Houston Astros

As the regular season for Major League Baseball comes to a close this weekend, stuff (thank god for the White Sox faithful), cure the race to the playoffs is still on.  In the American League (AL) picture, the Kansas City Royals have clinched the Central division title, the Toronto Blue Jays secured their playoff spot with the division title in the East and the New York Yankees have solidified the first wild card spot.  What’s still up for grabs is the Western division title and the second wild card spot.

Currently in the West you have the Texas Rangers, who guaranteed themselves a spot in the postseason last night with a win over the Los Angeles Angels.  The Angels, with that loss, were eliminated from the division race, but they, along with the Minnesota Twins, still have an outside shot at the second AL Wild Card spot.  The Rangers have all but locked down the division with a three game lead over the Houston Astros with three games to play, meaning Texas would have to lose all three of their games while the Astros would have to win out just to force a one-game playoff for the division crown.  Maybe this isn’t the most probable scenario, but as a fan, being able to watch that exciting tie-breaker is something I’m rooting for.

To this day, nothing beats the Chicago White Sox “Blackout” game of 2008 for the AL Central division title against the Minnesota Twins.  Prior to the game, the White Sox and the Twins ended their regular season with equal 88-74 records.  I was lucky enough to score a ticket to this game and it was the greatest baseball game I had ever seen.  There was an excitement in the air at the ball park that was electrifying! The game had excellent pitching by John Danks, who pitched into the 7th inning and a rock-solid closing performance by Bobby Jenks.  The White Sox fielding was amazing including an outstanding defensive play by Ken Griffey Jr. and A. J. Pierzynski teaming up to throw out Michael Cuddyer at home plate.  The White Sox went on to win the game 1-0 on the strength of a solo home run by Jim Thome in the 7th inning.

The reason it was call the “blackout” game was because the nearly 40,000 fans in attendance were encouraged to wear all black during the game to show their support for the team.  I was also told that it was called the blackout game because it was the only game being played in the MLB that night and the outfield MLB scoreboard was blacked out.

What made the blackout game more memorable than any other game in recent history was that White Sox fans were able to celebrate an amazing victory with the team they all loved at home.  As you may remember, the White Sox clinched both the Central Division and World Series Championships on the road three years prior, so for fans this was a time to celebrate with the team and boy did we celebrate with “high-fives” dance-offs in the stands and a big salute from the players.

With a few more regular season scenarios to be play out this weekend, we can rest soundly knowing that October baseball is upon us and baseball fans are in for an exciting post-season.

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Looking for a place to hang out with your girls this Friday night? I’ve got one for you – it’s capsule May 23rd vs. New York Yankees” href=”http://sportsdivasinc.com/2014/05/white-sox-host-annual-ladies-night-friday-may-23rd-vs-new-york-yankees/” target=”_blank”>Ladies Night at US Cellular on Friday, search May 23rd.  The game starts at 7:10 pm, and but get there early for the activities like:   Zumba, massage therapy, discount shopping at Chicago Sports Depot, Girl Band performs and a lucky lady and three of her friends will be randomly selected to take a picture on the field.

After all of that fun you get to see the White Sox take on the New York Yankees when the Yankees begin their 3-game series at the Cell after wrapping up on the North Side against the Cubs. This will be the last time you’ll find Mr. Derek Jeter play at games at the Cell, before baseball’s most eligible bachelor retires from the game.  Get a big group together for a perfect girls night out with music, food, drinks, baseball, fireworks and plenty of eye candy on the field!  For heavily discounted tickets to this premiere matchup, head over to www.whitesox.com/ladies

The White Sox are still under .500 at 22-24 and are eight games behind Central Division leading Detroit Tigers.  They definitely didn’t take full advantage of their schedule last week.

Week In Review:  The Sox took game one of the 3-game series at Kansas City Royals thanks to a go ahead 2-run home run by Paul Konerko.  His improving offense will be needed in Jose Abreu’s absence.  The south siders lost two of three against the team with the worst record in the American League, the Houston Astros.  They also lost 2 out of 3 against the hottest team the Oakland Athletics.  They lost games and their young star Jose Abreu.

Micah Johnson

Micah Johnson

Sox Notes:  Jose Abreu was placed on the 15-day disabled list with ankle tendinitis.  The Sox were relieved after getting the MRI results that it is nothing more to the injury.  He will remain on anti-inflammatory medication and wear a walking boot and there is no timeline for his return.  To take his place on the roster the Sox activated the sparkplug Adam Eaton.

Chris Sale continues his rehab and a decision on his return date could come after his next bullpen session.  Closer Matt Lindstrom left Monday’s game with a leg injury he suffered trying to field a bunt.  The Sox are hoping they will not have to add him to the list of the walking wounded.  Jeff Keppinger was designated for assignment and it may cost the team $7.5 million but with the emergence of the youngsters it was a move that needed to be made.  In triple A news, 2nd baseman Micah Johnson was promoted to Charlotte and is looking good on and off the field.

What’s On Deck:  After finishing up in KC the Sox will come home for four games against the Yankees.  May 23rd is Ladies Night and fireworks, May 24th is Chris Sale bobblehead and May 25th is Family Day.

