Starting last Friday, the Sox looked dead in the water. 6 straight losses made even the most hardcore fans start looking toward next year. Come on, 3 games in Minnesota and 4 in Baltimore didn’t give me a lot of confidence that the team would turn it around. But, in something no one could have predicted, the Sox finished 6-1 on the 7 day game trip, and they only game they lost came in extra innings in Baltimore. on Wednesday.
After losing the first 2, the Orioles came out a team possessed on hump day. They jumped on Phil Humber for 3 runs before the seats were warm. The O’s kept hitting the ball hard, and I thought Humber would be gone early. Showing his maturation as a pitcher, Humber hung on, even without his best stuff, to go 6 innings. He did allow 11 hits, and 4 runs, but he didn’t get the loss, or the win. Humber has had arm injuries throughout his career, and hasn’t pitched a lot of innings, so I’ll give him a break. Remember, he was the best Sox pitcher in the first half.
Anyhow, the Sox battled back against Tommy Hunter, or more appropriately, Jason Berkin, who gave up Juan Pierre’s 2 run single to tie the game in the 7th. Since the ASB, Pierre has only gone hitless just 3 times.
Here’s an idea, stop pitching Jason Frasor against AL East teams. His ERA against the east since joining the Sox is 11.25. I’m sure all the teams in the east have seen enough of him when he was with the Toronto.
Remember when the Yankees were scoring runs early and putting the Sox in a hole last week? The Sox did that to the O’s in 3 of the 4 games. In games 1,2 & 4, the Sox scored 14 of their 17 total runs in the first 4 innings. The O’s battled back, but were never able to out the Sox away.
Mark Buehrle won his 10th game of the year on Sunday. Barring something bad, Buehrle is on pace for 30 starts, and 200+ innings for the 11th straight year. He is truly a freak of nature. There isn’t a pitcher in baseball who has done that. He is a throwback to the pre 90′s, when guys would do that with regularity.
There was also another battle taking place in Baltimore. It was between Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds. Reynolds, who has led baseball in strikeouts the past 3 years, has a challenger in Dunn. Reynolds has 135 strikeouts so far, but he is behind Dunn, who leads with 146. Reynolds did some damage in the 4 games, striking out 9 times to Dunn’s 4. Dunn didn’t play in one game, but that’s the breaks.
AJ Pierzynski had a huge series in Baltimore. 10 for 17 for a .588 average. His batting average is now at .295. Pierzynski doesn’t hit for power like he once did, but he still has a deadly bat from the left hand side.
Sergio Santos picked up his 25th save. He hasn’t given up a run in his last 11 appearance. It’s only covered 6.2 innings, but that is solid nonetheless. One other remarkable stat; Santos hasn’t allowed an earned run on the road since August 21st of last year. That covers 30 innings.
I can’t jinx it, because the Sox play their next few games at home. Kansas City is first up. The Sox are 3-5 against the Royals this year, including 0-2 vs. tomorrows starter Bruce Chen. Zack Stewart makes his 2nd start tomorrow for the South Siders.
Sox have a uphill climb, as they still trail the front running Tigers by 4 games, and the 2nd place indians by 1 game. Tigers are in Baltimore, while the Indians host the Twins.