Thursday in Baltimore

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Today’s Lineup

Same as yesterday …

Swish, CF; OC, SS; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Quentin, LF; Crede, 3B; Uribe, 2B.  Floyd pitching.

 

Gentleman Jim

Silenced the critics quickly last night …

First Place

It’s silly how first place (no matter what time of year) means the water tastes better, showers are warmer, the sun shines brighter, food tastes better, everyone is happier …

Crazy how the performance of 25 players for three hours a day in a game makes or breaks the other 21 hours in the day.  And how the 24 hours after a victory can be so sweet (and go so fast).

 

72 Comments

Yes, winning and first place is ALWAYS better! And, I hope it continues tonight and Floyd puts on a good show for the home folks and the rest of us.

Not to mention the humor in watching Michael Flatley Lord of the Prancing Pixie injuring his leg on every sports highlight show on TV. There is a reason the cubs logo resembles a bulls-eye.

Scott’s exactly right. It’s all about winning…period. Any time any day, any way.

It NEVER gets old.

Mark Liptak

You are so correct… No matter when it is in the season… a win makes me feel better… I take losses very hard and wins very well…. my friends used to joke around that they knew what kind of attitude to expect from me based on what the White Sox did that day/night… And, since they are all cubs fans, they would find out how the sox did based on my attitude…

Shades of 2007. Our bullpen, especially our closer, manages to snatch a loss from the jaws of victory. Why a guy with a 96 mph fsatball is throwing a 3-2 curveball with the tying run on second is beyond me. BTW thome reverted to form again tonight after last night’s aberation. Can we please, PLEASE, GET A DH WHO DOESN’T STRIKE OUT 5 TIMES FOR EVERY HIT !

I have not posted in quite some time. Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately mark the date April 17 as we start the move from first to worst. This team is not good. They are slow, they will make many errors and the pitching is subpar. And folks it all reared it’s ugly head tonight.

I certainly hope that I am proved wrong but I am fairly certain I will not.

Just a bump in the road, nothing more, nothing less. The pitching was great tonight, minus Jenks. What, did everyone think he would go the entire year without blowing a save? Obviously not. Half the runs were unearned, ease up.

They lost one game. THey can’t win every single one. Bobby can’t be perfect every single game. Let’s go get the Rays tomorrow. I’m not jumping off the cliff while we are in first place! Hey it could be a lot worse, look at the Detroit Kitties.

Here’s tonight’s “stat of the night” boys and girls.

Did you know that Bobby is simply “mortal” against the O’s?

In his career he’s blown four games against Baltimore, three at Camden Yards.

Baltimore has gotten to him three times since the start of the 2007 season and in EACH case they got to him with two runs in the 9th inning, as the Sox snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

July 2nd, 07 – at Chicago
July 14th, 07 – at Baltimore
April 18th, 08 – at Baltimore

Memo to Ozzie: DON’T use Bobby three games in a row ESPECIALLY when it’s against the O’s.

2nd memo to Ozzie: STOP with the “match-up” crap! O.K.? With a two run lead there was no reason to use Thornton for all of ONE hitter!

Thornton should have pitched the 7th, Dotel the 8th and Linebrink (or someone else) to close out the 9th. Period.

I know it’s just one game, but it’s a game everyone already had placed in the W column (including it appears the Sox!) only to have it snapped right away.

We’ll see how they react tomorrow in Tampa. Last season the club would still be in a funk…this season? We’ll see.

Sickening give away tonight.

Mark Liptak

Hey, friends, I’m as disappointed as anyone, and I know we’re all “snakebit” after last season – hate to lose a game where our guys had a lead in the 8th inning. That said, it’s still *April* and it’s a long season, and there has been much to cheer about. ‘Nuff said, or TQ will bust me for being too verbal.

A nice effort by Floyd tonight, and hey it was against someone other than the Tigers. Hopefully he keeps that rolling.

The thing that bothered me most was using Boone Logan in the situation he was put in. He is the lefty matchup guy from the bullpen. He is not a guy to give you a full inning. He does not get the strike calls because of the way his pitches move and deceive. You walk the leadoff hitter and it is almost guaranteed he will score. Bad use of the pen. If Logan and Thornton are switched in their roles tonight it could have been a different outcome.

We’ll see how they respond tomorrow. A loss like this, especially when it seemed to be in the bag is hard to swallow. Last year a loss like this would have started a losing streak. If they turn it around and win this weekends series that could prove a lot about this team, especially when we normally struggle in Tampa.

Wow people are nutsy this year. It made me sick to see the squandering of that game, but to say this is the day that starts the drop from first to worst? come on now. Most closers have already blown a game this year. Jenks isn’t going to close out 100 percent of games and to think that he will is insane. The orioles got to him, he made bad pitch selection, the defense was sloppy, Guillen wasted Thornton, Boone was Boone and the sox lost. I don’t think that this will send the sox on a downward spiral though. Nothing more than a blown opportunity to win another game. We’ll get em tonight in tampa. I also agree with Mike Deveraux that Thornton and Logan swapping roles would have been a better plan. No big deal though.

