All of the bluster of game 2 and the off day that followed were quickly forgotten. John Lackey, from his third pitch of the night, simply didn't have it. He couldn't throw his sharp curve ball for strikes, and the White Sox weren't biting at the pitches off the plate or down in the zone. Lackey's first couple of strikeouts came on fastballs, which is fairly rare for him. The at bat that showed he was done, in my opinion, was the Crede at bat in the second. He got ahead 1-2, and simply refused to throw him a curve ball. Actually, I think he finally got him to ground out on a breaking pitch, but only after five or six consecutive fastballs, to a hitter who he should be able to strike out on a two strike curve just about every time. To me, that was a sign that Lackey knew he simply didn't have it.
On the other side of the ball, not to take anything away from Garland, but this offense really sucks, and it pretty much has all year. They have one guy who can hit for power, and he hasn't been able to hit the ball out of the infield. Not that it would matter if he could, because they don't have anyone who can get on base in front of him. Suffice to say, when you can't hit, and your pitcher can't get anybody out, it's not exactly a winning combination. Like I said, I don't mean to diminish what Garland did, but he worked against a below average offense whose table setter can't find first base, and whose only slugger doesn't have an extra base in the post-season. I think the guys the Angels sent to the Arizona Fall League could outhit the big club. Honestly, Wood, Kendrick and Morales can't get here soon enough, because these guys are pathetic wastes of at bats, with the exception of maybe Cabrera.
It's only game three, but in my opinion, this was a game the Angels really had to have. They had their best pitcher (Lackey was better than Colon for the last four months), and they were facing a guy they've handled pretty well in the past, and who was coming off about two weeks without pitching. From this point on, until a possible but increasingly unlikely game 7, the White Sox will have the better matchup on the mound for the rest of the series. They haven't had to use their pen, and at this rate, they won't have to. I honestly can't see the Angels having much of a chance to win this series, and quite honestly, I'd be mildly surprised if the series got back to Chicago.
Tomorrow night they throw the kid out there, who was terrific against the Yankees, and had what was likely the most impressive start of his young career against the Sox back in his second start of the season. He'll be going at night, and at home, both advantages for Santana, but you can only do so much when your offense refuses to hit. They face a pitcher who has handled them pretty well in the past. I can't see the Angels getting more than two runs the way they're swinging it. One mistake by Santana and, well, let's just be thankful that the UCLA game will be on at the same time.
Anyway, time to fire up the hot stove. The silver lining might be, as Rob alluded to at the Rev's site, this may force Stoneman to actually do something about the offense. And hopefully, and believe me, I pray about this at night, I don't care if he hits a home run in every single at bat the rest of the series, please, please, please do not go after Paul Konerko.
The other side: South Side Sox