Friday, July 31, 2009

Big Trade!

Our man on the ground in San Diego, Lou Segreti, just let us know that the White Sox have traded for Padres pitcher Jake Peavey. Going West are four pitchers: Clayton Richard, who was scheduled to start tonight; Update favorite Aaron Poreda, who was recently sent down to Charlotte; Adam Russell (no relation to Update readers Vicky, Willie, and Alex Russell), who won four games in relief for the Sox last year; and Dexter Carter, a 23-year old pitcher at Class A Kannapolis. That's a lot of young pitching to give up for a guy who's been on the DL with a strained tendon in his ankle since June 13. He's not likely to come off until late August, so the Sox will get only a little more than a month out of him this year, but he's under contract (at some very high numbers) through 2013.

So, maybe three runs is enough to win a ball game. At least it is when you get a brilliant pitching performance like Gavin "Pink" Floyd provided last night in the White Sox's 3-2 win over the Yankess. Floyd lasted 7.2 innings and gave up only one run on four hits and a walk. His curve ball was working so well that eight of the ten men he struck out just stood there and watched it go by.
Unfortunately, Matt "New Daddy" Thornton blew the save by yielding a home run to Nick "Dirty Thirty" Swisher (although this year, he's wearing No. 33) in the top of the ninth. When the Sox rallied in the bottom of the ninth -- more on that later -- Thornton got the W. (That doesn't seem right. If you blow a save for someone and go on to pick up the win, the pitcher who handed you the lead should get the credit for it.) By the way, Thornton faced six batters and struck out four of them.
Why was Thornton pitching in the ninth inning? Was it because Ozzie has lost faith in Bobby Jenks, as Bob Costas suggested on his broadcast for the MLB Network? Nope. Jenks wasn't even in the Cell due to kidney stones. I've had them three times and I can tell you I've never experienced anything more painful. Hey, a female nurse who was treating me one time said that she thought they were worse than going through labor. I have no way of confirming that of course and I think women are goddesses for the whole childbirth thing, but I offer it for what it's worth. Anyway, that's why Big Bobby didn't work the ninth.
Enough about pitching. Let's look at those three runs the Sox got that usually aren't enough to win -- that's only their fifth victory of the season when scoring fewer than four runs. The first one came in the third inning when the two hottest hitters on the team combined to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Chris "Go Blue" Getz singled and scored on Gordon "Bend It Like" Beckham's double. Getz is now up to .263 and Beckham leads the Sox with a .310 average.
After the Yanks tied it up, the Sox put another run on the board in the seventh when Jim "Legs" Thome checked his swing and hit a dribbler down the first base line. Andy Pettitte, who was masterly on the mound himself, slipped as he went to field the ball, and Thome wound up on first on the error. Paul Konerko, 2 for 4 on the night, struck out, and A.J. Pierzynski had an infield hit that was originally ruled an error. Carlos Quentin hit a tailor-made double play ball to A-Rod, who threw cleanly to Robinson Cano at second. A.J.'s hard but clean slide forced Cano to throw while backing away and resulted in a wild toss to first that allowed Thome to score.
The winning run came in the bottom of the ninth. Thome singled through the shift and Pods came in to run for him. Paulie singled Scottie to second. And the defensive hero of Mark Buehrle's perfect game (it was Mark Buehrle day in Illinois yesterday), Dewayne Wise, who again entered the game as a defensive replacement for Q, came to the plate with two out. Wise laced a single up the middle that scored Pods with the winning run. To quote Hawk, "This game is o-vah."
Detroit and Minnesota were idle yesterday, so the Sox picked up a half game on each of them. The Good Guys are 2.5 behind the Tigers and 0.5 behind the Twins. The Magic Number is 64. More fun with the Yankees tonight. Go Sox!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Yesterday's Update was complaining that the White Sox couldn't get it done by scoring three runs in a game. Well, two runs is even worse. The Sox fell again to Minnesota in the Metrodome (can't wait for next season, when the Twins move into an open-air stadium) by one run, 3-2. Jose Contreras became the first 10-game loser in the American League even though he pitched decently (5.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H). The bullpen (newcomer Randy Williams, who last pitched in the Majors in 2005 with the Rockies, and relative newcomer Tony Pena) gave up no runs, no hits, and no walks in 2.1 innings. But the story remains the lack of offense.
Carlos Quentin and Jayson Nix each hit solo home runs. Gordon Beckham, newly installed in the No. 2 spot in the order, had two hits, as did Alexei Ramirez, who wound up injuring his ankle while running the bases. And that was it: six measly hits, three measly runs. That's a good formula for losing a ball game.
The Sox have now fallen from a tie for first a week ago to third place, 3.0 games behind Detroit and 1.0 game behind Minnesota. They return home to face the Yankees, which looks good only in comparison to playing again in the Dome, where they've lost 14 of their last 16 games. Clayton Richard is back in the rotation and Bartolo Colon is back on the DL, this time with a sore elbow. Before that happened, the Sox were the only club in the Majors to have no one on the list. Enough of this. Let's just lick our collective wounds and say Go Sox!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


