Monday, April 30, 2007


Random Numbers:
  • The White Sox dropped two out of three to the Angels over the weekend, a disappointing showing after the team had seemingly righted itself.
  • The Sox and Angels have now played 644 games against each other since the Halos joined the American League in 1961. Each team has won 322 games against the other.
  • The Magic Number is down to 143, but the Sox are in fourth place, 2.5 games back of Cleveland, in the tightly bunched A.L. Central.
  • The Good Guys hit the road for an eight-game, 10-day trip, for two games at Seattle, and three each in Anaheim and Minnesota.
  • They've won seven games on the road, all of them after trailing, so don't give up if the Mariners, Angels, or Twins jump out to a lead. On the other hand, the Sox have allowed the opponent to come back five times this season, so don't get too comfortable if the Sox score first.
  • The Sox are 6-3 in opening games of a series in 2007, so look for them to win two out of three of the openers on this road trip.
  • Mark Buehrle, who couldn't hold a lead yesterday, will have a second chance to win his 100th game, which would make him the first since Joe Horlen did it in 1970 to win his first 100 games as a White Sox. It took Horlen 10 seasons; Buehrle is in his eighth year with the team.

Had enough? The Update has. So let's just close with Go Sox!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

145 (Day Two)

In most seasons, every team loses at least 60 games and wins at least 60 games. It's what they do in the other 42 games that determines where they finish. Last night's game against the Tigers was a 6-2 loss for the White Sox. Let's hope it was one of the 60, not one of the determinative 42. Fifth starter, John Danks, dug himself an early hole, giving up three runs in the first inning. Since the Sox showed their customary lack of support for the rookie hurler, he had no chance of pulling out a win. Danks has yet to win his first game since being handed the rotation spot that Freddy Garcia held down for the last three years and that Brandon McCarthy was supposed to take over. Garcia, with a 1-1 record and 4.66 ERA, looks better than Danks at 0-3 and 5.32. McCarthy (1-3, 9.00), not so much. But it's too early to make a judgment on the trades or on the season. Remember fans, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Go Sox!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Don't look now, but the White Sox are in first place. Okay, they're in a virtual tie for the top spot with Cleveland (Indians .588; Sox .579), but who cares? The Good Guys rallied to beat KC last night 9-7, employing timely hitting and manufactured runs. They used 11 hits, including five doubles and a Joe Crede homer, four walks, and two Royals errors. The first run exemplified Grinder Baseball. Darin Erstad, who had two doubles on the night and drove in two runs, reached base on catcher's interference; moved to second on a wild pitch; took third on a grounder to the right side; and scored on Paul Konerko's sac fly (one of his two RBI in the game). Javier Vazquez, who usually starts well but fades, reversed the pattern. He gave up four runs in the first and then settled down for a while. Relievers Matt Thornton and Mike MacDougal couldn't hold the lead, but the Sox rallied in time for Boone Logan, who struck out two batters in two-thirds of an inning, to notch his first Major League win. Bobby Jenks earned his eighth save, throwing seven of nine pitches for strikes in one inning of scoreless, hitless relief.
Two trends continued last night. First, the Sox are now 9-1 when they outhit the opposition. That is the stat that appears to have the highest correlation with a White Sox victory. (Opponents are only 5-2 when they outhit the Sox.) Second, the team is now 6-1 when Tadahito Iguchi bats second, but only 5-7 when someone else hits in that spot. Ozzie can't control how many hits the Sox get, but he can control where Iguchi bats. Keep Gooch as the Avis of the batting order, Oz. (For those of you too young to remember, Avis used to advertise that it tried harder because it was No. 2.)
With the win, the Sox sliced the Magic Number to 145. As noted above, they're in first place, tied with the Indians and a half game ahead of both Minnesota and Detroit. The Sox get a chance to stretch that lead over the Tigers tonight when they take on the Bengals at the Cell. Go Sox!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Johnny Vander Meer can rest easy now. (Actually, he can rest in peace, since he's dead.) But his record of two consecutive no-hitters is safe from attack by Mark Buehrle, at least for the time being. Buehrle followed up his last outing No-No by giving up a hit in the second inning of last night's game. That ended his streak at 12 hitless innings, but Buehrle went on to earn his second win of the season, 7-4, over the KC Royals. Four Sox relievers contributed to the victory, with Andrew Sisco and Matt MacDougal earning holds against their former mates, Matt Thornton also notching a hold, and Bad Bobby Jenks racking up a save, his seventh in eight chances. Cap'n Crunch Paul Konerko homered twice, once off former Sox pitcher David Riske Business, and drove in five runs to break out of his slump.
The win reduced the Magic Number to 146 over the Indians. The Sox are in a virtual tie with the Tribe for third place in the Central Division, one-half game behind the Twins and Tigers. Not much separation there. Nor is there much in the American League as a whole. Only the Red Sox lead the Sox by more than a half-game, and their margin is only two games. Throw in the Orioles and A's and you've got seven teams within 2.5 games of each other.
The Yankees are not one of those teams, but they've got the most interesting storyline going. A-Rod hit two more home runs last night, giving him 14 on the season (the record Albert Pujols set for most homers ever in April) with a week to go. While he can't keep up this pace, he's got a good chance to reach the 500 mark in July. Update favorite Frank Thomas hit his 490th last night and seems certain to make it to 500 this season as well. Our own Jim Thome is currently at 477 and likely to join the 500 Club, as is Manny Ramirez, who's at 472. The Update predicts the Big Hurt will accomplish the feat in June, Thome in August, and Manny in September. Make your own fearless predictions for a chance to win fame and fortune. Well, at least fame. We'll publish the names of anyone who correctly predicts the months that the Fab Four will get it done. Go Update readers and Go Sox!

