Friday Pregame

Friday, July 21, 2006, 3:55 pm CT

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Uribe, SS; Anderson, CF.  Buehrle on the mound.

Catching Up

With the quick turnaround yesterday, I wasn’t able to steal time to post before yesterday’s game.  Then that quick flight home from Detroit yesterday afternoon seemed to take forever … something about flight backup because of AM weather in Chicago and the overall mood in the plane.

Gooch
Frustration

Guys are angry, frustrated and disappointed.  Not necessarily in the way we played in Detroit, oh for the clutch hit, but in the result.  I take this frustration as a good thing, as a motivating emotion.  I think a team like us, that could have (coulda, woulda, shoulda) been 4-2 on this trip with clutch hitting, is dangerous.  But speculation is pretty worthless.  We need to get the job done on this homestand, pure and simple.

Ozzie and Kenny certainly know that.  They are feeling the same emotions we all are at this moment.  The question for a manager at times like this is how do you respond?  Do you jump your team, scream and turn over tables?  Do you remain quiet and stay the course, or do you give guys a re-assuring pat on the back?

Ozzie_10
Ozzie’s going to choose what he thinks is best for this team and for individual players on the team.  I do believe that some teams respond positively to times like this by being chewed out, while other clubs would react negatively to that.  Each team has its very own personality from one season to the next and each should be handled differently.  The 2004 White Sox had a different personality than the 2005, and the 2006 … you get the idea.

Deciding how do handle these situations is Ozzie’s job.  And there is no one better at reading a clubhouse (at least in my experience) than Ozzie.  And after what the core of this team went through last postseason together, I will always place my bets with Paul, Jermaine, A.J., Joe, et al.

Which leads me to …

We have gone 10-52 (.192) with runners in scoring position over our last six games and 16-77 (.208) over the last eight … and the right guys have been getting the opportunities.  Can’t speak on behalf of our nervous (or getting more nervous with each passing game) fans, but I think our 3-4-5-6-7 guys will start coming through again, and probably soon.  On the year, we still lead the majors with a .308 average with runners in scoring position.

Mr. Optimist

A good friend and frequent reader sent me a note this morning pointing out that our current .617 winning percentage (tied for third best in baseball with Boston) is better than our final mark in 2005 (.611).  The .617 mark equates to 100 victories over a 162-game season.

Positive Notes

Brian Anderson was impressive both at the plate and in the field in Detroit … our starting pitching, much maligned recently, turned in three strong performances in the last turn through the rotation.

Programming Note

Our makeup game with the Angels re-scheduled for August 7 has been picked up by ESPN nationally (I know, not great news since we always seem to play poorly in those games) and now will begin at 6:05 pm CT.  It can be seen locally on Comcast Sports Net.

Good Vibes

The Sox are 14-6 against the AL West and 33-14 at home (including 32 of our last 43) … Chicago leads the AL with 139 home runs and is tied with Baltimore for second in the AL with 27 sacrifice hits (that one surprises me) … we are tied for second in the AL with 28 come-from-behind wins, one behind league-leading Boston.

Weather Update

Just got off the phone with Roger Bossard.  Light to medium rain until 8 pm is expected but thought we would be fine after that. 

By the way, someone on this blog asked about a weather link.  I sent that idea along to MLBAM.  No one got back to me, but I noticed today that BAM is offering a link to a weather site.  Let’s assume the idea came from a reader on this blog.  Congratulations.

Haircutshere_2
Haircuts

Since I haven’t been home much this month, I am in dire need of a haircut (for what hair I do have).  Wednesday in Detroit I saw a sign in the clubhouse saying you could get a haircut.  Well, Don Cooper, Ozzie Jr. and Chris Widger were among the guys to visit the barber.  After seeing their military buzz cuts, I am glad I passed on the offer. 

"I blame it on Riske (who does sport a buzz cut)," Ozzie Guillen Sr. said.  "Before he got here, I had a good-looking club.  Now, everyone looks like a convict."

Ortho Help

Several years ago, I ruptured my Achilles playing basketball (long story, not a great day in my life … or my wife’s for that matter).  Anyway, I had a great ortho do the repair work.  His receptionist is a huge White Sox fan.  A friend of ours just injured himself.  When my wife called to see if our ortho could check him out, the receptionist said she loves this blog but gets mad when I don’t publish.

So, just in case I ever need to visit the good doctor again, I apologize and promise to try and post more often.  I do not want skilled medical personnel angry with me, especially if I ever have to visit them again, hobbling in great pain.

13 Comments

I like the lineup tonight. I hope you’re right about the weather because weather.com is predicting rain through midnight.

I know you’re extremely busy, but have you had any chance to figure out who came up with the best line for why AJ should be on the ALL-STAR team?

Our beloved ChiSox will be fine – they’re resilient and of course will go through a rough patch in a 162-game season – they’ll pull it together. Scott- thanks for the weather update – and can’t you get a haircut tonight at Mullet Night? Ha- what a promotion. Go Sox vs. the Rangers and Twins and Go A’s vs. Detroit!!

