and I have good feel for all my pitches. I’m not too concerned with results.”
Cubs starter Matt Garza, competing with Ryan Dempster for the Opening Day assignment, allowed three runs in five innings. All three runs were unearned as the Cubs committed three errors in five innings behind him. Garza allowed two hits, walked three and struck out three.
Mather was 3-for-3 and is hitting .421 for the spring. Third baseman Ian Stewart had a home run off reliever Mark Lowe and also made a terrific backhanded stop on Craig Gentry’s hard grounder in the seventh. Gentry is fast, but Stewart threw him out from his knees.
The Cubs added four runs in the seventh, including two on Brett Jackson’s second homer of the spring.
Michael Young had a single for the Rangers to give him a nine-game hitting streak.
The Cubs are 3-1-1 in their last five games after snapping a seven-game losing streak. The Rangers are 2-8-1 in their last 11 games with both wins coming against the Cubs.
Yes they scored a ton but that’s not what held my interest. Take a look at the article above and note how many different people contributed to the win. Excluding Soriano, who seems to be on fire this spring, every game features a different group of guys who are putting it all on the line for the team.
And that is a factor in making a winning team.
The Southside, God help us all, isn’t much different. Our pal Scott Merkin takes a look at yesterday’s game.
In five starts against the White Sox during the 2011 season, Royals southpaw Bruce Chen allowed just seven earned runs over 33 1/3 innings.
The White Sox surpassed that run total against Chen in less than five innings during Thursday’s 16-4 Cactus League victory over Kansas City. It was the South Siders’ fourth win in their last five games, raising their record to 7-11, and also left them with 26 runs scored over their last two games. The Royals slipped to 11-8.
Chen was knocked around for 10 runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings, including three home runs, albeit during a Spring Training contest in the warmth of Arizona. Two of those homers came off the bat of Adam Dunn, whose four Cactus League long balls put him tied for the top spot.
Dunn took Chen deep in the first, lofting a 3-2 pitch out to left-center that barely eluded the leaping attempt of Jason Bourgeois, and scored Paul Konerko in front of him to complete a four-run frame. Dunn then hit a towering grand slam down the right-field line in a six-run fifth, scoring Alejandro De Aza, Brent Lillibridge and pinch-runner Mark Haddow. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a solo shot to end Chen’s afternoon.
Zach Stewart earned the start, with Jake Peavy working 6 1/3 innings against the Rangers’ Triple-A squad on the back fields at Camelback Ranch. The White Sox long relief candidate yielded two runs on six hits over five innings.
Billy Butler led Kansas City’s offensive attack with two hits, including a home run off Stewart.
Chicago’s Alex Rios and Eduardo Escobar had two hits apiece, standing behind Dunn’s big afternoon.
“I was feeling good. I’m feeling good all spring,” Dunn said. “The main thing is getting my work done and seeing the ball. I’m seeing it well.”
Yes Dunn isn’t causing me to install a bourbon machine in my new office. But that isn’t what impresses me. It is the fact that Ventura and Jeff Manto came up with a plan to help Dunn, instituted that plan, stuck with that plan and are now being rewarded for their efforts. Dunn looks like a big kid who just got a shiny new toy. It’s a good look for him.
So what does all this mean? Cubs and Sox in the playoffs in 2012.
No, really, I’m not drunk. If I’m wrong, I’ll set up a night at my favorite watering hole and buy every Jay the Joke member who comes by a drink.
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First off, to all my non-Irish friends in the audience, I wish you a Happy St. Paddy’s Day, or St. Patty’s Day or whatever you will end up slurring by 2 PM when you’re dripping corned beef juice all over yourself. To all my Irish friends and readers, I wish you a blessed Lá Fhéile Pádraig. To those of you who were blessed by the Irish, I wish you a reverential Día de San Patricio.
If none of the above applies to you, just have a nice day.
On to sports.
