Yet another nail-biter to add to the April pile.
The first game of this series went eleven exciting innings, fronted by Andruw Jones’ breakout day at the plate. Andruw went 3-4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI, giving him 5 RBI in the past five plate appearances. Jake Peavy once again struggled during his time on the mound but we came away with the win so I guess its excusable.
We wouldn’t have gotten to eleven innings if it weren’t for Mark Teahen (Uh-oh… here’s where I start accepting him…) and his game-tying homer to lead off the top of the ninth inning.
J.J. Putz came on in the eighth inning and struck out two batters, followed by Matt Thornton’s two innings of work, which included four strike outs (giving him ten on the season). Bobby Jenks came on in the eleventh inning and nailed down the save, meaning he’ll earn his “Bad” status in 19 more trips to the mound if he keeps this up.
The Sox send Gavin Floyd (0-0, 3.40) to the mound tonight to face Rickey Romero (0-0, 1.34). Let’s hope Andruw Jones stays hot and Floyd can pitch a decent enough game to even our record at 4 wins and 4 losses.
It was a close game but the Sox managed to salvage a win from this series.
I was at the home opener of the Kane County Cougars, a single-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, so I didn’t actually hear any of the game. However, I was catching updates from the two older gentlemen a row ahead of me and my sister, so I knew what was going on… sorta…
The game was tied 4-4 until the bottom of the eighth inning when Andruw Jones, pinch hitting for Mark Kotsay, laced a single through the hole between third base and short. Carlos Quentin came chugging around third base as the ball was being thrown in towards home plate. As Quentin neared the batters’ box area the ball actually hit him in the back of the foot and deflected away from Joe Mauer, allowing Quentin to score without a bang-bang play at home.
Mark Buehrle gave up four runs on eight hits while striking out one and walking two in eight solid innings of work. Just Big Bobby Jenks came on in the bottom of the ninth to close things out for his first save of the season. If Jenks wants the “Bad” to be put back in his nickname I’m going to need to see this type of outing another twenty times.
The Sox are 2-4 after our six-game season-opening home stand and travel to Toronto tonight to face the Jays. Jake Peavy (0-0, 5.40) faces Brian Tallet (1-0, 2.70) in game one of this three-game series.
Nothing special about this post, just wanted to inform everyone that the Sox are going to be starting Andruw Jones in center field tonight, with Alex Rios in left and Juan Pierre at DH. Quentin will most likely be patrolling right field because I haven’t heard anything different.
As far as I know those are the only changes in the lineup for tonight’s game.
Boy, would you look at that? We have a lead-off hitter again!
After Scott Podsednik’s departure I was racking my brain trying to find who would be at the top of the order for the Sox come Opening Day. As far as I could tell, that man would’ve been Mark Kotsay. I wasn’t comfortable with him there but he was the best choice of anyone on the roster. There were rumors that Kenny Williams was aggressively pursuing Yankees’ center fielder Brett Gardner to patrol our outfield and hit lead off, but those rumors fell through quickly.
There were also rumors earlier in the offseason that the Sox were looking at (somehow) acquiring Cone Figgins from the Angels, Carl Crawford (yeah right) from the Rays, or even resigning Scott “I’m suddenly a greedy speedster” Podsednik.
It never crossed my mind that Williams would look out West and talk to the Dodgers about one of their many center fielders, much less Juan Pierre. I remember listening to Cubs games in 2006 when they had Pierre at the top of their lineup — his blue camo shirt and all. The guy stole fifty-eight base, was caught twenty times, had 201 hits, and batted .292. What a year he had…
Well, Juan is in Chicago once again, and this time he’s playing for the right team.
Pierre, a career .301 hitter, focuses mainly on speed. He’s quick on his feet and makes good decisions, which is why he has 459 career stolen bases. When the Marlins won the World Series in 2003 Pierre pilfered 65 bases out of the lead-off spot. With guys like Mike Lowell, Ivan Rodriguez, and Derrek Lee hitting behind him he could set them up for any number of things resulting in a run scored. The greatest thing about Pierre is that he rarely strikes out. In 5,533 career at bats, only 337 have finished in a strike out. Scott Podsednik, on the other hand, has struck out 512 times in 3,168 at-bats.
I’m looking at the Sox depth chart and I’m becoming more and more confident that we won’t finish battling the Royals for dead last in the Central division. But now that Pierre is our guaranteed center fielder, where will Rios play? Perhaps Pierre won’t play center… he could be our left fielder. In my opinion, though, we need his speed in center. However, I would like to see him in left because, as I’ve said before, I don’t want to see Carlos Quentin play one inning in the outfield next season. I hate cringing every time a ball is hit behind him.
Here’s our projected outfield right now
- Left Field – Mark Kotsay/Juan Pierre
- Center Field – Juan Pierre/Mark Kotsay/Alex Rios
- Right Field – Andruw Jones/Alex Rios
It could be different, but that’s how I see it.
So on behalf of all Sox fans out there I’d like to welcome Juan Pierre into our family.
Now… does he have a black/silver/white camo shirt to wear under his jersey? That’d look awesome…
If any deal this offseason is deserving of the title “bargain” it’d be the Sox’s signing of 10-time Gold Glove outfielder Andruw Jones. We signed him for $500,000 with a possible $1 million in performance bonuses.
I’m actually very excited to see whether Jones gets a starting job. As the depth chart stands right now we have Carlos Quentin in left, Alex Rios in center, and Mark Kotsay in right. I’d really like to see Quentin out of the outfield and in the DH slot; we don’t need to see him limp around the anymore than he already is. I say put him somewhere he isn’t very likely to get injured and then sign/call-up someone for left field. What we could do is put Kotsay in left and then have Jones in right and our problem is solved.
Our lineup (by position) now looks like the following:
- A.J. Pierzynski – C
- Paul Konerko – 1B
- Gordon Beckham – 2B
- Alexei Ramirez – SS
- Mark Teahen – 3B
- Mark Kotsay – LF
- Alex Rios – CF
- Andruw Jones – RF
Not too shabby, now, is it? I was actually afraid of how messed-up our lineup looked before the addition of Jones and the resigning of Kotsay. There were holes all over the place. I also didn’t like the thought of Mark Teahen being anywhere on our field. Now that I realized he’s the kind of player who needs position security, we may not be that bad after all.
So… back to Andruw Jones. The past few years of his career haven’t been close to what he was like ’06 and before. This is party due to the fact that he gained weight and lost bat speed. When he left Atlanta for the Dodgers he was a fatty, and I’m not afraid to say it. He hit three homers after belting twenty-six the year before — not exactly what LA thought they were getting. He was signed to a minor league contract by Texas and then was a call-up midway during the season. He slimmed down a little and kicked his power numbers up to seventeen round-trips and forty-three batted-in.
Now that he’s back down to 170 pounds he should be ship-shape and ready to play. I’ve never been worried about his defense (as I mentioned he’s a ten-time Gold Glove award winner and could still win one or two more), it was just his offensive display I cringed while watching.
Good luck on the South Side, Andruw. I’m a fan.