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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Shingo pulls a Wickman

April 7, vs. Cleveland


How many Grinders did KW use today:
6
"5 runs on only one home run deserves some props, and hats off to Luis Vizcaino for giving the offense a chance to win the game twice. If only Ozzie Guillen didn't use his bullpen like an idiot today."

Short Take: One inning removed from season opening sweep of Cleveland, Shingo Takatsu melts down, allowing 3 in the 9th, en route to a deflating 11-5 loss.

Not less than 24 hours after the White Sox lit up Bob Wickman for a thrilling 4-3 victory, the Tribe turned the tables, as Shingo Takatsu gave up three solo home runs in the top of the ninth as the Sox dropped their first game of the young campaign, in extra grueling fashion, 11-5 in 11 innings.

Not to sound too much like a Little League coach, but there were many positives to take from the loss. For starters, Jose Contreras looked very strong in his first start of the season. Though Cleveland managed to put men on base every inning, Contreras managed to make the pitches needed to keep them off the scoreboard. By the time Coco Crisp doubled in Grady Sizemore in the 5th inning for their first run of the game, the Sox had put 5 runs on the scoreboard.


They started early and often. After Scott Podsednik flied out to left, Tadahito Iguchi singled and Carl Everett doubled off Indian starter Cliff Lee. That put two runners in scoring position for Paul Konerko, and he didn’t disappointed, putting a single just over the glove of outstretched second baseman Alex Cora to plate the first two runs. The next frame, the Sox doubled their lead, as A.J. Pierzynski led off the inning with his first homerun in South Side pinstripes, just into the Indian bullpen in right field. Later, Juan Uribe walked and reached third on Podsednik’s first double of the season. Iguchi hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Uribe and notch his first American RBI. In the fourth, with Pierzynski at second and Joe Crede at first, Podsednik knocked a single to centerfield with extend the White Sox lead to 5.

With Contreras still in cruise control, it looked like the 5-run lead would hold. But, after 96 pitches and six sound innings, Ozzie Guillen had seen enough and he unleashed the bullpen. Lefty Neal Cotts took the hill first and did not fare well, getting the first out of the frame before completely unraveling. A walk to Jhonny Peralta and single by Coco Crisp put runners on the corners for Cliff Politte. Ronnie Belliard sacrificed home the second Indian run of the game, and Guillen played the numbers, bringing in Damaso Marte to face lefty Travis Hafner. The plan worked as Hafner meekly flied out to left, but the Sox had used three pitchers to get through one inning. Keep that in mind, it will be key later.

After Dustin Hermanson worked the eighth, he gave way to Shingo Takatsu, on for his 2nd save of the series. After a battle with Casey Blake, Takatsu hung a fastball and Blake responded with a towering blast to left field. 5-3. After Grady Sizemore watched what seemed like 5 strikes go by, Takatsu finally sent him to the bench with a nice tailer on the inside half of the plate. One out. Josh Bard then came on to hit for Peralta, and lined one to center fielder Aaron Rowand, who initially made an incorrect read on the ball, but managed to recover in time to make a routine, one handed grab. Two outs. After getting Crisp down to the last strike of the game, Takatsu again hung a pitch over the fat part of the plate that Crisp deposited in the Bullpen Sports Bar. 5-4. The very next pitch to Ronnie Belliard? Yeah, you guessed right. He crushed Takatsu’s offering, tying the game and deflating what was left of a jovial crowd.

Takatsu then walked Hafner and gave up a single to Victor Martinez before Guillen finally pulled the ineffective closer for Luis Vizcaino, who pitched 1 1/3 innings yesterday and, if you’ve been keeping count, was the last man in the home bullpen, except for, of course, Man Soo Lee.

Vizcaino pitched admirably, but was put in a terrible position thanks to Ozzie’s complete mismanagement of the bullpen. He cleaned up Shingo’s mess in the ninth, pitched a solid tenth, but even with Jon Garland working in the bullpen, Guillen effectively raised the white flag when he marched Luis out for the 11th. He yielded 6 runs in an ugly inning, and the offense that had not plated a run in the previous 6 innings didn’t manage to even get a man on base as the Tribe emphatically slammed the door on the White Sox broom closet.

And on that depressing note, the White Sox head northwest on I-90 to Minneapolis as they welcome the Twins home for the first time in ’05 and watch them unfurl another division title banner. Orlando Hernandez makes his White Sox debut against Kyle Lohse. Game time is 7:10 PM and it will be aired on WCIU. How ‘bout we play a full nine tomorrow, huh, guys?

WSI's
Ozzieball Update:
Small worked well, but how-a-bout we keep the 3-pitcher innings to a minimum? I know a 3-run lead for Shingo is pretty safe, but leaving yourself with one reliever will come back to bite you.


submitted by doublem23.

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Tadahito Iguchi

A day of firsts for Tadahito! First RBI and first Pick to Click winner. Oh, yes, his first loss this side of the Pacific, too.

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