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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Bullpen Dominates Dodgers

June 25, vs. Los Angeles

KW's Daily Special:
13 oz. Bull(pen) Steaks
Throw in a side of clutch offense and you have a meal that satisfies, no matter how long the wait.

Short Take: Sox bullpen allows 1 unearned run over near 9 innings of work, as Sox take 2 of 3 from baseball's best team on Scott Podsednik walk-off single in 13th.

It took nearly 4 1/2 hours, but the Sox, wearing 1959-esque throwback jerseys and behind a dominant performance by their bullpen bested the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2nd straight day, 6-5 as Scott Podsednik blooped a 2-out, bases loaded single just in front of Matt Kemp in the 13th inning.

Can we all stop pretending like Clayton Richard belongs in an MLB starting rotation?  The young lefty couldn't even give the Sox 5 innings today, but his short outing punctuated the argument that his arsenal is a perfect fit for shorter appearances out of the bullpen.  The first time through the Dodgers order, he faced the minimum, allowing just a pair of base runners erased by a double play and a caught stealing.  The second time through the Dodgers order, they tagged Richard for 4 hits in only 7 official at-bats (he hit two more Dodgers), a double, and 3 runs.  Richard only lasted 3 batters into his third trip through Los Angeles' batting order, his only out being a gift via a Juan Pierre sacrifice bunt.  By the time he was lifted for D.J. Carrasco in the 5th, the Dodgers had staked their ace Chad Billingsley to a 4-0 lead and looked well on their way to handing the Sox another home series loss.

Instead, the Sox offense manned up and clawed back at the Dodger lead.  Paul Konerko broke up Billingsley's shut-out and no-hit bid in the 5th planting a lead-off home run deep in the left field bleachers and the Sox even got a two-out rally from the lower third of their order, as Dewayne Wise drove a triple to deep center field, scoring Josh Fields who earlier walked and cutting LA's lead to 2.  After Carrasco pitched over a lead-off double in the 6th, the Sox again went to work on Billingsley.  A double by Jermaine Dye and walk to Jim Thome set up A.J. Pierzynski to be the hero again and mildly reminiscent of his walk-off homer against the Dodgers in July, 2005 wearing the same 1959-style jerseys, Pierzynski connected on a 3-run bomb to the bullpen in right field giving the Sox a 5-4 lead.

Now staked to a lead, the Sox bullpen only needed to get through 3 more innings, and clearly could have had Alexei Ramirez not fallen asleep in the field.  In the 6th, he lollipopped a throw to first on a 1-out groundball, allowing Russell Martin to reach safely, and in true baseball karma, Martin reached third on a single by Orlando Hudson and scored the tying run when Casey Blake grounded out to 2nd.  Tied at 5, it was a new game, but few probably realized how long this new game would last.

From here on out, the main story of today's game was the collective work of Carrasco, Scott Linebrink, Matt Thornton, Bobby Jenks, Octavio Dotel, and Aaron Poreda.  The bullpen sextet combined to pitch 8.2 innings, allowing just 3 hits, and only allowing that unearned run in the 6th inning.  In fact, Hudson's single in the 6th that moved Martin to third would be the last hit the Dodgers recorded today, and the Sox recorded 4 perfect innings in relief and allowed just 1 runner to reach scoring position past the 6th inning.  While the Sox bullpen was dominating, the Sox offense was struggling to get the job done, as they put a potential winning run in scoring position in the 8th, 9th, and 12th innings but everytime were denied.  Worse yet, by the end of the game, Dye, Thome, and Konerko had all been pulled for pinch runners, leaving the heart of the Sox's order Brian Anderson, Jayson Nix, and Gordon Beckham; that is considerable less pop.  But in the 13th, even they couldn't screw up, loading the bases with none out, and while neither Josh Fields or Dewayne Wise could muster the strength to hit a ball deep enough to score Beckham from third, with the Dodgers outfield back to normal depth, Scott Podsednik dropped a single just in front of a diving Matt Kemp in centerfield to send the brave souls who weathered today's game happy and also send Aaron Poreda to the beer shower, as he notched his first Major League win.

With the Dodgers in the rear view mirror, the Sox welcome their Crosstown neighbors to the South Side, as Jose Contreras will start against the Cubs and Randy Wells.  Contreras has averaged 7.1 IP in his three starts since returning from AAA Charlotte and with a taxed bullpen, he will certainly need to match that number at least.  First pitch will be tomorrow afternoon at 3:05 PM Chicago time, and the game will be aired on both WGN (Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone) and Comcast Sports Net (the annoying guy that sounds like Kermit the Frog and the bumbling idiot that call Cubs games).

WSI's Critic's Corner:  4 stars.  Punchless offense probably cost the Sox bullpen a few extra innings of work today, but you can't be too critical when you take 2 of 3 from the best team in baseball

submitted by doublem23

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

A.J. Pierzynski

His line isn't great at 2-6, but had a huge 2-out HR off one of the NL's best pitchers that accounted for half the Sox offense today.  Happy Birthday, Mother Pierzynski!

Play WSI's Pick to Click Contest!


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Totally Biased Game Recaps

September 29... The Last (And Lost) Weekend

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September 18...Klubered, but Not Clobbered

September 16... Baltimore Blanked

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