The Bulls lost a game last night and, already, talk radio is filled with the voices of reason demanding that the team immediately trade for Howard or Bryant or Gasol or ...... A couple of the more rational ones also are demanding that Tom Thibodeau be fired since he, clearly, works for the CIA and injured Rose to keep our troops in Pakistan which is near Dayton.
Thank God no one’s overreacting and has a keen grasp of the facts.
On a less sensible track, my old pal Brett Taylor runs Bleacher Nation, which is a must-read site for Cubs fans. Even though I’m a Sox fan I check it out from time to time and am always glad I did. He’s got a few people on the inside of the Cubbie organization who feed him some wonderful tidbits that he’s always willing to share with the class.
Happy St. Patty’s Day, chums. Give it the ‘ole Mark Grace treatment, eh?
- David DeJesus is your 2012 Chicago Cubs Bunt Tournament champion, taking down the winner from the pitchers’ half of the bracket, Casey Coleman. While it isn’t indicative of much, it is nice to see a guy who actually will have occasion to bunt win the thing, rather than, like, Kerry Wood, for example. On his win, DeJesus was humble: “There was a little pressure there — everyone’s watching, everyone’s rooting for their guy. I was able to stay relaxed and get points on every bunt.” It’s not quite, “You ready to be f*$@d, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we’re gonna f*@k you up,” but it’ll do.
- Dale Sveum says the coaching staff takes care of issues it sees on the field immediately after they see it, rather than waiting until after the game or the next practice. “We’ve addressed being held accountable on the defensive end of everything,” Sveum said. “When something happens on the field, it’s taken care of right when they get off the field. You don’t have time for the mistakes or mental mistakes to happen again. Some people like to do say, ‘Well, I’ll take care of it after the game.’ What if there are six innings left and it happens again? If something goes awry on the field, you have to address it right then and hold people accountable for what goes on on the field.”
- The Baseball Tonight crew has a run-of-the-mill season preview thing up on the Chicago Cubs, which, like, whateves. The part the jumped out at me was this story from Rick Sutcliffe, who is undoubtedly insane: “I used to love to light guys’ shoelaces on fire. I would get to the park early, take the laces out of their shoes, soak the laces in lighter fluid, then put them back in their shoes. That way, I could just walk by them, drop a light on them and they’re on fire up to their knees. What are they going to do about it? I’m 6-foot-7 and they’re not. So once, Chris Speier and Terry Francona decide they’re going to get me back. Speier is sitting next to me on end of the bench, and Francona is crawling on his stomach under the bench to try to light my laces on fire. But Chris is nervous, I can tell, he panics and says, ‘Tito is trying to get you!’ because he’s afraid I might kill him. I see Tito on his stomach, I picked up the Gatorade jug and threw red Gatorade all over him. He had to change his uniform and take a shower during the game.” I am hundreds of miles away from Rick Sutcliffe, a man I will almost certainly never meet, and I am going to start checking under my bed before I sleep.
- Matt Garza is a serious leader. Serious. “I get on some of these young guys when they’re sitting on the bench to get up on the fence,” Garza said of his time in the dugout at Spring Training. “I asked [Jeff] Beliveau the other day. I think it was [Norichika] Aoki from the Brewers. I said, ‘Do you know Aoki?’ He said not really. I said, ‘What are you sitting back here for?’ I said, ‘If you get up here, this is who you’re facing, a lefty.’ I said, ‘You get up there and you focus on how you’re going to help us.’” Whoa. If leadership were crafted into feline sleepwear, well, I think you know where I’m going with that.
- Buster Olney reports that Theo Epstein has some bonuses in his contract with the Cubs, including bonuses based on team performance, and on the conclusion of his time with the Cubs (his conclusion bonus with the Red Sox was $3.5 million, and was actually paid by the Cubs).
- Doug Padilla pretty much sentences Matt Garza to an elbow supernova by writing a “the Cubs haven’t had many injuries this Spring” article. Thanks, Doug.
All the naughty words were edited by Brett. He’s very nice that way.