Scott, how do you think one game should silence critics? I have liked Thome most of his career but enough with the strike outs. Uribe has totally revered to his old ways with a passion at the plate as was to be expected, players as a rule do not change that much at his age, with a very few exceptions. Still uribe doing an excellant job in the field. I think alexi would do great in the field also with his skills, and hit a ton more over the course of the season.

Kenwo:

I do agree with you on a few things including of course, Boone Logan.

There are three players who don’t deserve to be on this club right now…Logan, Toby Hall who can’t do anything anymore (run, hit, block balls in the dirt…) and maybe Masset.

There are guys in the minors, some with experience, who can do a much better job. I’m thinking of pitchers like Wassermann, Okha, Carrasco and catchers like Phillips.

Ozzie has already been quoted in the newspapers today as saying he didn’t like the “body language” of some players last night (hello…Mr. Logan!) and was going to talk to them about it.

The question again, especially based of the disaster of 2007, is…’how do they respond this evening and this weekend.’

Mark Liptak

I still feel good about the team. Jenks is going to blow a game every once in a while. But I think Thome is done. Stick a fork in him. It is too bad we can’t trade him or send him down. It would be much better to have Swisher and Konerko rotate between DH and first base.

First of all, peggy… You will notice from time to time that I am not always “short but sweet” in my writings…Don’t concern yourself,dear lady… Verbalize away when you write…
Now, to those of you “on the ledge” after last night in Balmere(that’s how they pronounce it there…don’t blame me…)…There are 30 major league baseball clubs…What happened to the White Sox last night could, and will, happen to any of the other teams…including the mighty Yank-mes, the defending champion Red Sox(or ” carmines”…right, Hawk?) or the team from Jurassic Park at Neverland on the North Side of this very city…
As the more astute members of this site have pointed out…
The proof will show if they can bounce back with a solid effort in Florida the next three games…
And we know that Ozzie will not hesitate in putting Manchild back on the mound in the last of the 9th to protect a lead…
True, that game last night got away…but it’s a good thing it got away on April 17th…and not on September 25th, or a more crucial date…
Use your heads for something besides a hat rack, folks…
and don’t look solely with your Silver and Black hearts…

Tom:

Last I looked games won in April count as one win. Games won in September count as one win…unless of course MLB has decided to go with the “new math” that screwed up a generation of kids in the 60’s.

This was a game where the Sox decided in the 8th inning they had it won, relaxed and gave it away. There’s no excuse for this, be it ANY day in the season.

EVERY game matters.

Mark Liptak

Mr. Liptak,

Sure, every game matters. But so does a team’s mental health. And worrying about a game given away in April for more than an hour after the game will do more damage than anything else.

I just don’t see how fans of the game can get so worked up over a loss with nearly 150 games to go. If you get sick over that one, you’re going to need a lot of medicine because every team in baseball will give away at least eight or nine games in that fashion before the year is over.

Looks like the team didn’t let if affect them too much so far. Last I looked it was a 9-2 lead and the guy that many people on this board have declared as “done” and “washed up” went deep again to give the Pale Hose the early cushion.

Jenks blowing three saves against Baltimore is purely coincidental. Relievers pitch such few innings and situations are always different so it is really impossible to declare a trend after just three games.

Looks like that game in Baltimore didn’t spell the end of the white sox in 2008. great game tonight. Javy is great. Good all around offensive effort tonight besides JD and AJ. They can win the game tomorrow. I thought for sure they were in big trouble when Difelice stuck his arm into the pitch and then they botched the bunt rundown…. Fortunately Javy got the next guy to hit into the good ol’ 6-4-3 and that was all she wrote for the mighty Devil Rays… (why did they drop the devil anyway-that was pretty dumb)

Nice to bounce back and win tonight. Hope the team saved some offense to back up Buehrle tomorrow!

They responded very well this evening in Tampa. That’s an excellent sign that they are putting the disaster of 2007 behind them. Last year they wouldn’t have lost two or three straight after tanking a game like they did Thursday night.

Now keep it going.

Mark Liptak

and IF the “GUYS” duplicate what they started “only” 9 more times this year, we will have our first ever 100 win season…… nice win tonight, keep it up tomorrow….. go White Sox ’08….. j.k.

j.k. … You call them “GUYS”… I call them the boys…It’s yet another matter of semantics… The end result is still the same…
White Sox Universe wants to see them do well, always…but it isn’t written out that way…as I have said many times before, this is not the WWE…
Vazquez does not get rattled, like Garland used to do,when something goes awry behind him defensively… case in point, kenwo’s mention of the botched bunt…
As to Mr Thome, when I saw the replay of HR # 511, I was put in mind of the late play by play man Ken Coleman in Boston…whose signature call was “They usually show movies on a flight that long.”…
As soon as Farmer mentioned 511, I immediately said,out loud, “Mel Ott.”… Next in line, Mr Cub, Ernie Banks(one of the few former Flubs whom I respect to this day for his contributions to the game)and Eddie Matthews…
peggy… You are correct in your feelings that they saved some offense for Buehrle tonight… that is what usually takes place after an explosion…
Finally, to Stone Pony and all the others out there who celebrate this time… Happy Passover…hope that the seders go well, and that all is good…
If any of you listened to the Score last night, you may have heard the on-air audition for the PBP man to give Farmio a rest during the middle innings…Eric Collins could fit in quite nicely with Farmer and Stone…

We need to get the FBI and CIA on the case to find the kidnapped Mr Buehrle because this man is not the one we know and love! errggh!