Much improved Alexei Ramirez

Much improved Alexei Ramirez

My Thoughts:  Even the Sox aren’t much better record wise this year there is still something different about this team that gives you hope (not including this past week).  The defense isn’t great, but it is still much better than last year (couldn’t get much worse).  Jose Abreu is emerging as a rookie of the year candidate and is adjusting quite well to major league baseball.  Newcomer Adam Eaton has added a spark to the top of the lineup that reminds many of Scotty Pods from the ’05 season.  Other players like Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers, Conor Gillaspie, Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo have greatly improved their numbers and hopefully have figured it all out.  Those are just some of the reasons I feel different writing about this team.

Chicago White Sox Women's Grey V-Neck Triblend Tee with Navy Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $29.99

Chicago White Sox Women’s Grey V-Neck Triblend Tee with Navy Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $29.99

Yes, I still write a lot about losing, but I don’t feel like the losing will drag on forever like it did last year.  Last year was hard to take and I could be proven wrong by the end of the year, but with the way this team is playing and fighting every game I just don’t think I will be wrong.  Well at least I hope I’ll be right!

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Rainy fans Cubs

Cub’s Win!  Haven’t heard that in a while, salve have you? As they say in sports, buy cialis a win is a win – no matter how ugly it was to get it or how bad the team is you played to get it.  Last night’s win was anything but ugly thanks to Jeff “The Shark” Samardzija’s outstanding performance, but the opposing team?  They’re actually worse than the Cubs.

What You Need to Know:

  • Starting pitcher, Jeff Samardzija snapped his 2-game losing streak and had a helluva game giving up only 4 hits in 7 innings and striking out (also called Ks) a career-high 11 batters. It’s performances like this from team leaders like Samardzija that provide reassurance in the future of the Cub’s organization.

    Jeff Samardzija

  • Like the Cubs, the Houston Astros are a very young ball club, and it shows.  The Astros boast the worst record in MLB with a 38-79 win/loss record – compared to the Cubs at 45-69.
  • A cold, rainy night with 2 teams out of post-season contention equals low attendance at Wrigley.  A still impressive 31,452 fans showed up to last night’s game.  (Wrigley’s capacity is 41,159) clocking in the smallest attendance at Wrigley this summer.  Keep in mind, the Cubs are still packing them in despite being a very poor team this year.  The Tampa Bay Rays – who are in the thick of a playoff hunt – only average 20K fans a game.  Horrible.
  • The Cub’s bats lit up the cold, crummy nighthelping fuel Samardzija’s outstanding performance.  Darwin Barney had a 2-run homer in the 2nd and Alfonso Soriano homered as well.

    Darwin Barney

Your Take Away Piece:  “Who cares if it’s the Astros, it’s still a win and a mental high-note for Samardzija.  The Astros and the Cubs should suck up the lost seasons and come together to play spoilers in the NL for all of the post-season hungry teams.”

What’s Next:  Chris Volstad, who was called back up from Triple-A when Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm were traded last month, will try to get his first win of the season tonight against Lucas Harnell of the Astros at 7:05PM.  With what looks to be a gorgeous night and considering the match-up, we guarantee there are plenty of tix still available for tonight’s game.  For best prices on the web, check out Tiqiq.com

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Photo Credit: Nam Y. Huh / AP

Cubs Beat the Houston Astros, patient 3-2

As the most speculated man in Chicago sports, troche Anthony Rizzo is delivering where it’s needed.  The Cub’s newest call-up has been coming through and helping out offensively since his debut on Tuesday.

What You Need to Know:

  • Rizzo struck out looking (meaning he didn’t even swing at the ball) in the first inning, flew out in the 4th, but came through in the 5th with a 398-ft two-run, go-ahead (meaning his home run secured the lead) home run sending Cubs fans into a tizzy.  This was Rizzo’s first home run as a Cub.  Rizzo now has two game-winning hits in four games and the Cubs are 3-1 since he joined the team on Tuesday.
  • Matt Garza got the win for the Cubs going 5 1/2 innings.  Five members of the bullpen worked to hold the Astros to only one hit in the 3 1/2 final innings.  Closer Carlos Marmol got the save – his 7th in his last 9 appearances.

What’s Next: Cubs face the Astros again today at Wrigley at 1:20PM where they will go for the sweep!  This would be the Cub’s second sweep of the season – the last time they swept was the San Diego Padres May 28-30.  Travis Wood gets the start against Wandy Rodriguez.

White Sox Shut-Out by Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees

The White Sox 4-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday in the Bronx when Japanese pitcher, Hiroki Kuroda shut down the Sox bats, 4-0, that have been on fire as of late.

What You Need to Know:

  • Jake Peavy pitched a solid complete game for the Sox but was left hanging by the Sox offense.  The Sox mustered up only 3 lousy hits the entire game– thanks to a very strong appearance by Hiroki Kuroda for the Yanks – who throws a mean slider.  After putting up 30 total runs in the last 3 days, the Sox bats petered out on Saturday.

    Jake Peavy

  • This is Peavy’s 4th straight loss – a season-high record for the starter – thanks to the offense just not showing up when Peavy is on the mound.
  • The Yankees end the Sox 4-game winning streak and will look to split the 4-game series today with another win.

What’s Next:  The Sox and Yanks finish their 4-game series today at 12:05PM in New York when Gavin Floyd gets the start against Phil Hughes.

 

 

 

 

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