Monday, May 28, 2012

Blitzkrieg: Sox's Dayan "Tank" Viciendo on a roll

Posted By on 05.28.12 at 03:07 PM

Harry Caray would have loved Saturdays White Sox game.
Harry Caray used to delight in "the utter unpredictability" of baseball.

He would have loved Saturday's game between the White Sox and the Cleveland Indians.

Tribe starter Derek Lowe came in leading the American League in earned-run average at 2.15. Sox starter Jake Peavy wasn't far behind at 2.39.

Not at all aided by a breeze blowing in off the lake, the Sox scored four—all earned—in the bottom of the first. Falling for a frame out of rhythm, Peavy surrendered five in the third. The Sox responded by piling on four more in the bottom of the inning, two on Dayan Viciedo's 10th homer.

Peavy allowed a two-run homer in the fifth to Jason Kipnis, his second of the game, meaning the two ace pitchers combined to give up 15 runs, but that's all Cleveland would score as the Sox coasted to a 14-7 victory to win this apparent pitchers' duel by a touchdown.

Their fourth straight win moved the white-hot Sox within a game and a half of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central Division. The key to the Sox's recent success? Well, sweeping the Cubs last weekend got them started, but winning the series against division rival Minnesota this week at home helped. And one key to it all has been Viciedo, nicknamed "The Tank" by Sox TV broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. Viciedo drove in five runs, homered for the third straight game, and over the last dozen games has launched seven homers and driven in 18 runs.

Suddenly, Josh Hamilton has at least some competition for AL Player of the Month.

Consider that Viciedo wasn't even in the starting lineup against the Cubs last Friday, until he replaced the beaned Paul Konerko, moving Adam Dunn from left field to first base. Viciedo made the Cubs pay, and the Twins and Tribe after them, while Konerko returned to remain hot and—most unpredictably of all—seize the AL lead in batting average, a lead he only padded by going 4-for-4 today to lift his average to .396.

Paul Konerko hitting .400? The prospect of that would have even Caray spinning in his grave.

Lowe and Peavy, by contrast, both saw their ERAs rise above 3.00.

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