Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Time to nut up

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - This just in, Javy Vazquez is not a big-game pitcher. That we knew. But even worse than Vazquez not stepping up yet again, is that the White Sox are letting the young upstart Rays dictate the temperament of the game.
After Grant Balfour fanned Juan Uribe in the seventh, the righty pumped his fists and seemingly gave out some primal scream like the game was over. Cut him some slack, he is a former Twin with a hockey name, and was probably still upset the Sox were division champs.
Orlando Cabrera then kicked dirt in Balfour's direction in his at-bat, sparking words to be exchanged. After Cabrera fanned and Balfour tasted himself some more, Willy Aybar had some words with A.J. Pierzynski at first base.
No surprise there since it was Pierzynski who humiliated Aybar by drawing the phantom interference in an August extra-inning win over the Rays. Tampa Bay bench coach Dave Martinez then had to be held back, after Pierzynski stared into the direction of the dugout.
The Sox needed to send a message over the next few innings that they are the "bad boys of baseball,'' not the Rays, but didn't. That was disappointing. Losing a game is one thing, but letting a young team feel like they punked you on top of it? Unacceptable.

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So Joe exactly what do you suggest that the Sox players should have done? Match the Rays punkish behavior with their own punkish behavior. As far as I know the best way to shut up punks is to call their bluff by throwing down the gauntlet and challenging them to duke it out then and there. Somehow I think the umps might have taken umbrage to that and suspended some Sox players if they tried that approach. Of course if one of the Sox players ultimately suspended was Javy then its not a bad strategy but I just dont see Javy joining in on this type of thing.

What works for me is the Sox come back Friday with a starter with guts(Mark fits the bill) and anger in their eyes at bat that gets transferred into a lot of base hits. Preferably some hits up the middle whizzing by their pitchers.

Sidebar Hawk was right when he said that Clayton should start the first playoff game. Before this game I told anyone who would listen that Hawk said this on the air Tuesday and it was a great idea.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on October 2, 2008 4:36 PM.

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