More bullet points as the White Sox fall to Minnesota 5-3:
  • Mark Buehrle lost a perfect game (walk to Alex Casilla), a no-hitter (single by Denard Span), and a shutout (run-scoring double by Joe Mauer) in consecutive batters last night. But not before he retired 17 Twins without one of them reaching base.
  • Tacked on to his Perfecto against the Rays and the last man he set down against the Tigers before that, Buehrle mowed down 45 in a row, a new MLB record, shattering the old mark of 41 in a row, which was set by the Giants' Jim Barr in 1972 and tied by Big Bobby Jenks in 2007.
  • According to the Minnesota announcers (XM Radio picks up the home team's feed), the first run scored when Scott Podsednik tried to make a basket catch instead of fielding it the normal way. When he missed, it bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Say, hey! Pods is no Willie Mays and ought to cut out the fancy stuff.
  • The Sox have scored three runs in each of their last four losses. Guys, three runs is not enough to get it done. The Sox are 4-36 when they score fewer than four runs compared to 47-14 when they score four or more.
  • Kenny Williams traded Brian Anderson, recently sent down to Triple-A Charlotte, to Boston for Mark Kotsay, just designated by the Red Sox for assignment. Kotsay is a left-handed batter who can play left field, right field, and first base. He's a good pinch hitter, something the Sox lack. But we don't see this trade as making any real difference.
  • To make room for Kotsay, Kenny optioned Josh Fields to Charlotte. Fields never regained the power that he displayed two years ago. Not starting for the Sox last year because Joe Crede was around may have hurt his development, or maybe he's just not that good. Either way, it reduces the number of quarterbacks from big-time college football programs on the Sox squad. Clayton Richard is first pick in the team's touch football draft, but now that the former Oklahoma QB is gone, who comes next?
  • The Tigers continue to lose -- man, this division sucks -- so the Sox remain two games behind, joined by the Twins.

Go Sox!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We don't feel like bothering with transitions, so let's just connect the dots:
  • The White Sox lost to the Twins last night, 4-3, which was also the score in their last two losses (to the Tigers).
  • Gordon Beckham and Paul Konerko hit home runs, but both also made costly miscues in the field. In the second inning, A.J. Pierzyski's passed ball allowed a runner to advance; Becks couldn't make the play on the next batter when a broken bat flew right at him; Jayson Nix made an error on a throw on a potential double play ball that Paulie couldn't handle; Konerko then let a John Danks throw to first on a comebacker sneak under his mitt; and A.J. threw a ball into center field on an attempted steal.
  • A.J. lashed out at Alexei Ramirez in the dugout after the inning for letting the ball get by, and the Missile had to be held back by Jermaine Dye. According to The Tribune, Ozzie spiked a tub of bubble gum in disgust over the spat, but maybe it was over his team's play.
  • The Sox are up to 75 errors on the season.
  • Danks gave up a two-run homer to Michael Cuddyer in the sixth to allow the Twins to retake the lead.
  • The Sox have now lost 12 of their last 14 games in the House of Horrors, er, Metrodome.
  • Here's a link to the Top Ten Things That Were Going Through Mark Buehrle's Mind During His Perfect Game from the David Letterman Show on Monday night.
  • The Tigers lost to Texas, so the Magic Number drops by one and Detroit's lead remains at 2.0 games. The Twins are only a game behind the Sox, with two more games yet to play in this series.

