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Rays Vs. White Sox: Game One Diary

Cleveland and Chicago had an odd year against each other. The Tribe won five of the first six while the White Sox won five of the last six. In between, the Indians and White Sox split six games for a 9-9 season series.

Kuroda’s counterpart on the mound, sale jerseys, had turned in a very strong performance before leaving in that five-run eighth inning. The hard-throwing lefty was charged with three runs – two earned – on five hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings. Sale struck out six Yankees on the evening.

Today’s observations are partly rather personal and partly just watching the scene around me. As usual I was on the left field berm under the scoreboard (under the clock, to be specific). I saw many friends I haven’t seen since last year at Spring Training, so it was great to see them again. Some of these friends are from the Phoenix area, some from Iowa and some even from Connecticut, to name a few. I also saw a few friends from the bleachers at Wrigley. Condolences were conveyed to me by my Chicago friends who, knew about my father’s passing the morning after the second playoff game loss in October.

If the second lefty can remain seated for an entire fortnight, it stands to reason that there will be even less use for a third lefty. And if Sergio Santos maintains his significant reverse splits, Ohman would actually be the fourth guy you’d want to see against a lefty.

Brad Ziegler finished the year with a 3.26 ERA, but that number doesn’t tell an honest truth. Ziegler struggled, taking a bullpen-high seven losses on the year, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was downright mediocre: he struck out only 41 batters in 60 2/3 innings, while walking 28 batters. Putting that many batters on base with a free pass is a big problem for a reliever.

The promotion to Birmingham coincided with what appears to be some BABIP luck, as the soon-to-be 24-year-old Leesman’s opponent BABIP sat at .266 with the Barons. That BABIP-along with his 1 percent HR/fly ball rate-should be expected to regress in 2011, so unless he make some improvements as a pitcher, his results won’t be as good as they were in Birmingham. That being said, he’s one of the more intriguing pitchers of this group (given that he at least has a sliver of upside), so if the Sox were to take a chance with him for some April starts I’d personally be more interested than any of the other options.

With postseason hopes hanging on every pitch, Danks delivered with a masterful, eight-inning shutout performance in which he allowed just two hits, three walks, and struck out four. He struck out AL batting champ Joe Mauer twice. He held Carlos Gomez and Denard Span, who came up so big for the Twins last week in Minneapolis, hitless. Possible AL MVP Justin Morneau? Not a chance. He went 0-3 against Danks, who looked unhittable for much of the game.