Friday, June 29, 2007


Let's play "The $100,000 Pyramid." The Update'll give the clues: A broom ... Johnny in the finals against Daniel-san in "The Karate Kid" ... the White Sox against Tampa Bay this series .... The answer is "Things that sweep." That's right, the Sox put the finishing touches on a sweep of the Devil Rays last night, led by Paulie Konerko's two home runs and Javier Vazquez's seven innings of one-run, seven hit ball. The bullpen chipped in with another scoreless effort (raise your hand if you thought we'd be using that phrase five games ago!).
The win was the fourth in a row for the Sox and left them 12 games back in the Central Division race. Still a long way from a post-season spot, but suddenly, it doesn't look hopeless. Certainly not if they play like they have against the D-Rays. The Sox scored 21 runs on 44 hits, while giving up only nine runs -- none by the relievers (who allowed only two hits). And they did this on the road, going against the home field advantage. (Speaking of that, what's with the A.L. Central? The division is five games over .500 on the road -- the only one in baseball to post a winning record in away games. True, the Tigers have been phenomenal at 12 games over, but the rest of the division is only seven games under, which is much better than any other division minus its best Road Warrior. The White Sox, by the way, have a better road record than their mark at the Cell.) Let's keep it up in KC, where the Sox play next. Go Sox!
Before we go, however, we have to pay tribute to Update favorite, Frank Thomas. The Big Hurt became the 21st player to join the 500 home run club last night -- Bonds, Sosa, and Griffey, Jr., are the only other active players who are members. And most of the recent additions, not Griffey, not Murray, have been linked to steroid use. Not Big Frank. He's always been big and Big. He may play for someone else now, but he'll always be a White Sox to the Update. We can't picture his Hall of Fame plaque without a Sox cap and hope that the silly feud with Kenny Williams doesn't result in what would be a travesty.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Now that's more like it. The White Sox demonstrated how to play baseball last night, beating up on Tampa Bay, 6-1. Jon Garland evened his record at 5-5, scattering five hits and one run in seven innings. Matt Thornton served as fireman rather than arsonist, pitching two scoreless innings, while giving up only one hit. The offense showed up again, recording a dozen hits, with production from everyone in the lineup except Tadahito Iguchi. The heart of the order -- 3-4-5 hitters, Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, and A.J. Pierzynski -- and Juan Uribe each collected two hits. Rookie Andy Gonzalez followed up his four-hit night Monday with his first Major League home run, and Thome added his tenth dinger of the season.
Thome's blast was the 482nd of his career, meaning that 500 homers are within reach this season. Assuming he continues at his career pace of 40 homers every 162 games and that he plays at least 73 of the remaining 89 games, he should join the 500 club. Even at the pace of his last five years, which includes the injury-plagued 2005 season, he can do it if he plays in all 89 games. Think about it this way: Thome just needs to average six homers a month over July, August and September to get there. By the way, Frank Thomas is still waiting to collect Number 500. Hopefully, he gets it in his next game. Go Jim, and Go Frank.
The win marked the first time the Sox have won two games in a row in over a month. It leaves them 12.5 games behind Cleveland and Detroit. And the Magic Number is now down to 101. Before we get too giddy about this recent success, let's remember that the Sox are still closer to last place than third place in the Central Division and still have the fewest wins in the league. But a win's a win. Let's get some more. Go Sox!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


The White Sox became the last team in the American League to win their 30th game of the season last night, coming from behind to beat Tampa Bay, 5-4. The win was their 15th comeback win of the year, versus 23 losses after leading. (Pet Peeve: sportscasters who mispronounce "versus" as if it were "verse." Everyone should know better, especially folks who talk sports for a living.) John Danks picked up the victory without pitching a quality start, but for a change, the bullpen -- Masset, Thornton, Bukvich, and Jenks, who earned his 19th save -- gave up no runs, and the offense came through in the clutch.
The Sox collected a dozen hits, led by Andy Gonzalez's four safeties. It's good to have Scottie Pods back in the lineup, and his two hits raised his average to .311, giving the Sox one player over .300. Speaking of two hits, it takes the Sox almost two hits to score a run this year (545 hits/275 runs). The Tigers, by contrast, are much more efficient, needing only 1.73 hits to produce a run (779 hits/451 runs). More startling is the disparity in the number of hits and runs between the two teams. Detroit has 43% more hits and 64% more runs than the Sox. No wonder we trail them by 13.5 games.
But let's not dwell on the negative on the morning after a win. The victory combined with the Tigers' defeat to cut the Magic Number to 103. Maybe this is the start of a hot streak. Go Sox!

