Juan Uribe and the White Sox bullpen combined to turn an otherwise entertaining game into "hope" for the next 24 hours for Cubs fans. You all should do yourself a favor and skip the local Sunday sports shows and the morning paper tomorrow. All they'll be talking about is how Michael Barrett's actions, which could have landed him in the pokey had they happened off the field -- like, say a Denny's -- sparked the Cubs, leading their charge back to respectability. As if that could happen. I fully expect the Sun-Times D'bag to give Barrett the print version of a reacharound again tomorrow. (Today's column was simultaneously the funniest and saddest thing I've read all year.)
Jose Contreras looked healthy as he easily disposed of the impatient seamen of the Ursa Whiner through the first 7 innings. He allowed 2 HR's, both to Aramis ramirez, in a game for the first time since Detroit took him deep twice the first day of September last season. You can't even call the two pitches that Ramirez hit mistakes, as they both would have been called balls, down and in. You've just gotta tip your cap, and don't throw him that pitch again. Other than that, Contreras allowed only a few weak singles, all weakly hit.
With 1 down in the 8th and a 2-run lead, he allowed two baserunners on a couple of bloops, prompting Ozzie to give him the hook. Ozzie was just being cautious with Count, who was just coming off the DL, and wanted to protect Count's winning streak. It's hard to argue with the decision to pull him, and just as hard to argue with who was brought in (Neal Cotts) -- Though I might have gone with Boone Logan -- Actually, I really wanted to see the big fella there, but I always want to see the big fella. I like more-than-3-out-saves.
Cotts did his job to the first batter he faced, inducing a tailor made double play ball from Todd Walker, but Juan Uribe rushed the throw, and was well wide of Konerko at first, allowing one run to score. The next batter, Barrett, (still no sign of the big fella) lined one to right center that Rob Mackowiak turned into a triple, plating the tying run. He got a bad read, took a circuitous route, and dove for no apparent reason. It was a ball that Brian Anderson gets to with ease. Which begs the question, Where was Anderson?
Mackowiack had just batted in the 7th, and wouldn't be due up until the 9th. With a 2 run lead, 6 outs to go, and the CF spot not due up unless the Sox allow a couple runs, there was no reason for him to still be out there. For some reason defensive changes are usually only made for the final 3 outs.
As Jacque Jones stepped to the plate, I thought to myself, "Self, I don't like this matc- F#ck!." Even though Jones is a lefty notorious for being unable to hit left-handed pitching, he matches up well against Cotts, who is about a 1.5 pitch pitcher, and has a history for hitting clutch HR's against the Sox.
The bullpen melted down, but you don't win many games in the major leagues while committing 3 errors. I know it's listed as only 2, but who are they kidding? A non-turned-DP was way more detrimental to the Sox chances than the other two bootings.
I suppose I can take some solace in that, in all likelihood the Sox would have pulled off the sweep; if Juan Uribe doesn't get a case of the knoblauchs, if Brian Anderson is in his rightful place in CF, if Ozzie goes for the jugular with Jenks in the 8th. I'll take 2 out of 3 all year long. And the truth is, I've didn't have any of these games circled on the calendar, but I do have tomorrow's.