Monday, August 31, 2009

After being swept by the Yankees in New York, the Sox are in third place 6.0 games behind the Tigers and 1.5 behind the Twins, whom they play starting tonight. We all know how successful the Sox are in the Metrodome. Thankfully, this is their last series there ever (barring a miracle finish in which the Sox and Twins tie and need to play another game in Minnesota to settle the A.L. Central title).
The Magic Number is 39, but the more important number at this point is 27, which is Detroit's Magic Number over the Sox. To put that elimination number in perspective, if the Tigers post a mediocre 16-17 record over their remaining 33 games, that will leave them with 85 wins. To reach 86 W's, the Sox would have to go 22-9 in their remaining games -- a .710 pace. That's going to be incredibly hard for a team that Ozzie said didn't play as well as the Little Leaguers he watched on Saturday. In other Ozzie words: "As a group, we all stink right now." So either Detroit will have to play a lot worse or it's wait till next year.
The Sox are just lucky they're not in any other division. They'd have an elimination number of 14 if they were in the A.L. East, 18 in the N.L. West, 19 in the A.L. West and N.L. Central, and 21 in the N.L. East.
And in other cheery news, Jake Peavy not only couldn't pitch against the Yankees on Saturday, he barely could pitch in the minor leagues. He left Saturday's rehab start after only 3. 1 innings, throwing just 68 pitches. The line drive that he took on his pitching elbow during his prior rehab start led to tightness that forced him out of the game. This might be another time to say "Wait till next year." Since the team has so much money tied up in him, there's no sense rushing Peavy back at all, let alone to join a team that's going nowhere fast.
I never thought this was a good team, but I thought they were better than this and they had a chance to steal baseball's worst division. I guess I was wrong. Go Sox!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thankfully, the Tigers lost yesterday, so the White Sox did not fall any farther behind despite losing to the Red Sox on a David Ortiz walk-off homer, 3-2. Wednesday's game resembled Tuesday's loss in several respects. Again, the Sox starter came up with a Quality Start: Gavin Floyd gave up only two runs on five hits and a walk in six innings. Again, the bullpen blew it: Tony Pena served up Big Papi's Big Fly. And again, the Sox were pitiful at the plate with runners in scoring position: 1 for 8. That's the last time I want to see this movie.
A shot in the arm. That's what the Sox need. Unfortunately, Jake Peavy may not be able to give them one on Saturday because he literally took a shot in the arm from a line drive during his last rehab start. Peavy's sore elbow prevented him from throwing his scheduled bullpen session yesterday. And it's making it doubtful that he'll be able to pitch against the Yankees this weekend. If it wasn't for bad luck, the Sox wouldn't have any luck at all.
Oh, yeah. Happy 39th Birthday, Jim Thome. I wonder if he'll be back with the Sox next year. Thome's a free agent and I don't see the Sox signing both him and Jermaine Dye. They might let both of them sign elsewhere.
I don't want to write any more and you don't want to read any more, so let's just close with a Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Let's start with a quote from Ozzie Guillen: "If you watch this ballclub closely, we're really bad with a runner at third and less than two out -- maybe the worst team in baseball right now. If someone is worse than us, that's a record." No argument here, Oz. The White Sox were a meager 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position last night. That's not the way to get 'er done, and the Sox proved it again by losing to the Red Sox 6-3. The Sox are now 6-42 when scoring three runs or fewer.
Freddy Garcia, holding the fifth spot in the rotation for now, contributed a Quality Start -- 6.1 IP, 3 R, 5 H -- but it wasn't enough given the lack of firepower from Sox bats. Scott Linebrink made sure of that by providing no relief in allowing three runs on three hits. How many times has Liner poured gasoline on the fire this season instead of putting it out? Well, he does have six losses now and that seems like just the tip of the iceberg. He is not the answer to any question the Sox want to ask.
Meanwhile, Jake Peavy's status is up in the air. The ankle appears to be fine, but he was hit on the elbow by a line drive while pitching on Monday and is a little sore. If his throwing on the side goes okay, don't be surprised to see him on the hill for the Sox in Yankee Stadium on Saturday. But even if he's back, who's the other member of the rotation besides Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks? Based on his performance last night, it seems that Freddy deserves another chance. Only time and Ozzie will tell.
