Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Not to sound 13, but whatever. I’m just glad this series is over. There are, surprisingly, a few good things that came from this series. First, every seat in the house was filled. I think many of the fans in attendance were wearing blue, but since when is it a problem that another team’s fans are paying our bills? Second, over our 11-game winning streak, we managed to make it within 1.5 games of first place.
Finally, on Sunday, the series was over. The Sox lost 8-6 in a weak outing from John Danks. Tony Pena and Randy Williams finished out the game. In the last few innings, the Sox rallied to get within 2 runs. What kills me is that the Cubs only had 6 runs at the time Danks left the game. Who knows what the outcome would have been had Ozzie put Santos, Thornton, Putz, or Linebrink on the mound instead of Pena or Williams? Would the Sox have gone to extra innings? Could they have extended their winning streak? It bring up the debate of whether the game you’re playing today is the most important or whether you should save your bullpen and get them tomorrow. I supposed it depends on how late you are in the season. Then again, if you finish the season 1 game out of first place, you will probably regret it.
Next, the Sox played the Royals on Monday with Buehrle on the mound. Buehrle looked pretty rough, but the fact that the Sox scored only 1 run and couldn’t come up with 3 more to win the game against the bottom-dweller Royals was more disappointing. Kenny, we need that bat.
Today, the Sox took on the Royals again. Gavin was doing well for the most part, but got tired and eventually gave up 3 runs. Thankfully, the bullpen held the score, and the Sox won 4-3. Go figure that Gavin would finally pick up a win on the worst game he’s had in about 3 weeks.
But enough of the recaps. I wanted to mention that Bobby Jenks has been on the bereavement list and the bullpen has had to do without. And, aside from Pena and Williams, they did fairly well. Jenks should be back tomorrow, or Friday. (The Sox have an off day Thursday.)
My next topic is one that makes me even more convinced that the Sox will resign Jermaine Dye. If the Sox were to pick up another player, who would it be? Well… whoever this person is, who would the Sox trade to get him? It would be nice if the Sox could get rid of someone like Andruw Jones, or Kotsay, or someone that is not 100% essential to the Sox. However, who would give up a great batter for a bench player? Anyone desirable is indispensable and anyone we can trade is useless to other teams. Perhaps Kenny can work some magic involving one of the aforementioned and some minor league pitchers, but who knows what the price of a good run producer will be? What do you imagine the Sox will give up?
Friday, June 25, 2010
Says one Cubs fan, “But if Paul Konerko was at short stop, the only way he’s catch a ball, would be if it was hit at his glove.” To which the Sox fan sarcastically replied, “Cause Derrek Lee is the most agile man in the world, right?” After all, isn’t first base where ALL the slowest, oldest DH-to-be’s go to play? Right.
But I decided I can’t let my bias do the talking. I honestly have no clue about how good or bad this Derrek Lee character is. I probably watch as much Cubs baseball as I watch women’s softball. I enjoy the humiliation, so it’s fine once in awhile, but I can’t make a habit of it; it’s just embarrassing. But I digress. Let’s look at some numbers!
Paul Konerko: His lifetime fielding percentage is 0.995. That in itself is amazing. 69 errors over a lifetime? Not bad out of 12,822 possible outs. 2 of those errors were committed at 3rd base, out of 51 opportunities. There are also 20 opportunities in the OF. So 67 errors out of 12,751. The 0.995 percentage stands.
Derrek Lee: Well, that guy has a 0.994 percentage. Pretty close. He’s had 87 errors in 13,434 possible outs. He’s never played any position other than first base. But he has had about an extra year.
So, in conclusion. It’s all the same. If anything, Paulie has shown he’s somewhat more versatile because he played third and in the outfield a handful of times, but who are we kidding? I basically wasted two hours of my time researching first basemen when I could have been researching the Silva-Garcia matchup. Thanks, Crosstown Cup. You have wasted my time once again.
