I said before the start that games like this make me nervous. When Russ Ortiz is the opposing pitcher, and you enter the game with the best offense in baseball, you're supposed to win. You're supposed to pound out runs at an ridiculous rate. It almost sets up a situation where if you don't dominate the game, it's a disappointment.
Jim Thome made sure no White Sox fans went home disappointed on Thursday. Ortiz was almost able to sneak through the lineup the first time unscathed, but an error by Miguel Tejeda, and a bloop single by Brian N. Anderson started the White Sox offensive explosion. That explosion ended with a monster blast from the bat of Thome, the ball landing halfway up the center field batters eye in one of the planters (video).
Such offense was nothing new from the White Sox versus Ortiz. Last year, they hung a 10-spot after struggling to scratch across two in 5 innings.
Javier Vazquez was once again maddeningly mediocre, letting 3 runs cross home in the third after an Alex Cintron error. Cintron would later make up for his error by setting up a big inning with some hustling baserunning.
With two out and Cintron on first, Paul Konerko grounded into the hole at short. Tejada, not realizing who was running, turned quickly and fired to second base trying to get the force out, but Cintron had gotten a good jump and busted hard down to second, easily beating the throw. Jermaine Dye and newly elected All-Star A.J. Pierzynski then hit back-to-back two-out HRs to really make the lapse in judgement hurt.
The extra runs also gave Ozzie another opportunity to put Cliff Politte in the game. I jokingly commented that Politte's appearance in a 6-run game meant that Bobby Jenks better be ready. Ozzie didn't turn to Jenks, but he had to pull Politte with two outs and the tying run on deck, setting up Matt Thornton's first save in a White Sox uniform.
After that performace from Politte, you have to make a move. His ERA is less than a half run from the scary run-per-inning mark, and if he can't be trusted with a 6-run lead, what use is he? There are only three games left until the All-Star break. I wouldn't expect the Sox to make a move by then, but I also don't expect Cliff to be a part of this White Sox team next Thursday as the Sox open the second half.
I have to give you guys a formal congratulations. When the initial ballot for the 32nd man contest was revealed, I didn't think Pierzynski had a chance. He's probably the second most reviled player in the game, with enemies in nearly every city with a baseball franchise, yet your collective effort outweighed that of the rest of the nation. For that you should be commended. For the second straight year you guys have shown the rest of baseball that you can send anyone, no matter how hated, to the All-Star game. -- I take special pleasure reading about people up in arms over the voting -- Who says there's no such thing as White Sox Nation?