Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getz Me A Broom!

Today was a real back-and-forth. Zack Grienke and John Danks each allowed 4 runs to cross the plate. It was an overall poor outing for both (Danks especially, lasting only 5.1 innings and allowing 9 hits and 2 walks), but the Sox came out victorious.

Grienke has been having himself a fantastic year, coming into today’s game with an 8-1 record. The Sox went after him early, and already put one on the board in the first inning. The offense got started with a triple by Scott Podsednik, who was really collecting those extra base hits today. The great news was that the Sox aren’t afraid of trailing anymore. After the Royals grabbed onto a 4-1 lead, the Sox came back with two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to tie the game and keep themselves in it. Along with some good work from the bullpen, the stage was set for a 9th inning rally, which scored 3 runs.

Speaking of the bullpen, the Royals' bullpen once again boasts of the presence of Horacio Ramirez. I immediately cheered up at the thought of facing him, remembering his dismal pitching with the Sox last year. Maybe having him warm up in a tied game serves as a partial explanation for why the Royals are struggling so badly of late.

Small ball lives once again. No homers were hit today (although Pods came awfully close to one), and every run was earned the old-fashioned way. Still not much base stealing going on, but who can complain?

There are reasons to complain, though. For one, Danks’s location today. Everyone’s bound to have a bad day, but starting out with 5 straight balls is a scary way to start a ballgame. Then, there was Dewayne Wise. After today’s unfortunate performance, his average stands at .198 and the overall defensive performance of the outfield seems to have diminished. I don’t want to be too hard on him, seeing as he’s just back from an injury, but as it stands right now, he has less hits (5) than strikeouts (8) for the year. Maybe he shouldn't be handed the job right back until it becomes necessary. One final concern: After scoring the 7th and final point for the Sox, Chris Getz hobbled to the Sox dugout. Jayson Nix took over for him in the bottom of the 9th, but there was no word on how serious Getz’s limp was. Let’s all hope it was just a scratch.

And one final point for the day. I’ve been thinking lately of how big of a joke the acquisition of Podsednik seemed. And, wow, what a lifesaving move! Not only did he come in handy when Wise and Quentin went down, but he’s been doing a great job and really did become the answer to the outfield problem.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vast Improvements, Minor Moves

What a turnaround! The Sox are still playing under .500, but they are now just half a game out of 2nd place in the division. Not just that, but the gap of runs scored vs. runs scored against has narrowed to just 19 runs! These last few high-scoring games have really been a morale booster for Sox fans- and, I can only imagine, Sox players themselves. After what seemed like a hopeless few weeks, the Sox are now 7-3 in their last 10 games. And get this: of today’s 11 runs, only one was scored on a home run- a solo shot by Jermaine Dye. Did Kenny & Ozzie’s plan finally start to work?

Well, for one, it helps that Alexei is back in shape. He went 3 for 6 today with two RBI. His AVG has improved to .250 from .215 just 10 games ago. He is hitting .279 in May. Jim Thome is also doing better than his overall stats would have you believing. He is hitting .282 in May with 8 RBI in the last 10 games. Still, tied for most valuable players, are Dye and Konerko, who have driven in 33 runs.

It is a sad day for the Sox, as we finally admitted defeat and put TCQ on the DL. He had 20 RBI in just 38 games this year. Wise made his White Sox re-debut today. Can’t say I’ve missed The Rock much, what with being distracted by Scotty Pods and all…

In other news, Lance Broadway was traded to the Mets for a backup catcher. The guy doesn’t seem too spectacular, but the rate of caught base stealers seemed to attract the Sox. Sorry, Corky… Perhaps Lancelot will find success in the National League.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pitching: So easy, a caveman can do it

+1 RBI for Konerko. All other bats silent. This seems to be the story of the White Sox. It was also the story of the Sox for the majority of the first half of the 2008 season. Good pitching (3 runs over 8 innings, adding up to an 8-strike-out complete game? Not too shabby, Gavin Floyd!) and little to no run support. So, that’s that, what can I add to it? At least the Sox won the series.