Moving South, Joe Cowley talks to the Sox probable opening day starter who, because this is the way things are in my world right now, has forgotten how to pitch.
John Danks continued to insist that “it’s coming around.’’
Considering the five-year, $65 million extension the White Sox gave the left-handed pitcher this offseason, it better be. Danks is the cornerstone of the rotation, and if the projected Opening Day starter stumbles in 2012, the Sox might have to re-examine their staff as they move forward in general manger Ken Williams’ version of a “rebuild.’’
“I think the main thing is it’s just early,’’ Danks said after allowing three earned runs in four innings Friday. “I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for me personally, you don’t want to go out there and suck. You want to have some success. But in the grand scheme of things, the first half of spring training you’re just trying to build up your arm strength and get innings. Then the second half you want to hit the ground running for when the regular season starts.
“We’re getting to that point where I think we’ll start putting a little more weight in results, but up until now it’s been just trying to get our work in.’’
For Danks, the work hasn’t been pretty. He said that he couldn’t recall a spring training when he has felt so out of whack. Danks has allowed seven runs in nine innings (7.00 ERA).
His changeup had been nonexistent, and he had yet to throw a curveball for a strike. So while the pitching line didn’t look great against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a steady diet of changeups gave him something positive.
“Physically, I feel great, but mechanically, it’s just out of whack,’’ Danks said. “It’s part of it, it will come. I’ve talked to the coaching staff, [pitching coach Don Cooper] especially, and we’re starting to see results.
“My main focus has been the changeup. The changeup has been horrible. [Friday] it was better. There were a couple of big hits with it, but I felt a little more consistent with it. I was able to throw it in counts I normally throw it in. My first two [starts], I wasn’t able to get it to the plate, so I wasn’t pitching like me.’’
Maybe that’s why manager Robin Ventura has yet to officially name him the Opening Day starter. Danks is in line to take the ball in Texas on Opening Day, but he hasn’t been told a thing.
“You hear things, and I guess I’m in line for it right now,’’ Danks said, “but until I’m told something for sure, I’m just going to try and go about my business.”
NOTES: Third baseman Brent Morel was a late scratch before the game against the Diamondbacks because of back stiffness. Brent Lillibridge took his spot.
◆ Adam Dunn (stiff neck) and reliever Jesse Crain (mild strain to right oblique) remained on the shelf. Ventura hopes to have both back by the end of the weekend.
Yes, they are babying Dunn. Short of getting him a wet nurse he is being coddled in every way imaginable. And it’s working. So leave them alone.
I’ve mentioned before that starting pitching is scaring me this year and I can’t believe I’m saying that with the arms on the Sox roster.
Well, today’s a holiday, or holy day depending on your beliefs, so I’ll cut this short.
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If you want to read about Blago head over to the World News Center and have fun. I won’t sully this blog with him. Even if he is one of the most famous Cubs fans around.
And I don’t want to belabor the Brandon Marshall signing. Based on initial police reports it’s doubtful that he’ll be on the field before October anyway. If then.
The Bulls continue to find ways to win and that’s all that really matters for them right now. I’m still worried about their chances in the playoffs but we can cross that bridge when the time comes.
The Hawks signed the best defenseman they could but he can’t play until next year due to injuries.
Which brings us to baseball.
Let’s be honest here. Neither Chicago team seems poised to do much except cause fans to suffer heartburn this year. In the Cubs case that’s part of a larger plan. Pain now for pleasure later. In the Sox case it seems to be more a case of pain now for more pain later.
But they keep trotting out between the lines and playing anyway, so let’s take a look at how our heroes fared yesterday.
Carrie Muskat was at the Cubs game and brings us all we need to know.
George Kottaras hit a three-run double in the fourth and a two-run double in the fifth to lift the Brewers to a 10-2 victory on Wednesday over the Cubs in front of 11,682 at HoHoKam Park—the Cubs’ highest attendance of the season.
Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf gave up two runs on five hits and one walk over four innings, while striking out four.