Go Sox!

Monday, July 27, 2009


White Sox fan Barack Obama engineered a bailout of Detroit. His favorite team came up with its own bailout plan for Detroit over the weekend. The Sox lost three of four to the Tigers, falling from a tie for first in the division to 2.0 games back of the Bengals. The four games had only two final scores, 5-1 (Game 1 on Friday and Sunday's game) and 4-3 (Game 2 on Friday and Saturday's game).
After the opener, the Sox got some pretty decent starting pitching -- Bartolo Colon (7.0 IP, 6H, 3R), Gavin Floyd (6.2 IP, 6H, 2R), and Clayton Richard (8.0IP, 3H, 1R) -- but could not count on the bullpen. In Game 2 on Friday, Scott Linebrink gave up two hits, a walk, and the winning run and retired only one batter. On Saturday, Bobby Jenks gave up three hits and the tying run in 1.1 innings, and D.J. Carrasco gave up three hits and the winning run without getting anyone out in the 10th inning. Fortunately, Tony Pena did not blow the 5-1 lead that Ricahrd handed him, and the Sox won the finale to keep from dropping four games behind Detroit in the division race.
Colon's and Richard's performance creates an interesting problem for Ozzie. Colon's Quality Start seemingly assured his return to the rotation after a stint on the DL and some minor league rehab. However, Richard, who was slated to return to the bullpen (where he started the season) to be the other lefty (besides Matt Thornton), made the decision a tough one. Richard has been outstanding in his last 16 innings pitched, giving up only two runs in that stretch. And to complicate things even more, Freddy Garcia looked good in his start for Kannapolis. Now if only we had to worry about having too much relief pitching.
The weekend's results leave the Sox with a Magic Number of 67, as they head up to the Metrodome to play a series with the Twins. The Pale Hose are 2-11 in their last 13 games there, so there's no place like Metrodome. John Danks will go tonight, Mark "of Zero" Buehrle follows on Tuesday, and Colon will pitch on Wednesday. Ozzie is saving Contreras for the Yankees, because the Twins run better and Jose has trouble holding men on. Go Sox!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Perfection! Mark Buehrle achieved it this afternoon, tossing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Dewayne Wise, who was inserted as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth inning, took a home run away from Gabe Kapler to preserve the perfecto. Wise, playing his usual shallow center field, had to run back to his right and leaped to snare the ball at the Billy Pierce graphic in left-center. He juggled the ball on the way down, but hung on to make what Hawk Harrelson called "one of the greatest catches I have ever seen" under the circumstances. Josh Fields hit a Grand Salami and Alexei Ramirez doubled home Scott Podsednik to provide more offense than Buehrle would need. The 5-0 win boosted The Mark of Zero's record to 11-3 on the season, and combined with the Tigers' loss, moved the Sox into a virtual tie for first place in the division.
Go Buehrle! Go Wise! Go Sox!

