Throwing Up Zeros

Friday, April 16, 2010

Early-Season Bullpen Heroics

?  The White Sox bullpen leads the major leagues with a 1.89 ERA and an average of 12.96 strikeouts per 9.0 IP.

?  The Sox pen struck out 12 batters in just 5.0 IP last night, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau tied the franchise record set previously on 7/9/06 vs. Boston (13.0 IP), 5/8/84 vs. Milwaukee (19.0 IP) and 6/5/74 vs. New York-AL (13.0 IP).

?  Randy Williams (2.0 IP), Sergio Santos, J.J. Putz, and Scott Linebrink (1.0 IP apiece) each struck out three batters as the bullpen needed 8.0 IP less to match the existing club mark.

?  The Sox pen has thrown 17.1 scoreless IP over the last six games, allowing just nine hits with 26 strikeouts, an average of 13.50 per 9.0 IP.

?  The bullpen line over the last six games:

W-L    ERA     SV-OPP    HLD         IP         H     R    ER      HR      BB    SO    ,AVG
1-0        0.00         2-2           0         17.1      9      0       0        0        7      26     .150


Still not home but just saw the score and the PBP online. My biggest fears of 2010 are hurting us tonight with Teahen making the error at third that led to three unearned runs.

That position may haunt us all year.

How about a late rally?

The bullpen has been great but the rest of the team is absolutely brutal. The Sox are in LAST PLACE!! I am already tired of this BS.

So much for “leads the major leagues with a 1.89 ERA and an average of 12.96 strikeouts per 9.0 IP”. Another shining example of how meaningless statistics are. The SOX pen has blown three leads into three losses (out of 7 total) and today MT couldn’t hold the Tribe to a 2-2 tie, which turned into yet another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory by our great bullpen.
BTW, (on national TV no less) AJ (throwing his bat yet again when he grounds out) and CQ (slamming his helmet to the ground crossing first) after first pitch hitting into a DP to kill another late inning opportunity. Come on guys, everybody’s frustrated with the way this team is going, but show a little more class will ya ?

I’ve been so busy with my job that I have only seen parts of two games so far so my knowledge of the first dozen games is limited and mostly drawn from reading blogs and game articles.

Hitting — or lack thereof — is obviously the biggest problem to date. We’ve seen this before and all we can do is hope that the many slumping players find their stroke. After all, that many players can not be replaced in April.

I had mixed feelings about this team when the season started. While we are improved in some areas — starting pitching, outfield depth, speed — we do have some glaring question marks. My biggest concern is third base, both offensively and defensively. Teahen has some talent but if he wasn’t good enough to play third every day for the Royals, how is he good enough to fill that position for the Sox?

When Nathan got hurt, many people began to dismiss the Twins and make the Sox the favorites. That seemed absurd to me. Sure, Nathan is a stud and a huge loss. But surely, the Twins will find someone — and Rauch may be the guy — that can do well in that role. He probably will not be as dominant as Nathan, but certainly good enough to keep them in contention for the Central and AL crowns.

There are 150 games left. Time for a lot to happen, both good and bad. It’s always a roller coaster when following the Sox and 2010 will be no different. I hope the bats come alive soon and that we aren’t in a “dig-out-of-the-hole” mode for the last five months of the season.

