Sunday, May 31, 2009


Sweeeep! After winning the first two games of their last three series only to lose the finale, the White Sox finally got to use their brooms, beating the Royals and the best pitcher in baseball, Zack Greinke, 7-4. The Sox got to Greinke for four runs -- a hefty total considering he'd given up only seven runs prior to Sunday's game -- and they got to him early. Scott Podseknik led off the game with a triple and scored on Jim Thome's single, hit to where the shortstop would have been if he hadn't been playing the Thome-shift.
But KC fought back against John Danks, who broke the streak of Sox starters giving up fewer than four runs in a game. The Royals took a 4-1 lead after three innings, all of their runs coming against Danks. He wasn't on top of his game, lasting only 5.1 innings, while allowing those four runs on nine hits and two walks. The Sox comeback, highlighted by two RBI by Josh Fields (1 for 3, extending his hitting streak to seven games), knotted the score at 4-4 and took Danks off the hook for the loss.
Octavio Dotel (1.0 IP) and Matt Thornton (1.2 IP) shut down KC long enough for the Sox to rally in their last at bat, scoring three runs in top of the ninth. The big blow was a bases-loaded single to right by Chris Getz that scored two runs. Bobby Jenks came in to pitch a three-up, three-down ninth to save the game for Thornton (now 2-1). Jenks's save was his 12th of the season, in 13 chances.
The offense continued its double-digit attack, this time racking up 11 hits (to the Royals' 10). Scottie Pods's three hits -- a homer shy of the cycle -- led the way, as the rejuvenated hero of 2005 looks like the answer to the 2009 leadoff question. Pods is up to .297 and providing everything that the parade of players that Ozzie tried there before could not.
Now, it's back home for a season-longest 12-game homestand. While the team is still 4.0 games behind Detroit, the Sox get the chance to take that matter into their own hands as they host the Tigers for five games after opening with Oakland (4 games) and Cleveland (3 games). Go Sox!

The streak continues. The streak of White Sox starters not allowing more than three runs in a game, that is. Mark Buehrle did his part yesterday, holding the Royals to three runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings. Buehrle, who extended a streak of his own -- he's up to 23 innings without a walk -- failed to get the win, though. Former batterymate Miguel Olivo homered off Buehrle in the eighth, evening the game at 3-3. Scott Linebrink came in, threw six pitches to get the last two outs of the inning, and picked up the win when the Sox pushed across two in the ninth. Bobby Jenks earned his 11th save of the season with a scoreless final frame.
Scott Podsednik, firmly ensconced as the leadoff man, drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth, with a line single to right field. Alexei Ramirez, who's on a hot streak of his own, plated an insurance run with his third hit of the night, none of which left the infield. Ramirez has raised his average from .213 to .261 over the last eight games by going 15 for 34 (.441). For the second night in a row, the Sox managed double-digit hit totals, this time collecting 10 safeties and improving their record to 12-2 when doing so. The resurgent Josh Fields kept his hitting streak alive by smashing a double. Fields, who has to be looking over his shoulder at Gordon Beckham at Charlotte and Dayan Viciedo (up to .270) at Birmingham, has gone 10 for 24 (.417) during his six-game streak.
We've got one bone to pick with Ozzie. Pinch-hitting Dewayne Wise for Brian Anderson in the ninth didn't make sense. Sure, KC's pither, Juan Cruz, is a righty and a left-handed batter like Wise ordinarily hits better than a right-handed batter like Anderson against a right-handed pitcher. But going into last night's game, Anderson was hitting .318 off right-handers, was hitting about 60 points higher overall than Wise, and is the best defensive outfielder the Sox have. We'd like to hear Oz's explanation, but from where we sit, this was the wrong move.
The win moved the Sox back into second place, 4.0 games behind the Tigers. That's the highest the Sox have been in the standings since May 2. They're going to have a tough time today, as they face Zack Greinke, currently the best pitcher in baseball. Greinke is 8-1 with a 0.84 ERA. Nope, that's not a misprint. He's giving up less than an earned run per nine innings pitched! The Sox will need to be on their game. Go John Danks! Go Sox!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


