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Monday, April 25, 2005
It's only the Royals

With the White Sox off to their best start in team history, I'm finding it hard not to become too optimistic about our chances this season. OK, I'm not finding it that hard, but I do have to remind myself occasionally that they won't be able to win 'em all. About a week ago when the Sox failed to close out the finale of a 3-game sweep for the third consecutive series, I grumbled that the Sox didn't have the killer instict to put teams away. Since that entry, the Sox have gone 9-1, winning 4 series, and finally getting that sweep today. (I don't count two-game sets as sweeps... It's not that hard to take two from an opponent, and the Sox had already proven they could do that)

* * * * *

Much like Saturday, Sunday was a game the Sox didn't deserve to win. After 7 innings, the Sox had twice as many errors in the field as they had hits, and Sox starter, El Duque, had walked 6, while throwing 111 pitches in 5 innings. But it's results that count, and it's results they got.

* * * * *

Pablo Ozuna came up big in his lone plate appearance, driving in the winning run with a shot just inside the first base bag. Then when he took the field at first base, a position I had yet to see him play, he made a play on a ball that Mike Sweeney gave a one-way ticket through the hole on the right side. Ozuna was playing well off the line, positioning I assume was called from the dugout, that allowed him to range to his right and turn what looked to be a sure hit into a rather routine play. With lefty Matt Stairs batting behind Sweeney representing the possible winning run, that fielding play was about as big as you can get, considering the way Shingo has pitched as of late.

* * * * *

El Duque, once again, didn't have his best stuff or command. He battled all game -- It's probably hypocritical of me to call it battling when he does it, and refer to it as struggling when El CondeĀ™ does the same. Oh well, at least I recognize the hypocrisy of it all. -- including walking Matt Stairs three times. (Walking stairs might have been his best decision all day. The first time anyone actually pitched to him, he put the Royals up 3-2 on a solo shot to straight away center.)

* * * * *

Jon Garland may have to take some pressure off the bullpen later tonight by working deep into the game. The pen has been shortened by two abbreviated outings by the Cuban Connection (8.1 IP), an extra inning game, and the sore back of Dustin Hermanson. It might not be that big of a deal, but it's something to watch for tonight.

* * * * *

The Sox start a three game set in the house of horrors tonight at 9PM Central. I don't think I have to explain to you the Sox recent trouble in Oakland. Last season's trip to the Bay Area featured what I thought was the real turning point of the season.

Oakland is pretty much a mirror image of the White Sox at this point in the season.
  • We've got a crappy OBP (.298) -- They've got a crappy OBP (.306)
  • We can't hit w/ RISP (.202) -- They can't hit w/ RISP (.215)
  • We've got the best ERA in the AL (3.12) -- They've got the second best ERA in the AL (3.65)
  • They've got probably the best defense in the AL. We've got one of the best in the AL.
Oakland and Chicago rank near the bottom of every offensive category, and near the top of every pitching and defensive category. In short, it should be a low scoring series. Expect some more 1-run games.