Tuesday, June 30, 2009
But what about tomorrow? Clayton Richard v. Cliff Lee.
Now, Lee seems to be struggling a bit this year. He’s 4-6 on the season, so that’s not too scary, right? Uh… yeah. We all know the Sox struggle with Cliff Lee. His ERA is still a very solid 2.92. And Clayton Richard is just a hot mess this year. His ERA is at 4.33, but he is still having issues past the 4th inning.
There is hope, however. Today’s hits game mostly from Getz (Carl Getz), and Beckham. It seems there is some method to the madness. The youth movement seems to be working.
Other news and notes: players being hit by a pitch are not fun. Alexei, Konerko, Dye, and Wise, are among the players that were hit over the last few games. Imagine how much worse it would have been if Carlos Quentin was around.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
“I never criticize my players for making errors on the field, I never will,”
Ozzie said. “But when you make a lazy error, that really (ticks) me off.”“I
thought he was a better shortstop than me,” Ozzie said. “I made a big mistake
when I said in January he's going to be a better shortstop than Ozzie Guillen. I
never thought I was that bad.”
Personally, I think Ozzie was way too harsh, and Chuck Garfein was way off line saying he may not even be in the lineup tomorrow.
Yes, it’s true that his errors cost the team 5 innings and because of him, the entire bullpen was used. But you can’t bit your nose to spite your face. Taking Ramirez out of the lineup against the Cubs would mean-what?- replacing him with Nix? He’s a potential offensive boost that you can’t go without.
In other news, Aaron Poreda has done well in a couple of high-pressure situations. Today, in particular. He picked up his first major league win because he managed to hold the score while the Sox worked their way out of a 14-inning 5-5 tie.
Josh Fields hit 2 home runs yesterday. He earned a start. Then, nothing. I mean… a walk. Konerko hit his 3rd homer of the series today. And AJ hit his 8th homer of the year. He’s already 5 shy of last year’s total.
The Sox are 7-3 in their last 10 games and just 2 games under .500. Sure, they’re 6 games out of first place, but they beat the Dodgers. Let me enjoy it.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
1. I nearly lost it yesterday listening to Hawk speaking about the Civil Rights game. Said Hawk, “Back then, we used to call Afrian Americans ‘Blacks’.”
2. Gordon Beckham hit his first major league career home, as did Chris Getz. Gordy Bex is constantly raising his average and hitting for power. He’ll be hitting in the .200s, and you know what? Him being brought up is turning out to be a real success. He could still work on his fielding, though. Getz continues to impress me at 2nd. I really think he has what it takes to play third if need be.
3. There were 4 errors in yesterday’s game. One happened to be a fielding error by Clayton Richard. Good grief! Another was Brian Anderson’s first error in something like 3 years. Whoops.
4. Scott Linebrink seems to be immune to Ozzie’s hook. Although he’s consistent only in his struggles, Ozzie refuses to take him out of the game. The prime example was the 2nd game against the Cubs. I might understand Linebrink being in until he gave up that 3-run homer, but afterwards? He should have grabbed some bench. If anyone can help explain this phenomenon to me, please do!
5. Speaking of relief pitchers, Nick Masset helped the Sox out quite a bit in the last two games. Still, he’s doing really well over in the NL. His ERA is a pretty low 1.88 so good for him!
6. Must mention Scotty Pods! 2 homers have been added to his list of great contributions.
7. Dewayne Wise finally picked up a couple of hits. AMEN! Dead weight no more.
8. We need a 5th starter.
That’s all I got for now. Off day tomorrow. Hopefully some serious Coop-Linebrink time inbetween today and Tuesday’s game.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
And what better way to start, than with a famous quote? "Cubs fans are Cubs fans," said White Sox second baseman Chris Getz of the rivalry. "White Sox fans are White Sox fans." Alright, so the quote itself isn’t that famous, nor is Chris Getz, but it’s the “WTF” nature of the statement that describes the rivalry perfectly.