Scott,

Since nobody who ever talks to Ozzie has ever noticed this, I thought I’d point out that Iguchi is batting .211 vs. left-handed pitchers and .333 vs. right-handed pitchers, yet Iguchi’s days off always come against right-handed pitchers. I realize that Ozzie manages by instinct more than by numbers, but there comes a point when a manager looks really dumb ignoring data like that.

Scott:

Your point about the number of sacrifices is a valid one. But so is this.

The last successful sacrifice bunt by the White Sox (unless my information is completely wrong!) was JULY 1ST by Vasquez vs. the Cubs.

The last successful bunt by a position player was by Posednik on June 27th.

To me ‘Ozzie-ball’ isn’t one successful bunt in three weeks, nor is it not running the bases correctly or advancing runners or failing to execute a hit and run (if it’s ever even called)

This club (and manager) have fallen into the trap of waiting for a three run home run to save them (a la the 2001 through 2004 version of the Sox.)Last season showed that great clubs can do both, hit home runs AND execute little fundamental things that add up to big things (wins.)

Ozzie needs to stop waiting for something to happen and start making things happen by applying pressure to the opposition, forcing errors, bad throws, extra outs and so on.

And if a player can’t (or won’t) execute the things needed to do to win games then extra practice should be mandatory and then if said player STILL can’t get the job done, then Ozzie takes a page out of former Sox manager Eddie Stanky’s book…’you can’t bunt, hit a sacrifice fly, advance a runner by going the other way…then you my friend can have a seat on the bench.’

Thanks for the report Scott. Just the insight I was hoping you’d give! You spoil us with it and I know I miss your postings when you skip a day! Let’s hope the weather holds out for us and it is the start of a winning streak. Maybe Frank can do us a favor in Detroit too!

sunny and warm at 108 now in tucson, what’s with the weather in Chitown? i want to see a game tonight! good point mliptak1 ( do you have a name? i can’t pronounce mliptak1). let’s go Sox, we need for you to restart your engines. j.k. out of dreamland and back to good ol’ tucson, land of the brave and home of everybody except Eva…..( don’t move here Tom). …..

Statistically speaking (both offensively and defensively), Chris Widger is easily the worst backup catcher in the AL Central.

Here are the stats of the other AL Central Backup Catchers:

Detroit’s Vance Wilson’s stats: (Offense) .352 B-Ave, 0 HRs, 14 RBI (Defense) 1.000 F-%, 40% Runners Thrown Out, 20 Assists, 2 PBs

Minnesota’s Mike Redmond’s stats: (Offense) .352 B-Ave, 0 HRs, 14 RBI (Defense) 1.000 F-%, 40% Runners Thrown Out, 12 Assists, 0 PBs

Cleveland’s Kelly Stoppach’s stats:

(Offense) .275 B-Ave, 2 HRs, 6 RBI (Defense) .988 F-%, 38% Runners Thrown Out, 6 Assists, 2 PBs

KC’s Paul Bako’s stats:

(Offense) .230 B-Ave, 0 HRs, 7 RBI (Defense) .988 F-%, 38% Runners Thrown Out, 11 Assists, 4 PBs

How does Chris Widger’s personal stats compare to his AL Central counterparts:

(Offense) .184 B-Ave, 1 HRs, 7 RBI (Defense) .973 F-%, 30% Runners Thrown Out, 5 Assists, 3 PBs… Ouch!

It get’s even worse when you assess the impact that Widger has had this season on the WS pitching staff. Let’s take a look at a comparion of Sox starting pitching stats when Widger is calling the game vs. AJ:

Mark Buehrle

(Widger Catching)

Record: 1-5 (w/1 No Decision) ERA: 5.71

(AJ Catching)

Record: 9-2 (2 NDs) ERA: 3.49

Jose Contreras

(Widger Catching)

Record: 0-2 (1 ND) ERA: 5.59

(AJ Catching)

Record: 9-0 (6 NDs) ERA: 3.12

Jon Garland

(Widger Catching)

Record: 2-1 (2 NDs) ERA: 7.43

(AJ Catching)

Record: 7-2 (5 NDs) ERA: 4.19

Freddie Garcia

(Widger Catching)

Record: 2-1 ERA: 3.87

(AJ Catching)

Record: 8-5 (3 NDs) ERA: 5.08

Javier Vasquez

(Widger Catching)

Record: 0-2 ERA: 8.31

(AJ Catching)

Record: 9-3 (3 NDs) ERA: 4.19

It is obvious (with the lone exception being the slightly better stats posted by Garcia) that when Widger starts at catcher for the Sox… the other 4 WS starting pitchers’ stats diminish a great deal whenever Widger serves as their battery mate.

Here is how the Sox fare as a team with Widger as their starting catcher:

Record: 9-12, .429 W/L%, ERA 5.71, and the WS score 4.14 Runs Per Game(RPG)

Here is how the Sox fare as a team with AJ as their starting catcher:

Record: 49-24, .671 W/L%, ERA 4.19, and the WS score 6.23Runs Per Game(RPG).

