Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Questionable Performance: Sox - Red Sox Game 2

Recapping the game in Q & A format.

How did Mark Buehrle pitch? Well, I didn’t keep track, but I’m willing to guess that Groundball Buehrle has less groundouts than Matt Thornton for the night. (As it turns out, he had 4, Thornton had 2. Does this seem like a normal ratio?) He gave up 11 hits and earned 7 runs. Unlike his previous meeting with Boston, where he dominated the BoSox, he let himself get dominated. He gave up just one home run, but it was to Bailey- his first of the season.

How were our relievers? Pretty good. Carrasco faced one batter and got him to ground out. Thornton got two to ground out and one fly out. No strike outs, which struck me as odd, but I’ll take it. And Dotel gave up 2 hits and walked one, but didn’t let anyone score. Clay Richard closed out the game and allowed one run, but got himself out of trouble.

How did our batters do? Well, they could only put together 2 runs in 9 innings, but at least they weren’t shut out like yesterday. Alexei went 2 for 4 with an RBI, as did A.J. but he deserves no accolades since he is guilty of some very questionable decisions while running the bases. Joe Crede’s only hit was a triple, which made me happy enough with him to forget that it was almost a flyout. He was ready to do the Paul Konerko BatDrag to first base (When he grounds out and he knows it, so he drags his bat along the first base line.) when he realized, “hold on a second! I can run all the way to my corner standing up!” It almost looked like he wouldn’t get sent home, but he got home on a groundout by A.J.

So, what was the final score? 8-2

Who was our center fielder? Griffey. Yup, after hit after hit made it into the outfield, the coaches decided we might as well give Griffey some playing time.

How did he do? Well, he had a really good catch that nooo one expected him to make, and wasn’t that much worse than Swish. He hurt Dye’s performance because he has to cover extra ground, but he wasn’t the biggest problem.

Why did the game start 2.5 minutes early? I have no idea.

Who was that other pitcher? Bowden was just called up from the minors. (AA, if I’m not mistaken.) You would think the ChiSox would have been able to take advantage of the fact that he threw about a thousand fastballs and should’ve scared the bejeezuz out of him, but no… he spanked us.

Why is Danks’s start being moved to Tuesday? Well, basically, last year, he got tired and everyone would like to take extra precautions this year and make sure he isn’t suffering from a dead arm. And because Ozzie seems to trust Clay Richard again. Maybe he saw this on the Yahoo! Sports front page:

Is Boone Logan really back? Yes, he is. Or will be. He was recalled from AAA and Broadway was optioned back after today’s game so that he could be eligible for the offseason. And because as much as he struggled in his last few starts with the Sox, he’s probably less dangerous on the mound than Horacio Ramirez. There will be even more additions to the roster Monday, when the rosters expand. Look for a pinch runner, an extra catcher, and possibly Ehren Wasserman or MacDougal. [The Article]

How did the Twins do today? Thankfully, they lost 3-2 to the Oakland Athletics, keeping the Sox in first place.

What’s Griffey’s report card with the Sox so far- And how’s Konerko? Since joining the Sox, Griffey’s been hitting .265 with a .363 OBP. As for PK, he’s hitting .323 this month.

How many games are left in the season? 27. Just 27.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

White Sox Can't Score: Sox - Red Sox Game 1

Friday was the first game of a three-game series against the BoSox. And every fan in the stands or watching the game on T.V. goes into a game like this thinking automatically, “it’s going to be a tough game.” But… why? Surely, if we all have our sights set on a World Series ring for the team, we must think the Sox are a good team. They’re… wobbly at times and they can’t win ‘em all, but if they’re a team good enough to have dreams of winning the World Series, they should have the confidence going into the game to see the opposing team as an equal- if not their inferior. But, here were the Sox Friday night, acting like they were no more entitled to being a first-place team than the Mariners, like they were no more an obstacle to the Red Sox winning than the bugs swarming around Fenway Park. The White Sox lost 8-0 to the BoSox in a completely one-sided battle.

Javi Vazquez picked up the loss today. In all, he gave up 10 hits and 2 walks. To be honest, although he picked up the loss, he wasn’t too awful. Sure, he didn’t shut out the BoSox, but he had 7 strike-outs and was the victim of a fielding error by Pierzynski and fell victim to the field in general (And maybe the umpire. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of his calls, but… that’s not really an excuse.). He left the situation with two on base (And two out, if I’m not mistaken) for Horacio Ramirez. Yes, Horacio Ramirez. If anyone can make me miss Boone Logan, it’s him. At least Booner had a cool goatee… All he had to do was strike out Big Papi to end the inning, but instead walked him. Well, no need to keep him around to do any more damage, so D.J. Carrasco was up next. In case anyone was still thinking of the Kansas City incident and Carrasco hitting Olivo, you had a repeat. With the bases loaded, Carrasco missed with an inside pitch to Youkilis and hit him. He followed that up with a double to assure the White Sox that they had no way to catch up before ending the inning with a groundout. Adam Russell started the 7th inning and got out scorelessly, and Lance Broadway came in the 8th. He walked one and allowed three hits, but struck out two and only worsened the damage by one run.

The pitching wasn’t such a big problem. If there was run support, the real guys would have gone out there to hold the score, but why waste a good arm? The real problem was that all our Sox could must were 2 hits and 2 walks. With a field like that, it seemed like the only thing the batters had to do was get the ball in a hole or a little over the heads of the infielders. All our guys did was ground out and fly out. Paired with 8 strikeouts. This DiceK guy had them all figured out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Danks and Broadway Take One For the Team: Sox - Orioles Game 3

If you’ve ever read the Odyssey, you might say today’s Sox game was a reenactment of said story. What amazes me is that the loss was given to John Danks today and not Ken Griffey Junior. “Never write angry,” someone told me once. Well, how about when you’re in despair? After 8 inning of dismal pitching, unproductive batting, and the most questionable managing I’ve seen all year, the Sox lost 11-3 to the Orioles.

John Danks was all tied up on the mound today. He threw 93 pitches in just 4 innings and collected 7 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs. I swear, it looked like he even had a hard time throwing pitches to AJ on an intentional walk. But, I’d still consider him the victim here. He was hobbling and no one had his back, which amounted to disaster. I imagined today would only end after a big helping of D.J. Carrasco. Sure enough, Danks was gone in the fifth inning, but replaced by Lance Broadway. Lance gave up 7 runs over 4 innings. The home runs were his fault, but much like Danks, he was also a victim. I won’t say the pitching was good, but the fielding was much, much worse! Either strike your batter out, or prepare for him to touch base. I think 4 of tonight’s runs were single-handedly earned by Uribe, 4 others by Griffey, and the remaining 3 points were due to Lance Broadway allowing 3 home runs.

Perhaps I’m exaggerating (Yeah, it wasn’t all Uribe; Swisher earned one, too!), as I always do on days like this, but there are certain decisions I just couldn’t understand today. The first was to sit out Crede. Sure, you have to break him in easily. Sure, Juan Uribe is a decent replacement. Sure, he hasn’t been the most productive at bat, but he has been a highlight reel in his first games back and we really could’ve used some Crede magic on third base today- and I’m sure he could’ve used more at-bats to get his swing back. Did you know Carlos Quentin had the day off? After a hugely successful day yesterday (and a hugely successful season overall), he’s certainly allowed a day off. But there’s the fact that tomorrow is an off day. Then there’s the fact that Ozzie broke his own rule: “If I take you out of the game today, you ain’t playin’ tomorrow.” Yet, here was Nick Swisher playing left field for TCQ after being taken out of the game yesterday. I know I promised I’d stop fighting the Brian Anderson crusade, but the measures being taken to keep him out of the game are bordering on ridiculous. Hand that kid a box of tissues. And, ok, don’t give him the start, but when the 6th inning came around and Griffey had fallen on his butt for the second time and everyone with a bit of knowledge of baseball had already figured out that Lance Broadway was going to get fly balls, the situation had crossed the line past ridiculous and into mindless.

And there was no hitting to boot. This Liz guy’s ERA is down to 6.95 after today. He should’ve been very hittable. I mean, Konerko made it look easy; he went 2 for 3 with a walk and homered. Dye had a solo home run the only time he had a hit, and Thome and Uribe were the only others to have a hit. A few got on base on a fielders’ choice or walks (Griffey had 3 today), but 7 were stranded.

I think that was enough complaining for one day. If you have some venting to do, the comments section can be the official place for you to do it. I’ll leave you with some flashback comics from my favorite thing about the internet [The Pale Hose]. Although they're from 2006 and 2007, they are exactly what I’ve been thinking today. And while I’m plugging other sites, check out the latest from Sox Machine [White Sox, White House].

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Double Trouble for the Orioles: Sox - Orioles Game 2

Baltimore seems to be a great place to be the leadoff hitter. After Alexei Ramirez went 4-for-5 yesterday, Orlando Cabrera decided not to be outdone and got himself 4 hits in his 5 at-bats, and paired them with 2 RBI. Not just that, but he had all the run support he wanted today, scoring 3 of today’s 8 runs. The Sox got everything they could have hoped for today, both at bat and on the mound, with Gavin Floyd having a spectacular outing, bringing the Sox to 76-56 for the year in an 8-3 victory over the Orioles.

Floyd hurled just 98 pitches over 8 full innings. He had 2 earned runs on 4 hits and a walk. He went hitless into the fourth inning. While the Sox were starting their rotation anew for the third time, the Orioles had only gone through their lineup once. He had some help from human highlight reel Joe Crede and the rest of his defense, but he was flawless. He was the Floyd we saw at the beginning of the season. Of his 98 pitches, 68 were strikes. His only walk came in the 7th inning, and I’ve learned to accept that it’s better for him to miss off the plate than down the middle. Adam Russell came to close, and earned himself another run. He had a hard time finishing the 9th and let a walk and 2 hits get on base. Paired with an error by Joe Crede (A ball got right by him on a funky hop. That makes 20 for the year.), it made for a ninth inning that was much longer than it should have been.