These games are, of course, meaningless in terms of division standing. This year, it’s a bit different, since both teams are out of first (and second, and, in the Cubs’ case, third) place and need all the wins they can get, but these games have always been more about indulging the rivalry than about baseball.
If the Sox were playing the Twins, for example, we’d discuss pitching and the struggling offense or something of that nature. With this series, I’m discussing the intense rivalry. I’ll try to keep it short, but I must insist on throwing the words “cringe-worthy,” “painful,” and “frustrating” in here to describe this time of year for me.
"Personally, if I was from Chicago and I was a fan, I would assume I would be a fan of both teams," White Sox center fielder Brian Anderson said. "It's something I never really understood. I would be more partial to one team come World Series time, if they were to play each other. But it surprises me baseball fans from Chicago don't root for both teams."
Don’t get me wrong, I am a diehard Sox fan. And I love the Sox, and I hate the Cubs. But, when most of the season these teams do not affect each other in any way, why should there be SO MUCH hate? These games should be treated the same way any other series is: you hate the opponent and then you move on. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and I often find myself frustrated and in an argument with some loud-mouth who finds my Sox paraphernalia offensive. Even worse, I find myself ganged up on, because the Cubs- win or lose- have more support in terms of number and not enough die-hard knowledge in one person to have a decent argument without backup.
Does any other city go through this? Sure, we can agree to all love the Bears, but that’s only after we’ve made a few jokes about the various stereotypical ways our respective neighborhoods are represented and jabs at some of the more well-known players.
I found this on the SouthSideSox Twitter: From HomeRunDerby.com, [ the best Sox v. Cubs commercials. ] Overall, they are like the rivalry itself: vaguely amusing, but mostly cringe-worthy.
In conclusion: There are traditions. And there are stupid traditions.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
It all started in 2007… Joe Crede (Who you may have noticed has my unconditional vote for favorite White Sox Player ever.) was out with a bad back for the first time, and here came Josh Fields. He was great! He hit long balls, he did all the right things, but… he was no Joe Crede. It was like watching Pablo Ozuna on third- I understand why he would be there, but that doesn’t mean I like it. At this stage, I did not dislike Josh Fields, I just waited for the day Joe Crede would be back.
It got worse in 2008, when, after a strong finish to 2007, Josh Fields decided to feel “entitled.” He felt he earned his job on the roster and that he should get the start at third over Crede. Now, Crede had just undergone back surgery and was a big question mark, but, like a proud parent, he was my Crede, and don’t you talk badly about him! This was when I began to dislike Josh Fields.
Yes, if you’ve read at least 3 of this blog’s tens and hundreds, odds are you’ve picked up on that little fact about me. Josh Fields can’t win me over. No matter what. I say I’ll like him more if he figures out how to shave his cleft, but I’m lying. It would literally take a time machine and some sort of potion that transforms him into a healthy Joe Crede for me to like Josh Fields.
When Josh was brought up because of Crede’s second bout of BadBackitis, and began to play third base the same way I would imagine Jim Thome would play third base about five years from now, my feelings were reinforced. He proceeded to collect sombreros, strike out, and collect errors. Even Ozzie began to notice, and Uribe’s stock began to climb. By then, if I was ever to see Josh Fields down the street, I would have given him a wedgie. In my posts, I referred to him as “Booger.” (There was even an illustration that I have added for your entertainment.) He was so atrocious in every way, watching games with the Crede Replacement made me sad.
And then there was Spring 2009. It was certain that Joe Crede would not return and that the Sox would not sign Evan Longoria. Josh Fields had boasted about knee surgery and that he had worked on his defense with Joey Cora. He was hitting balls with a vengeance and Dayan Viciedo was a bust. Maybe he wasn’t so bad. I had no choice but to accept Josh Fields.
