I can sympathize with the White Sox tonight.
I spent much of the first half of Monday's game struggling to complete a project which seemed easy at first. I actually started this afternoon, and thought I'd be done before I sat down for dinner and game time. But every time I added another element to the project, a White Sox Blog Index which contains updates from around the net, something would break. And then when I thought I had it working, I realized I'd have to make it work (and look pretty) across all browsers -- no easy feat with the two available content widths and the criminally terrible IE 6 still being used by far too many of you.
The Sox, on the other hand, were faced with the seemingly easy task of taking on a young lefty, who wasn't even on the 40-man roster at this time last week, making his second major league start. Greg Smith, that's what they call him, was the least heralded of the 5 players sent to Oakland in the Dan Haren trade, the type who should seem, at least on paper, to be an easy victory. But Smith had little trouble taming the "top offense" in the AL, using the deadly combination of a changeup to keep runners off the bases and a balk disguised as a pick-off move to get rid of them once they got there.
Once Smith was chased, the Sox mounted two small offensives. Alan Embree, who threw 87% fastballs last season, wiped out the first one, striking out Jim Thome, who will get the day off tomorrow as the Sox face their third lefty in a row, on 4 straight breaking balls. Huston street took care of the second push, throwing all but one pitch off the outside corner of the plate. I've included MLB Gameday screencaps from Konerko, Quentin, and Crede's 9th inning at-bats for reference.
- Kurt Suzuki, who's no Donny Lucy, went 4-4. Nope, I'm never gonna stop with that one.
- Had the Sox have won the game, Nick Swisher would have been the lead story. He reached base in each of his first three trips to the plate, and gave one a ride in the 8th inning, shaving another few days off Hawk's life in the process.
- Emil Brown had a heckuva game as well. There were three balls hit to left field that I thought were doubles off the bat, and he held the Sox to singles on each occasion. He drove in the what proved to be the game winning run as well.
- Certified Sox killer Mike Sweeney's double came immediately after he popped up two pitches, the first of which is an out if the Sox have a first baseman with average to above average range.
- Boone Logan, pitching without that small woodland creature on his chin, was lights out cleaning up a typical Mike MacDougal mess. Logan struck out the two lefties he faced on a total of 7 pitches.