Last night I went to Polish Heritage Night with my father. Everything was going right from the start. Traffic was good, we got to the game early, and we even got to meet Beltin‘ Bill Melton. Yes it is not a lie. While showing my dad the statues in the outfield we walked by a Silver Haired man near the batters eye. Bill signed a ball for me, and was very gracious even though I was taking up his time. Seeing Bill completely threw me off, and I forgot to check out the new plaque for the blast(s) that Thome has hit to center. I guess that is a goal for next time.
Now to the game. I am sure that SportCenter could not stop talking about how gutsy Dontrelle was last night. He may have been, but could he be gutsy without so many mound visits. I have a job that I need to go to in the morning. He took what should have been a quick Buehrle game, and turned it into a 3:36 minute affair. That is still not bad for an extra inning game. The slow(er) pace of the game may have led to Mark giving up a season high 5 runs in 6 1/3 innings. The story for Mark though was his walks. He walked four batters, and three of them scored. One mound visit that was not expected was after A.J.’s at bat in the fourth. He had some words with Dontrelle, and the benches cleared. A.J. seemed to be trying to start something. He made a point to make some contact with Willis. Part of the friction may stem from A.J.’s long at bats. He had a 12 pitch at bat in the second inning. He ended up striking out, but he had a great at bat. Out of the 100 or so pitches that Dontrelle threw last night I bet A.J. saw a quarter of them.
The White Sox have some things to work on. One of them is their bunting. They only tried a couple in the game, but they were not successful. Gerald Laird had two sacrifice bunts during the game, which may tie the Sox for the season. His bunts moved runners into second and third both times, and those runners then scored as they should. The other thing that the Sox need to look at is their process for leading off a base. In the first Pods was barely off of third when the third baseman was playing short with the Thome shift on. He should have been at least as far off third as Inge was. With a lefty on the mound a steal of home would not have been out of the question. Instead he barely scored on a wild pitch. That play should not have been that close. In the ninth nobody was holding Dewayne Wise on first. He could have had as big of a lead as he needed. Instead he was barely off the bag. Alexei Ramirez the tying run was the same the batter before. The lead by Wise was minimal, and he was barely thrown out at home which would have won the game. It is the little things that win close ball games. Right now the Sox are not doing those things.
I am not all negative. I saw a great game. Gordon Beckham got his first Major League hit last night. When he was first brought up I was kidding with my dad that if he went hitless for almost a week we would see his first hit. I never dreamt that we would actually see it. Now all that we need is for him to become a superstar, and it will mean something. Just as amazing is the fact that Brian Anderson hit a two run dinger. BA has only hit two home runs all season, and I have been in stadium for both. He should pay me to show up I think. His line shot just over Luis Aparicio’s head momentarily tied the game at 3. The Sox also took three straight walks to start the ninth, and load the bases off of Rodney. Thome then also walked to force in a run. Apparently the key to this offense is to keep the bat on the shoulder. Pauly hit a two run double to tie up the game. Wise who was running for Thome appeared to beat the tag, but in the majors if the ball beats you, you are out.
Miguel Cabrera ended the happy times on the second pitch of the 10th when he hit what would be the game winning home run. Cabrera may have hit the home run, but Brandon Inge was the player of the game for the Tigers. He was 1-2 with a home run, 3 walks, and 3 runs scored. He is one of those scrappy players that you like except when they are playing for your team. Ryan Rayburn also had a good game for the Tigers. He scored two runs on the day, but it was his throw from left field in the ninth that saved the game. If not for that arm, the miraculous comeback would have been complete.