But before I let you go on a pessimistic note: the Sox rolled over the Cubs winning 6-0, taking 10 in a row and ending up 1.5 games behind the Twins who are on a 4-game skid. Lucky for us. And it was a humorous game, as Carlos Zambrano gave up 4 runs in the first inning then was indefinitely suspended by his own team for throwing a tantrum in the dugout. Or as JJ Stankevitz called him, “CarLOLos Zambrano.”
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Sox completed their 3rd consecutive sweep, shutting out the Braves, and because of a Twins loss, sitting just 2.5 games out of first place. And, as of today, the Sox are playing .500 ball at home.
Gushing complete. As excited as I am for the win, I can’t help myself from mentioning that today’s game was played somewhat shorthanded. Instead of Rios in CF, we had Jones. Instead of Vizquel, we had Viciedo, and instead of Beckham, we had Lillibridge. Well, Rios was pretty cold at bat yesterday, and he probably deserves a day off. Vizquel is old and Viciedo needs a day where he can see (and smoke) some live, Major League pitching. But Beckham… well, he can’t be as bad as Lillibridge, but he has been as good at bat as Nick Swisher was at the end of 2008. Gordy has had a team-high 48 strikeouts. Then again, the last time I counted, Scotty Pods had 44 and was batting close to .300. And the league leader has around 81. His strike-outs aren’t worrisome. It’s his lack of hitting. Honestly, he’s had a lot of bad luck at bat. But at what point do back luck and poor plate mentality cross?
This is a frustrating subject for me to visit because it seems like he just isn’t getting better. But how was he doing so well last year, if he is really the rally killer he has been this year? Was it just the losing mentality that the majority of the team had the last couple of months? Did it have something to do with the move to second? It makes no sense, but think how much better Uribe did when he moved to third. If anyone has an explanation, please help me out here.
I don’t know if moving Gordon back to the minors is the right thing. And it’s not really helping the team to have him in the lineup. Then, what IS the right thing to do? I’m glad I’m not Kenny or Ozzie on this one.
One matter on which I had some say is Juan Pierre. Why is he still leading off? Every SINGLE time I see him try to bunt himself on with no outs, I want to hit him upside the helmet. He’s not Ichiro. If he’s so bad of a hitter that he can’t hit his way on base, well there’s something wrong with that picture, isn’t there? Admittedly, I’m sure he’s not the only one making the decision, but he’s the one failing at the task of getting on base.
That’s all I have for you today. Tomorrow starts the second half of the worst idea ever thought of. Or to quote the Sandlot, “If you were thinking, you wouldn’t have thought that!” Hopefully, the Sox sweep them at the Cell, shutting Cub fans up for the rest of the season. I don’t promise that I’ll cover this series until the last day, but I’ll keep an eye on the AL Central standings, hoping the Twins lose a few to the Mets and the Sox win a few from the Cubs, putting them a bit closer to first place.
And lucky they were. The outfield must be littered with four-leaf clovers because the Tigers, Twins, and Braves all added one to the loss column. And all thanks to two men: Mark Buehrle and Carlos Quentin.
Quentin seemed reanimated and much like the 2008 Quentin. TCQ, anyone? Of the runs today, 3 came from Carlos himself who hit 2 home runs. Carlos has tallied 4 homers in the last 10 games. 3 of them in this series against Atlanta. He is for 12 for 36 in these last 10 games (.333) and he’s picked up 11 RBI.
Another happy camper is Mark Buehrle. Although he wasn’t at his best, he contained himself to just 2 runs over 6 innings, getting out of sticky situation after sticky situation. He picked up a win, and the bullpen held the score for him.
On a side note, Paul Konerko and Alex Rios weren’t so lucky. Paulie picked up a base, but collected a silver sombrero. Alex Rios was close behind with 2 strike outs of his own and no hits. The only other strikeout of the night belonged to Beckham who went 0-3. Pierre went 0-4, unfortunately. While the first two are excusable, Beckham and Pierre are, unfortunately, still behind their many teammates in production.
