Crosstown Showdown: U.S. Cellular Field version
Here are a few additional tidbits from the Cubs 5-4 victory over the White Sox on Friday, a competitive and entertaining affair, which sadly is sure to be overshadowed by the dugout outburst from one Cubs outfielder.
–Paul Konerko had his 118-game errorless streak come to an end in the seventh inning, when he bobbled Mike Fontenot’s chopper as Konerko was moving toward second and then couldn’t get the ball to Jose Contreras covering at first base. Geovany Soto followed with a three-run blast to left-center that proved to be the game-winner.
Konerko is an extremely underrated defensive player at first base, and was given the out by one reporter on the miscue coming off of a bad hop. Instead, Konerko explained the thought process on the play.
“That play, it’s one where, as a first baseman, you’ve got kind of a choice when that ball is hit,” Konerko said. “If you just pull up, you can go back to the bag and just get an easy out at first, and then you have a guy at second.
“Then, if there’s a broken-bat hit, you feel sick.You aggressively go after it, and you know it’s kind of a do or die, and I died there. But it’s aggressive. You’re going to make errors. I’d rather make them hard and aggressive like that than laying back. No worries there.
“I wish I would have made it,” Konerko said. “I feel bad when I make an error like that behind Jose because he was pitching so well. I thought he was having a really good day. He threw the ball really well today and battled. You’re sick in that respect, but you’re going to make errors. If I can make them all like that, I’ll be happy.”
Meanwhile, the White Sox might have put a bigger scare into Kevin Gregg in the ninth if not for a great play by Derrek Lee. Pinch-hitter Dewayne Wise hit a shot to Lee, who made a diving stop and flipped to Gregg covering first base, with Gregg beating Wise by half a step for the inning’s second out.
– Ozzie Guillen pinch-hit Josh Fields for Gordon Beckham with two outs in the ninth inning because he wanted to go for the tie with the White Sox trailing by one and down to their last bullet.
“Besides that, the on-base percentage is a lot different,” Guillen said. “Fields had a good at-bat and gave us a chance to get somebody on base, and Beckham has struggled lately.”
Fields drew a walk, after being down in the count at 1-2, before Scott Podsednik took a called third strike that appeared to be a bit outside on a 2-2 pitch for the game’s final out.
– Nobody on the Cubs asked me, but here’s a lineup idea presented by my brother, Jeff, once Aramis Ramirez returns. Move Alfonso Soriano to second base and put Jake Fox in left field. It’s hard to imagine Fox’s big bat going to the Minors or the bench.
And remember, he’s another proud producer from the University of Michigan pipeline.
–Jose Contreras has allowed eight home runs in his last three starts against the Cubs. He also suffered from back spasms during Friday’s game but stayed in the game after the discomfort dissipated.
“I felt a little pinch,” said Contreras through interpreter and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez. “I had to lower myself a little bit to throw the forkball, but luckily it was nothing. It was just a little pinch at that moment.”
–Sight not seen by the masses: As Guillen was exiting his postgame press conference in the U.S. Cellular Field Conference and Learning Center, he paused briefly to exchange hugs and a few words with Lou Piniella outside the Cubs clubhouse, before Piniella went into his meeting with the media.
–And finally, one comment from Konerko on getting a look at any of Milton Bradley’s dugout outburst.
“Not at all. Well, I shouldn’t say not at all,” Konerko said. “I saw some guys move down in the tunnel. I didn’t know why. I didn’t even know who it had to do with. And that was it. And then you kind of caught wind of it later in the game.
“That’s all I know. You tell me. I’m sure I’ll find out. I’m sure some one will let us know. But yeah, it’s not our business.”
–Actually, one final note. Remember, the White Sox lost the first game of the series in Milwaukee and Cincinnati and at home against the Dodgers, but they came back to win all three series. They are 9-7 overall in Interleague Play.