Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Slumping O's Meet Slumping Contreras

Nothing can make a slumping team feel better than a pitcher who is struggling. Grandpa Jose took the mound yesterday, in full grandfather attire. While the announcers felt Contreras looked good, he just couldn’t get control of the ball, well… I just think that means he wasn’t looking good. Something like 6 men walked, millions of base hits, etc.

The most I can say about that is, “Eh,” and move on to better news. Alexei Ramirez had the most hits today. Though one was an accident because the O’s third baseman was about as good as defense as I am, and although he swung through quite a few pitches, at least there’s still the possibility. In even better news, Chris Getz! Remember how I said there was something about his mannerisms on second base that reminded me of Joe Crede? Well, after a diving catch, the similarities have multiplied. Getz is continuing to do well, as he got on base twice yesterday.

Sure, yesterday’s 10-3 loss was embarrassing, but the Sox are still 4-3 on the roadtrip, and they’re still keeping up with their division. Someone had to stop the O’s 5-game skid. And who better than Grandpa Jo? Danks is up tonight, giving the Sox another chance to pick up a win.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Offense on the Offensive: Sox - Rays 4/19

Small ball lives? Perhaps I was wrong when I said “Ozzie ball” should be redefined. Maybe this year will mean the return of grindyness. I was confused to see Lillibridge play two days in a row, and even more confused to see Betemit on the roster instead of Fields. Alas, here it was. A game full of youngsters. And the result? A dominant 12-2 win over the Rays. Yes, the same Rays that made the Sox rue the day Tropicana Field was erected. The same Rays that made Ozzie go on a rant so terrifying, Harold Baines spoke 3 words! Well, maybe not that terrifying. Regardless, the Sox dominated.

Thought Gavin Floyd couldn’t keep the Rays hitless, (Which is really hurting my fantasy baseball team. To be honest, when it comes to stats, he hasn’t helped me much at all this year.) he held them to just two runs. In other ‘good pitching’ news, D.J. Carrasco didn’t blow the game, and looks like he might not have a completely awful year.

More worrisome is Alexei Ramirez. The Cuban Missile had the day off, and for good reason. Hitting .125 isn’t something to be proud of when even the likes of Anderson are hitting .273. He says he’s been watching videos from last year, trying to make adjustments. What I wonder is if it’s just the cold (before he took over for an injured Juan Uribe last year, he was hitting shy of the .200 mark), just him needing to get back in the groove, or if something has changed. We can let that question simmer for awhile, and in the meantime look at someone who is not slumping.

Take Carlos Quentin. He hit his 7th home run of the season. Joe Cowley twitter-ed: “It took Quentin 25 games last season to reach seven homers. He's done it in 12 games this year.” Or Jermaine Dye. He may be old, but he’s hitting .370 with 4 home runs. Closely behind is the Kaptain, hitting at .341 with 3 homers. All the “big boppers” wouldn’t do much if it wasn’t for all these fellas getting on base. Heck, even though he picked up no RBIs, Brian Anderson got on base 3 out of 5 times. And in case you were wondering, he is hitting .273.

So, there you have it. The good, and the bad. Now, my only hope is that Chris Getz starts doing some solid hitting (hey, he’s not doing to badly so far, just nothing to be too proud of) and that whoever is in center field brings something to the plate- er… table.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

White Sox Re-Sign Scott Podsednik

It’s official, it is 2005 again. At least, if you ask Bartolo Colon Scott Podsednik. Yes, folks, you read that correctly. Scotty Pods, the big 22 is back with the Sox. Will Josh Fields do the noble things and give up his jersey number? Will this increase the female demographic at White Sox games? Will Scott even make it to the big show, or will he simply replace Jerry Owens? After all, all he signed was a minor league contract. If his job really is just to keep center field warm while Owens is playing with the big boys, why go out of the organization to sign a brand new farm hand? To be honest, I am still scratching my head, but let’s try to figure this out together. After all, he's just so darn cute...

Facts on the Sox’ end: Starting center fielder (Dewayne Wise) is out with an injury, Brian Anderson is inconsistent at bat, and Jerry Owens can steal bases but do not much else. Thus far, it is understandable why KW would bring in help.

Facts on Scotty Pods: Played only 93 games last year, and 62 the year before. Batted .253 last year. Hit .240 in 50 at bats this spring. Numbers not looking good? Still confused? Perhaps I can shed some light on that: 2005!

And speaking of head scratchers… The Yankees, famous for signing big league money vacuum CC Sabathia, let none other than ex-White Sock [Nick Swisher take over as a relief pitcher for the whole of the 8th inning on Monday]. Seriously.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Extra! Extra! Tigers Allow 300 Home Runs! Twice!

The good news about our team is that the rest of our division is awful. It took the Indians 6 games to finally get a win. The Twins are probably considerably hurt without Mauer. As for the Tigers, they let us get away with 10 runs on their home turf (not to mention the ever-so-meaningful-at-this-point division lead).

I wouldn’t say Gavin Floyd having a bad day is bad news, because he often had a case of the MacDougals last year. When he’s wild, he’s wild. A bad day is a bad day. But 7walks? That’s something. Thankfully, the bats (or the opposing pitcher) backed him up, and he somehow still picked up the win. Also miraculous is that DJ Carrasco earned no runs despite loading the bases. I remember back in the day when DJ Carrasco was great in long relief.