Turnabout is fair play. After watching Tampa Bay come from behind to win by a run on Tuesday night, the White Sox returned the favor last night, tripping the Rays 4-3. With the Sox trailing 3-0 in the sixth inning, Scott Podsednik smacked his fourth homer of the season to cut the lead to 3-1. In the seventh, after two were down, Gordon Beckham coaxed a walk from Rays starter James Shields. Pods scratched out an infield single off reliever Randy Choate, and both he and Becks advanced another base on Jason Bartlett's throwing error. Chad Bradford came in to face Alexei Ramirez, but never threw a pitch, as he injured himself warming up. Dan Wheeler subbed for Bradford and gave up a line shot to center that B.J. Upton started in on and then watched go over his head for a two-run triple that tied the game. Joe Nelson, the fifth Rays' pitcher of the inning, yielded a single to Jermaine Dye that scored the Missile and gave the Sox a 4-3 lead they didn't relinquish. On the night, the first three batters in the Sox lineup had six of the team's seven hits (Carlos Quentin had the other), drove in all four runs, and scored three of them.
Carlos Torres, the 26 year old who spent five and a half years in the minors, was on the mound in place of the injured John "I've got blisters on my fingers" Danks. Torres came through with a Quality Start (more on that later), throwing six innings while giving up three runs on six hits, three walks. D.J. Carrasco pitched one inning of scoreless relief and was the pitcher of record, while Matt Thornton went two innings without giving up a run to earn his first save of the season. Ozzie says he was giving Bobby Jenks a rest, after Big Bobby pitched two nights in a row. Hopefully, that's all Jenks needs to round back into form, but he's only pitched in three games in the prior 10 days, given blowouts and the All-Star break.
As for the Quality Start, charter Update subscriber Les Reiter questions if it's a legit stat or the creation of agents to get their clients more money. He points out that you could give up three earned runs in six innings, which works out to a 4.50 ERA, and still notch a QS. Well, Les, there seems to be more to it than that. First of all, there's a high correlation to winning games -- the Sox are 37-11 when they receive a QS. Second, there are QSs where the pitcher gives up fewer than three earned runs and goes longer than six innings, so the ERA is not simply 4.50. Third, runs are harder to come by in the late innings. The Sox have allowed 311 runs in a total of 558 first through sixth innings in 2009, for an average of .557 runs per inning. They've given up 124 runs in 263 innings, for an average of .471 runs per inning. The difference of .08 runs per inning is huge; over nine innings, that works out to .72 runs. That works out to 117 runs over the course of a season, and the Sox and their opponents are both on pace to score only 750 runs this year. So, yeah, a Quality Start is a meaningful stat.
Except for the Sox, the entire Central Division lost last night. That leaves the Sox trailing Detroit by a game and leading Minnesota by a game and a half. The Magic Number is down to 71 and shrinking rapidly. One more game with the Rays this afternoon. Go Sox!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


