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Split Sox

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I guess that this game, in a way, sums up the whole season. You think it's the end. You think the other shoe is about to fall off -- and, the Sox go off and keep proving ya wrong. Today, for example, the Sox had 'The Human Enigma' taking the hill in Jose Contreras, who had never pitched well against Boston (13.50 ERA in 21 and a third). The scenario was set for Boston to take three out of four, and for White Sox fandom to panic. Yet, Contreras steps up and gives up three runs in five and two-thirds, allowing our Sox to split with the other Sox. It also helped that Tadahito Iguchi had a huge day, going 3-for-4 with a 2nd inning two-run blast to put the Sox up early(he finished with 3 RBIs).

So, the series was filled with ups and downs, yet both teams should come out happy. The Red Sox come into the house of the best team in baseball, and split the four. And the White Sox prove to themselves and any other doubters that they can hang with the best of the AL. When these two teams meet again early in August, there will most likely be a couple of new faces on both sides.

Here's a short little recap of the Sox vs. Sox series:

Game One: Joe Crede goes from hero to scapegoat in a matter of ten minutes. In the 8th inning, he doubles to the gap in right-center to tie the game at five; yet, in the next inning, he drops a foul pop-up that would have been the third out of the inning. Next pitch, a moonshot to left-center by Manny Ramirez, and the Red Sox take the lead, and the opener, 6-5.

Game Two: Two sixth inning three-run homers -- one by A.J. Pierzynski, the other by Juan Uribe -- along with another gem thrown by Jon Garland propelled the Sox to an 8-4 victory.

Game Three: Early baserunning blunders, squandered opportunities (bases loaded, one out -- zero runs), combined with Manny Ramirez' second homer of the series (a two-run shot, first inning shot) lead to a game three victory for the Carmines, by a final of 3-0.

Game Four: As noted above, Tadahito Iguchi's big night at the plate (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBIs) led the Sox offense in the series finale (at the Cell). The White Sox bullpen also had a huge hand in the matter. Neal Cotts continued his dynamite season, throwing one-and-a-third scoreless innings with two K's. Cliff Politte added a scoreless inning, and after Damaso Marte was unable to shut the door in the ninth, Dustin Hermanson came in to get the final two outs.

Overall, it was a very fun series for both teams, that saw approximately 140,000 fans pack US Cellular and root for their Sox. The White Sox now head to Kansas City for a three-game set with the Royals, and then onto Camden Yards to finish out July with a set against the Orioles.

The Deadline Creeps Closer: A trade is coming. I'm not sure when this week, and I'm not sure for who -- but a trade is coming. I'm calling General Manager Kenny Williams' bluff; he can trot out the chemistry line all he wants, but that's not going to prevent him from adding an arm like Billy Wagner if the deal is right.

This is simply speculation on my part, but A.J. Burnett probably pitched his last game as a Florida Marlin. I realize that's not a revolutionary prediction, but -- I said it anyways. He put on a real nice show for any scouts in attendence, going seven innings plus, giving up one run (unearned) while striking out four. He also hit a homer in one of his two at-bats.

So, I pose the question -- with one week left till that July 31st trade deadline, who do you want the Sox to get? Is it another bat to add to the lineup? Or is it that bullpen arm that would push every down a peg, strengthening an already potent bullpen?

Jenks Showing He's Ready: The Daily Herald talks about Bobby Jenks and his role down the stretch with the White Sox:

Jenks has always thrown hard and frequently flirts with triple digits on the speed gun, but his stock elevated after he improved his location of off-speed pitches. At Birmingham, he appeared as a reliever for the first time in his career and earned 19 saves in 35 appearances.

.....

Williams has met with Guillen and the other coaches about upgrading the bullpen, but he said a thin market and "ridiculous" trade proposals have made a deal unlikely. But if Jenks continues to mystify opposing hitters, Williams might be content to sit tight.

Two of the better moves that Williams made this off-season went un-noticed; one, the trade of waiver pickup of Alex Escobar, and the second being claiming Jenks off of waivers from the Angels. Jenks may already have an important in this year's bullpen, and certainly figures to be a huge part in years to come.