Sunday, April 22, 2007


The White Sox played two extra-inning affairs with the Tigers over the weekend, winning the first and losing the second. In both games, the team that came from behind to tie it up went on to win. That started me thinking: How often does this shift in momentum lead to victory? Well, the games this weekend are the only Sox games to go longer than nine innings this season, so the answer for 2007 is 100% of the time. But that's too small a sample to be meaningful, so I looked at all the extra-inning games the Sox played in 2006 to see if the pattern is consistent. Of the 12 such games last season, the Sox won four when they were the team that tied it, and the opponents also won four when they overcame a Sox lead, or 67%. The other four times, the Sox tied the game, but couldn't pull out the victory. This supports the momentum-shift theory, but perhaps more interesting (assuming you find any of this interesting) is the fact that not once, either last year or this year, then, did the Sox come back to win after the other team had tied the game.
That struck me as not very resilient of them, so I took a look at the results of the World Series Championship season, which I recalled as a year when the Good Guys had an incredible amount of backbone. In fact, my recollection was correct. The Sox won 10 extra-inning games after the opponent had knotted the score, including once in the World Series. Only six times that year did the team that tied it up ride the momentum to a victory -- twice by the White Sox; double that by the opponents -- or a little more than 30% of the time. That leaves three times when the Sox tied it up, but couldn't finish the other guys off. What does all this mean? Well, I doubt that the sample size is big enough to be statistically significant (I didn't run the mathematical tests necessary to find out), but it's not surprising to me that the 2005 Sox were able to bounce back 10 times after surrendering the lead, but the 2006 and 2007 editions haven't been able to do it once.
The wins since the last Update, combined with the Twins' and Indians' losses since then, have chopped the Magic Number down to 147. The Sox are in a virtual tie for third place, 1.5 games out of the Central Division lead. It's on to KC to play the last place Royals, where the Sox will hopefully beat up on the dregs of the division. Go Sox!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


