Friday, July 31, 2009

The Trade Ninja Strikes Again: Peavy to White Sox

Jake Peavy to the White Sox! Let me tell ya, I’ve heard this story before. And then the big dragon came, but the knight saved the princess, we lived happily ever after, and I went to sleep. But it’s not a work of fiction this time. The Sox shipped off Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Adam Russell, and Dexter Carter to the Padres in exchange for the 28-year-old righty. The trade ninja strikes again! Who would have expected a trade that was already on the table and rejected? NO ONE! So, in a hap-hazard, quickly put together update, let's analyze this puppy!

Anyway, what does this mean? Well, assuming rehab (which, according to Kenny Williams, Peavy is starting around the 13th-15th of August) goes well, the Sox add an ace to their staff. Sure, it’s a little silly that Peavy already said no to this deal once and we could have had him on our staff a month ago, but it could be worth the wait.

It also means the Sox lose two lefties. Clayton Richard (probably the focal point of this trade from the Padres' point of view) has had his ups and downs, but after 2 great starts, his stock is at an all-time high, so it was the right time to trade. He leaves the Sox with a 4.65 ERA (pretty decent) and a 4-3 record. With continued coaching, he could do great things, relying on his well-located fastball. Fans will remember his broad shoulders, his pained grimace, and his fielding errors. Farewell, Clay Rich!

Aaron Poreda showed potential in the bullpen this year. He went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 10 relief appearances with the White Sox before being optioned to Charlotte on the 21st. Also, he was doing quite well as a starting pitcher in the minors last year. It will be up to the Padres to find out whether or not he has what it takes as a starter in the majors.

Adam Russell went into hiding last year after a rollercoaster of relief outings. Fans will remember him for… umm… being really, really tall.

Dexter Carter… well, to be honest, I don’t know much about him other than the blurbs posted on the Sox website.

1 for the price of 4. It hardly seems fair, but that’s the name of the game when you are looking for something to make up for the frequent incompetence of the pitchers at the end of the rotation.

In the meanwhile, D.J. Carrasco will get the start against the Yankees tonight. More than anything, I am fascinated to see how this will play out. Carrasco showed to be fantastic in long relief last year when Jose Contreras had to leave the game after just an inning or so. If he’s properly rested (he hasn’t pitched in 3 days, which shouldn’t be TOO awful since that makes it less than 2 innings of work over the last week), he could really give the chance to score. Of course, there isn’t much left in the bullpen to back him up, but we will have to see how the events pan out.

Game Winning Errors

Just when I thought the Sox were headed for a destiny similar to that of the Royals and Indians, they went and surprised me. Well… I wasn’t really surprised to see an excellent outing by Gavin Floyd. Or low run production. But I was surprised to see a win against the Yankees- and that’s what the Sox got. Of course, it was mostly in part to bad fielding by the Yanks, but... it happened.

Gavin Floyd gave up just one run over 6 innings and 2 outs. That alone makes me happy. That sentence probably has dual meanings. ( 1. That a successful outing is enough to make me happy and 2. I had nothing else to be happy about) He had good control of his curveball and he was using it to the point where I just felt bad for the batters. Swisher shook his head at a couple, knowing that they were strikes and that there was nothing he could do with them.

Nick Swisher made his return on the South Side today. I was hoping to send him back to New York crying. My wish was THIS CLOSE to coming true. He struck out 3 times, and 2 of those were the [bat-on-shoulder] kind. The fourth time, he made contact with a Thornton fastball and hit it out of the park to tie the game. Oh well.

Speaking of Thornton, he was allowed to close today since Bobby Jenks was out with kidney stones. I was making some clever comment about Ozzie learning from his mistakes and doing the right thing to win the game (that is, not putting a struggling Jenks out there with a game on the line) when the news trickled in that he wasn’t even in the ballpark. I guess I underestimated Ozzie’s pride. Who knows how things would have played out had Jenks been in the vicinity.

Which brings me to my next point: multiple innings of work. Thornton gets rusty when he’s overused, but I don’t see why Bobby at his best isn’t used for more than one inning. He can do it. Why not let him? I guess I’ve just meant to touch on that for a long time, but it’s as good time as any to mention it. I’ll go into more detail at another time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Door Hits Sox On The Way Out of Dome

In case you don’t follow my Twitter feed, I’ve been skeptically taking notes of the game. Well, what can ya say? Contreras did a fair job. The Sox still got swept by the Twinkies, though.
More bad news. After TCQ- Oh, I’m sorry. You may have forgotten who that is. That used to stand for THE Carlos Quentin, who was on track to be the AL MVP after leading the team in home runs. Where did that guy go? Well, he was on the DL for most of this season. Anyway, he’s back and he hit his first home run since April 29th today. Anyway, so after hitting his home run, he limped around the bases. He was back, but that can’t be a good sign.

