At US Cellular Field, there was a distinct buzz for the home opener-- a buzz that hadn't been felt since the Sox made a playoff push in 2005. While anything can happen during the rest of the year, the fact that a near-sellout crowd of some 38,000 fans were creating a near-playoff atmosphere is a testament to how much faith the White Sox fan base has in their team.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Sox returned the love they got from their fans. After Jermaine Dye tied the game with a sweet line drive single off the end of his bat, Joe Crede affirmed his status of Mr. Clutch with a grand slam home run to open up the ballgame. As the Sox fans demanded a curtain call from their seemingly reborn third baseman, you could almost hear the Crede-backers saying "I told you so" to anyone who preferred having Fields starting this year.
Javy Vazquez recovered nicely from a shaky start, striking out eight while only walking one batter. Vazquez managed to limit his pitches in the second half of his start by getting ahead of hitters and finally forcing them to swing at bad pitches. It also helped that he picked up the pace of his delivery and stopped trying to aim every single pitch.
While Scott Linebrink didn't have his best stuff, he managed to pitch out of a jam and only gave up a single run despite running into a string of bad luck situations. Finally Bobby Jenks, awful facial hair and all, closed out the game, notching his fourth save.
Although home openers tend to be overrated in the grand scheme of things, it's good to see the Sox continue their winning streak, beating once again another division rival. While the Sox offense missed a number of great opportunities early on in the game, Vazquez never allowed the Twinkies to get too far ahead on the box score.
If there were one complaint, it'd be that the Sox (or more specifically Ozzie Guillen) could stand to use their bench a bit more, giving a guy like Pablo Ozuna an opportunity to pinch run or lay down a bunt when needed.
Beyond that, it was a perfect afternoon on the South Side-- a game in which the heroics of an almost forgotten man in Joe Crede continued to feed the cautious optimism of this and many other Sox fans.