And the hits just keep on comin'. At least they did last night, as the White Sox collected 17 of them in thrashing the Royals, 11-2. Every Sox starter garnered at least one hit -- Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski, and Josh Fields each had three; Paul Konerko and Brian Anderson each had two -- and scored at least one run. Jermaine Dye contributed a home run, his 13th of the season, to straightaway center.
Clayton "Go Blue" Richard contributed a Quality Start, extending the Sox starters' streak (say that three times fast) of allowing fewer than four earned runs to 11 games. Richard picked up his second win against no losses by limiting the Royals to two runs, on six hits and a walk -- he struck out seven -- in seven innings of work. He was locating his pitches well, throwing 62 of 92 for strikes. Octavio Dotel and Jimmy Gobble each added a scoreless inning to preserve the win.
Last night's game fit the formula for Sox success. The team is 19-6 when holding the opposition to fewer than four runs; 19-7, hitting a home run; 18-6, getting a Quality Start; 18-5, scoring more than three runs; 17-5, scoring first; 16-2, outhitting the other team; 15-11, committing no errors; 11-2, getting double-digit hits; and 10-7 in the first game of a series. Most of those seem pretty obvious, but it's fun to trot out the stats anyway.
On the personnel front, the Sox made a series of moves:
  • They traded Lance "Now He'll Be Much Closer to" Broadway to the Mets for backup catcher Ramon Castro. Castro is batting .253 and throwing out would-be base stealers at a 42.9% rate. Castro bats right-handed, so he can spell A.J. when there's a lefty on the mound. Mark Gonzalez of The Tribune speculates that the Sox may have ideas of dumping A.J., who attains full no-trade status part way through 2010 to pave the way for Tyler "Catcher of the Future" Flowers to take over. Castro gives them a reliable option if Flowers struggles.
  • Obviously, with Casto on board, Corky Miller becomes expendable, and the Sox designated him for assignment. Farewell, Corky. We hardly knew ye.
  • To replace Broadway, the Sox promoted Wes Whisler (no jokes about paintings of his mother; even we wouldn't stoop that low) from Charlotte. Whisler, who was 5-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 10 starts for the Knights, looks to be a short-timer, though. That's because ...
  • Jose Contreras is expected to be called up to start one of the games of the June 8 double-header. No Way Jose has posted a 3.04 ERA in Charlotte and is said to have regained control of his forkball, or splitter, or whatever pitch it is he was bouncing 10 feet in front of home plate before being sent down. We'll be happy if Contreras bounces back. We like him; we just don't like how he was pitching.
  • Carlos Quentin is on the DL, but is slated to return as soon as June 10, when he becomes eligible. At least he's not there because of a self-inflicted wound this time.
  • With Q out, the Sox brought up Dewayne Wise, erstwhile leadoff man and center-fielder. Wise, who recovered quicker than expected from his separated shoulder, got into last night's game as a pinch runner for Paulie. He wound up getting caught stealing home. We didn't see it so we don't know what happened, but the box score lists it that way and it wasn't a pickoff, since the play went from pitcher to catcher. If you were watching, enlighten us.

With the win and the Tigers' loss, the Sox are only 4.0 games out of first place in the Central Division, and the Magic Number is 120. By comparison, Detroit's Magic Number is 120. Mark Buehrle gets the chance to extend the starters' streak tonight, and the Sox attempt to win the first two games of a series for the fourth time in a row. Go Sox!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


