Quentin, Konerko, Dye Slug Sox Over Tigers

You can't call the White Sox 10-6 victory over the Tigers boring. There were milestone homers, two of them, back-to-back; an injury at the Sox shallowest position, and a once-every-thousand games pitching performance.

To be fair, Gavin Floyd's woeful 7-walk performance isn't that rare. Major League baseball is littered with the remnants of pitchers who couldn't find the strike zone. But Floyd's outing was just the 5th time in my lifetime that a White Sox pitcher has walked 7 batters and still came out on the winning end of the decision, which works out to about once every 1000 games.

Floyd would not have been given as much rope by Ozzie Guillen at this time last year. But Floyd proved to be a pitcher worth letting work through jams late last season, and the bullpen options of Mike MacDougal, DJ Carrasco and Clayton Richard aren't exactly strike-throwing machines. Plus the Sox offense was giving Guillen and Floyd plenty of room with which to work.

So when Floyd walked 2 batters on 4-pitches in the 3rd, followed by allowing a 3-2 HR to Ramon Santiago of all people, and then walked the bases loaded in the 5th Ozzie gave him room to work. Santiago delivered another blow of sorts in that 5th with a well-struck ball to deep center field.

D-Dub to the DL

Dewayne Wise was playing him the other way, and had quite a bit of distance to run down the ball, eventually catching it while on his feet, but off-balance, out over his toes. It was a great catch, but the aftermath leaves the Sox even thinner at their weakest position.

Wise chose to do a bit of a barrel roll instead of going into a full dive in what I assume was an effort to return to his feet more quickly and hold the runners, but it appeared that he didn't tuck his right elbow in enough on his tumble (video at link). So instead of landing on his shoulder in a well-braced position, his shoulder was pushed in two different directions (up when his elbow first struck the ground, and forward as his shoulder blade followed suit) in quick succession, one of which proved to be too much for Wise's shoulder to take.

Although there has not been official grade given to the degree of Wise's shoulder separation, Bruce Levine speculates that he could miss 4-6 weeks. The injury is to his lead shoulder which is highly stressed when you try to check your swing. A few years ago, Richie Sexson lost essentially an entire season to a similar injury, and the Sox might not have been able to trade for Carlos Quentin had he not struggled through a lead-shoulder injury in '07.

For the Sox, the question now becomes who plays centerfield in Wise's absense? It seems a given that Brian Anderson will be the biggest beneficiary of Wise's injury, as he figures to at least split time with Jerry Owens. But don't count out Brent Lillibridge as an option. It appears that Owens has really found his way into Ozzie's doghouse, as Kenny Williams made the call for Owens.

"Kenny made that decision because we need a center fielder right now," Guillen said of the Owens' promotion. "We’re going to start by keep playing with Brian. ... I have to see how (Owens) was doing because I don’t think he was doing too well in Triple-A, either.

"But when I got to the office, Kenny said (Owens) would be coming for the next couple of days and we'll see how he does. I need a true center field. Hopefully Brian does the job, if not, I’ll give Jerry a shot."

Let me emphasize that Lillibridge wouldn't be in my plans, but I have to acknowledge that he is an option for Ozzie Guillen, who hasn't been afraid to give him two of the Sox first 7 starts in the leadoff spot.

Quentin Quiets Critics

I have to admit that I was still not entirely convinced that Carlos Quentin's wrist was at 100% strength until today. His first two homeruns of the season were wall-scrapers, and a third deep-fly that looked like a homer off the bat-- Quentin thought he got it -- fell into the waiting glove of an outfielder short of the warning track. But his two homeruns into a stiff breeze at Comerica Park left no doubt; Quentin still has plenty of power to spare.

The second homer was particularly impressive and seemed to catch everyone by surprise, as Quentin seemed to cut his swing short and finish with one hand.

Back-to-Back 300 Shots

Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko became the first teammates in MLB history to hit "double-zero" milestone homers in the same game, and they did it in back-to-back at-bats. Paul Konerko greeted Dye with a simple handshake at the plate after Dye's 300 HR, but it was really fun to watch Dye's reaction to Konerko's HR.

Dye was jumping around like a 6-year old hopped up on his 3rd Dr. Pepper and 2nd slice of Chuck E. Cheese pizza as Konerko trotted around the bases. I think Dye's enthusiasm was masking a tinge of playful disappointment at the knowledge he wouldn't be able to good-naturedly hold his 300th HR over Konerko's head, at least for a few games.

ESPN Launches Another Site To Ignore

The best thing I can say about the new ESPN Chicago is they dodged a bullet when Jay Mariotti signed on with AOL Sports only to get rolled up into Fanhouse. The new site could have highlighted a number of new voices, made a new model for online sports coverage. But at launch, ESPN Chicago appears exactly like ESPN.com, albeit with a Chicago slant; a majority of the links (9/10 of the "Chicago News" headlines) directed back to generic ESPN Content.

They've got a stable of 10 columnists and bloggers, but it's unclear to me why they bothered to differentiate between the two -- though I suspect it might have something to do with voices such as Gene Wojciechowski and Scoop Jackson feeling that "blogging" is beneath them. You can pay bloggers less too; just ask Larry.

ESPN 1000 has 5 linked blogs in the sidebar which combined for 1 entry in the last 2 weeks at the time of launch. They're up to 3 new entries today, as I picture some ESPN 1000 suit running around offices seeking anyone with a teletypewriting internet machine.

I'm disappointed that they haven't chosen to highlight their locally-generated content, and even moreso that their RSS feeds are not author-specific. Bruce Levine is the only writer I wanted to subscribe to, but I got columns from everyone in my reader when I attempted to subscribe to his feed. Unsubscribe. Who wants Scoop Jackson mucking up their local baseball coverage?

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