In July of 2003, benched and mired in a 0-15 slump, Paul Konerko was called upon as a pinch hitter with lefty Eddie Guardado on the mound in extra innings. Konerko saw only one pitch, tying the game which Frank Thomas would end two innings later. Konerko entered that game with a batting line of .185/.260/.265 and just 3 HR. He hit .279/.346/.519 with 15 HR the rest of the season.
Five years later, Konerko strode to the plate, his average freshly moved below .200 with an 0-4 night so far. Again he found himself facing a lefty, but this time it was one he OWNS. Seriously. Konerko saw Gobble three times last season, and hit 3 HR... on 6 pitches. Wednesday would be no different. 1 pitch. HR. The last 4 times he's faced Gobble he's put the ball over the fence, and did so on first pitch in 3 of those occasions.
I'm not saying that this single hit will turn his season around, but we've seen it happen before. And had I written a recap for the series opener, I would have noted that I liked Konerko's approach yesterday, even if it didn't net good results.
* * * * *
Alright, let's get to some quick bullet points so I can catch some shut eye.
- Alexei Ramirez had a crazy game. He went 0-for at the plate, but worked two walks. YES! Two walks. He was called out at home following an appeal after he failed to touch home on a Carlos Quentin groundball/error combo. And in the field he made 4--Yes! FOUR!--barehand plays. While none of them was particularly spectacular, they were all above average plays that necessitated a gloveless play. The last one might have been the best if only because it came on a ball that was deflected and would have put the Royals up in extra innings had he not been able to get the out.
- While Ramirez was making 4 very good plays at second, AJ Pierzynski was making sure Mark Grudzielanek stayed alert by routinely grounding out to second base 5--Yes! FIVE!--times.
The bullpen was magnificent, and, in all honesty, should get full credit for this win even though Bobby Jenks blew the save. Jenks pitched well. He just gave up an infield single, a seeing eye single, a bunt, and another bouncer up the middle to blow it. Everything was on the ground, and nothing was hit particularly hard.
Jenks came back with some quick work in the 10th, followed by Boone Logan and Octavio Dotel. The trio combined to pitch 6 hitless innings in extra time. Logan's 2.1 innings were particularly swift. He threw just 18 pitches (14 strikes) and didn't allow a baserunner.
- Nick Masset saw his first inentional high-leverage work, getting out of a bases loaded jam in the 6th inning, which was something like 5 hours ago.
- If the Sox had lost that game, this would be another post about how the offense sucks.
- I'm betting the Sox draft Brett Wallace later today.