BS. No, not that BS (although it comes to mind after last night's game); this BS: Blown Save. Bobby Jenks blew his third save of the season, wasting an atypically good performance by Clayton Richard and handing Tampa a 3-2 win.
Jenks, who has been struggling of late -- he loaded the bases on Monday night before pitching out of that jam and has given up 10 hits and four walks in his last five appearances -- imploded. He allowed two runs on two hits, two walks, a hit batsman, and a sac fly in his one inning of "relief."
Richard deserved better. Pitching for his spot in the rotation, Richard permitted the Rays only one run on two hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Before last night, the White Sox were 42-1 when leading after eight innings, so it was not unreasonable to expect a win with a 2-1 lead. Batterymate A.J. Pierzynski says Jenks's problem is he's missing "command." When we were in our formative baseball years, "command" was known as "control." Later, it became known as "location." Whatever you call it, Jenks ain't got it right now. But let's not be too hard on him, just yet. He's still an All-Star quality closer, even if he didn't make this year's team. And he's the best we've got.
The Sox offense was quiet, but did enough to get the win if Jenks had done his job. A.J. Pierzynski, who had three hits on the evening, and Carlos Quentin singled. Gordon Beckham, who also had three hits and now has the highest batting average on the team at .304 (not counting Richard's .333), doubled A.J. home. Scott Podsednik drove in Q on a fielders choice to give the Sox the lead that should have stood up.
In roster news, Update favorite, Aaron Poreda, was sent down to Charlotte to make room for Carlos Torres. Torres, a 15th round pick in the 2008 draft out of Kansas State, is slated to pitch in place of John Danks, who has a blister on his left index finger. Torres is 8-4 with a 2.20 ERA for Charlotte and has almost as many strikeouts (96) as innings pitched (98) and more Ks than hits allowed (72). It's supposed to be a one-game call-up, but these things have a funny way of playing out.
The Tigers won, so their lead is back to 2.0 games. Hopefully, we won't look back on this game as the one that kept us from overtaking Detroit for the Central Division title. It's pretty clear that the Wild Card won't come out of the Central, so winning the division is the only way to make the post-season. Go Sox!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Going into the series with Tampa Bay, the White Sox were 35-10 when getting a Quality Start; 38-21 when hitting a home run; 34-14 when scoring first; 37-7 when outhitting the opponent; and 27-6 when reaching double digits in hits. Last night, the Sox did all of those things -- a sure formula for success -- and came away with a 4-3 win over the Rays before the fifth full-house (39,024) of the year.
Gavin Floyd improved to 8-6 by throwing seven innings of three-hit, three-run ball. Oddly, all three hits were home runs, including an inside-the-park job by Carl Crawford that Scott Podsednik apparently thought had been hit out of the park. The bullpen shut out the Rays, but made it exciting. Scott Linebrink gave up a hit and a walk in a third of an inning. Matt Thornton allowed a hit before ending the eighth with a big strikeout. And Bobby Jenks loaded the bases (two hits and a walk) before striking out Jason Bartlett (Jenks's third K of the inning) to end the game.
Paul Konerko supplied the home run, a three-run shot in the third and his 18th of the year. Pods led the hit parade, racking up three hits (and a walk), and scored in the first to give the Sox a lead. Scottie's three hits raised his average to .308. Even Carlos Quentin got in on the action. Q, who was just activated, singled to left in the fourth and appeared to move well on the bases and in the field, although he gave way to a late-inning defensive replacement. (To make room for Q, the Sox optioned Brian Anderson to Charlotte.) Remarkably, A.J. Pierzynski threw out two would-be base stealers in the game. It's been a rare occurrence for A.J. to throw out one runner; two is unheard of, but very welcome.
Detroit was idle, so the Sox climbed to within a game of the Tigers in the Central Division race. The Magic Number dropped to 73. Most important, the Sox got off to a good start on their 18-game death march. Hold on to your hats, though. Weak link Clayton Richard pitches tonight and it's been forever since he contributed a Quality Start. Better bring the bats, boys. Go Sox!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Let's catch up on what happened since last Sunday's edition of The Update. Not much the first part of the week due to the All-Star break. The highlight of the game for White Sox fans had to be President Obama wearing a Sox jacket while throwing out the first pitch. How cool is it that the leader of the free world roots for the Good Guys? Well, it probably would be a little cooler if he knew a touch more about our favorite team. In talking about the Sox, he referred to "Cominskey Field." The extra "n" and the substitution of "Field" for "Park" detracted a bit from the whole thing, but sales of the Sox warmup jacket are way up. By the way, the Pres says he doesn't hate the Cubs. Either more evidence of his short history as a Sox fan or a political move to avoid alienating North Side voters.
The game itself featured an inning of scoreless relief by Mark Buehrle. And the American League's victory means that the Sox will have home field advantage in the World Series. At least, they will if they get there. So, how's that going?
Well, there's a lot of talk about the team trading for Blue Jays star pitcher, Roy Halladay, to ensure the trip to the postseason. Who wouldn't want him on their team? But what do you have to give up to get him, and how long will he stay? Let's not totally mortgage the present and the future in exchange for a guy who might not be here more than 1.5 years.
Once the break was over, the Sox sprang back into action with a big win over the Orioles. Jim Thome crushed two home runs -- and seven RBI -- to lead the team to a win on Friday. John Danks was the beneficiary of the potent offense. Saturday, the Sox remained undefeated when appearing on Fox, largely on the strength of Buehrle's masterly pitching performance and Jermaine Dye's home run. The O's avoided the sweep on Sunday, getting to Jose Contreras like he was a Chicago election: early and often.
The Meat Loafing of Baltimore and the Tigers' losses to the Yankees cut the division lead to 1.5 games and the Magic Number to 74. Next, there are four games at home with the Rays, as the schedule starts to get ugly. At least, we'll find out if the Sox are contenders or pretenders. Our vote -- again, early and often -- is for contender. Go Sox!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


The White Sox dropped two of three in Minnesota over the weekend, but let's not dwell on that. As we head into the All-Star break, let's look at how the Sox have gotten to where they are -- two games over .500 at 45-43 (they were 50-38 after the same number of games last year), in second place, 3.5 games behind Detroit in the A.L. Central, with a Magic Number of 79:
  • The Sox are one game over .500 both at home (22-21) and on the road (23-22)
  • They seem to be nocturnal, racking up a 29-24 record at night, but only a 16-19 mark during the day.
  • The Sox are three games under .500 against the American League -- 5-9 vs. the East; 22-19 vs. the Central; and 7-9 vs. the West -- but five games over .500 against the National League.
  • They do better when getting a Quality Start (at least six innings without giving up four earned runs) than their opponents do; the Sox are 34-10, while the opposition is only 26-18.
  • The Sox do quite well when hitting a homer (36-20) and of course even better when hitting more than one in a game (23-8).
  • They are 41-14 when scoring more than three runs, while their foes are 36-12 in that situation. The good news here is that the Sox have scored more than three runs 55 times to the opponents' 48.
  • The Good Guys are only 4-29 when not scoring more than three runs; the Bad Guys are 7-33. Again, the good news is that the Sox have scored less than four runs only 33 times; the other team has done it 40 times.
  • Finally, the Sox are NOT the greatest show on turf, going 4-7, while mowing down the opposition when playing on grass (pun intended) to the tune of 41-35.

