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Count's Return?

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Forgive me for not getting excited about the White Sox victory against the Royals castoff Wednesday night. Sure, it's a whole lot better than losing, but you're not going to get much praise out of me for doing something you're supposed to do. Channeling Chris Rock: You didn't get swept by the Red Sox? Congratu-fricken-lations! Julian Tavarez? Kason Gabbard? Kyle Snyder? You're supposed to beat those motherfronters! You wanna cookie?

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I will take away one positive from Boston, however. The starting pitching was much, much better.

  • Javier Vazquez continued his run of decent or better starts, which just so happened to start when the calendar changed to August. I hope he goes on a Contreras-like run.
  • Jose Contreras looked very sharp tonight. His forkball was probably one of the best we've seen all season. What was really encouraging though, was his improved control. Even though he hasn't been walking people, Contreras' control within the strikezone has been pretty poor lately. He's been dropping down and leaving his fastball middle-in. That pitch was his biggest problem when he was struggling. Tonight, he was spotting his fastball on the outside corner, and working in and off the plate when he was inside.
  • Jon Garland pitched exactly how we've come to expect from Garland in the second half; pounding batters inside, and making it look easy.
22 innings pitched and just 3 earned runs for our starters is great sign, but they've got to keep it going. At the deadline, I said we were only going to go as far as our starters would take us, and the same holds true today.
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Ryan Sweeney's 0-6 with 2K and a DP performance dropped his average a staggering 445 points. I may be among Sweeney's biggest fans here, but I'm taking this one in stride. I actually enjoyed the fact that Ozzie's favorite prospect had a worse night at the plate than Brian Anderson has ever had. It's almost as if it validates Brian's struggles, and the win sure helped.

Unfortunately, I fear that Sweeney's tough night at the plate will mean more Podsednik in LF and more Mack in CF with little bearing on Anderson. It's no loss if Sweeney has an unproductive night at the plate while taking the place of an unproductive hitter, but it will be regrettable if he's taking the place of our center fielders down the stretch and hitting at the top of the order. If Sweeney is going to play, it should be in LF and at the bottom of the lineup.