Thankfully, the offense more than made up for the three runs that crossed the plate. Starting pitcher Burres earned 5 of 6 runs and had 102 pitches in 5 innings. Runs were scored in 6 of the 9 innings. A double by Cabrera (one of 7 total doubles that night) was followed up by a home run by Swisher in the two-spot. Cabrera followed up his double later that night with a sacrificed fly, a triple, another double, and a single. Swish’s home run was followed up with a walk, but his game was cut short when he gave himself a contusion on his left leg after fouling a pitch off it. Brian Anderson was brought in for the rest of the game (but couldn’t muster up a hit) and Swisher was announced as day-to-day. With no back-up first baseman, things got a little scary when Paul Konerko was hit by a pitch in the 6th inning. Nothing funny about hitting your funny bone, right, Kaptain? He had a great day before being hit, having had two doubles. TCQ had himself a double order of doubles, too, with a single and had his 100th season RBI. Despite being responsible for keeping Thome out of the game, Griffey had two “just fair” hits today (one on a checked swing- no one was more surprised than he was that he didn’t ground out to first) and a walk. Toby Hall seemed ready for an oxygen tank after having to run from the bases on a triple by Cabrera, and had himself a hit for the night. He had good result with Gavin, so no complaints about him. Don’t you love it when things go right? Things seemed to go right for Joe Crede today. He started out with a base hit (the only hit for him tonight) and made several great plays to help out his pitchers before recording his 20th error. Here’s hoping that his bat will get as hot as his corner.

Well, that’s your recap. Some news I can give you? Well, you can read about it yourself on the White Sox homepage, but instant replay is coming to the MLB as soon as Thursday and Ozzie seems as happy about it as I am. Furthermore, from what I read, I understand that he is still keeping Broadway and Richard in the role of the 5th starter when needed, having liked their presence on the mound. I’m sure you miss my nonsensical notes, so here are some things to bake your noodle: why are Hawk and DJ so bad at predicting things? All night, they were announcing base hits before they were caught safely and getting ahead of themselves. Perhaps they were too busy talking about … well, I couldn’t tell you, I started to tune them out around the 3rd inning and make my own commentary. And it looks like we have two BFFs in the dugout: black sheep AJ & BA seem to be the best of friends. I think this week (in random shots of the dugout) was the most I’ve ever seen AJ smile. Maybe blondes really have more fun and similar lame comments. 30 games left, ladies and gentlemen.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Two Servings of 4-3: Sox - Orioles Game 1

You can’t win ‘em all, but you gotta win more than the Twins! After the Sox couldn’t scrounge up a run in their tie-breaking innings with the Orioles, losing 4-3 (Not managing a run was one problem; the fact that Horacio Ramirez was brought out to “start” the game was another. Brian Horacio? Helloooo!), I was worried we’d be in for another low-scoring night- which would be okay if I Clay Richard had my full trust, but he and his big shoulders have only given me a small sample size of innings to work with. Thankfully, Head –n- Shoulders held the Orioles to three runs and the Sox managed a 4-3 win (and so they should, playing against a team with a losing record!)!

Because he had a good day, there isn't much to say about Head –n- Shoulders. In no particular order, he handed out 6 hits and a walk, he struck out four, and owned one of the two balks of the night, all of which earned him 3 three runs. He bumped down his ERA a bit, and had one of those “big innings,” but got over it, moved on, and finished his 6 innings. His successor was Dotel. Could you honestly tell me you weren’t squirming in your seat when you saw him warming up and getting his derrière up on that mound? Luckily, it wasn’t a Friday or the 8th inning, so history didn’t repeat itself. Thornton and Jenks had a perfect inning apiece, and our pitchers got the win, hold, hold, and save respectively.

Although Alexei had no runs brought in today, he blossomed as the lead-off hitter (after all the grumbling by the fans, Ozzie gave it a chance on O.C.’s day off), going 4 for 5 and scoring twice. Jim Thome’s only hit (his 28th home run) and Griffey’s double each brought in a run, and Alexei scored on a balk and on a fielding error that got him home and Jermaine Dye to first. Uribe had a hit (on a bunt, no less, that got him to 2nd!), Dye had a hit, and everyone else came up empty. At least Paulie and TCQ had 3 walks between them, but poor A.J. couldn’t get on base all day.

Speaking of “couldn’t get on base,” Joe Crede went 0-for-4 today. This was his first game since being recalled from the D.L. Wise was placed on the 15-day D.L. and Crede was activated before today’s first game. Later, Chris Getz was sent back to Charlotte in exchange for Lance Broadway. But back to Crede. He spoke to some journalists about his back problem being attributed to scar tissue from his surgery last year, but despite his worries, he did not have a herniated disk again, and feels much better after radiation to his nerve. Today, he couldn’t manage a hit, did a lot of popping up, but that’s expected, and he wasn’t the only one having a bad day. Hopefully, he’ll be hot at bat soon enough. I’m all about Team Crede, but if he’s just here to look pretty… well, that’s what they brought Broadway up for, so I'd like him to do more than that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Luck in the Cell: Sox - Rays Game 3

If I had to choose a Pick To Click winner today, it would be blind luck. Jeff Cox has made his share of bad calls as a third base coach this year. He was about to be accused of making another, sending Brian Anderson home from second base when Paul Konerko, who had just come off the bench to pinch hit for Juan Uribe had a very clutch, very essential single in the 9th. [Once again, no jinxing, just stating the fact that his average is .327 in the month of August.] Brian gets to third, he’s waved around, the throw is made to home plate, we see a camera angle of the ball 10 feet ahead of Brian, but the catcher throws it away and he’s safe! I can see the headlines now: “Jeff Cox: Psychic or Senile?” Bottom of the ninth, two out, and the Sox and Rays are tied 5-5 after trailing 5-4! Cut to the 10th inning, where A.J. Pierzynski gets caught in a rundown following a ground ball by Jermayne Dye. Pierzynski falls and gets tagged after giving Dye a chance to get to first. But, wait! A.J. backed up into one of the fielders! He claims interference and interference is granted! A.J. gets to stay on 3rd. With Jim Thome at bat and only one out, the Rays walk Thome to get to Ramirez or B.A.. Well, needless to say, all it took was a base hit from Ramirez and this game was over! With a little help from the Angels (the LA Angels of Anaheim, not the ones above- although…), the Sox are back in first place.

Mark Buehrle was the starting pitcher today. And of the 5 runs he allowed, only 2 were earned. There were a couple of errors (Swish, Cabrera) collected by the Sox again and against Tampa, like the Twins, you can’t make mistakes! And especially with Mark Buehrle, who is a ground ball guy that relies on his fielders to get out of trouble (and who can’t pitch around errors). However, his pitching wasn’t abysmal. He gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 5. He was followed up by D.J. Carrasco and a rare 2-inning outing by Bobby Jenks, who did their job to keep Tampa from doing any more damage.

And the offense was having a hard time manufacturing a run. There were two lucky two-run homers (By TCQ who is now at 36 for the year, and Jim Thome who was 3 for 4 with an intentional walk.), but there were a lot of men stranded- particularly due to double plays. Uribe and Swish couldn’t muster up hits today and either could Ramirez until the very end of the game. Credit goes to Griffey for hitting the double (had it been any other runner, it might have been a triple, but okay) that got the offense started in the 9th, but he continues to ground out to first on a regular basis.

It is good to pick up a win at the end of this very rough series. I think what I took away from the series were worries about pitching in the late innings (both by starting pitchers and making decisions on when they should be taken out and about the consistency of our relievers) and worries about the ability of the Sox to score without the long-ball. And, as Jermaine Dye showed yesterday, long-balls are no good if they’re not paired with the prerequisite base hits.

And just a quick Crede update: he finally had himself a hit in Charlotte today. In fact, he had a double order of singles and is 1-for-13 since resuming his assignment this week. It should only be a matter of time until he returns to the Sox lineup.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Sox 11: Problems During The Sox - Rays Game 1

Is it one week ago again? It was the 8th inning, the Sox had a chance at the game, and in comes Dotel, who we haven’t seen in awhile. I thought calmly to myself, “He had one bad game in Oakland, I’m not saying he’s done, and he’s a great asset in the bullpen a lot of the time.” Well, what I didn’t know was that an identical performance was about to take place. One inning, two homers. Three runs crossed the plate at the hand of Dotel. I don’t have to say he screwed the poch; all 38,000 fans in attendance said it all with a loud, synchronized boo of epic proportions. That about sums about this 9-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

11 Problems (Serious and Silly) With The White Sox Today:

1. The Sox aren’t a base stealing team, and they’re certainly not a team that relies on Juan Uribe to steal a base. (Yes, Ozzie’s signs indicated that Uribe & Cabrera should steal back-to-back bases and both failed.)

2. Jermayne Dye has been anything but hot at bat lately.

3. Ken Griffey was in CF today so Quentin and Dye had to do their job and someone else’s, making them (literally, in Carlos’s case) fall flat on their butts.

4. Horacio Ramirez is especially dangerous to use with Griffey in CF because he’s more of a fly ball guy than a ground ball guy- and he certainly isn’t the dominant pitcher many of our other relievers are; he is not expected to get a hold, he is expected to kill time.

5. Paul Konerko wasn’t playing. (I’m not sure if this is one of the silly ones or one of the serious ones.)

6. My time machine works but it took me back to last Friday in Oakland. (It’s the 8th, the Sox are still in the game, Dotel comes on and gives up two home runs!) Perhaps my machine traveled further and we are once again dealing with a case of “elbow tendonitis.”

7. Badly umpired game. I agreed with most of the calls, but there was a lot of inconsistency.

8. Everyone was too busy perfecting the U-Ribe Chant to care what was going on in the game. [In case you missed it, Joe Cowley’s interview on the score talked all about Juan Uribe in the dugout and my favorite White Guy, Jermaine Dye.]

9. Dewayne Wise was insulted that no one mentioned him after leaving the field with an injury to his adductor, so he sold his soul in exchange for revenge. Come on, the forums and blogs were sparked on fire with cries of, “Don’t bring Owens!” and, “Lance Broadway can finally come back!” only to find out Wise isn’t going on the D.L.? Or is he…?

