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First impressions from the first series

Alex Rios.
Alex Rios.

Assuming A.J. Pierzynski was responsible for what Nate Jones threw to Josh Hamilton for his first big-league strikeout, that was inspired pitch-calling. It's impressive when a young pitcher can double up with changeups to a MVP-caliber hitter, but Jones doubled up on Hamilton three times over one at-bat, and Hamilton never looked ready for it.

I guess it might be easier to not give in when a guy like Hamilton is at the plate with first (and second) base open, but that's not an orthodox series to execute, so big ups to Jones and Pierzynski for getting it done.

Jones' successful debut was part of 7 1/3 scoreless innings thrown by the White Sox bullpen over the weekend. I expect "wobbly" to be a suitable adjective as Jones builds a larger sample size, but if he can contribute the occasional mid-leverage inning, it adds considerable depth to the bullpen from the right side. Maybe Zach Stewart could also handle that responsibility, but I haven't seen much in the way of swing-and-miss stuff from Stewart, whether judging him from September or the spring.

*Dayan Viciedo didn't appear to have much trouble tracking the routine flyballs that headed his way over his two starts. That's a positive sign, because he took strange routes to all kinds of batted balls in Arizona. He's probably due for an ugly turn when a scorched liner heads his way, but it's possible the high sky and winds in the desert exacerbated his flaws.

*Either way, putting Alex Rios in right was worth moving Viciedo to unfamiliar territory. His reads are immediate and his routes are direct, leading to great plays like the one pictured above. It's fun to watch a White Sox right fielder actually own the territory for once.

*The Sox will face three right-handed pitchers in the upcoming Cleveland series -- Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson and Jeanmar Gomez. That should give Kosuke Fukudome the opportunity for a start or two, and I'd especially like to see him in the second spot against Masterson.

*Between Viciedo, Rios and Gordon Beckham, the Sox are going to need one more right-handed hitter to step up to give Paul Konerko some help. Viciedo looks like the early favorite -- he's still swinging underneath some pitches, but he's been using the whole field and showing a few different kinds of swings. Rios is talking a good game and doesn't look awful, but he has problems keeping his body into his swing for more than three days at a time.

When it comes to Beckham, Kevin Goldstein and Ben Badler were both watching the game on Sunday Night Baseball and wondering how it went so wrong.

*And when I say Konerko means help, well, Non-Konerko hitters are 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position so far.

*Everybody can learn a lesson from Jake Peavy -- when you criticize Ozzie Guillen openly, you get Joe Cowley writing that anonymous teammates don't like you.