On that note, let’s talk about Gavin Floyd. And how Ozzie thinks he is a man now. Well… that’s lovely and all, but I think that if they have been treating him like a kid so far, that right there is their problem. Oh, poor Gavin, he does crossword puzzles and this is only his 2nd year as a proven starting pitcher… Now excuse him while he uses his curveball to embarrass some veterans who dare challenge him while he is on the mound.

As for the opposing pitcher, Weaver, Ozzie had some words:

“He throw the ball good. He throw the ball real good," said Guillen of Weaver.
"He throw big pitches.”

Ozzie then proceeded to adjust his loincloth, beat his wife over the head with a wooden club, exited his cave, and pursued a mammoth for the family’s dinner, all the while making sure the fire stayed lit so that the sabertooth tigers wouldn’t attack his cave drawings.

What we saw a lot of this series is Jayson Nix. His first 2-homer game in the MLB brought the Sox a win when he took over for Getz on Tuesday. He took over for Fields Wednesday, in what I thought was a surprising move. I mean… thank the baseball gods it wasn’t Betemit, but I really didn’t think they would ever put Nix on 3rd. I guess this comes as a message to Fields whose batting average is an embarrassing .229 and who is the owner of several sombreros made of various precious metals.

To add to the pressure being put on Fields, Beckham has just been promoted to AAA. Now, this, to me, is not as big of a deal as everyone seems to think it is. I mean, he’s matured, and they were talking about him starting in Chicago as early as spring training, so he should at least be in Charlotte. Relax, Josh Fields. But it wouldn’t hurt you if you pounded some baseballs every now and then.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Choose WISE-ly

I noticed an article on the Sox front page today saying Dewayne Wise will soon be starting his rehab assignment. Dewayne who? Oh yeah! Dewayne ‘The Rock’ Wise, who had the starting center fielder role at the beginning of this season. Right, right. Do you remember him? Do you even remember how he got injured? Something about diving and pulling a shoulder in the name of the team. Of course. Now I remember.

Well, in the meantime, there was Brian Anderson (whose batting average is second-highest on the team- the tallest midget if you will) and whose stellar defense was cut short when a strained oblique sidelined him in his prime- for the time being, of course. Then, there was Scott Podsednik. Everyone thought bringing him back was a joke, that he no longer had what he did back in ’05, etc. And here WE are, back to Spring Training, it seems.

So is there room for Dewayne Wise? I almost said, “Sure,” remembering how just a few games ago, Brent Lillibridge was straining his noodle arms to get a ball back to the infield. Carlos Quentin has issues, Brian Anderson was out, Wise was gone. But soon, when both Anderson and Wise are ready to play and the outfield seems to be, once again, much like spring training, overcrowded, who will be the odd man out? Pods? Anderson? Wise? Thome? We can only pray that it’s Wilson Betemit, but he’s not really an option.

Well, in giving the job back to Wise, you lose Pods’s speed. Sure, he’s not 22 anymore. And Brian Anderson is a hell of a runner. Heck, even Wise (at the advanced age of 31) can steal bases. But they are not Scotty Pods. He’s had about 3 infield singles this year. The rest of these guys have probably had 3 combined in the past 3 years. Maybe. Then there’s Anderson’s glove. Sure, Wise hurt himself making a spectacular catch, but he’s a distant second to Anderson. Or perhaps third.

What is there to gain? The possibility of the Dewayne Wise that made an impact last year. On occasion. Not leading off. In limited at-bats.

I am, once again, at a loss. This seems to be a lose-lose situation. If you were Ozzie, who would be your choice?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pirate Noodle Soup

The Sox offense is still not on my good side. Of the 3 runs that scored today, 2 were knocked in by Brian Anderson on a homer, and one was scored by Anderson again. It would be encouraging if things would start to click, or if the order was just right, but it seems as if the Sox are getting lucky with infield singles.