Must be mentioned: the Kaptain and Dye joined the 300 HR club today. Combined, they went 7 for 10 with 5 RBI. If you throw Carlos Quentin in the mix, that adds up to 10 for 15 with 4 home runs and 9 RBI. Maybe Ozzie Ball will be redefined as “winning by the home run” and Ozzie will no longer be in denial about the possibility of our team doing “the little things.” Just sayin’…

And on a side/sad note… Here’s a good way to deliver bad news: tell us about Dewayne Wises’s separated shoulder -WHILE- Josh Fields threw away a throw from Brian Anderson that otherwise would have kept the runner from scoring a triple. Both parts of the statement leave BA smelling like roses.

And speaking of Brian Anderson, he walked on 8 back to back balls in his only at-bats of the day. And he was 2 for 2 in stolen bases in said plate appearances. Hopefully, he can continue contributing this way for the time it will take Dewayne to get back in shape. Rumors are that someone else will be brought up from Charlotte. Paging Jerry Owens? Or perhaps Kroeger will be the more likely candidate. More on this tomorrow, as John Danks takes the mound.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sox Win Double Over Twins

It was an uphill climb for the Sox. To get to today, they had to get over a painful encounter with the Royals despite a pitching gem from John Danks. The Sox had to play the Twins without their foolproof weapon: Joe Crede. To add insult to injury, said weapon was playing for the Twins. Then, there were Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon, making their debuts on the mound for the 2009 regular season. Would the Sox bats come alive? Would the pitching hold up?

Well, as for Joe Crede, he didn’t do much damage after his confusing first at-bat. After what was a moving tribute to Crede, in the form of a tribute video, fans cheered for Crede when he came to bat, only to hit a solo home run to open the score against the Sox and Jose Contreras. Things only got worse from there for the sox, who were forced to watch 12 runs cross the plate, while they only scored 5. Sure, it’s a miracle that Jose Contreras is back from his injury, but his pitching hasn’t gotten miraculously better.

A man who surprised me was Bartolo Colon who was a great part of the reason that the Sox were able to win 8-0 over the Twins. Is there still hope for the Sox rotation this year?

Then, there was today’s game. Mark Buehrle seemed to be back on track, and with a few lucky breaks, the Sox were victorious over the Twins.

Good news? The Sox [seemed to have found their offense]. The bad news? None of these good eggs seem to do well as leadoff. The Wise experiment ended quickly, and it may seem as if Chris Getz’s efforts as a leadoff man are about to come to an unsuccessful end. More good news? Josh Fields continues to hit balls with a vengeance. Continued bad news? Chris Getz got hit by a pitch and was taken out of the game today. While it doesn’t seem like a big deal, isn’t that how he broke his arm last year at Charlotte? Knock on wood with me, please.

So, the Sox are finished with their homestand with a 3-3 record. The pitching (Grandpa Jose excluded, of course) is great, the offense may be getting there. It seems like this train isn’t head for a big wreck just yet.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Strong Pitching, Weak Hitting for the Sox

Well, the Opening Day excitement has worn off and I am not longer excited about the Sox out of pure joy for the start of baseball season. After allowing the Royals to win on the Sox’s perfectly-manicured turf while the Sox avoided base hits like the plague, I’m back to being objective.

The great news is that Gavin Floyd is the same Gavin Floyd from last year. The bad news is that the Sox offense is still the same Sox offense from last year. After 9 painful innings, and just 3 hits, the Sox finally admitted defeat, losing 2-0 to the Royals. The Royals’ little pitcher guy might look young, and he might be young, but he’s pretty darn good. That or the Sox had another case of the UnWise Leadoff Man or something clever along those lines.

The truth is that to the dismay of the booing crowd, Wise is still something like 0-for-8 with 4 K’s. This is like the Minnesota series of last year all over again. In the meantime, there were a total of 13 K’s handed out by our team, 9 of which belonged to Gavin Floyd. That, to me, is pretty impressive. Equally great were Matt Thornton and Scott Linebrink’s performances today.

And from the good to the bizarre, more erratic pitches were thrown today. After Buehrle hit two yesterday, Carlos Quentin’s head was almost taken off before being pummeled by a ball “just below the Q” at the hand of Greinke. What is it with these two teams and the constant desire to pummel each other?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Let's O.D. on White Sox Opening Day

I think everyone is as high on this Opening Day as I am. The 2009 baseball season for the Sox started the same way the 2008 season ended: with a big blast by Jim Thome. In fact, not much has changed from the 2008 season. Chris Getz is the only new name in the lineup. Also familiar was the same ol’ “it takes 4 hits to scored 1 run” situation.

Speaking of “same ol’ same ol’,” the Royals were back in town. Back to seeing my “favorite” player Mike Teahen. For some inexplicable reason, I still hate him. And I still like Alex Gordon, even though he opened the score by hitting a homer off Buehrle.

Buehrle wasn’t doing too hot today. Although he held the Royals to just 2 runs, his pitch count got awfully high awfully fast, and he had an awful lot of balls and a couple of hit by pitches (Of course, it was just last year that the Sox and Royals got in a full-on brawl, so... maybe this is a residue of that? Hooray for conspiracy theories). The good news? He got out of a trouble plenty of times, and Clayton Richard still looks good. I’m glad to see him as a reliever.

Speaking of awful; Dewayne “The Rock” Wise leading off. I’ve gotten over my initial dislike of Dewayne Wise after he had some pretty useful moments last season. However, as a leadoff hitter, I don’t buy it. Sure, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s only day one. But, I assume this experiment will run its course soon enough or we are looking at a situation as ugly as Bobby Jenks’s returning goatee.

Overall, it was great to be back to baseball, and I’m looking forward to the season. Of course, we haven’t seen Contreras and Colon yet, but for now… let’s just enjoy the 4-2 victory over the Royals. And just ‘cause I’ve always wanted to say it,