And speaking of limping away, Alexei twisted his ankle. He will have X-Rays tomorrow, but the diagnosis is a sprained ankle. That doesn’t sound too bad, if Jayson Nix can keep doing what he did today. He was responsible for the other White Sox run with a homer of his own.

In conclusion, as we head into the series w the Yankees, I leave you with the best of my Twitter notes from today:
  1. I'm half-expecting Kenny to trade for Griffey!
  2. Randy Williams comes in and gets the last out. In the meanwhile, viewers at home get to see his overall terrible stats.
  3. Just had a flashback to, "Dye with the catch, Swisher with the worm, I can't stand it!" The defense sure is trying!
  4. Gomez & Punto could win the "Most Hustle While Grounding Out" award. It's nice that they bat back-to-back, so the jokes are close together.
  5. Hawk about Carlos Gomez: "Is he a hot dog? I don't know."

More Doom at the Dome

Well, now that Brian Anderson is on the BoSox, what will Chicago do without its big-eared mascot? Rely on Dewayne Wise? Lose to the Twins because of two consecutive days of lazy defense? Yup. That’s exactly it.

Mark Buehrle made history again today, setting the record for most players retired in a row: 45. Of course, after an inning and a third of no hits, walks, or errors, things went to hell. The Sox could only score one run up until the 9th. They came up with two more in the 9th, but the Twins had already piranha’d their way to a 5-3 lead.

But the big news here is that Bartolo Colon is back on the bench because of some elbow soreness or something.

In the meantime, if you’re bored, check out more of my “expertise” over at Mark’s [Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove.]

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Long List of Complaints. And Some News

You know what really grinds my gears? Any game that is on 2 or more channels while the Sox get TV time on WCIU. WCIU. I figure that’s WGN’s bastard child, to whom they pass on the rights to the game. Problem with that is that it only broadcasts in Chicago. Got forbid you’re south of Cook County, and no game for you. Thus, plus a game or two on CSN+ is why I missed all but one game of the Detroit series. And today’s game. Apparently there were scuffles and 3 errors. I’ll blame me missing out on all this good stuff on the Cubs.

BUT, I did see yesterday’s game. And what can I say about Clayton Richard? Since he’s been back from the All-Star break, he’s pitched TWO games where he’s lasted 8 innings. WOW. Both games, he only allowed one run. So, what does that mean? Colon is back from the minors (he allowed 3 runs in his start, which was… decent) and Garcia will start throwing soon. So, is Richard headed to the bullpen? Not after last night’s performance, right? [The Sox Machine might have the answer.]

In other news, Beckham has started hitting for power. He’s had a couple of homers in the past couple of days, and he is batting in the upper .290s

Mark Buehrle was named AL Player of the Week after his PERFECT GAME.

Finally, I would like to rant about Dewayne Wise. You may have noticed that Wise started both games in the double header against Detroit. You may have also noticed that his catch was on TV quite a lot. And let me tell you something: I would really like it if everyone stopped tooting his horn! The only reason he was in was because Ozzie didn’t want to overplay Quentin. The only time Wise was a defensive upgrade was back when we had Grandpa Griffey in the outfield. Scotty is no grandpa. Plus, who’s to say that Scott Podsednik wouldn’t have made that catch because he would have played deeper in CF or something… Alright, that is all. Agree? Disagree?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Buehrle is Perfect, First Place, First Fan

Two guys that are crying their eyes out today: Josh Fields and Brian Anderson. Brian Anderson had to watch [ Dewayne Wise get the credit for robbing the Rays’ Kapler of a home run ] as he has to play in Charlotte and pray for a trade so he can be a starting center fielder anywhere. The other guy crying his eyes out, Josh Fields, is running out of Kleenex because he hit a grand slam that got all of 5 seconds of coverage. “Hey guys, I did stuff, too!” As Bill Melton and Chuck Garfein said today, “Josh Fields had a grand slam today.” “Yeah, but we didn’t even need it.”

