Monday, March 31, 2008

3-31-08: Sox 8 - Indians 10

March 31, 2008 - Cleveland, Ohio

Where do I even begin with this game. Early on, this is a game that the Sox should have lost. Later on this is a game that the Sox should have won. The Indians played extremely well, but the umpires gave this win to the Indians.

After Mark Buehrle gave up an uncharacteristic seven runs in the second inning, the Sox bullpen shut the Indians down as the Sox hitters chipped away at the Indians lead. Jim Thome hit two 2-run homers and the rest of the lineup hit well.

The trouble came in the second inning as Orlando Cabrera's misplay of a double play ball led to 7 runs. The Sox had tied the score by the seventh inning. That's when the umpiring nightmare began.

First up was Pierzynski's bouncer that took the first baseman off the bag. A.J. should have been safe, but he was called out. The umpire didn't have the foot coming off of the bag in his line of vision. Easy mistake. It happens. No big deal.

The second mistake happened in the eighth inning. Joe Crede was called out at the plate, when the Indian catcher did not tag him. Joe adjusted his slide to avoid the tag. That call was more irritating, but still common. It all depends on perspective.

The third, final, and costliest umpiring mistake occurred later in the eighth inning. Orlando Cabrera slid hard into second base to try to break up the double play. He was called on interference and instead of only the out at second base, there were two outs on that play. The thing is, earlier in the game, Casey Blake of the Indians had a similar slide, which was not called out. In both plays, the runner tagged the bag and slid past the bag to break up a double play. One was called for interference, one was not. These umpiring mistakes cost the White Sox the game.

The good:
Jim Thome's two 2-run home runs.

Nick Masset was dominant in 4 1/3 innings pitched in relief.

The bad:
Mark Buehrle's quick exit.

Alexei Ramirez needs to be a little more patient at the plate, even though he does quickly adjust.

The ugly:
The umpiring crew's calls.

Orlando Cabrera's misplay led to seven runs in the second inning.

The White Sox have impressed me with their fire and intensity in Opening Day. They came back from a huge deficit and continued to try to win after the Indians took a 10-7 lead in the eighth inning. I felt like I was watching a game from 2005. Despite the outcome of today's game, I came away convinced that the White Sox will contend this year.

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