For much of the season, Sox fans have been saying, "Oh, no!" Last night, the fans were saying, "No-No!" after Mark Buehrle no-hit the Texas Rangers, 6-0, to pick up his first win of the season. The Mark of Zero faced the minimum 27 batters, giving up a walk to Sammy Sosa and then picking him off. In addition to the pickoff, Buehrle recorded 11 ground outs, seven fly outs, and eight strikeouts. He was aided by stellar defense, including gems from Joe Crede, Paul Konerko, Tad Iguchi, Jermaine Dye, and Juan Uribe. The Sox bats awoke despite the see-your-breath conditions, as Jim Thome swatted two home runs (numbers four and five on the season and numbers 476 and 477 for his career), and Jermaine Dye added a Grand Salami.
I was watching the game on MLB Extra Innings (best thing Sen. John Kerry ever did was get the ball rolling to keep the package on cable TV) and was talking to my Dad back in the Chicago area. It was only the third inning, but I told him that Buehrle had good stuff and he ought to be watching the game. I didn't call back to find out if he took my advice, but hope he got a chance to see it. Speaking of seeing a no-hitter, I remember being at Wrigley Field with my brother and sister when Ken Holtzman, a personal favorite despite his being a Cub, threw a no-hitter against the Braves. In the seventh inning, Hank Aaron hit a long fly that looked to us in the right-field bleachers like it was going to be a homer, but the wind held it in and Billy Williams jumped up to catch it against the wall. After Aaron also made the last out, the fans jumped the walls and rushed the field. I've always said that I would have too, but for having to watch out for my siblings, but the truth is, the jump was a little daunting. Watching Buehrle's no-hitter from the comfort of my couch wasn't as exciting, but I'll remember it for a while too.
The win, combined with Cleveland's loss, moves the Magic Number down to 152 and leaves the team 2.5 games back of the Twins in the A.L. Central race. Hopefully, it will be the spark that's needed to turn this season around. Go Sox!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Say it ain't So(sa), Joe. Early in the season, White Sox pitchers stunk. Recently, Sox hitters have sucked. Last night, both of them were horrible in an 8-1 loss to Sammy Sosa's Texas Rangers. Jon Garland gave up five earned runs in seven innings, including a three-run homer to Sosa. Matt Thornton and Mike MacDougal allowed three more earned runs in one inning of relief. And the batters -- save Jim Thome, who hit a solo shot for his 475th career homer -- were pathetic, scratching out a meager four hits. The team batting average dropped to .215, which is precisely the lifetime batting average of Mario Mendoza, of Mendoza Line fame. By the end of the night, seven of the starters from yesterday's lineup were hitting below that figure: Erstad; Iguchi; Dye; Crede; A.J.; Mackowiak; and Cintron. Konerko wasn't doing much better at .220. And it's getting a little old to blame the weather. Tuesday's game time temperature was 48 degrees, not balmy but not frigid, and it didn't seem to affect Texas. Let's face it. Right now, the Sox just aren't playing good ball -- at the plate, in the field, or on the mound.
To make matters worse, Scottie Pods, one of the few players whohas been hitting well, is out for a couple of weeks with another injury. Boone Logan, the left-handed pitcher, was called up to replace him. Logan was the most effective of Sox hurlers last night (not a very high standard), throwing one inning of scoreless ball, but gave up two hits in the process.
The Update would say it's too early to panic, but there aren't any signs that this is going to turn around anytime soon. Right now the Magic Number is 154 versus the Indians (the division team with the fewest losses) and the Sox are in fourth place, trailing Detroit by three games. But this is the White Sox Magic Number Update, so we'll have to hope for the best for the Good Guys even if logic dictates otherwise. Go Sox!

