May 2010

Week In Review

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Amazing

What consecutive victories can do for morale?  Everyone is excited to get to the ballpark, energized, fired up.  It makes all the difference and it is contagious.

Thank You

Thank you, thank you to our Volunteer Corps members who spent yesterday morning and early afternoon in the Garfield Park area helping the Greater Chicago Food Depository pass out food.  You can’t imagine the difference your efforts made in the lives of Chicagoans yesterday, and everyone should be proud that an effort by fans of the White Sox made such a difference. A fan’s photo from yesterday:


z1s_th.jpg

Photo Credit: @MJMattei

Digging Out

I was having a conversation last night with a fan and we were talking about how many games remained in the summer and historically, how many teams have dug out of deep holes.

It seems to me that one team a year overcomes a poor start to eventually make the playoffs.  You’d certainly rather not have to be that team, but the view is way too negative to say teams are out of it by the end of May (see a chart in a previous post).

The Minnesota Twins, last year’s Central Division Champs, were 56-62, in third place, 6.5 games back on August 17.  And of course, everyone recalls the 1983 White Sox, who were 18-24 (same as the 2010 Sox) through 43 games. They were in sixth place/7 games out on May 28.

And we know how that turned out …

 


83-clincher.jpgWhat A Week

Ever had one of those Zelig moments in life where you stop yourself and wonder, “What Am I Doing Here?”

On Tuesday, I had the tremendous opportunity of attending a speech downtown by General David Petraeus.  Brilliant man leading our country’s military in a very complex part of the world.

On Wednesday, I had the job of attending the annual Children’s Home + Aid luncheon at the Palmer House.  With the Konerkos and Thomes (now Gordon Beckham) taking such an active role in the state-wide organization that helps children in foster care succeed, it is a great honor to play a small role in representing the White Sox for such a great cause (note: Children’s Home + Aid is out en mass at today’s game).

And then Wednesday afternoon, I am sitting in the clubhouse as KW explained to the team that no one in the front office had given up on the season in any way, shape or form.  You can say what you want about team meetings (I’ve seen plenty in my 20 seasons), but they always have the chance of being turning points in a team’s season.  We might want to remember that date.

Blackhawks

Good luck today to the Blackhawks!

It has been great to see all the White Sox fans sporting Hawks sweaters at our games (might be a bit hot today), roaring when the ballpark horn sounds to signal a Hawks goal.

How about a sweep of the fish today — Marlins by the Sox and Sharks by the Hawks?

Interleague

With a 2-0 mark in 2010, the Sox are now 130-101 all-time vs the NL (not counting that October sweep in 2005) and have won 18 of their last 24 games against NL foes.

Sox pitchers are 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA (1 ER/36.0 IP) and 32 strikeouts in their last four interleague games.

Twitter Tease

For those of you hooked on Twitter, look for a special announcement tomorrow morning about a neat competition we are going to be holding on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

Fish In Town

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ha

Amazing that the Chicago White Sox were featured on the back page of the Chicago Sun-Times this morning on a day when the Chicago Blackhawks play their first home game of the NHL semis. Wow!  That’s one for the j-school profs to analyze.

And as for PR people getting called fifth-grade names, the skin is pretty tough after 20 years of doing this, although I did enjoy and appreciate all the calls, emails, DMs and text messages from media and industry folks laughing at the author (even if that’s a pretty easy sport).  Thanks, it made my day.

Reminder

Saturday’s game against the Marlins starts at 1:05 p.m. to avoid the national broadcast window.  You can find the White Sox game on Comcast Sports Net and WSCR Radio (670 AM).

Interleague

The White Sox are 128-101 (.559) all-time in interleague play (3rd-best), going 69-44 at home.  Chicago is 16-6 in its last 22 games vs. the NL (12-6 in 2009).  Mark Buehrle is 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA in his last eight interleague starts and 19-6 with a 3.62 ERA vs. NL clubs in his career.