It was Bobby Jenks who was the big surprise today, giving up two runs in the 9th inning, to bring the game from 3-2 in the Sox’ favor, to a discouraging 4-3 Pirates. Sure, Dotel and Mark Buehrle gave up a run each, but Jenks blew the save, giving the fans something to frown at.
As for yesterday, Alexei homered for the second consecutive day. Is he getting his swing back, or is the supposed laughability of national league pitching that is to thank? And then, there was Clayton Richard. He pitched something like 6 scoreless innings. Sure, I was constantly afraid that he would run out of gas, and, sure, he seemed to use nothing but his fastball. Maybe that’s the reason that his stamina dwindles quickly? Then again, what do I know about the mechanics of pitching?

Since there isn’t much to cover other than pitching, let me turn the question around to you, the reader. Were Alexei and Clayton Richard’s successes against the Pirates earned by talent/hard work/etc or was it just a case of crappy NL pitching/hitting?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

He's back! Gavin Floyd to the rescue!

The Sox offense is still discouraging, but I do have some great news: He’s back! THE GAVIN FLOYD is back! Gavin Floyd was throwing himself a no-hitter into the 5th. Sure, that may not seem like THAT big of a deal, but 8 innings of scoreless ball means that he is back in shape after being roughed up (to put it kindly) in his last couple of outings.

Other than that, what is there to mention? JD’s grand slam? Well, it’s there. Part of a 7-run inning which gave the Sox and John Danks a victory. Otherwise, 7 half innings of no runs produced. I think the order is what is hurting the Sox, but hey… I’m not Ozzie.

Jake Peavy needs to be mentioned. Question: who was Kenny going to trade and why did anyone think this was a viable option? I’m not sure why, but this situation reminds me very much of last year, when the fans were screaming, “Trade Konerko!”

Oh, then there was yesterday’s game. The Sox lost 20-1. Embarrassment ensued. What I really took from the whole situation was disappointment in Lance Broadway, who I had such high hopes for. (Well, by high hopes, I mean that I always thought he was less awful than everyone made him out to be. The 2009 Brian Anderson, if you will.) Ah, well.

That’s all I have for now. I obviously lied last time about the more consistent posts, but I’ll work on it, I promise.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blame it on the Economy?

Riddle me this: Who is the starting pitcher (Grandpa Jo excluded) with the highest ERA, yet simultaneously the most innings pitched? Could it be the same guy that has the most strike outs for the year? Or the guy that’s given the most walks? Yeah, all those people are Gavin Floyd. Gripes about what he’s doing to my fantasy team aside, he’s been giving up runs like they were going out of style. I don’t know… That’s all I got.

Carlos Quentin is experiencing soreness in his left heel (which is why he was scratched from the game against the Indians). I’m not sure where the soreness is coming from, but that’s not good news. The outfield is patchy enough as it is, don’t we agree? The lineup is pretty patchy, too. There’s just something wrong with the order. Betemit’s continuing presence, for one.

D.J. Carrasco seems to be back in shape. That’s good news, because I have a feeling plenty of games for the Sox will turn into bullpen games. Like I said, Clayton Richard is long relief. Yes, he was amazing against the Yankees that one time, but 4 innings of work at a time does not add up to being a starting pitcher.

In the tradition I have now started of being too disappointed to write an actual post, a big nonsensical paragraph shall ensue. Scotty Pods’s wife’s uterus? Pretty bad timing. Just kidding, congratulations on the new baby. Brent Lillibridge: Why not as close to the 9 spot as possible? Chris Getz is slowly but surely morphing into Joe Crede. On the field, not at bat. That’s a good thing. Here’s a thought: Alexei Ramirez in center field. Since Nix hasn’t played in CF, why not let Ramirez do it for awhile? Can’t be worse than Lillibridge at bat, can he? Always a good sign: D.J. Carrasco already warming up in the ‘pen in the 3rd inning. Fields is adding to his collection of sombreros again. And next time, just so we don’t waste precious air time, let’s just give the win to Cliff Lee. Sure, he was 1-5, but that’s never stopped the Sox from inflating anyone’s ego before. This was the Sox’s 6th shut-out this year. Niice.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pitching Woes and Wows

