August welcomes Buehrle with a punch in the face

Over the last two seasons, the dog days of summer have not been particularly kind to Mark Buehrle.  He’s had significantly worse second halves, and August plays a big part.  He’s had an ERA of 4.70 over the last two.
That’s why his workload was restrained in spring training to the point that everybody wondered if the Sox were hiding an injury, in the hopes that he would be able to handle the stretch run better.
So what does he do in his first August start?  He gives up 14 hits and eight runs in 4 2/3 innings, and also provided the Associated Press the classic Buehrle “It’s hot and I’m terrible” pose seen to the right.  That one came in handy for my Buehrle/Caesar scene from last September.
Of course, it was 96 Missouri degrees (to convert to Missouri degrees, take the temperature and pretend you’re converting it to Kelvin — except you’re still in Fahrenheit at the end), so it wasn’t exactly optimal pitching conditions.  You can thank Ken Griffey Jr. for that one — if he wasn’t around, the game would’ve started after 6 p.m.  Instead, a Sox-Royals game made a rare FOX apperance.
(Also, Esteban German wouldn’t have had a two-run triple, but I digress).
There are more than a few reasons to consider this an aberration, because Buehrle was just making awful pitches from the second inning on.  But it’s not a good start for somebody who entered the last two months of the season with something to prove.
Also not a good sign: White Sox relievers all regressing to the mean at the same time.
The Sox shipped Nick Masset and his bag o’ tricks to Cincinnati, but the stench remains.  The offenders, since the All-Star break:

  • Matt Thornton: Two strikeouts, nine baserunners in five innings — including a crucial gopher ball Saturday.
  • Boone Logan:  13 baserunners, eight runs (seven earned) over  4 1/3 innings.
  • Octavio Dotel:  Gave up Jason Kubel’s backbreaker Thursday.
  • Scott Linebrink:  Out of commission.

The good news is that Bobby Jenks looks fine.  The bad news is that the other relievers are struggling to get the game to him once again.  It’s kind of funny that Ozzie Guillen is going with six relievers right now, as opposed to months ago when starters worked longer and the bullpen made its own job easier.
Speaking of Nick Magic, he managed to throw three scoreless innings in his National League debut Friday night.
Of course, he faced the Washington Nationals, who currently have Austin Kearns and his .213/.307/.313 line batting cleanup.  Cleanup!  I have a feeling Masset’s going to love the NL.
Anyway, I’d like to direct your attention to Scott Merkin’s article from a couple days ago.  See if you can detect where Merkin’s quotes from Masset’s choked-up teammates end and mine begin:

“Kenny [Williams, general manager] did what he needed to do to make the team better,” starter Mark Buehrle said. “I think that kind of caught some people off guard. He’s been trying to get Griff here for a while. He does what he does and we got guys in the Minor League system in case somebody gets hurt.”

“Kenny did it for a reason,” starter Gavin Floyd said. “I think we have some depth in the Minor Leagues if we need it. I think our pitching staff is pretty strong so I don’t think there is really too much worry.”

“It might affect us in that one of us might have to warm up a little earlier,” said reliever Matt Thornton.  “But most of us have worked more than one inning this year, so we should be able to handle it.”

“We came up together with the Rangers, so it’s a little weird that he’s gone,” starter John Danks said.  “I wonder if anybody’s taken his locker.  I’d like one a little further away from the poker game.”

“He gave me a ride to the ballpark once,” reliever Bobby Jenks said.  “His car smelled kinda weird.”

Nobody made special note of Joe Crede leaving Friday night’s Charlotte Knights game early, but he didn’t play Saturday night.  At the risk of overreacting, that doesn’t sound good.
The good news is that Juan Uribe has been outstanding with the glove and acceptable with the bat in Crede’s absence at the hot corner.  Josh Fields hasn’t lit it up yet, but between Uribe flashing the leather and an All-Star appearance possibly doing more harm than good for Crede, I’m batting .667 around third base.
Minor league roundup:

  • Durham 8, Charlotte 2
    • Wes Whisler allowed 12 hits and seven runs (three earned) over six innings, walking two and striking out four.
    • Carlos Torres walked five in three innings of relief, but only allowed a hit and a run otherwise.
    • Brad Eldred doubled and drove in a run; Javier Colina had two hits.
  • Chattanooga 13, Birmingham 2
    • Kyle McCulloch was shelled to the tune of seven runs on 11 hits over just 3 2/3 innings.
    • Miguel Negron went 3-for-5; Javier Castillo went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI.
  • Potomac 8, Winston-Salem 6
    • Another starter rocked — this time, Matt Long (3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER).
    • Paulo Orlando, John Shelby and C.J. Retherford each had two hits and an RBI.
  • Kannapolis 8, Hagerstown 3
    • Christian Marrero homered, tripled and drove in three.
    • Sergio Miranda went 3-for-3 with two RBI.
    • Johnnie Lowe allowed three runs (one earned) over six innings.
    • Charlis Burdie worked three scoreless innings for the save.
  • Bristol 5, Greeneville 1
    • Garrett Johnson threw six strong innings, allowing one run (a solo homer), five hits and two walks while fanning four.
    • Juan Moreno earned a three-inning save.
    • Jorge Castillo went 3-for-4 with two RBI; Justin Greene doubled and homered.
  • Missoula 5, Great Falls 1
    • Johny Celis hit a solo homer for the Voyagers’ only run.
    • Kent Gerst, Tyler Kuhn and Doug Thennis each doubled.
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