59-39: Manny homers early, Sox hold on 8-5

Forget the Devil Rays, can we keep playing the White Sox this year? Boston put another pounding on the spent Chicago pitching staff today as we won, 8-5.

Manny Ramirez pounded his 15th home run of the year, a three-run shot, to right field in the first inning to put the Red Sox up 3-0. The White Sox are not especially good at playing catch-up this year. Starter Jon Garland (7-7) was chased after 4 2/3 innings, when the Red Sox got a three-run Monster shot from Mike Lowell, also his 15th of the year. Lowell has really figured out how to use that Monster to his advantage. Last year it was all line drives down the foul lines, but this year he’s lofted many a fly ball into those Monster seats.

Big David Ortiz and his ailing knee and shoulder were given the day off, but the Sox didn’t miss him much. Ramirez was 2-2 with 3 walks on the day, a much more familiar line for him than we have been seeing this season. Julio Lugo reached three times from the leadoff slot, and is on fire. He is now hitting .383/.431/.567 for the month of July; known as a streaky hitter, this is the guy Theo Epstein thought he was signing. Coco Crisp had three hits from the 7th slot, bringing his line to .306/.386/.565 for the month of July.

Tim Wakefield (11-9) is having a great year. Maybe not statistically, but he is pitching pretty deep into games. He’s received decisions in all 20 of his start this year. For any fourth or fifth starter to have 11 wins at this point in the season is a good sign. He went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks.

In the seventh, with the score 8-3, Manny Delcarmen came in to relieve Wakefield and had his first rough outing in some time. He allowed two singles and walked two batters, allowing an inherited runner to score and one of his own to score. Francona let him get Paul Konerko, then Hideki Okajima came in and put out the fire, so no worries (Konerko homered off of Okajima earlier in the series).

Jonathan Papelbon got himself into a bases loaded jam in the ninth with two singles and a walk, but struck out Jim Thome and got a double-play ball from Paul Konerko to end it and notch save number 22. Paps picks of the two toughest outs in that lineup to go after. Does he do it on purpose? (Just kidding.)

After observing Jermaine Dye in this series, I am more certain than ever that he is not the guy we want to trade for this year. He just doesn’t have it for some reason. Not only is Dye at .227 for the year, he hit .203 in June and is at .207 in July. He doesn’t cover much ground in right the way J.D. Drew does. No way are we benching Drew for this stiff. And we know that Kenny Williams has his sights set on some of our top prospects, from the Mark Buehrle talks. Forget Dye.

The Yankees pounded out 21 runs on 25 hits today against the lowly Devil Rays. That is an awesome offense over there. But then they also allowed 14 runs to Tampa on Friday, so the Yankees are also missing a little something, too.


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