Monday, April 16, 2007


In this case, Meat Loaf, "two outta three" was bad, since we're talking about losses. The Indians took "two outta three" from the Sox in frigid Cleveland over the weekend. The Sox won the first game in the series, 6-4 behind Javier Vazquez, and then dropped the next two, despite well-pitched games by John Danks, 4-0, and Jose Contreras 2-1 (no earned runs, just one hit). The problem was the bats were "cold as ice" even though Ozzie was "willing to sacrifice." (Okay, I'll stop with the rock references now.) Since the opening series, when the pitchers were to blame, the Sox's losses have largely been the batters' fault. In the four defeats during that time, the Sox have scored a total of three runs. (Their pitchers gave up 11 runs during the four games, only eight of them earned.) The team is now batting .222, with six of the usual starters at or below .235: Erstad; Konerko; Dye; Crede; Iguchi; and Pierzynski. It's early and the weather hasn't been conducive to hitting, but the opponents haven't seemed to have been as bothered by it as the Sox have. Let's hope that some warmer weather, a return to the Cell, and the Rangers' pitching will rekindle the offensive fire that has been a hallmark of the team in the past. Go Sox!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The White Sox pulled off something yesterday they hadn't accomplished since last millennium. (The Update adheres to the view that the year 2000 was the final year of the millennium since there wasn't a year 0.) They took a series from the Athletics in Oakland. Finally getting production from the slumping Jermaine Dye (two hits, including a two-run homer to knot the game at 3-3) and Paul Konerko (two hits, including a two-run double), and from Juan "I've Put My Legal Troubles Behind Me" Uribe (two hits and one RBI) and Darin Erstad (sac fly), the Sox came from behind to beat the A's 6-3. Mark Buehrle showed no lingering effects from having taken a liner to the forearm in his last start, settling down nicely after giving up three runs in the first inning to shut down Oakland in the next six stanzas. David Aardsma and Bobby Jenks got the win and the save, respectively, for each pitching one inning of scoreless, hitless relief.
Despite the win, the Sox remain in fourth place in the A.L. Central, but only a game back of the first place Tigers and Twins. The Magic Number is 157 over the Cleveland/Milwaukee Indians, who have only two losses and are a half-game out of first -- one of those early season quirks of the standings. And speaking of the Indians, that's whom the Sox are scheduled to play next, for a three-game series due to start Friday. The weather-obsessed Update notes, however, that the forecast for Cleveland calls for rain/snow showers on Friday and Sunday. Temperatures will reach a high of 44 and low of 33 on Friday; 37 and 34 on Saturday (the nice day); and 38 and 35 on Sunday. Miller Park in Milwaukee anyone? The Brewers are in St. Louis, so it's available. Go Sox! But where?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

159 (Day Two)

