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(September 21)  

Short take:  Graffanino does it all!

Who is this guy?  The way Jerry Manuel has managed this team, it's little wonder Sox Fans can barely remember him.  On a team that can't run the bases, Tony Graffanino can.  On a team that measures defensive prowess by fielding percentage, Tony Graffanino stops rallies with his glove.  And on a team that can't get a key hit with men on base to save its soul, Tony Graffanino delivers.

No wonder Jerry Manuel never plays the guy.  

The Sox won 8-7 over K.C.  Manuel seems intent to keep playing all his usual guys while prospects ride the pine.  They managed to fall behind to the worst team in the division and appeared dead until a four-run fifth inning keyed by a pair of rbi singles by Jose Valentin and Magglio Ordonez, topped by a two-run dinger by Jeff Liefer.  The Sox took a 6-5 lead.

To hell with young pitching prospects, Jerry Manuel figures he needs to get Alan Embree's head right.  Somebody please break the news gently to the Sox manager that he doesn't have a lefthander in his bullpen.  Embree promptly blows another lead giving up a two-run tater.  It's stupid managerial decisions like this that have turned so many fans against Manuel this year.  Typical stuff, really.

So it was left to some late-inning heroics by the Sox hitters to win this game.  With one out in the eighth, Jeff Liefer discovered what happens when you keep the bat on your shoulder for a fourth pitch out of the strike zone.  Eureka!  Sox Fans, can we hope hitting coach Gary Ward and slumping slugger Carlos Lee were paying attention in the dugout?  Nah.

So Manuel wakes up long enough to send Tony Graffanino in to pinch run.  Why not versatile Josh Paul?  Maybe Manuel has learned something since May after all.  We Sox Fans had our doubts.

Graffanino alertly advances to second base on a wild pitch, tags up and advances to third on a deep popout, and scores on Mark Johnson's infield single.  Wow--just like they teach you in Little League!  

The game tied in the ninth, Paul Konerko draws another of those new-fangled walks and Manuel looks at his line up card for a pinch runner again.  Versatile Josh Paul was yesterday's hero so the rules prevent Jerry Manuel from playing him in this game.  Of course nobody besides Manuel is aware of this rule, but why argue?  Manuel's choice is obvious--Royce Clayton.  

Never a dull moment at Comiskey when Manuel is at the controls. 

Royce delivers.  A stolen base and an advance to third on an error.  Nobody would ever mistaken this collection of trash from Kansas City with the world champions who left town yesterday.

Up to the plate came our man Tony.  His first pitch single was the only hit of the inning and made the Sox winners.  Good for him!

Should we Sox Fans expect Tony in tomorrow's line up?  Nah.

Hey Sox Fans!

Coming this Sunday another EXCLUSIVE to White Sox Interactive!  A new book written by WSI's own Dan Helpingstine, 

"Through Hope and Despair -- A Fan's memories of the Chicago White Sox, 1967-1997"  

Here's a book written especially for Sox Fans!  Learn more here on Sunday. 

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Tony Graffanino

His two-out rbi single in the ninth wins the game.  Also ran the bases flawlessly to score the tying run in the eighth, and made a diving catch to prevent the leadoff man to reach base in the ninth!

Play WSI's Pick to Click Contest!

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