…and instead, the final game of what should have been a sweep turned into a brutal, last-one-standing marathon. I really don’t like the White Sox.
I’d forgotten how truly awful White Sox broadcasters Ken Harrelson and Darrin Jackson are…but it only took a a couple of minutes of today’s game for them to remind me. It’s not just that they sound like they’re in a coma. And it’s not just their painful homerism, with constant, “c’mon, get a hit”s or “we need to turn it on here”s. It’s sequences like this one:
In the bottom of the fourth, Jason Varitek hit a flare up the middle that sent pitcher Jose Contreras awkwardly sprawling backwards off the mound. Contreras, who hobbled around a bit after the play, seemed so uncomfortable that his manager and trainer came out to make sure he was okay. Still, with two outs and no-one on, Contreras — who does, let’s remember, have a pretty considerable track record of melting down against the Red Sox — didn’t seem to be in a whole lot of trouble.
Then Mike Lowell hit an 0-1 pitch into the left-field stands.
Then Coco Crisp worked a five-pitch walk.
Then Alex Gonzalez roped a single into left.
Then Contreras uncorked a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third.
Then Kevin Youkilis worked a five-pitch walk.
Then Contreras hit Mark Loretta with a pitch after being up 0-2.
During this whole sequence, Contreras seemed out of sorts, changing arm slots, grimacing, shrugging his shoulders. But neither Harrelson nor Jackson made a single reference to the fact that Contreras might be experiencing some discomfort due to Tek’s liner. Not once!
* After saying that Youkilis is “much more dangerous” with runners in scoring position (with a .300 average versus a .325 average), Harrelson says, “That’s not bad at all for a guy who’s batting leadoff, while most of the time nobody’s out there.” Right…because whether or not you bat leadoff has absolutely anything to do with how you bat with RISP.
* “Manny Ramirez is a different hitter with the bases loaded than he is leading off an inning.” Not really true — and definitely not true in the way Harrelson thinks:
2006 leading off: 27/74 (.365) with 7 HRs (1 per 10.6 ABs)
2006 with bases loaded: 1/6 (.167) with 0 HRs
2003-2005 leading off: 121/402 (.301) with 35 HRs (1 per 11.49 ABs)
2003-2005 bases loaded: 15/52 (.288) with 5 HRs (1 per 10.4 ABs)
* “Ozzie Guillen is just trying to win the [All-Star] game, which is something a lot of managers can not say, which is a shame.”
This in reference to why Guillen didn’t choose Curt Schilling as an All-Star…because Schilling was pitching today and so might not be available for that long on Tuesday. Of course, that’s why Mark Buehrle (9-6, 4.02 ERA, 54 Ks) is an All-Star and Schilling (10-3, 3.55 ERA, 112 Ks) is not; it has nothing to do with the fact that Buehrle is on the White Sox. And does plenty to explain why Contreras, who also pitched today, isn’t excusing himself from Tuesday’s festivities.
After the dynamic duo said Guillen’s courage in using Bobby Jenks as a closer last year gave the Sox the confidence to use Jonathan “Papelbom” as a closer this year and all but implied the umpire was on the take–talking about “two different strike zones today” and how the ump gave Schilling “gifts” and squeezed Contreras so that he needed to throw it “right down the middle of the plate”–I finally turned the volume off.
Ahhh. That’s better.