Jose Contreras had did not allow a baserunner the first time through the Rangers order, finding his forkball for the first time since coming off the DL. As quickly and easily as he sat those first 9 hitters down, you got the feeling that he could be on to something special. A Michael Young infield single in the 4th put an end to that, and Contreras lost his control in the strikezone in the 5th, but he did do something special. He became only the third White Sox pitcher in my lifetime to win 15 straight decisions.
Contreras had control of all of his pitches, but it was the reemergence of this forkball that was giving the Rangers fits. He'd been hanging his splitter since coming off the DL, but tonight he had it dancing all over the zone. Throw that in with a drop-down slider and 95 MPH fastballs from multiple angles and you've got yourself a recipe for success. Maybe the most impressive feat on the night was that Contreras didn't walk a batter. For a pitcher who came to the Sox with a reputation for being erratic, he has turned into a strike throwing machine. In fact, the 11 strikeouts is the most in a single game by a major league pitcher this season without issuing a walk.
Brian Anderson has a hit streak! It's a 2-game hit streak, but it's a start. His second inning double was the first he's hit since the second series of the season. I'd like to see him get the start again tomorrow with another sinkerballer on the mound, with Ozzie starting Mackowiak against Padilla on Wednesday. A 'platoon' like that would be putting both Anderson and the White Sox in the best position possible.
Boy, was tonight's game a microcosm of A.J. Pierzynski's season. He made at least one out every time he came to the plate with men on, and with nobody on he goes deep. It's tough to complain about a guy who's hitting well over .300, but AJ's giving me the opportunity this year.
I was taking a look at some of the comps for our minor leaguers, and I was having trouble coming up with one for Josh Fields, currently leading the International League in AVG, OBP, SLG, and obviosly OPS. For instance, Ryan Sweeney's current development path is somewhere in between Joe Mauer's and Alex Rios. Either way it's an encouraging thought, and more than enough reason not to trade him.
Jonny Gomes is the closest (recent) hitter I can compare with Fields, but Fields' current season is somewhere in between Gomes final two seasons in the International league. Fields power isn't as developed as Gomes, and he needs to stay at AAA until his K/BB ratio more closely resembles Gomes' in his breif AAA stint last season, but I'm much higher on him than I was at this time last year when he had a 4:1 K/BB ratio hitting .250 in the Southern League.