August 2006

Thursday Fireworks

Thursday, August 31, 2006, 11:34 am

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Dye, RF; PK, DH; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Gload, 1B; Uribe, SS; BA, CF.  Vazquez on the mound.

Oh, What A Night

Wednesday, August 30, 2006, 10:00 pm

What a victory!

As much because — had we not rallied — this would have been a game we should have won (with all the runners left on early in the game).  We would have looked back on tonight on October 2 and grimaced.  But, while it wasn’t pretty, in the end, it came out all right — a Sox victory.

Coupled with the loss by the Twins and a doubleheader split by the Tigers (what happened in Game 2?  How can Mariano get a night off?), the White Sox are now 4.5 games behind the Tigers and 1.5 games ahead of the Twins.

We go for a sweep tomorrow …

Game Two with the Rays

Jenks_4Wednesday, August 30, 2006, 5:36 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

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

Jim Thome returns in the fourth hole.  This is the first time this season he has hit anywhere other than third.  He becomes the fourth Sox player — joining Konerko and Dye — to hit fourth.

Random Thoughts

While it took awhile, last night’s 12-9 victory in the series opener was worth it …

Ballpark prognosticators were guessing the Sox need to go 19-12 over the final 31 games to make the playoffs …

Sure nice to take the field tonight knowing the Tigers already dropped one today …

See, we tried to tell people Mark Redman was an All-Star …

What a difference it makes having Scott Podsednik and Tad Iguchi on base …

Gar_2
Hard Gar

Jon Garland is coming off his fifth career shutout, a six-hitter at Detroit last Thursday (doesn’t that seem like a very long time ago) … Garland is 11-1 with a 2.87 ERA in his last 13 starts dating to 6/13 … his 15 victories in 2006 are tied for second in the majors, while his 33 wins since the start of the 2005 season are tied with St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter for the major-league lead … Garland is 7-1 with a 2.73 ERA in eight starts since the ASB … his seven wins over that time lead MLB.

A Bit Surprising

The Sox rank fifth in the AL with 65 quality starts (that’s the surprising part), going 57-8 this season in those games (amazing percentage) and 20-46 otherwise … when a starting pitcher goes 7.0 IP or more, we are 39-16 … we are 38-38 when going less than 7.0 IP.

Comparisons

We are three games behind last year’s pace … 77-54 compared to 80-51.

Guns of August

With 29 RBI, Jermaine Dye leads the AL in RBI during August.

Jermaine_2

Tampa Bay In Town

Tuesday, August 29, 2006, 5:15 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Dye, RF; PK, DH; Crede, 3B; AJ, C; Uribe, SS; Gload, 1B; BA, CF.  Garcia on the mound.

Rain

Hit and miss tonight, according to Roger Bossard.  So light that it doesn’t even register on the radar, the sprinkles are circling on the edge of the lake and are likely to be a factor all night.

Harborside
Golf and Rain

Yesterday was our annual Field of Greens Golf Tournament at Harborside International Golf Course.  Heavy rain washed out most of the rounds after a few holes, but Sox GM Kenny Williams was spotted on the soaked course long after most other golfers headed in for the day.

"I was worried about my back," Williams said.  "So I was swinging nice and easy on the range and the ball was jumping."

"I think I found something in my swing," said Williams, "so my attitude was ‘Forward.’"

I’ll try to write more about the outing tomorrow …

Let’s take tonight.

Need One

Sunday, August 27, 2006, 12:20 pm

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Dye, RF; PK, DH; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Gload, 1B; Uribe, SS; BA, CF.  Buehrle pitching.

The last two games have been frustrating for a number of reasons … we could have won both games … Detroit’s struggles have given both the Twins and Sox an opportunity to put some pressure on them … Santana wasn’t Santana last night, etc.

Still, a victory today would leave us 1/2 game behind the Twins.  A Detroit loss today at Cleveland (notice they are now 60-68) would then put us 4.5 games behind the Tigers.

