Saturday, May 31, 2008

The White Sox defied the odds last night. They acheived metrics usually -- and especially lately -- found in games that the Sox win, but still managed to drop one to the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1.
  • Quality start? Jose Contreras hurled seven innings and gave up only one run.
  • Opponents score fewer than four runs? Rays could muster only two.
  • Outhit the opposition? We had eight, two more than Tampa Bay.
  • Sox home run? Alexei Ramirez tied it up with his second jack of the season.
  • No Sox errors? None. In fact, Ramirez made a nifty diving stop and throw from his knees.
  • Not trailing after eight innings? Tied up going into the ninth, with a bullpen that hadn't given up a run in 28 consecutive innings, including the eighth inning of this game.
  • Game decided in last at bat? Yes, but this time it was the Rays' Cliff Floyd who hit a walkoff homer off of Scott Linebrink.

Well, this isn't college football or even the New England Patriots. You don't have to win them all to win it all. Even the best teams usually lose 60 games and even the worst teams usually win 60. It's what happens in the other 42 that matter. It's just hard to identify which games are "the other 42."

The only good thing about last night is that the Twins lost, too, so the Magic Number is now down to 107, and the lead remains at 2.0 games. We've got another chance tonight with Javy Vazquez on the mound. Go Sox!

Friday, May 30, 2008


Last night marked the first time that two teams in sole possession of first place in their divisions played a game in Tampa, the city the White Sox used to blackmail the State of Illinois into building new Comiskey Park. (The move from Chicago being the best thing that never happened to the team.) Despite the high quality of competition, a measly 12,636 were on hand to see the Sox beat the Rays 5-1.
John Danks evened his record at 4-4 by allowing only one run on six hits over six innings. Danks, who threw 72% of his pitches for strikes, established a new career high by fanning eight Rays. Matt Thornton, Octavio Dotel, and Boone Logan pitched three innings of shut-out ball in relief to extend the bullpen's streak of scoreless innings to 27. Set-up man Scott Linebrink and closer Bobby Jenks were able to take the night off, thanks to an 11-hit attack that featured two hits and one RBI each for Paul Konerko (batting sixth in the order), Jim Thome (batting fifth), Orlando Cabrera, and Carlos Quentin. Konerko hit a ground-rule home run (different rules for indoor stadiums), his first homer in over a month (95 at bats), and Joe Crede added a round-tripper as well. Q's RBI was his 48th of the season.
The game had all the ingredients of a White Sox win: The Sox scored first; they had multiple homers; Danks delivered a quality start; the team outhit the opposition; and the Good Guys led after six innings. Each of those factors individually has a high victory correlation; collectively, they make an unbeatable combination.
With the win, the Sox moved to 30-23, the seven games over .500 being their high for the season. It allowed them to remain 2.0 games ahead of the Twins, who won their fourth in a row, and to cut the Magic Number to 109. Three more games at the Trop and then the Sox play 26 of their next 32 games in the Windy City (although three of those 26 are in Wrigley.) Let's finish up strong in Tampa and clean up in Sweet Home, Chicago. Go Sox!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Carlos Quentin doubled in the tieing and go-ahead runs in the seventh inning to lead the White Sox to a 6-5 win in the rubber game of the series against the Indians at Progressive Field. The victory was the 11th comeback win of the season, only the third time in 21 games that the Sox won when trailing after six innings (they're 21-1 when leading after six), and their 1000th all-time win over the Tribe (against 965 losses). Gavin Floyd was not his usual stingy self, but picked up the win with a little help from his bullpen friends Octavio Dotel, Scott Linebrink, and Bobby Jenks who collectively threw three more innings of scoreless relief. Jenks notched his 14th save, moving into third place among the all-time Sox save leaders. Besides Q, who also had a sac fly in the third, other batting stars included A.J. Pierzynski, who doubled in a run in the seventh, and Jermaine Dye, who slugged his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot, in the fourth.
Warning: The next paragraph is going to be an over-the-top paean to Carlos Quentin, so continue reading at your own risk, although it could help you the next time you draw the Q tile in Scrabble.
We have no Qualms in saying that the Quadrasyllabically-named Carlos Quentin is Quickly and not so Quietly having Quite a season. Not only can you Quote us on this, but we doubt anyone would Quibble or Quarrel with the Quality of our conclusion. Q has provided more than his Quota of big hits. In fact, he has left pitchers Quivering, Quavering, Quaking, and in a Quandary when they face him. It's almost as if he's on a Quest to Quell any doubts about his Qualifications to be considered the Quintessential offensive threat in the American League. Our only wish is that the Sox had a Quintet or at least a Quartet of Qs Queuing up behind him. Okay, we'll Quit with the Q words and let the Quantification of Q's rankings in the American League make the case for him. (Take notes there's going to be a Quiz):
  • 1st in homers, 14
  • 1st in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), .988
  • 1st in extra-base hits, 23
  • 1st in hit by pitch, 8
  • 2nd in RBI, 47
  • 2nd in slugging percentage, .587
  • 3rd in total bases, 105
  • 6th in on-base percentage, .402
  • 6th in runs, 35
  • 12th in batting average, .296

