The more saves for Santos, the more what-ifs for the Sox
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski pumps his fist after Sergio Santos struck out Aramis Ramirez to end the top of the eighth inning. (Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune / June 21, 2011)
The save was Santos’ 13th in 15 tries. He faced the 4-5-6-7 hitters and struck out three of them. And you couldn’t help but play what-if.
The White Sox would be 1½ games behind instead of 4½ out and still closer to last than first. That’s what-if. Told you it would make the pain worse.
But the pain would be worse still if you asked what if the Sox didn’t have Santos.
Brent Morel gave the Sox two absolutely professional at-bats. The first one set up the Sox’s second run, the second gave the Sox the win.
In the third, Morel socked a high curveball to right to get Alex Rios to third with none out. He worked the entire at-bat against Garza to hit the ball somewhere on the right side and ended up with a single. Nice reward.
In the seventh, with runners on first and third and one out, Morel fouled off a squeeze bunt, but regained his poise and drove a flyball to center that was deep enough to score the decisive run. The bonus plan.
There’s one player in the Sox lineup who can kill it, and Matt Garza throws Paul Konerko a changeup. With Adam Dunn batting behind him, no less.
No matter how small the U.S. Cellular crowd, it’s still big enough to boo Dunn.
Can Dunn have what Carlos Pena is having?
Pena’s shocking homer off a lefty was his fifth hit and fourth homer in the last six games.
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he wouldn’t mind bringing up Dayan Viciedo, but asked who would go down or be released, and I’m wondering, has he seen Juan Pierre play?
Yeah, I know, Pierre laid down a terrific squeeze to score Rios with the Sox’s second run, but still, has he seen Pierre play?
Top of the fourth, 44-year-old Omar Vizquel made a diving stop on a Starlin Castro shot up the middle and threw from his knees to get the speedy Cubs shortstop. Bottom of the fourth, the 21-year-old Castro charged an A.J. Pierzynski dubber and barehanded a throw to first. At least some guys on these two teams can play great defense.
If I told you Konerko legged out a double, would you guess it was hit to Alfonso Soriano’s left field?