Sunday, September 05, 2004

If Ifs And Buts Were Candy And Nuts...

What a very merry offseason we would have. Out of pure animus to all things Twinkie, I thought that Black Betsy should go through the season to look for games the Sox should have won and games the Twins should have lost to create an alternative universe in which the White Sox are leading the division. Come join Black Betsy in this romp through the 2004 season.

White Sox current record: 68-67

Twins current record: 77-59

Game 1: April 5 - White Sox 7, Kansas City 3. The White Sox start the season right and Buehrle gets the win pitching 6 2/3 innings. Noooo - Cliff Politte does not walk the first two hitters in the ninth. Noooo - Billy Koch does not give up a double to Benito Santiago. Noooo - Damaso Marte does not give up a three-run homer to Mendy Lopez. Nope. Never happened.

Revised Sox record: 69-66.

Game 2: April 5 - Cleveland 4, Minnesota 0. What a fine opening day game for Cleveland! Minnesota does NOT score 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to tie the game. Nope, they go meekly. No 2 rbi pinch hits for Mike Cuddyer! Nope. Bad start for the Twins.

Revised Twins record: 76-60.

Game 3: April 6 - Cleveland 6, Minnesota 4. Two in a row for the Cleveland squad to open the season! No, Jacque Jones does not hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. Instead, the Twins grounds crew erroneously leaves the fans blowing in and Jody Gerut catches the ball just short of the fence. Whew! That was a close one.

Revised Twins record: 75-61.

Game 4: April 11 - White Sox 4, New York Yankees 2. Who's Bubba Crosby? How about that Danny Wright picking up his first win of the season and the Sox taking 3 of 4 from the Yankees at the Stadium. Huzzah!

Revised Sox record: 70-65.

Game 5: April 23 - Kansas City 5, Minnesota 4. Don't the Sox wish they had re-signed Scott Sullivan? He pitched a perfect 8th inning to preserve a 5-1 lead. No, he didn't give up 3 runs in 1/3 of an inning. Nosiree. Kansas City survives the 3-run scare the Twins put up in the 9th.

Revised Twins record: 74-62.

Game 6: April 27 - White Sox 7, Indians 5. The Sox hold off the Indians after taking a 4-0 lead after the first. The Indians even went up 5-4 in the top of the 4th! But the Sox score 3 more times and Cliff Politte does NOT give up 2 runs in the top of the 8th inning. High-fives all around.

Revised Sox record: 71-64.

Game 7: April 27 - Toronto 4, Minnesota 3. What a great night for the White Sox! They win, Twins lose. The Twins do put up 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th, but fail to score in the 9th. No, Jacque Jones does not hit a walk off homer in the 9th - he grounds into a game ending double play.

Revised Twins record: 73-63 (Sox only 1 1/2 games back, and we're not even out of April!)

Game 8: May 14 - White Sox 2, Twins 1. In the first matchup of the season between the two teams, the Sox get great pitching from Schoeneweis, and then from Politte and Marte who actually hold the lead in the 8th inning. Nope, they do not give up two runs. That's a White Sox Winner!

Revised Sox record: 72-63

Revised Twins record: 72-64

Game 9: May 19 - Toronto 5, Minnesota 2. Fat piece of crap Matthew Lecroy does not hit a one-out grand slam in the top of the 9th. He grounds into a double play, like he should.

Revised Twins record: 71-65 (and fading fast)

Game 10: June 2 - White Sox 2, A's 1. A terrific game by Buehrle is closed out by Koch in the bottom of the 9th. No sir, Billy really pitched a good one against his old team. He did not blow the save.

Revised Sox record: 73-62 (now 2 1/2 games up)

Game 11: June 6 - White Sox 4, Seattle 2. Billy Koch closes out another one, giving the Sox a 3-2 trip in Seattle and Oakland, quite a cause for celebration. Gosh, I'm glad that Billy Koch didn't give up 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th to blow this one for the White Sox!