Today's win contracts the Magic Number to 109 over the second-place Twins (2.0 games back), who edged the Royals, 9-8, on the strength of a five-run ninth inning. The Sox head South to play the Rays -- you can call me Rays or you can call me Jays, but you doesn't have to call me Devil Rays -- in a four-game set in Tampa. We'd be ecstatic with a sweep, very happy to go 3-1, and considering the Rays have baseball's best record, only mildly disappointed with a split. Go Sox!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The White Sox continued their winning ways last night in Cleveland, as Orlando Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning of what ultimately expanded to a 6-3 margin. Cabrera's hit was his fourth of the night. Jim Thome pounded his 10th homer of the season, along with a single. A.J. Pierzynski chipped in with three singles, including one that tied the game in the seventh. In fact, hitting seemed to be contagious, with the Sox totalling 17 hits on the night. Only Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko seemed to be immune as they combined to go 0 for 11.
Javier Vazquez contributed another quality start, giving up only three runs in his six innings. But the pitching story of the night was the bullpen. Six relievers -- Octavio Dotel, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink, Nick Masset, Boone Logan, and Bobby Jenks -- threw six innings of scoreless relief. Logan got the win and Jenks came in to earn his 13th save of the year and 100th of his career. Bad Bobby reached the century mark in just 187 appearances, faster than everyone but Kazuhiro Sasaki, who did it in 160 games.
Now here's something you don't see everyday: Joe Crede trying to steal a base. The Update doesn't think of him as a speedster -- and our beliefs were confirmed as he was caught stealing. (Actually, Update reader Les Reiter informs us that Crede wasn't really stealing, but was the victim of a botched hit-and-run attempt.) And speaking of getting thrown out while running the bases, Orlando Cabrera committed another mistake trying to stretch his 12th inning single into a double, just as he did the night before trying to stretch a double into a triple. Cabrera needs to be a bit more cautious on the basepaths.
The win leaves the Sox with a 3.0 game lead over the Twins in the A.L. Central race. That's the biggest margin in the League. It chops the Magic Number to 110.
In many ways, last night's game was similar to Sunday's thriller. All of these stats increased by one on Sunday night and now by one more as a result of the Memorial Day win:
  • The Sox are now 6-2 in games decided in the last at bat
  • They're 5-0 when tied after the eighth inning
  • The team is 24-8 when getting a quality start
  • Monday's win improves the record to 18-12 in games when the Sox commit no errors
  • The Sox are 25-10 in games when they hit a homer
  • They're 19-6 when scoring first
  • The record is 22-7 when holding the opponent to three runs or fewer
  • Finally, the team is 22-4 when outhitting the opposition

The Sox face Cleveland again today. Let's keep the recent mastery of the Indians going. Go Sox!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


This is a first for The Update. Tonight, we wrote a guest column for a very cool White Sox website -- South Side Sox . Here's the essence of what we wrote:

Carlos Quentin was the White Sox offense tonight, bashing two home runs, including a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, to lead the Sox to a 3-2 win over the Angels at the Cell. Quentin, who was three for three on the night (along with a HBP), drove in the first two Sox runs on a blast to left center in the third inning that scored Alexei Ramirez. The homers were Q's 13th and 14th of the season, which move him into sole possession of the American League lead.

