It’s early August, but the Sox sure put a crimp, if not a dagger, in to the Minnesota Twins playoff chances. Their 7-0 win on Sunday not only gave the Sox a sweep in Minnesota for the first time in 7 years, but appears to have given the Sox new life.
What a difference a day makes. Saturday, the Sox speed forced the Twins in to some uncharacteristic mistakes. Sunday, they just bashed them to death.
I keep hearing about how tough it is to hit home runs at Target field, but the Sox were a slugging machine. The South Siders smacked 7 home runs in 3 days in Minnesota. Carlos Quentin and Brent Lillibridge hit a pair each. Covering 2 games, Lillibridge actually hit his back to back. The 2nd one gave the Sox an early 1-0 lead, after it landed in the 2nd deck. Paul Konerko gave the Sox a 2-0 lead when his ball was also hit in to the 2nd deck. It was painful to watch Konerko run the bases though, as it appears his calf injury is really affecting him. A rejuvenated Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez also hit home runs for the Sox on Sunday.
American League, meet the real Jake Peavy. Since coming over to the Sox 2 seasons ago, Peavy has battled injury. Looking completely healthy for the first time, Peavy is beginning to look like the pitcher he was in San Diego. After a slow start in his last start against the Yankees, Peavy dominated the Twins from the beginning, on Sunday. 8 innings, 3 hits, 6 strike outs, and NO walks for Peavy, who won his 5th game of the year. He also broke a 5 start losing streak.
The old adage says that pitching and defense wins. If that is the case, the Sox still have a great chance to overtake the Tigers and Indians. Chicago is 7th in pitching, and will only climb higher. They are 1st in defense, and when their regulars are playing, don’t really have a weak spot. Juan Pierre has a below average arm, but he isn’t horrible in the field, and Quentin has improved quite a bit in right.
Quentin lost his bat in the stands today, usually a lost cause, but a fan actually recovered the bat and got it back to Quentin, who continued to use it in the same at bat. Quentin took care of the guy, I am sure. Quentin is one of those guys who looks real intimidating, but is really a nice guy. His extreme intensity is what gives people the wrong impression.
The year was 2008, and Quentin was in a roster battle with Jerry Owens. I was told to follow Owens, as he would make the team, and Quentin probably wouldn’t, as he was coming off an injury. Quentin drove in 100 runs that year. Owens spent the majority of his season in Charlotte. Who knew, I just kept interviewing both of them. I think that’s why I have a good relationship with him to this day.
Aw, why not, one more Quentin story. This past spring, like every spring, players get inundated with gloves, bats, shoes. You name it, they get it. In front of his locker, Quentin had a box full of baseball mitts. I am sitting next to his locker as he takes one out and starts massaging it. After a few minutes, he looks at me and says, “Yeah, this is it”. I asked how he knew, out of all those gloves, that one was “the one”? He goes, “It just is, I can feel it”. He then pulls out a leather bag, puts the glove in the bag, and says, “This one’s coming home with me, I’m gonna take care of this one”. It was like he was looking at a newborn. No matter what people might say, he takes every part of his game seriously. I wonder if that glove is the one he using today?
Sox head to Baltimore to play four games against the Orioles. I hear the weather could play a factor, but I am sure it’ll be quite humid nonetheless.
Sox can make up some games, if they can put away the struggling O’s.