For a long time Wednesday night, it appeared as if Jon Garland would end up the hard luck loser on the back of two bad pitches. When the White Sox weren't getting set down 1-2-3 and actually managed to get a leadoff man on base, they invariably found a way to run into an out.
- Jermaine Dye was caught stealing second after leading off the second inning with a single.
- Juan Uribe failed to make contact on a pitch in the opposing batters' box on a hit-and-run call, hanging Rob Mackowiak, who had singled leading off the third, out to dry.
- Pablo Ozuna, who lead off the 7th with a single after falling behind 0-2, was caught stealing.
While I'm calling out the Sox for being overly aggressive against a poor team, I think I have to send some praise Scott Podsednik's way. Pods finally appears to have regained his first step on the basepaths. He was 3-3 in steals yesterday against a lefty; and today he was 1-1 stealing second on a pitch-out. He should still probably sit tight against the better arms in the league like Joe Mauer and Pudge, but I'm not as opposed the green light as I was just a few days ago.
For much of the night, the White Sox only offense was Jermaine Dye. He hit a solo-HR leading off the 5th, then tied the game in the 6th with a sac-fly to short center field -- Podsednik's speed again helped on that play. I don't think anyone other than Ozuna would have been going on a ball that was hit that short.
Seth McClung should have been done for the night after that play. He had struggled all inning with control, and was now swearing in the general direction of center fielders Joey Gathright. When the Sox are going good, they would have put him away right then and there. But McClung got A.J. Pierzynski to flyout to left field, then Pablo Ozuna gave him the aforementioned free out in the 7th to help him escape another inning.
Dye continued to be the Sox most dangerous offensive weapon when he singled home the go-ahead run in the 8th. At that point he had driven in all three of the Sox runs. This time, however, Pierzynski would come through behind him. AJ lined a sharp fly ball right over the head of Jonny Gomes. On the play, Gomes came in a step, froze, then lumbered back to the wall as it sailed over his head. Earlier, Gomes made a routine flyball to the right-centerfield gap into a Web Gem thanks to his cantering speed.
Jon Garland had an encouraging start, striking out his most (5) since his first start of the season. He seemed to be working down in the zone more and bit more off the plate inside. For the most part, it worked. When he fell behind in the count, however, he still had trouble retiring hitters. Both homers he allowed were when he was behind in the count. The most encouraging thing about his start was that he was able to put batters away. He was economical with his pitches, grabbing first pitch strikes and using his change to put guys away.
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