White Sox saving worst for last, fall 2 behind Tigers
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org September 27, 2012 10:59PM
Chicago White Sox Vs Tampa Bay Rays. White Sox starting pitcher No.44 Jake Peavy reacts to a called bulk call that was reversed by the umpire crew chief. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: October 29, 2012 6:58AM
After suffering the latest in a series of agonizing losses that has left the White Sox free-falling to the bitter end of an otherwise nice season, Paul Konerko summed it up best.
“Sometimes the game is cruel,’’ he said.
Manager Robin Ventura said Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays that left the Sox two games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central with six games to play reflected the team’s eight losses in nine games: poor execution and not doing the little things that put them in first place for all but eight days from May 29 to Sept. 25.
Despite Jake Peavy’s gutty performance, quite possibly his last as a Sox pitcher at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox looked anything like a team that will see first place again. That’s how it is when you’re playing your worst baseball of the season.
“We understand the mathematics; we pretty much need to win out,’’ Peavy said.
The Sox had the unusual opportunity of having the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth and fifth innings, each time coming away disappointed by settling for one run.
There would be more cruelty in the eighth. Tied at 2 with pinch runner Jordan Danks on first with no outs, pinch hitter Dewayne Wise —whose last sacrifice bunt occurred in 2010 as a Toronto Blue Jay —fouled off a bunt against Joel Peralta before taking strike 2 down the middle. A few pitches later, Wise struck out.
Then Danks, running for A.J. Pierzynski, who had singled, was out at second after he failed to retouch the base on Alexei Ramirez’s fly out to center. Danks, running on the pitch, had a good jump and seemed to have a good chance at a stolen base if Ramirez hadn’t swung.
“You don’t execute, you’re not going to win; it’s that simple,’’ Ventura said. “We had opportunities, even late, and we didn’t do the fundamental things to win the game. It’s been that way for a little while now. We just can’t do those little things that you need to win and be successful.’’
Moments later, Evan Longoria delivered the dagger, a home run against Brett Myers (3-4) to break the 2-2 tie.
All that might not have mattered had the Sox not failed twice with the bases loaded and no outs against right-hander James Shields. In the fourth, Pierzynski struck out before Dayan Viciedo was hit by a pitch to score one run. But Ramirez popped out to shortstop, and Gordon Beckham lined out to left.
In the fifth, Konerko hit into a double play to get a run in before Alex Rios struck out.
“James Shields is pretty tough,’’ Konerko said. “But we should be better there.’’
“We have the bases loaded; we only get one,’’ Ventura said. “Over the course of time, that just builds up, and it’s difficult on your pitching staff to do that over and over again.’’
Said Pierzynski: “It’s always frustrating. We’re professionals. We want to do well. We want to win games, and we want to do things that are good. And when you don’t, sometimes you just try too hard. It seems like our whole team now is trying too hard — and that’s the way it goes.’’
The Sox had one last try when Adam Dunn came up against Fernando Rodney (46 saves) with a runner on with two outs in the ninth.
Dunn struck out to end the game, dropping the Tigers’ magic number to 5.