Mark Buehrle didn't make it out of the 6th inning Tuesday night, coughing up a 4-1 lead in what eventually became a 9-6 loss for the White Sox. It was an occasionally rainy, painfully slow night. Among other things, it made me wonder whatever became of Buehrle's off-season efforts to strengthen his shoulder for better performance into the late innings. Buehrle actually has pitched 8 innings three times this year, but hasn't made it past the 4th inning in three other games.
Buehrle has had an amazing run with the Sox, with a World Series championship, a perfect game and a no-hitter to his name, so maybe that's why so many people cheered for him as he was pulled and walked toward the dugout, but I had to agree with the lady sitting behind me and Mrs. SBW at the game last night, who responded to the cheers with "Don't applaud him! He wasn't any good tonight!" Nope, he sure wasn't.
Some fans may prefer to blame the Sox line-up or Peavy alone for the Sox' fairly pitiful season, but Buehrle thus far has been pretty bad in what was shaping up to be a pivotal season for him. If it's true the Sox hold two aces, both of them have failed (Let's not even bring up Gavin Floyd, who as I write this is already losing 5-2 tonight in the 2nd inning).
I have to believe that the Sox are perilously close to backing up the truck, regardless of what the GM may say publicly. It may be almost imperceptible, but the line-up actually has been picking up steam of late (Witness Gordon Beckham's two hits and two RBIs last night). Now, for the Sox to turn their season around, Buehrle and Peavy both need to get going.
Above are a couple photos from last night's pre-game activities, taken from the Scout seats, where Mrs. SBW and I took in the game. The Missus felt a lost evening was at least partially saved by sightings of three celebs--Joe Mantegna, who threw out a first pitch, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who seemed like he was riding the well-coiffed Mantegna's coattails, and Steve Dahl (not pictured).