Chalk up another win for a garbage pitcher with an ERA of over five who made the Sox look like Little Leaguers.

They better take this damn series tomorrow.

Regarding Mark…every year, every team has a “hard luck” pitcher, a guy who pitches fairly well but can’t get any run support. It appears that Mark is this year’s version for the Sox.

Mark Liptak

Oh and one other thing, this is the second game in a row the Sox have screwed up a run down play.

Guess they didn’t work on “fundamentals” as much in spring training as Ozzie promised they would.

Mark Liptak

One FINAL thing and then you can put a cap on this wasted Saturday…did anyone else notice that the “no-name,” “junkballer” who handled the Sox on Monday night, that future “Cy Young” winner, Greg Smith, (be still my beating heart at the mear mention of his name!) gave up six hits and four runs in five innings today against Kansas City?

Keep swinging for that eight run home run guys and keep trying to pull slow breaking balls on the outer half of the plate and I promise you, more of these clowns are going to shut you down and shut you out.

Mark Liptak

This guy tonight had good stuff. as a former pitcher you could tell he was on his game from the second inning on. Gotta tip your cap to him whether his ERA is 5.00 or not. He looked very good tonight.

As far as the rundown play…..I can’t believe Hawk had the audacity to blame Uribe for the play. Uribe deserves some blame but to not even mention Orlando is ridiculous. It is like Scott or some other corporate person slipped him a note between innings to not bash Cabrerra for that. He messed up twice- not running the guy back to first and taking the throw from Uribe when Crede was at the bag. Uribe ran him to the next base which was also stupid but Orlando was by far the bigger dummy on that play. Not to mention he was also involved in the botched rundown Friday night by not covering third. I am not impressed with this guy at all and i would curb plans on signing him to any sort of extension until after the season, if at all.

Rundown play was totally Cabreras fault. You always make the out going back to the original base. He blew it by not running him back. Kenwo – I too have not been impressed by Cabrera thus far. It’s early so I will give him some time, but mental mistakes like tonight are unacceptable.

However I don’t care if whatever no-name pitcher we are facing is throwing the game of his life. We have the kind of lineup that should score runs (with and without homreuns) against any pitcher. One of the reasons we struggle against the bad teams is because we are always seeing new pitchers on those teams, and they make the Sox look like FOOLS!

They better win tomorrow or Friday’s performance was just a mirage.

I see the big hurt is getting screwed out of playing time in toronto…… if we could put all egos aside (which won’t happen)… it would be a great move to get Thomas back. He could play against the lefties since the sox can’t hit lefties and he absolutely rips them and Thome could play vs. the righties. Then frank could retire where he should have anyway.

Ahhhh it is nice to visit a dream world sometimes.

Thomas is the one with the ego kenwo. Did you see his latest comments? Definitely not a team player. These are the types of things that got him run out of town.

Reiterate Thursday’s sentiment, liittle to no pitching, slow and poor defense. I might add quite old as well. This team needs to rebuild. 75-87 at best, still an improvement from last year. Those are just the facts folks.

Thomas just wants a fair shake this season. he has started out slow the past two years and has went on to lead the a’s and blue jays respectively in major offensive categories. I would be more worried about him if he didn’t want to play. The blue jays were my pick to win the wild card but now i hope they lose every remaining game on their schedule. Their manager is a low class piece of garbage dating back to his run in with Shea Hillenbrand a few years back. to hell with them.

and if you think that thomas is the only one with an ego you are out of your mind. Kenny williams has one of the biggest ego’s i have ever seen. i am not saying that having an ego is necessarily a bad thing either.

The season is 17 games old and you folks are already deciding that Buerhle is the “hard-luck” pitcher on the staff, that Cabrera was a bad pickup, that Thome is “washed up” and that pitchers with an ERA over 5.00 are “garbage.”

Unbelievable. The season is 10 percent old and you have already come to these conclusions.

Most starters have 3 or 4 starts under their belts right now. One poor outing this early and an ERA can hover over 5.00 or more for a few weeks.

Also remember that virtually all big league pitchers (except for the few No. 1 draft picks that are pitchers and find their way to the bigs) are “no-names” at some point in their career. If they can’t get big league hitters out, they would be pitching in the show. Buerhle must have been “garbage” at some point in his career by your definition.

Everyone needs to take a step back, a deep breath, and look at the big picture. It’s April 20th. Don’t worry about stats. Just enjoy the games and let Ozzie, Coop, Walk, Bainesy, Cox, etc., do the worrying for you.

And please, no more comments about “no-name, garbage” pitchers. That post is getting as old as last year’s post about the number of blown saves by the bullpen.

Big Hurt released? Guess they thought he already had a fair shake.

Well they guessed wrong.****** the Blue Jays. If the Blue Jays played the Cubs in the world series i would cheer for the Cubs. Hopefully Frank catches on somewhere and gives it to them in the brown like he has given it to us after we cut him. I still say we should right that wrong and bring him back….he is just as good as Thome anyway…Platoon! Big Hurt vs. lefties and Thome vs. righties!