Jerry Owens

I am sure you saw that we recalled Jerry Owens and placed him on the disabled list.  This was done because players on your roster on August 31 are eligible for your postseason rosters.  We were covering our bases.

Santana Saturday

Saturday, August 26, 2006, 4:30 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Ozuna, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Dye, RF; PK, DH; Crede, 3B; Gload, 1B; Uribe, SS; Mack, CF; Alomar, C.  Contreras on the mound.

Ouch

Last night hurt … a lot.  Up 3-0 with a chance to move 4.5 games behind the pseky Twins, we drop a 5-4 decision and now sit in third place.  We need a win tonight against Cy Santana.  Maybe it’s our turn for a knockout.

Runs Scored

With 709 entering today, we trail the Yankees for the MLB lead in runs scored by two (711).

Jd
Dye Another Day

Jermaine Dye after 115 games in 2005 and 2006:

Last year:

.270/.325/.496

113 H

23 HR

65 RBI

27 BB

This year:

.325/.390/.651

138 H

37 HR

99 RBI

45 BB

AL Win Leaders 2005-06

Garland, Sox ….. 33-14

Johnson, NYY …. 31-18

Santana, Min ….. 31-12

Let’s Get One Tonight

Every Series Is Big

Friday, August 25, 2006, 6:18 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Dye, RF; PK, DH; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Gload, 1B; Uribe, SS; Mackowiak, CF.  Vazquez on the hill.

Thome Update

Ozzie Guillen said Jim is showing improvement.  While he certainly won’t play tonight, Guillen said there was an outside-outside chance he could be available to pinch hit tomorrow.  Ozzie said it is really tentative and would depend on how Jim felt tomorrow. 

Santana On My Mind

When asked if tomorrow’s start by Johann Santana might influence how he manages the game tonight, Ozzie said not so.

"It’s bad enough that we have to worry about Santana tomorrow," Guillen said.  "We don’t want to worry about him tonight, too.  The guy I worry about is Nathan.  If we see him any of these three games, we know we are in trouble."

Guillen felt the club’s approach against the last start by Santana was the best he had seen in some time. 

Listen In

For those interested, check out MLB Radio‘s "Under the Lights" show tonight at 9:20 (while also watching our game) and listen to frequent reader Adam Hoge (who also posts his own thoughts at "Sox Pride.")  Adam is the MLBlogger of the Week tonight …

Off The Ledge

Wednesday, August 23, 2006, 11:18 pm

Hang In There

This is not the end of the world … it just may sound like it and feel like it from moment to moment.

Jimthome_2
We need to win some games.  We need to score runs, and we need to have our starting pitchers step up.  No doubt.  We need to step up.

It is worth noting that in each of the last three games (all key), we faced a pitcher who likely will finish among the AL Top 5 in Cy Young Award voting.  Like a basketball team that doesn’t shoot well, it is tough to look like you have energy when you are facing good pitching.  We know because we did it to Boston, Los Angeles and Houston last October.

While this year has been at times frustrating, disappointing, annoying (etc. … you pick the emotion), if you ask me, last year was worse.  Last year, you had the feeling like we were going to blow this monumental lead.  That it would be a disaster baseball historians would write about forever.  Instead, magically, we came out of it in an amazing way.

So let’s take stock of where we stand …

37 games left

We still hold the lead in the wild card

We play our closest challenger for the wild card six times (three and three)

We rank second in the Majors in runs scored

We have the fourth-best record in baseball

We have a 42-33 (.560) record against teams remaining on our schedule

If we play at that same pace over the final 37 games (21-16), we finish 94-68

But, of course, we need to play the games

Fun And Games

Yesterday was our annual employee golf outing at Cog Hill (which is one reason I didn’t post).

Every year, my foursome is Bob Grim, Don Brown and the great Moose Skowron.