The Sox find themselves a .500 ball club again. The loss and Detroit's win mean that the Good Guys are 4.5 games behind the Tigers, tied with the Twins for second place. It seems like more than just 30 games ago that Buehrle's perfect game lifted the Sox into a tie for first, but that's all it was. Now there are only 36 games left and a lot of meat left on the pennant race bone. Time to get going. Wait, we said that yesterday. Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Normally, a pitcher has a right to be upset when he pitches well enough to get out of an inning without giving up a run, but an error opens the floodgates. However, Jose Contreras had only himself to blame last night because it was his error -- and subsequent crappy pitching -- that led to the Red Sox overcoming a 4-1 deficit to plate six runners in the third inning en route to a 12-8 win over the White Sox at Fenway.
The trouble began with one man on and two outs. No Way Jose walked Victor Martinez and hit Kevin Youkilis with a pitch to load the bases. He then induced David "Big PED User" Ortiz into hitting a dribbler down the first base line, which Contreras flubbed, allowing the first run to score. A walk and a wild pitch accounted for two more runs, and a Mike Lowell three-run homer cleared the bases, and the Bosox had six runs when they should have had none. Given all those runs were all Contreras's fault, it hardly seems fair to consider them unearned, but that's the way they keep that stat, so they won't show up in Jose's ERA.
Contreras's incompetence wasted Paul Konerko's 23rd home run and Gordon Beckham's 8th. And it led Ozzie to finally pull Contreras from the rotation. Who replaces him is the question. Jake Peavy pitched five scoreless innings for Triple-A Charlotte last night, while throwing 80 pitches, and is being considered (although it's earlier than projected and Peavy did take a line drive on his pitching elbow). So are Charlotte teammates Carlos Torres, who started for the Sox earlier this season, and Daniel Hudson, who's had a meteoric rise through the farm system this year. All we know for sure is that it won't be Contreras, who will serve out the rest of his sentence in the bullpen.
Given last night's loss and what happened while we were away on business, the Sox now trail the Tigers by 3.5 games. The Magic Number is down to 42, but the Tigers' is at 35. It may not be now or never, but it's at least soon or never. Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Mark Buehrle hadn't won a game since his Perfecto, and Scott Linebrink kept it that way last night. Linebrink didn't save Buehrle's win; he stole it. Buehrle was the pitcher of record for the White Sox last night when Liner was pitching with a 7-4 lead in the eighth inning. He walked Mark Teahen and Mitch Maier and then gave up a first-pitch, three-run home run that evened the score at 7-7 and took away Buehrle's chance to end his drought.
In the bottom of the inning, Alex Rios walked (he also had two hits on the night), and Alexei Ramirez laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Rios to second. One out later, Scott Podsednik laced a 2-0 fastball into center field. Josh Anderson, who was playing very shallow, charged the ball, but bobbled it, allowing Rios (who's got some wheels) to slide in before the ball reached the plate. With the Sox ahead by a run, Bobby Jenks came in and pitched a perfect ninth to save the win for ... Linebrink.
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again: The rule that allows a pitcher to blow a save and then win the game just doesn't seem fair. I know "there's no crying in baseball" (see A League of Their Own), but how about a little whining?
Give the Sox credit for coming back. Pods has delivered a pantload of clutch hits since he rejoined the team, but last night's was really an important one. Losing to the Royals after being up by three at this point in the season could have been devastating. Give credit also to Jayson Nix, who hit his 10th dinger last night. Nix has only 28 other hits, so over a quarter of his hits are four-baggers. A.J. Pierzynski also went yard, poking his 13th of the season. Jermaine Dye had two hits and two walks to add to the offensive totals.
The Magic Number now stands at 47, and the Sox are only 2.0 games behind the Tigers with the Royals and Orioles on tap for the rest of the homestand. Now is the time and the Cell is the place to make a move. Go Sox!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The White Sox meat loafed the A' s in Oakland over the weekend. They won the first two games but were unable to pull off the sweep -- again. The A's usually have their way with the Sox when they come to visit, so winning two out of three really is better than we expected.
The series had a little of everything. Friday's game featured a big lead that the Sox let slip away and then reclaimed on a walk-off homer by Alexei Ramirez in the 10th inning for the 8-7 win. Jose Contreras pitched down to our lowered expectations, but the bullpen came in to throw 5.2 innings of scoreless relief. Ramon Castro also hit a homer and Jermaine Dye had three RBI to pace the Sox hitting attack.