Don’t care about egos, I like Thomas, guy can hit, it’s a gift, no drugs needed.
Very disappointed at last night, I realize every dog has his day, but that guy shut the Sox down and it looked like 07 (for a game at least). I was surprised Hall got one of the hits last night. Why’d they sit AJ and Dye on the same night, I’d have tried to switch that up.

And Ozzie is right on with his comments so far this year, the guy isn’t swearing, but his comments and observations have been right on (even if some of his managerial decisions haven’t been).

He’ll catch on somewhere. He still has talent and can contribute to a team. However, he still has a diarrhea of the mouth problem.

TC:

Then here’s a simple solution for you, tell the Sox to STOP getting embarrassed by “no-name” “garbage” pitchers and to STOP blowing games and I’ll be more then happy, in fact I’ll be totally, completely, ecstatically happy to stop using that reference.

You’re right… it is “old”…almost as old as getting embarrassed by pitchers of the ilk of Kason Gabbard, John Wasdin, Nate Cornejo, Joaquin Benoit, Anthony Reyes, John Rheinecker and Doug Waechter.

Shall I go on?

I don’t see to many future Johan Santana’s in that group, do you?

True, every pitcher starts out as a “no-name” the difference is the Sox are losing to clowns who CONITUNE to be “no-name’s” by getting shelled practically every other time out.

There’s an old saying, “fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me…” What’s the saying after you’ve been “fooled” thirty or forty times?

That’s what you get when despite all of Ozzie’s protests about “hitting solo home run’s,” “and striking out too much,” the basic philosophical mind-set of the team refuses to change….it’s home run or nothing.

And TC the word is out among every pitching staff in baseball. If you haven’t been seen by the Sox much, if you throw soft stuff and keep the Sox off balance, they’ll beat themselves.

The Sox usually kill fast ball pitchers, yet can’t seem to make adjustments on garbage that throws 84 mile an hour junk on the outside of the plate.

Is it the hitters fault? Is it Greg Walker’s? I don’t know and I don’t care. Five years of this stupidity should be more then enough don’t you think? In 2005 the offense had great bablance and you saw what happened.

Mark LIptak

Mark:

Could not agree more. When the White Sox were successul in the past against the likes of these types pitchers it was because they took a disciplined approach at the plate. In essence, get em on, get em over, get em in. You rattle these no names with that approach early and often and they never recover.

Too many guys focused on personal stats. Also, dog tired of Pauly’s “slow starts”. Here’s a thought: Sign Crede to a long term deal, bring Fields up to play first, trade Paulie for a young starting pitcher with upside potential.

BC:

Well to point out something you brought up, the pitcher who made the Sox look like a 50 something softball team trying to hit Randy Johnson last night, got hammered to the tune of seven (or was it nine) runs by the Yankees in his previous start.

I guess in the ensuing five days he stopped being a “no-name” pitcher eh? LOL

Mark Liptak

nicely drawn…..

Tomorrow is a day off, coming after the road trip and before the start of the Yank-mes series, right?
WRONG!!!
Tomorrow should be a MANDATORY workday at the Cell for EVERYBODY… not just the ones who f-d up the rundown plays Friday and Saturday in Tampa…
Get them out there and have them run through EVERY variation on pickoff plays, rundowns, cutoff plays…
Have they ALREADY forgotten what they were supposed to be doing in Tucson for six weeks or more ???
It sure as h*ll looked like it the last two games…
bc… too many guys focused on personal stats?…Now there is word that Frank Thomas has been let go by the Blue Jays?…
Two thoughts on a universal topic…
Number 25 can only blame Number 25 for the fact that the only way that he goes in to Cooperstown is if hew buys a ticket…
Before you step in to another batter’s box, Frank, here’s a thought… Do not open mouth to insert foot first…
As Teddy Roosevelt said… “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Mark to paraphrase one of your earlier quotes, a loss to Johan Santana counts just as much as a loss to John Wasdin.

Worrying about which starting pitchers you’ve beaten and which ones you’ve lost to is a surefire way for a manager or a hitting coach to get fired. Any pitcher in the big leagues is capable of beating or losing to anybody on any given day.

In 2005, everything clicked with the exception of late July and most of August. It had nothing to do with which pitchers the Sox were beating and which ones were beating them.

Ozzie is a smart guy. He’ll let people like you waste their time worrying about the “no-names” and their record against the Sox and worry more about things he can control, like his lineup, his own rotation and his own roster.

Also, any fan who thinks they should dump Konerko better tell me where they are going to find a better defensive first baseman that can hit 30-40 homers and drive in 100+ runs on a fairly consistent basis.

As I keep saying, it is only April 20th. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Oh, by the way, I didn’t see Sunday’s game but I hear some guy named Thome homered again. What is it, 512 now? Yah, I say you dump the guy and bring up Fields and his decent numbers from the second half of a lost season.

Honestly, how can you guys ENJOY following the Sox when all you do is complain and worry???

TC:

Jackson has no major league quality breaking pitches, Thome and the other Sox hitters could step back and tee off on his fastballs which is what they do best. I’ve never said to dump Thome and or Konerko but it’s obvious Jim is having major issues against left handers. You must be talking about someone else.