The White Sox came within one out of reducing their Magic Number to 158 (the number erroneously reported yesterday), but closer Bobby Jenks couldn't hold the 1-0 lead he inherited from Jon Garland (seven innings of three hit ball) and set-up man Mike MacDougal (one inning, no hits). The Athletics scored two runs on four hits to win 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Scottie Pods, Rob Mackowiak, and Juan Uribe mustered the only hits for the Sox, but it would have been enough to win if only Jenks had done his job. The loss prevented the team from moving into a tie for second with Detroit and Minnesota, one-half game back of Cleveland. Instead, the Sox are alone in fourth, 1.5 games behind the Indians, and trail the Tigers and Twins by a full game. There's not much else to say about the game, so let's turn to two other topics.
First, yesterday's mistaken Magic Number. The Update was started in order to report on the Sox's Magic Number, so you'd think at least we could get that right. But we must confess to having a brain cramp when reporting Tuesday's number. In case you've forgotten, the formula is: 163 minus the number of Sox victories and the opponent in question's number of losses. What the Update did was give you the Sox's Magic Number over Minnesota, i.e., 158, not over Cleveland, 159, which overtook the Twins by virtue of the latter's loss the night before. You don't really need to understand the math. We do it so you don't have to. All you need to know is that the Update promises to improve its quality control in order to bring you an accurate accounting every time. In fact, the Update staffer responsible for the snafu has been suspended for two weeks while he thinks about what he did wrong.
And speaking of being suspended for two weeks, unless you've been living in a cave, you know that Don Imus has been put on ice for a fortnight in response to his offensive remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. The Update wants to make it clear that none of its staff will be appearing on the Imus in the Morning radio show in the future. Can Newsweek (Howard Alter) or CBS News (Bob Schieffer) or NBC News (Tim Russert) say the same thing? We think not. Go Update! Go Sox!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Jose Contreras took care of business last night, tossing six innings of one-run, four-hit, four-strikeout ball against usual Sox nemesis, the Oakland A's. Mike MacDougal, Matt Thornton, and Bobby Jenks preserved the 4-1 Sox win in Oakland with a combined three innings of scoreless, hitless relief pitching. The Good Guys got all the runs they needed from a Jim Thome solo blast in the fourth (only 26 to go to reach 500) and a Scott Podsednik solo homer in the fifth. Both Thome and Pods were 3 for 4, with Pods scoring another run the old-fashioned way and Thome driving in another one. Jermaine Dye had a sac fly for the other RBI. That's a good sign, since J.D. is mired in a terrible slump, which Ozzie blames on the cold weather.
Speaking of cold weather -- yeah, it seems like the Update is obsessed with it -- Ozzie told The Tribune that he talked to Chairman Reinsdorf about the Sox and other cold-weather city teams opening at home instead of heeding the Update's suggestion to schedule the early games in warm-weather and dome cities. MLB is moving the series between the Indians and Angels from Cleveland to Milwaukee because Miller Park has a retractable roof. (The Brewers could replace the Rockies in the Update's list of host cities, thus solving the Colorado problem we mentioned yesterday.) There's even talk of holding the upcoming Sox-Indians series scheduled for Cleveland there too, given the forecast of snow for the Lake Erie area. By the way, that makes at least four American League franchises to play multiple home games in Milwaukee: the Orioles (who started out as the Milwaukee Brewers in the inaugural season of the American League before moving to St. Louis, where they became the Browns, and then to Baltimore; the White Sox, who played a number of games there back when the Sox were struggling with attendance; the Milwaukee Brewers, before they switched leagues; and now the Indians. Add in two National League teams -- the Milwaukee Braves and the current Brewers -- and you've got quite a collection of home teams for the city of beer.
Last night's win evened the Sox's record at 3-3, and combined with the Twins' loss to the Yankees, sliced the Magic Number to 158 and Minnesota's lead to one game. Now that we've broken the Oakland jinx, it's time to get hot (more temperature talk) and take over our rightful spot atop the A.L. Central standings. And now that the Update has the MLB Extra Innings package, we'll be watching the ascent -- or at least part of it. Those 10 pm starts (EDT) make it hard to stay up for the whole game, which are not nearly as enjoyable with Hawk away for the 1967 Red Sox anniversary celebration. Go Sox! (White Sox, that is.)

Monday, April 9, 2007

160 (Day Two)

So I'm thinking after the Sox get "colded" out on Friday that it would make a lot of sense to play the first week of the season in the warmer weather and dome cities. There are almost enough of them to make it work. Toronto, Minnesota and Tampa Bay (domes) and the four A.L. West teams could host the other seven American League teams. Atlanta, Florida, Houston and the five N.L. West teams could host the other eight National League teams. Only problems are Colorado as a home team and the fact that you've got the Angels/Dodgers and Giants/A's playing at home at the same time. That and you have half the teams not playing their home openers for a week. Not ideal, but is it worse in Colorado than it was in Cleveland where they got snowed out of three games or than at the Cell: one cancellation and two games that no one wanted to sit through? Having two teams in the L.A. and S.F. areas play at the same time isn't different from having the Sox and Cubs at home on the same days, which we've seen happen several times during the past few years. And being on the road for a week is how the Sox opened the season for a number of years. Yeah, you lose the excitement of an early Opening Day, but isn't that better than making Sox fans sit through weather that would test the mettle of Bears fans? Since baseball is considering switching the Angels' upcoming games in Cleveland to Anaheim, the Update isn't the only one with this idea. What do you think, or are you too cold to care?
As for the games, the Sox got a well-pitched game from Javier Vazquez on Saturday and beat the Twins, 3-0. The win, combined with Minnesota's loss, dropped the Magic Number to 160, which unfortunately is where it stayed after yesterday's loss to Johan Santana by the same score. Rookie John Danks, who holds down the fifth spot in the rotation (for now), looked decent in his Major League debut, but the Sox got no offense whatsoever against their nemesis Santana. He now has a record of 1,000,000-1 against them, or so it seems. He's as unbeatable against the Sox as Tiger Woods is in a Major when he has the lead. Oops, I guess that analogy doesn't work after Mr. Nike lost the Masters after pulling into the lead on Sunday. Well, maybe there's hope yet for the Sox beating Santana. Go Sox!