While we were gone, the White Sox split the last two games of their three-game set with the Angels, to take their third consecutive series by a 2-1 margin. More on the games later, but assuming the Good Guys continue to Meat Loaf the opposition in the 28 remaining scheduled three-game series and just split their other games, they'll finish with a 93-69 record. That ought to be good enough to win the division and get back to the post-season. Of course, that's a tall order for a team that hits as poorly as the Sox do, but if they get even close to the kind of pitching they've been getting lately, it's doable. In each of the last 10 games, the starter has given up three or fewer earned runs -- 13 earned runs in 63.1 innings for a 1.85 ERA. The team is 17-6 when getting a Quality Start (at least six innings pitched with fewer than four earned runs allowed), for a .739 winning percentage.
Tuesday's game featured another strong performance by Bartolo Colon (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R) and two home runs by Jayson Nix. The winning percentage when a Sox player homers in a game is almost as good as for Quality Starts. When Dr. Longball pays a house call, the Sox are 18-7 for a .720 percentage. When he shows up more than once in a game, the Sox are even better: 14-4 and .778. By the way, Jayson's brother Laynce (what's with the "Y" stuck in the middle of their names?) hit one out on Tuesday as well. They became the fourth set of brothers to homer on the same day this season: Bengie and Yadier Molina have done it twice; Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez and Jerry and Scott Hairston have done it once each.
Unfortunately, the team reverted to its anemic offense on Wednesday, notching only one run on five hits. Gavin Floyd's quality start (8 IP, 3 R) wasn't enough to overcome the lack of hitting. No one wins a lot of games by scoring just one run, and the Sox are just 3-22 (.120 percentage) when being outhit as they were yesterday.
The split leaves the Sox 5.5 games behind the Tigers, the only team in the division above .500. It reduces the Magic Number to 123. Now, it's on to KC for three games with the Royals. Go Sox!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I was about to write about the ineptitude of the White Sox offense and how they'd scored only 10 runs on 27 hits in their last four games. Good thing I waited since the Sox exploded for 17 runs and 24 hits Monday night against the Angels in Anaheim. In case you're wondering -- and it's not a stupid question given last Thursday's 20-1 loss -- the Sox won, 17-3. John Danks (6 IP, 3 R, 4 H) was the beneficiary of the reinvigorated bats. Jermaine Dye (12th), Paul Konerko (7th), and Jim Thome (8th) all hit home runs. It was Thome's 549th, to move him past former Phillie star Mike Schmidt into sole possession of 13th place on the all-time list. Leadoff man Scott Podsednik and newly installed No. 2 hitter Alexei Ramirez each had four hits. It must have been contagious, as each starter got at least one hit.
The win followed a surprising 4-3 loss to the Pirates on Sunday. Surprising because Bobby Jenks blew his first save opportunity of the season, after converting his first 10 chances. Jenks wasn't the only one who failed to help Mark Buehrle pick up a win that he did (7 IP, 1 R) and didn't deserve (12 H). Octavio Dotel also gave up a run -- only the second time all year -- wasting Brian Anderson's two-run homer and Buehrle's escape act.
Sunday's loss kept the Sox from sweeping the Bucs, as Sox pitchers pitched back-to-back shutouts in the first two games of the series. Clayton Richard won his first game of the year on Saturday by throwing seven innings of scoreless, six-hit ball. Gavin Floyd was even better on Friday, shutting out Pittsburgh for eight innings on just two hits. The two skunks marked the first time in baseball history that a team had thrown consecutive shutouts after allowing 20 runs the game before. A somewhat dubious distinction given what you have to do in the first game even to make it into the category.
Anyway, taking two of three from the Pirates (love that interleague play) and the opener from the Angels means the Magic Number is down to 125. The Sox remain 5.5 games behind the Tigers, though, as Detroit keeps up its winning ways. More West Coast ball on tap and yours truly will be traveling on business, so no Update tomorrow. Go Sox!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Dick Clark: Let's play the Pyramid!

William Shatner (my partner): Gargle with razor blades ... walk across hot coals ... watch a remake of Ishtar ....

Me: Things I'd rather do than write about the White Sox losing to the Twins 20-1.

Ding, ding, ding!

Yep, the Sox tied a franchise-record for biggest margin of defeat -- the other game was a 19-0 loss to the Angels in 2002. That's it. That's all I'm going to write about it. That's more than you want to read about it.
Tomorrow's another day. The Sox play the Pirates, who have the worst inter-league record in baseball history.
Of course, the Sox will be playing them without Jake Peavey, who decided he'd rather play for the going-nowhere Padres than the going-nowhere White Sox. For all of you who were dissing Peavey for not wanting to join the Good Guys (repeat disclaimer about "Good" not referring to team's performance), what do you have to say about it now? Give Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf credit. Kenny's out there trying to improve the club and Jerry agreed to pick up a huge amount of salary over the next few years for a pitcher -- which he hates to do. But this is precisely why guys negotiate no-trade clauses in their contracts: so they don't have to leave Southern California for Chicago just to play for a non-contending team in a homer-happy ballpark and face DHs instead of pitchers three times a game.
After today, I can't even bring myself to say "Go Sox!"
Jake Peavey to Sox?

Several sources are reporting -- no, not to me; I'm a lawyer not a journalist; I found out about it from Update readers Mike Ring and Kurt Keagle -- that the White Sox and Padres have agreed on a trade that would send Jake Peavey (former Cy Young Award winner) to the South Side. Heading to the Left Coast would be Clayton Richard and Aaron Poreda, a former No. 1 draft pick now on Double-A Birmingham, and probably two others. Word is that Gordon Beckham is not one of them.
Peavey must approve the deal under the terms of his contract, and it's no sure thing that he will. He wants to stay in the National League, where he gets to hit and face pitchers rather than DHs. And get this: He's worried about playing for Ozzie. Scott Linebrink of the Sox, a former teammate and a friend, pegs the odds that Peavey will accept the deal at 50-50. Stay tuned.