But, seriously! Today is a day for the White Sox history books. [ Mark Buehrle pitched his second career no hitter ] (the first guy to do that since like 1908) and the first White Sox perfect game since 1922. It was around the 5th that I realized that it was happening. And there were a few close calls. But, congratulations to Mark Buehrle! Finally, the Sox will get some time in the highlights. At least one guy appreciates what the Sox are doing: [ Barack Obama, who dragged Buehrle away from his post-game interview to congratulate him over the phone. ]

After today, the Sox are tied for first place with the Tigers. While this is exciting news, the Sox are headed for a road trip against the Tigers (including a double-header) and one against the Twins before coming home to play the Yanks. It’ll be a difficult couple of weeks, but the Sox have restored hope to the fans.

Speaking of restorations, Bartolo Colon will be brought up from the Minors to pitch against the Tigers tomorrow. No spectacular news has come from the minors about him, but we can only hope he can keep us in the game.

And now, a time for national recognition!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Roster Moves and Updates

I just wanted to start off by apologizing for my lack of internet over the past few weeks. I will be back to regular updates soon. My, a lot has changed!

As if I knew, he would be starting for the Sox (Danks will be out with a blister on his finger), I began to write today: “Who is Carlos Torres? He is currently sporting a 2.20 ERA in Charlotte in over 90 innings pitched. I’ll do my research, but that may be the answer to the Colo/Richard dilemma.” The dilemma being that both have let the team down. Richard really needs to be able to work more than 4 innings, and Colon… well, I don’t know that much about him. But Richard… I’m assuming gets tired because he throws too fast. He’s mostly a fastball pitcher, and he’s been throwing more heat than the scout report out of Charlotte last year would have led us to believe.

Speaking of Charlotte, that is Brian Anderson’s new home. After starting the season with a high near-.280 AVG, Brian was stuck in the Wise/Anderson tradeoff game and his average began to fall. Now that Carlos Quentin is back and Scotty Pods is still doing very well, I don’t mind that Anderson isn’t getting plate time. Anything but Wise as an everyday center fielder is fine by me. I mean, Anderson was sort of a bust, but isn’t Wise hitting somewhere below .200? Maybe I don’t understand baseball as well as I say I do, but… isn’t that bad? That’s what I thought. It has something to do with waivers and all, but I’m still a bit shocked to see Anderson go.

And, yes, I mentioned Quentin in passing, but let’s revisit that. I am so glad to have him back! Do we remember how wonderful he was last year? I hope he still has some of that power and he’s not too out of practice at the plate. He was hitting .373 in 12 games in Charlotte.

Thome was Player of the Week, which I’m happy to report. Who says old people don’t get it done? He, Konerko, and JD have been really taking care of business this year.

As for today’s game, Richard seemed to finally redeem himself. He pitched 8 innings (that’s gotta be some sort of record, right?) with 7 strike-outs on 116 pitches. Bless his heart, he did really wanted to keep his job. And he did a good job, considering the Sox were having a hard time scoring. Quentin was right back to where he left off: the place in the batter’s box where he is prone to being hit by pitches. Bobby Jenks continues his streak of awful outings. After nearly giving up the lead yesterday, he started today with a base hit and a HBP. A base hit loaded the bases with no outs and a walk tied the game. A flyout scored a run, followed by a walk. A groundout ended the inning, but why? On to better news, Gordon Beckham is batting over .300.

MERCY! Gordon Beckham is really getting comfortable in the bigs. If only he could get comfortable on third, he’d be golden.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weekly Update

Pretty useless, actually. 25 RBI, one less than Josh Fields. Also, only hitting .250 against lefties. .214 with RISP. Yup, that’s A.J. Pierzynski. His average is pretty high, but it’s not really helping anyone but him.

Gordon Beckham is really starting to hit. 3 home runs and ALREADY 18 RBI. If he pulls it together on 3rd base, Joe Crede is in danger of being forgotten. (Speaking of Crede, he has 36 RBI and 12 home runs with the Twins this year.)

Paul Konerko hit 3 home runs in yesterday’s game. Of these 3, one was a grand slam. Of course, it was off that guy that hit Alexei in the head and Jermaine in the head, so it’s not the greatest of feats. Nevertheless, nice job buddy!

The Sox acquired Tony Pena from the D-Backs in exchange for Brandon Allen. Gobble was sent back and I am confused. Hopefully, this means that someone is going to do something about Clayton Richard. I think it’s time for this experiment to be over.

Mark Buehrle was selected for the All-Star Game. Congrats to him. Wish he had more time off, though…

In the meantime, the Sox put together a 7-game hitting streak, swept the Indians, and nudged their way to 4 games past .500 and just 2 games out of second place.

That’s about all I have. I apologize for the lack of updates. I have been sans internet access for about a week and I have probably another week of this ahead, so this is the best I can do. I hope everyone had a safe 4th of July.