Saturday, April 09, 2005

White Sox 5, Twins 1

Nice to see Orlando Hernandez have a nice outing. He needed just more than 100 pitches to go seven innings, for the most part because he didn't walk anyone. He did strike out five. There's no secret and no mystery to it. If El Duque stays healthy, he's a great pitcher. Here's hoping the Sox keep him healthy.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rowand did a little something at the plate, driving in two runs with a homer in three at-bats. I don't know that we can say he's officially heating up with the bat, but you can't argue with what he did Friday night.

Paul Konerko continues to rake, picking up a walk and a hit. His batting average actually fell to .429. Could Konerko have an even better year that last year? Well, it's too early to tell. It would be nice, both for the Sox' ability to contend, and for Paulie, because he's by all accounts a nice guy. I don't think it would bode well for the Sox keeping him, however.

-- Twins 1B/DH Matt LeCroy went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Sox on Friday. Last season, in a fantasy baseball league I play in, a friend was asked if he would add LeCroy to a trade to get a deal done. The answer: LeCroy was untouchable. Supposedly, LeCroy was supposed to hit like a middling firstbaseman, but because he qualified at catcher, he would be a good-hitting catcher on a fantasy team. Well, LeCroy didn't hit as well as a lot of catchers that were available. So now some f us have a running joke about needing to acquire LeCroy to push our teams towards a fantasy championship.

-- Friday's game featured two thirdbasemen that are off to slow starts. Joe Crede went 0-for-4 to drop his average to .077 on the season. Michael Cuddyer went 1-for-4 to raise his average to .133, but he left two men in scoring position. Neither guy is going to be a world-beater this season, and both should rebound. Cuddyer will probably be the better hitter over the course of the season.

-- Twins SS Jason Bartlett is having some success in the early going after beating the craptacular Juan Castro for the starting job at short. He's batting .385 in the early going, and while it's not a roubust .385 (he has 1 extra-base hit and no walks), it is probably enough to let him keep his job should he tail off a little bit. That's not necessarily good for the Sox, because Bartlett's a better hitter than Castro, but it's good for Bartlett. He was the underdog in the position battle, and it's hard not to root for him.

Which brings me to an interesting philosophical question. Why root for your team's arch nemesis to play the better player when it could hurt your team in the standings? Easy. Because I'd rather have my team win because of what it does right, as opposed to hoping for misfortune to befall others. All things being equal, it's better to be good than lucky.

-- Nice job by Dustin Hermanson working on back-to-back days. After Thursday's disaster against the Indians, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made the right call by letting Hermanson work two innings. Dusty fanned three, gave up two hits and walked none. He has yet to be scored on this year.

Former Sox SS Jose Valentin lifted the Dodgers for the second time this week with a home run, this time a two-run shot to cap a four-run ninth-inning come back. I work with a Dodger fan at work, and I told him this when his team picked up Valentin: people will beef when he boots a ball, but he's still going to help a team more than he'll hurt it. Why wouldn't you rather have a player that boots 10-15 extra balls per year when he's going to knock 15-20 extra dingers a year? ... The Cubs coughed up a ninth-inning lead when LaTroy Hawkins blew a save against the Brewers, who by the way are my pick for surprise team in the NL. I think Cubdom is overreacting, and if you are a true Cubs fan (which I certainly am not!) you are rooting for Jim Hendry not to panic. The only option at this point would be to overpay for someone else's garbage (Ugeth Urbina or Braden Looper or someone). ... Indians beat the Tigers. Magglio Ordonez is out with a viral infection. He'll be out until Tuesday. When you think about the money Detroit spend. Yikes! ... Former Sox pitcher Josh Fogg had a nice game against the Padres to pick up his, and Pittsburgh's, first win of the season.

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