Once the baseball season began, Fields fielded adequately, but his hitting was, once again, sub-par. Still, he was a better choice than Betemit at third base, and I couldn’t argue with that. And then Beckham was brought up and Fields threw a Brian Anderson-sized fit over his role as a bench player. Did I feel bad for Fields who, in his own words, was too young to become a utility player at 26? Yes. Did he dig his own grave? Of course.
It just goes to figure that, just as the cycle is complete and I’ve finally accepted the loss of Joe Crede, it would be time to mourn Josh Fields. Well, not mourn… more like write about how his coming of age as a Sox player is tantamount to the death of a fan favorite.
Speaking of Linebrink allowing a run and two walks, did it seem ridiculous to anyone else that Ozzie would take Linebrink out of the game with just one out to go? It's not like the game was on the line- I mean, we did have a 6-run lead when he was taken out. I say let Linebrink work himself out of his own mess. Then again, it only took Thornton 1 pitch to get the final out, so I can't- scratch that- shouldn't complain.
The excellent news: JOSE CONTERAS! An encore of his 8 inning, no run game. He gave up 2 hits this time, but what kind of idiot would complain about that? 8 strikeouts AND his ERA is down to 5.32. All this on 107 pitches. Is this heaven? Not to mention that the Sox scored 6 runs in the 2nd inning, eliminating any worries the Brewers had about it being a close game. Even Castro contributed with a solo homer. Konerko was back and knocked out a few hits. Things went well. Well, except for Brian Anderson, who struck out 3 times. Honestly, he’s a creative beard away from being Nick Swisher.
It seems Grandpa Jo will be pitching against the Cubs because Monday is an off day, allowing the rotation to make a little switcheroo. If he keeps this up, we can still save face against the North Siders.
Also notable: Pablo Ozuna was on steroids. Or, rather, suspended for steroids. If that guy is legitimately using performance-enhancing drugs, I could almost cry at the thought of how awful he could be au naturale.
Of course, in retrospect, I was being a moron. When’s the last time Clayton Richard impressed me? (Well, actually, he impressed me today with his first ever major league hit, which ended up being a double. That was pretty impressive.) The boy got 98 pitches in 5 innings. That wasn’t a good sign. And not because he was doing badly, but because the ‘pen, who was already overworked as is, isn’t really to be trusted of late. After Clayton made another fielding error to start off the 6th, Ozzie decided to bring in Carrasco. Big mistake. The error came around to score and then some. In two innings, the Brewers picked up 7 runs, while the Sox were stuck with their meager 2. I gave up on the game, but realized it wasn’t time to change the channel yet. Are you still with me?
AARON POREDA. Yes, we got to see his major league debut. Kind of like Richard on a good day, Poreda seems to be fastball away to lefties, fastball inside to righties. He picked up a couple of K’s, no runs, and just one base hit. And the good news is that even when he got behind 3-0, he still managed to strike a guy out. So, he was just facing NL hitters, but he’s not a disaster. I’m pleased. And that’s saying something, considering today’s loss.
Other things that don’t make me angry: the amount of doubles that were hit today, Fields’s surprising dexterity at first base, and the fact that today’s first basemen were Fields and Fielder.
BECKHAM UPDATE! BECKHAM UPDATE! Still unproductive. At least he’s not the disaster I thought he would be on third…
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Gordon Beckham finally got his first hit! Make that his first 2 hits. His average is only at .100, but it’ll keep going up once he makes some adjustments.
John Danks looked great today. After some terrifying innings in his last outing, Danks was finally in command and gave the Sox a chance. Thank goodness!
Brian Anderson is getting his power back. I don’t know what they told him or stopped telling him, but a homer yesterday and a double today are making me feel a whole lot better. I was getting tired of him taking pitches and grounding out.
Okay, those were all the positives I could think of. Now it’s time to panic. Why? Well, Quentin’s time on the DL was supposed to be up today, but he is not ready. In fact, his goal is to return around the All-Star Break. He can swing, but can’t run, he says. While Pods and Dye are keeping the outfield in check, I really miss Quentin’s bat. He might be the unluckiest guy since… Chris Getz.
