After dropping the opening game of the crosstown series with the Cubs, the outlook didn't look to good for Saturday's game. The Cubs sent probable all-star Carlos Zambrano(3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in June) to this hill, while the Sox countered with an "all-star" of thier own. The problem being the Sox "all-star" was named to the International League's mid-summer classic.
Felix Diaz answered the challenge. He made the Cubs look foolish in the first three innings, showing why he compiled a 8-2 record at AAA Charlotte. The main difference I was able to notice between this start and the two he had made earlier this year was his ability to keep the ball down. He showed that he could get his curveball over early in the game, and mixed it well with the fastball and change-up. The key pitch though was the change-up. Diaz doesn't have an overpowering fastball, and in his other two outings for the ChiSox his change-up was up in the zone and over the heart of the plate.
It took a lot of guts for a 23 year old kid to come up and make a start like that in front of a packed house, after having been shelled in his previous big league action. As Hawk said after the game, "Diaz showed some 'stones' out there today."
Last twenty games
I found a nice site the other day. DougStats.com
has a collection of stats for various sports, but the feature that I like best is the 'last 20 games' feature for baseball. It's sorted by league, for both player and team stats. It's a useful evaluation tool especially since for the last 20 games the Sox have been without Magglio Ordonez. T
So what has happened in Maggs' absence? (current stats thru 6/25)
The Sox have score the most runs in the AL, 123.
Konerko and Thomas lead the AL in HR's, 7. Konerko hit another today.
Joe Crede is tied for the lead in 2B, 10. Carlos is not far behind, 8.
The Sox hitters lead the league in slugging.
The Sox hitters lead the league in walks taken.
The Sox have lost 5 games in the standings over the last 20 to the Twins.
Uribe, Valentin, Konerko, and Lee are all among the leaders in K's.
The Sox hitters have struck out more than any other team in the league, 157. 18 more than any other team.
The lowest ERA of a starter over the last 20 games is Loaiza at 5.47.
The Sox have the highest team ERA in the AL, 6.18. The next closest is 5.30.
The Sox pitchers have given up 35 HR's over the last 20. 8 more than anyone else.