A Fortunate Change of Events: Game 139 Thoughts
-I don't know what to be happiest about...
- Contreras pitching strong OR
- The Sox winning OR
- The bats coming to life OR
- Ozzie actually shaking things up OR
- The return of Hermy OR
- The closed door meeting that seems to have woken up our guys.
-I guess I'll go from the top of that list. Contreras looked like pre-DL Jose. He had full command of his forkball, and didn't leave any fastballs over the plate. He had 9 K's, which is high for him and only one walk. Most importantly, this may be a sign that he isn't injured after all or that he has recovered from any ailments. He went 8 innings today, which he hasn't done in his last 4 starts. In those 4 starts he gave up 7, 7, 5, and 2 ER's. Tack on his 1 ER performance to that list and I must say things are looking up. 4/5 pitchers are showing that they are capable of finishing the season strong, stronger than they've been as a unit than any other point of this season. (more about that coming within the next few days). Only Freddy hasn't had a particularly strong performance recently. In the last 22 innings pitched by our starters, we've only given up 3 ERs.
-I know the Sox were supposed to win this game. I said before that they had favorable pitching match-ups in all three games, but when was the last time the Sox took care of business when they were supposed to. And don't say against Kansas City, because we played terribly in that series. This is the first time in a while that we've truly dominated. This is our best performance since our 10-0 win on Aug 24th vs the Motor City Kitties.
-Every starter had a hit except for Ryan Sweeney. The Sox only scored 3 of their runs via the longball. In the second inning, they actually linked together some hits, instead of getting a single and following it with a GIDP. The only blemish for the offense was Sweeney's 0-6. It really doesn't bother me, because I'm more concerned about Ozzie's willingness to shake up the lineup.
-Ozzie FINALLY shook up the lineup. We've been waiting for a long time to see Pods receive some sort of demotion. Although we wanted him out of the lineup completely, I'll take his demotion down to the 8-hole. Maybe our constant nagging is getting to Ozzie, or more likely, he realized how crappy Pods has been doing. Hooray! The one thing that Sweeney's performance shows is how much BA has improved over the year. 0-6 is something we would have expected back in May. The one downside though is Sweeney may find himself buried on the bench next to BA.
-I'm shocked that Hermanson is back. Absolutely, jaw to the ground, shocked. I thought he was done. I thought he would never pitch in the bigs again. I thought wrong, apparently. He came in and pitched a flawless inning of relief. Handling big Papi and recording one K. If Hermy can come back and pitch regularly, the Sox may have just found an arm to plug up the hole in the 'pen. The test will be to see how Hermy feels tomorrow and the day after.
-So apparently the Sox had a closed door meeting before the game, and it seems to have worked. I think that was the wake up call we were all waiting for. Kudos to whoever decided to hold that meeting.
Onto the awards...
Bad Ozzie Move of the Night - Starting Pods, broken record, I know.
Good Ozzie Moves of the Night - Starting Sweeney and Cintron. It didn't work out, but I like the move a lot. Shaking up the order was much appreciated as well. I don't know if he called for the meeting before the game, but if he did, that's the best Ozzie move of the night.
Play of the Game - Cintron's ground rule double. After those two runs crossed the plate, the Sox had 3 runs total for the game, which beat their output for the first two games combined.
Big Ups of the Night - Congrats to JD on his first career 40-homer season. Big ups to the offense in general, especially Cintron for his 3-hit performance.
Co-Sox Players of the Game (gotta rep both the O and the pitching on a night like this)
Jose Contreras (8)
Jim Thome (14)
Sox Record: 80-59... Only .5 behing the Twins!