More news to panic about: Colon to the DL. Reminds me a lot of Contreras’s “elbow tendonitis” from last year. The problem is that Aaron Poreda was brought up. I don’t know much about what’s going on there other than a good ERA in AA, but Ozzie was quoted as saying that he wasn’t promoted because he earned it, but out of necessity. I am paraphrasing of course, but that’s the gist and that’s not good news.
Speaking of injuries, Paul Konerko and some sort of loose ligament in his finger. The same one which was bothering him last year and made him so unproductive at bat. This means he will be out for awhile, and Josh Fields will get another chance to work on his batting and try his hand at first base. Speaking of Josh Fields, his tantrum about being replaced by Beckham must be a real cheery addition to the atmosphere in the clubhouse. I understand why he is upset, but he should have learned back in 2008, when he threw a similar fit over Joe Crede’s presence in the starting roster rather than his, that a feeling of entitlement won’t get you the starting job. Just ask Brian Anderson. He’s still suffering the repercussions of his big mouth.
And, as if things couldn’t be any worse, the Sox will be playing the Cubs soon. They could not have chosen a worse time to play these fellas. I hate the cross-town classic more than any rivalry in baseball, and I will like it even less if the Sox embarrass themselves during this extended slump.
It’s been a rough day for Sox fans, what with all of the above going on. This gives me an idea. E-mail me, reply to this post, my latest twitter update, or my facebook status with suggestions about “the bright side of things” and I will get a really long list going that we can all print out and read on bad days like these. They can be funny or serious, as long as they don’t further endorse the makers of Prozac.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
First of all, I would just like to say that Scott Podsednik is earning every penny of his salary. His performance in both of today’s games reminds me of [ this comic. ] I really do wish I had about 4 of him on the team. Honestly, no matter how hard he or Chris Getz hit the ball (Getz led off an inning with a triple and still wasn’t able to score. [ Wah-Wah. ] they won’t be able to knock themselves in. Chris Getz, in particular, is stuck before the Wise/Anderson-followed-by-Fields/Beckham platoons and that can’t be very encouraging. I remember the guys saying last year that they never tried to do too much at bat, and they trusted the guy after them would get the job done. Yeah…
Moving on, that pitcher the Tigers had for Game 1, Galarraga! Wow, tell me you didn’t want to hit the fast forward button on him… The Sox pitching was a different story. Richard was having a hard time, especially putting the “fast” in “fastball.” His pitch count got to 100 by the 5th inning, and D.J. Carrasco had to be brought in to clean up the mess. That man is magic. Scott Linebrink was brought in to close the tied game and was unable to hold the score. Josh Fields’s 8th fielding error may have single-handedly lost the game. Without the “may” part.
In Game 2, Jose Contreras was back. He made me have to eat my words. Again. He pitched 8 full innings, gave up only 1 hit, and NO runs. That guy deserves a standing ovation.
More big pitching news: Freddy Garcia (Big Game Freddy, that’s the one!) is back! He signed a minor league contract with the Sox today. He’s, of course, insurance for Contreras/Colon/Richard, but… he may end up being an asset who needs to be insured… Or maybe he’s just the 2nd step in KW getting the band back together. We’re just missing Crede, Rowand, Iguchi, Uribe, and Garland. We’ll discuss this more if it ever comes up.
BECKHAM UPDATE! BECKHAM UPDATE! Still hitless...
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Is it time for Colon to relinquish his job to Contreras? Hmm… Well, Grandpa Jo went 3-1 during his time with the Knights. That seems good. His overall ERA was 2.70. That seems good. On May 18th, he pitched a complete game and allowed only one hit. That is good. On May 23rd, he struck out 8 over 5.2 innings. That seems good. Of course, “seems” and “is” are two entirely different verbs. In the same game, he earned 5 runs. May 28th he earned 4 runs while striking out 6. To be completely honest, I am unimpressed with anything more than 1 earned run in the minor leagues. Maybe I just don’t get it, and maybe my standards are too high, but this guy is supposed to be earning a $10 million dollar salary, not throwing batting practice to high school graduates. And, yes, I’m not a moron, I know the minors, much like spring training, are a place where you try out different things and work on improving. But it seems like his efforts weren’t very effective.