Scott Linebrink, who retired the Halos without a hit in relief of Jose Contreras in the ninth, got the win. But Contreras was No Way, Jose of old: eight innings, two runs (on a Gary Matthews, Jr., homer), three hits, 10 strikeouts and no walks, and that doesn't even tell the whole story. His splitter was virtually unhittable. No one even made contact with it through six innings and no one got a hit on it all night. Tonight's performance brought back memories of his seventeen-game winning streak.

Aside from the Matthews homer, the downsides (and who wants to focus on them after a great win like this?) were few and far between. The Sox didn't hit all that well, garnering only six hits, but that was really a function of John Lackey being superb, except when facing Quentin. Orlando Cabrera did get thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple when the ball got away from Sean Rodriguez on the relay. But really, that's about it.

The win allows the Sox to maintain their 2.5 game lead on the second-place Twinkies, who also won today, and it reduces their Magic Number to 111.

Speaking of numbers, here's a little feature we like to call "We Do The Math, So You Don't Have To":
  • The all-time record against the Angels is all-square at 329-329
  • The Sox are now 5-2 in games decided in the last at bat
  • They're 4-0 when tied after the eigth inning
  • The team is 23-8 when getting a quality start
  • Tonight's win improves the record to 17-12 in games when the Sox commit no errors
  • The Sox are 24-10 in games when they hit a homer
  • The Good Guys are 12-5 in games when they hit more than one homer
  • They're 18-6 when scoring first
  • The record is 21-7 when holding the opponent to three runs or fewer
  • Finally, the team is 21-4 when outhitting the opposition

Go Sox!

