May 2007

Toronto

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Today’s Lineup

Erstad, Iguchi, Thome, Dye, PK, AJ, Crede, Mack, Uribe.  Buehrle on the mound.

Thoughts

We are badly in need of a victory.  Yesterday was very ugly, I don’t need to tell you that.  Just when we think it can’t get any worse, it … does.  We need someone to step up tonight and create a moment to win us a baseball game.

At least with our clubhouse, our general manager and our manager, there is never a question of how much we care.  You can see it on faces and read it in the newspaper each morning.

Coincidence

Both Mark Buehrle and Roy Hallady are going for career win No. 100 tonight.  Only one of Halladay’s 99 career wins has come against the White Sox, while just two of Buehrle’s have come against Toronto.

Weekend

I will be out of touch this weekend but will return — along with Roger Clemens, it appears — on Monday.  Next week also features the First-Year Player Draft on Thursday.  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be filled with pre-draft meetings for our scouting and baseball ops departments. 

For the first time, ESPN2 will televise the first round (and sandwich picks) from this year’s draft, starting at 1 pm CT.  Roland Hemond, who literally has seen every draft (it started in 1965), and Chet Lemon, former All-Star Sox outfielder, coach of top AAU team in nation, son was drafted recently, etc, will represent the White Sox at the Orlando event.

If you are a baseball fan, tune in to watch the event and make sure you follow it on-line at mlb.com.

In Need of a Win

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Today’s Lineup

Erstad, Iguchi, Thome, Dye, PK, Mack, Crede, Cintron, Hall.  Garland pitching.

Today’s Game

Yes, we need a win.  For a little perspective, a win today gives us a 3-3 record at Minnesota for the month.  The Sox don’t return to Minneapolis until a weekend series on 9/21-23.  With 47 games played, by far the fewest in the majors, we currently trail the Tigers by two in the loss column (Cleveland by four).

A victory today will be a great start toward turning this week around.

Tuesday Thoughts

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Random Thoughts

As sickening as it is to watch, how many times have we had to sit through the same showing of Metrodome Horrors … infield hits, 0-2 bloops, bunts, balls topped off the plate, our failures to execute.  Give credit to the Twins for some of this, but personally, I can’t wait until their new ballpark is finished.  I have a hard time even watching games from Minnesota on television.

Bullpen Woes

No question our bullpen has been awful recently, but it was just a few weeks earlier when everyone was singing its praises.  With Mac’s struggles to throw strikes (believe me, they are working with him daily), we need David Aardsma to step up.  He would be the first to tell you that he didn’t get it done yesterday, although the Hunter hit hurt badly.

We need Mac to pitch well if we want him to win.  I am sure most of you will disagree, but in my opinion, many of his issues are related to struggling to throw strikes because of too much movement on his fastball (out of the zone) and an inconsistent slider.  While still an issue, I would rather have the problem of a pitcher’s pitches moving too much than the opposite (because we’ve seen those results too over the years).

Remember, this is a guy who posted a 1.80 ERA over 25 games last year.  Don’t give up on him yet.

I hope it’s pretty obvious that neither Ozzie nor Kenny will accept failure and changes will be made if we don’t see improvement.  At the same time, look around the majors at other bullpens, including Detroit (with the injuries) and Cleveland.  The one consistent fact for middle relievers is that there is no consistency.

Pablo

Tough loss for us and tough injury for Pablo.  No one plays harder, and he will be missed.

It’s way too early to put a timeline on his return. 

AJ

Reading today’s papers (I am not in Minnesota), my take on the AJ/Mourneau incident was this:

Mourneau felt (at his foot or at his elbow or both) AJ brush closely by him on the DP.  Maybe AJ said something (now that would be a surprise).  Happy for a chance to get back at AJ for what they felt were over-the-line antics at our park last year, the Twins bench got all over AJ (what new).  The first base umpire yelled to the Twins bench to cut it out and made a slashing motion across his neck.  This angered Ron Gardenhire and brought him out onto the field in a rage.  Kudos to Gardy if, in part, his reaction was intended to get a reaction from his club, because it sure did.  Sounds like all of the parties have talked and worked it out.  My thought is that Gardy had nothing to lose by playing this up during the game and everything to gain, like a victory.

Knowing AJ and how much these two teams love one another, what do you think tonight will bring?

Today’s Opinion

This from today’s Chicago Tribune:

"General manager Ken Williams did not repair the lineup’s dead spots in center field, left field and shortstop and now finds first base, second base and third base underperforming. That’s an epidemic of second-division proportions."