What’s more interesting is looking at his split stats. Against righties, his ERA is 0.90. That’s good. Against lefties… 5.40. Yikes! I could scare you more and more showing how his ERA grows exponentially from having bases empty, to runners on, to runners in scoring position, but [ you can look it up yourself ].
In conclusion, as we saw today, Bartolo Colon is a mess. But am I ready to welcome back Grandpa Jo with open arms? Not even close.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Anyway, I refuse to pass any praise on the Sox offense. I will say Fields did his job today and that maybe a good kick in the butt (Do I smell a nickname coming on for Gordon Beckham?) will do him some good. I’ll also say that Scotty Pods is sure to be the last man standing in center field after the return of TCQ if he keeps things up. Hitting and stealing may be criminal offenses, but they are highly praised in baseball. I’ll give Floyd a pat on the back, but there is still a lot to be desired from the rest of the team.
In other news… Nix in right field? Interesting. I mean, it sure says something about how keen the Sox coaches are to put Wise in the lineup.
BECKHAM UPDATE! BECKHAM UPDATE! He didn’t play today.
Friday, June 5, 2009
So, a big nonsensical paragraph of notes it is! Doc and Carlos were looking very cozy with their arms around each other sitting on the bench. Danks threw a lot of balls and was hurt badly by two walks he issued in the same inning, then in a later inning, he gave up back to back homers… despite being able to pitch over Chris Getz’s big error on a double play. I mean… maybe he was overextended because he had to face more batters than he should have, but… not a strong outing. Brian Anderson grounds out an awful lot lately and I’m worried he’s been told the same things Nick Swisher was told last year. Let’s pray that’s not where we’re headed. Finally, Steve Stone got carded buying some wine… alrighty then.
BECKHAM UPDATE! BECKHAM UPDATE! Still hitless, but great throwing arm!
As a fielder, there is something I can say. First of all, I don’t expect him to have as much range on third base as Joe Crede, and probably not even Josh Fields for awhile. His natural position is short stop, so he’ll have to work on fielding if he wants to stay at third- or rather, if the organization wants to see him at third.
As for the rest of the game… Well, it wasn’t a good day for Buehrle, and the A’s walked away with their 3rd straight win. The A’s were 20-30 or something along those lines before they met the Sox. Their AVG as a team was in the .240s. To put it simply, the A’s were garbage. And here they were, playing the Sox, shutting them out with rookie pitchers, and making the Sox lose on their own turf as if the A’s were the Red Sox playing a women’s softball league.
I guess we can blame it on the chilly weather for now, but what excuse will they have in July?
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Speaking of Josh Fields, he received one vote in the blog's poll about the most pleasant surprise of the year. All other votes were for Scott Podsednik. This leads me to believe that Josh Fields or family reads this blog and voted for himself. Hi, Josh! Sorry that I pick on you. Maybe Nair would help you clean up the cleft? (Just kidding. I'm sure Brian Anderson is the only one that sits at home and Google-s himself.)
As Hawk said, the Sox played some “good, old hard-fashioned baseball.” Apparently, that means that the Sox played a game where they scored little and the pitching hurt them as much as possible. Clayton was missing his pitch location. It started with missing way out of the zone. Like I tell Gavin Floyd (in my head, of course), “Better miss in space, than to miss and let them get a homer.” But, that’s exactly what came next. Two back to back homers, to be exact. Four home runs total, one of which a 2-run shot.
In the meantime, the Sox were playing horseshoes at the fence. Well, since this is baseball, not hand grenades, close wasn’t good enough, and a bunch of almost-homers added up to just 2 runs.
Dotel was brought out in the 6th, which seemed a bit out of order. The 6th seemed like a place for Carrasco. Maybe Gobble. Both got their chance later and all three performed wonderfully.