Friday, May 23, 2008


According to the box score, the paid attendance last night was 28,040. However, they missed at least one fan in their count. Our future grandson ("OFG"), who is still in the Rookie League and not scheduled for a Big League call-up until the rosters expand in September, attended his first game last night with his parents: son, Jeff, and pregnant daughter-in-law, Kate. Jeff reports that it was a bit nippy, but OFG had his own kind of luxury box and managed to stay warm. We're happy to report that he can look back on it someday and say the White Sox won -- 3-1.
Mark Buehrle pitched well enough to win, limiting Cleveland (the only team to hold a winning record against him in his career) to two hits and one run in seven innings. Unfortunately, for Buehrle, Carlos Quentin, who drove in the first Sox run to stake him to a lead in the first inning, didn't drive in the go-ahead run until the eighth inning. By then, Scott Linebrink had thrown an inning of no-hit, no-run relief and was credited with his first victory of the season. Bobby Jenks pitched a flawless ninth to earn his 12th save of the year and 98th of his career -- tying Hoyt Wilhelm for fourth place on the Sox all-time list. But excellent relief pitching has become the norm. The bullpen pitched seven innings during the three-game sweep of the Indians without allowing a run.
Jermaine Dye also drove in a run, and Toby Hall, playing because the Tribe started a lefty, went three for three to raise his average to .351, but that was pretty much it for the Sox offense. The Update is not sure why lefties have beguiled the Sox so much in the past, given the heavily right-handed lineup they play, but it appears this year that they're having more success. Last night's win raised the team's record to 10-4 when the opponent starts a southpaw. By contrast, the Sox are 16-16 when they face a right-handed starter.
Hall of Fame sportswriter Peter Gammons, who was on Mike & Mike today, called the White Sox "dangerous" and said they have a "legitimate" chance to win the A.L. Central. Ya think? C'mon, Peter, we know the season's only a quarter over, but that's hardly a ringing endorsement of a team that has won eight in a row, is receiving great starting and relief pitching and timely hitting, and has a 3.5 game lead in the division and a 4.5 and 6.5 game lead respectively over the trendy picks to win it all -- Cleveland and Detroit. Get on board the Sox bandwagon early. Seats will be scarce later as the Magic Number drops from 113 today all the way down to zero.
Final thought: The Update is against instant replay even in limited situations like figuring out if a ball was fair or foul or a home run or not. The game has done just fine for more than a century without it. Wait a minute. Upon further review, we think it's a great idea in those limited circumstances. It won't take much time and it's more important to get it right on those kind of plays than to preserve incompetence in the name of some stupid tradition. Go Replay! Go Sox!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Is this fun or what? The White Sox, led by Jermaine Dye's hitting and Javier Vazquez's pitching, came from behind last night to win the second game of their three-game series with the Indians, 7-2, before a near-sellout crowd (38,518) at the Cell. Dye smashed a three-run shot to left when the Sox were down by two. Give first-base umpire, Paul Schreiber, an assist on the play. Schreiber called Carlos Quentin safe at first on what, according to The Tribune, replays show should have been the back end of a double play. The Sox put up five in the inning and added two more later on as Dye homered again (his eighth) ,and Jim Thome followed immediately with his second in two nights and ninth of the season.
Javier Vazquez was the beneficiary of this timely hitting, picking up the victory. Javy added seven strikeouts to his league-leading total, as he pitched seven innings while giving up only two runs, four hits, and one walk. Boon Logan, Scott Linebrink, and Matt Thornton chipped in with two innings of shutout relief. The five-run margin allowed closer Bobby Jenks to take the night off for a change.
The win was the seventh in a row for the Sox and the fourth in a row over Cleveland, which finds itself in third place, 3.5 games behind the Good Guys. With second-place Minnesota losing and falling back to 2.5 games out of first, the Magic Number has dropped to 115.
Tonight is "Welcome Back Carlton Fisk Night," complete with an on-field ceremony honoring Pudge. Sox management wasn't always so welcoming, however. Remember when they released Fisk just after he broke the all-time games-caught record and then would not allow him into the clubhouse to celebrate with his former teammates after they clinched the A.L. West title? But Pudge got back at the team by choosing to have his Hall of Fame plaque show him in a Boston cap, even though he spent more time with the White Sox. Since Fisk has agreed to become an ambassador for the team, they've apparently buried the hatchet. Maybe he can get his plaque changed from the Sawx to the Sox. Go Sox!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The White Sox made nemesis C.C. Sabathia their latest victim as they defeated the Indians 4-1 last night behind a stellar performance from Jose Contreras and the bullpen. Contreras tossed six innings of four-hit, one-run, no-walk ball, and Matt Thornton, Octavio Dotel, Scott Linebrink, and Bobby Jenks combined for three innings of scoreless, hitless relief on only 27 pitches. The win was Contreras's fifth, and Jenks picked up his 11th save. The quality start was the team's 28th of the season and improved the record in those games to 20-7 (and one suspended game).
On the offensive side of the ledger, Ozzie's revamped lineup continued to deliver, garnering nine hits, including homers by Carlos Quentin and Jim Thome. (Quentin leads the league in homers with 11 and fewest at bats per homer.) Since Oz made the change to this lineup, the team is 6-0, so it's likely to continue for a while. Either Ozzie stumbled upon something or he actually knows what he's doing. Considering his all-time record as a manager is now 368-324 it could well be he's not the clown that many (including The Update) sometimes believe him to be.
By winning, the Sox reduced their Magic Number to 117 and maintained their lead over Minnesota at 1.5 games. (They've been in first place 30 days this season, compared to only one day in 2007, which we hereinafter refer to as the season that shall not be mentioned, and 35 days in 2006.) The Good Guys are 2.5 games up on Cleveland, whom they plan again tonight and tomorrow. The season series is now even at 2-2 with the Indians, and the all-time series, for those keeping score at home, is 996-964 in favor of the Sox. At the Cell, Chicago holds a 69-60 advantage.
Fun fact: You can pretty much stop watching a Sox game if one team or the other has a lead after six innings. When the Sox lead going into the seventh, they're 20-1; when the opponent leads, the Sox are 1-15. If our math is right, that means they're 3-4 when tied after six.
So to summarize, we need another quality start and enough offense to be leading after six innings to pretty much ensure our seventh win in a row with this lineup and overall, and our third in a row against the Tribe tonight. Go Sox!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May Day

