Clutch Hits Back Buehrle’s Strong Start
The White Sox took game one of the big three game set against Detroit Monday night 6-3. Not only did the Sox win the game, but the way they won really got my attention. Coming from behind and hitting in the clutch with 2 outs is something that has been a problem for the Sox all year. They were able to overcome both of those things Monday night to back Mark Buehrle’s very strong effort.
Buehrle had another stellar start on the mound going 6 innings without allowing an earned run. Something that really impressed me was the way Buehrle was able to shake off the errors that allowed the Tigers’ first two runs to cross the plate. The first error on Gordon Beckham (a play that Alex Rios should have made) allowed the inning to continue. After a Victor Martinez single that scored the first run, a ball fell in between Rios, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Pierre. Again, the play should have been made by Rios and, I believe, that most center-fielders make the play. It was after all of that took place that Buehrle slapped Beckham on the backside as if to say “Don’t sweat it.”
This kind of attitude is something that really brings a team together, and can really pick up the spirits of the other players. I have seen pitchers, just this season, that when their defense makes a mistake, they show their frustration on the mound. John Lackey of the Boston Red Sox did that a few weeks ago when his defense failed him and allowed a few runs to score. If I am a teammate of Lackey, and see that way that he reacts to errors, ESPECIALLY because he has pitched poorly all year, I am furious with him. Buehrle wasn’t like that, and isn’t like that all throughout his career. In particular with a pitcher like Buehrle who relies on his defense a lot, it is great that he has the kind of attitude that he can pick his teammates up when they do make mistakes.
The Sox were able to come back and score a run off of a Paul Konerko sac fly and then take the lead on an Alexei Ramirez single. It was more than a regular RBI single though. With two outs, Juan Pierre singles and then proceeds to steal second base. Then Ramirez gets his single that scores Pierre. To me, this is something we have not seen from the Sox: clutch stolen bases, and clutch RBI hits with two outs. Later in the inning Carlos Quentin comes up with the bases loaded after an Adam Dunn walk. Quentin rips a ball down the line that goes for a ground-rule double and scores two runs. The fact that the White Sox were able to keep that rally alive in the 5th inning really is something that surprised and pleased me.
With the win the Sox moved within 3.5 games of first place. While the win was very nice, there were also some things that bothered me a great deal. One of them obviously was the errors, but as a whole, Alex Rios is really starting to become a waste of a spot on the field. He is obviously not hitting, but if he can’t field his position, then he is literally a liability and cannot play. With all of the rumors of Colby Rasmus swirling around, I am not opposed to that becoming a reality and starting Rasmus in center over Rios. At this time, obviously, those are just rumors but the more I hear about it, the more I would like it to happen. I am not sure what Kenny Williams or Ozzie’s plan is for the Sox centerfielder, and to be honest, I’m not sure what really can be done. Rios is getting paid a lot of money, and sitting him for an extended period of time would really hurt the organization. Only time will tell. We will know shortly because the trading deadline is this Sunday. Williams always has a trade or two up his sleeve, we will see what is done in the week to come.