Right team, right time, so what?

What was Jose Contreras’ secret in defeating a leading AL Cy Young Candidate on Wednesday afternoon? His pants.
Upon counsel from Orlando Hernandez, Contreras showed off his socks and rode the throwback look to seven strong innings in a 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Usually, there would be a reason to suggest Contreras has turned the tides, but the White Sox are a team that followed up a perfect game by losing six of the next seven. The only way to determine their chances is by licking a finger and sticking it into the wind.
On the other hand, look who’s coming for dinner.  The Sox host the plummeting Baltimore Orioles, who are sliding into town on a five-game losing streak.
What’s more! The Orioles are 4-15 over their last 19 games.
What’s more! The Orioles own the league’s worst road record (18-41).
What’s more! The Orioles traded Aubrey Huff, who racked up five extra base hits (three doubles, two homers) in six games against the Sox this year.
What’s more! The Sox are throwing their best three starters out there.
What’s more! The Sox won’t face Baltimore’s best pitcher, Brad “Turd” Bergesen (Gordon Beckham laughs).
Instead, they get Jeremy Guthrie (whom they usually handle well), David Hernandez (the dreaded rookie pitcher) and Jason Berken (the rare pitcher whom they hammered the first time around).
What’s the catch?  Who knows, but it’s always been something this year. Hernandez, who has allowed 12 homers in 64 innings this year, could escape U.S. Cellular Field unscathed as newbies often do. Or maybe Bobby Jenks, who always struggles against the Orioles, may have to face them in multiple games. Mark Buehrle is pitching in August.
Expecting a sweep almost always leads to disappointment, but if they’re ever going to take all three games, this would be the time. Doing so would give the Sox a respectable 11-7 record in their haymaking stretch before the brutal upcoming road trip.
And if said excursion wasn’t scary enough, the White Sox will kick it off with Freddy Garcia (who doesn’t have much), and Jose Contreras (who has given up 38 runs in 33 1/3 innings at Fenway).
The term “must-win” rivals “choke” for the most incorrectly applied phrase in sports, and it’s especially dangerous to use it on this Sox team. It has a nasty habit of defying logic for better or worse, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they dropped two of three to Baltimore, only to win five of seven on the East Coast.
Still, it’s not like the Sox have exhausted a supply of extended winning streaks this season. Is it too much to ask for a sweep?
Probably.
*****************************
Minor league roundup:

  • Charlotte 8, Durham 1
    • Dan Hudson outdueled Andy Sonnanstine, allowing one run over five innings on six hits and two walks. Bad news: He needed 91 pitches. Good news: He recorded eight groundouts.
    • Stefan Gartrell went 2-for-4 with a solo homer.
    • Wilson Betemit doubled, homered and drove in three; Mike Restovich doubled, homered and walked.
    • Cole Armstrong went 2-for-5 with a double; Josh Fields went 1-for-5.
    • Tyler Flowers still is out.
  • Birmingham 3, Montgomery 1 (Game 1, 7 innings)
    • C.J. Retherford and Christian Marrero each went 1-for-3, with Marrero doubling.
    • Dave Cook went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer.
    • Matt Zaleski struck out seven over six innings, allowing just two hits, one walk and an unearned run.
    • Clevelan Santeliz pitched a perfect inning for the save, striking out one.
  • Birmingham 7, Montgomery 1 (Game 2, 7 innings)
    • John Ely pitched six strong innings, allowing the run on three  hits and a walk, with two strikeouts.
    • John Shelby went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
    • Retherford went 2-for-3; Marrero drove in two with a 1-for-4 night.
    • Dayan Viciedo did not play in either game.
  • Potomac 9, Winston-Salem 1
    • Brent Morel was perfect at the plate, one single, one double, two walks.
    • Tyler Kuhn’s average dropped to .299 after an 0-for-4 night. He’s in a 5-for-31 slump.
    • Anthony Carter was taken deep twice for five runs in five innings.
  • Kannapolis 8, Lexington 7 (10 innings)
    • Jon Gilmore went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, an RBI and three runs scored.  He’s hitting .369 in August.
    • Josh Phegley went 2-for-4 with a double, walk and two RBI.
    • Jared Mitchell had one hit and two strikeouts in four at-bats.
    • Dan Remenowsky allowed an inherited runner to score, but followed up with two scoreless innings for the win. He struck out three.
    • Rough night for Stephen Sauer: 4 2/3 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
  • Great Falls 3, Casper 2
    • Nick Ciolli went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI.
    • Zach Kayne went 2-for-3.
    • Matt Hopps struck out all six batters he faced.
  • Bristol OFF
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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3791
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conor

Does Brad wear a big, funny hat?
You should put links on the side to things like White Sox Eulogies, big articles like the Podsednik Paradox (I’ve thought about e-mailing that to Bernstein) and the book. You working on an Outsider ’10? Better be. Taking a look at the “books” on the Sox I’ve seen in Borders and Barnes, you could easily have the market cornered.

K8T

anyone who has your book is probably a regular. I doubt the outage will do much to affect sales.

K8T

too bad you don’t have my season notebook

knoxfire30

Wow hopeless to 2 games out, wonder if any gamblers parlayed some ian snell and jose contreres action knowing they were facing justin verlander and zach greinke im all for long shots but again, WOW

kevins

Meh…-4 games isn’t ‘hopeless’, imho. Its just harder.

andrew

The Orioles are terrible and the Sox face them at home; we all know exactly how this is going to end.

joist

Good point about the logic-defying Sox. They (and Buehrle) used a perfect game as an excuse to start sucking, and then inexplicably turned it around against a team that wasn’t losing to ANYBODY (the Angels). I know the Cheat drew parallels to the ’04 season, but the big difference is that this year’s Sox are playing with the house money at this point. They SHOULDN’T be in contention, but for the fact that the division is horrendous. So let’s enjoy the ride this year, secure in the knowledge that the lineup (and rotation) looks like it sets up well for next year and beyond.