10. The Minor League version of GameDay is too slow and any curses I put on the makers of the poorly-designed javascript concoction for thwarting my plan of keeping tabs on Joe Crede (Who is 0-for-9 since restarting his rehab assignment) accidentally stuck to Joe Crede’s team.

11. It’s all about the numbers! Forget ERA, the real problem is that John Danks is 23. 2/3 = .666 (well, .667 but that wouldn’t prove my point!) so he is basically doomed! He will always pitch 6 (2*3 = 6!) innings and then his team will trail by 5 (2+3 = 5!) and will drop by -1 (2-3 = -1!) in the A.L. Central standings.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Wikipedia Can Teach You About The Sox

In the last few years, I’ve found out that the use of Wikipedia is more and more frowned upon. It’s famous for letting users add information, which makes it less reliable. But, c’mon, what’s reliable nowadays, right? Anyway, one thing led to another and I found myself on Wikipedia and what started as a quick search on Pierzynski (couldn't tell you what I was looking for anymore...) turned into a scavenger hunt of fun facts. Here are some of my favorites.

About A.J.: “During a 2004 Spring Training game, while catching, Pierzynski took a pitch to the groin and fell instantly to the ground in pain. Trainer Stan Conte rushed from the dugout to his side and immediately inquired, "how does it feel?" AJ responded directly by saying, "like this" and kneed Conte in the groin, dropping him to the ground.” Note to self: reference this incident every chance you get.

About Javi: “He was nicknamed ‘The Silent Assassin.’” [Obvious fart joke.]

About Bobby Jenks: “In all of baseball, only C. C. Sabathia and Jonathan Broxton are listed at heavier weights.” Don’t men always say they like a little junk in the trunk? It’s all part of his sex appeal…

About Toby Hall: “Hall has a tendency to dye his soul patch different colors to mark specific occasions.” The use of the word “tendency” makes it seems as if it’s not intentional. (Used in a sentence: Joe Crede has a tendency to pop out to third base.) “Well, I meant to shave, but I accidentally bleached my goatee. I have a tendency to confuse my razor with hair dye I bought at the store.”

About Paulie: “He also sang in the Konerko Trio along with brothers, Trace & Haus.” Is there video footage of this?

Juan U-Ribe: “three children: Juan Luis, Juanny, and Janny.” With such similar names, don’t you wonder if even the kids think, “Which one am I again?” every now and then?

About TCQ: “Angels center fielder Torii Hunter characterized his pure power as ‘tremendous pop, like Hulk Hogan.’” Hulk Hogan? Perhaps he could take over in CF now that Wise is injured.

About Ehren Wasserman: “Sold knives in between attending tryouts after graduating from college.” Did anyone else imagine him doing this informercial? [Miracle Blade III] I can even cut through a pineapple in mid-air.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sox Sweep Seattle: Sox - Mariners Game 3

Leave your brooms and bring out your mops! The Sox mopped the floor with the visiting Mariners, outscoring them 33-8 over three games. (Hey, it was expected, but In this final game, Gavin Floyd and our offense added to their winning record in a 15-3 defeat.

I put my trust in Gavin today, and he did his job. Over his 6 innings, he had 6 hits, 2 walks, and earned 3 runs, but also had 7 strike-outs along the way. His only big problem was allowing a 2-run home run. Otherwise, he earned his win all the way. And I have to say, I would always have a problem with him being a wild child on the mound (his balls being balls by a mile), but I guess I’d rather having him miss out of the strike zone than have it miss right in the sweet spot. Touche, Gavin! Horacio Ramirez had a good outing today. To me, it seems as if he’s the guy you bring out when there’s no way to blow your lead, and you have an inning to kill, and you don’t want to waste a good arm (Mattie, Russell, D.J.). Maybe he’ll become a good arm over time. Maybe he’ll make us miss Nick Massett. But, the good news is that Adam Russell impresses me every time he comes out. 3 K’s over 2 innings? Not bad.

There were some big homers today. Once again, we had four. Swish launched a solo shot, his 100th over his career; A.J.’s been on a roll and hit his 3rd in the last 10 games- a 3-run homer; Ramirez had a 3-run homer, and Griffey finally had a long ball with the Sox- a 2-run shot. He was also 2-for-3 with 2 walks. Guess I can’t say anything bad about him today. The Sox scored in every one of the first 6 innings. Wise, Getz, and Quentin all went hitless, but Carlos contributed with two walks. Overall, 14 hits, 7 walks, 15 runs. There were doubles, there were singles. It was raining hits. Dickey had an oddly similar set of career stats as Floyd, but it was clearly a case of comparing apples and oranges; he only made it to the end of the 2nd inning after being pounded by the Sox offense.

Can you think of a sound that would make Brian Anderson happier than the crack of his bat against a ball that lands safely over the fence? How about someone yelling, “Ouch my leg!” Let me explain this scenario. Dye got a day off (sure, I guess he was unproductive and needed a day off) so Griffey would play RF for the day. However, Wise was a late insertion into the game because Jim Thome reported some leg soreness (meaning Griffey could play DH, Swish could play RF, and CF was open) only to leave the game on a leg injury of his own after making an inning-ending play. Not saying that he’s happy to see a teammate injured, but it would mean more playing time for B.A., starting today. Wise is reported to have a strained groin muscle. Which will most likely mean time on the DL. Which is going to make next to no difference to the team as far as I’m concerned. Through my point of view, I though they could’ve sent him down as soon as we got Griffey anyway.

Well, for some reason, I seem to have found myself on a crusade in the name of Brian Anderson lately. And it’s not that I’m doing this for B.A.; I’ve just found myself frustrated with seeing Wise on the roster after it became clear that we needed room in the ‘pen (not to mention since Griffey parked on our lawn) and I suppose my answer to everything is, “Bring out Brian.” (Griffey misses an easy-out? Bring out Brian. Wise strikes out in his first two at-bats? Bring out Brian. Crede out of the lineup at Charlotte again? Bring out Brian? If only…)

Clay's Second Chance: Sox -Mariners Game 2

I lost track of how many times I told myself, “Remember that you liked Richard the first time you saw him.” That I did, but it’s been so long that I completely forgot why. Thankfully, Clay finally pulled it together and picked up a win. With him on the mound, the Sox keep their place atop the A.L. Central with a 5-0 win over the Mariners.

Clay and his big shoulders didn’t just pick up a win- he shut out the other team. Although he had a rough first inning and it seemed as though A.J. would knee him in the crotch out of frustration, he had his best outing to date (only his fourth starting game, so we do have a limited sample size to work with here [Shrug]). He completed a major league career-high 6 innings. He did give up 5 hits and a walk (and a really ugly error right off the bat on what should’ve been an easy out of Suzuki that turned into a double), but did what he wasn’t able to in his previous outs: get out of trouble. I could hear someone in the stands yell “Clay, worry about the batter!” And he did. He certainly had some help, but he pulled himself together today. He didn’t defeat the best team in baseball or anything, but it’s a good start toward building himself a career. What matters is that he did his job today. Paired with some excellent time from Thornton and some damage-free (by no means brilliant) pitching from Dotel, plus the typical Bobby Jenks outing, our pitching shut down the Mariners’ offense.

Our offense was solid today. We had two home runs today, but both were solo shots (Swish and Thome) and we didn’t use our HR guys as crutches. The guys put in some hard work and got themselves 14 hits, 3 walks, and worked hard to make them cross home plate. It wasn’t a great day for Dye, but the absence of hits coming from Dye didn’t cost us a win today (there were a couple of double plays coming from him that may have cost us some runs, though…). In other news, I appreciate that Griffey’s not trying to do too much at the plate, but in his search for base hits, he’s been doing a whole lot of grounding out to first base. Invariably. Sometimes costing us a run because of double plays. And unless we’re talking about O.C. or A.J. who don’t go deep much, I don’t believe in sacrificed flies- just failed home runs, so he’s done less than he has on his scorecard in my book. (Cheap joke: I guess someone needs to be a grandfather figure to the team now that Grandpa Jo is gone; why not Grandpa Griff?)

Juan Uribe’s getting tired of all this attention. He said to himself today, “Joe Crede’s coming back, and I want him to have a nice welcome. I want people to miss him if they haven’t missed him yet.” Of course, he said it in Spanish and only in my imagination, but depending on how much credit you give Crede and on how lenient you are, he missed 1-3 plays today. Once again, they didn’t cost us today, (and I’m not saying Crede hasn’t had his share of awful moments on 3B this year) but it’s a little reminder of why Uribe was the odd man out earlier this season. He’s good, but we have better.

Speaking of Joe Clutch, he did start his rehab assignment today. He went 0-for-2, but started off a double play, and was involved in two other assists. So, he’s not tearing up the farm system with home runs just yet, but at least he’s out there and playing. I’m happy. More from the farm, Lance Broadway was pitching in Charlotte when he could have/should have/was scheduled to have been pitching for us. And Ehren Wasserman continued to be in Charlotte what he couldn’t be in the majors; a shut-out reliever.

Monday, August 18, 2008

All According to Plan: Sox - Mariners Game 1

You now who picked up a win today? Mark Buehrle. You know who didn’t? Blackburn of the Twins! I have to start this with the enormous news that the Twins are officially in 2nd place- again. Oakland is now my 2nd favorite team; first for letting us take away those two wins the past two days, and second, for beating the Twins today. The Sox beat the Mariners 13-5 today, Vazquez was declared A.L. co-player of the week, and Joe Crede is rumored to be starting his rehab assignment (again) tomorrow (Many are saying it may be extended until he gets used to baseball again (for lack of a better word) but I’m counting my chickens early and getting excited to see him in the lineup again). And while I’m on cloud nine today, there are other things to be dealt with.

