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Ray Liotta will steal your car

The White Sox took Thursday off to figure out how they were going to incorporate a special ceremony into their first road trip of the season, so I was left with the Charlotte Knights game on to fill my baseball fix for the day.

  • I'm starting to come around on Josh Fields. From what I've seen of him this spring, and again tonight, it's hard to believe that he struck out 152 times last season. He doesn't appear to have a big hole in his swing, his bat speed looks good, and he has at least an average grasp of the strike zone; I can't figure it out. He must have spent most of last year chugging Nyquil before he went to bat.

    He went 2-4 tonight, and was the only one of the Knights' first six batters who didn't strike out in their first trip to the plate.

  • Toledo, the Tigers AAA affiliate, starter Wil Ledezma confounded the Knights with a live fastball. I seem to remember him shutting the Sox down once, only it was his change-up that was troubling our hitters. Ledezma's line fore the night was very impressive, but the truth is he didn't have great control, and the Knights helped him out a lot by chasing pitches out of the zone.
  • Ryan Sweeney, who will play some CF in addition to RF this year, particularly had trouble with Ledezma. Sweeney was 0-4 on the night, with 3K's. The strikeouts came in three different variety too. First he dueled Ledezma for about 8 straight fastballs before he chased out of the zone. Next, he chased two breaking balls in the dirt after Ledezma got strike one with a fastball. The third time he got aced on the outside corner by another lefty after Ledezma had been pulled. Ledezma must have been on a pitch limit, because he was pulled with Sweeney, who he abused in his first two at-bats, coming to the plate.
  • Tim Redding started for the Knights and pitched 6 innings of scoreless ball while striking out 7. I honestly didn't watch him pitch. I minimized the window when the Knights weren't at bat.
Elsewhere on the Farm
  • In Birmingham
    • Ray Liotta had a successful AA debut, though he only struck out 2 in 5 IP. His sinkerballing ways have always led to better ERAs than you would expect from his peripherals.
    • Robert Valido went 2-4 with a double, and looks to be the Barons #2 hitter. Leading off will be Chris Getz.
    • Tom Collaro homered, and struck out just once. That's progress for him.
  • In Winston-Salem
    • The mystery that is Anderson Gomes went 2-4 with a double. The box score has him listed as the starting right fielder, contradicting Phil Rogers categorization of him as a center fielder. It's not like he was playing behind a great prospect either. Sean Smith was patrolling center.
    • Dony Lucy went 2-3 with a HR and a double. Lucy had a grand total of 2 HR since being drafted ahead of Kurt Suzuki in the 2004 draft. (Easily the biggest mistake the Sox made in that draft.)

  • In Kannapolis
    • Another mystery player from Brazil, Paulo Orlando, had a good debut (2-4 with triple) in his first taste of baseball in the states. Orlando got into one televised game this spring, and let me tell you, this boy can fly. He's listed at 6'3" and 165, and is just 20 years old, so there's room to put on power. He'll probably profile to be a speedy leadoff man and center fielder, assuming his age is correct. He's one to keep an eye on.
    • Francisco Hernandez, who struggled when he started at Kanny last year, was 2-4 with a double.

  • I have to mention Hawk's latest post on his newfangled blog thingamajig. You can almost hear the southern drawl of Hawk as you read through it. In fact, it's a little scary how much the "real" Hawk -- I'm still convinced that the blog is the work of an intern tethered to a old IMB with a 386 processor -- sounds like the satire of himself.
    folks are scared of the Sox. Why are they scared? Because the Sox can beat teams in all sorts of ways. They can shut you out. They can move guys over. They can hit homers when they need to. Like Joe Crede. Kid?s gotten a lot of guff since he joined Sox. Folks want him to hit. Folks want him to field. Just let the kid play. He?s a player. Got guts. You don?t hit 2 homers in a game like yesterday?s if you don?t have guts. And he?s got ?em. Guts ain?t a number. Guts is heart.
    These teams get after it the right way. Take Casey Blake for example, who had a great day in right field yesterday with a bunch of running catches. He got a good jump each time and the only way to get that jump is by being in the ballgame. There's a lot of guys out there who go out to the outfield thinking about what stance they're going to use the next time at the plate or the popup, strikeout, or ground ball they had the last time up. As we've said so many times before, there are two games in baseball - the offensive one and the defensive one and you have to separate them.
    The only reason you can tell those two apart is by the players and situations he mentions.
  • And if you were wondering about the title, this should answer it.