Excellent starting pitching and also good base running to take advantage of some boneheaded plays by the Rays today, kudos to the team.

Win the series 2-1….win the road trip 3-2 (should have been 4-1 but who’s counting…)

Enjoy the day off, get some rest and continue to grind out wins at home.

My point TC being (and it appears you missed it) is that this has become a CHRONIC problem for the White Sox (losing to bad pitchers with mediocre stuff who throw a lot of junk) since 2003 when Bill Melton went off on a post game speech after they were embarrassed in Texas by that “future Hall of Famer” Joaquin Benoit (if memory serves…)

What’s the definition of insanity? Is it continuing to do something when you know it causes problems?

If that’s true then the Sox continuing to try to yank out 800 foot home runs and pull sliders and change-up’s on the outside part of the plate IS insanity.

And here’s some numbers for you from 2005. The White Sox were in the top quarter of the league in the following categories…home runs, sacrifice bunts, stolen bases, infield hits, sacrifice flies. That’s not counting the pitching numbers of course.

That my friend is called BALANCE. That’s being able to win games and avoid long slumps because you can do multiple things well, that’s called CREATING runs and putting pressure on opposing defenses. It has a GREAT DEAL to do with why they won so much in 2005. It didn’t matter if a guy was getting them out on breaking balls…they’d adjust…if a guy was throwing smoke, they’d adjust and find some other way to get runs home.

I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen that approach since early July 2006.

I love following the Sox, I enjoy them tremendously. The difference appears to be between us, that when they suck, I can’t stand them and that’s the way it should be for all fans… save those on the North Side, which is partly why they haven’t won squat in 100 years (those lemmings tolerate it!)

Baseball is nice, a warm sunny day is great, a cold beer is absolute heaven but never forget the name of the game is winning. THAT’s the best enjoyment of all.

Lip

TC:

I don’t complain, I don’t worry, I just call it like I see it and I certainly hope I am wrong in my observations.

Mark,

The Thome comments were not directed to you, nor were the Konerko comments. They were meant for some of the other bloggers who seem to be pretty concerned about the first one-tenth of the season.

I just don’t put a lot of stock into who the other team is pitching and what type of pitchers the Sox hit the best. I’ve watched enough baseball in the last half-century to know that baseball is the one sport that more often than not defies all statistics and all logic. Yes, I do believe in playing the percentages most of the time and the trends and stats can certainly be useful in diagnosing certain problems.

But the beauty of the game is that a John Wasdin can beat some good teams from time to time and that a guy like a Geoff Blum can hit a home run in the 14th inning of a World Series game and help a team that he spent a few months with win a World Series championship.

I am a huge Sox fan and have been for a long time. After many years I have learned that I can’t live and die with every pitch, every game, every series. That’s what Kenny, Ozzie and the coaching staff are paid to do. I’ll let them worry about it and I’ll just continue to enjoy the game and hope that the wins far outnumber the losses.

And I still don’t care what pitcher shuts us out. If he’s in the bigs, he’s good enough to shut anybody out.

Yah the sox got shut out by sonnastine or whatever his name was and they beat jackson…… sonnastine got rocked by the yankees, but i was at yankee stadium this year when jackson beat the yankees. anybody with a bat in their hand is dangerous and pitchers don’t make it to the majors because they are terrible. somewhere in them is some type of talent.

well said tc, well said.

a good debate going on here. i’m going to have to weigh in on the side of tc: i too love the White Sox and have since ’59, but with age (i think that’s a key), i simply don’t “live and die” with every game as i did when i was a kid. i remember listening to the Sox against the angels in ’61 on the radio (they were the only AL team to transmit a signal to Az then) and wailing about the teams inability to beat an expansion team! “How could they lose to the angels”? i asked my dad. he had more experience and perspective than i did at 13 and told me that any team can win on any given day. that adage continues to prove true and always will. i was one of the ones to say bench Thome what with his slow start, but now i will wait a little longer to voice that opinion again. Jim can carry us for awhile as we all know…. is he heating up now? if so, i can forgive the strikeouts. we will see. so far so good this year, even with the “blown” game on thurs. but that too is baseball. that’s why we ALL love it so much, no matter what our age or perspective….. let’s keep it up and get the yankees on tues…. j.k.

I live and die with every single game. if they lose a game like last thursday it ruins my evening until i get up and read the preview for the next game. When they win I am happy.

The thing is if they get beat because the other team is better that evening IE Saturday- especially when it only happens one time in a series- you have to tip your hat to the other team. Everyone that has been on here for years knows that I don’t hide my feelings when someone isn’t doing the job IE Orlando Cabrera. The team is doing pretty well however. They are in first place by 2 1/2 games and the only team in the division over .500. Sure it is early April but they look pretty decent this year. The starting pitching has been unbelievable. If they keep winning the series they will be in it all the way to the end. 2 of 3 on the road is good no matter if it is the Devil Rays. Especially when you didn’t give that game away. Even with the run down play- you aren’t going to win if you don’t score. Sonnastine had a great night that evening. Good for him. We still won the series. So quit whining for goodness sakes until the bottom falls out. right now they are going good.

