Keeping The Faith

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Optimism

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.

4. History

 

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.

6 Comments

There have certainly been glimmers of hope and bright moments. There is no consistancy though. Everytime you see something good, seems like the next day there is something equally as poor to rant about. It is very frustrating. I have never been one to blame Greg Walker and still am not blaming him but it just seems like there needs to be something done. Maybe a new set of eyes sees something different to help players break out of this terrible hitting. Yea I know, they are pros, the hitting coach can’t go up and bat for them, etc. I don’t know what the answer is, but we have gone through this for a few years now and maybe a fresh approach is what is needed.
I’m not ready to give up on this team in May. There have been enough good things to make me think we still might get it together. Danks has been excellent. Peavy is coming around. Santos by far is the hightlight for me so far. Thornton is gold. We just need to get that hitting going. Not giving up Scott. Hoping when the wonderful distraction of Blackhawk hockey is done and I’m giving the Sox my full attention that they have it all together. Keep the faith gang!

Another terrible outing by Peavy last night. By my count 6 of his 9 starts have been bad or terrible. Not what I expected from an “ace”. Pitching? Bullpen? Offense is the trouble folks. Out of 40 games played the SOX have scored 3 runs or less in 19 of those games. Their record in those 19 games ? 1-18. Pretty much says it all.

Yeah, but at least it’s early right guys???
Let’s see … still no hitting except Paulie. Danks is the only starter doing anything right now. The bull pen is fine but we have NO run support. Oh, and according to an article about Floyd “the only problem he has right now is throwing strikes” ….????? Um, what????
Nice argument. I think that puts us in first place now.
Whew, that feels better.

Peavy has pitched better than his record would indicate. He had three very good starts before this last one and the one in Texas before the three wins was very good after a poor first inning.

He is still the guy the Sox have to build around. With any kind of offense, his record would be fine and, of course, Danks would be near the top of the league.

Quite simply put, if the offense doesn’t pick up it will be a long summer. If if does wake up, the pitching is good enough to make this a reasonably competitive team but one with a good-sized hole to dig out of.

TC,
As per usual you and I could not disagree more. “Peavy has pitched better than his record would indicate” WHAT????????????????????????????????????????????
The guy has an ERA of 5.76! Only GF @ 7.0 and BJ @ 5.79 are worse on the SOX staff!
“the one in Texas before the three wins was very good after a poor first inning.” When your team only averages 3 runs a game and you give up 5 in the first inning I don’t care how good the rest of the game is, you’ve effectively blown the start. BTW, two of Peavy’s wins are against KC for God’s sake, the only team worse (so far) in the AL central than the SOX.

Buster,

ERA is by far the most overrated stat in the game of baseball. It really doesn’t tell you much about a pitcher, especially in less than 10 starts, since it doesn’t take into account how tough a pitcher is to work through errors and get out of jams.

Peavy’s performances have been spotty but his stuff has been good more often than not and he has more balls than anyone else on the team. He is working through his problems and is adjusting to a new league. My belief is you have to give him at least 20-25 starts before you can make any judgments about him.

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