White Sox 6, Twins 2: The Good, Bad, and Indifferent
Dye led the fifth inning off with a long solo home run to left, his third consecutive game with a round-tripper. He's finally starting to really drive the ball with authority, something that he didn't do in the first half of 2007.
Nobody expects Dye to replicate his 2006 stats. But if he can hit like he did in the second half of 2007 and 2005, it'll be a big boost to this White Sox lineup.
With the way the surrounding hitters—Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, and Nick Swisher—have been hitting lately, this lineup needs Dye to come through like he has in the last few games.
A lot of people have seemed to peg the White Sox' recent struggles on Uribe and think that releasing him would be the kick in the pants this team needs.
I'll admit it, I'm a Uribe apologist. I think he provides stellar defense and good pop at the plate, even if he only hits .220. I've always liked watching him play because he's so unpredictable.
Did anybody see his go-ahead, two-run home run coming in the bottom of the fifth? Heck no. It was a 3-2 pitch that Kevin Slowey left up and over the plate, and Uribe took a gargantuan hack at it and managed to connect for a long home run over the left field bullpen.
In the eighth inning, the White Sox loaded the bases with one out. Uribe took a walk and was on first base when Toby Hall hit a sharp grounder to third, a ball that looked like a sure inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. However, Uribe came in hard to second and cleanly took out Brendan Harris, allowing a huge insurance run to score that put the Sox up 5-2.
I have no issues with Uribe hitting ninth in this lineup. None. What he lacks offensively, he certainly makes up with his defense. And even though he's never going to hit with the consistency of, say, Jeff Kent in his prime, he'll go through hot streaks where he can really help the team at the plate. It looks like he could be in one of those right now.
After cruising through the first four innings, Danks ran into trouble in the fifth and allowed two runs to score. Ozzie Guillen made the decision to remove Danks in a close game after five innings of work, which proved to be a good decision (see below). He was losing control and getting hit a bit harder by a team that always has had success against him, so it wasn't a completely insane move by Guillen to pull him after 87 pitches.
Danks' final line was five innings, two runs (both earned), six hits, two walks, and five strikeouts.
It wasn't his best outing of the year, but with it, Danks now has allowed two or fewer runs in six out of his seven starts this year.
Dotel came in after Danks' in the sixth inning and threw two huge scoreless innings.
And this was no fluke—Dotel struck out five of the seven Twins hitters he faced in those two innings. The fact that he was able to come in and do that in a close game after pitching yesterday is pretty darn incredible.
Usually, I would have just grouped Linebrink and Dotel together, but Dotel's performance warranted a separate note.
Linebrink walked Joe Mauer to lead the top of the eighth off and allowed him to advance all the way to third on two wild pitches—he obviously did not have the feel for his forkball—but was able to pitch around that and throw a scoreless inning.
He hadn't thrown in five days, so the lack of command on his forkball was understandable. With the scoreless inning, Linebrink's ERA is down to 2.08.
Even though it was not a save situation, Jenks threw a scoreless ninth. He hasn't got a whole lot of work lately and still has blown his last two saves, so it's always good to see a scoreless inning out of him once in a while.
Paul Konerko & Nick Swisher
Today was not the day for Konerko and Swisher to break out of their slumps, as Konerko went 0/4 with five LOB and Swisher 0/4 with four LOB and three strikeouts.
It's really getting to the point where Konerko and Swisher are starting to become liabilities in the middle of this order.
Maybe both of them just need a day off or two to clear their heads. The problem is that when Konerko sits, Swisher usually plays first base, so Konerko probably won't get a few days off anytime soon.
However, Guillen should consider playing Brian Anderson in center for a few days while Swisher regroups. I'm very confident that Swisher will pull out of this slump and start to hit better, but at this point, leaving him in to struggle at the plate and see his batting average dip to the Mendoza Line can't be doing any good.
Tough to say I feel indifferent about anything today. Despite getting depantsed in the second game of this series, the Sox still managed to take two out of three from the division-leading Twins. Floyd and Danks pitched very well and the bullpen and offense did their jobs in games one and three.
Now, the Sox move on to the dreaded West Coast run with three-game sets in Seattle, Los Angeles (of Anaheim), and San Francisco before returning to Chicago May 20.
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