It's not that we forgot. It's just that yesterday's post ran a little long, so we saved this tidbit for the off day. Saturday was Carlos May's 60th birthday. Regular readers of The Update know the significance of that, but for you newbies out there, we'll explain. Carlos wore number 17, so the back of his uniform read "May 17" -- which is his birthday. There have been 11 other Major Leaguers with the last name of May, but none of them was born in May. Don August was born in July, and Javerro January was born in October. Since no other Big Leaguer has had a last name that was the same as a month, that makes Carlos (missing thumb and all) the only player in MLB history to wear his birthday on the back of his uniform. Remember that fact. You can win a bar bet with it.
Other tidbits before the White Sox return to action:
  • The Sox are one of only four teams to have a winning record at home and on the road. The Angels, Marlins, and Diamondbacks are the others.
  • The entire A.L. Central has a winning record within the division except for Detroit.
  • The Sox have a winning record against the Central, the West, and the N.L., but a losing record against the East.

Finally, The Update notes that Steve Rosenbloom, columnist for The Chicago Tribune, wrote in his blog about the Magic Numbers for the Sox and Cubs and wondered if it were crazy to be calculating them so early in the season. Steve, we're way ahead of you. We started doing this in April 2005 when the Sox had a Magic Number of 141, and have been counting down ever since then. It's not too early. To the contrary, in the words of Carole King, "It's too late, baby. " Go Sox!