I’ve noticed that for the past month or so there has been no one I trust on our starting pitching staff. I had put my full trust in Gavy and Buehrle all season, but they’ve been quite shaky lately and I’ve noticed that I start every game and every first inning with dread. Today, I think I was right to worry. Buehrle earned himself 5 runs today. He gave up 11 hits and 2 walks. Some of this wasn’t his fault, because- as Ozzie says- the defense has to be in top form when Buehrle pitches because he’s a ground ball guy, but still! I mean, we got the win, I won’t kick a gift horse in the mouth, but 5 runs are a lot. The Sox will have bad offensive days, too, and they’ll need their pitchers to keep that other team off the board. He had 100 pitches today and 71 of them were strikes, but there were a lot of wasted pitches and lots of those strikes turned into men on base. Coop had to talk to him a couple of times and A.J. looked like he wanted to knee him in the crotch. (I just have to warn you that you’ll be hearing this phrase from me a lot in the immediate future. I apologize in advance.) Was there anyone out there that thought today was a good day for Buehrle?

Carrasco came in the 6th to finish it up and pitched through the 7th. He has really saved our rear this year. (Aside from that first game in Oakland. But that wasn’t his pooch to screw, that was Dotel’s. Bygones.) Seeing as we had an 8-run lead and nothing to lose, Ozzie brought in Horacio Ramirez once again. Somehow, he allowed no runs, but if anyone could’ve tied that game up, it was he. He had some good outs, and then went ahead and allowed four hits over two innings. Maybe I’m spoiled and used to Jenks and good closers, but it was one of the longest ninth innings of my life. I have trust issues with him, is all.

But the good news is that it was another night of offensive bliss. 13 runs crossed home plate on 11 hits and an impressive 6 walks. (Boy, aren’t we glad we didn’t maneuver to get Washburn now?) Once again, the pitchers of the opposing team fell victim to the Homer Brigade. Four home runs (Swish, Ramirez, my little buddy Cabrera (his first since June 19), and of course Quentin) combined to squish any hope of a victory for the Mariners, who had an early 3-0 lead. Dye didn’t homer, but had two doubles, which really amounts to the same thing, so an honorable mention for him. Thome doesn’t seem to be as strong as he was the past few weeks (It seemed like he’d be hitting .270 soon, but is now under .250 again), but he’s not awful, so I won’t freak out just yet, but I have to throw this out there. And right when I was going to scold Swish again for doing some more right-handed batting, he went ahead and homered, so there you go. Swish is at it again. I swear the man has multiple personalities. (At bat, on the field, with his hair… he’s a one-man team. A streaky, kinda bad team…)

I try not to watch the post-game show (I always risk listening to their opinions and taking them as facts), but they promised me Crede news, so they hooked me. Anyway, they threw this stat out there: tomorrow’s starter, Clay Richard (Yup, he’s back. And he better be good, or I’ll go back to calling him Clayton. I don’t think he’d like that. Would you?) is carrying a 9.64 ERA. Kind of a scary number, but he’s pitched a total of… 18 innings, if I was to guesstimate, and I remember being pretty excited about him his first time out, so I’m still holding onto hope that our managers knew what they were doing when they sent Broadway back to Charlotte for him. Then, they threw out this question: “if the Sox make the playoffs, who is your Game One starter?” Buehrle was the poll winner by far, but I think it really comes down to how these boys are pitching for the rest of the season. To me, the strongest is a toss-up between Javi and Danks (My, how far we’ve come…) right now, so we’ll see in time.

More post-game discussions: an interviewer asked ‘does anyone else in baseball have 3 SS playing as well as we do?’ That’s interesting, because we do have 3 short stops covering the infield. Never thought of it that way. But there was something I did think about: during the game, Hawk & DJ were talking about how B.A. is too good to just be the 4th outfielder and how someone’s gonna get him next year and how they think it’ll be the Sox. I hope so, too. What do you think is in B.A.’s future? A trade? A starting role? More of the same? If Thome isn’t signed for another year, and PK (or even Dye) moves to DH, Swish moves to first, Anderson has a real chance of starting (but, of course, there’s Owens). I won’t say he’s the next Carlos Quentin (who was the Diamondback’s untapped talent), but he will at the very least do for another team what Swish has done for ours (minus the one-man show), or perhaps he will be a happy medium between the two.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Curse Lifted: Sox - A's Game 3

There was the curse of the Babe keeping the BoSox from the World Series, the Cubs have been cursed for the past hundred years with no World Series, but The Sox have been dealing with their own curse. Sure, it only lasted about 7 years, and it was only effective in Oakland, but nevertheless, it seemed to be a curse! Perhaps it was as easy as adopting one of their players (Yes, that's where we found Nick Swisher), but we are no longer the laughing stock of Oakland. (Well, we still might be. There are some pretty ridiculous things about our organization.) We had an offensive explosion today of 4 home runs, including a grand slam. That paired with another great day of pitching for Javi makes for a 13-1 win and the first series win for the Sox in Oakland since 2000. Damn those Mariners, couldn’t they win one against the Twins to help us get ahead? For now, we’re still tied for first.

Alright, so how about that Javi Vazquez? I was a little worried, I won’t lie, because he does tend to have a case of Dr. Vazquez and Mr. Hidefromthestrikezone, but he was fantastic today. In fact, short of breaking in Richard and his big shoulders a little bit more, there was no reason for him not to finish up this game. He threw 91 pitches, struck out 8, walked NONE, and only gave up 4 hits. Then, our closer in the 9th was a familiar face: Clay Richard. Clay, his big shoulders, and his fast ball struck out a couple and got a lucky out thanks to some good running on the part of Dewayne Wise. Was he warming up for Tuesday or does this 9th inning appearance make him officially part of our relievers? I guess we’ll find out Tuesday.

Now, in terms of the offense, what a day it was! Paired with some bad pitching by Gio Gonzalez (who the Sox gave up in exchange for Swish), the Sox got themselves 9 hits, 7 walks, and made sure to make 13 of those men on base cross home plate. Needless to say, after giving up home runs to Uribe, Quentin, and Dye, Gonzalez would have to leave the game as early as the 4th inning. Poor guy’s ERA spiked to 7.53. And the trouble for Oakland didn’t stop there. Reliever Blevins stood his ground and held the Sox to their 8 runs, but Meyer couldn’t, giving up 3 hits, walking 2, and allowing all of them to cross home plate on an RBI single by Wise and a grand slam by Alexei Ramirez. That Ramirez fella, he has 2 for the year. He and Swish. Would you have believed me if I told you that in April? Griffey didn’t do anything today at bat, but even he contributed with a sacrificed fly to get Thome to 3rd, who then scored on a wild pitch. Ok, maybe Brian Anderson didn’t contribute much today, but he’s been punished enough. He had to give another interview about embracing his role as a (not even THE) spare tire.

In the 7th inning, after the game had turned into an 8-0 massacre, Ozzie decided to let the bench guys stretch out their legs. B.A. pinch hit for Dye and gave Griffey the rest of the day off. Well, he tried a bit too hard and all he did was fly out twice. (You make me so proud, Bri.) I got another chance to check out Getz- who I already like even though I’ve only seen him a couple of times and he came up empty today. So, he’s a pretty good second baseman, but the real question is, “how’s he on third?” Wise got himself an RBI single his only time up at bat. Still, unless you’re going to part ways with Anderson (via a trade or sending him to Charlotte for awhile), having Wise on the team is a waste of bench space 97% of the time.

So, my usual notes. Found myself another guy that has the number 24 and is a pain in the side of the Sox: Suzuki, the catcher of the A’s. AJ is booed pretty much everywhere he goes. It’s universal. And, in case you were wondering, Konerko is batting .293 this month, .323 in the last 10 days with 10 walks. Ozzie has said that they will see how Crede feels when they get back to Chicago, which leads me to believe Crede hasn’t done his rehab assignments because he’s not traveling with the Knights and they’ve been playing away? In the meantime, there’s more baseball to be played, and we will be home starting tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stranded: Sox - A's Game 2

I almost didn’t write a blog today; after yesterday’s loss, I figured the Sox would put their tail between their legs and give up the series, and I’d just do a composite recap titled something along the lines of, “100 bad things about the past three days.” Instead, the Sox went out on the field and stole themselves another W. By no means deserved, by no means well-managed, and by no means effortless, but a W nevertheless. John Danks picks up his 10th win, the Sox outscored the A’s 2-1, and the team is still tied for first with the Twins.

John Danks walked away with the win, but things weren’t looking good when he got himself in a bases-loaded situation twice. He owes this win entirely to Juan Uribe (This man had himself an unassisted double play, for Crede’s sake!) for saving him twice. Of course, there were at least 3 errors (only one put on the board) that dug his hole deeper. I have never written more about a pitcher- and he’s never walked so many guys: a career-high 5. He went deep into counts, got into too many pitch-offs with guys that fouled off pitch after pitch, and had no back-up from Ramirez today in the infield. He was at 100 pitches in 5 innings- and it was only in the 5th inning that he seemed to settle down and start having easier outs. They let him out for another inning (thankfully an easy 1-2-3) before bringing out Carrasco. Two consecutive nights of DJ can only mean one thing: he’s certainly not our starting pitcher Tuesday. Well, not certainly, but it’s a fairly safe bet. Actually, I was expecting to see Clay Richard out after seeing his gianormous shoulders out for a warm-up in the fifth inning. Maybe he’s just warming up for Tuesday. As of right now, it looks to me like he was called up to be Lance Broadway. [Shrug] I still can’t figure it out. Moving on to Matt Thornton. That guy is unhittable on a good day. If only all his days were good days, etc, etc. And Bobby Jenks to finish up the evening.

Well, our hitters weren’t helping the pitching out much. 11 hits and 4 walks and only 2 crossed home plate. And you know who our best hitter for the day was? Toby Hall. I mean, I give the guy so much crap, but he came through today. Had himself an RBI, went 2-for-3, was hit by a pitch. And this is the 2nd consecutive time he’s been the man behind the mask with Danks on the mound where Danks has held the other team to two runs or less. Quentin was also 2-for-3 with two walks, Griffey had 2 hits, Konerko had a nice hit, paired with an intention walk that had to have done wonders for his self-esteem. But all these hits were badly placed. They had the lead-off man aboard almost every inning and could do nothing over and over. I think this is a result of a bad batting order. And of a bad day from JD.