Hitting is a combination of hand-eye coordination, strength (bat speed) and discipline/quick thinking. Hand-eye coordination is pretty much a given for anyone playing professionally, and this team is loaded with strong guys that can turn on anyones fastball. The problem for a number of years excluding most of 2005 has been discipline at the plate. Not being able to wait on changeup, or take a slider the opposite way has cost this team a lot. We have had a couple of stinkers so far, but I don’t think it has been nearly as awful as last year. The discipline with the addition of Swisher has improved. I don’t expect to light up junkballers all year long, but impovement as the year goes on would make a lot of people feel a lot better.

I can’t say I live and die with every game, but I certainly do take losing very hard. When we lose to a really good team, or an all-star caliber pitcher I know that you can not win all those games, and being .500 in sitautions like that would be successful to me. What I am not OK with though is losing to pitchers who are not the caliber of our own, or even the caliber of someone who has been at the MLB level for a couple years.

Over the past 5 years or so our records against teams like Tampa and KC, two of baseballs perennial bottom feeders is not good considering we have been very successul during that time in our overall record. Why is that? Why can we jump all over teams like Detroit and Cleveland and we can not beat up on a bunch of players who might not be on our AAA team? I think for a while it may have been overconfidence, or even cockiness. Now I think doubt has set in, and they are trying to over compensate by swinging for a homerun everytime rather than taking a pitch the other way for a base hit.

TC – You are right that any guy who gets on the mound for an MLB team has proven to his organization that he deserves to be there, and that he has the talent to shut another team down. The question is why does it happen so often to the Sox. Imagine how much better our record would be over these past 5 years or so had we won games against teams/pitchers we were supposed to beat. I’d say 2 more playoff appearances is a possibility.

As for the Big Hurt, that was a classless move by Toronto. I did not hear what Frank had been saying the past couple days, but I’m sure he was just being Frank (no pun intended). If you had room for 2 DH’s on one roster I’d be all for that platoon, but it is probably not a reality. However with Brian Anderson playing as little as he has that seems to be a wasted roster spot.

Solid effort by Danks today. I missed today’s game to see my brother pitch for his college team, but I was thrilled to hear the positives from today’s game, and another series victory. Keep winning 2 of 3 with the occassional sweep and we’ll be playing in October.

Jim, you know what else was a classless move? Frank Thomas being a baby, pouting and not shaking hands with his teammates the game he was benched. The teammates didn’t bench him.

Also, you say the move by Toronto was classless? Well Frank and the Jays BOTH agreed to part ways. So it appears that the Jays and Frank were classless for releasing Frank.

I’ll make one more comment about the “no-name” pitchers debate and then let it rest.

I certainly don’t have any statistical information to back this up, but I would venture to guess that every team in baseball has lost what it would consider to be a significant number of games to the co-called lower tier pitchers.

Why? For all the reasons I have discussed in earlier posts. The Sox are not alone.

The problems that Jim mentioned in the earlier post (plate discipline, over-compensating against junk-ballers, etc.) are universal problems within baseball. The Sox are not the only “infected” team.

So, an 11-7 start with a 7-4 record so far on the road. I’ll take that percentage the rest of the way and gladly head into the postseason with 99 wins. Of course, the road percentage will probably dip some but the home record should improve.

Regardless, this will be a fun team to watch. Maybe not the same type of club as 2005 when Pods made things happen at the top of the order with his speed but still a fun team to follow on a day-to-day basis.

I know that the Sox are playing good ball because in my limited time right now to follow “the game” (as the great Roland Hemond referred to baseball) I have not had one free minute to even concern myself with the team on the other side of town. Life is always better when you don’t let distractions from the north side get in your way.

KR-TREPAC,
Thank you for informing what it was that caused this recent problem with Frank. I had been a little out of pro baseball for a couple days and did not hear all the details. I was basically responding to what was on the WGN news last night,a nd clearly they did not have all the details. That sounds like Frank being the person he is. It’s unfortunate that the guy who is possibly the best player in White Sox history has the personality that he does. I will be interested to see how he acts and promotes himself for the hall of fame once he retires. He will probably get in because he is considered to be clean, but he should hire a really good publicist to help him with his words and actions!

Can anybody out there tell me what team Iguchi is playing for nowadays? Just curious.

Lisa

Gooch plays for the San Diego Fathers.

Okay, let’s hear from the “old man”, in his 49th season of following the White Sox…

Thank you, thank you very much…
I used to be the way that kenwo was…living and dying with
every game and each and every pitch… But then, I slowly came to the realization that, no matter what I did, they were going to win or lose on their own account… all I could do was sit there and watch… I agonized over 1970 and the other years when they stunk on ice…I reveled in the years when they were competitive all year long…and of course, there was 2005…nothing more needs to be said about that year…
Today, if they win, fine… if they lose, I hope that they don’t compound things by playing like the type of team that a Pony League team could beat…
I am to the point that, if I open my eyes and swing my legs out of bed in the morning… everything else, the White Sox included, is a bonus…
Having written that, one observation about the current team…and maybe someone out there who has an inkling about what is “down on the farm”could help out…
Toby Hall may be one of the nicest men that ever drew a breath…he may be a wonderful husband and father, good to his immediate family, etc…
But… as the back-up catcher… he is dreadful…
There HAS to be someone in the system who could be called up to replace Hall…his days have been numbered ever since Ozzie put him at first base in spring training of ’07…and he was injured…
Be humane about it… severe his ties, so that someone else can take over…

Tom:

Paul Phillips should be the back up catcher on this club.