Monday, May 19, 2008


With apologies to Robert Browning, the White Sox are in first place, all's right with the world. The Sox finished up their 10-game West Coast swing by winning all three games against the Giants in San Francisco to post a 7-3 mark on the road trip. The Update laid out a realistic road map for success and the Sox followed it even after we got greedy and amended the route mid-trip. Win two out of three from Seattle to get it started. Check. Split with the Angels. Check, but only after scaring us by losing the first two. Win two out of three from the Giants, no wait, make that a sweep in San Fran. Check. As a result of this success, the Sox return home to the Cell with a Magic Number of 118 and in first place, 1.5 games up on the slumping Indians (thank you, Reds for sweeping them); 2.0 games ahead of the Royals and Twins; and 6.5 games in front of the Tigers.
Speaking of first place, this won't rival 2005 when the Good Guys led the division every day of the season, but so far, they've held down the top spot more than they haven't. The Sox have been in first place for 28 days, second for 14 days, third for 5, and fourth for 3. Knock on (Wilbur) wood, they haven't been in fifth at all. And with yesterday's win, the Sox improved to 5-2 on Sundays. They also have winning records on Thursdays (4-1), Fridays (4-2), and Saturdays (5-3). The rest of the week, not so good: Mondays, they're 1-4, so it's a good thing we're off today; Tuesdays, the team is 2-3; and Wednesdays, the Sox are only 2-5.
During the team's five-game winning streak, the bats have come alive. The Sox reached double figures in hits four times and have averaged 10 hits per game. The pitching has been equally impressive. Each of the five starters contributed a quality start (at least six innings with no more than three runs allowed). Considering that the Sox are now 19-7 when receiving a quality start, it's no wonder that they've won during this stretch. What The Update did wonder was whether the Sox would be hurt by not being able to use the DH in road interleague games. As we noted last week, the pitchers could hardly have hit worse than Jim Thome has been hitting lately (though he did have a game winner the other night), and the sweep of the Giants suggests that it didn't seem to matter. A little historical research shows that the Sox went 7-2 in N.L. parks in 2005 and 2006, when the team was winning 90 games or more. The Sox were 2-7 last year, when the team generally sucked. Overall, the Sox are 51-50 when not allowed a DH in the interleague games.
That's a lot of numbers, but we always want to give you your money's worth, and since you pay nothing for The Update, we're pretty sure you're getting it. So there's nothing left to say, except Go Sox!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Jim Thome ended an "ofer" series by driving in A.J. Pierzynski with the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, and Bobby Jenks shut down the Angels in their last raps to earn his eighth save, as the White Sox came from behind (after blowing a lead) to win last night in Anaheim, 4-3. Javier Vazquez contributed another quality start -- 6.2 innings, three runs (only two of them earned) -- while Octavio Dotel got the win to even his record at 2-2. A.J., again batting second in Ozzie's revised lineup, had three hits on the night, two of them doubles, and the team reached double digits (10) in hits again, with the two through seven batters in the order each getting at least one safety.
It was the first time all year that the Sox won without hitting a home run, having lost their previous 10 homerless games, as well as the first time in 20 games that they won after trailing after eight innings. It was their seventh comeback win of the season, and they avoided racking up their eighth loss after losing a lead. The Sox won for the third time in their last at bat; they've allowed their opponents to do it twice. The Sox now have a 16-7 record when receiving a quality start, and are 12-4 when they notch 10 or more hits.
The win evened the team's record at 20-20, shaving the Magic Number to 124, and keeping the Sox 1.5 games back of Cleveland, tied with Minnesota for second. So far, The Update's plan for the road trip is on track -- taking two out of three from the Mariners and splitting the series with the Angels. We were hoping for another series win when the Sox face the (now) 17-25 Giants, but with San Francisco having lost two in a row and the Good Guys having won a pair, we're looking for the Sox to sweep the three-game set. Greedy? Yes. Unreasonable? No. Just do it.
So, with a quarter of the season in the books the Sox are not in a bad position. They've struggled on the road (.458), but have lots of games left to play at home, where they do much better (.568). Projecting each of the Central Division teams' records based on how they've performed at home and away so far shows the Indians winning 87 games, the Sox 83, the Twins 78, the Royals 77, and the Tigers 63. We think they're all going to do better than that, but maybe The Update and everyone else has overestimated the strength of the division. It's time to build on the momentum of these two wins against the first-place Angels, sweep the Giants, and come home to do some damage at the Cell. Go Sox!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Sorry for the gap in publication, but the entire Update family -- publisher, editors, reporters, all one of us -- have been under the weather for a week. (If you're feeling well, does that mean you're over the weather?) Since our last edition, the Sox have sliced six games off the Magic Number, but have dropped into the third spot in the A.L. Central. When last we wrote, though, it was the Twins who held down first place. We warned you not to sleep on Cleveland, and it has come to pass that the Tribe is atop the division -- 1.5 games ahead of the Good Guys, who trail Minnesota by a half game and lead the Royals by one. Even the disappointing Tigers are only 2.5 games back of the Sox, so no one is really out of it.
At the start of the West Coast trip, we were hoping to take two out of three from the Mariners and the Giants and split with the Angels, which would mean going 6-4 over the 10 games. Well, with a win in the finale against the Halos, we can still be on track to accomplish that relatively modest goal and return home to the Cell, where we're 9-7. Of course, the next 13 games after the road trip are against the three A.L. division leaders, so don't expect too much. A 7-6 record over that stretch would look pretty good, especially if a cluster of those wins come against the Indians. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, we have to win today's game and take care of business against the Giants. Normally, we worry about playing National League teams on the road because that takes the bat out of DH Jim Thome's hands. But with Thome batting only .203, how much worse can the pitchers hit? We will miss Thome's speed, however, as he has 9% of the team's stolen bases this season.
Last night's game featured another top-notch pitching performance by Jose Contreras, who threw seven innings of one-run ball, allowing the Angels a mere four hits. Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks each contributed an inning of scoreless relief. Carlos Quentin maintained his league lead in home runs with his 10th of the season, a grand slam. Qunetin was batting third for the first time, as Ozzie juggled the lineup (his 25th different one this year). Thome and the slumping Paul Konerko dropped two spots to fifth and sixth, respectively. Perhaps the biggest surprise was A. J. Pierzynski batting second. Whatever, the order produced 10 hits and six runs. so maybe Oz will stick with it. Let's hope the Sox stick with their winning ways. Go Sox!