PK ranks fifth all-time with 46 interleague home runs, trailing Thome (56), Griffey (55), Delgado (50) and Manny (47).

Today in Sox History

Friday, May 21, 2010

LET’S BE FRANK: SOX WIN
1905: Frank Smith fired a complete game one-hitter in the White Sox 2-1 win over the Washington Senators at South Side Park.

WHAT’S UP DOC?
1906: The “Hitless Wonder” White Sox tipped homestanding New York 7-6 for their fifth consecutive victory.

EXTRA BASE EARL!
1926: Earl Sheely completed a big league record-tying streak of seven consecutive extra-base hits in the White Sox 8-7 loss at Boston.

SUCCESS IN 89 MINUTES
1943: The White Sox defeated Washington 1-0 at Comiskey Park in one hour and 29 minutes in the fastest nine-inning night game in American League history.

SOX GET WILSON AND PHILLEY
1956: The White Sox traded future Hall of Fame third baseman George Kell, outfielder Bob Nieman and pitchers Mike Fornieles and Connie Johnson to Baltimore for pitcher Jim Wilson and outfielder Dave Philley.

BIG DAY FOR BILLY
1957: Billy Pierce outdueled Whitey Ford in the first-place White Sox 3-1 win at Yankee Stadium.

MAY DAY!
1972: Carlos May’s three-run homer with two out in the ninth lifted the Sox to a 9-8 win over the Angels.

BIG DAY FOR BUCKY
1976: Bucky Dent went 4-for-4 with two RBI, and Ken Brett and Clay Carroll combined on a four-hitter in the White Sox 6-0 win – their fourth straight — over the A’s.

FISK POWER
1990: Carlton Fisk’s three-run home run in the seventh delivered the White Sox a 6-5 win over the Yankees in New York.

QUICK START FOR FRANK
1997: Frank Thomas drove in three runs in the first two innings in powering the White Sox to a 10-5 win over the Boston Red Sox before 18,814 at Comiskey Park.

ONE HIT ENOUGH
2000: The first-place White Sox got only one hit but still defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, at SkyDome. Mark Johnson’s third inning single was the Sox only hit but did not figure in the scoring. The Sox scored both of their runs in the seventh on a walk, two errors, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. Cal Eldred tossed 6.2 scoreless innings for the win.

BUEHRLE TOUGH
2004: The White Sox scored four times in the second and got seven strong innings from Mark Buehrle in beating the Twins 8-2 before 30,116 at US Cellular Field.

RALLYIN’ AT WRIGLEY
2005: Paul Konerko’s elusive single in the eighth keyed a four-run rally in the White Sox 5-3 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

DYE SHOWS WHY
2008: Jermaine Dye’s three-run homer keyed a five-run sixth as the first-place White Sox dumped the Indians 7-2 before 38,518 at U.S. Cellular Field. Dye later homered in the seventh as did Jim Thome as the Sox stretched their winning streak to seven and opened a two-game lead atop the A.L. Central.

 

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.

Unearned Runs

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Those unearned runs always seem to come back to haunt you as the White Sox dropped a 3-2 decision to the Angels tonight despite ninth-inning fireworks from Paul Konerko, who homered for the 14th time.

Konerko, who was the first Sox player to enter May as MLB’s top home run hitter since Zeke Bonura in 1935, still tops the major leagues in home runs.

The result spoiled another good pitching outing by John Danks, whose only earned runs allowed came on a two-run home run to Torii Hunter.

“It’s a shame,” Ozzie Guillen said after the game.  “When you think you should win, you’re better than you are, it’s hard.”

Guillen pointed to missed scoring opportunities early in the game that came back to haunt the White Sox later in the game after a miscue by third baseman Jayson Nix.

“I’m never going to criticize a player for an error,” the manager said.

“I just walked 125 steps from the clubhouse to here to tell you guys nothing … nothing I haven’t said before.”

Kenny Williams on The White Sox

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

White Sox GM Kenny Williams Speaks with the media … Pregame – May 19, 2010

Does it feel any different being 16-22 this year as it did at the same time in 2009?