Monday, June 25, 2007

In the best of times, being a Sox fan isn't easy -- remember the August-September swoon before the Good Guys fought off the Indians in 2005. In the worst of times, it's really hard. If this isn't the worst of times, it's the next best thing. It's not bad enough that the team has lost 22 of its last 27 games. This weekend they got swept by the hated Cubs, who are nothing to write home about themselves. And they didn't just get swept; they really had no chance to win, scoring only two runs in the three games. The Update's not saying that beating the Cubs would have been enough to make up for the rest of the team's woes, but losing five out of six is totally unacceptable.
Kenny Williams has to do something. This team can't win. It's 14.5 games behind the streaking Tigers, with an Elimination number of 76 (compared to a Magic Number of 105), and is only 1.5 games ahead of last-place Kansas City. There's no point in keeping it together just because a lot of these players won the Series in 2005.
The Update is shocked that guys like Iguchi, Dye, Konerko, Pierzynski, Crede (when he was in the lineup), and Uribe have all forgotten how to hit at the same time. Two of them, sure. Three of them, maybe. But all six of them? No way. And the relief pitchers that Kenny was so fond of collecting over the off-season? Who'd have thought that all of them except Jenks (and he doesn't look as dominating as he used to) would go South together? The starters have looked good only in contrast to the rest of the team. Anyway, be prepared for the new White Sox, since the team we've become comfortable with the last few years is history.
Speaking of history, the best player in White Sox history -- Frank Thomas -- is on the verge of making some of his own. The Big Hurt slugged his 499th career home run on Sunday and goes for Number 500 tonight against the Twins. Go Frank!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Enough with the defeatist attitude. Today's Update will say nothing but good things about the White Sox. It may be short, but it'll be sweet.
The Sox started their push to the top of the Central Division last night with a 10-6 win over the mighty Florida Marlins, a team that puts the 1927 Yankees to shame. Jose Contreras could have thrown his fastball in the mid-90s, but chose not to, simply to make the game interesting for the loyal Sox fans who were in attendance at the Cell. Instead, he allowed the Fish eight hits and five runs, all the while knowing that his potent offense would ensure victory.
And potent the offense was, with every Sox batter getting at least one hit. A.J. Pierzynski garnered three and Jim Thome smashed a three-run homer, stretching his lead as the all-time leading home run hitter in Interleague games -- truly amazing, since, as a DH, he doesn't even play in those held in National League parks nowadays. Future Hall of Famer, Josh Fields, raised his average to .262, which would put him in contention for an All-Star berth in a fair and just world.
But what of Florida's late rally, you ask? A mere contrivance, designed to create a save situation for Cy Young candidate, Bobby Jenks, who came in to get the last out of the game. Four pitches, three strikes, one strikeout, eighteenth save.
The Sox, who have now won one in a row, chopped their Magic Number to 106 and kept the Indians from increasing their 10.5 game lead. The Pale Hose are on their way. Go Sox!