In conclusion: an effective MLB back-up catcher is (minimally)strong defensively. They throw out a fairly high percentage of baserunners who attempt to steal on them… commit very few errors, have a respectable number of assists and allow virtually no passed balls. They must also know how to call a solid game on behalf of each night’s starting pitcher as they guide & navigate the pitchers through the opposing team’s MLB line-up. Consequently, possessing an exceptional knowledge of the opposing team’s batters is absolutely essential.

If you can get at least a .230 batting average from your back-up catcher (something all other AL Central Back-up catchers are minimally producing for their teams) while delivering consistently solid ABs, some timely hits and producing some clutch RBIs, your back-up catcher is doing his job.

Chris Widger has been a drain on the overall success of this year’s White Sox team. While the Sox have far more pressing needs that must first be addressed, I hope they can address this problem by either calling up or obtaining a solid back-up catcher. Whenever Ozzie pencils Chris Widger into the starting line-up, he continues to hurt the Sox in each facet of the game for which the starting catcher has a responsibility.

~Hark

Tucson, AZ (via Chicago)

another loss….not suprising. cant blame widger for this one can you? and for the ********* that says trading fields sweeney and mccarthy for soriano is way to much- how many games have you seen them play? sure youve seen mccarthy pitch a few games, but he isnt helping us now. the other two are prospects….that means they havent done anything yet. how many guys on our current team came through the sox organization? crede mccarthy buehrle and anderson (only 2 have been successful so far). the chances that both sweeney and fields will be productive for the sox are minimal. trade them while they have value. get me something. shake it up. we are sinking fast.

and since i was reminded that i suggested the firing of ozzie- i still agree with it. he was lousy in 04 when hunter ran down burke, he was lousy in 05 when they almost blew a 15 game lead, he has been lousy this year when he gets into controversies over nothing (i.e. tracey, marrioti, padilla), he was lousy last night when he left cotts in to face mench. i told my brother “mark it down this will be a mistake” next pitch was in the bullpen. the guy plays mackowiak in center field?!!!?? i think harold baines can cover more ground than him at 45 years old or however old harold is. also at the game last night i received a ballot to vote for the “hometown heros”. its a ballot that lists 5 players from each team, you get to pick one for every team…anyway what a joke that is. pat hentgen is a choice for the blue jays while george bell, jessie barfield, jimmy key are left off. albert belle, jim thome arent choices on the indians, wade boggs isnt a choice on boston but IS on tampa bay. Sammy sosa isnt a choice on the cubs.Mcgwire isnt on the a’s…i dont care if they are steroid suspects, they still will go down as great power hitters for those teams..i found the whole thing ridiculous.

Kenwo, I agree with you on the DHL ballot deal. That is nuts. I can’t believe how poorly that was put together. To believe they had baseball histroians work on that is crazy. If that is really the case where do I apply for that job because I know more than them.

I still think you are crazy trading Fields and McCarthy. Sweeney I would not have a problem with. In the longrun Scott Podsednik or Brian Anderson will be moved. Whomever is left will be playing centerfield and Josh Fields will be in left. Fields is a guy who has risen through the minors too fast for them not to give a shot before trading him. You will also see one of the starting pitchers traded if not before July 31st, but sometime in the off-season. McCarthy deserves that shot in the rotation. He has not been valuable out of the bullpen because that is not what he has done in the past. It takes a special type of pitcher to be a good relief pitcher. Sometimes you have to be warm and ready to go in 10 throws. A guy who is used to starting can not do that. They are used to having 10-15 minutes to warm up. If you have ever pitched at a high level before you would be able to understand what a pitchers arm goes through. They have a routine which helps avoid injury because of the amount of pitches they throw.

I am also a little upset with Ozzie about Cotts facing Mench last night. After he hit that bomb one of the announcers managed to spit out that Mench had 3 hits against Cotts and all were homers. Was Ozzie sleeping? Since sensitivity trainging it seems like we have another Jerry Manual on our hands. Forget about yelling at Sean Tracey he should be all over Joey Cora. There was no way in **** AJ was scoring on that single up the middle last night, and he was out by 20 feet. That ends there inning where we could have had the bases loaded with Iguchi coming up who was dues for a big hit. Cora makes me nuts sometimes with his decisions. I kinda hope he gets a managers job somewhere so he leaves.

Nervous pretty much sums up this fan…especially after how we got our *** handed to us last night. We will survive though, sooner than later though I hope. Garcia needs to START that trend!

March 3, 2009 at 2:15 pmI have amcap nerovision and movie maker (came with vista) on a Dell dual core 64 2 4400+ I find the preveiw very spasmodic on nero I lose sound on amcap and I cannot see a capture option on MM . I’m connected to vcr via composite and audio via scart adaptor Has anyone been successful with a similar setup? or can anyone point me to a site for instructions TIA jimbthomson hotmail com Reply

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