“You’re kidding me, really? You’re not messing with me, are you? Yeah, it feels a little different; I think we’re better than that. I don’t remember feeling we were better than that last year, but I probably felt that way, too. It is what it is.”

Can you talk a little about what the basis of the meeting was today and what you wanted to accomplish with it?

“Well, in a nutshell, it was 25 minutes touching on various subjects ranging from attention to detail and preparation. I mean listen, we’ve dug ourselves a hole and the only way we’re going to come out of this hole is if we’re smarter than the next club, if we pay more attention to the fundamentals, if  we are diligent about our work and you know what, we have to lighten up a little bit. There are some guys that need to lighten up a little bit and remember that they’re playing a game. Yes, it’s at the highest level, but you restrict yourself when you’re not allowing yourself to have a little fun at it and go about your business in a more lighthearted way. Hopefully a couple of guys got that message.

“I answered a question (from a media person) with one word. The question was ‘Was I growing impatient.’ Because I didn’t want any kind of road to be taken with various angles that could be associated with a lengthier response, I responded ‘Yes.’ I figured you couldn’t do too much damage with one word. I’ve since learned that even a one-word term can be interpreted in just a completely wrong way.

“Yes, I am impatient. Yes, I am frustrated. But yes, I still do remain confident that this team is the team that can still challenge for the division championship and hopefully beyond. We’ve got a lot of good pieces, we just need to all come together and we’ll be just fine.
I also expounded on my feelings about the speculation regarding the coaching staff and trades. I flat out told everyone — because I have a policy that no one has to guess what’s on my mind — that the first people who get the benefit from that philosophy is my players and my coaching staff. So I explained to them that I have not had one single conversation in terms of making changes in a managerial position or the coaching positions. I have faith in these guys and still have confidence in knowing that there are some guys who are struggling, but there are also some guys who are performing well. Now, ultimately, if they have gotten the information, the players are the ones who have to step up, and they know that. They know that.”

Do you recall pressing as a player and it producing negative results for you?

“I could press all I wanted to, because most of the time I was on the bench, so it didn’t matter how tired I was. But I saw my friends who were out on the field playing and at various times, so yeah. You start to let too many peripheral things get in your mind. I don’t remember the last time I addressed a team, but I wanted to still make sure that we’re all still pulling from the same rope and that they understood that any trade speculation or anything that has been out there has not been initiated by me and won’t be until they show me that there is a reason. I’m not giving up faith on this club, it’s way too early for that and I’m still confident that guys like Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez and these guys are going to come around, they’re going to start to hit, and we’re going to do some good things. But in the meantime, I want everyone to stick together. In the meantime, I want the guys who have been mentioned in trade rumors to understand that all you have to do is ask me and I’ll tell you. I told them straight out that I’ve been called on a couple guys and I’ve told the other team, ‘Wait a minute, we usually make these calls. You calling me? No, it doesn’t work that way, it doesn’t work that way.’ They’ve been told thank you, but no thank you. And that’s the end of it because we still expect to win.”

Because you have built this team to win now and you have guys that have been through the wars before, is it even more annoying when you allude to the mental mistakes and the lack of smart baseball?

“It’s built to win now, we think we can win now, but we also think we’ve kind of diversified ourselves to win in the future. Also, we’ve got some guys coming up so it’s not just built for that. In terms of the goal at hand right now, the goal remains the same.

“I’ve seen it before and what happens often times is when you have players who have performed at this level before and are used to a certain amount of success and are not getting it, and they walk up to home plate and they see their batting average and they start to take some of their lack of attention and focus out to the defensive end, that’s when you can get in trouble. So, I just reminded them, attention to detail and attention to focus on your job at hand, on both sides of the ball, is something that we have to have. Again, we have to be smarter than the next club, we have to be more fundamentally sound, and we’ve got to pick up the level of intensity. At the same time we have to lighten up a little bit.”

Do you believe the players are giving the effort that you expect from them?

