Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Top 5 Wishes for the Rest of the 2008 Season

My intention for my third editorial before the Sox resumed playing was to have a “Top 5” of the best moments so far this season. A few minutes into writing out the editorial, I realized that my own bias would make it so that it would inevitably become a written Joe Crede highlight reel with a bit of pitching thrown in and Nick Swisher’s sole shining moment, as well as a little bit of Alexei and his talent in the field. Really, I mentioned all those things enough, and realized that instead of looking behind, it might be more important to look forward. Sure, the team has been successful so far, but the next 68 games that will really decide the fate of the White Sox.

With that in mind, I give you the top five wishes on my list for the rest of the 2008 regular season.

5. Another hot streak from Joe Crede. It’s a known fact that he’s “streaky.” He’ll be a mess at bat for a whole month, then raise his average close to the .300s in just one week. Sadly, this particular low point in the season, especially so close to the trade deadline AND when there is need for a new starting pitcher, does not look good for Crede if he wishes to stay with the Sox. As a huge fan of Crede, it breaks my heart to see his average dip lower and lower day after day and to see an atypical amount of errors credited to his name. It’s about time for his bat to be heating up again, isn’t it? We've seen what he is capable of on a good day (both on the field and at bat) and a good week from Crede could be enough to bring a week's worth of W's.

4. The return of Bobby Jenks. Jenks was recently placed on the DL. Yes, the dreaded Disabled List. Without a strong closer, the Sox have been struggling in their late innings. While Jenks was did not always guarantee a score-free ninth inning, the Sox can’t rely on Linebrink and Dotel to handle the pressure the same way Jenks could. The men of the bullpen had their specific duties, and a disturbance in this order doesn’t seem to be working out well for the Sox.

3. A sweep of the Twins. The Sox will be headed to the Metrodome to face their fiercest division rivals very soon. What better way for the Sox to get ahead of their division than by beating the team that’s hot on their tail? Sure, I had my moment of weakness and rejoiced in seeing Justin Morneau cross home plate during the All-Star Game (even Carlos Quentin joined me in my excitement), but I hope that is the last time that he crosses home plate in such close proximity to any of the White Sox players.

Paul Konerko was once a pillar for the White Sox. His career batting average is .278, but this year has been a struggle. His average is a mere .217 as of today. Because he’s been battling with injuries and an unpleasant reputation as a slow runner, Konerko seems to be the weakest link. Even his position as a first baseman seems in trouble since Nick Swisher has stepped forward and made many winning plays on first. A strong comeback from the team captain is necessary if he is going to stay in the lineup during the next 68 games.

If Ozzie and Kenny can’t combine their powers to find a better starter, let’s hope and pray that Grandpa Jo gets his ERA under 4. Under 3 would be nice, but I’ll take what I can get. Strong starting pitchers are a key to a good team. Even if the offense continues to thrive, as we saw in the last game with the rangers, it is not enough to hold off another team. Above all, I want Jose Contreras to prove me wrong and to become the good pitcher his bosses seem to think he is.

As for the highlight reel, what are your favorite moments so far in the season? What do you think the Sox need in order to win their division and have a successful rest of the season?

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