Friday, April 6, 2007


A.J. Pierzynski was having a terrible day. He was 0 for 3 and had failed to drive in four runners in scoring position with two outs. But his day, and the White Sox's, turned around in the bottom of the ninth when Mr. Controversy started another one by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in the winning run in a 4-3 victory over the Indians. Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher who plunked A.J., suggested that Pierzynski had moved into the pitch rather than the other way around. No matter. In horseracing parlance, the Sox broke their maiden yesterday, and thereby dropped their Magic Number to 162 over the Twins, who visit the Cell starting today and whom they trail by two games in the A.L. Central.
There were lots of contributors. Scott Podsednik was 2 for 3, with a walk, a stolen base (though he was caught stealing for the second time this season), and an RBI. Jermaine Dye had a single that led to the winning run. Joe Crede got one of his two hits (to go along with two walks) in the ninth as well. Tadahito Iguchi doubled, scored a run, and drove one in with a sacrifice fly. And wonder of wonders, Juan Uribe drew a walk. On the pitching side of the ledger, Nick Masset pitched 4.2 scoreless innings in relief of Mark Buehrle, who had to leave the game after being struck on the left forearm in the second inning. Mike MacDougal also tossed a scoreless inning, and Bobby Jenks earned the win by striking out two in 1.1 innings (after Matt Thornton blew his second save of the year). While Jenks was lucky to be the beneficiary of A.J.'s hit by pitch, Bobby did throw 16 strikes in 24 pitches.
Buehrle's injury does not appear to be serious. The x-rays were negative, and Herm Schneider, Sox trainer, told him that he wouldn't miss a turn in the rotation. We'll have to see about that, but it's good to hear that kind of medical news anyway. The x-rays remind the Update of a Yogi Berraism. Yogi explained a lot when he said after being beaned, "They x-rayed my head and found nothing."
So, despite a 35 degree day, when many of the fans came to the Cell disguised as empty seats, the Sox got their first win of the young season. And they don't have to face Grady Sizemore for a little while. Sizemore, whom Ozzie says is his favorite player, hit home runs in each of the three games of the series and made fielding plays that changed the course of the second game. Wouldn't he look good in the Sox outfield? Dream on. He's not going anywhere. But hopefully the Sox are. Go Sox!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

163 (Day 4)

Even the worst team in baseball wins 40 games. For example, the 1962 Mets were 40-120 (two rainouts that weren't made up, I presume). So the Sox can get started any day now, right? Well, they could if they got some pitching. Their two "aces" have both been shelled, and the vaunted bullpen hasn't fared much better. Yesterday, Jon Garland couldn't hold a 3-0 lead, which came courtesy of a Jim Thome home run, and the bullpen couldn't preserve the victory for him when he departed in the sixth with a 7-5 lead. The relievers allowed three more runs to cross the plate, and Cleveland held off a bottom of the ninth attempt to rally for an 8-7 Indians' win.
The Update warned you that the pitching was suspect -- not that anyone who kept track of the Cactus League in the slightest needed a warning -- and that hitting wasn't going to be a problem. In fact, the Update looked at a small but hopefully significant sample from last year -- the first 50 games -- to see how the Sox would have done if they'd scored seven runs, like they did yesterday. The answer is: The team would have rung up a record of 41 wins, 6 losses, and 2 ties. Now, no one expects them to score seven runs every game, but the point is you can't afford to waste that kind of offense by throwing batting practice to the other team.
Now, it's up to Mark "I'm in my contract year" Buehrle to right the ship. Go get 'em, Mark. Go Sox.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

163 (Day Two)

