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The ball bounced off the turf and hit Gordon Beckham in the face. It's been that kind of roadtrip for the Sox. The team's been pretty brutal in the field for much of the season, but Beckham had been sure-handed 'til that fateful bounce. Mired in a season-long hitting slump, his defense hasn't suffered, but seeing him being helped off the field, covering his face, said much of what this season has been like.
They're all out of whack. This trip they've won games they had no business winning and lost games they had no business losing. There was the hurricane-delayed victory where Tony Pena gave up the lead and was then credited with the win when the Sox staged a rare comeback. On the flip side, John Danks, the most luckless of our starters, gets bombed and falls to 0-8. Up until that last loss, he was just coming up on the short end of the stick, but now it looks like a freefall. Both Beckham and Danks are good players having bad years (don't even get me started on Adam Dunn), whereas Pena is a mystery. Every time he's inserted into a game, I groan. How much do other MLB clubs pay the Sox to keep the man on their roster?
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I tend to drive my cab from the afternoons until late into the night, so during the season I often get to hear an afternoon Cubs game, followed by the Sox at night. I don't envy the Cubs their fans, their park, nor many of their players; I do, however, envy them their radio broadcast team. Pat Hughes has a classic play-by-play voice. He knows the game and knows how to tell the story as it unfolds. I always felt a bit uncomfortable laughing at Ron Santo's simpleton gaffes, so the addition of Keith Moreland is a marked improvement. He brings a player's perspective the way Santo did but with the added bonus of actually paying attention to the game underway. In contrast, the Sox combo of Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson are tiresome and maudlin. They take turns butchering the English language and their attempts at levity fall flat more often than not. Calling Juan Pierre "Jean Pierre" and endlessly riffing on Farmer's "hitting" and Jackson's "pitching" can only get them so far. It doesn't help that the team they're reporting on is such a baffling riddle, but these guys could learn a lot from Hughes, who's somehow made his team's chronic failure entertaining.
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I don't know if the Sox will keep limping along, finally flip the "ON" switch, or just completely lose it. Beckham ended up with only a black eye, it could have been much worse; will the team be able to say that?
The only hopeful bit of news came courtesy of ESPN: "White Sox put Tony Pena on DL."
Gordon Beckham by Dmitry Samarov (Enlarge)
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