Ok, so some notes and nonsensical thing. First of all, I hate the Twins and can’t wait until they go on that road trip because they need to slow their roll. Then, I have to make a quick reference to Brian Anderson almost stealing home from first base yesterday. I heard some mean comments thrown his way, but I’m guessing this was Jeff Cox- at it again. And on the flip side, you had Alexei Ramirez yesterday. I’m not sure if he’s getting the sign to steal a base or if he’s doing it on his own, but with his speed, it’s a shame that he’s so bad at it. I suggest that he uses the offseason to work on stealing bases, and stops for this year because he’s hurting the team. Frank Thomas. Gotta mention that guy. I mean, we have some guys on our team that are just enormous, but he’s something else. I’m amazed that Danks was as good against him as he was because the man can intimidate the cement off a sidewalk. Our 5th starting pitcher, Dewayne Wise was brought in to hold Griffey’s place on base. Not to be blunt here, but he was about as useful in that situation as he is being kept here instead of Lance Broadway. So, unless he can pitch on Tuesday, or unless the managers are willing to part with Brian Anderson, I’d say he doesn’t have a place on the team anymore. And, finally, Joe Crede still hasn’t played his rehab games. I’m assuming he will once the Knights stop playing away games, but it will soon be a month since he’s been gone and it’s time for him to return.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What's Kenny Williams Thinking?

Well, I’ve been promising an editorial on Griffey as a Sox player for about a week now, and as I began writing it yesterday, after busting out my calculator, making some stats of my own and the like, I realized I couldn’t think of anything to say. I had no conclusion. Maybe because there haven’t been enough games for him to play in, maybe because his performance is making little to no impact, maybe because there are bigger fish to fry. Because of this, I’ve begun to ponder a bigger question: What does it all mean? And I don’t mean, “Why did God create man?” I just mean that all these changes occurring to our roster since, roughly, July, have led me to question about the man behind the curtain: Kenny Williams. It is the mystery of Kenny Williams and his choices that I want to explore.

The first mystery (the one we are currently most concerned with) is that of the 5th starter. Since Contreras went down in that traumatic second inning against Boston, the question on everyone’s mind has been, “Who will replace Grandpa Jo?” Signs pointed to long-term reliever D.J. Carrasco, who was quite the pitcher when he took over for Contreras. Him, or recently called-up Charlotte starter Lance Broadway who had had one previous successful, shut-out game against the Royals last year. Or perhaps it would be a second showing of Clay Richard. Or perhaps Horacio Ramirez, who Kenny was quick to acquire from the Royals as soon as Contreras went down. The truth is that I hadn’t been too hopeful about Contreras’s return in the first place, so I had hoped he would have found another before the trade deadline (especially after it seemed like previous temporary replacement Clay Richard- while not abysmal- wasn’t quite ready to permanently fill those shoes). Weren’t there rumors that the A’s DuckSherbert (DoucheShearer? His name is clearly more complicated to spell than Buehrle’s!) was on the market? And so many others that could have been snagged before the trade deadline- even after! And while Broadway won the role for the 5th starter for the August 14 game, he was soon mailed back to Charlotte, leaving the 5th starter spot- once again- undeclared.

Which leads us to the second mystery: Why was Lance Broadway sent back to Charlotte? He was optioned back (therefore becoming ineligible to return to the Sox for another 10 days) and Clay Richard was called up. Ozzie made a statement saying Broadway couldn’t do anything for 5 days because he’d pitched and he really needed help in the ‘pen. Not sure if Richard can be what you need in the ‘pen, but mmk. If Broadway had made a poor showing on Thursday, it would have been understandable, but with him throwing what should have been 5+ shutout innings, he’s not being sent back as a punishment. Is he being sent back because it will be Carrasco’s turn to pitch and they need backup for Carrasco? Is he being sent back just temporarily and will return soon and Ozzie/Kenny are just making a spot on the roster available for backup in the meantime? And if it’s a matter of making room on the roster, why don’t Williams and Guillen make a simpler move; moving Dewayne Wise (or Brian Anderson, if you’re so inclined) to Charlotte for the time being?

And this leads me to the third mystery: Dewayne Wise’s “value” to the White Sox. I won’t deny that Wise has done some good things for our team. He has had limited at-bats with the Sox this season, so his .286 AVG doesn’t mean much, but he’s had a couple of well-placed home runs, 6 stolen bases and the same amount of RBIs, and despite his advanced years (sure, he’s not 38, but he is 30- not exactly the age you associate with the type of player he is) can run the bases quite well. Nevertheless, I don’t see what Kenny and Ozzie see in him. We kept him on the roster for Pablo Ozuna (no, I never liked Ozuna, and with Uribe we can do without, but when you compare him to Wise, a utility infielder still seems more useful to me than an extra extra outfielder), but I couldn’t really tell you why. His career average is a whopping .214 (which is only bumped up because of this year’s outlier. Otherwise, it would have been .201) and nothing truly stellar stands out about him- hence no starting role. In terms of him being the 4th outfielder, I’ve already said we had B.A. I won’t go over this again because it’s fine that he’s on the roster most of the time- just not right now. Why not send him down instead of Broadway when there is so little use for him? Why is he such an asset? Sure, he may be out of options if he is optioned to Charlotte, but other than his hurt feelings, there is not reason for him not to be.

And the mystery of the overcrowded outfield brings me to the fourth mystery: The trade for Griffey. I mentioned before that we were looking for pitching. Instead, we got Griffey. And while the argument is that he is insurance in case Konerko or Swish go down, you are lying to me if you are saying that he will take the bench until Konerko and Swish need a day to rest. You’re also lying if you’re saying that we got him in exchange for Massett and some Charlotte guy we didn’t plan on using; we got him in exchange for playing time from Swish and Konerko- who are quite valuable on their good days. I’m sure he was traded with the understanding that he will get playing time. But where? He’s old (blunt, but true), so DH would be ideal, but Thome’s been doing well lately, so it would be a big mistake to replace him. He’s a right fielder, technically. Well, we don’t need one of those; we have the Great Dye, who is indispensable to the team. There’s Quentin on the other side of the field and Swish dead center- and take a number behind Anderson and Wise if you want that position- hell, even Alexei’s been out there before. To be honest, Griffey ranks below all of them defensively in this position. Regardless, it seemed like one of these many outfielders may be part of a second trade. Seemed, but weren’t. So someone’s out of a job- Konerko! Yes, Griffey was acquired to cover Konerko’s spot in the batting lineup (Or, bat while Paulie was failing.) while Swish covered 1B. But Griffey himself isn’t a star center fielder, and his batting average with the Reds wasn’t too impressive this year. His numbers with the Sox were about as good as Josh Fields’s, so no magic here either. Besides, any insurance he provides for Konerko would go against everything Kenny and Ozzie have said. They’ve been broken records, stating over and over that they had nothing but trust and support for him, that the only way he’d grab some bench would be if he was injured or just to get time to pull himself together. Then why did Williams acquire Griffey?

The other mystery is whether or not Griffey is having an impact on the team. Starting with Paul Konerko, who is doing better, according to everyone, because “Griffey’s arrival lit a fire under his butt.” He has never had such an unproductive year. It’s not that he was struggling to get his game back after going on the D.L., it’s that he’s been struggling consistently all year. His average was never over .250 this year and under .200 for quite some time this year. And you could argue that people get older and so they get worse, but this isn’t a decline, it’s a plummet. Recently, however, Konerko’s been improving drastically. He is hitting .333 this month with 3 home runs, 6 RBI, 8 walks. In just 10 games. A vast improvement. And Anderson, who is practically out of a job since Griffey’s arrival (back to playing an inning or two once every three games when he won’t really have to bat anymore) seems to be bitten by the same bug. He’s been hitting .500 this month. Granted, he’s had 6 or 7 plate appearances, but he’s made them good ones (and even accounts for a HR in this time frame). But really, his arrival doesn’t seem to affect the team much.

This is why I haven’t been able to write an article. There are so few things to write with such inconclusive fact and stats. Here are some stats I gathered about the team since Griffey’s arrival, trying to find his impact on the team. Griffey’s AVG with the Sox: .219 in 32 AB with 7H, 3BB, 3RBI, 8SOs, one silver sombrero. The Sox’ record when Griffey played? 6-4. The record with Griffey playing CF is 5-2, so his defense can’t be hurting the team THAT much. The record with Swish in CF is 3-2 and their record when Swish hasn’t had any hits is 3-1. The record with Paulie on first (where else?) is 7-3. Their record is 4-2 on days when Griffey’s had hits and 2-2 on days he hasn’t. Will we see an impact in the long-run? Perhaps, by then, we’ll figure out what Kenny Williams was thinking would happen with Griffey’s arrival. In the meantime, I am left wondering… what is Kenny Williams thinking?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Give My Regards to Broadway (Delive Me to Harold Baines?): Sox -Royals Game 3

The lineup? OC, Griffey, TCQ, Dye, Thome, Konerko, Ramirez, Uribe, Hall. That in itself is something to worry about. I have trust issues with Toby Hall, Griffey is Griffey... But my real worry? Lance Broadway. He hasn’t been impressive in Charlotte this year. Not… dismal, quite similar to Davies (pitching for the Royals today), but we have 3 starters with ERAs under 4.00 right now and a game to win, so he had some catching up to do. I was hoping to get a quick 1-2-3 inning from him, but I wrote more notes about his first inning alone than I did about Buehrle all day yesterday. I’m not sure how the Sox were only awarded one error because they deserved at least two. Sure, Broadway wasn’t brilliant in the first, but he was getting ground balls and the defense was hurting him all the way. After a leadoff base hit, Paulie allowed a double that should’ve been safely in his glove. Instead, we had men on 2nd and 3rd. Well, it’s make it or break it time. No outs, two on base. What’s Lancelot going to do? Well, he gets the third batter to pop out, but a single RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE scores a pair. And then it’s followed up by a walk. Just when I was imagining a 6-0 inning, Guillen was caught stealing third (it was a close call, but when it’s in our favor, I don’t complain) to make it 2 outs before Alex Gordon grounded out to end the inning. I had to give it to Broadway, he got out of trouble. Sure, the pitch count got ridiculous ridiculously fast, but he didn’t allow any more damage. He gave up 5 hits in all and walked two combined with some errors on our guys, but completely shut out the Royals afterward, those runs being the only 2 to the Sox' 9.