Mark Buehrle, still the most solid pitcher in our rotation flirted with a no-hitter. The Sox won the game 6-0 before losing 6-0 to the Rangers the next day. It was Jose Contreras’s “last chance” to prove that he deserves his rotation spot, and he sure blew it. Sure, the offense wasn’t much help, but Contreras has lost again and again. It’s just painful to watch him pitch. His face just reads “God, I don’t know how I’m going to get through this next pitch. Oh, please let this game be over.” I’m not one to endorse Ozzie’s “I don’t like his attitude” shpeal that he gives everyone, but… he sure won’t win with that attitude. Or with just one pitch.

So, that leaves a rotation spot open once again. Clayton Richard will get the nod, but I still think he’s just better at long relief. D.J. Carrasco might be an option. Lance Broadway is always overlooked, but I think he would do an adequate job. There are options in the minors (This Carlos Torres fella is lookin’ pretty good, whoever he is), of course, but what the Sox need is an outside solution. And, more importantly, the means to acquire this outside solution.

In other news, Scotty Pods is fitting in pretty well with the new Sox. He’s been hitting adequately when compared to his peers. He’s a definitely upgrade from Lillibridge who does not look major league ready. And, no, that was not a joke about the fact that he looks like he’s about 12 years old. Although, if you’re looking for one, think of something along the lines of the Sox breaking child labor laws and something about getting so desperate they’re using a bat boy. “Ba-dum-chhh!”

On the flip side, you have Bartolo Colon. Sure, he still looks a couple of donuts short of his knees failing and, sure, he doesn’t have a perfect record, but he looked a lot more commanding in his start against the Rangers than Grandpa Jo. For the first couple of innings, I really thought we had a shot. Now, when he was replaced by Clayton Richard, I had to shake my head in confusion. After all, didn’t Chuck Garfein just tell me he was starting Wednesday? I guess throwing a few pitches never hurt anyone.

Random notes and nonsensical things: I hate any day of which Betemit is part of. Lance Broadway is being judged as a whole based on his performance as a reliever and I don’t like it one bit. The Rangers had absolutely no reason to pummel the amount of players they did. I miss Brian Anderson’s defense.

I promise my posts will get more consistent as the season goes on, but things are a little crazy and I always get cranky when I have to sit down and write about a loss. Can you blame me?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sox On Health and Playing Slump

I’m sure everyone that doesn’t live under a rock has seen the scene in “I Love Lucy” where [Lucy is working at the candy factory.] Well, this isn’t a candy factory, but I get the same overwhelming feeling watching the Sox newsreel.

First, Thome gets injured. Which is fine, because we’ve got a team full of designated hitters. Let the Kaptain take it and put some utility guy on first. Then Getz has a fractured finger, and we have to throw Lillibridge in the mix. Then, Brian Anderson pulls an oblique and Jermaine Dye gets hit in the hand and suddenly, you realize that having 8 outfielders in your system isn’t so redundant anymore. Poor Carlos Quentin must’ve felt ridiculous in an outfield comprised of himself, Lillibridge, and Scott Podsednik. By the time Josh Fields was hit by a pitch, I figured I was either dreaming or the Sox were in a real pickle (to say the least).

Well, in case you missed it, or were too depressed to keep watching the Sox rollercoaster this past week, Chris Getz and Thome are back. But I don’t expect them to be in top form just yet. Scotty Pods has taken over for Anderson, but… his only 2 hits were in his first game, and I expect those to be fully based on adrenaline of being back in the majors. Josh Fields didn’t come out of the game after being hit in the hand, but… he didn’t contribute much, either. He’s not expected to start against the Royals. And in old injury news, just because Contreras is healthy, it doesn’t mean he’s any good. Other than A.J. Pierzynski’s grand slam, there’s nothing good worth mentioning.

If you were listening to the announcers yesterday, you may have heard them quoting Kenny Williams as saying something along of lines of, “I’m sick of winning by 10 points one day, and losing 2-1 the next.” Is that going to be the curse of the White Sox again this year?