Cubs starter Randy Wells cruised through three innings, giving up just two hits. Milwaukee then pounced on Travis Wood in the fourth. With one out, the Brewers loaded the bases as Wood walked two batters and hit Mat Gamel with a pitch. Kottaras then cleared them with a double into the gap in left-center. Carlos Gomez reached on an error by left fielder Reed Johnson—who misplayed the ball—and Cesar Izturis followed with a two-run double. Wolf followed with a RBI single that chased Wood.
Starlin Castro and Ian Stewart hit back-to-back doubles in the Chicago fourth, and Jeff Baker followed with an RBI single to close the gap to 6-2. The runs were the first off of Wolf after 7 2/3 scoreless innings this spring.
The Brewers loaded the bases in the fifth against Casey Coleman, and Kottaras connected on his second double. Pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad added a sacrifice fly, and in the sixth, Gamel drove in a run with a double to make it 10-2.
A couple of personal notes about the Cubs. (1); I like the way they’re playing, They are woefully short on talent but they do hustle every ball. (2); This is a team that should grow on fans as they develop. (3); Fans are just going to have to trust everyone that this is true.
Our pal Scott Merkin took in the Sox game and felt good about it.
The final score of Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League contest at Camelback Ranch read White Sox 9, Angels 7.
But the score within the score shows Albert Pujols 2, Adam Dunn 1.
Pujols, who came into the game homerless during Cactus League action, launched about 950 feet of long balls against White Sox starter Chris Sale in the third and against reliever Anthony Carter in the fifth.
Even Sale admitted that he lost track of Pujols’ first blast, a three-run shot down the left-field line, after it took flight. Sale hit Pujols with his first offering in the first inning.
“Well yeah, a hitter like him, he’s arguably the best in the game,” said Sale of Pujols. “You see fastball in, you got to get it in. He proved a couple of innings later that if you’re going in, you better get it in there.”
“I don’t really look for that. I try to just put a good swing on it all the time,” said Pujols of looking to go deep. “I’m not sitting out there trying to hit the ball out of the park. I’m just trying to hit the ball back to the middle and let the ball get deep and try to make good swings every day.”
Meanwhile Dunn continued his strong bounce-back spring. The designated hitter returned from a one-game absence due to a stiff neck to draw a leadoff walk in the second and then knock out a prodigious two-run homer to right in the sixth off Angels closer Jordan Walden. He walked again in the eighth.
Chicago’s Eduardo Escobar hit a two-run single to break a 7-7 tie in the eighth inning and provided the White Sox with the winning margin.
Sale lasted the longest of any White Sox starter during Spring Training, pitching 4 1/3 innings, so endurance is not an issue for the converted late-inning reliever. But the southpaw gave up five runs on seven hits, while striking out two and not issuing a walk.
“What, I’ve thrown eight innings? Given up eight runs? That’s unacceptable on every level, I don’t care who you are,” said Sale, who has allowed 10 hits and eight earned runs over 7 1/3 innings and two starts this spring. “By no means am I going to go home and kick myself in the rear, but I’m disappointed with what happened today. At the same time there are positives on what happened with this.”
Angels starter Ervin Santana lasted just 1 1/3 innings. He was knocked out of the game by Alexei Ramirez’s line drive off his right shoulder, with the injury being diagnosed as a right shoulder bruise. He’s listed as day to day.
Brent Lillibridge knocked out three hits from the leadoff spot and Tyler Flowers went deep for the White Sox, while Howard Kendrick had three hits, including a two-run homer to right, for the Angels.
Yes, Dunn has been looking better and better each outing. He can’t carry the team but it’s nice to think there’s one less thing to worry about. The worrisome part is pitching. The Sox are supposed to be loaded with it and their starters are getting knocked around like it’s their first time seeing major league players. If it’s one guy you ship him to 3A to “work out some kinks.” But it’s not. It’s all of them except Floyd and he’s trade bait.
That’s not a feel good notion.
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