My overall take on Lance? Well, in his 5.1 innings, he obtained a 3.18 ERA and only struck out one, and threw 100 pitches and 62 strikes. I can’t mention enough how much I love a pitcher than can get out of trouble, and that’s what he is. He can induce the ground ball. He had very few high pitches, stayed low, didn’t allow any home runs despite about 600 foul balls hit by the Royals (Gordon, especially). From what I saw, I like him. Stamp of approval given, signed, sealed, delivered. This is his second win as a starter with the Sox, and it could’ve been his second shut-out. And I’m sure he could’ve gone a little longer, but Carrasco is almost never a bad choice, like I said. It’s a smart choice for Broadway to start, because Carrasco is worth his weight in silver (Well, he’s not perfect or his ERA would be 0.00, so I won’t say gold) as a long-term reliever. Horacio Ramirez, on the other hand… I don’t like him. He has a low ERA so far, but he makes me cringe as much as Logan in his last days. I can’t explain it, or back it with facts, it’s just a feeling. Or maybe it was some nerves carried over from Broadway’s innings. And have to mention our 8th inning guy/closer, Adam Russell. His ERA got ridiculous in a game or two that I missed, so I’ve never seen him pitch badly. He continued pitching well today, getting not hits, no walks, and 4 strikeouts with his well-located fastball. Another day of good pitching. It really makes me giddy.

Of course, if you follow the Sox, you must know about the biggest event of this game! Paul Konerko stole a base! Well, that was exciting, but that’s not really the most exciting moment of the game. It was the bottom of the 6th. Peralta of the Royals was brought out to pitch. The Sox were still leading 3-2. The inning had started with Cabrera, who ground out. Griffey strolled to first on a walk, Carlos followed it up with a walk of his own. Dye flies out. With two outs, Thome smacks a 3-run homer! Sox leading 6-2, cheers all around. Kaptain Paulie at bat smacks one high and far, two consecutive homers in one inning. Ramirez up to bat, smacks a couple foul, whatever, then punches in a home run. Three in a row? This is too good to be true. And too awful for the Royals to believe. Pitching change mandatory. Uribe comes up to bat, chases a high fast ball and doesn’t miss it, it sails over the field, passes the fence, falls, it’s the fourth consecutive home run in the inning with two outs! By the time Toby Hall got himself out, the entire lineup had gone through, and 6 of the 9 had crossed home plate, bringing the score to 9-2! This is only the 6th time in baseball history that 4 consecutive home runs have been hit, and I'm willing to bet there are even fewer of these instances where they have happened to with 2 outs.

There were a few frustrating innings where there were bases loaded situations that bore no fruit, but thanks to that great 6th, by the end of the game the only guys not to get a hit were Wise and Getz who only got one at-bat each in the 7th. The same goes for Anderson, but he managed himself a walk, turning a count around from 0-2 to 4-2. If he keeps this up, he’ll soon have more hits than strike-outs for the year. Progress! Baby steps, okay? Don’t judge me for making a big deal out of a walk. The Kaptain, though… 3-for-5 with a homer. Stop the presses. Not only did he have a stolen base and a home run, but he’s been getting solid hits and has the ability to turn a count around. I won’t jinx him or anything, but I will say he had a good day. Dye had the next-best day. He had 2 hits, and one of them was an almost grand slam double. Uribe had himself two hits, too. Good man, that Juan Uribe. He’s been THE defense on his side of second base. Especially with Cabrera slacking today. I believe my exact words were “OC, I am so over you today.” It was definitely an off day for him today. Somewhere in the mix was Griffey who was 1 for 2 and had two walks. I’ll tell you one thing, he does very well against the Royals.

Yes, the Sox swept the Royals, with a combined score of 22-2 over 3 days. They are now a full game ahead of the Twins and 68-52 for the year. There are only 42 games left in the season, and the Sox are still in first! If Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Javi Vazquez can gives us strong games in our roadtrip to Oakland, we'll be in good shape.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sox' Second Shut-Out: Sox- Royals Game 2

The Mark Buehrle I love isn’t the guy that had the no-hitter. He’s not the guy that works fast. The Mark Buehrle I love is the guy that can get out of tough spots (with some help from his infielders), that doesn’t let the pressure of having men on base take his concentration away from the batter he is facing. I haven’t seen a lot of that guy lately and going into today, I was wondering if he’s still on our team. Well, the no-hitter Buehrle was pitching in the first, and it seemed like he was in charge of the second, too. The third, however, was when I got my chance to see if Buehrle could still get out of trouble. There was a single, then a double from my favorite player in the world, Teahen. One out and runners on third and second. Buehrle strikes out the next guy. That takes off some pressure- even a pop up will do to end the inning. But he does one better; he strikes out the next guy, ending the inning with no score. Yup, that’s the good Buehrle. Over the course of the night, he stranded all 5 of the hits he gave up, and walked none. Dotel and Jenks followed up with matching perfect, hitless, walk-less, scoreless innings. The Sox shut out the Royals for the second game in a row, winning 4-0 and keeping their lead of the division for another day.

The win can be attributed in large part to our defense today. Griffey, Uribe, and Swish, especially. (Yes, I said Griffey. And, in case you were wondering, yes, it did hurt me a little to admit it.) Griffey made a diving save in the top of the 2nd. I’d already dubbed the hit as a double, when I realized that Griffey had made the catch and the ball was safely in his glove. Paired with another RBI hit today, he has officially passed Josh Fields in terms of usefulness. What more can I ask for? In the same inning, Uribe channeled Joe Crede, and saved a few runs by making a great catch for an inning-ending play. In the 7th, it was Swish’s turn. He’s no Adam Russell, and we just saw Quentin miss a jump at the fence a couple of days ago. I wasn’t too excited to see this particular close call. But Swish makes the jump, and the crowd cheers, I’m petrified by the confusion, and Swish walks off the field. Three out- no home run! I think Swish was just as surprised as I was. I guess I can shut my big yap about Anderson for the day.

So how about those points? Pierzynski, Dye, Griffey, and Konerko all brought in runs. Look at that, Griffey and Konerko making themselves useful! Color me shocked. Anyway, in all we had 7 hits and 2 walks. OC was responsible for two of the hits, and the guy with the highest average on our team, Getz, got himself another one, making him 2 for 4 this season. None for Swish, Thome, or AJ, but AJ had a sacrificed bunt and a fielder’s choice, so he’s fine today.

As I’ve been watching the game, I can’t help but start to like Alex Gordon of the Royals. I know, how dare I? But, you gotta give it to him. He’s a good third baseman, he does well at bat. That or I’m getting antsy to get Crede back and I’m starting to hallucinate that any player similar to him is, in essence... Joe Crede. Speaking of the Royals! You know, we’re responsible for the Royals losing Grudzielanek to the DL. From what I hear, it’s causing quite the problem for them. And, I just have to say, this Hawk character… His picks to click really say a lot about him. It’s not that he has the least wins of the entire crew, it’s that he doesn’t understand the concept. And he’s guilty of several offenses of not finishing his sentences.

More importantly, an official starter for tomorrow has been announced today. And despite previous reports, it won’t be Carrasco; it’ll be Lance Broadway. He’s had limited time with the Sox here last year, but there are no signs that point to him being awful. In his only start, he pitched 6 innings, and had no runs. His numbers at Charlotte aren’t brilliant (10-7 with 4.68 ERA), but are acceptable. If anything, this is a safe move so that in case he goes out there tomorrow and bombs in the first couple of innings (which I am absolutely NOT expecting him to do. I’m sure he’ll be alright.), Carrasco can still come in and pick up the pieces, as he did with Contreras 5 days before. Of course, I can give you stats and drown you in opinions, but only tomorrow’s game will be telling.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vazquez, Homers, and a Perfect 8th: Sox - Royals Game 1

You know what I love? I love being proven wrong by our guys! It was around 6 o’clock when the news broke that TCQ was scratched from the lineup. Something along the lines of numbness in his left arm- and can you blame him after taking a beating again and again? Anyway, this meant Griffey and Swish would be in the great abyss known as the outfield- at the same time! Inside the park home runs for everybody! In fact, why bother with those guys in the outfield? How about Thome, Konerko, and Toby Hall as LF, RF, and CF in any order you choose? Am I exaggerating? Perhaps. But, for a guy that emphasized defense so much (At least, that’s why Josh Fields was sent down and Juan Uribe is still our third baseman extraordinaire- not that I’m complaining about this one, I can actually root for Chris Getz since I have no personal vendetta against him.), Ozzie doesn’t care much about our defense in the outfield. Anyway, I won’t be a broken record, but needless to say, I was worried. Especially since Javi’s been… on and off. In case I haven’t made my point yet, I wanted a win and I know we need one to pass the Twins- or at the very least keep the gap between us and them to a minimal- and defense is part of that, right?

Back to my point. Everyone proved me wrong. Griffey parked himself successfully and made at least 4 good catches for outs. And Javi? He was a superstar. Once again, met his season high with 10 strikeouts, only one walk, and allowed no runs. His fastball was right where it should be, he had a nasty, nasty curveball, and got in a full 8 innings of work no problem. If only every day would be like today, we would have more trophies than we could fit inside U.S. Cellular! I didn’t even notice that Teahen was there today. And the hitting was pretty solid. Sure, Griffey wouldn’t desist with the grounding out at first bit (And even made one of these lovely groundouts into a double play. Woohoo for him.) and Konerko and Thome weren’t awarded any actual hits. But homers by JD, Pierzynski, and a MONSTER solo HR by Swish all got put on the board. And can we please talk about the 8th inning? Uribe doubled (almost homer!), Cabrera grounds out but gets Uribe to third, Pierzynski doubles (on a pop up that THREE fielders couldn’t get to! HA!), Dye doubles, Thome doubles on an almost home run error, JD gets to third, sacrificed fly by Konerko, Anderson doubles (Told you so, broken record, blah, blah, I’m a fan, blah, blah), and Chris Getz makes his MLB debut, gets his first MLB hit and an RBI on a single! Honestly, can you think of a word other than adorable to describe that moment? I sure as heck can’t! (Okay, I can, but I made my choice!)