Well, the White Sox will not be going wire to wire in first place like they did in 2005. The Sox disappointed an Opening Day sellout crowd by stinking up the Cell in a 12-5 loss to the Indians. The loss leaves the Good Guys with a Magic Number of 163 and a game back of the Tribe, the Royals, and the Twins, who, by winning yesterday, are tied for first. The Update wasn't able to witness the awful outing as we were busy watching an Opening Day debacle of our own here in D.C., but we were keeping track via a little scoreboard watching. While yesterday's game clearly isn't a good sign, it's a little too early to write off the season based on one bad game.
The dangers of a small sample size become clear when you play out what would result by extrapolating from one game. Obviously, the Sox would become the first team in Major League history to lose all of their games. Jim Thome, Tadahito Iguchi, A.J. Pierzynski, and Rob Mackowiak would go hitless the entire season. Jose Contreras would post an ERA of 63.00, and newcomer Nick Masset at 9.00 would seem good only by comparison to Contreras. On the other hand, the Sox would draw over 3 million fans, Brian N. Anderson (Is there another Brian Anderson in the league? Why does the box score list his middle initial?) and Alex Cintron would each bat 1.000. Paul Konerko and Darin Erstad would shatter Barry Bonds's home run record by smashing 162 dingers each. You get the idea.
It's just one game. One bad game, but just one game. Let's win the next one and at least pull even with Cleveland. At least we aren't behind Detroit too. Go Sox!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Play Ball!

As Jack Brickhouse used to say, "The sky is blue, the grass is green, we've got two fine teams here ready to play baseball." That's right, the season opens today, but if you didn't know that, I'm not sure why you're an Update subscriber. The Sox take on the Cleveland Indians on Opening Day at the Cell. It looks like the weather will cooperate, with a temperature of 59 degrees predicted for the 1pm start. Not great weather, but certainly bearable (as opposed to Chicago Bear-able, which it has been for some Opening Days in the past). The real question is how cold -- or hot -- will the Sox be this year?
The position players are largely familiar faces. A.J. behind the plate, fresh off another offseason of WWE wrestiling hijinks, is a known commodity and a much needed sparkplug on a team of mostly quiet players. Cap'n Crunch, Paulie Konerko, one of those quiet guys, is an offensive mainstay and someone we've come to depend on for 35 plus homers and 100 plus RBIs each season. Tad Iguchi, plays a very solid to spectacular second base and has been a valuable number two hitter. This season, with the acquisition of Darin Erstad, though, Gooch will move down to the seven hole in the order, where he's going to be counted on for more power. (Don't expect to see him bunting the slow moving 3-6 hitters along.) Juan Uribe hopefully has his legal woes and his on-base percentage problems behind him. Uribe can be a spectacular shortstop when he's not lugging around the extra weight that he shed this offseason and has good power for a middle infielder. Joe Crede is a star in the field and at the plate and is primed for a good season to increase his contract value. Jermaine Dye in right was an MVP candidate last year and hopefully will pick up where he left off in 2006. There's no reason he shouldn't, like injuries, so we're expecting big things from J.D. The aforementioned Erstad is a former Gold Glover in center and appears to be healthy -- he played in more games than any other Sox player this Spring -- and is taking over Iguchi's spot at the top of the order. He's got to contribute more than Brian Anderson did in '06. Left field is a little more unsettled. Supersub Pablo Ozuna gets the nod against Cleveland Opening Day hurler, C.C. Sabathia, because he hits him better than Pods, but it's good to see Scottie healthy ahead of schedule. Jim Thome, the Comeback Player of the Year in 2006, mans the DH spot. If he has half as good an April as last season, everyone will be happy.
On the mound has been where the concerns lie. We've all agonized over who's not here -- Garcia and McCarthy. We've also been worried about the performance of who is. None of the starters has looked particularly good so far, but we've got four-fifths of a rotation that led us to 90 wins last year. At least Mark Buehrle, who isn't the Opening Day pitcher for the first tim in forever, had a good outing to end the exhibition season. We've got a bunch of flamethrowers in the bullpen (and Bobby Jenks has finally gotten his fastball back up to respectable velocity). Now we get to see how it all works out.
Every team starts the season with a Magic Number of 163. It's time for the Sox to start slicing into that today. The Update is ready and hopes you are too. So without further ado, we bring you the start of the 2007 baseball season. Go Sox!