My thought:

My thought is that Darin Erstad was the best off-season free agent sign in this city through May 29.  Guess he doesn’t count …

And how long do any of us expect Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Tadahito Iguchi and Joe Crede to struggle so badly at the plate?  JD and PK already are showing great signs of finding their swings since Jim Thome has returned.

Second division?  Despite all of our early season frustrations, as I write this, we have the sixth-best record in the American League.  Not great.  But not awful either considering how this season has gone to date.  Let’s keep some perspective.

(Note, not sure why this went to blue font suddenly — or if it is even blue on your screen — but rest assured it doesn’t have anything to do with my mood).

Sunday Best

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Today’s Lineup

Ozuna, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; Dye, RF; PK, 1B; Crede, 3B; Hall, C; Uribe, SS; Terrero, CF.  Vazquez pitching.

About Last Night

Spotty rain after 6 pm around Chicagoland probably had some Sox fans wondering about the decision to postpone last night’s contest (until August 27 at 1:05 pm).  Last night’s forecast at 6 pm by the weather service — with the White Sox, the Rays and the umpires all in the room listening on speaker phone — was terrible with no hope for any windows, so at that point the decision seemed like a slam dunk based on our knowledge.  I guess even slam dunks bounce off the rim sometimes.

Sox vs. DRays

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Erstad, 1B; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Mack, LF; Uribe, SS; Terrero, CF.  Buehrle pitching and going for his 100th career victory.

Pregame Thoughts

Among Ozzie’s pregame comments to the media …

Paul Konerko will miss tonight’s game due to a death in his family … he is expected back for tomorrow … with James Shields and Buehrle throwing tonight, the scouting reports say the game will go quickly … Joe Crede is back in the lineup … Ozzie spent most of the off day trying to catch up on sleep … he didn’t expect there to be any issues between AJ and Mark tonight … "We’re not friends out on the field, we’re family" … he is debating starting Toby Hall on Sunday against Scott Kazmir and again on Monday at Minnesota against Johann Santana … Scott Podsednik remains far away from a return … likely sometime in July.

Worth Noting

The Sox have won 11 of their last 17 … with 19 stolen bases, the Sox rank ahead of just Oakland and Toronto … "So much for the Go-Go Sox," Guillen quipped … we have hit .306 over the last 10 games but still rank last in the AL with a .232 team average … Sox are 14-9 with Jim Thome in the lineup … Guillen is five victories short of 300 for his career … JD (11 game) and Darin Erstad (10) enter tonight on hitting streaks …

Tomorrow

Toby Hall and Rob Mackowiak are scheduled to attend the opening of this summers White Sox Training Center camps at our fields in Mt. Greenwood.  During the event, which is open only to campers, the duo will work with special needs ballplayers on the Miracle Field.

Tonight and Sunday

We are giving away replica 1977 hats tonight and Ozzie Guillen bobblehead dolls on Sunday.  We sent samples around to the morning television shows, so you may have seen Patrick Elwood of WFLD and Pat Tomasilo of WGN-TV sporting the hats and perhaps Oscar Gamble-like hair on this morning’s shows.

Thanks A Million

At tomorrow’s game, fans have the opportunity to write thank you notes to the men and women of our Armed Forces who are serving this country overseas.  Our hope is to generate 20,000 out of U.S. Cellular Field, thanks to Pontiac and GM.

Bricks

Are moving fast … if you haven’t ordered your commemorative brick as part of the planned Championship Plaza at Gate 4 (debuts next year), act now.

Remember

As you spend the weekend holiday with family and friends, let’s all remember those who sacrificed "to the last, full measure" so that we can enjoy our freedoms.

Game Two Tonight

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Erstad, CF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; Dye, RF; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Ozuna, 3B; Mack, LF; Cintron, SS.  Danks on the mound.

Waiting to see if Uribe can get to the ballpark for the game.  His mom is hospitalized at Rush.  Our thoughts and prayers do go out to her.

With XM down for a time today, I wonder what Ozzie listened to on his way to the ballpark.  A CD, I hope.

Back Home Again

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Erstad, CF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; Dye, RF; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Ozuna, 3B; Mack, LF; Cintron, SS.  Contreras pitching.

Notes

Juan Uribe is out of the lineup tonight as his mom’s health has taken a turn for the worse.  Ozzie and Joey were waiting to get a call from Juan to have a sense of how things were going.  Joe Crede is feeling better, according to Guillen, but is getting tonight off as well.

Catching Up

Crazy, frustrating weekend.  So ask me how my Friday morning went!

