The Sox were on roll, having won 9 of 12 before their series against the Royals. They spirits had to be buoyed even more having gone 4-2 against two of top teams in the A.L.West, the Texas Rangers and the pretenders from Anaheim, the Angels.
They even won game 1 against the Royals, so things were still going the Sox’ way. Unfortunately, KC decided to get up off the ground and play. Kansas City always gives the Sox problems, and they did just that by winning the final 2 games.
It does appear that every thing I write always starts with A.J.Pierzynski. The past 3 games saw the catcher take center stage once again. Pierzynski went 5-11, with 2 RBI in the 3 games. He was also strong in the clutch, bringing home Adam Dunn in the 9th inning of game 3. I still wonder why they pitched to the guy. I know they would have put the tying runs on base if they pitched around him, but he is hitting out of this world right now.
Doing damage against the Central Division is nothing new for Pierzynski, who is hitting better than .300 versus the other 4 teams.
Adam Dunn is in a home run slump. Make it ten straight games without going deep for the Big Donkey, matching his 2nd longest streak this season.
His longest non-homer streak is 11 games. With the A’s coming to town, he may not get any in that series either.
Paul Konerko is still the heart and soul of the team, but he is basically a singles hitter. The Captain has only 11 extra base hits since June 1st. He had 24 in the same amount of time last year, 28 in 2010, and 20 in 2009. In his big years, 2004 and 2005, he had 28 and 20 EBH from 6-1 till 8-8. That averages to a 12 EBH difference.
I know it may not be that big, but consider if Konerko did hit another home run or two where the Sox would be. This is not a criticism, but eventually age, and wear and tear will take its toll.
Alex Rios has picked up a lot of the slack. The right fielder is on a 9 game hitting streak, hitting at a .394 clip. Rios has already had streaks of 13 and 11 this year. He’ll battle it out with Dunn for the A.L. comeback player.
Love the way Jake Peavy has pitched this year, but the Royals have his number. Peaves gave up 1 hit through the first 5 innings on Tuesday. The next inning and a two-thirds he allowed 6 hits and 3 runs. His season versus the Royals has been tough, as he has given up 9 earned runs in less than 14 innings of work.
His innings are also at 154 right now, but that doesn’t appear to be a problem. The KC bats do.
The Sox gave 9 days rest between starts for Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, and the results were astonishing. Combined, the two threw 15 innings, allowing only 4 earned runs.
With the Sox going back to a 5-man rotation, these two aren’t going to have the luxury of so much rest between starts.
That’ll put a lot of pressure on their newest member of the bullpen, Phil Humber. Humber tossed 1 relief inning in the finale, but I think he’ll be needed a lot more than that as the season moves into September.
Baseball is so hard to figure out. I thought the Sox would tee off on Jeremy Guthrie. What really happened is that Guthrie threw his best game since April 1st of 2011. 8 inning, no runs allowed for the righty, who picked up his first victory since May 31st.
If the Sox thought Guthrie was tough, wait till they get a look at Brandon McCarthy, Tom Milone and Jared Parker, who are scheduled to throw for the A’s this weekend. Oakland sports one of the top pitching staffs in all of baseball.
Not gonna be any easier for the Tigers, who finish up against the Yankees, before getting three games in Texas.
Sox still hold a 1/2 game lead over the Tigers in the now 2-team Central race.