The good news is that tomorrow’s scheduled pitcher is the least scary of the Braves pitchers the Sox have faced. And the Cubs are next, who just suffered an 8-1 loss. The latter are also 13-22 on the road, on a 2-game losing streak, and 9 games below .500. The Sox should be able to stand their ground for the time being. If the Sox were to gain any more ground (they’ve already picked up 7 games on the Twins, going from 10.5 to just 3.5 games behind), I might not be able to handle it. It’s as if the Stanley Cup win broke the Chicago Sports curse- that is, if you don’t count the Cubs as a Chicago team.
If you think about it, while the Stanley Cup was being earned, the Sox began their rampage, taking 2 from Detroit, winning the Series at Wrigley the day of the Parade, and being unstoppable since. I could really be onto something here. Perhaps a correlation between distance of the Stanley Cup from the home plate at U.S. Cellular Field and the amount of runs scored? Or the amount of people in the same room as the Cup and the amount of strike-outs per game. We could guarantee the Sox never lose a game again! That is… if you’re superstitious.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Sox ended up winning it 9-6, but I think the final score should not have exceeded 9-3. Thanks a lot, bullpen. The first 3 runs were credited to John Danks’s rough couple of innings (The first batter he faced hit a solo homer), but he recovered in what Jim of the Sox Machine called a Garciaesque outing. And then, of course, entered Tony Pena who gave up a run. And Scott “I sing during the offseason” Linebrink gave up 2. And then Jenks ended it with one pitch. One. Turns out the time off he was taking was just a temporary thing.
The Sox pitchers have been nothing but kind to the bullpen. I can’t remember the last time a Sox pitcher went less than 7 innings or gave up more than 3 runs. Come on, Scott Linebrink! Good thing we had that 5-run lead for you to blow. Yeah…
Anyway, the Sox have finally won against a team with a winning record, so I guess that makes things a little better. If we can take at least another one from the Braves this series, I will be a happy camper and the Sox’ winnings streak can’t be discounted as a fluke anymore. Of course, the 7-game hitting streak can’t go on forever, so we’re going to have to evaluate these new Sox one day at a time.
The good news for me today was the hitting. The only guy that was on a hitting strike was Gordon Beckham. Regardless, the Sox were great with two outs and Vizquel, Quentin, Ramirez, and Rios all picked up RBIs. Plus Quentin blasted a 3-run homer that reminded me of what fireworks look like. On that note, the Sox seem to finally be making 2nd base “scoring position.” There’s a lot less station to station baseball. You win, Ozzie.
Another thing making a stir is that Kenny Williams has declared the Sox as contenders again, saying that he’s going to dismiss the buzzards looking to poach whatever is left from the sinking ship that was the White Sox, and is going to become a buzzard himself, looking to buy rather than sell when the trade deadline comes up, and he may be looking to add another bat. He said a left-handed bat, but I’m still not counting out Dye.
Other notes from the game:
-Alexei had to exit because of what the announcers were afraid was a broken middle finger (The curse of Mark Teahen!) but turned out to be a bloody fingernail
-The Braves third baseman, Conrad, lost a ground ball in his shirt, making it into a hit for Rios and assuring himself notoriety on every sports show this week.
-That was the second goofy moment of the game, right behind Hanson falling off the mount after delivering a pitch.
And, finally, an update on the Pierre-Podsednik rivalry!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Game 1: The Sox’ victory of the Cubs. Buehrle led the team in a 2-1 win. Buehrle’s ERA coming into the game was 5.40. Silva’s was 2.93. Conclusion? If we go by the numbers alone, terrible offense on the Cubs’ side; Unbelievable, fantastic, amazing pitching causing the Sox to score few runs.
Game 2: The Sox’ loss against the Cubs in Floyd/Lilly’s almost double no-hitter. Lilly’s ERA coming into the game was 3.28. Floyd’s was a larger than life 6.18. Conclusion? By the numbers, the Sox simply got out-matched and the Cubs are terrible hitters. In reality, Floyd is a very good pitcher who was struggling, and Lilly was a pretty good pitcher and the Sox were just not good enough offensively to get his stuff on a good day.
