Rays 2, White Sox 1: The Good, Bad, and Indifferent
Ozzie Guillen mentioned yesterday that the thing he was most concerned about was Ramirez's defense at second base, as he was a shortstop his entire career in Cuba.
Defense wasn't a problem today for Ramirez, who took away two hits with excellent plays at second base.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jason Bartlett hit a rocket up the middle that looked destined for center field. However, Ramirez made a spectacular dive to his right, got the ball, and threw Bartlett out from his knees.
In the seventh, Eric Hinske pulled a ball on the ground that, if it got through, would have put men on first and second with one out. Ramirez made a diving stop to his left this time and threw Hinske out, and Jose Contreras got out of the inning unscathed.
However, Ramirez didn't just sparkle in the field, going 2-for-3 at the plate.
His first hit was a single, but his second was a game-tying solo home run on a James Shields curveball. The biggest knock against Ramirez is that he can't hit breaking pitches—but that's exactly what he did on the home run.
While I'm a big supporter of Juan Uribe, Guillen would be remiss if he didn't keep playing Ramirez, who, with his performance today, is hitting around .300 in the last two weeks.
Contreras didn't have his best command today, issuing three walks—the first base-on-balls he has issued in his last three starts—but he battled and only allowed one run on five hits in his seven innings of work. Contreras also fanned five batters.
His forkball was working very well, especially to Rays lefties Carlos Pena and Cliff Floyd. Both those hitters missed hitting the Contreras forkball by about a foot.
With his seven innings of one-run ball, Contreras' ERA is now down to 2.89. He got a no-decision today, keeping his record at 5-3. He'll need to grab a few more wins, but at this point, he has to be considered by Terry Francona for the All-Star Game.
Aaron Crow and the Missouri Tigers
Mizzou opened play in the Coral Gables regional today with a 7-0 win over the Ole Miss Rebels. Crow tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits while fanning ten. Catcher Trevor Coleman iced the game with a three-run homer in the seventh inning.
With Miami's win over Bethune-Cookman later in the afternoon, Mizzou will taken on the No. 1 Hurricanes tomorrow at 3:00 PM central.
How much longer can the Sox wait for Swisher to break out of his slump? Swisher went 0-for-3 with a double play and two strikeouts and is now hitting .203 on the season.
The double play was especially huge, as it came with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the second inning—probably the White Sox' best scoring opportunity of the game.
There's not much of a positive spin you can put on this game—the offense was terrible. The only run came on the solo home run by Ramirez. As a team, the Sox left eight men on base and hit into two double plays.
If they had just scratched one more run across, they likely would have won this game. But the curse of the inconsistent offense struck again, and the Sox dropped a game they should have won.
Well, so much for Linebrink's scoreless month. Linebrink had not allowed a run in the month of May until today, when he gave up a walk-off home run to Cliff Floyd to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning.
Although it lost the Sox the game, the loss should not be pinned on Linebrink. If the offense was able to come through, we wouldn't be talking about this.
You gotta hand it to Linebrink, though, for his incredible month of May.
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