Small ball? We don't need no stinkin' small ball. What we need is home runs, and last night, we got 'em. Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye supplied the firepower as the Sox exploded for a 7-4 win over the Twins. Paulie's sixth homer of the year, a two-run blast, and J.D.'s tenth of the season, a Grand Salami, came as part of a seven-run fourth inning. (The inning also featured an RBI single by Josh Fields that almost wasn't -- Alexei Ramirez slid into third for no apparent reason before getting up and scoring.)
Hitting the longball is the tried and true formula for White Sox success. The Sox have hit 40 home runs in 2009. Their record in the 20 games with roundtrippers is 14-6, which works out to a .700 winning percentage. In the 19 homerless games, the Good Guys are a pathetic 3-16 for a .158 percentage. It's even more pronounced in multi-homer games like last night's: 10-4 for a .733 percentage. In case you're wondering, they've had one 4-HR game, three 3-HR games, eleven 2-HR games, and five 1-HR games. C'mon, the Sox play in one of the top home run parks in the Majors, although surprisingly, they've hit only 17 at home (in 18 games) compared to 23 on the road (in 21 games). They need to embrace the bomb.
Another bright spot last night was the pitching. John Danks picked up the win to even his record at 3-3. Danks lasted 5.2 innings (111 pitches) while allowing only two earned runs (four overall) on five hits and three walks. It's an easy decision to turn it over to the bullpen when you've got Octavio Dotel, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink, and Bobby Jenks ready, willing, and able to preserve the win. The Four Horsemen together allowed no runs on one hit, posting their sixth, seventh, and third holds and ninth save, respectively.
The Sox have now won two in a row over the slumping Twins -- nice to use that modifier in connection with a team other than the Sox -- to pull even with them in the standings. Both of last year's Central Divsion leaders are 5.5 games behind the Tigers, who refuse to lose. The Magic Number is down to 130, but you knew that from the headline, didn't you? Go Sox.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Leave it to Buehrle. And Konerko. And Dye. And Thome.
The White Sox veterans came through last night to end the team's five-game losing streak by beating the Twins, 6-2. Buehrle picked up his seventh win of the season (against one loss) by pitching seven strong innings -- two runs, only one of them earned; eight hits; three strikeouts; no walks. He lowered his ERA to 2.77 and is on track to make it to the All-Star Game in his hometown of St. Louis.
The longball finally made a reappearance, with Paul Konerko poking his fifth home run (a two-run shot) and Jermaine Dye his ninth (a solo blast). Jim Thome stroked a two-run double to give the Sox a comfortable working margin, and by getting two hits, raised his average to .252. That means he comes off the list of NutriSystem Nasties -- players who are not hitting their weight. (Unfortunately, 225-pound Josh Fields, mired in a 1 for 23 slump that has brought his average down to .217, is now on it.) Thome is batting .454 in his last seven games, so maybe he's turned the corner.
With Brian Anderson off the DL, Brent Lillibridge (another of the Nasties) was sent down to Triple-A Charlotte. Thanks for playing, Brent, and here's the home edition of our Major League Baseball Game. Work on your skills, and maybe we'll see you again. Speaking of Charlotte, The Update's favorite whipping boy, Jose Contreras, is proving he can get minor leaguers out. Contreras is getting his forkball over and has given up no runs in 15 innings. His last outing was a complete game shutout of the Toledo Mud Hens (Corporal Max Klinger's favorite team). Ozzie isn't ready to bring Jose back just yet, but the real question is not when it happens, but who drops out of the rotation. The Trib suggests it could be Gavin Floyd, but he's out of options, so he can't be sent down, and the Sox have too much money invested in him. Clayton Richard is fresh off of a really good outing. We'll just have to wait and see what Kenny and Oz decide.
Detroit keeps winning, so even with the victory over Minnesota, the Sox remain 5.5 games out of first. The Magic Number improves by one to 131. Let's keep the Good Guys' winning streak (is one game a streak) and the Twins' losing streak (currently at five) going. Go Sox!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Clayton Richard deserved better. Jose Contreras's replacement in the rotation threw seven innings of three-hit ball, allowing two runs, only one of them earned. Jim Thome tried to help, pounding a round-tripper in the eighth inning for his seventh homer of the season and the 548th of his career, which tied him with Mike Schmidt for 13th place on the all-time list and tied the game at 2-2. Richard's fate looked to be in good hands with the previously untouchable Octavio Dotel coming on in relief. Dotel had thrown 12.1 scoreless innings this season, giving him an ERA of 0.00, but the Big O picked a bad time to prove he's human, giving up the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth.
The 3-2 win gave Toronto a sweep of the four-game series in which the Sox scored just eight runs. The Blue Jays scored that many in just one game -- twice. Tack on the loss to the Indians in the last game in Cleveland and the Sox are on a five-game slide. They're now 5.5 games out of first and need to lay down the shovel before they dig a hole they can't climb out of. Go Sox!
Fun With Numbers
When is it safe to stop watching a White Sox game? So far this year, it's a pretty good bet that you need to watch only four innings to know how it's going to come out. If the Sox are leading after four, their record is 10-3. If they're tied or losing going into the fifth, their record is 5-18. Any earlier than that, there's a better chance the Sox will blow a lead they have or wind up winning if they're tied or losing. That's not surprising; the more time you have left in the game, the more chances you have for a lead change.
What is surprising is how hard it's been for the Good Guys to win if they fall behind early. The Sox are 1-9 when trailing after the first inning, only 4-2 when leading at that point, and 10-10 when tied going into the second. They're 2-10 when behind after two innings, 8-4 when leading, and 5-7 when tied. The Sox are 2-12 when losing after three innings. 8-6 when leading, and 5-3 when tied. So the moral of the story, in true Chicago fashion, is watch early, watch often. What happens later is far less outcome determinative.
The other test is watch to see how many runs the Sox get. The tipping point for our scoring appears to be at six runs. The Sox are 10-2 when scoring six or more runs. Unfortunately, it doesn't take the opponents that many runs to be likely to win. Four or more runs allowed by Sox pitching have resulted in a 2-17 record. The problem is we don't score more than five runs or allow fewer than four runs often enough.
Go Sox! Score more runs and score them earlier.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Right next to the dictionary definition of slump -- "a period during which a person performs slowly, inefficiently, or ineffectively, esp. a period during which an athlete or team fails to play or score as well as usual" -- there's a picture of the 2009 Chicago White Sox. With good reason. The Sox have now lost four in a row and 11 of their last 14 games. They find themselves in fourth place, twice as far from first (5.0 games) as they are from last (2.5 games). And they have one more game to play in Toronto, their personal House of Horrors.
The losing streak began last Wednesday in Cleveland, where Mark Buehrle lost his first game of the season. Buehrle uncharacteristically gave up four runs in seven innings, which was more than enough to ensure a loss on a day when the Sox managed only seven hits and were shut out. It's hard to win when you don't score any runs. Basically, the other team has to forfeit, and that didn't happen.
Friday saw the Good Guys lose the opener in Toronto. (Good in that sentence refers to our positive feelings about them, not to how they've been playing.) John Danks, whom we celebrated too early as the Sox best pitcher -- a clear case of premature congratulation -- took it on the chin, allowing seven runs on nine hits and a walk in only three innings. The Sox collected three runs on seven hits in the 8-3 loss.
Saturday's game was a close one. Bartolo Colon, whom we've failed to give his due this season, threw five innings of scoreless ball. Octavio Dotel maintained his 0.00 ERA by tossing one shutout inning. Matt Thornton did the same. But Scott Linebrink blew the save -- and picked up the loss -- in the eighth inning by allowing two runs. The pitching was good enough to win, but the Sox bats continued in the deep freeze, producing only three hits and one run to snatch a 2-1 defeat from the jaws of victory.
