Keeping The Faith
Thursday, May 20, 2010
As frustrating as this season has been for everyone — fans, media, front office, coaches, staff and players — we believe there are still several strong arguments for why the 2010 White Sox are far from done and can rebound to contend.
Among them …
1. Last Year
It seems hard to believe, but 2010 has in some ways, mirrored 2009 to date. At roughly this point last year, the White Sox were 16-22, in fourth place, 5.5 games back, yet rebounded in June, July and August to pull into a tie for first place on July 23 (thank you Mark Buehrle) and were just 2.0 games out and in the hunt in mid August. As poorly as we started in 2009, we were in the race and had our changes in August.
2. Baseball Does Tend to Balance Out
We have lost 14 games so far after leading at some point. You have to think that kind of “bad luck” has to balance out at some point over the course of a 162-game baseball season. According to BABIP stats (batting average on balls in play), the White Sox are getting hits on 22 percent of balls in play, well below the league average of .285. You have to feel like that will change at some point …
3. Same on a Player by Player Basis
Too many established major league players on the White Sox, guys like Juan Pierre, A.J. Pierzynski, Mark Teahen and Alexei Ramirez, are performing far below their “average” season that you have to be confident they will return to more typical levels as the season plays out.
Mark Kotsay 2010 Statistics: .174 (12-69), 0 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 RS, .269 OBP
162g Average: .280 (167-597), 33 2B, 12 HR, 67 RBI, 77 RS, .336 OBP
Juan Pierre 2010 Statistics: .253 (39-154), 3 2B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 18 RS, .311 OBP
162g Average: .299 (187-626), 22 2B, 1 HR, 43 RBI, 91 RS, .347 OBP
A.J. Pierzynski 2010 Statistics: .212 (25-118), 6 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 11 RS, .262 OBP
162g Average: .284 (163-573), 33 2B, 14 HR, 71 RBI, 69 RS, .325 OBP
Carlos Quentin 2010 Statistics: .195 (23-118), 9 2B, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 20 RS, .312 OBP
162g Average: .249 (135-543), 32 2B, 30 HR, 98 RBI, 87 RS, .346 OBP
Alexei Ramirez 2010 Statistics: .227 (30-132), 6 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 9 RS, .250 OBP
162g Average: .276 (161-582), 21 2B, 19 HR, 80 RBI, 73 RS, .317 OBP
Mark Teahen 2010 Statistics: .221 (23-104), 4 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 13 RS, .325 OBP
162g Average: .267 (157-589), 34 2B, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 81 RS, .330
It is hard to believe our offense, and individual hitters, will underperform for a full season.
This from a blog posting of mine a month ago …
As for slow starts, there is pretty much one every season for teams that had success when all the dust settled:
1. 2009 Yankees were 13-15 on May 7
2. 2009 Twins were six games under (56-62) on August 17 and won the division
3. 2008 Phillies were 4-6 and then 8-10
4. 2007 Rockies were 5-8 and then 18-27 and went to the series
5. 2007 Yankees lost 7 straight from April 20-27 to fall to 18-23 and were 26-31 in early June but rebounded to make the playoffs.
6. 2006 A’s were 23-29 at one point and reached the ALCS
7. 2005 Astros started 15-30 and went to the series.
8. 2003 Twins started 9-12 and won the AL Central
9. 2002 Angels started 6-14 and won the WS.
10. 2002 A’s started 19-25 and won 103 games
That’s just 10 recent ones, but you get the point. Even the Winning Ugly Sox on 1983 were 27-32 at one point but went on to win 99 games and the division title. And don’t forget that the 2005 Sox had a few rough spots as well. Everything is magnified early on in the season.
5. Starting Rotation
Although it has fallen short of expectations to date, there are reasons for optimism concerning the rotation: John Danks and Freddy Garcia thus far, Jake Peavy starting to come around, I’ll put money on Mark Buehrle over a full season and Gavin Floyd has historically only gotten better after April/May.
6. Paul Konerko
Continues to provide power and drive in runs. PK is going to spend this summer continuing to climb up the franchise’s all-time leaderboards.
7. Sergio Santos and the bullpen
What a great guy, a great story and a great arm. The White Sox bullpen is a plus on this team.
8. Interleague Play
The White Sox have gone 24-12 in the last two seasons vs. National League opponents. Interleague play begins Friday with a three-game series vs. the Marlins.
Accept them or reject them, here are at least eight reasons to believe in your Sox on May 20. There is still a lot of baseball to be played, even though we all recognize, the clock is ticking.