If nothing else, Mark Teahen has a sense of the moment.
Not only did Teahen triple his season hit total by falling a double short of the cycle in the White Sox’s 8-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night, but he extended a streak as well.
All of Teahen’s hits have been game-changers, either tying the score or giving the Sox the lead:
- Saturday: RBI double puts Sox up 1-0 in sixth.
- Monday, third AB: RBI single ties game at 6.
- Fourth AB: Ninth-inning homer off Blue Jays closer ties game at 7.
- Fifth AB: Triple drives home game-winning run in 11th.
Add it all up and he’s hitting just about the most efficient .211/.375/.526 imaginable. And Teahen’s day was one of a number of feel-good moments during the season’s first extra-inning triumph.
*Mark Kotsay delivered a key pinch-hit single off Jeremy Accardo (with Ozzie Guillen making an unusual decision to pinch-hit for Alexei Ramirez), making Sox pinch-hitters 2-for-5 on the season.
That means the Sox bench can go hitless in its next 39 at-bats before reaching the depths last year’s pinch-hitters sank to. They were 2-for-44 over the first three months of the season.
Individually, Kotsay’s start is resembling his first week in a White Sox uniform after Kenny Williams traded for him. He put up three straight 0-fers before Guillen sat him, and then after working his way back into a rotation, he hit safely in 20 of his last 23 starts.
This time around, he went 0-for-9 before coming through with a ninth-inning single, and has since added a homer and the aforementioned pinch hit. So even despite his slow start, he’s still ahead of the curve.
*Andruw Jones! Like Teahen, Jones tripled his season total with two homers and a single that nearly beheaded Brian Tallet.
It’s still not worth buying into his performance entirely, because he slugged .781 in his first month with the Texas Rangers before sliding down the hill. But he had a night that’s certainly worthy of an exclamation point.
*Alex Rios was treated to a waterfall of boos at Rogers Centre, and he turned it into an Irish Spring commercial with three singles and a stolen base, prompting Guillen to suggest that Sox fans should jeer him when they return to Chicago.
By the way, the Sox were 3-for-3 off John Buck, including a heads-up move by Mr. Teahen after seeing Tallet using the same rhythm three pitches in a row.
*Sergio Santos had just started pitching at this point last year. I keep feeling like that needs to be said, lest I fail to be amazed by his progress.
For the second time in his young career, Guillen called on Santos to get the Sox out of a bases-loaded, two-out scenario, and this time felt more dangerous. For one, when he entered the game against the Twins on Friday, he was facing Delmon Young, who chases a good slider. Vernon Wells is far less likely to help a pitcher out.
But also, he was following Randy Williams’ four-pitch, four-ball act that provided flashbacks to 2007. Or more specifically, July 21, 2007.
That day, Guillen called on Boone Logan to face Boston’s J.D. Drew with the bases loaded and two outs, and the White Sox trailing 4-1. Well, Logan wasn’t close. He walked in a run, and Guillen yanked Logan for one Amos Dewon Day.
Day was gas on the fire. He walked the first two batters he faced, and then gave up a single to Coco Crisp and a triple to Eric Hinske. By the time he struck out Julio Lugo, the Sox bullpen had turned a 4-1 deficit into an 11-1 deficit.
In that same precarious position on Monday, Santos started with a slider and a fastball away, then came back with a fastball in the zone. Wells pounded it, and Alexei Ramirez made a beautiful stab in self-defense and turned it into a fielder’s choice to keep it a one-run game.
Was Santos fortunate? Hell yeah, he was. But he used that good luck and started an incredible run by Sox relievers, getting a weak groundout and two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh. The Bromantics, J.J. Putz (who showcased an excellent splitter) and Matt Thornton (who looked bored), followed suit by striking two batters apiece in their respective three-up-three-down innings. Santos, Putz and Thornton combined to retire 13 consecutive hitters, and this will likely stand as the gold standard for middle relief this season.
And when Scott Linebrink and Tony Pena’s names aren’t even mentioned in an 11-inning game, that shows you the kind of depth the Sox could have on their hands. Santos will need to keep his poise, Putz will need to keep his elbow in one piece, and Thornton will need a some left-handed help, but a fan can dream.
That said, it’s not all gravy.
Sore spots*Williams is an obvious one. So far this season, RAAAAAAAANDY! has retired seven batters and allowed eight of them to reach base, and his four-pitch walk left Guillen spraying expletives all over Rogers Centre’s new artificial turf. We’re about one failed Guillen Manhood Challenge from seeing Erick Threets.
*Alexei Ramirez is now 4-for-26 with no walks and five strikeouts after wearing the collar on Monday. It’s hard to predict when Guillen is going to bench him. It seemed almost certain that he would ride the bench after kicking the ball all over the field on Friday, but he started the next day. I wonder if the late-inning substitution is an omen.
*Jake Peavy has had two identical starts. The only difference is that Toronto’s hitters didn’t let him off the ropes.
I didn’t think velocity was the problem. Maybe the Toronto guns must have been hot, because it had him routinely sitting 91-92, which is where he probably should be. The Cheat notes that Pitch F/x tells a different story — Peavy’s average fastball was just under 90, and that his fastest heater was slower than Freddy Garcia’s best.
It’s not time to hit the jolly, candylike button, because either way, his location was worse than anything. It’s not like one of Jon Garland’s dead arm periods, where the pitches were being put in the right places, but just not fast enough. But his velocity is definitely worth monitoring his next time out.
Minor league roundup:
- Charlotte 6, Norfolk 3
- Daniel Hudson dominated in his first start, striking out nine over 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three hits and one walk, and the run came on a solo shot.
- C.J. Retherford went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He walked and struck out once.
- Jordan Danks (one walk, two strikeouts) and Tyler Flowers (double, two RBI, one K) went 1-for-4.
- Dayan Viciedo went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
- Erick Threets retired all four batters he faced.
- Greg Aquino allowed two runs on four hits and a walk over two innings, striking out three.
- Birmingham 7, Carolina 3
- Brent Morel went 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two strikeouts.
- John Shelby doubled, hit two sac flies and stole his second base.
- Christian Marrero walked twice in four plate appearances.
- Santo Luis walked one and struck out one over two hitless innings for the win.
- Lexington 12, Kannapolis 1
- Justin Collop was hammered for 11 runs (nine earned) on 12 hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out five.
- Ryan Buch allowed one unearned run on three hits and a walk over two innings, striking out one.
- Drew O’Neil pitched two perfect innings.
- Nick Ciolli doubled and struck out in four ABs; everybody else had an ugly day.