I'm sure those who Sunday at the Church of Timo will cite this as a game that he won single-handedly. And he did have a nice day, throwing Michael Ryan out at the plate, scoring the Sox only run in regulation, and driving in their lone run in extra-innings. The real heroes of the game, however, were Geoff Blum and Jon Garland.
Blum lead off the 10th inning with a ringing double of the garbage bag in right center. He then made a creative slide at third base to avoid the tag (click the picture at right for a clearer version) on a poor bunt by Pablo Ozuna. If either of those plays don't happen, I'm positive that the Sox would have blown that game.
Jon Garland answered his teammates strong pitching with a great outing of his own. Over the last four games White Sox starting pitching has been excellent.
Garland was the only one not to throw 8 innings, and he was pulled just one out away from that mark with nobody on base.
Before I start to praise them too much, we did face a 'B' lineup from New York on Sunday, and Minnesota, who's not exactly an offensive juggernaut in the first place, was missing it's entire starting outfield for two White Sox victories. Still, the pitching staff seems to have taken the offense's slump as a challenge. They know they're going to have to put up a bunch of zeros on that board, and they're doing just that. Tomorrow will be more of the same as we face the best pitching prospect in the last 10 or 20 years.
Despite the White Sox offense still looking like it was stuck in first gear, there were some positives to take away from the game.
- Bobby Jenks got his first major league save, and made it look pretty easy. -- He needs a couple more opportunities like that, more specifically, a couple of 9th inning save opps, and he'll be ready to step up big time in the post-season.
- The team could have folded after what appeared to be a blown call in the bottom of the ninth. Instead, Blum set the tone again with that leadoff double in the 10th.
- Joe Crede was pulled from the game after injuring his finger on a bunt attempt. -- I don't know how you possibly break your finger, yet fail to get hit by the pitch, but that's apparently exactly what he did. -- With nobody out and a runner on second base, I have no clue why Ozzie wasn't pinch hitting Iguchi or Ozuna in the first place to get the bunt down. Crede has struggled all year trying to bunt. Him getting hurt may have helped the Sox onto victory.
- Has anyone seen Neal Cotts?