Tuesday, April 24, 2012
White Sox 4 Athletics 0: Beauty By Jake
We're ten percent of the way through the 2012 season and the White Sox are tied for first place with the Detroit Tigers. Does that mean anything? No, not in the grand scheme of things, but I think mentally -- both for the team and the fans -- it's somewhat of a big deal.
I didn't expect this team to be playing so well to start the year, and I'm already a lot more excited and optimistic about this team than I ever thought I would be at any point. Whether or not it holds up remains to be seen, as four straight wins against Seattle and Oakland are nice, but they're still just four straight wins against Seattle and Oakland.
So it's a cautious optimism, but it's optimism none the less.
Speaking of cautious optimism, how are you doing, Jake Peavy? I see you saw Phil Humber's perfect game over the weekend and decided you needed to reassert your alpha status amongst the starting staff.
I'm glad you did, too.
Oakland's lineup isn't exactly threatening, but Peavy was wonderful on Monday night. He's not the dominant pitcher anymore, but he may be more of an actual pitcher than he's ever been before, and the results are obvious.
It used to be that I'd doubt Peavy's ability to get through six innings without throwing over 100 pitches, yet here he was going the distance and barely hitting the century mark. I think it's only natural to be a bit worried about Peavy going the distance and coming out for the ninth inning after the long layoff between innings and with a pitch count in the high-90s at the time, but there were no real stressful innings for Peavy.
I don't think this outing will lead to trouble with him in his next start, or in any starts after that, but given his history, you can't exactly rule it out.
As for the offense, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko going back-to-back is always fun to watch, as is seeing Alex Rios continue to use right field as his personal playground. Both offensively and defensively.
What I truly enjoyed on Monday night, however, was seeing Brent Morel going 2-for-4 and hitting the ball hard. It was impossible not to notice how much more comfortable he looked in the box tonight without the added pressures of being in the second spot in the order.
As his monster Septembers have proven, he's just a much better hitter right now when there isn't a lot of weight on his shoulders. Not the ideal situation for a guy who would be hitting in the middle of your order, but that's not going to be Morel. At least, not anytime soon.