- In the series opener, Gavin Floyd, who I once called the Joe Borchard of pitching prospects, took a no-hitter into the 9th inning.
- Yesterday, Carlos Gomez hit for the cycle -- the 8th cycle the White Sox have allowed in the retrosheet era.
- In the rubber match Thursday, Juan Uribe was the hero and Jim Thome recorded his first steal since he was playing in Cleveland, both of which seem equally unlikely.
Just days ago, there was speculation from inside the White Sox clubhouse that Juan Uribe was a goner, a sacrificial lamb for the team-wide hitting slump and 6 game losing streak. Thursday he may have provided the spark to help lift the Sox out of their funk.
While Uribe's 2-run homer in the 5th inning put the Sox up for good, it was hit takeout slide of Brendan Harris in the 8th that really brought life to the dugout.
"Awesome," manager Ozzie Guillen said of Uribe's clean but ferocious slide. "I was the first one that jumped out of my seat.
"When somebody hits a home run, I just sit there and wait for the guy to shake his hand, unless it's to win the game. But when I see plays like that -- clean, play the game the way they should be playing -- it's something we're missing."
The first thing I noticed after Uribe bowled over Harris was the reception he received in the dugout. It was much more boisterous than the homecoming following his 2-run shot. It may have been a while since the Sox have seen a multi-run homer, but it's still something they're used to seeing. A well executed takeout slide, however, was something to be celebrated.
If the Sox are able to come out of their team-wide slump, you know that play will trotted out as the turning point. If the Sox bats head back into hibernation, if Uribe continues to hit below his weight, the simple fundamentally sound play will be forgotten as the calls for Jerry Owens crescendo. I'll stick with the view that it was a good play, and if the Sox get some more plays like that, and the properly executed run down, and, you know, some timely hitting they'll turn things back around.
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I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't describe the bizarre circumstances surrounding Thome's first steal in a White Sox uniform. To set the stage, with nobody out in the Thome walked to advance Carlos Quentin to second and bring Paul Konerko to the plate. Konerko worked a 3-1 count, and was unable to check his swing on an inside fastball.
Home plate umpire Doug Eddings --It's always Doug Eddings-- was slow to call anything (sound familiar?). Konerko, hearing nothing, assumed it was ball four and began to take off his shin guard. At the same time Quentin and Thome began trotting towards the next base. Meanwhile, Joe Mauer started asking for help, inexplicably pointing to third base then finding the proper ump at first, who (correctly) called it a strike on a failed check swing. But by this time, Thome and Q were mere steps away from 2nd and 3rd, respectively, giving Mauer no play.
Mauer returned the ball to Matt Guerrier, who ran around the field tagging Thome and Quentin, who now stood safely 90 feet closer to home. Ron Gardenhire came out to argue Eddings' slow call on the play, and eventually got the boot. Meanwhile in the White Sox dugout, Ozzie yukked it up, pantomiming Guerrier looking for outs by tagging anyone within arms reach of him.
The Sox would not score in the inning. The smiles were removed from their faces... until that Uribe slide.
In a somewhat surprising twist, it seems the person most responsible for keeping Owens off the roster right now is Ozzie. This probably has more to do with Ozzie's inflated view of Alexei Ramirez more than anything else, but it's notable because it seems like Ozzie is always fighting to keep his bantam-weight speedsters on the roster.
Anecdotally, based solely on my own observation and without going through the game logs or Pitch F/X data, it feels like there is a (negative) correlation between the opposing starter's fastball velocity and their game ERA against the Sox. Put more simply, the Sox can't hit soft tossers. The harder you throw, the better they've hit you (at least since the Baltimore series). If anyone wanted to take the time to dive into the data, I'd be forever in your debt.
- As if there wasn't enough misguided, tangentially White Sox related material floating through my inbox and feed reader with the manufactured outrage surrounding latex inflatables in a locker room in the news everywhere, Ozzie went on another one of his Ozzie being Ozzie rants where he says a whole lot of nothing, causing those who don't cover him every day to proclaim he's talking himself out of a job. We all know this is about as far from the truth as you can get, so I'll just continue to point out that the coaches and staff from the '05 World Series team have recurring contracts and Get Out of Jail Free cards that run through 2012.