Right now Hall can’t hit, throw anybody out, looks heavy and can’t block balls in the dirt.

I don’t want to believe the only reason he’s only the roster is because he makes 1.5 million and the Sox don’t want to eat the salary, but given the way he has performed, or not performed, that may be at least a legitimate question.

Mark Liptak

I think I heard Swish say one day that the whole bleached facial hair thing started when he saw Hall’s hair…so Hall may be an important part of the team chemistry that seems to be going strong right now. Also, Hall isn’t killing the team right now, A.J. is going to get most of the time this year behind the plate like usual…so why mess with success so far?

Pman:

Because sooner or later he will be called upon in a clutch situation.

Any team is only as strong as its weakest player, bringing up someone who makes the team stronger overall, even if he is “only” the 25th man, increases your chances to win games or a game or a few games.

And in the end a few games could make all the difference in the world.

Mark Liptak

Isn’t life too short to go through it seeing the glass as half empty? Mark L. take some medication dude. Dwelling on one friggin game or a couple of mistakes? If not, maybe you need to follow another team so you don’t stroke out on us.

How about we look at the rest of the glass? Crede is back in a big way. Swisher has one of the highest OBP in the league. Floyd and Danks have shown some early signs of life. Every win we get from these two is icing on the cake and so far I count 4 or is that 5? Hell, even Contreras is coming over the top with his pitches more than side-arming. The hitters are hitting and once they all find their rhythm, we’re gonna be in for a wild ride this summer.

So rather than piss and moan about every little thing, I’ll give you one to argue about. If this pitching holds up and we continue to get contributions from the F & D team, then this team won’t make the playoffs as a wild card, they will win the division…..as Hawk would say…..you can put it on the board…….YES.

I love baseball; don’t get me wrong. But I agree with not living and dying on a single game. I get very disappointed for about 15 minutes after a loss, but then I move on, awaiting the next opportunity. I love the Sox and watch darn near every game from first pitch to last out, but I have, as we all do, a pretty hectic life. If I have no control of a situation (other than complaining, which won’t fix anything) and it turns out badly, it stinks, but I move on. With that being said, I still think this team has a great chance to outperform the critics. I see a lot of positives, and always things to work on… so I’m on the bandwagon and always will be. The one player that really concerns me is Toby Hall..which seems to be a common thought. Great defensive catchers can slide if they don’t have a good bat. That’s not what we see here. I can’t recall anything positive in Toby’s play for a very long time. Again, not like me to bash someone, but I think we have more talented, deserving guys on the club that could back up AJ. Let’s sweep the Yankees!! -Dawn

swsafley… Psychologists and psychiatrists have tried and tried and tried to analyze the typical White Sox fan and why he or she habitually complains… They came up with the answer that… White Sox fans are NOT like their brethren on the other side of the tracks…they are NOT willing to accept “close but no cigar” for their team… When the least little bit goes wrong, the analysis begins full bore…
Right now, for example, the pitching staff is in this order of success… Vazquez,Danks, Floyd, Contreras, THEN Buehrle…
and isn’t it ironic that the team relied so much on Buehrle just about four years ago to be their bellcow?
But there are folks out there who will disagree with what I just wrote…
Just for my own clarification… Who is the F&D team?…

On another topic…the opponent tonight…
It seems that the (Big)Apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree in Fort Apache, the South Bronx…
The “new” Steinbrenner in charge of ridiculous comments and absurd moves… “Little Boss”… a.k.a. Hank S… wants to move one of his set-up men into the starting rotation…and he calls his GM “an idiot” for not realizing that…
Be very glad, White Sox Universe…that Mr Reinsdorf doesn’t have any sons who make asinine statements and decisions regarding the team…
At least this owner respects his GM and his abilities…and lets said GM do the job he was hired for…

SW:

I’m trying to figure out a good way to respond to your comments.

Let’s put it this way, I’m 52 year old. I’ve been a fan since I was five. That means I’ve lived and died with this team for 47 years now.

In that time (47 seasons) I’ve seen the Sox get to the post season five times (and in 59 I was to young to remember anything) and get to the World Series twice.

We’re not exactly talking the New York Yankees here are we?

So excuse me if I don’t view the team as you do.

There are areas with this club, that left unchecked and unresolved could have serious consequences later in the season and that could mean the difference between actually winning something or at least having a winning season and a repeat of 2007.

From not being able (for the past five years) to muster offense against pitchers that are getting ripped apart by the rest of MLB, to being able to execute a rundown, to “Ozzie-Ball” practically disappearing to the guys off the bench…it ALL matters in the end.

Baseball is serious business to me, ranking right up there with my wife and my profession. I’d like to think that the reason I take it seriously is partially why I’ve been able to use it in my career in the sports media.

If nothing else be glad that there is actually one Sox fan in the media at all or at the very least one person who doesn’t drink the Cubbie – Kool – Aid (i.e. let’s get drunk, throw baseball’s, create a distraction and act like an idiot…who cares if they win or lose!)