Game 3: The Floyd-Strasburg showdown in the Nationals’ own stadium. Floyd’s ERA coming into the game was a better, but still unnecessarily high 5.64. Strasburg’s was a much-hyped 2.19. Conclusion? Well, this one is a bit of a head scratcher. Like I said before, Floyd is a very good pitcher who was finally getting back in the groove. Strasburg made a few mistakes and had to pay dearly for them. But I am a big believer in the NL factor, so the head-scratcher is trying to figure out how that plays into the win.
Game 4: The Peavy complete game against the Nationals. The Sox won it 1-0 against Martin, whose ERA coming into this game was 4.19. Peavy’s was 5.90. Conclusion? The Sox should have been able to handle Martin and Peavy was back in form.
Because the Sox ran into some very good pitching (despite the fact that they were playing, as I’ve mentioned many times, teams that were playing below .500), it is understandable that they struggled to put up big numbers against their opponents.
HOWEVER- I do still think that the offense needs some serious help. I’m not sure if Viciedo will provide the boost the Sox need. In fact, I'm almost sure he won't. But with that in mind, I will make a prediction. I know you won’t believe me until you see it happen. And I don’t agree with it. But if I was to put my money on the Sox picking up anyone else (And, hey, why wouldn’t they add another bench player to rotate in the DH position? We already have about 9. The more the merrier?), it’s going to be Jermaine Dye. The Sox have a history of picking up former players, and especially older folk. (Griffey, anyone?) I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But don’t you just have a feeling about this? He’s probably sitting at home trying to figure out how to work his Wii Fit, and despite the fact that he’s had time to accumulate quite a bit of cash money, he’s probably looking for a job.
Does anyone else have any crazy predictions for the rest of the season?
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Today probably wasn’t Freddy’s BEST day, for he gave up 3 runs, but he had some run support, so he improved to 8-3 on the year. I haven’t thought of Freddy as “Big Game Freddy” all year. He’s just “everyday Freddy,” winning… well, everyday. And speaking of winning, what about that Jake Peavy yesterday? Despite the arm soreness that pushed him back 2 days, he not only picked up a win, but did so on a shut-out and complete game. Plus he beat his career record of most players retired in a row. He sure likes the American League.
Today was the debut of #24, Dayan Viciedo. He had a nice hit, and hit the ball hard, so overall… not too shabby of a start. Watch your back, Gordon Beckham! There’s a new prodigy in town coming to steal your thunder. In actuality, Gordon had a good day of his own today. The Sox are looking good. At least good enough to pummel National League teams who are playing below .500. I know I sound like a broken record, but unless the Sox start taking 2-3 from teams in their own division, I’m not going to get my hopes up just yet.
That’s all I have for today. I’ll have some more tomorrow, during the offday. Happy Father’s day to all Sox Fans!
Friday, June 18, 2010
The first seven innings flew by quickly and quite well. Strasburg stopped being scary the second he let Juan Pierre score. Gavin had half as many strike-outs, but something like 3 times as many double plays and fewer fly outs than he’s had in a long time. I find this to be a good sign, because in years past, fly balls sometimes turned into home runs.
Finally, the Sox won in extra innings with some help from Alex Rios. However, there are a few, well, notable notes on the game I’d like to share with you. Gordon Beckham was the winner of a Silver Sombrero today and some guy on the Walgreens-er, Washington Nationals stole his at-bat song. The Sox have now gone 6 consecutive games without a homer run: a feat they haven’t achieved since 1993!
This was an exciting game, and I loved every minute of it. But let’s not pat ourselves on the back. Although the Sox have come within 2 games of .500 and only 5.5 games behind the Twins (believe it or not, that’s a big improvement), it just against terrible teams. The Cubs, The Pirates, the Nationals. These are all teams that are below .500 as well. In the National League. What will happen to the Sox when they start playing teams that are really contenders? Let’s not get excited just yet.
