By Adam Hoge-
U.S. CELLULAR FIELD (CBS) As far as home openers go, Friday’s couldn’t have been set up any better for the White Sox.
Embattled pitcher Jake Peavy got the start, fan-nemesis Adam Dunn came in with some momentum from the road trip and new manager Robin Ventura sat in the dugout ushering in a new era.
All this with the “unbeatable” Detroit Tigers sitting in the opposite dugout.
Yes, it was just one game, but for an AL Central matchup in early April, Friday’s 5-2 win for the White Sox certainly felt pretty meaningful.
The most important development was the pitching of Jake Peavy who only allowed two hits in six and two-thirds innings. The last pitch he threw was hit over the outfield wall by Delmon Young, accounting for the only two runs of the day for the Tigers.
“I had a little bit better stuff than I had in Texas,” Peavy said. “That’s a great lineup and that’s a great team. I think you saw that as the game went on. That lineup isn’t going away. An encouraging day when you go out there and make pitches against that team for the most part.”
Peavy described the win as “team effort”, something Robin Ventura, Mark Parent and Kenny Williams have been stressing since the start of spring training.
After Peavy left the game, the White Sox bullpen was somewhat shaky for the first time this season, but Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez bailed them out with spectacular plays in the field.
“Let’s join together as a unit and make this happen and at least at the end of the day we can walk away knowing we gave them everything we had,” Peavy said, describing the message Ventura has been preaching. “It’s going to take that to beat that team.”
But while Peavy got off to a great start in front of his fan base that has constantly doubted him, Adam Dunn wasn’t as fortunate. The slugger struck out four times in his 2012 U.S. Cellular Field debut.
The good news is that the strikeouts looked nothing like they did last season when it seemed like he barely had a chance. Dunn battled to a full count in all four at-bats, fulfilling another desire of Ventura’s who doesn’t want to make it easy for opponents.
Of course the strikeouts led to some unintelligent boos from the fans, but anyone who has been watching the first six games of the season knows it’s not time to panic yet when it comes to Dunn.
Meanwhile, the results from Peavy so far have been very encouraging. He correctly pointed out that his effort level is the same it has always been, but there’s no question he’s focusing more on location and becoming more of an intricate pitcher and less reliable on his once-powerful stuff.
The White Sox’s 4-2 start certainly looks encouraging on paper, but the attitude and play on the field has been even more positive.
And if nothing else, they sent a small message to the Tigers who had beaten the White Sox in six straight games.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.