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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

4-Game Skid

April 8, at Kansas City

How was the trophy defended today?
Vazquez turns in a good outing in his debut... Too bad it was spoiled.

Short Take: Vazquez looks good in White Sox debut, but lame effort from offense, Cliff Politte, and Sox killer Mike Sweeney ensure another ugly L for Sox.

Last season, the White Sox lost to the Royals only 5 times in 18 meetings. This year, it's taken Kansas City only 2 tries to get halfway there, as the Sox waste a very good effort from Javier Vazquez en route to a 4-3 loss, their fourth in a row.

As stated, it was Vazquez's first start of the season. One of the key additions to the World Champions' roster, Vazquez started out very strong. He breezed through the Royals for the first five innings, never allowing more than one runner on at a time Unfortunately, the Sox offense had its hands full with Denny Bautista. After mounting a minor scoring threat in the first, the Sox had 7 men in a row retired. However, in the 4th, the offense finally awoke. Jim Thome drew a walk to open the frame and moved to third on a single by Paul Konerko. However, a strikeout, fly out, and strikeout ended what could have been a very nice scoring opportunity, but Joe Crede's sacrifice fly did plate Thome and put the Pale Hose up 1-nil.

The lead would last all the way to the 6th. With Vazquez and Bautista locked in a old fashioned pitcher's duel, Javier would blink second. With one out in the 6th, Mark Grudzielanek singled. He moved into scoring position when Mike Sweeney was drilled by Vazquez. Reggie Sanders made use of his RBI opportunity, doubling deep to left field, scoring both runners and putting the Royals up 2-1.

The Sox though, did not lie down. In the 8th, facing Andy Sisco, the offense got rolling quickly. Brian Anderson doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a single by Scott Podsednik. Jim Thome then blasted a deep fly ball to the opposite field, that missed being a three-run blast by only a few feet. Instead, Kaufman Stadium held onto the double, but it did score Anderson and knot the game at 2. Konerko was intentionally walked and A.J. Pierzynski hit a weak grounder to former teammate Doug Mientkiewicz. However, the Royals' first baseman had to dive to his left to field the grounder, and when no one covered second or third, the defensive lapse allowed Scott Podsednik to score and put the Sox back up by 1. With the bases still loaded and only one out, the Sox had a golden chance to continue to squeeze runs from the Kansas City bullpen. Or not. Facing Elmer Dressens, Joe Crede could only ground into a 5-4-3 rally-killing, inning-ending double play.

Having already gone 7 innings and only allowing 5 hits, a walk, two runs, and having already tossed 100 pitches, Javier Vazquez was removed for the usually stout Sox bullpen. Cliff Politte was brought into a familiar spot, holding a slim lead late in the game. He entered and promptly blew it. The first batter he faced was Grudzielanek who singled to center. Up next, was Sox killing Mike Sweeney, who blasted a 2-run home run and turned a 1-run lead into a 1-run deficit in the blink of an eye. Maybe Vazquez was on to something when he plunked Sweeney rather than pitch to him. At any rate, Politte did get an out from Reggie Sanders, but was pulled in favor of Neal Cotts, who finished the 8th inning and kept the game within reach. However, Ambiorix Burgos put a quick end to any thoughts of a White Sox comeback this day, getting Rob Mackowiak, Juan Uribe and pinch hitting Ross Gload to go down 1-2-3 and nail down another ugly loss.

The White Sox get one last chance to salvage a game in this already embarrassing series tomorrow afternoon when Mark Buehrle gets to play ace and stopper against Scott Elarton. If karma is anything, the Sox are 1-0 in Mark's starts and 0-4 in everyone else's. Anyway, game time is 1:10 Chicago time and you can catch the action (if you dare) on Comcast Sports Net.

Ozzieball Update:
Not much to talk about when you only muster 6 hits and hit an equal number of extra base hits and double plays.

submitted by doublem23.

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

A.J. Pierzynski

One of the lone bright spots on offense, accounted for 33% of all Sox production with 2 hits on the day.

Play WSI's Pick to Click Contest!

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