As I said early in this run of posts. It’s ALL about winning, that’s why they play the games, that’s why they keep score.

Mark Liptak

Tom:

Just for point of clarification. One thing about the Yankees that I’ve always respected is tied to my above post. George Steinbrenner et al have never forgotten that the name of the game is to win.

Not make money, not smooze the media, not placate the fans….winning…period.

And like the Steinbrenner family or not you can’t ignore the fact that they’ve won six (I believe) World Series titles and made fifteen or so post season appearances since they bought the club from CBS in 1973.

You have to give them props in that department.

Also this may simply be semantics but don’t think for a second that Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t have a say in running his team. From getting involved in the Tony LaRussa situation, to being “consulted” on contracts and offers, he does have a say with what goes on. Kenny Williams doesn’t have unlimited authority just as Roland Hemond, Larry Himes and Ron Schueler didn’t.

I mean Kenny didn’t just wake up and offer Tori HUnter 85 million on his own, ditto for coming to the conclusion to make Mark a four year offer.

Not saying that’s wrong, again JR SHOULD have a say in the matters of his team but let’s not act like he doesn’t at all. He’s not George Steinbrenner true…but he IS involved in on field decisions.

Mark Liptak

Ooops…I almost forgot the “Hawk” Harrelson era as G.M. (shudder…)

That was a direct decision by JR and he said as much to Melissa Issacson:

“Eddie and I would talk to Hawk and (Don) Drysdale at length, and Hawk more so, to identify problems in the organization, we were still neophytes in this business and we were impressed with the way Hawk pointed out our problems. [GM] wasn’t something he really wanted him to do, but we urged him to help us out. The mistake was that when you go to a doctor who diagnoses open-heart surgery, you don’t have him do the surgery because he diagnosed the problem, you get a heart surgeon. Just because Hawk was able to diagnose our problems did not mean he could solve them. It was a terrible position to put him in, and a year later, he said he wanted out.” – Jerry Reinsdorf to the Chicago Tribune’s Melissa Issacson. May 28, 2004.

Mark Liptak

Mark,

I got a name for you, Paul Byrd. When the Sox face Paul Byrd I usually go to the window and make a killing betting against the Sox. He is the junkballer of all junkballers. The guy’s windup looks like was one of Shoeless Joe’s teammates. Now granted Byrd is a fairly decent pitcher and has been around for a while, but he is one of those guys that drives the Sox nuts. Only loss in 2005 post season was at the hands of Byrd. For a fan like myself to bet against the Sox it shows there is a trend they can’t seem to break.

I’ve been a Sox fan for a long, long time. I can’t say I live and die with every game, but their success does matter to me, although on a rational level, I can’t explain why.

The key to success in this fascinating game seems to me to be adjustments. The top hitters adjust to all kinds of pitching. They can hit pitches thrown inside, outside, faster or slower. Good pitchers adjust, even during an at-bat, to try to outsmart a hitter. The winner in a given at-bat is the one who is better at making the necessary adjustments.

Another factor seems to be observation, scouting, whatever you want to call it. I’d suggest those who love the game, and get to watch the Sox on TV more than I do, observe how far the opposing fielders have to move to catch the balls put in play by Sox hitters. Compare that to the distance the Sox fielders have to move to catch their opponents balls. When the Sox fielders are making loads of “highlight plays” that usually doesn’t bode well. Especially when their opponents merely lean an inch or two to grab grounders.

The other side of observation, most important for teams that don’t have monster payrolls, is being able to spot undervalued or unrecognized talent. Some teams are good at this, and get very good (if not all-star caliber) players who produce a lot of runs and a lot of wins, without ever becoming “household names” or making the big endorsement bucks.

This is true of pitchers, too. There are the marquee pitchers, names that spring to the mind of all fans, who win a lot of games. And then there are what I call the “journeymen” or workmanlike pitchers, who don’t dazzle, but win a good number of games. Some of these, I guess, are what some here consider “no-names” who should regularly lose to the Sox. My feeling is the Sox need to get better at adjusting to whatever pitches they see, whether thrown by all-stars or no-names. That is the key to winning, and yes, winning is what they play for, and winning is what we all want to see.

Gotta weigh in on two other things: Toby Hall has gotta go. Note that Mark Buehrle pitched a no-hitter with A.J. catching, and got beat up with Hall calling the pitches. Since Hall isn’t great either offensively or defensively, he’s a liability. Can’t afford liabilities in the AL Central.

Frank Thomas: even though it would be great to have him as a “specialist” DH for lefty pitchers, when I think about why he wants to continue playing, the most compelling reason seems to be to achieve some milestone numbers. To do that, he needs as many at-bats as possible, and a “specialist DH” role wouldn’t get him enough.

Ok, that’s my .02!

Okay, the F & D team is Floyd and Danks. As I said, as they go, this team will go. Mark L. I’m glad you’ve been a fan for 47 years. Its good to have loyal fans like you who care and have passion about the Sox. I can recommend a good blood pressure medication if you like. Mine works real good. Congrats. For the rest of you that think I tolerate losing any better than anyone else, I don’t. I just don’t lose it with every pitch of every game. If I was that stupid, I’d be a Cubs fan and the thought of that makes me want to …..well….

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