If you haven’t played golf with Moose, you haven’t golfed.

Moose_1
He is an agitator … cheering his ball along or telling yours to "Stop" or "Run off the Green", funny and perpetually cheerful (upon reaching the half way house at 10:30 yesterday morning, he slathered a hot dog with relish and said, "Isn’t this the greatest.  What a life!" … which quite honestly, I have never said over brunch of a golf course hot dog).  He is loud.  And he is funny.  Very funny.

He has a unique style of play, hitting his driver on Par 3s and using a 9-Wood.

And of course, he tells the greatest of stories.

He hates golf, describing it in two words which I can’t write here but if you say quickly enough together, can sound like one word.

Well, yesterday, he had the round of his life, scoring par on three straight holes at one point.  "I hate this game, but I am going to go out and play tomorrow," Moose joked.

MooserecentTwice on Par 3s, his drive (yes, that is the appropriate term) hit the cart path and bounced onto the green.  Once, he ended up 12 feet away.  The second time, he won closest to the pin with his ball ending up 24 inches from the hole.

Another time he hit out of a greenside bunker with his 9-Wood.  The ball dribbled out, ran across the green, hit the flag and fell in.

It was Moose’s day.

And the stories …

About tearing wall paper off the wall at his home … about getting signed after playing semipro ball for the Austin (Minn.) Packers (A Yankee scout saw him strike out twice and beat the catcher’s throw to first base each time.  He offered Moose a contract.  A Cubs scout saw him homer four times and didn’t offer to sign him) … about his dad … about his kids and family (he cares so much for them) … about the Sox … about Steve Alford (he got to know him through his friendship with Coach Knight) … about Seattle Mariners owner Chuck Armstrong (Purdue ties) … and of course about Mickey, Yogi and Hank.

Moosecard_1
One sample:

"I got hit in the head one day by (blank) of the Red Sox.  I had homered off him earlier in the year and he wanted to get back at me.  Split my helmet in two right along the N-Y.  Casey came out and asked me if I could read the scoreboard.  I could.  My roommate, Bob Cerv, was the next hitter.  I told him, C’mon roomie, hit a ground ball … because I wanted to get someone at second base.  Sure enough, he hits a ground ball to short.  Gene Mauch is playing second base and covers second.  I hit him so hard I break his leg.  Ends his career.

"Years later, he comes up to me and thanks me.  Says I helped make him a major league manager."

Another response came when Bob and I were heckling him over a putt:

"I’ve had 40,000 people booing me, you think the two of you are going to make me choke?"

To quote Moose once more, "What a life!"

Aren’t They All Big

Monday, August 21, 2006, 4:18 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

I am still awaiting word from Detroit.  Better check whitesox.com closer to game time.

Big Series

It is, but at this time of year aren’t they all big?  I think we all will be saying that to one another quite a bit over the next six weeks.

Ten days ago, would any of us have forecast the present situation? … Detroit suddenly looking very human (about time).  We still look dangerous in the division race (let’s see how the next four games go).  Minnesota hanging around annoyingly (We needed Friday night and fell short).  New York surging in the East while Boston really struggles.

Tiger By The Tail

Normally, going 2-2 on the road against the team with the best record in baseball would be an accomplishment.  Not this series.  I think everyone in Chicago (at least our Chicago) is hoping for better.

It will be interesting to see if the first few innings tonight set any tone … can we keep Verlander struggling (same with the Tigers overall) … can our 3-4-5 guys drive our offense … do we all believe Contreras is the right guy to have on the mound for tonight? … I am excited to watch tonight’s game … let’s hope we all share that feeling at 9:30 pm …

The White Sox are 5-1 against the Tigers in Detroit so far, 9-3 overall.

Let’s Go.

The Book

For Blog Night, fans put together an impressive, four-color book about each of them … when they became a Sox fan, photos, favorite players, favorite memories, quotes from my blog, quotes from my post, etc. It was terrific.

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