Monday, June 18, 2007


The White Sox won on Saturday, which is turning out to be big news, since they've won only four times in the last 21 games -- a pitiful .190 winning percentage. The Update watched on Sunday and thought that the Sox might actually win back-to-back games when they sent nine men to the plate in an inning for the first time in forever, but they promptly blew the lead they'd built up.
The Magic Number, which is becoming increasingly irrelevant, is now 107. The Elimination Number, which is shrinking all too rapidly, is a paltry 86. The Sox are 10.5 games out of first place and ahead of only the worst-in-the league Rangers, the worst-in-the Central Division Royals, and the worst-in-the East Orioles, in the league-wide standings.
We all had doubts about the team going into the season (although Garcia and BMac are doing slightly worse than Danks and Masset who replaced them on the roster), but no one thought it was going to be this bad. Before this losing streak, the Sox were a respectable 24-20. Now, at 28-37, they are anything but. It's going to take a winning streak that they seem incapable of to get them back in the race. But Erstad and Podsednik are supposed to be back. Maybe that will make a difference. Go Sox!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Aaron Rowand hit a Grand Salami last night, providing the Phillies' margin in an 8-4 game to send his former team to defeat. The loss leaves the Sox 10.0 games out of first, with a Magic Number of 110, but probably more relevant, an Elimination Number of 90. All you need to know is that the fourth-place White Sox are closer to fifth-place Kansas City than they are to third-place Minnesota. Not that the Update is giving up, but when does the NFL start again? Go Sox!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The Update didn't publish yesterday in the hopes that its 100th post would be about a win. But if we wait for that to happen, it might be a long time before you hear from us again. So here's the bad news. The Sox lost to the Phillies again yesterday. The Magic Number is 110 and the elimination number (i.e., when the Sox are eliminated) is only 92. The team is now 9.0 games out of first place and a Wild Card slot, as the Indians and Tigers are tied atop the A.L. Central.
Anyone who remembers August and September of 2005, knows all too well that nine games is not an insurmountable lead. Cleveland made up more than that margin before the Sox righted the ship and sailed into the post-season. But it's going to be a tough row to hoe. Right now, both the Indians and Tigers are on pace to win 95 games, a good but not fantastic season. So it's not unrealistic to believe that one or both of them will manage to do that. For the Sox to reach 95 wins, the Good Guys will have to go 68-33, which is a .673 winning percentage. No team in baseball currently is even close to that percentage. Boston is tops in the majors with a .651 mark. By comparison, a .673 pace equates to 110 wins over the course of 162 games -- a spectacular record.
It's almost impossible in the abstract for a team to play that well over the next 101 games, but the odds become even longer when you're talking about a team that's playing .443 ball, like the White Sox are. Add the loss of Joe Crede for the season, the continued absence of Scottie Pods, an anemic offense whose stars have all but flamed out, a bullpen that can't be counted on, and a starting pitching rotation that hasn't exactly distinguished itself either and there's really no hope of winning 95. (Thanks to Update reader Mike Sehr for reminding the Update of one of its favorite ways to look at things from the days when the Sox were the ones with the big lead and the other teams faced the hurdle of playing lights-out baseball to catch them.)
Uplifting 100th post, huh? Go Sox!

Monday, June 11, 2007


Eighth time's the charm. At least it was for Mark Buehrle, as the Sox pitcher picked up his 100th career victory after seven unsuccessful attempts to reach the century mark. The leaky sieve of a bullpen tried to give the game away, but even Dewon Day's walking two of three batters he faced, Boone Logan's walking the only man to come to the plate against him, and Bobby Jenks's allowing two inherited runners to score couldn't overcome Buehrle's fine effort. Jenks, by the way, picked up the save his 16th in a row. The Mark of Zero (think back to Buehrle's no-hitter) got plenty of offensive support from Paul Konerko, who was a triple shy of the cycle. (The only way Paulie hits a triple these days is to fail to touch home plate on a ball hit over the wall. He hasn't had one since 2000 and has lost quite a few steps since then.) Andy Gonzalez garnered is first major league hit, following by one day Josh Fields's picking up his first hit of 2007.
The win, only the third in the last 15 games, reduced the Sox Magic Number to 112. They trail Cleveland by nine games, which is a surprisingly small margin given how horribly the Sox have played. They're 27-32, and are 7.5 games out of the Wild Card berth . Even the Update's personal mojo couldn't snap the Sox out of their funk. We were there on Friday, attempting to jump start the team like we did on September 20, 2005 (the "Crede extra-inning home run to win it" game that ended the September skid that was threatening to waste our dream season) and July 9, 2006 (the 19-inning win over the Red Sox). Let's hope yesterday was just a delayed reaction and the Sox take off on a winning streak to get back in the race. Go Sox!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