I can appreciate the fact that Ozzie is taking responsibility for our offensive struggles to start the season. He’s trying to take the heat off his coaches and that is admirable. I do think that heat most certainly needs to be focused on his coaches. Whatever Greg Walker has been doing with our hitters is not working. A hitting coach is not just a guy that is supposed to work with a hitter on his swing. He is a guy that is supposed to give his hitters a plan of how to approach a particular pitcher for a game and also help hitters make in game adjustments against pitchers if their original plan of attack isn’t working. I could be but it doesn’t seem like this is happening. Like most baseball fans I can get emotional and have immediate reactions to losing games and want to blame the hitting coach and call for his head, this is not a simple emotional reaction. Greg Walker is absolutely to blame for this and I’ll give you some simple numbers to prove my point. Since taking over as our hitting coach we have only had 4 players with an average over .300 for the timeframe that he has been the hitting coach. Ozuna leads it with a .328. In the same time period prior to Walker we had 10 hitters over .300. Even our captain has fared worse with Walker there. Prior to Walker, when Paulie was a younger man and not the veteran hitter he is today, his average for that period was .294 with Walker its .271. I know .23 points might not seem like a lot but over the course of the season that can be well over 100 hits. How many one or two run games like the six we’ve lost this season might have had different outcomes if Paulie had gotten one more hit? Not Walker’s fault? Another example, Juan Uribe, Juan hit .283 with us his first year. Not a bad average for Juan, right? After that first year Walker helped him improve so much that he hit .241 over the next 4 seasons with his highest being .252. That’s a .30 drop. As I said above that .30 drop means lost hits and potentially missed scoring opportunities. Since leaving the Sox and Walker’s “coaching” Juan is batting .293. Greg walker must be held accountable for this poor offensive performance. I’m not necessarily saying that he should be fired but if not someone needs to have him take a serious look at how he can better help our players succeed because what he is currently doing is not working.

I couldn’t agree with you more. There is a obvious lack of preparation for the pitching they will be facing.

Not to pile on but atayfel34 has it exactly right. Anybody who has watched this team for the last 3-4 years knows that out hitters DO NOT make adjustments to opposing pitchers. They have the same approach over & over & over, ad nauseum. This partly explains why medicore lefties (like Ricky Romero – ugh) can 1 hit the SOX.

Sorry for living in the past here, but I can’t help but look at the ’05 season and think about the impact Pods had on the team. Then I look at last year with his strong season and I ask myself, what’s the reason we didn’t sign him?

I can’t figure it out. I’m not suggesting it would solve all our problems, but the guy is disruptive on the base path (currently with 7 steals on the year and it’s still April). Like any ball player, he can get hurt, but he had a strong injury-free season with us last year and is off to a great start with KC this year. Sure would be nice to have a lead-off batter with those numbers…

Atayfel34: that was the post of the year so far! Very well said and I hope that someone in authority will take it to heart and do SOMETHING to remedy this situation that has gone on for TOO many years now.

Keep the faith though folks: we are NOT this bad a team. Victories WILL start to come…. Go Sox’10….j.k.

I can’t begin to know whether the problems our team is having are the fault of Greg Walker or not. Several folks here have made the case that he is to blame, but maybe the players are not following his advice, or the scouts do not provide good information.

Whatever the case, I am bothered that the same problems persist from season to season. The inability to hit against rookie pitchers, or pitchers the team has not seen previously is a long-standing issue that spans many seasons. Lack of situational hitting spans multiple seasons. Scoring 3 runs or less per game has been a frequent problem. And except for Pods, this team has not had a leadoff guy who could consistently get on base.

If Ozzie is right, that the problem lies not with Walker but with the mental attitude of the team, then bring in a sports psychologist (like LaRussa did when he managed the Sox), or a clown, or whatever it takes to lighten up the mood.

Maybe all these issues will magically go away soon, but if they don’t, it will be a long summer. April already feels long, but there is plenty of time to turn this around. I’m hoping for good news starting tomorrow!

Funny thing is we have the same record as the BoSox right now. Granted they’ve been playing teams like NY, the Twins and maybe TB. Hopefully, these guys can start getting something going today….

I believe the team needs to come to Benchwarmers Pub, relax, I’ll cut them huge steaks pour a few cold ones, without any media around, and enjoy themselves. Then we’ll send them back to work with a much better attitude. It works for me!

This may be in poor taste, but maybe another incident of the inflatable kind is in order. I hope it’s just something mental and that they’ll loosen up soon. But I also can’t disagree with Atayfel. We seem ill-prepared when it comes to opposing pitchers and continuing with the same approach won’t fix anything. After all, “the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.” Either way, I just hope something clicks soon or it’s going to be a long season.

Aside from this, does anyone have a complete list of White Sox related people on Twitter. So far I have Ozzie, the two Scotts, Mark Teahen, JJ Putz, and Brent Lillibridge. Are there any others you would recommend me following? Thanks and lets get those Rays. Go White Sox!

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