After the beat-down administered by the Detroit Tigers over the weekend, the Sox wanted to go somewhere, or should I say, anywhere else. The baseball gods took them to Minnesota, to play a Twins team that is playing for next year. The Sox have taken advantage of the downtrodden Twins, winning the first 3 games in rather easy fashion.
They have been led by the pitching staff, though not Buehrle, Floyd, or Danks, but by Humber, Stewart and Peavy. One big name in that trio.
Phil Humber showed the rookie Stewart how to pitch in game one of Monday’s doubleheader. Figuring that batters won’t hit baseballs off your forehead if you don’t allow them many hits, Humber gave up only 6 base knocks in 7 innings, while striking out 6. That was Humbers best outing since July 2nd against the Cubs. Sox won game one, 2-1
Stewart took copious notes, nearly throwing a no hitter in the 2nd game. The only hit Stewart allowed was an 8th inning leadoff double to Danny Valencia. Up to that point, Stewart had retired all 21 batters he faced. He finished with his first career one hitter. Stewart has been around less than a year, so everything he does is usually a first. I was hoping he’d complete the no-no, so he could repay the Twins for no hitting the Sox earlier in the season. Weird, but he Sox have faced the Twins 17 times since that no hitter, but not one of those starts were made by Francisco Liriano, the no hit man himself. Is he afraid, or what? Sox won game 2, 4-0
I’ll get to the offensive stars, but I have to talk about Jake Peavy first. Peavy, who I said should be/would be shelved after the Sox fall out of the race, threw a gem on Tuesday. In his best start since the last time he was in Minnesota on August 8th, Peavy threw 6.1 innings of shutout ball, while striking out a season high 9 batters. Sox won game 3, 3-0.
Peavy is now 7-7 on the year.
You know, the Sox could possibly have 6 pitchers with double digits wins, and not make the playoffs. That just shows you have offensively inept they have been this year.
Now I’m not gonna be a shill for pitching coach Don Cooper, but the Sox would be crazy to let him get away. How many other PC’s would be able to coax 9 wins (so far) out of Humber, a near no hitter for a rookie, and a possible future All-Star closer in Sergio Santos, who a couple years ago was a struggling shortstop. If the Sox decide to let him depart, he will be scooped up in seconds. He also has about more than 24 years with the organization. That has to stand for something, doesn’t it?
Now to the offense. Alejandro De Aza continues to hit. In the spring, he was nowhere to be found. Now you can find him abusing pitchers on a daily basis. 3-6 with 2 RBI, and a stolen base in the 2 games he has played. De Aza has 17 RBI. Alex Rios has 35. De Aza’s first game with the team was on July 27th. What a remarkable run for a guy that most have never heard of before.
Rios has found his stroke in Minnesota. In the 2 games he has played, he is hitting .444, with a home run. You can also put down Juan Pierre as a hot Sox hitter. Pierre, who is winding down his time in Chicago, saw his 7 game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday. He has a hit in 23 of his last 26 games. He also has 7 stolen bases in that time. Pierre will find a job somewhere next year. Who’s knows, maybe it’ll be back with the Marlins. I have to mention Dayan Viciedo, who has a hit in all but one game since joining the Sox 10 days ago.
Like it has been this entire season, one player gets hot, another stays cold. Gordon Beckham is still having trouble finding his stroke, going 5 for his last 30. Adam Dunn, who hasn’t played must lately, is still having his share of problems. Dunn has gone 0-4 in the Twin Cities, but does have 3 walks to his credit.
So the Sox have given up just 1 run to the Twins in 3 games. John Danks will try and continue that streak when he faces the Twins minutes from now. Danks is looking for his 7th win of the year. He’ll be opposed by the always tough Carl Pavano.
Sox 8.5 out right now, and barring a miracle, will not catch the rampaging Tigers, but they also won’t be caught by the Kansas City Royals. That is not set in stone, but I pray that doesn’t happen.