Was there anyone who thought Yu Darvish wasn’t going to pitch in the All-Star game? If you’ve ever been to spring training in either Florida or Arizona you know the Japanese media doesn’t miss a photo OP by anyone from their country. If the media is that rabid for the players, the fans must be double that. They showed their love by making him the final A.L. player named to the AST. Jake Peavy finished second, but he should be going to the game.
The thing I love about baseball, and society in general, is how quickly we count people out. Kevin Youkilis was a All-Star last year. He fell out of favor with Manager Bobby Valentine, who was trying to send a message to the team that he’s in control. He did that by ostracizing a guy who has been integral to the success of the Red Sox over the past 8 years. The Red Sox gave him to the White Sox for spare parts, an action seen by some as a sure sign Youkilis’ best days are in the past. They very well might be, but right now he’s playing like a spry rookie.
Youk has played 10 games with the Sox, and is hitting .307 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI. His coming out party at the Cell was a thing of beauty. The guy mashed the ball all 3 days versus the Rangers. He also was quite efficient on the field, making a number of beautiful plays. Did I mention he mashed the ball? On Tuesday, he drove in 4 runs, while batting .500.
All he did on Wednesday and Thursday was knock home the game winning RBI’s. His at bat against Mike Adams was what wily veterans do, fouling off a number of quality pitches before finally singling home the game winner.
On Thursday, his 2nd round-tripper as a member of the White Sox won the game. I guess his obit as a player was written a tad too soon.
How many times have you ever seen the Sox, or any team for that matter, build a 19-0 lead? The Sox beat up the Western Division leading Rangers like a used rug. Welcome to the A.L. Roy Oswalt. 8 Sox players had 2 hits or more.
The only player who didn’t get in on the fun was Gordon Beckham, who went 0-3. Beckham likes the team success since Youkilis arrival, but he can’t be happy on a personal level. Since his arrival Beckham is hitting .161. Take away his 3 hit game at the Yankees last week, and Beckham is hitting .076. He did ge a hit out of the leadoff spot in the finale.
The guy on a tear is Alex Rios, who could be an All-Star himself. Rios has a 10-game hitting streak, and has multiple hits in 8 of them.
His batting average since last Monday’s opener in Minnesota has gone from .294 to a season high .316. A scorching .526 will do that to an average. He also has 3 home runs and 9 RBI’s in that 10 game span.
Adam Dunn connected for his 25th home run. Be honest, how many of you expected this type of season from the big man? I did, since I bet money on him to lead the league in home runs.
Great to see Alexei Ramirez reunited with his parents.
I couldn’t imagine not being able to see my parents for 5 years. His dad even got to throw out the first pitch on Wednesday. Ramirez celebrated his parents arrival by hitting .461 in the three games.
It wouldn’t be complete if there wasn’t an A.J. Pierzynski sighting. The Sox catcher bowled into Mike Napoli to score a run in game 2.
And what else can I say about the Sox staff. Chris Sale won’t start the ASG, but should. Even with a 19-0 lead, Sale buckled down to hold the Rangers to 1 earned run.
10 wins before the break! Nobody, and I mean nobody expected that. I did expect Brian Omogrosso to give up runs when he pitched, and he did.
Jose Quintana is matching Sale pitch for pitch. After a rough outing in the Bronx he came back to baffle the Rangers for 8 innings.
2 hits and 8 strike outs against a Texas team that can, and has, beat up many a pitcher this year. His 2.04 ERA isn’t too shabby either.
And then there’s Dylan Axelrod, who wasn’t as sharp as he was in New York, but still kept his team in the game.
The only negative to come out of the series was Jesse Crain headed back to the DL. Duente Heath is headed to the big club. Heath has a 1.70 ERA bouncing between the pen and starting this year in Charlotte.
With their sweep of the Rangers, the Sox boast a 5-2 record in their last 7 games, against the East leading Yankees, and the West leading Rangers. Impressive.
The Sox finish up the 1st half with a series against the Jays. They hold a 2 game lead over the Indians in the Central Division.