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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

No blockbuster debut

May 10, vs. Los Angeles


How was the trophy defended today?
If nothing else, note the resilience of the Sox today.  Rookie pitcher stuck them in an early hole, but they clawed back into this game and it was very winnable until the 'pen collapsed in the 9th.

Short Take:  Charlie Haeger's first start in bigs less than spectacular, and bullpen implodes in 9th to seal Angels' first win over Sox in 9 attempts.

Since Game 1 of the ALCS in October, the White Sox have played the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 8 times.  They've beaten them all 8 times.  Wednesday, however, the fatal attempted 9th-straight win attempt reared its ugly head over the Sox, as the Angels pounded rookie Charlie Haeger, making his first start ever in the big leagues, and 4 Sox relievers in a 12-5 loss on a soggy night in Chicago.

The night started out ominously.  With clouds hanging overhead, the young knuckleballer immediately found himself in trouble.  After walking Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera to lead off the game, he induced a ground ball double play out of Vladimir Guerrero.  Another walk to Garret Anderson, and a passed ball by  A.J. Pierzynski put two runners in scoring position, but the inning ended harmlessly on a fly out by Tim Salmon.  Though the Angels got nothing, all the warning signs were laid for an ugly game.  Facing Ervin Santana, the Sox offense could not spot their rookie starter any runs early to help settle down his jitters.  Santana set down the first 11 batters he faced, and while Haeger set the Angels down in order in the 2nd, in the third, the runs started to pour in.

The inning started with a strikeout by Adam Kennedy, however, he reached on a dropped third strike.  Two walks later to Figgins and Cabrera again and the bases were loaded for Vlad, who singled home the first run of the game.  Garrett Anderson then doubled to clear the bases and just like that it was 4-0 Angels.  After another flawless inning in the 4th, Haeger again got himself into trouble in the fifth, walking Orlando Cabrera to lead off the frame.  A single by Guererro, Salmon, and Juan Rivera lead to two more runs and the deficit now stood at 6 when Brandon McCarthy was called to relieve the rookie.  He set down Rob Quinlan and Jose Molina to end the inning.

The Sox finally figured out Santana in the fifth, who still had a no-hitter going into the 5th inning.  That was wiped out on a ground rule double by A.J.  One batter later, Santana plunked Juan Uribe and Brian Anderson took him deep, just over the right-center field wall for a 3-run blast and suddenly, a game that was very quickly getting out of control was once again in reach, as the Sox cut the lead in half to 6-3.  Santana and McCarthy kept the opposition off the scoreboard for the next few innings, but when the Angels pulled their starter in favor of Brandon Donnelly in the 7th, the Sox again chipped into the lead.  Pierzynski again started the charge, with a lead-off single.  Two quick outs, though, and it appeared to go for naught.  However, singles by Anderson, Scott Podsednik, and Tadahito Iguchi scored a pair of runs and the Sox were now down by just 1.

The wheels completely fell off the Sox in the 9th, though.  Trailing by just a run, the Angels exploded in the ninth, off McCarthy, Neal Cotts, Bobby Jenks, and Matt Thornton for 6 runs on 5 hits, and a walk.  There's no need to go over it all, just say the exclamation on the inning and game was provided by Molina when he homered of Thornton.  K-Rod, who retired Joe Crede to end the 8th (as the potential go ahead run then), set down the Sox in the 9th just in case anyone had any thoughts about a 7-run inning for the home team.

All in all, just one of those days.   Haeger's debut wasn't pretty, but he was his own worst enemy, allowing 6 walks in under five innings of work.  Even with all the hype, the column by Rob Neyer on ESPN.com proclaiming him the youngest knuckleballer to work a game in MLB history and comparing him to Phil Niekro and the sub-0.50 ERA in Charlotte, you knew he couldn't live up to such lofty expectations.  After the game the Sox sent Haeger back to Charlotte and announced the McCarthy would start in lieu of Jose Contreras next time around.  McCarthy pitched 4 very solid innings, his longest outing of the year, and tossed 54 pitches and only was roughed up in the 9th when the entire game went from so-so to embarrassingly ugly.

The Sox and Angels wrap up the series tomorrow night at the Cell.  SoCal native Jon Garland pitches again Kelvim Escobar in the rubber match.  Game time is 7:05 PM and the game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net.

WSI's
Ozzieball Update: 
Sox make comeback attempt, but bullpen fiasco in 9th puts an end to any thoughts to that.


submitted by doublem23.

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Brandon McCarthy

Stopped the bleeding in 4 very fine innings of work and gave the Sox a legitimate chance to win this thing.

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