That's the order it came in Monday afternoon, so that's the way it gets written. What was supposed to be a pitching battle turned into a sandlot slugfest, but we still learned a few things about the 2008 White Sox;
Alexei Ramirez's pitch selection. We already knew Juan Uribe had horrible strike zone judgement, now we know that Alexei is going to get a full diet of curves and sliders until he shows he either won't chase them or can actually hit them.
Mark Buerhle on an off day. Buerhle will win 15 games, and he'll lose some games he should win. When he doesn't have it, however, he gets lit up like Lindsey Lohan before driving home, and that put the team in a chasm yesterday.
Jim Thome. Just in case anyone thought Thome would start to decline this year, Thome put on a batting clinic against CC Sabathia, who just might be the American League's best pitcher. Now if he can just stay healthy.....
Top of the order pitch selection. Thome supplied the power, Swisher and Cabrera did their job and got on base for him. Sabathia's short day was no accident, the top 3 made him work every at-bat.
Nick Masset. No better way to address your detractors than go out and shut down the defending central champs for 4 1/3 innings.
Octavio Dotel's command. Spring Training was no fluke. Dotel can't place his pitches with any sort of consistency. The stuff is there, but he can't master it yet. Expect that to change as he gets more work though.
Situational Execution. Juan Uribe's double in the eighth was nice, but it came after yet another botched attempt to get a sac bunt down. After a walk to Swisher to load the bases, Orlando Cabrera chopped weakly into a FC, then compounded that mistake by arm-tackling Pheralta on the ensuing ground ball by Thome and getting called for interference. These are the small-ball situations we excelled at in 2005 but were horrible at last year. Cabrera was supposed to help alleviate our problems, not add to them. We'll need to be much better to contend.
This offense is going to score. Coming back from a 5-run deficit against the Indians in a game they would have laid down and quit in last year, this team proved the competitive fire is back. Pitching is still a big question mark, and will be for a while. You really can't tell what you have and what you need until at least a month or so into the season. You hate to lose a winnable game, especially within the division, but there's 161 more to go, and alot of reason to be optimistic.