This one could have been a lot worse. It still was bad in its own special way.
Jake Peavy shook off a scary start to throw seven strong innings, but a Paul Konerko-less lineup couldn't knock down the wobbly CC Sabathia. They could have used a few more outs, but they gave too many away with too much bunting and bad instincts on the basepaths.
Two innings featured both!
The Sox had just fallen behind 3-0 midway through the third, and Gordon Beckham led off the bottom half with a single. For some reason, Guillen called for Brent Lillibridge to bunt him to second, so run-producing Brent Morel could get them an automatic run. The bunt worked, but it set up the first of two line-drive double plays off Morel's bat. This one went right to Robinson Cano. Beckham broke toward third with his first step, and Robinson Cano ended up with an unassisted double play.
Two innings later, Guillen called for Lillibridge to bunt over A.J. Pierzynski and Beckham after they started the inning with singles. Lillibridge tried to bunt a high fastball, and ended up popping it up. So that didn't work. And then came Morel, who hit another liner to the other side of the bag. Once again, Pierzynski broke the wrong way, and Sabathia escaped another jam.
What's frustrating is that in between, Guillen could have learned about the virtues of letting his players swing the bat. When Juan Pierre led off the fourth with a single, Alexei Ramirez followed by blasting a slider over the White Sox bullpen, cutting the Yankee lead to 3-2.
And that turned out to be all the scoring.
The bright side is that Peavy blasted through the 75-pitch barrier with no ill effects. Yet.
He just about reached that point after four innings, and the Yankees made him pay for missing spots. They smacked him around the yard -- mostly in Adam Dunn's direction -- during a two-run first. , but came back to retire 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, including a double play to erase the single. His rebound can best be described as such:
- First four innings: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
- Last three innings: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
He ended up throwing a season-high 115 pitches after talking his way back onto the mound for the seventh (and we'll talk about that later), but he didn't appear to lose any velocity, and he had more confidence in his slider, too. Overall, it was an encouraging outing at this time, but we'll see if there are any repercussions.
You can't say the same for Adam Dunn, who batted cleanup in Konerko's absence. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and might've had his worst at-bat of the season to end the eighth. With a runner on first and two outs, Sabathia challenged Dunn with fastballs over the plate -- Half-swing for strike one, half-swing for strike two. He went to a slider on the third pitch, and Dunn could only wave at it with a one-handed swing for strike three. He really is a mess.
Ramirez, on the other hand, came ready to play. He threw in a double with that homer, and made a nice diving stop on a Nick Swisher smash up the middle. It stayed in his mitt long enough to convince Swisher that he caught it, and he stopped running before realizing that the ball rolled out. Ramirez made a throw from his knees in plenty of time.