In the end, it didn’t amount to very much, despite many different angles, stories and analysis.  The AJ/Ozzie/North stuff was over by 11 am Friday.  Obviously, my personal preference is for Ozzie to not call in to radio stations while driving to the ballpark in his car.  Buehrle and AJ talked via phone this morning about today’s piece in the Tribune, and the two spoke again this afternoon.  Ozzie said he wanted the two to resolve whatever the issue was, but that he would get involved if he seemed to continue.

As one dugout observor notes, "Good, we all play better when we are @#$%! (angry)."

Pregame Thursday

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rubber Game

Of this rain-delayed, cold and windy series with the Yankees.

Lineup

Erstad, 1B; Ozuna, 3B; AJ, C; JD, RF; PK, 1B; Mack, LF; Uribe, SS; Sweeney, CF; Iguchi, 2B.  Garland on the mound.

Quiz

What do these five pitchers have in common?

Roy Oswalt

Johann Santana

Dontrelle Willis

Jon Garland

Josh Beckett

News and Notes

Toby Hall is back with the club today (Gustavo Molina was sent down late last night after the second game) and Ozzie said he is likely to start tomorrow.  Guillen also told reporters before the game that he is leaning toward starting Jose Contreras Sunday on short rest.  They were going to see how Jose felt and maybe discuss it once more, but that was his inclination.

On Deck

We begin interleague play tomorrow with that series in ????? oh, yeah, Wrigley.  With everything going on in Chicago this week, Cubs at Mets, Bulls and Pistons, Yankees and Sox, this first series is really sneaking up on folks.

The Sox went 4-2 against the Cubs in 2006, taking two of three in each place.  Since interleague play began in 1997, the Sox hold a 29-25 edge.  Chicago was 14-4 in interleague play in 2006 (as the AL Central ripped through the NL Central) and are 100-75 (.571) all-time.

Jim Thome, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right rib cage, is the all-time home run leader in interleague play (52) and ranks third in RBI (126).

Darin Erstad ranks third all-time in interleague play with a .340 mark and fourth in hits (198).

To Sox fans heading North this weekend, have fun and stay safe. 

Answer

Those five pitchers have the most wins in MLB since 2005:  Oswalt 41, Santana 39, Willis 39, Garland 38 and Beckett 38.

More Questions

I’d love to read you favorite moments from Cubs-Sox series past.  Post your thoughts and memories and we can vote on the 10 best for our June series …

And …

We are looking at shooting video for our website that might give Sox fans a behind the scenes look at our players, the team, the game, etc.  If there’s something you always wondered about … why do they do that?  what’s going on there?  what do the players do when …? post it for me and we will see if we can turn it into a video feature this summer.

Long Day Ahead

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Today’s Lineup (Game 1)

Erstad, CF; Uribe, SS; AJ, C; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Mack, DH; Crede, 3B; Iguchi, 2B; Sweeney, LF.  Danks starting.

Rain, Rain

Long night for all last evening …

With last night’s rainout rescheduled for today at 1:05 pm, the White Sox have made a special offer to fans with tickets:  you can attend today’s makeup and also receive a complimentary ticket to one of the next 13 premier games at the ballpark.  See the press release for details.  All exchanges go through the ticket office here.

Split

This is the first of three split doubleheaders this season.  The second game starts at 7:11 pm.

Ouch

Sox hitters have gone 1-16 with runners in scoring position over the past three games.

This will not continue.

Youth

With 28 strikeouts, John Danks ranks second among AL rookies, behind only Dice-K.

Bears and Bulls

**** Butkus, Head Coach Lovie Smith and the entire Bears coaching staff is planning to attend tonight’s second game with Butkus throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.

New York, New York

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Erstad, CF; Uribe, SS; AJ, C; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Mackowiak, DH; Crede, 3B; Iguchi, 2B; Sweeney, LF.  Danks on the hill.

For New York

Damon, DH; Jeter, SS; ARod, 3B; Posada, C; Matsui, LF; Phelps, 1B; Abreu, RF; Cabrera, CF; Cairo, 2B.  Mussina pitching.

Sox Starters

White Sox starting pitchers have lasted at least 6.0 IP in 19 straight games, the longest streak in baseball.  The last time a Sox team had 19 straight starts of 6.0 IP was Sept 2-23 of 1978.

It’s a fun list of pitchers:

Kucek

Wortham

Barrios

Trout

Kravec

Stone

Wortham

Barrios

Kucek

Kravec

Hinton

Stone

Wortham

Barrios

Kucek

Kravec

Stone

Trout

Hinton

Wortham

Set Those VCRs

Comcast SportsNet will re-play Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter at 9:30 am on Friday.  What a great way to get ready for the weekend series with the Cubs.

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