On Sunday, it was Gavin Floyd's turn to disappoint. Last year's 17-game winner saw his ERA balloon to 7.71 when he yielded six of Toronto's eight runs. Floyd has now failed to win in his last five starts. Bobby Jenks, who was used in a low leverage situation, permitted the other two to cross the plate in the 8-2 loss. The Sox offense again notched a mere seven hits in the losing effort. (By the way, it was Carlos May's birthday, which means it's time to note that since he wore number 17, the thumbless one is the only player in MLB history to wear his birthday on the back of his uniform -- May 17.)
So to sum up, the Sox scored a total of six runs and 24 hits in the four games in their losing streak, an average of 1.5 runs and 6.0 hits per game, while giving up 22 runs, or average of 5.5 runs per game. If that's not a "fail[ure] to play or score as well as usual," then we don't know what a slump is. Go Sox!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Welcome back, Jim Thome. No, he wasn't really gone; it just seemed that way. But last night Thome walloped a pair of two-run homers that boosted the White Sox to a 7-4 win over the Indians in Cleveland. Thome's blasts raised his career total to 547, which leaves him one tater away from a tie with Mike Schmidt for 13th place in the all-time home run derby. Thome picked a good time to come out of a horrendous slump that had a lot of us wondering if he was washed up. And he did it against a lefty, which is not something Thome does all that often. Big Jim has 446 bombs off righties, but including last night's, only 101 off lefties.
Clayton Richard could have been the beneficiary of Thome's power surge, but he didn't pitch well enough and therefore didn't last long enough to pick up the win. Richard did a decent job of replacing Jose Contreras -- that is, if you're looking for someone to duplicate No Way Jose's sorry stats. Richard allowed four runs on six hits and three walks in 3.1 innings. In fairness, one of those runs scored when D.J. Carrasco was on the mound. D.J. let one of the two runners he inherited score, which was charged to Richard. Even so, D.J. got the win, his first of the season. Matt Thornton threw 1.2 innings of scoreless ball to garner a hold. Octavio "Big O" Dotel also earned a hold, shutting down the Tribe for an inning and keeping his 2009 ERA at 0.00. Bobby Jenks, who is $750 lighter in the wallet as a result of being fined by MLB for admitting that he threw behind Ian Kinsler, also tossed an inning of shut-out relief to notch his eighth save of the season.
One other game note deserves mention. Corky Miller threw out Grady Sizemore on an attempted steal. That's only the second time anyone's been "caught stealing" by the Sox this year. And speaking of the second time all season, last night's win was just the second time the Sox have allowed at least four runs in a game and won. Their record when giving up four or more is 2-14. By contrast, they're a sparking 13-3 when the other team scores fewer than four runs. The Sox are 12-5 when scoring four or more and a dismal 3-12 when scoring fewer than four.
Despite the win over Cleveland, the Sox remain in fourth place, but they're only 2.5 games behind the first-place Tigers and Royals and a half-game back of the Twins. The Magic Number is down to to 134. And we've got Mark Buehrle, the one bright spot in the rotation, on the hill tonight. He's facing Cliff Lee, but will likely do so without Carlos Quentin (sore left heel) or Jim Thome (see above re: lefty pitchers and day game after a night game) in the lineup. Go Sox!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So we asked Bridget Podlasinski if she enjoyed reading The Update, and she said, "I do when [the White Sox] win." Bridget, you aren't going to like this post. Despite playing the team with the worst record in baseball, the Sox lost last night to the Indians, 9-5.
Sure, they got 12 hits and scored five runs, but Gavin Floyd had his fourth straight rough outing. Floyd, supposedly the number two guy in the rotation, looked more like new Charlotte Knight Jose Contreras, giving up eight runs on 11 hits, three walks and a hit batsman in just five innings. Floyd's ERA ballooned to 7.32, and is an even worse 9.74 over his last four starts.
Jimmy Gobble, the long-time Royal reliever who was called up from Triple-A to take No Way Jose's spot on the roster, fared poorly in his White Sox debut -- one run on two hits in one-third of an inning pitched. Quite the improvement wouldn't you say? Gobble [insert turkey joke here] got the promotion because he's left-handed, and Matt Thornton is the only other lefty in the bullpen now that Clayton Richard is back to being a starter. By the way, doesn't it seem like we've tried a lot of ex-Royals on the team? You know, the guys that were on KC back when they sucked, like Horacio Ramirez and Mike MacDougal.
Well, at least we've still got Bobby Jenks. Wait a minute. MLB is looking into Jenks's admission (confession?) that he intentionally threw behind Ian Kinsler to send a message to the Rangers who had been hitting not only Sox pitching, but Sox batters. The way this year seems to be playing out, MLB will decide to suspend Jenks for six games and the Sox other relievers will blow three saves during that time. C'mon. That's just Bobby being Bobby.
Lest you think that The Update is a glass half-empty kind of publication, we remind you that despite being in fourth place, 3.5 games behind the Royals, the Sox have the same record they did after 31 games last year -- 14-17. Let's hope the Good Guys win four of their next five like they did in 2008. We want Bridget to enjoy reading about the team, and we want to enjoy writing about them. Go Sox!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Looks like this is going to be a long season. The White Sox can't hit, and they've got two big holes in the rotation with no good candidates to fill them. They're lucky to have won two of the four games from Thursday through Sunday, the last game of the series with Detroit and one of three against the Rangers.
Let's start with the hitting. The lineup in Sunday's game featured four players -- three of them regulars -- who are hitting below .200: Brent Lillibridge, .164; Jim Thome, .198; Alexei Ramirez, .198; and Corky Miller, .182. But it's not just these guys. As a team the Sox got six hits in winning Thursday's opener; four hits in Friday's loss; seven hits in Saturday's win; and only two hits in yesterday's loss. The run totals are a little more encouraging, but not much: six; zero; three; and one. That's not going to get it done unless the pitching is spectacular.
Speaking of spectacular, Mark Buehrle was just that on Thursday, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning and giving up only one hit and no runs before yielding to Bobby Jenks, who pitched a scoreless ninth. The win raised Buehrle's record to 5-0 on the season, his best start ever. John Danks also pitched a beauty on Saturday, allowing only one run on four hits over six innings, but failed to pick up the win when Matt Thornton gave up the tie run in the seventh. Fortunately, the Sox squeezed out a run in the eighth, and Bobby Jenks shut the Rangers down in the ninth to save reliever Scott Linebrink's first win of the season.
The rest of the starting pitching? Terrible. Jose Contreras pitched himself out of the rotation on Friday, surrendering three earned runs on six hits in only 3.2 innings. No Way Jose is headed to the minors unless someone claims him off of waivers, but who's going to do that? The guy is 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA. We applaud his coming back from an Achilles tendon injury so quickly, but agree that he needs to figure out how to pitch again before he takes the mound for the Sox again. (Clayton Richard -- no great shakes so far this season -- is slated to face the Indians on Wednesday in Contreras's spot.) And that brings us to Bartolo Colon, who lost Sunday's game. Colon's got a better record (2-3) and a better ERA (4.88), but he looked as bad as Jose yesterday, serving up five runs on five hits and three walks in just 4.2 innings. He's not out of the rotation yet, but it may be only a matter of time -- and finding someone who looks like he can do a better job -- before that happens.
Despite all this, the Sox are tied with Minnesota, only three games behind Detroit and KC. The Magic Number is 136, and they get to face Cleveland. The Tribe has the worst record in baseball, so this three-game series is just what the doctor ordered. Using Bill James's log5 method of calculating the percentages of a single game outcome, the road Sox (6-8) have a 60.1% chance of beating the home Indians (5-10) tonight, when Gavin Floyd takes the hill in Cleveland. Buehrle goes tomorrow, and then Richard makes his 2009 starting debut -- he was 2-5 with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts last year -- against reigning Cy Young Award winner, Cliff Lee. Lee is 1-5 on the season, but has a 1.74 ERA in his last four starts. All we can say is Go Sox!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