As for tomorrow, Peavy should be up despite the shoulder soreness. He will be backed by Viciedo. Really, tomorrow can be pretty exciting or cripplingly sad.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
It was certainly an interesting game. Carlos had two doubles. Juan Pierre had a triple. Sergio Santos was a disaster. Also, in a strange turn of events, I have to say that the save today shouldn’t just go to Bobby Jenks who had a fantastically quick 9th inning, but also to Juan Pierre, thanks to his diving catch. He probably saved the game. Their combined forces made the Pirates take a caulk (that’s pirate for “take a nap”.)
Humorous notes from the series: Pirate pitchers and their strange affinity for keeping an eye on Paulie. I do understand them, though. If Konerko was to steal a base, it probably would be off the Pirates.
As for tomorrow, Floyd will be pitching against the second coming of Cy Young. Peavy is set to start on Saturday, but don’t hold him to it. Pat on the back for Buehrle for today’s performance. He picked up his 5th win. And cooled his ERA to 4.71.
On a side note, I admit that as far as White Sox blogs come, I am pretty much at the bottom of the pile. In terms of Sox media overall, I am the the old hardwood floor under the carpet that the aforementioned pile sits on. However, I will say this: It is the most frustrating thing relying on the salaried White Sox reporters. Often their Twitter updates are completely useless to the everyday fans, who just want to know what the news is on the Sox.
And speaking of news delivered to fans via Twitter: Viciedo is up for Friday, Nix DFA. (DFA= designated for assignment) This is an interesting move because… it makes no sense. But I have to say, it is somewhat comforting to have a number 24 in the dugout. This seems like the end of Nix, who is out of options. However, if he clears waivers, he’ll be around. In review: Nix had a miserable average this year, but came through with a grand slam. And 5 errors. I really don’t know what to say on this one. Here’s hoping Viciedo will be the second coming of Gordon Beckham. And perhaps will bring about the return of the term “The Cuban Pimp”.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tonight, John Danks was terrific. 8 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 6 strike outs, and overall the same thing we’ve been seeing from him most of the year. He finally improves to 6-5. Paul Konerko was no slouch, picking up 3 of the night’s 11 hits and one of the walks. Pierre, Rios, and Quentin all had multiple hits tonight. Sure, it’s only against the Pirates, so we shouldn’t pat each other on the butt-er, back just yet. After all,t he Pirates had 6 errors today. That’s 1 more than the number of hits they had. But anything helps. And for the first time in a long time, the Sox are only 4 games under .500 and this will be the third series in a row that they have won. Here’s hoping the Nationals are awful!
In nationals-related news, sort of, the much anticipated (I suppose…) Buehrle-Strasbourg matchup will not happen, as Peavy is experiencing some shoulder aches and will be replaced by Buehrle instead. According to the Tweeting Press, his MRI was clear, so things should be OK, but physical problems are never a good thing. Here’s to a sweep tomorrow!
Today was a game of guys the Sox gave away. First D.J. Carrasco, then Octavio Dotel. Dotel has fared nicely in the NL, which is not surprising. He was always a great pitcher. Just not very consistent.
Thinking of pitchers the Sox gave away made me wonder what happened to other pitchers the Sox gave away. Like Clayton Richard. The man with shoulders wider than he was tall and a smile that would rival a clown’s is sporting a 4-3 record with the Padres with a terrific 2.71 ERA over 13 games. Not too shabby. The NL is treating him well.
Monday, June 14, 2010
The Sox were almost on the wrong side of history for the 2nd day in a row, as Lilly and Gavin Floyd battled through inning after scoreless and, more importantly, hitless inning. Of course, there were walks, there were errors, there were (2!!) men hit by pitches. But no hits. Gavin lost his no-hit bid sometime in the 7th, but his performance was nowhere short of brilliant. Lilly managed to hold on to his no-hitter until what seemed to be a very promising 9th.
Overall, I am disappointed in the loss, but boy was this an exciting game! Both pitchers had their best stuff, and we got an exciting finish. Well... either that or the offense on both sides was so bad, the pitchers had to force batters on base with hits, errors, walks, and even a balk.
