Saturday, August 12, 2006

Showdown Series Part Deux, Episode One

White Sox 5, Tigers 0.

THAT was huge.

Jose Contreras turned in a classic 2005 performance in a game that was probably the most important for the Sox since the 2005 playoffs. Not that catching Detroit should be first and foremost on their minds, but to come out in a series opener in your home park against the best team in baseball and the game's hottest young pitcher with a 3-hit masterpiece is the definition of "ace".

The offense displayed an unusual amount of patience as well, waiting out Justin Verlander's 97-mph heat (which was down to about 92-93 by the fifth inning; perhaps his arm is more than merely 'tired') and pouncing on his average breaking ball. Jim Thome and A.J. Pierzynski each belted two-run homers, and Scott Podsednik and Tadahtio Iguchi again set the table at the top of the order, each picking up a pair of hits. Pods was even up to his old tricks on the basepaths, baiting Verlander into an errant pickoff throw that moved him from first to third and led to the Sox first run. While you'd like to pile on in a game where you outhit a team 15-3, this is still no time to be complaining about style points. J-K-W: Just...Keep...Winnin'.

They also say that momentum only lasts as long as the next day's starting pitcher. In ordinary times as a White Sox fan, you'd look at the schedule and see Mark Buehrle heading to the mound on Saturday and feel pretty damn good. Good, that is, until realizing that Buehrle's 2006 season has nosedived since July 1 and he's 0-6 in his last 9 starts. But then again, Jose was only 1-4 in his previous six before tonight.

Game 2: Mark Buehrle vs. Kenny Rogers, 12:20 CT.

Sox: 68-46, 7.5 Back in the Division, 1.5 Up in the Wild Card (Magic # for the Postseason: 47)



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