I think Orlando Cabrera sometimes makes more mistakes in the field than his reputation suggests, and he has not delivered entirely on his promise as a hitter this year either, but one thing that's indisputable is his intensity. Earlier this week, he said the White Sox need to move up to a new level of intensity for the play-off push, and though the team has been tough and resilient this year, I couldn't have agreed more. Unfortunately, the Sox showed absolutely zero of that intensity when the started off a key series in Boston last night being shut out 8-0.
O.C. needs to take some of his own advice after going 0 for 4, but so does the rest of the line-up. Only JeDye and the Missile seemed to get the message, coming up with the Sox only two hits in this one. Javier Vazquez, who has alternated good and bad outings his whole career, was true to form, letting runs in early after being tough against the Rays last weekend.
The Piranhas gave the Sox some hope earlier this week when they had trouble out west. They beat Oakland late last night and appear to have found their pulse again. The Sox, meanwhile, flat-lined, and really need to come out of the gate aggressively the next 2 games in Boston. Not much is going to change for them in the coming weeks, but they will get Linebrink back. They just need to make sure they can stay in games and get him the ball when he returns.
The Cubs also didn't do much Friday, but got more out of less by winning 3-2. Harden was not great, in fact all over the place earlier on, but kept things close. The bats were silent against Harden's former A's mate Joe Blanton, with the first Cubs hit coming in the 4th. Later, the first Cubs run scored on what should have been a routine, inning-ending double play, by Jimmy Rollins air-mailed the throw to 1st base. That allowed DeRo to score from third. An inning later, in the 6th, the Cubs had no hits at all, but tied the game 2-2 on four walks sandwiched between outs. that shows how far plate patience can get you, and its something the Sox could have used more of later Friday evening.
The turning point for the game was a blown call at 1st base, when big Ryan Howard appeared to beat out a sharp grounder that banged of D-Lee, who had to chase it down and throw to Samardzija at 1st. Argue about it being a bang-bang play if you want, but in the replay, it is pretty clear Howard beat the throw. Too bad for the Phils the new replay policy only applies to HRs. Had Howard been safe, a runner on 3rd would have scored, but the out got Sammy 2.0 out of the inning.
The next inning, Soriano homered to put the Cubs up 3-2 and the bullpen shut 'em down from there. The Phils may say they were robbed of a win on a blown call, and that call certainly change the conditions of the game at that time, but when you send Rollins, the Flyin Hawaiian and Utley up to the plate in the 9th you've still got a heck of a chance to at least tie things up. They didn't. The Cubs are now 85-50.