The Magic Number is stuck on 140. That's what happens when you lose to the team that's in first place. The surprising Kansas City Royals came from behind to tip the White Sox 7-6 in 11 innings. Gavin Floyd was ineffective, giving up six runs on six hits and two walks in 5.0 innings (actually, he walked a man in the sixth before being relieved by Matt Thornton). Floyd twice surrendered a four-run lead, wasting the kind of run support that Sox pitchers haven't seen a lot of this season. Lance Broadway gave up the game winner on a single with the bases loaded.
Josh Fields and Jermaine Dye, both returning from sore left wrists as a result of having been hit by pitches, homered to provide a chunk of that support. A.J. Pierzynski was a home run shy of the cycle, collecting four hits in five at bats, plus a walk. Maybe A.J. needed to get plunked on the wrist (for him it would be the right wrist) so he could get that elusive home run.
The injuries to Dewayne Wise and Brian Anderson took their toll on the team yesterday. Ozzie was forced to use Jayson Nix in the outfield -- his first-ever appearance there -- because of a shortage of players who could play the position. Wow, who ever thought we'd miss Jerry Owens? Well, maybe that's going a little too far.
Speaking of missing, it looks like The Update missed with its warning yesterday to keep an eye on Aaron Poreda as a replacement for Jose Contreras after the youngster threw his Double-A no-hitter. The Tribune is reporting that Ozzie has ruled out Poreda, as well as Pedro Martinez for that role. But it's a long season and Poreda may wind up proving us right yet -- just not now.
Anyway, the fourth loss in a row -- this is not the kind of streak we were looking for -- leaves the Sox solidly in fourth place in the division, 3.5 games behind the Royals. The Good Guys return home to host the Tigers for a two-game set. Tonight would be a good time to win one. Go Sox!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


