A few months ago, I met up with a group of old friends from high school. Some were married, had kids, a mortgage while others, cough, were living in their parents' basement and still stuck in college. We all carried around these new, updated identities and yet within the span of one beer we all seemed to lose our current identities and fall back into the roles we played in high school. It didn't matter what image we presented to the rest of the world, as soon as we got back together those facades were shown for exactly what they were, a front.
So here are the White Sox, repackaged as a sleeker, speedier team, more adept at creating runs and avoiding the mind-numbing offensive attack that plated zero or one run in 30 games last season. But it's April, sack-shrinkingly cold, which means the Sox bats, even these rebranded high-octane models, retreat back to the dugout with remarkable regularity. Same old Sox.
2 hits, that's all the Sox bats could muster; an infield single by the fleet-footed A.J. Pierzynski and a 2-run HR off the bat of Paul Konerko.
Were it not for the Sox complete inability to put the ball in play with authority -- actually, Alex Rios continued to hit the ball well even if he has only the one hit to show for it -- the story of the night would be the contrasting adjustments of the two starting pitchers, neither of whom was sharp in the early going. The Sox scratched across a run in the first inning without the aid of hit thanks to Fausto Carmona's wildness. Carmona lacked command, the ability to throw strikes with any regularity, but he kept the ball down (for the most part) and let his sinker work for him. Peavy looked rusty in the first two innings, but managed to escape with a bunch of lazy fly balls and nary a punchout. He lacked control, he could throw strikes, but they were low-quality strikes. And when he tried to paint with a fastball, he mostly just missed.
Peavy kept going at it, hoping his stuff could continue to get him by. And it did save him from a truly ugly outing by wringing up 5 Indians over the last 3 innings. Unfortunately, the lack of control also resulted in a couple of inning-extending walks and a key hit by pitch that would have made Carlos Quentin blush. Peavy was just throwing too many pitches with too many men on base.
Carmona, meanwhile, was still walking guys, but he kept the ball down and out of trouble and eventually found his slider. In the event that the Sox did get a man on base, Carmona's sinker combined with the Sox bats for rally-killing double plays.
Add in some shaky bullpen work from Bobby Jenks and, more expectedly, Tony Pena and basically all of the good vibes from opening day have been washed away by cold, and rain, and Hey, I've Seen This All Before. It's gonna be really cold tomorrow night... It could be a long, cold spring.