When I left town on Friday, I was among the group who thought that the weekend series with the Orioles had the potential to be a major turning point on the season. Jim laid out the reasons why the White Sox should have taken 2-out-of-3 while holding out hope for a sweep. Well we all know how that turned out...
And the importance of that series is only amplified by the first two games of this Boston series when the Sox send Jose Contreras and Freddy Garcia to the mound. Victories are unlikely when either takes the mound, even rarer when they're faced with a patient and powerful lineup, and nearly impossible when you give away as many runs as the Sox did on Monday. With adequate defense, not even spectacular defense -- just good enough to keep images of the Little League World Series buried safely in the recesses of your brain -- the Red Sox first 7 runs would not have crossed home.
It takes a special kind of ineptitude to allow 7 consecutive runs that shouldn't have scored, but Jose Contreras and these White Sox make a special team. In the second, Jayson Nix fell asleep to allow the Sawks to cut the Sox lead in half on a steal of second, turned rundown, turned steal of home. Then in the 3rd Contreras completely lost his shit, loading the bases with 2 out and appearing to induce Big Papi into an inning ending nubber. But Count first stared at then booted the routine play up the line to give the Sawks their second gift run of the game before he started feeling really generous.
A walk and a wild pitch completely erased the White Sox lead, giving the Red Sox 4 runs in less than 3 innings, none of them driven in with a hit. Contreras further showed his versatility when he gave up the death blow, a 3-run homer to Mike Lowell, or as Toonderstruck put it, the Contreras Cycle; 4 hits, 3 walks, 2 wild pitches, an error and a hit batter.
It's hard to understand why Contreras is still in the rotation, but then you remember that Freddy Garcia pitches tomorrow and realize it doesn't matter.