“Absolutely. Absolutely. We’ve got a good group of guys as far as that is concerned and I have no question that they are putting in the work. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be here.”

Is there any issue with your relationship with Ozzie or is everything fine there?

“Well, he can’t come to the restaurant (laughs). He’s got to pay now. Since he doesn’t like the food, that’s not really a wedge between us. You know, I think what has brought that about more than anything is that I am traveling less than I have in the past and because of that I think people are misinterpreting it for what it is. Like I said previously, we’re as tight as we need to be to get the job done.”

Do you think any general manager and manager enjoy their relationship when they’re performing up to standard?

“Well, I think that we have a relationship that is an up-and-down relationship. So much as it’s been consistent through all our years from the time when we were playing to the time when he was playing and I was an executive, it’s no different. Listen, I have to remind everyone, first and foremost, I hired this guy after an argument that we had. Okay? My expectation level of getting along isn’t that high. I hired a guy that I knew would fight with me from time to time.  I needed a guy to fight with me from time to time. Why? Because through that you know you’ve got a person on the other end of things that’s not going to tell you what you want to hear and is always going to challenge you and is going to challenge the players. So, I’m okay with an occasional disagreement here and there, it’s not a big deal to me. As a matter of fact, it’s welcomed.

(adding on to initial question – what was the argument about between Ken and Ozzie)

“I pushed a button. I pushed a button on purpose. I told him straight out. I said, ‘You’ve got a heck of a sales job if you think I’m going to hire you and put you in charge of the Chicago White Sox. You’ve got a hell of a sales job.’ And then he proceeded to turn eyes in the restaurant and he told me ‘Well, what the hell did you bring me up here for?’ And it went on from there and somewhere throughout the course of him laying into me I decided that this might be the guy. So, I don’t know what greater illustration I can give you other than I hired a guy who argued with me and seven years later, we’re still standing.”

Is it overrated that general managers and managers have to be buddies and eat and drink in the same place?


“No, because I think when you have a relationship when you’re social with whomever it is, whether it’s your players, there’s a lot of coaching that goes on in a hotel bar after a game and it’s valued. So, I don’t discount the need to have a social relationship with anybody that’s around here. Now some guys hang around others more. When you’re at home you’re pretty much with your own family and when you’re on the road, that’s when you have time to hang with the guys.  I’ve had more things I’ve had to get done here than I have on the road.”

This Date in White Sox History

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

1926 – The White Sox scored seven runs in the top of the fourth to beat the Red Sox 9-7 as Ted Lyons picked up his sixth win of the year.

 

1935 – Boston rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the White Sox held on for a 6-5 win.  Jimmy ***** had three hits and two RBI in the victory.

 

1964 – Catcher J.C. Martin drove in two runs which proved to be the difference in the White Sox win over Cleveland.  Gary Peters picked up his fourth win of the year while Don Mossi got the save.

 

1972 – Wilbur Wood got his seventh win of the season and had a RBI while giving up just one run over eight innings as the White Sox topped the Angles 3-1

 

1977 – Oscar Gamble, Jorge Orta and Chet Lemon all homered as the White Sox used a five-run third inning to beat the Royals 8-3.

 

1987 – Greg Walker and Carlton Fisk each drove in a pair of runs as the White Sox bested the Brewers 5-1 in Milwaukee.

 

1998 – Frank Thomas drove in three runs, and the White Sox used a six-run fifth inning to beat Boston 9-5.

 

2006 – Mark Buehrle limited the Cubs to two hits and Paul Konerko had three RBI as the White Sox clubbed their inner-city rival 6-1.

 

 

Today in White Sox History

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

1932  – In Boston, Carey Selph, the White Sox thirdbaseman, struck out for the ninth and last time of the season.  Selph’s string without a strikeout totaled 89 games, establishing a major league record.

 

1959 – Early Wynn pitched a complete game, limiting the Washington Senators to just five hits in the White Sox 9-2 victory.

