The Sox road woes started with well-pitched games lost on walk-off homers thanks in large part to the lack of clutch hitting, and only got worse as they got completely pantsed in the weekend games at Wrigley. So, it was a nice surprise to see the Sox hitters have a solid plan of attack early against Lowe. The first three batters loaded the bases with hits back up the middle as Lowe tried to establish his sinker. Lowe limited the damage by striking out Jermaine Dye, who got his revenge with an 8th inning HR, on a series of sliders, allowing a sac-fly to Nick Swisher and throwing the ball anywhere near the plate to Pablo Ozuna. Even though the Sox only scored 1 in the first, it was nice to see the run come from having a concrete plan against an opposing starter.
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Last week when I mockingly asked what's wrong with Mark Buehrle, I was not so subtly referring to the improved defense behind him. Buehrle is the Sox most defense-dependent starter, and he didn't have much support in his first handful of starts this season, as demonstrated by this BABIP chart below.
Tuesday night, however, the Sox played impeccable defense, turning 3 double plays, one of which was spectacular, and turning a couple of hard hit balls (along with nearly all of the softly hit ones) into outs. Buehrle took advantage of an occasionally wide strike zone to help record his 1000th career strikeout and to notch his third game (first victory) of the year in 2:10 or less.
- Orlando Cabrera had himself a night. He scored the game's first run, then drove in the Sox second run with a clutch 2-out hit following a Buehrle sacrifice. And even though he was credited with his 3rd error of the season (perhaps unjustly), he had a fine day in the field as well.
- Cabrera's fine play at SS was overshadowed the amazing double play courtesy of Alexei Ramirez, who ranged into short center field to make a sliding grab of a ducksnort then wheeling around to catch Matt Kemp roaming too far off first base (video).
- Dewayne Wise should expect to keep playing after a 3-4 night. He fell only a HR short of the cycle, and though he might not be spectacular at anything, it's nice to actually have a credible threat off the bench. A bench of Hall, Uribe, Wise, and Anderson isn't bad at all. Ozuna, on the other hand...