There's still something special about beating the Yankees, so last night's victory was extra sweet. Jon Garland lasted 8.1 innings, giving up only one earned run and seven hits, and the bullpen managed -- just barely -- to preserve the win, almost blowing a 6-1 lead. Matt Thornton threw nine pitches, only three of them for strikes (one of those was a base hit), and allowed the runner he inherited to score. Bobby Jenks also allowed both runners he inherited to score, but held on to earn his 16th save in 17 chances. (Bad Bobby is the only Sox player worthy of the All-Star Game this year.)
Jim Thome and Paul Konerko (batting in the sixth hole in the order) each homered and Konerko went 3 for 4. The Yankee announcers were debating whether Thome, who now has 480 home runs, should make the Hall of Fame, assuming that he makes it to 500 homers. The Update believes that for non-steroid players like Thome and Frank Thomas, 500 dingers is an automatic ticket in. But both of those guys are more than home run hitters. They're a far cry from Dave Kingman (the first player to reach 400 homers and not make the Hall). They both know how to draw a walk and have high on base percentages, high slugging percentages, and therefore, high OPS (On base Plus Slugging percentage). You've read the Update's case for Big Frank making it before, so we won't repeat it here, but does anyone out there think that just because these guys play DH now that they don't deserve the HOF? Let's hear from you. Go Sox!

Monday, June 4, 2007


On June 11 and June 15, 1938, Johnny Vander Meer tossed consecutive no-hitters, setting a baseball record that will never be broken. (To break the record, a pitcher would have to throw three No-No's in a row.) The fast-balling rookie lefthander for the Cincinnati Reds set down first the visiting Boston Braves in Crosley Field and then the Brooklyn Dodgers in Ebbetts Field without a safety. What does this have to do with the White Sox you ask? Well in those two games, the opposing teams made 54 outs without a hit. The Sox yesterday finally ended their streak of 61 at bats without a hit against opposing relievers. Not quite the same thing, but illustrative of the problems they're experiencing. (By the way, Vander Meer went 21.2 innings in a row without giving up a hit, so the Sox fell short of his record for that, but not by much.) On the other hand, Sox relievers have been horrific. Kenny Williams is thinking about roster moves and let's hope it helps.
The Sox are 7.5 games behind the first-place Indians and 5.0 games back of the Wild Card-leading Tigers. The Magic Number is down to 117, but the reduction is more due to Cleveland finally losing some games than the Sox winning. Since the Good Guys start a stretch tonight against teams with losing records, maybe they'll turn it around. Go Sox!

Friday, June 1, 2007


Travel has kept me from posting the last few days. Of course, if the Sox were on a five-game winning streak rather than a five-game losing skid, I probably would have found a way to get it done. Anyway, there's really not much to say. Right now the team stinks. They're better than this for sure, but how much? I don't know. Maybe you Update readers can shed some light on the situation.
For now, I'll stick to the facts. Mark Buehrle's two-hitter went for naught last night as the Blue Jays blanked the Good Guys, 2-0. Both hits off Buehrle were home runs, including one by Update favorite, Frank Thomas. The Big Hurt cracked the 495th dinger of his illustrious career against his former team. It must have been especially sweet for Frank after Ozzie Guillen said that the White Sox knew how to pitch to him. Well, knowing and doing are two different things. I'm looking forward to Big Frank getting his 500th homer; I just hope the rest of them don't come against the Sox.
With last night's loss the Sox fell below .500, to 24-25. They're 7.5 games behind Cleveland, which seems to own Detroit, and 3.5 games behind the Tigers for the Wild Card spot. Hell, they're even behind the Twins now. Tough division, but a losing record is a losing record no matter where you play. The Magic Number is 120, but continuing to play like this will make that calculation meaningless. The Update may have to start calculating the team's Elimination Number if they don't' turn this around. By the way, that's 105 -- any combo of Indian wins and Sox losses adding up to 105 will guarantee that Cleveland finishes ahead of the Good Guys. There's still time but the Sox can't dig themselves such a big hole that they can't climb out of it. Go Sox!