So much for the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. You know, the one that says if you're pictured on the front of the magazine, something bad will happen to you right after that. Well, despite gracing SI's cover this week, Kansas City's Zack Greinke pitched a great game against the White Sox last night. Greinke threw a complete game shutout (3-0), allowing only six hits, striking out 10, and walking none. He lowered his ERA for the season to an infinitesimal 0.40, improved his record to 6-0, and gave credence to SI's proclaiming him baseball's best pitcher. Even Ozzie was impressed, crediting Greinke with being overpowering and not blaming his guys for failing to hit.
Speaking of failing to hit, there are a few players who either need to call Nutrisystem or raise their batting averages because they're not hitting their weight. Jim Thome, a hale and hearty 250 pounds, is hitting only .224. Corky Miller, who weighs in at 245, is batting a meager .211. And Brent Lillibridge, a comparatively svelte 190 pounds, is hitting an anemic .167. (We can't even count Jerry Owens anymore since the Sox have drummed him out of the organization. Suffice it to say, Owens would have had to be anorexic to come close to hitting his weight.)
But back to the pitching for a moment. Greinke's gem overshadowed a decent outing by Bartolo Colon. The second half of the aging-Latino pitching duo (sorry, Bartolo for lumping you with Jose Contreras) lasted five innings and gave up only two earned runs on seven hits and three walks. He also struck out seven. Clayton Richard bounced back with a three-inning scoreless stint. Richard is going to get more innings this year in long relief of the Latin Losers than either of them is going to rack up on his own. The good news is that Aaron Poreda pitched a rain-shortened no-hitter (five innings) at Double-A Birmingham. Poreda is 2-3 on the season with a 1.55 ERA. Don't be surprised if he makes the jump to the Big Leagues this year.
The third loss in a row for the Sox kept the Magic Number at 140 and left them 2.5 games behind the Royals. We were skeptical when some baseball predictions had KC winning the division, but the Royals certainly have gotten off to a decent start. We'll see if it lasts. Tonight, Gavin Floyd goes for us; Kyle Davies goes for them. Go Sox!

