(Setup, closer, whatever: Goose Gossage still alarming on the bump)
In the 8th frame with the score 4-0, Mark Buehrle (W, 9-10, 7IP, 4H, 1ER, 8K, 2BB) allowed Jason Varitek a leadoff single in a shutout performance, prompting Ozzie Guillen to act quickly to protect the lefty’s great work. Unfortunately, the bullpen he called was his own.
If nature abhors a vaccuum, the White Sox bullpen positively hates one. RHP Octavio Dotel started by popping up Coco Crisp, but walked JD Drew. Dustin Pedroia worked Dotel to a 3-2 count including two consecutive sharp fouls to right. In a failed bid to protect the right, Dotel hung a curve to Pedroia, who obligingly sent the three-run homer into the Pale Hose pen as a reminder of what happens when you let the batter pick your pitches.
Ozzie then brought in Matt Thornton to get Big Papi to ground out, then sent in DJ Carrasco to walk Youkilis before running Lowell to a 3-1 count. Providence (not Rhode Island) alone intervened with Lowell’s next swing, sending a high popup at the backstop. In a testament to the greater intellect of the White Sox fan, AJ made the catch thanks to an outstreched fan’s glove being sensibly retracted at the last second.
In the bottom of the frame, AL HR leader Carlos Quentin sent a Manny Delcarmen rolling curve into the stands for #31 while Junior again went 0-4. Bobby Jenks interrupted his sandwich to close out the game and allow a sigh of relief. Relief. What a great idea.