Okay, so I’m very happy with tonight’s win, so we’ll have some fun with my notes! I have to shake my head every time I see Billy Butler; he’s about 25, but as girthy as Zambrano. Make fun of Uribe all you wish, but he’s a model compared this kid. Was following the Boston-Rangers game. Boston won 19-17. I kid you not. Boston was leading 10-0 in the first inning and then it just kept going back and forth. That’s some good hitting! Or some bad pitching… Our guys are quite the goofs. John Danks sat in the dugout for quite awhile with a bubble gum bubble on top of his hat. Everyone got a great laugh out of it. Another laugh was when OC fake threw the ball of Getz’s first hit into the stands. Poor kid was so confused, and probably high on adrenaline, I’m sure he didn’t know what was going on. It really was a riot in the dugout- especially with Gavin Floyd walking around pouting about his new haircut. Poor kid, I don’t blame him. But in all fairness, he was overdue for a haircut. And on a final note, A-Rod is not completely useless! He homers to start off the 12th followed up by a double and another homer to finally shelf the Twins at the Metrodome. Sox are back in first place!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whose No-Hitter Is It Anyway? White Sox - Red Sox Game 4

If I told you one of the starting pitchers was flirting with a no-hitter/perfect game, and you looked at the final score (5-1 for the BoSox), you’d think I was referring to Beckett of the Red Sox. But, unfortunately, I’m not. Johnny Danks carried a no-hitter into the 7th. And then, I asked myself, “What came first? The end of the no-hitter or the loss of concentration?” In an unexpected turn, the Sox once again lose to Boston, and once again find themselves in second place in their division.

Really, what can you say about John Danks? He came in with a 9-4 record (now 9-5), the best ERA of all our starters, looked great getting out of inning after inning hitless, scoreless, showing great control of his fastball despite problems with anything low. And then, in the seventh, after a strike-out, Danks gave up a hit. That was the end of the no-hitter. He followed it up with a walk, a strike-out, an RBI double, and a walk before turning the reigns over to KC acquisition Horacio Ramirez. He couldn’t do the job, so Russell was brought out. Who wasn’t much better, starting off with a walk and only getting out of the inning thanks to an amazing catch by Carlos Quentin. He and Thornton had a combined terrible 9th inning (let’s not go into the gruesome details, let’s just say the bases were loaded at one point), bringing in a combined 3 runs before Lance Broadway was brought in to close the inning (more to get his feet wet than to bring in a strong finish, but… he was there).

Well, gotta give it to that Beckett guy. He and their closer only allowed one run from the Sox to cross home plate despite allowing 7 hits (the BoSox also got 7 hits, but made them and 3 walks into 5 runs). Only AJ was given an RBI. In fact, many went hitless (Cabrera, Thome, and Silver Sombrero winner Quentin) over the nine innings. On the bright side (And this is a stretch), Griffey ended his hitless streak, finally lucking into crushing one, Swish somehow went 2 for 3, and Danks had another strong outing. At least we know can feel like someone in our rotation isn’t getting worse as we get deeper into the season. And while I wasn’t optimistic about this series, we did at least tie with a very good team that we have had nothing but trouble with in the past.

You may have noticed Konerko was absent and Griffey was out in the Bermuda Triangle CF again. I’ve been trying to figure them out, but I find it very difficult to assess the situation when they’re out every other day. Part of me is saying, “if you don’t get hits, you should grab some bench tomorrow,” (This part of me obviously doesn’t understand that it might mean benching both. Or perhaps, it does and likes option C better.) while the other part is saying, “can we stop shifting things around already?!” If only there was a way to figure out which one of these veterans still has it in him without hurting the team’s productivity, that would be terrific.

How about some news? No real good news from Linebrink, but Crede is reportedly “feeling better” -but hasn’t started his rehab assignment yet. Gavin Floyd (often a victim of my ridicule because he’s in need of a haircut) lost a bet with Bobby Jenks and had to pay up- he reached 12 wins for the season and is now as bald as [fill in the blank, we have plenty baldies, and plenty balding] since his teammates got to shave his head. As Hawk put it, “I hope it grows back real fast.”

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Homers, Holds, and Roster Moves: White Sox - Red Sox Game 3

“Well, that was a little scarier than it had to be,” was my first thought after Swish caught the ball for the final out. Gavin Floyd, who has picked up his 12th win of the year didn’t have an easy job to do against the BoSox. However, after two big blasts and some change, the Sox defeated the BoSox 6-5 and with a little help from the Royals in extra innings, regained their lead of the American League central division.

Well, I haven’t seen this pitcher before. Sure his name was Gavin Floyd, looked the same, got a win, but he completely threw me off. You know I always say I look to the first inning. Well, it wasn’t good. After a double and a walk, a 3-run homer got the Sox behind in the first inning. His second inning wasn’t much better (but didn’t add to the score), so I’m thinking he’ll pick up a loss today. But all of a sudden, in the third inning, the Good Gavin game back. He had a good 4th and a scary 5th that thankfully ended without Boston scoring. It seemed like he was working in reverse. But then the 6th started off with a ball that should’ve been caught, but got away from Dye for a triple. A couple of singles, and another run crossed the plate, so it was time to bring in Thornton. Thornton came in the 6th and he struck out the two guys he needed (after a run crossed home plate on a pitch that got away from Pierzynski), and seemed to be okay. Of course, in the 7th, he was only able to get one out, and then followed it up with three consecutive walks. I haven’t seen a 7th inning like this since… well, yesterday. Boone Logan, is that you? Well, what could Ozzie do? Dotel to the rescue. Indeed, it took him one pitch to get the double play and end the inning. He had a great 8th, and Jenks followed up with a seamless 9th. But what about the other two? Floyd and Thornton, that is. One day, they’re great, the other they’re unable to make it over the plate. And while Gavy has great range, he hasn’t had many starts lately where he’s been great out of the gate. All 5 of the runs were given to him as earned runs. He even hit a guy at some point. So the struggles of the bullpen continue.

Thankfully, all our slugging came together to make up for any damage done by our first two pitchers. Dye (27 for the season!), Quentin (A whopping league-leading 32!), and Thome (his 24th) all had home runs today. JD had a solo shot in the 2nd, In the third, Quentin had a 2-run shot with Pierzynski on base to tie the game in the third, followed up by Thome’s 2-run homer with Konerko on base. You know who had a good day? Paul Konerko. He went 1 for 2, had two walks, and almost stole a base. With the exception of Uribe (who still got on base due to an error once or twice), everyone had at least one hit today, and JD seems to be out of his slump. And in other news, our guys are taking a beating again. Specifically, TCQ. He was hit for the 19th time this year. JD was, too, I think, but wasn’t given a base, or… maybe I imagined it all? Well, thank goodness for that great batting that had happened in the third because there was nothing pretty otherwise. Many guys swung for the fences and missed, the fielding (in the outfield, especially) was spotty, and A.J. and O.C. picked up an error apiece. Thankfully, so did the other team.

Griffey was noticeably absent again. “General soreness” was the way they chose to put it, but I suspect it’s a case of “low productivity.” With Konerko doing better, and Swish being indispensable (I guess…), Griffey is the odd man out this time. Or, at least, that’s a theory. Perhaps he just needs some rest. After all, he is 38.

More important are the changes made in the roster. With Contreras permanently out, reliever Horacio Ramirez was traded from the Royals to the Sox to fill the empty spot Contreras left behind and will wear number 49. He will most likely take Carrasco’s place as a long-term reliever, or Boone Logan’s place. Yes, Boone Logan has been scolded enough times, and it was time for him to get grounded by Poppa Oz; Logan is on assignment at AAA Charlotte. Another ‘pen move involved bringing starter Lance Broadway from Charlotte. It hasn’t been decided yet if he or Carrasco (or even Ramirez) will have the 5th starting position. And in some happier news, number 27 22 Josh Fields has been send down to Charlotte once again in exchange for utility infielder Chris Getz. Getz will wear 39, and seems to be a good hitter. Once again, Joe Crede gets the win.

Well, there are 45 games left this season. 1 of these is just the remainder of an interrupted game. They say there’s a lot of baseball to be played, but really, when you look behind, 117 games have already played. The bulk of the season is done and the Sox managed to stay on top. I am looking for the injuries desist, the players on the DL return, and the “pitching situation” to settle down- both in terms of the struggling starters and when it comes to replacing Contreras and Logan.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Contreras Ends His Season With Sox: White Sox - Red Sox Game 2

I expected disaster to strike today, but not like this! It was “Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, goodbye, Jose Contreras.” For the rest of the season. Hopefully, the same thing isn’t true for our lead of the division. In a shocking, hopeless game, the White Sox lost to the Red Sox 6-2, ending their hopes of holding onto their division lead, at least for today.

Jose Contreras was back, and Don Cooper had talked him up to Ozzie, who in turn talked him up to the public. And his first inning seemed to confirm that the Good Jose was back. In fact, he was about to end the 2nd with no score, when an easy play turned into an error (actually, it was never put on the scoreboard as an error, but come on! It was either a bad throw or a bad missed catch, it wasn’t a hit, that’s for sure!) suddenly turned into an injury. Yes, Joe Contreras ruptured his left Achilles tendon running toward first base, and after being back from the D.L. less than two innings, he’s back. Or rather out. There is no way for him to return this season from such an injury. I’m not sure that Kenny Williams will be able to return as a manager after the heart attack I’m imagining he had today. So what’s a manager to do?

Send in Carrasco to finish up the 2nd inning, for one. He pitched a little over four full innings, walking just one, giving up just three hits, and only allowing one runner to cross the plate. The problem with using Carrasco, however, was that in the 7th, the man we had to rely on was Boone Logan. Now, if this was two months ago, there would have been no problem, but Booner hasn’t been throwing well at all lately, and four hits and a walk turned into four points for the other team. In just one inning. Well, after the damage was done, Adam Russell was brought in. The only point he allowed came from a solo home run by Ellsbury. He pitched a full 8th and 9th inning, doing a fine job, but his performance wasn’t enough to save the Sox from the damage Boone had done.