Questions left to be answered: how were 5 plunked White Sox hitters not avenged? Clearly any retaliation would have resulted in the pitcher being thrown out, but the situation seems a bit overlooked. Especially since A.J.- a real Cub favorite- was hit TWICE in TWO DAYS! The Sox’ lack of retaliation? Smart, classy. The umpires’ lack of warning? Upsetting.
Well, at least for now, this nightmare seems to be over. The Sox and Cubs, with clouds looming, ended this first series, and the Sox took the first 2 of 3, obtaining their longest winning streak of the year. At the very least, this was a confidence booster for the Sox and for Gavin Floyd.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Today, the tragedy called the Crosstown Cup continued. I was honestly nervous because Buehrle has been… iffy, while Carlos Silva has an 8-0 record. None of our pitchers can say that. It was going to be the toughest matchup of the series. Needles to say, Buehrle holding the Cubs to no score (only Jenks gave up a run today) and the Sox scoring early on Silva were like a band-aid trying to cover up Chicago’s gaping wound: surely not enough, but I appreciate the effort.
I’d like to take this opportunity to commend Konerko on being the guy that brought in both of the Sox runs. Without him, the 4-game winning streak could not have been reality. He accounted for 3 of the Sox’ 9 hits of the day.
I also realize I haven’t been monitoring the Pods-Juan Pierre situation in awhile, so here it is:
| || |
Juan Pierre is doing quite well in terms of stolen bases, and Pods is still striking out way more. But in terms of being an effective lead-off hitter, I would still give that one to Scotty.
Friday, June 11, 2010
The only good thing about playing the Cubs is that they are just so terrible right now that they got us the longest winning streak of the year: 3 whole games! Perhaps a few wins against the North Siders will give the Sox enough momentum to get out of this funk.
There are so many things about this series that make me angry. For one, it undoes much of the unity that the Blackhawks’ recent win brought to the city. For another, it brings out the worst in everyone. It reminds me of how much I hate Cub fans whenever I see them throw home run balls out on the field or one of them says they “love to hate” their team.
Bright moments of today’s game: A.J. Pierzynski is a different player entirely at Wrigley, the crowd was mixed enough that I heard a strong chant of “Let’s go White Sox!”, and White Sox pinch hitters make the Cubs look like idiots.
Not so bright moments: Gordon Beckham, Tony Pena’s unfortunate outing, and Scott Linebrink’s control.
Stay tuned for more of Chicago’s personal sports disaster as the weekend goes on!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I think we have entered an era (or should I say ERA?) where not just the fans are getting belligerently drunk to get through the game, but so are the players. That is the only explanation I have for Matt Thornton’s outing in the 7th inning of today’s game.
So, with that said, this is an ode to the fair weather, bandwagon fans. Because they are right. No team should be rewarded for failure. I don’t care what you say, no “true fan” loves the Sox when they are doing badly. He or she may still be a Sox fan, but they certainly can’t feel happy being at a game the Sox lost. Which explains the attendance figures.
Honestly, the only way to keep the attendance figures from taking an even further nose dive is either to –dare I say- start winning or to extend the hours of the patio party until half an hour after the game. Even then, they would have to start serving whiskey.
And if you are one of those who considers him or herself a die-hard, non-bandwagoner, then you shouldn’t hate the fair weather fans. Rather enjoy reaping the benefits of their support. Although it may be temporary, the revenue from ticket an merchandise sales in their brief period of fandom maybe be enough to continue to pay the salaries of big-name players, and players that will keep the Sox winning. It’s really a self-perpetuating cycle, this winning thing! You win, you get money to get good players. The good players keep you winning, which brings in money that keeps the good players around… and round and round the wheel goes.
Based on my aforementioned explanation, next year, the Sox will have about three nickels to pay their players. Thus, the roster will be worse than this year, the Sox will be worse, they will receive less money… And thus the panic button is hit!
To be honest, as I finish writing this, I'm not sure if I'm being sarcastic or serious in a humorous way. One thing I do know is that I wish the Sox were doing as well this season as was projected for them. At the very least Gavin Floyd looked alive again for the first time in a long time.