Monday, September 19, 2011


I could pretend that I was waiting for the White Sox to win again before I made another post, but the truth is I've been away on business and not able to tend to The Update.  But don't worry, you didn't miss anything good while I was gone.
The Sox continued to lose -- seven in a row -- until yesterday.  The only thing worth mentioning is that Paul Konerko put the cherry on top of his season by poking his 30th home run, a solo shot in the seventh inning.  That goes along nicely with his 103 RBI and .306 batting average to make one hell of a season.
By the way, for those of you who are new, the reason the Magic Number is listed as 163 is simple.  The Sox have been eliminated from this year's races for the post-season -- Central Division and Wild Card -- and 163 is the number that all teams will start the 2012 season with as their Magic Number.
I know I said earlier that I'd discuss the pitching staff, but I can't muster whatever it takes to get that done.  So in lieu of that, I'll be refunding the subscription fee that you paid for reading The Update.  Oh, wait, you don't pay me anything to write this, so I guess I can call it a season whenever I want.
Since the Sox went ALL IN and lost all of their chips, I'm calling it now.  Thanks for reading.  See you next year.   Go Sox!  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This is just too painful to watch. The White Sox lost once again to the Tigers, this time 5-0 to Justin Verlander, the likely 2011 A.L. Cy Young Award winner and MVP candidate. It’s the 11th win in a row for Detroit, which reduced its Magic Number to three over the Sox. It’s the 23rd win of the season for Verlander, his 14th in his last 14 starts, and his fifth of the year against the Good Guys.

Another win by the Tigers in today’s finale will guarantee them a tie for first and – to use a golf term – put them at dormie. There hasn’t really been much hope for a while now, but mathematical elimination is just around the corner for the Sox. And once that happens, that’ll be the end of the Update for the year since there’ll be no Magic Number to update.

The way I’m feeling now, I can’t even muster the enthusiasm to put an exclamation point at the end of the next sentence. Go Sox.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The White Sox pennant hopes aren't dead yet, but they're on life support.  When they absolutely had to have a win, they allowed the Tigers to humiliate them almost as bad as they did a week or so ago.  On September 4, Detroit scored 18 runs on 24 hits.  Last night, the Tigers had "only" 14 runs on 21 hits in a 14-4 beat-down.  (No names will be used in this post out of respect for those on their sports deathbed.)
On the season, Sox pitchers have allowed 10 or more hits 59 times, 15 or more hits nine times, and 20 or more hits twice.  They've permitted 10 or more runs in eight games: 10 runs on three occasions, 18 runs twice, and 12, 13, and 14 runs once each.  Not exactly what we had in mind when the season started and everyone -- The Update included -- was touting the great starting pitching and deep bullpen the Sox had.
Last night's game slices Detroit's Magic Number to 5 and stretches its lead over the Good Guys to 11.5 games.  The end is near and only the biggest collapse in baseball history will save them now.  Go Sox!