As for the rest of the game, BA had to leave because of lightheadedness due to the flu. Doc looked like he died his hair. And replacement catcher Castro did nothing.
“If you’re so high and mighty,” you might say, “Who would you bring in the game while Josh Fields is tucking his tail between his legs?” Well, Andy Phillips is an option. He only hit .231 over 78 at-bats during his previous crack at the MLB, but what are the odds of him being as big a butcher at bat and on the field as Betemit is?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame Betemit for anything more than his lack of superstar player ability. Colon should have pitched over the error, and kept the hits to a minimum. Once 5 runs totaled up and the Sox offense went on strike, everyone gave up. Ozzie gave up on defense and left Betemit in, left Wise in the lineup until the 8th, and after Colon went down, let Gobble, the Running Joke, pitch for a couple of innings. And while we’re at it, the Sox as a whole should be able to handle a youngster in his major-league debut and scare him back to the minors!
Whistler made his debut today in the 9th. He might as well, right? He did well, but one inning isn’t going to tell us everything just yet.
On the bright side, other than Minnesota, pretty much everyone in our division lost today and kept things about the same. To be honest, I had switched the channel most of the time and watched the Cubs-Braves game just so I wouldn’t have to watch the painful last few innings.
Speaking of the Braves, they could really rival the Indians in political-wrongness. I mean, the music they play in the background makes me worry for the safety of the players! Every time it comes on, I half-expect a gaggle of shirtless men in leather pants and feathery headdresses to run out with tomahawks and carrying teepees on their backs...
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Gavin Floyd dominated the A’s over 7 innings, bumping his ERA down below a 6.00. Well, he didn’t pick up the win, but he sure didn’t pick up a loss. And 8 strike-outs (Thanks in large part to Orlando Cabrera, who seems to still be playing for the Sox) is not something you can frown at.
As for the offense, Jim Thome had a monster of a 3-run homer on a day when balls weren’t carrying over the fence. It followed up a solo shot off the bat of AJ Pierzynski, who tied the game up back when we were trailing 2-1. Aside from Alexei and Dye, Thome and AJ were the only Sox players to get hits. However, 6 walks were issued throughout the night. There were also 6 strike-outs, 3 belonging to Josh fields, and one in particular to AJ Pierzynski who reminded us why we loved Juan Uribe so much: his love for the act of swinging at sky-high fastballs.
Chris Getz was out of the lineup, in case you missed it. Apparently, he sprained his ankle sliding home in yesterday’s game and Jayson Nix took over for him at 2nd and in the lineup. Poor kid is injured on a monthly basis. I hope he’s back soon.
Final thoughts? Dewayne Wise or Brian Anderson? How should the epic battle be decided?
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Monday, June 1, 2009
Sure, Gordon Beckham is looming, and Josh Fields has yet to make an error grave enough to send insults his way, but I can’t help but wonder… what happened to Dayan Viciedo? He was quite a big deal at the time of his acquisition. I clearly remember there being a big contract, a very expensive car, and the nickname “The Cuban Pimp.”
Spring Training came around, and Viciedo hit a less than mediocre .231 with 2 home runs. And he was never heard of again. In reality, he resurfaced with the Birmingham Barons (AA). I had almost expected him to start at third base at the time of the trade. Now he wasn’t even in Charlotte? Well, the numbers don’t seem much better for Viciedo now. He is currently holding a .269 AVG with a weak .289 OBP in 193 at-bats (Second only to Brandon Allen) and the most errors of his team: 10. Well, that’s not encouraging at all…
Joey Cora and the like keep saying he will be special, he’s very young, etc, etc, etc… And I hope they’re right. However… I can’t help but be a bit disappointed with the transaction. True, we were warned that we should not expect the second coming of Alexei, but that warning came alongside a lot of hype that hinted that there was still a chance that it would be just that. I guess only time will tell if this deal was a big bust or if the kid is busting with talent.