All in all, there's reason for optimism for the rest of the season. The hitting has finally come around. Paulie and J.D. are each batting .302; A.J. and Pods are at .299; Ramirez has raised his average up to .281; Thome is better than 1 for 4, with a .255 average; and even the rookies have started to hit -- Beckham is up to .271 and Getz is hitting .258. Dye (20 HR), Konerko (16), and Thome (14) each has a decent chance of crunching 30 homers for the season. And Carlos Quentin -- he of the 36 dinger season last year -- is doing well in his rehab assignment, batting .353 through Saturday. That means it likely won't be long before Q is back in the Bigs.

On the pitching front, despite having gotten knocked around the last few games, the starters other than Clayton Richard have been pitching well. The relievers are holding up their end of the bargain, the last few games excepted. Bartolo Colon pitched well in his minor league debut with Charlotte, throwing five innings of two-hit, one-run ball. Colon likewise could be back in the Majors shortly after the break.

The Sox need to win 40 of their remaining 74 games to reach the 85 mark, and 85 wins could be enough to win the A.L.'s weakest division this year. Playing .600 ball the rest of the way -- a tough task -- will result in about a 90 win season, which should clearly be enough to repeat as division champs. (Cue Queen's greatest hits CD).

Anyway, enjoy the All-Star break and come back prepared to root on the Sox. Go Update readers! Go Sox!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Clayton Richard is the weak link in the White Sox rotation, which he demonstrated in spades yesterday. Richard, pitched the first inning and faced four batters in the second, all of whom scored on a Grand Slam, before giving way to D. J. Carrasco. Official line for Richard: 1 IP; 6 R; 4 H; and 3 BB. Unofficial line: He sucked. Again. In his last eight starts, Richard has lasted six innings only once. That doesn't give the team much of a chance to win, and they didn't, losing to Cleveland 10-8.
The Sox made it interesting, coming back from a 9-2 deficit in the third inning to make it 9-8 after five, but they couldn't quite make it all the way back. The hitting was good enough to win almost any game -- except one where the pitching is as bad as it was yesterday. At least the relievers other than Carrasco (2.1 IP; 3 R; 3 H; 5 BB) looked good -- Aaron Poreda (2.1 IP), Octavio Dotel (2.0), Matt Thornton (1.0), and newcomer Tony Pena (1.0) -- shut down the Indians. Or maybe they were just tuckered out from running around the bases so much against Richard and Carrasco.
Anyway, it's on to Minnesota for the first time this season. The Twins are coming off a sweep by the Yankees in the Metrodome, so this may be a good time to face them, but the Sox have a history of not playing well in the Great North -- 1-9 there last year. The Good Guys are 1.5 games ahead of Minnesota and trail idle Detroit by 2.5 games. We've got John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Mark Buehrle lined up to pitch, so maybe we can get off to a good start this year. Go Sox!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