 

1965 – The White Sox scored all five of their runs in the top of the fifth inning and held on for the 5-4 win over the Kansas City Athletics.

 

1976 – Bart Johnson threw a complete game shutout and the White Sox got to Angels starter Nolan Ryan early with four runs in the second inning in route to a 5-0 win.   Pat Kelly led the White Sox with three RBI.

 

1982 – White Sox trounced Texas 10-2 as Lamarr Hoyt broke Jim Kaat’s club record for consecutive victories with 13.  Hoyt also extended his Comiskey Park career record to 15-0. 

 

1993 – Wilson Alvarez moved to 5-0 on the year and Roberto Hernandez picked up his eighth save as the White Sox topped the Angels 7-4.   

 

2005 – Mark Buehrle picked up his seventh win of the year while Juan Uribe, A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye each drove in a pair of runs as the White Sox beat the Rangers 7-0.

 

This Date

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Birthday

To former White Sox Carlos May, owner of the best uniform/birthday combo in baseball history … May 17.

This Date In White Sox History

1912 – White Sox win first game ever played at Fenway Park, beating the Red Sox, 5-2.

 

1928 – Starting pitcher Tommy Thomas had two RBI and Ted Lyons picked up the “save” in the White Sox 6-4 win in Philadelphia over the Athletics.

 

1932 – Pitcher Milt Gaston takes part in four double plays in one game, establishing a major-league record.

 

1939 – The White Sox broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the top of the 10th inning to top Boston in Fenway Park, 6-3.

 

1944 – Orval Grove picked up the win, keeping the Yankees scoreless in the White Sox 4-0 victory.

 

1958 – Starting pitcher Ray Moore clubbed a homer in the third inning which proves to be the difference in the White Sox 3-2 win at Cleveland.

 

1969 – Jerry Nyman goes the distance, throwing a complete game shutout, as the White Sox beat the Washington Senators, 6-0.

 

1978 – White Sox pitcher Steve Stone picked up his second win of the season, as the White Sox hand Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan his third loss of the year in a 9-6 win.

 

1987 -Greg Walker had three hits and drove in two runs as the White Sox topped the Rangers 7-5.

 

1994 – Julio Franco had five RBI and Jason Bere moved to 4-1 on the year as the White Sox drubbed the Angels 10-2.

 

2006 – Jermaine Dye drove in three runs and Jon Garland picked up his third win as the first-place White Sox topped Tampa Bay 5-2.

 

Today in White Sox History

Friday, May 14, 2010

1925 – Earl Sheely knocked in Ike Davis for the only run of the game in the White Sox 1-0 victory over the Yankees. Despite allowing nine hits, Ted Lyons kept New York off the scoreboard and moved to 3-0 on the year.

 

1936 – The White Sox scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to give them a 13-12 win over the Washington Senators.  Sixteen different players collected at least one RBI in this high-scoring affair.

 

1952 – Down three runs to Boston in the bottom of the sixth inning, the White Sox put up a timely six runs as the game is called in the following inning due to weather conditions.  Eddie Robinson and Saul Rogovin each had two RBI in the 6-3 victory.

 

1965 – Behind a strong pitching performance from Joel Horlen, the White Sox nip the Angels 2-1.  Moose Skowron and Ken Berry each drove in a run in the win.

 

1977 – Jim Spencer tied the White Sox record with eight RBI in one game as the White Sox trounced Cleveland 18-2.

 

1984 – Tom Seaver pitched a complete game shutout as the White Sox topped the Royals 2-0.

 

1993 – Jack McDowell pitched a complete game shutout and Ron Karkovice drove in two runs in the White Sox 4-0 win at Texas.

 

2006 – Trailing 7-1 after the first inning, the White Sox rallied for a 9-7 win in Minnesota.  Mark Buehrle became the first starting pitcher to allow seven runs in the opening frame and win that same game since Jack Powell beat the Chicago Orphans on Sept. 29, 1900.  The White Sox also turned a triple play in the game, their first since 2004.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 134 other followers