Monday, May 4, 2009


The White Sox continued to have a tough time winning a series, this time dropping two out of three to the Texas Rangers. The Sox won the opener on Friday night, but dropped the games on Saturday and Sunday, the latter in front of a national audience on ESPN.
Mark Buehrle racked up his fourth win against no losses by pitching just well enough. Buehrle produced his usual Quality Start -- allowing only three runs in 6.0 innings pitched. The bullpen held the Rangers scoreless, with Octavio Dotel (maintaining his ERA at 0.00), Scott Linebrink (keeping his ERA at 1.00), and Bobby Jenks (picking up his sixth save) each holding Texas at bay for one inning. Meanwhile, Jim Thome doubled with the bases juiced to drive in three runs to tie the game. Chris Getz, back from his injury, tripled the winning run home in the 4-3 come-from-behind win.
Jose Contreras has been as consistently bad as Buehrle has been good. Contreras dropped to 0-4 with an ERA of 8.31 for the season. Jose gave up seven runs on seven hits in only 3.1 innings. Unfortunately, Clayton Richard, who was fighting for Contreras's spot in the rotation in Spring Training, wasn't a whole lot better. He yielded two runs on three hits in 0.2 innings. Lance Broadway made a case for his becoming a starter by shutting down Texas for 2.0 innings, but Ozzie says he's going to stick with Contreras for a while longer. The winning pitcher in this 9-6 shootout was none other than Brandon McCarthy, who stepped in during the 2005 season when Contreras was injured. B-Mac's 3-0 record looks pretty good right about now. The only highlight for the Sox during the game was A.J. Pierzynski's Grand Slam. The lowlight could have been Jermaine Dye getting plunked on the wrist and writhing in pain on the ground. It was feared that Dye might be lost for the season, but Ozzie says he could be ready by tonight. Dye is not so sure about that, but it doesn't look like it's a long-term thing.
So the Sox had John Danks on the hill for the rubber game. But for the second start in a row, Danks faltered. He lasted only 5.1 innings and permitted five runs on 10 hits and a walk. Since Ranger pitching gave up only one run in the game, it was pretty clear that the Sox weren't going to win no matter how well the Good Guys pitched. (The Sox won only one game when scoring one run last year -- the 163rd game that got them into the post-season.) More bad news: Josh Fields got hit on the left hand while batting and had to leave the game. On the plus side of the ledger, Jayson Nix, just recalled from a rehab assignment in the minors, went 2 for 3 with a RBI and played a nifty second base. He can play third and might appear there tonight if Fields can't go, as is expected. Other positives: Dotel continued his scoreless streak (0.2 IP) and D.J. Carrasco also blanked the Rangers (3.0 IP). But there's no way to sugarcoat a 5-1 loss when one of your top pitchers is on the mound.
Despite the two losses, the Sox are only 1.5 games behind the Royals, whom they play tonight in KC. They're 0.5 back of the Tigers in the closely bunched Central Division. Some experts were predicting the division leader might finish with 85 wins, and that's looking more and more likely. With a Magic Number of 140, all we can say is "Go Sox!"