We're halfway there. Livin' on a prayer. Take my hand and we'll make it I swear. Bon Jovi
With the Magic Number reduced from 163 to 81, the White Sox are halfway there. And lately, they've been livin' on, not a prayer, but good pitching and timely hitting. Last night was no exception as the Sox took another from Cleveland, 5-1.
Jose Contreras (The Update no longer refers to him as No Way Jose) continued his renaissance following a get-your-head-straight stint in the minors. Contreras, who is 4-2 with a 2.06 ERA in six starts since returning from Charlotte, scattered six hits and a walk over 6.1 innings. He struck out nine Indians, fading a bit in the seventh when he served up a gopher ball to Jhonny "My Parents Have Dyslexia" Peralta, for the Tribe's only run. Calling the game for Contreras as he has for every game since Jose's return was Ramon Castro. Contreras says he's got nothing against A.J., but he sure seems comfortable with Castro, having shaken him off only twice -- both times resulting in home runs.
Jermaine Dye had three hits and three RBI, doubling home Alexei Ramirez in the first inning, and singling home Scottie Pods in the third and seventh. Also in the third, Paul Konerko singled to drive in Ramirez, and Gordon Beckham plated Dye with a sac fly. Dye is now hitting .297, Ramirez is up to .279 after an abysmal start, Pods is steady at .310, Konerko has crossed the .300 mark again (.304), and Beckham has 18 RBI since joining the team on June 4.
Help is on the way, too, although unlikely this year. The Sox signed Jared Mitchell, their first pick in the recent draft. Mitchell was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2009 College World Series, leading his LSU team to the title. He'll start out at Class A Kannapolis, but center field on the Sox beckons. Pods will probably play the position when Quentin comes back, moving over to left when Ozzie makes his late inning defensive replacements and rests Q. But not too far down the road, if things go as planned, Mitchell will take over the job.
Detroit beat Zack Greinke last night, so the Sox remain 2.0 games behind the Tigers. The Yankees tripped up Minnesota, though, so the Twins now trail the Good Guys by 1.5 games. They get to settle it on the field, playing each other three times before the All-Star break. Go Sox!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Paul-ie! Paul-ie! Paul-ie! The White Sox captain played the role of Cap'n Crunch last night, depositing three balls into the seats to lead the Sox to a 10-6 come-from-behind (twice) win over the Indians. Konerko's home runs were his 14th, 15th, and 16th of the year, and included a Grand Slam (the eighth of his career). Paulie drove in a career high seven runs in the game, as all but one Sox score came via Konerko's and Alexei Ramirez's blasts. Every starter other than Brian Anderson had at least one hit, making life easy for Mark Buehrle.
Buehrle earned the win (his ninth against only two losses) by throwing seven innings of seven-hit, three-run ball. The Sox lone All-Star had his usual command, striking out three and walking only one. He did allow two home runs, but you can't spell BueHRle without HR. Aaron Poreda, who took over from D.J. Carrasco, gave up his first run ever in his seventh appearance of the season. The rookie's ERA jumped from 0.00 to 1.17, just like that. Don't be surprised if Poreda gets sent down to Charlotte, however -- not because he's bad, but to get him more work -- now that the Sox have acquired Arizona's Tony Pena. On the other hand, Poreda could wind up with Clayton Richard's spot in the rotation. Only Ozzie and Kenny know.
The win elevates the Sox to three games over .500 and keeps them two games behind the Tigers. The Sox did pass the Twins, moving a half-game ahead of Minnesota, which lost to the Yankees. The Magic Number is 82 and there are two more games against the Tribe before the Sox face the Twins to end the first half of the season. Go Sox!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Remember how Bush 41 claimed credit for the Berlin Wall coming down just because it happened while he was in office? Well, in that spirit, I'm claiming credit for the White Sox winning seven in a row while I was in Florida on vacation. My last day in DC, they lost the opener to the sCrUBS at the Cell; once I got back, they dropped two to the Royals in KC. The whole time in between, they won. Now, if Jerry Reinsdorf were just willing to pay me to stay on vacation for the entire season, we might see the first undefeated team in baseball history.
Too much happened to try to catch up on, so suffice it to say the Sox had a Magic Number of 97 and were 6.0 game behind Detroit when I left; the Magic Number now is 84 and they're only 2.5 games back.
On an individual basis, Mark Buehrle is an All-Star -- the only one, but don't get honked off about that; who else deserves it besides maybe Bobby Jenks with his 19 saves? But things are looking up. Scottie Pods is batting .311. Jermaine Dye is within shouting distance of .300 and has 20 homers. Alexei Ramirez, who battled the Mendoza Line for much of the season, is now hitting .273. Gordon Beckham, who started out 0 for 13, is at .263. A.J. Pierzynski is getting more frequent rest and has his average up over .300. Danks is pitching great, as is Contreras, and except for Saturday, so is Floyd. And Carlos Quentin is inching closer to coming off the D.L.
There's only one thing left to say: Go Sox!