Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The After Shock: Sox - Blue Jays Game 3

Just a fun fact for you: I no longer have the ability to watch WCIU. Not that anything other than the Sox games is worth watching on that channel (although, I must admit, I used to be a big fan of Street Smarts- In fact, that was my first encounter with Nick Swisher). But, since I can’t report on a game I couldn’t watch, I’ve decided to sort through the shambles of my post from yesterday and reboot. In an organized fashion.

First of all, let’s visit the Paul Konerko issue. He slipped on some wet grass, and his knee buckled, and he was escorted off the field. People were guessing broken cartilage, ligaments, muscles, or bones.In the meantime, our hottest hitter is out of the lineup (Yes, Paul Konerko is our hottest hitter.) and unless we can train Thome or Griffert as first basemen, we’re stuck with Beatnick Swisher on first. And not that he's a bad first baseman, but he's a crummy hitter. In fact, Paul Konerko's injury maybe have been the only thing to save him from some serious bench time. He seemed to have had a lot better luck this year at first base, so I’m hoping he’ll be able to replicate that success- or at least give us the illusion of him being productive. (In retrospect, he was only hitting .220 while starting at 1B, but even that is an improvement from his brilliant numbers. Maybe he seemed so good because BA was picking up the slack for him at bat. [Obvious sarcasm] Since Griffey’s arrival (since that’s our new benchmark for all things involving Konerko and others), he’s hitting a staggering .216. Slow down there, slugger.)

In the meantime, you have Griffert in CF- because, what else can you do? And a big fat gap in LF, which the Legend of Carlos Quentin is rumored to have haunted. The gap can be filled by either Jerry Owens, Brian Anderson, or- the most likely candidate- Dewayne Wise. Jerry Owens was supposed to start with our team anyway, so it would make sense that he would slip right in the role. He’s had some injuries to deal with, but he posted decent numbers in Charlotte. He was hitting .276 with 30 stolen bases. But with the Sox, he hasn’t been able to produce more than a single hit. Dewayne Wise has an impressive batting average, but it is incongruent with his results in previous years. On the bright side, he’s not a slugger (how did he even end up on this team?) and he can steal an occasional base. But he’s not a great outfielder. Is he probably still better than Swish? Probably. Then there’s Brian Anderson. If I was to try to toot the horn on the BAnd wagon, I would say he’s the perfect substitute (not replacement) for Swish. He’s a defensive upgrade, sure, but that’s not what I mean, I mean, BA’s numbers are very similar to Swish’s. He’s had some well-placed homers and a whole lot of strike outs and flyouts. Before anyone put Swish on 1B, I figured that because Swish is a lefty (Well, a “switch hitter.” Whatever), you’re putting lipstick on a pig and calling it something different. Really, he’s BA, but a whole lot louder. Since Konerko’s injury, we found out that he’s a lot more valuable because he’s insurance for Konerko. The problem is that he’s crappy liability insurance. You can pay the other guy but your car still has a dented bumper and your airbag is sticking out over the steering wheel, if you know what I’m sayin’. Try not to take the metaphor too literally.

So, since all our options for the outfield suck, wouldn’t it be nice for the Sox to find another option at first base? Well, Thome used to be a 1B guy. He even used to play 3B many, many years ago (back when baseball tickets used to go for .50 cents and people updated the scoreboard manually- kind of like Wrigley Field). But, his back isn’t okay or something, so he’s not exactly ready to play. The perfect option, to me, seems to be Josh Fields. Everyone talks about his great batting talent (not I), so that’s always an option. He’s too stiff to play a real position, so 1B seems like a good place for him to park. Had Chris Getz not broken his wrist, I’d say he should try first base. Of course, I’m not exactly that’s the job of the “utility infielder,” but I just have taken this inexplicable liking to Getz. I think I was won over by his flashy > .300 AVG in Charlotte. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one of those guys on our team? Since Alexei started slumping (and AJ and JD), our team AVG is even more embarrassing. I’m sure we have more guys under .270 than any other team. Possibly in the history of baseball.

Tonight’s Game. I followed the game on Gameday, so I can’t give commentary, but there are things I have to report. Mark Buehrle shut out the Jays for 7 innings and some change. He struck out 6 and got out of trouble even though he gave up quite a few hits and a couple of walks. Beatnick Swisher (I’m sure today is a result of him taking a thrashing from Ozzie about striking out with the bat on his shoulder) went down swinging 3 times (Silver Sombrero! Que bueno!) before finally putting the bat on a ball (And I’m sure it was a hit he tried to make into a homer) and was awarded a double. Fortunately, he scored with BA’s single, so the Sox got ahead 6-2 before the last big inning. Dotel can’t stop giving up homers. With one on in the 8th, he gave up a home run to the first man he saw. The Sox still lead 5-2. Bobby Jenks imploded (Like BA, he seems to have a case of rusty butt from being on the bench for so long) gave up 3 runs in the 9th inning of tonight’s game. If it wasn’t for that very clutch single by Brian Anderson (pinch hitting against a lefty for Jerry Owens, who also got himself a hit today), the score may have hung at 5-5 for many innings. [Cue to Ozzie with tail between his legs]

Paul Konerko has good news- just a mild sprain. He wants to be back in the lineup as soon as possible- not as soon as he heals, but as soon as he can endure the discomfort. He’s a champ. I’ve heard as soon as Friday- but then again, I’m still waiting for Joe Crede to be ready to go any day, so I’m optimistic to the point of delusions; don’t listen to me, read the news instead.

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