Revised Sox record: 74-61 (start printing the playoff tickets, we're on a roll).

Game 12: June 16 - Montreal 5, Minnesota 4. Boy, this one almost slipped away from the Expos. In the top of the 11th, Luis Rivas hit a ball that went just foul. The third base umpire called it foul, and replays show that it was clearly foul. In fact, the laws of physics clearly demonstrate it to be foul. Nope, the men in blue get this one right! The Expos win it in the bottom of the 12th off of a clearly fatigued Juan Rincon.

Revised Twins record: 70-66 (now 4 1/2 back)

Game 13: July 28 - White Sox 5, Twins 4. On a hunch, Ozzie Guillen leaves Willie Harris in to hit against Terry Mulholland. After all, Harris makes contact quite often and isn't likely to hit into a double play to end the 9th with men on 1st and 3rd and 1 out. Ozzie was tempted to pinch hit Borchard for Harris, but decided that keeping out of the double play was key. Harris bounces one to second baseman Michael Cuddyer who, being a third baseman by trade, isn't quick enough to turn the double play as Joe Crede races home with the winning run. Gosh, I'm glad that Borchard didn't hit into a double play to end the game! I'm even happier that Jose Valentin didn't drop any foul popups from Jacque Jones in the top of the 10th with two outs to give him a chance to drive in the winning run for the Twinkies! The Sox salvage the last of this three game series from the Twins.

Revised Sox record: 75-60

Revised Twins record: 69-67 (6 1/2 games back).

Game 14: August 7 - White Sox 5, Cleveland 3. Shingo Takatsu has been amazing. He's converted every save opportunity he has had this year, getting Matt Lawton to hit into a double play to end the Indian threat in the 9th. Nope, no home runs for Lawton!

Revised Sox record: 76-59

and, just for fun--

Game 15: July 26 - White Sox 7, Twins 6. Torii Hunter didn't know that when he went out of his way to knock White Sox catcher Jamie Burke over in the 8th inning that he would ignite not only a bench clearing brawl, but a White Sox comeback victory. After the 8th inning collision, the Sox called on flamethrowing lefty reliever Damaso Marte to pitch to Hunter when he came to the plate in the 9th, and Marte wasted no time in drilling Hunter right in his chest with a 95 mph fast ball. That ignited a bench clearing brawl in which Don Zimmer made an odd appearance.

In an ironic twist, it was the Twins' rookie catcher Joe Mauer who fared the worst in the brawl - he tripped over the foul line charging the mound, breaking his uninjured knee, dislocating his throwing shoulder, and, due to the bacteria laid in the foul line between the 8th and 9th innings by ace groundskeeper Roger Bossard, caught a terrible case of the bubonic plague. Mauer's injury was made worse when, in collapsing in a heap, he tripped up Justin Morneau, who promptly broke his ankle in three places. Clearly, the Baseball Gods took swift revenge on the Twins.

The injuries to the Twins were just the beginning, however, as the Sox rallied in the 9th inning off ace reliever Joe Nathan. After a leadoff single by Carlos Lee, Carl Everett drilled a Nathan offering into the centerfield batter's eye to cut the Twins lead to 6-4. Paul Konerko then followed with a solid single up the middle and took second when Torii Hunter's replacement in centerfield, Lew Ford, slipped on grass soaked with the blood of the Twins relievers who dared rush in from the bullpen to participate in the 8th inning melee. After a Timo Perez single, Aaron Rowand crushed a 0-2 fastball from Nathan out of U.S. Cellular Field, a shot recognized as the longest in park history. The blast also added insult into injury, as Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire, who had been ejected in the 8th inning brawl, was struck on the head by Rowand's blast as he left was leaving the stadium. Oddly, his managerial efforts improved after being hit by Rowand, reversing some brain damage suffered when he was dropped on his head as a child.

Revised Sox record: 77-58

Revised Twins record: 68-68 (9 1/2 back)

Back to reality....

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