20 June 2011
With the White Sox visiting Phoenix for only the second time ever, the Sox bring with them many players familiar with the Valley. Right fielder Carlos Quentin and closer Sergio Santos were former first round picks by the Snakes. Designated hitter Adam Dunn was a rental for the playoff chase in 2008. Friday’s starter Edwin Jackson was a member of the 2010 starting rotation. Jackson was later traded for Daniel Hudson, making an intriguing pitching matchup. The D’Backs were 4-2 against the White Sox in history and 3-0 against the American League this year. How would they do this weekend?
Friday- Game 1 vs. Chicago: Nearly eleven months after being traded for one another, Daniel Hudson and Edwin Jackson meet face to face. While Jackson has been hot and cold this year for the Sox, Hudson has been hot as the desert since arriving here. And tonight that showed. In the bottom of the 1st, Stephen Drew singled, then while Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was preoccupied with the dugout, Jackson balked, moving Drew to second. Then the white hot Justin Upton was able to single him in, and then score on a Miguel Montero double. That was all Hudson was going to need, as he painted a masterpiece on the mound that Ian Kennedy would be proud of. One night after Kennedy went 8 innings with only one unearned run, Hudson goes the distance, with just one run and three hits. Paul Konerko’s solo shot in the 7th was the only mistake Hudson made in 119 pitches. Hudson even came out with the bat, with a two out RBI double in the 7th, followed by a Kelly Johnson double down the left field line to make the score 4-1. Not to be overlooked were the nights by Justin Upton and Stephen Drew. Upton had three hits, including a RBI and a run scored, as well as a very impressive at bat in the 3rd off Jackson. He quickly fell behind 0-2, then battled back, making the count full while spoiling some good pitches, before lacing a hanging breaking ball into left field. Drew set a major league high for the season with 11 assists from the shortstop position, also a career high. Granted, a lot of that is just the ball being hit to him, but he made some tough plays look routine, including a back handed short hop stop, jump into the air, and a strike throw to first that looked like anyone could do it. D’Backs win 4-1.
W: Hudson (8-5, 3.56)
L: Jackson (4-6, 4.47)
POTG: Daniel Hudson’s first career CG, giving up only 1 run and 3 hits, while striking out 5 and grounding out 15 made this an easy decision.
Friday- Game 2 vs. Chicago: Tonight, John Danks caused a headache for Diamondback hitters. Turns out, they also caused a headache for him. The White Sox were able to take a 2-0 lead off Arizona starter Zach Duke, then in the bottom of the 4th, things got scary. With Willie Bloomquist on 1st base and nobody out, Stephen Drew dug into the box. He hit a screaming line drive right back up the box, and it hit Danks in the back of the head, reminiscent of the Rusty Ryal/ Hiroki Kuroda liner of 2009. Tonight the ball bounced off Danks, and landed out of play for what is counted in the box score as a ground rule double. Thankfully for everyone, Danks was ok, but not thankfully for D’Backs fans, he pitched very well once he got through the inning. Those two runs did score to tie the game, but that was it as far as D'backs offense. Paul Konerko in the 6th homered again, and in the bottom of the 7th, the D’Backs put two men in scoring position with one out, but were unable to plate them. Alex Rios then hit a three run home run in the 8th, essentially ending the D’Backs hopes of a win. White Sox go on to win 6-2.
W: Danks (3-8, 4.29)
L: Duke (1-2, 4.66)
POTG: Besides staying in the game after a ricochet off the head, Danks pitched very well. His slot reel of 7’s: 7IP, 7H, 7K, plus 2R was good enough to get the win, and it was good enough to take home POTG.
Sunday- Game 3 vs. Chicago: What started out as a pitchers duel between Josh Collmenter and Phillip Humber turned into a Southside smack down at the expense of the D’Backs. Collmenter retired the first 9 hitters he faced, then allowed a solitary run in the 4th, before allowing two home runs to Paul Konerko (his 3rd of the series) and Alex Rios (his 2nd). Humber also pitched well, going 7.2 innings with only 2 earned runs allowed. The game was blown wide open in the 8th, when Esmerling Vazquez was tagged for 4 earned runs in only one-third of an inning, with the White Sox collecting a total of 5 runs. The D’Backs attempted to make it interesting, scoring 2 in the bottom of the 8th, but a Kelly Johnson bases loaded pinch hit groundout slammed the door on a comeback. Sergio Santos pitched a perfect 9th to end a 8-2 White Sox win.
W: Humber (7-3, 2.90)
L: Collmenter (4-3, 2.09)
POTG: Humber pitched well, but because of how well he has done against the team he could have played for this season, the POTG/POTSeries is Paul Konerko. Today he was 1-3, HR, 2R, RBI, BB and for the series 5-11, 3HR, 5R, 4 RBI, for a .455/.500/1.273, an OPS of 1.773!