On the other hand, there was the BoSox’ pitcher, Matsuzaka, who allowed four hits and 3 walks, of which only 1 crossed home plate. Neither Quentin, Swish, nor Dye could do anything with him today. The worst of the bunch was Pierzynski, who got himself into three double plays. In his defense (I guess), Swish himself was a victim of one, Thome and Wise both narrowly escaped double plays, but 3 times in one game by the same player? Well, that’s something! A.J.’s been slumping lately, and it really affected the Sox today. Another slumper is JD, but he’s due for a resurgence. (Either that or he’ll go back to the guy he was in May: someone has to go back to popping out all over the infield while Crede’s gone. Personally, I’m hoping for the other option.) There was also a lot of bunting today- something every atypical for our team. In fact, that was about the only thing Wise managed to do today. Uribe put a good one down, and a few others (Well, just Cabrera off the top of my head) tried it. Bunting, patience at the plate to get walks, and a little base hit by O.C. got the Sox their only point until the 9th when Thome hit his 23rd homer of the season with 2outs. Noticeably absent? Konerko and Griffey (General soreness, they say). Wise taking over for Anderson Swisher in CF.

Well, this is a fine mess. Buh-bye first place, to start with. In terms of Contreras’s injury, it seems KW has made a quick move and acquired Royals’ pitcher Horacio Ramirez. [The Official Report] He is a reliever, his numbers are decent (2.59 ERA), and he may be the 5th starter or working as a reliever, while the Sox call up another starter from down on the farm. As it turns out, Kenny’s move at the trade deadline came back to bite him in the derrière. While everyone was crying for a pitcher, Kenny got Griffey. And now we find ourselves looking for someone to cover for Boone Logan (perhaps one of our many, many, many outfielders can lend a hand in the bullpen), a starting pitcher, while working around waivers and finding that it is probably too late to give Josh Fields up because his trade value has dropped down to the point where the only thing we could get in exchange for our “third baseman of the future” is a bat boy, and after we’ve already gotten rid of Pablo Ozuna- useless as he was (We need a backup infielder now that Uribe is the starting third baseman). To add to our embarrassment, while we’ve been struggling against the Royals, the Twins haven’t even blinked at them, winning over them in two straight games.

Buehrle and White Sox Wash Out Red Counterparts: White Sox - Red Sox Game 1

The last word I wanted to use about the series with Boston was optimistic- until about the 8th inning of today’s game, that is. As it turns out, all is not lost and Mark Buehrle is still a good pitcher, Juan Uribe is a star hitter, and Carlos Quentin should no longer be referred to as TCQ, but rather the Juggernaut. You can’t stop him! (Or guys from hitting him!) In an elating game, the White Sox won against the Red Sox 5-3, maintaining their division lead.

Mark Buehrle had a scoreless game going into the 8th inning. Somehow, though, he threw more pitches than the other guy (Lester), who gave up more hits and walks. Unlike his last few starts, he was back to the old Buehrle. If he and mini-me (or… mini-him) Danks are examples of what is going on with the rest of the 'pen, our ERA will go back to being the best in baseball soon enough. If we go back to using our bullpen right. Dotel and Carrasco weren’t used right. Dotel walked a guy, and gave up a hit- a three-run homer to Pedroia that got the walked, hitter, and the hitter Buehrle had put on in the very top of the 8th safely home. Carrasco seemed to have control problems in the 8th when he was brought on, too. After Thornton did some lefty damage, Carrasco came on just to walk someone. He’s been a bit overly solicited lately, so perhaps that’s why the control wasn’t there today. However, his control problem redressed, and the 8th ended with no further damage.

Alas, we have arrived at the hitting portion of the programming. Quick notes: TCQ HR31, Griffey had 4 at-bats, but no K’s! Progress! But no hits, either… Konerko and Dye matched today: no hits, 2 strikeouts. Yikes. My lil’ buddy OC proved to me that he didn’t give up, and went 2 for 3, walked, and picked up 2 RBIs. Another RBI (2, if you go by MY official scoring) belonged to Pierzynski who had a sacrificed fly, and then got Cabrera to third on a single. AJ misread the single and tried to get to second and was trapped in a run-down. Seeing that the BoSox were busy chasing AJ down, Cabrera ran home and scored, while AJ held them off. It’s also worth mentioning (For the laughs alone) that Juan Uribe was caught trying to steal 2nd base or… was picked off first base. Well, I guess that might have undone any significant hitting he did, but nevertheless, I’ll take him over Fields any day. In total, Uribe went 2 for 2 with a sacrificed bunt. Swish (whose batting average, .231, is exactly that of Uribe’s) scored on a walk: his only achievement of the day. Oh. And Thome sat out for Griffey. I know yesterday we said that perhaps Dye deserved the day off, but Thome had the day off just a few days ago. This is about Griffey, not the well-being of the other players, we can't deny it anymore.

Well, I don’t have any incoherent notes today, but I have some news and anectode(s). First of all, Ozzie’s been saying Joe Crede has disappeared off the face of the earth, and doesn’t keep in contact with him. From what I understand, he’s still waiting to play two games to complete his rehab assignment with the Knights. Seems true enough, no news has surfaced until today. Crede got an epidural (I have so many medical questions about this, I wouldn't know where to begin!) so he could play pain-free. We’ll see what results this yields soon enough. I hope. I am eager for his return, but more eager to figure out what in the world is going on with his back. Is there a name for his mysterious ailment? And, in some Brian Anderson news… I guess, like most normal people, I don’t pay enough attention to the graphics on the scoreboard when I go to games. Well, it’s the top of the 9th, Anderson comes into CF for Swish, and makes a catch for an out. Well, a graphic of a puppy running to catch a tennis ball in his mouth comes on the screen, with his collar saying, “Nice Catch.” Really, if that’s not fitting for B.A.’s role with the Sox, what is? He’s there to play “fetch the ball” in CF, and has no opposable thumbs or something so he can’t bat- metaphorically speaking, of course. So, even the guys making the graphics like to throw backhanded insults at BA? Or perhaps it’s a bunch of girls with Photoshop on their résumé that just think he’s cute and didn’t see my brilliant deduction coming... Did anyone else notice that?

Issues? JD is 3 for 18 in August. Griffey hasn’t “settled in” yet, or whatever you choose the reason for his lack of productivity at bat to be- and in terms of finding a permanent way to assign positions. Although we won today, so did the Twins. No extended lead here. The good news? I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico. A strong start to the series is always good news- especially against a team that has hurt us in the past.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cox and Konerko- at it again: Sox – Tigers Game 3

It wasn’t a close game at all- it could have been, but it wasn’t, and what the Sox hoped to be a sweep of the Tigers became an all-around bad game. It was Javi Vazquez’s turn on the mound and Ozzie was back manning the team. And despite great comebacks previously this week, our team was unable to top the Tigers today, losing 8-3, but keeping a .5 lead over the Twins.

Today was a case of bad pitching all around. And by all around, I mostly mean Vazquez because he was around to see the ship sink for a full 7 innings. It was an unfortunate hit-and-miss case because the Sox got themselves 10 hits and made only 3 of them stick, while the Tigers got 11 and made 8 of them into runs. 8 of those 11 hits were personally delivered by Vazquez. Paired with four walks. He also gave up two home runs. He had a few good innings, but got his pitch count way high way fast and wasn’t pulled until far too much damage was done. Russell didn’t have himself a great inning + 1/3, either. He pumped his ERA up to 6.17, letting two more score before Wasserman came to close. No, I didn’t misspell “Jenks,” Wasserman really was our closer and no, The Sox weren’t trailing by enough, Wasserman had to allow another run to cross home plate.

The hitting started off sloooowly. And it started off with Uribe. He had himself two hits for the night, including a double before getting into a double play and undoing any progress the team had made or that he had been responsible for that far. Swisher had a double order of doubles, and Paul Konerko went 3-for-4. I have to compliment him because he’s had a great few games this home stand. He’s been 5-for-10 (That’s .500 for you non-math majors) with three walks and a homer. And if you look at him at bat, he’s great because he can turn a count around. He will start with 0-2 or 1-2 counts often just to make them go full. I guess he put on a personal rally cap, catching up in the areas where he was struggling this year. Or, at least, that’s what I’m hoping for. On the flip-side, Cabrera and “Big Pierogi” Pierzynski went 0-for-5. At one point, my notes said, “What’s OC doing in the 7th? Just walking away from pitches?” He seemed to have given up entirely. Griffey got hit by a pitch, but earned no bases otherwise. B.A. came in to run for him and stole his 3rd base of the season and got himself in scoring position for Ramirez’s almost 2-RBI almost-single. TCQ is continuing his hot-streak, by putting his 30th HR of the year on the board. He also got hit by a pitch- AGAIN.

And then there was Jeff Cox. I would like you to know how crazy he is to believe that with Thome and Konerko running, a double can turn into an RBI triple? Konerko got himself a great hit, there was some shuffling, and Thome was ready to park himself at third, but Cox was waving around. Sure enough, he was thrown out at home plate, and Konerko barely made it into third, but come on, buddy! You’re not dealing with Ramirez and [Insert name of 2nd fastest White Sox runner here. Having a hard time coming up with a name? Yeah… that’s a problem.], but two famously-slow veterans. Didn’t he do this to A.J. when we played the Royals July 21st? And, once again, it may have been the decision that cost us the game.

Alright, notes. Found another 24 I don’t like today to add to my list: Cabrera of the Tigers. 3-for-3 with 2 walks. Ouch. Today, Dye was passed up for Griffey. I’m not saying Dye doesn’t deserve a day off, but I am sure that this was more about putting Griffey at bat than it is about JD’s well-being. Rodney of the Tigers was out again today. He was more hit-able today, but I have a question about his numbers. How is it that he’s so good with his fastball, his opponent’s batting average is in the .180s, but his ERA is around 5.60. Isn’t that an oxy-moron? It certainly seems very high to me.

Tomorrow, Mark Buehrle is back to try to lead the White Sox in a win against their Red counterparts.