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Of all the opponents in all the parks on all the schedule, Bobby Jenks had to blow a three-run lead to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
It’s too juicy of a debacle to ignore, as the White Sox have a reputation of unraveling in Minnesota, and did so on Sunday in spectacular fashion, capped off by an Alex Rios throw that could’ve only been more off if he knocked out the neon on Minnie and Paul. That this one turned a series split into a three-game losing streak, effectively killing the mojo of a 26-5 stretch, lends itself to be grand narrative material over the next two and a half months.
It’s unfortunate, because had Jenks only allowed two runs instead of four, this series would have only told us that these two teams are both flawed. Consider!
- The Twins led early in all four games, and either surrendered or jeopardized the lead in all of them.
- The Twins’ outfield defense and bullpen proved suspect.
- The Sox beat up Nick Blackburn. While he’s been awful this year on the whole, he’s been fine at home, and he can handle the Sox.
Eight innings into Sunday, the Sox appeared to be westward bound with a hard-fought split against an evenly matched team. After the ninth, now we’re talking about a crippler.
If there’s silver lining, the series should underscore that the Sox do need some help, whether or not Paul Konerko agrees.
*Third base: Dayan Viciedo’s defensive reputation caught up to him, and Omar Vizquel needs day off. Plus, there’s no date established for Mark Teahen’s return.
*Outfield: Carlos Quentin hurt himself again, and Juan Pierre’s disastrous at-bat is a fine illustration of how dangerous the Sox are living with their production from the corner spots.
If Gordon Beckham isn’t back to being Gordon Beckham after this week, then we may as well not pass judgment until the season is over.
A 4-for-4 day extended his hitting streak to seven, and it’s a pretty full streak. He’s 14-for-24, with three doubles, two homers and seven RBI.
Moreover, he looks the part, with line drives to both sides of center. So if that swing disappears this week after struggling for this long, I’m not going to expect anything from him over the rest of the season.
If you missed “The Club,” you can read our instant reactions. It proved to be mildly interesting, and should have enough material to last an entire season.
There were drawbacks, to be sure. MLB productions lean on certain production methods (random close-ups of faces, overly dramatic music, annoying out-of-focus transitions), and they were a little too heavy-handed with Kyle Williams’ draft stock. Jerry Reinsdorf’s appearances — whether with Bud Selig eating lumps for lunch or in his sweet office with Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen — were basically just exposition, which slowed things down.
But the interactions between the coaches and players made the hour worth it, especially with the way Daniel Hudson and Sergio Santos responded to their bad and good news at the end of spring training. I’d include Randy Williams, but I’m not sure if he has figured out what they were trying to tell him.
Scott Reifert says Comcast SportsNet might be airing the episode today, so keep an eye on his Twitter feed if you don’t have MLB Network.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*J.J. gives reasons why Sox fans shouldn’t freak out, and Mike lays all the blame on Jenks.
*Guillen wants to give Hudson a long leash, and he’ll have the opportunity to earn it tonight.
*Milwaukee manager Ken Macha issued a complaint to a baseball official about how often the Brewers are hit by pitches. His hitters have been plunked 47 times, which is only one more than the White Sox have taken. But Brewers pitchers have hit 29 batters, while the Sox have only hit 20. So I’m not sure what his point is, but if anything comes of it, Guillen will have a precedent.
Minor league roundup:
- Charlotte 8, Durham 4
- Chris Sale struck out both batters he faced.
- Brent Morel went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
- Brandon Hynick allowed four runs on six hits (two homers) over five innings, allowing three hits and striking out three.
- Jacksonville 7, Birmingham 6
- Christian Marrero went 2-for-4 with a double, as did Eduardo Escobar.
- Justin Greene was 0-for-3 with a walk; C.J. Retherford was 0-for-5.
- Kannapolis 4, Lakewood 1 (Game 1, 7 innings)
- Justin Collop went the distance, striking out seven while allowing just six hits and zero walks.
- Kyle Colligan went 1-for-3 with a double and a strikeout.
- Nick Ciolli singled and walked over three PAs; Juan Silverio went 0-for-3.
- Kannapolis 4, Lakewood 0 (Game 2, 7 innings)
- Andre Rienzo went the distance, allowing four hits and two walks while fanning five.
- Tyler Saladino was perfect at the plate, singling twice and walking once.
- Miguel Gonzalez was 1-for-3; Ciolli 0-for-3.
- Elizabethon 14, Bristol 3
- Rangel Ravelo was 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts.
- Great Falls 14, Idaho Falls 6
- David Holmberg threw five shutout innings, pitching around six hits and a walk with five K’s.
- Andy Wilkins continues to mash: 2-for-4 with a homer, four RBI, adding a walk and a striking out once.
- Ross Wilson doubled and tripled over six ABs, striking out once.