Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011
Posted: 9:43 p.m. Updated: 11:18 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
VIDEO: Ozzie praises fatigued, ill Peavy
VIDEO: Santos wants to finish strong
MINNEAPOLIS Sometimes, it seems as if Jake Peavy looks at the diamond as his own private spaghetti western.
What the veteran lacks in Clint Eastwood wrinkles he boasts in rotation ace swagger. And like a true Man With No Name, the minute hes counted outand Tuesday night Peavy was battling both the perception that hes done for the year and a sudden flu that up and bit himhe leaps like a leopard out of the bush and looks like he cannot lose.
Such was how Tuesdays 3-0 Chicago win over the Twins transpired. While many proper pundits were calling for Peavy to be shut down with the White Soxs elimination number imminent, Peavy rocked a rookie-laden Minnesota for 6 13 innings of four-hit, nine-strikeout ball. His 72 game score clocks the game in as Peavys third-strongest start of the season.
Time for the transition to 2012
I was a little more aggressive because some of their guys were out of the lineup, Peavy said. When you dont know guys that well, you go after them as hard as you can. I had OK stuff tonight and battled. I didnt have too many 1-2-3s until the middle innings but I competed and I had a good game plan. I followed what the boys did yesterday and scratched out enough to call it a win.
We had a good pitching performance by Jake, even if he is under the weather, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Hes throwing the ball pretty good. He commanded well He even struck out people on a couple of fastballs up, which means the ball is coming out of his hand better.
Offensively, the Pale Hose were characteristically modest, but these days in Minnesota, where the Twins have put up a total of just one run in the first three games of this series, modesty can morph into romps.
Alejandro De Aza provided all the support Peavy would need with an RBI single in the second. For good measure, in the fourth, Alex Rios clocked a massive blast to left field, continuing his comfort at Target Field, and Brent Morel wrapped scoring up with an RBI single one inning later.
Its the Rios resurgencehitting in six straight games and going .423 over that stretchthat is most encouraging, even as the White Sox are not overwhelming opponents with offense. The centerfielder is not only playing sharper defense but is no longer the worst on the team in OPS, raising his disappointing 2011 average to .590, with the .600 level in sight.
Every time Alex wants to pull the ball, its a ground ball somewhere, but when its up the middle this kid has a lot of potential, Guillen said. Hes a pretty good athlete. When he stays in the middle of the field, he does what hes doing right now. The last couple of weeks hes helped himself to have a better chance to get hits.
Will Ohman, Jason Frasor, Matt Thornton and Sergio Santos secured the win for Peavy with a combined 2 23 innings of two-hit, four-K ball, Santos earning his 29th save with a clean ninth.
Santos has had a gilded season but had been roughed up over his past two outings, so he was much obliged for the 1-2-3.
I try to take every situation as the same, although obviously it's easier to have a clean inning, where you go in from the beginning because you have your routine that you're used to, Santos said. It's nice to go out there and get some outs.
After the all-out debacle of Detroit, Santoswho suffered personally with a nightmare, fall-from-ahead blown save and loss in the middle game against the Tigers--Minnesota has proven the cure for what ails.
We got beat up pretty good in Detroit, and to come out here against Minnesotawho we dont usually play well againstit was good to put some runs up and pitch really well. We're playing really good baseball right now. Hopefully we can finish this year right.
No matter the formula or circumstances, Guillen wasnt going to get in the way of success, or a pad that widened to two games above .500 (71-69) with the win.
We had a couple of big hits and a couple of big plays, but a wins a win, no matter how you play, he said. We can play well like that. The enthusiasm in the dugout makes us feel pretty optimistic. Its fun when you win.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.