Kansas City chaos: 22 hours, 31 innings, two losses

When this season comes to a close, you're going to look back upon this three-game series with the Kansas City Royals and laugh.

When this season comes to a close, you’re going to look back upon this three-game series with the Kansas City Royals and laugh. And believe you me, it’s getting its own section in the August chapter of White Sox Outsider 2011.
Win or lose, it was a train wreck. Look at the individual ingredients:

This is how the series started. (Twitter pic by Brent Ballatini)

*A massive storm that postponed the first game two batters in, costing the Sox their best starter of late, Edwin Jackson. It also posed power problems the next day, as half a lighting bank went out, causing Joe West to look confused and bloated for about five minutes.
*The power problems, combined with Fox’s exclusive Saturday window, forced a true doubleheader starting at 6:10 CST, which is just about unheard of. Worse yet, the doubleheader was followed by a 1:10 start. Getaway day never meant so much.
*Of course, ALL THREE GAMES went to extra innings, making it 31 innings in 22 hours.
*Yuniesky Betancourt hit a game-tying grand slam and a walk-off single in the same game. Wilson Betemit was on base more often than not. Jason Kendall won the series. These guys were heroes.
*On our side, Tony Pena started and lasted seven innings. Bobby Jenks threw three scoreless innings. These things happened.
*Speaking of West, you had two of Major League Baseball’s most incompetent umpires working this one, and by the end, Hawk Harrelson** apparently sounded ready to kill West … if he didn’t kill himself first.
(** I had Kansas City’s crew, Ryan Lefebvre and Frank White, for all three games, and I think my health is better for it. The Fox Sports Kansas City broadcast is kind of sleepy — maybe because of the small crowds — as Lefebrvre and White don’t depart from their natural inflection. I can’t really point out anything distinguishing nor unlikeable about Lefebrve, and White is soft-spoken. He does deliver some great analysis of infield play, but if you’re not locked in, you can tune out both of them pretty easily. You can’t say the same about Harrelson, for better or worse.
But for a series like this, I needed calm. Spending 10 hours watching three crucial games decided by individual pitches, I don’t think I could take Harrelson. Lefebrve and White were steady and pleasant — even as the Royals were equally baffled by the bottom half of West’s strike zone — and didn’t put another layer of stress on top of the one caused by two crushing losses and a victory that managed to disappoint. Thanks, Ryan and Frank.)
It was the kind of environment that could make any event believable. Unassisted Betancourt triple play? Sure. Paul Konerko inside-the-parker? Why not? Ozzie Guillen charging West and delivering a Double Dragon drop kick? I wish.
The series also brought out every emotion, and I think my lasting one is “amused.” The situation didn’t cause the Sox to lose two of three, and besides, I like a good story. It’s not often that a series against Kansas City gains notoriety, but it’s going to be nearly impossible to top this clusterlove of circumstances.
But if you want to see if a series can get stranger next year, there’s a brand-new highway directly linking the two cities to make travel easier.
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I’m going to use the off day to itemize some thoughts on individual events and players, but I keep rolling around one thought in my head:

Should Ozzie Guillen get more heat for starting Edwin Jackson on Friday?

I can’t say for sure, because I wasn’t around to first-guess. I came home from work, turned on the TV and was surprised to find the “rain delay” message on my screen.
But if it was so obvious to everybody that West blew it by starting a game that had no chance of getting two innings in, forget about five, wouldn’t it have been also apparent that starting Jackson would be a waste of a turn?
The Sox ended up winning Jackson’s turn thanks to Pena, but I think Guillen did put his team on the wrong foot by not anticipating what everybody figured to be a rather obvious conclusion on Friday. He was fuming at West, but he had control of the situation, too.

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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.

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blacksox56

another august meltdown…what a shame

fustercluck

Signs you watch too much FOX: Can’t read “What a shame” without hearing Gordon Ramsay.
The White Sox goose is cooked perfect.

ricksch

Sox are a .500 team at best. When guys like Betemit and Betancourt are lighting up your pitchers, .500 is actually pretty good. What a tease of a season this turned out to be. If not for that win streak, I could have checked out of the season in June and finished a novel by now.
As Dandy Don used to sing. “turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

ricksch

BTW — Sox have now lost five series in a row, four of them to teams within the division. Pennant race? Race to what?

knoxfire30

I cant believe they started that game friday, and until today I hadnt given much thought to why ozzie stayed with Jackson when everyone and their brother knew it was gonna rain out… Dumb
Joe West is an absolute piece of shit, its a blackeye to baseball that he still has a job.
This team looks dead in the water, I cant imagine them making up 5 games in the next 6 weeks with the schedule they have ahead but crazier things have happened.

soxfan1

This seies reminds me of 1963 when we went to KC at the end of the season and lost all 3 games, costing us the pennant.
When did Betemit learn how to play baseball??
Ozzie’s record, if you take out 2005, is under .500 I think. Is it time for him to move on to another team?? I’m kind of 50/50 on it but wouldn’t be sad to see him go to the Braves or Dodgers.

eddystankysghost

I think you’re referring to ’67, when the Sox went to KC one game out to play a double header against the worst team in the AL by far, throwing their best starters (Peters and Horlen). Then it would be back home to play the hapless Senators. Things were looking golden.
Except the Sox lost the double-header, scoring a total of two runs. They went on to lose the last three at home, scoring three runs and finishing three games out in a four-team race. Ironically, the “magical” ’67 Red Sox finished their last four games 2-2, one game up on Detroit.
The Sox allowed the fewest runs in baseball that year, with Peters-Horlen-John starting 100 games with 33 complete games, a team ERA of 2.45 and an opponents’ slash line of .219/.287/.306!
Unfortunately, they scored the third-fewest runs themselves, at .225/.291/.320.

Buehrlesque

It’s tough for me to blame Ozzie for the Jackson thing. However, I most definitely DO blame him for the absurd excessive bunting.
I just cannot stand the bunting anymore. When he had Vizquel bunt Pierre over in the 8th inning. It’s…it’s… I don’t even have the words anymore. It drives me up the wall.

RWShow

When I first clicked the link, I thought the Chicago-Kansas City highway story was a parody, making fun of KC or something. I couldn’t – and still can’t – fathom the need for such a thing.