Friday, May 9, 2008


Never mind that Juan Uribe hit a clutch two-run homer. Never mind that Jermaine Dye homered for his third consecutive game. Never mind that John Danks evened his record by throwing five innings of six-hit, two-run ball. Never mind that the White Sox took the rubber game of the series from the first-place Twins, 6-2. The big news yesterday was that Jim Thome stole his first base ever in a Sox uniform!
Thome was on first and Carlos Quentin was on second when Paul Konerko checked his swing on a 3-1 count. Konerko started to take off his leg guard and head to first while Quentin and Thome began moving to third and second, respectively. That's when things got interesting. The checked swing was appealed to the first-base umpire who called it a strike, meaning there was no walk and no automatic entitlement for the runners to advance. The Twins attempted to make a play on Thome, but he was already safely on second with what was credited as a stolen base. The theft marked his first since September 25, 2002, and was only the 20th of his career -- the previous 19 swiped during his 12 years with the Indians, none coming during his three years with the Phillies or his prior two seasons on the Sox. Thome is now tied with that legendary speedster John Sherman Lollar, who racked up his 20 during 18 seasons as well. Rickey Henderson had better watch out.
The Update is convinced that Uribe's home run is the direct result of Mark Buehrle using Uribe's bats to bang the dugout heater when he threw his temper tantrum after getting shelled two nights ago. The heater was the only target Buehrle hit all night and provided the most contact Uribe's bats had seen in a long time. But let's also give Uribe credit for his hard slide yesterday that broke up a double play and allowed a run to score. That was good baseball.
The win allowed the Sox to climb back into second place, only a game back of Minnesota -- and a half game up on Cleveland, 1.5 ahead of KC, and 2.5 in front of last-place Detroit. It reduced their Magic Number to 131, and it made the long flight out to Seattle for the start of a ten-game road trip a lot more pleasant. Let's hope that the Sox can avoid their usual West Coast swoon. The good news is that six of the games are against teams with losing records -- the Mariners and the Giants. Four of them are against the Angels, though, who are only a half-game behind the Red Sox for best record in the league. Go Sox!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


You know things are tough when that 3-3 suspended game against the Orioles last week was the best thing that happened to the White Sox in the prior seven games. Well, our long national nightmare (not to be confused with the Nationals' long nightmare, which we're experiencing here in D.C.) is over. The Sox finally won one, after six consecutive losses. It took Gavin Floyd's holding the Twins without a hit until one out in the ninth, as well as the Sox scoring more runs than they did in the entire four-game Toronto series to do it. But they got 'er done last night, 7-1.
The Update wants to go on record as admitting we were wrong about Floyd. We thought he was the weak link in the starting rotation, but he's done fine work this year. Floyd has a 3-1 record and a 2.50 ERA, fifth best in the league. And his performance last night was no one-hit wonder (despite his giving up only one hit). About a month ago against the Tigers, Floyd lost a no-hitter with one out in the eighth inning. It looks like the kid really can pitch.
The Update wasn't wrong about the lack of hitting, however. Last night's 11-hit outburst was an aberration for the team with the lowest batting average in the league. Paul Konerko, who we thought simply had a bad year last year and would bounce back, is hitting only .220 this year -- good for 76th in the league. Even worse, four other starters have averages lower than Paulie: Orlando Cabrera, .214 (78th in the league); Jim Thome, .209 (81st); Nick Swisher, .196 (86th); and Juan Uribe, .195 ( doesn't even bother to rank him). Even those hitting better than Konerko are nothing to write home (or to you) about, but we'll do it anyway: A.J. Pierzynski at .282 (28th in the league) leads a mediocre pack: Carlos Quentin, .280 (34th); Jermaine Dye, .265 (49th); and Joe Crede, .257 (57th). With hitters like that, it's hard to blame Ozzie for what's going on, inflatable dolls notwithstanding. Now, Kenny Williams ....
Anyway, the losing streak is over. The Sox have a Magic Number of 133. Despite their tailspin and Minnesota's hot streak, they're only one game behind the first-place Twins, in what's turning out to be a surprisingly weak division. The Sox are ahead of Cleveland by a half game and Detroit by 2.5. A win tonight puts the Good Guys back in first, even if it gives them only a .500 record. Go Sox!