White Sox match 2007 high water mark
Ho Hum. Just another well pitched game won on the strength of the 3-run homer.
Yesterday it was Carlos Quentin who provided the offense with 3-run shot off Dana Eveland; today it was Jim Thome's turn. Thome, who had been benched yesterday even before receiving a 1-game suspension, hit his third HR of the year and his first since opening day in the first inning after falling behind Adam Loewen 0-2. He has yet to hit a HR off a right-hander.
After that, it was about as boring of a game as you can get with Jose Contreras on the mound. I missed the first two batters of the game, and tuned in just in time to see Thome fall behind 0-2. Two hours and fifteen minutes later, Bobby Jenks nonchalantly put this one in the books.
If I was one of those writers, I might say this is a team that just knows how to win. But I'm not. The Sox are winning because they're getting good pitching -- The pitching staff has allowed 4 runs in their last 5 games -- they've embraced the idea of putting guys who get on base at the top of the lineup, and they've always hit home runs.
For his part, Jose was as crisp as he's been since May of 2006. He's still is dropping down too much, as almost every non-forkball pitch he threw to a righty was from the drop-down position, but he had good movement, and more importantly, great location on his pitches. He didn't walk a batter for the first time since an August 17 loss to Seattle last year.
His velocity was in the low 90's -- Gameday says he was touching 93 -- but he'll probably never have the 95 MPH with movement on the corners he displayed during his remarkable '05-'06 run. That's fine by me if we see a whole lot more of the low-90's control pitcher we saw tonight.
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- Bobby Jenks and Scott Linebrink, who combined to close out the last two innings allowing only 1 baserunner, each seemed to have some extra life on their respective fastballs. Linebrink was touching 94 on the WCIU gun, and had similar Gameday readings, while Jenks hit 95 on both.
Carlos Quentin is quickly approaching his longest at-bat streak without hitting a double. He's gone 42 at-bats this season without hitting a two-bagger. The good news is he's still been an effective offensive force. The bad news is I don't think he's quite 100% yet, which I suppose could be construed as good news as well.
I bring this up because Q is not really a homerun hitter. He's more of a gap hitter. He hit nearly twice as many doubles as he had HR in AAA, and continued that trend to his brief pre-White Sox major league career.
During the Civil Rights game, Kenny Williams mentioned that Carlos wasn't quite all the way back yet. And that he'd be "all the way back" when we saw him pounding the ball to the right center field gap. I don't think I've seen anything but a lazy fly ball to that field from Q this season. Hopefully we start to see it soon. Then we'll really know what we have in Quentin.
- The Orioles wiped out two Sox scoring opportunities with outfield assists.