Monday, September 12, 2011


If the White Sox are just going to go through the motions, then so am I.  They won some, they lost some.  It doesn't matter anyway because Detroit refuses to lose, having won nine in a row.
The Tigers are now 10.5 games up on the Sox and have a Magic Number of seven.  Detroit has 16 games left to play; the Sox have 17.  Even if the Good Guys were to win out, the Tigers would have to go just 7-9 to win the division.  I know the former isn't going to happen, and I doubt the Motor City boys will fare that poorly.
Since we're sticking a fork in the Sox, I'm wondering what next year will be like.  Paulie will be another year older and even if he were in his prime, it would be unrealistic to expect him to match what he's done this year.  Gordon Beckham is still very young but another year like this one and the Sox have to rethink what they're going to do.  I like Alexei at short, but he needs to cut down on the errors a bit.  Brent Morel deserves more time to show what he can do, but he's got to start hitting more to be a corner infielder.  Juan Pierre continues to surprise with his batting average, but he's lost more than a step on the bases and his fielding has been atrocious this year.  Alex Rios has been horrible, but it's hard to imagine he'll be as bad next year.  I like De Aza and Viciedo; they're the future.  Quentin is hard to categorize. He can carry the team when he's hot, but he's the most injury-prone player I know.  Adam Dunn?  He has to be better next year, doesn't he?  And no one's going to take on his contract.  A.J. is getting up there, but he'll be back and give what he usually does, just maybe less often.  Tyler Flowers, we can only hope he develops and takes some of the burden off of A.J.
I'll address pitching later, but for now, Go Sox in 2012!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The White Sox couldn’t complete the sweep last night, losing the final game of the series (and the season series) to the Twins, 5-4. It wasn’t because of a lack of hitting; it was because of a lack of timely hitting.
The Sox pounded out a dozen hits, with every starter except Alex Rios collecting at least one. The problem was the team was 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position and wound up leaving 13 men on base.
Just looking at the batting order reveals the Sox weakness. A.J. Pierzynski is batting in the four slot. A.J. has six home runs and a .401 slugging percentage. Those are not clean-up hitter numbers. But Adam Dunn is useless this year (hopefully, it’s only this year); Alex Rios would be the worst player if it weren’t for Dunn; and Carlos Quentin is injured – again. Paul Konerko gets no protection in the lineup. Paulie was intentionally walked last night. That shouldn’t happen to the Number Three hitter; no team should willingly put a man on in front of the opponent’s clean-up hitter. Roger Maris drew no intentional walks when he hit 61 home runs because he had Mickey Mantle hitting behind him. A.J. is no Mickey Mantle. Powerwise, he’s no Mickey Mouse.
John Danks didn’t do anything to deserve the win, last night reverting to his early season form. Danks gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman in six innings. Dylan Axelrod, making his major league debut, finished up with two innings of scoreless relief.
The loss, combined with Detroit’s win reduces the Tigers’ Magic Number to 12 over the Sox. The end is near. But don’t take my word for it, just read what John Danks said: “I’m looking forward to next year.” Now, he followed that up by saying he wasn’t giving up on this season, but c’mon. Go Sox!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I know I’m not the only one who thinks the White Sox are out of it, but I didn’t expect Jake Peavy to say it out loud: “Obviously, now it doesn’t seem like we’re playing for much.” Well, despite his defeatist/realist attitude, Peavy went out and pitched 6.1 innings of scoreless ball last night, allowing only four hits while striking out a season-high nine batters. A parade of relievers kept the shutout intact, with Sergio Santos back to throwing gas (rather than gas on the fire) to earn his 29th save in a 3-0 win over Minnesota.
Alejandro De Aza continues to impress, singling in Adam Dunn (three walks on the night) in the second, and tripling (the ball scooted past a diving Joe Benson) and scoring on Brent Morel’s single in the fifth. Alex Rios actually homered – just his ninth of the year – to provide the other run.
The win was the second straight blanking of the Twins (who started three players making their major league debuts) and ensures that the Sox will not lose the season series to the Twins for the first time in forever. The Sox are ahead 9-8 on the year with the final game scheduled for today. Had the Sox split with the Twins last year, the Good Guys would have won the division. But they didn’t and they didn’t.
This year it's the Tiger that have bedeviled the South Siders. Reverse that 5-10 record against Detroit and the Sox would be two games ahead in the standings instead of trailing by eight. Even 9-6 would have the two teams tied. By contrast, the Pale Hose have cleaned up against the Tribe, with a 7-3 record, with eight games left to play against each other. The Sox also have seven games remaining versus the Royals, against whom they’re a disappointing 5-6.
With Detroit’s Magic Number at 14, I’m afraid that Peavy and I are right about it being over. But we’ll keep counting ‘em down until the Magic Number for the Sox becomes mathematically irrelevant. Go Sox!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


It was déjà vu all over again.
Last year on September 14, 2010, the White Sox trailed the Twins in the Central Division by 6.0 games and Minnesota was in Chicago to play three at the Cell. Instead of sweeping the Twins, the Sox got swept and the race was effectively over. In fact, the Pale (Very Pale) Hose went on to lose five more games in a row to allow Minnesota to clinch the division shortly after the sweep.
This year on September 2, 2011, the Sox trailed the Tigers by 6.0 games and were in Detroit to play three at Comerica Park. Instead of sweeping the Tigers, the Sox got swept and the race – in my view – is effectively over. (Detroit’s Magic Number over the Sox is just 15.) At least the Sox didn’t totally go in the tank like they did last year. Yesterday, they took both ends of a day-night doubleheader from Minnesota to remain on life support.
The way they lost to the Tigers was almost as disturbing as the fact that they lost. On Friday, the Sox couldn’t hit and couldn’t pitch and came away with an 8-1 loss to show for it. By Saturday, they’d mastered the hitting part, but the pitching continued to stink. After being ahead 8-1, the (Not So) Good Guys’ pitchers melted down, leading to the largest lead surrendered of the season and a 9-8 loss. Dispirited from that travesty, the Sox proceeded to rack up their largest margin of defeat on Sunday, 18-2.
It’s not worth writing about the details of any of these games, so I’ll answer a question that charter Update subscriber Les Reiter asked. Prompted by Adam Dunn’s historically bad batting average and high strikeout total, Les wants to know if any player’s average was lower than his strikeout total with a qualifying number of at bats. (I’ll resist the smart ass answer of even one strikeout would be higher than the hitter’s average since it would have to less than 1.000.) It was just last year that Mark Reynolds struck out 211 times while batting a meager .198. (Rob Deer came close in 1991, by hitting .179 and striking out 175 times.) Let’s hope Adam doesn’t add that to his resume. Go Sox!