Saturday was a blowout, 8-1. Gavin Floyd was everything that Contreras was not. Floyd gave up only one run in seven innings, and the bullpen -- Scott Linebrink and Randy Williams for one inning each -- shut down the A's. Floyd received big-time run support as Jayson Nix hit a big home run and Jim Thome tied Reggie Jackson for 12th place on the all-time home run list with his 563rd, an opposite field poke.
Sunday was another nail-biter, complete with a walk-off home run by Oakland's Mark Ellis that gave the A's a 3-2 win. The Sox wasted a fine effort by John Danks, who lasted 7.1 innings while allowing only two runs on eight hits and a walk. This time, the bullpen betrayed Danks, with Octavio Dotel blowing the save, and Bobby Jenks serving up the game-winner to take the loss.
In personnel news, Jake Peavy pitched well in his minor league rehab assignment on Thursday. It looks like he'll be ready by August 28, but it could be September 3 versus the sCrUBS. Meanwhile, the Sox plan to start Freddy Garcia, one of heroes of the 2005 post-season, on Tuesday. Heaven help us! Garcia was released by the Mets earlier this year after washing out in minor league games, and now he's the anwer to the White Sox fith starter questions?? Let's hope so, but more likely, no.
Ater the weekend's activities, Sox are now 2.5 games behind the Tigers and have a Magic Number of 48. One of the talking heads on SportsCenter said it was too early to be keeping track of such things. Shh! Don't tell him about The Update, which started keeping track of this season's numbers before Opening Day. Anyway, the Good Guys return home to host KC. Time for some wins. Go Sox!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


You don't lose many games when you hold the other team to one run, but then again, you don't win any games when you get shut out. The White Sox managed to do both last night and this morning -- the game ended around 2 a.m. here in the East -- falling to the Mariners in the rubber game of the series, 1-0 in 14 innings.
Mark Buehrle got back on track, shutting out Seattle for eight innings and limiting the M's to six hits and a walk. Matt Thornton (2.0 IP), Bobby Jenks (2.0 IP), and Scott Linebrink (1.0 IP) followed suit. Unfortunately, Tony Pena gave up two hits and a walk and allowed the winning run to score on a pinch-hit single by Ken Griffey, Jr. with two outs.
The Sox had plenty of chances to win, but failed to take advantage of them. For example, in the 10th inning, Alex Rios singled Scott Podsednik to third, where Pods proceeded to get picked off for the second out, effectively ending the threat. There were other missed opportunities, but honestly, it's too painful to talk about.
Suffice it to say the Sox could have picked up a game on Detroit, who lost again, but didn't, leaving them 2.0 games behind the Tigers. The third-place Twins gained on both teams ahead of them with a win to creep within 2.0 games of the Sox and 4.0 games of the Bengals. The Sox head off to Oakland with a Magic Number of 51 and a chance to prove they actually can beat the A's on the road. Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


David Aardsma did more to help the White Sox last night than he did during the 2007 season he spent on the South Side. Aardsma, who had a horrific 6.40 ERA for the Sox, but now has 27 saves for the Mariners, left a fastball up for Alexei Ramirez in the ninth inning while trying to protect a 1-0 lead. The Missile deposited it into the bullpen in left field for his 13th home run to put the Sox ahead to stay, 3-1.
The come-from-behind heroics netted the Sox their first victory all season when trailing after eight innings. They're now 1-49 in that situation, 2-48 when behind after seven innings, and 5-43 when losing after six. It was also unusual for the Sox to win while being outhit, raising their record to 8-42 in that situation.
The beneficiary of Ramirez's blast was John Danks (10-8) , who truly deserved the win. Danks pitched 8.0 innings and gave up only one run on seven hits and a walk, while striking out eight. Bobby "No Stones" Jenks didn't allow a run in the ninth and picked up his 23rd save -- and first since July 20.
Newcomer Alex Rios joined the team, but did not play. Rios, who normally wears Gordon Beckham's No. 15, donned jersey No. 51 instead. Let's hope he becomes as beloved as another No. 51, Dick Butkus, was for the Bears.
With the win, the Sox gained a game on the Tigers, who lost to the Red Sox. The Sox are now 2.0 games behind Detroit and 3.0 games ahead of Minnesota. Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So when did George Steinbrenner buy the White Sox? It has to be "The Boss" who's in charge now. I was starting to question whether Jerry Reinsdorf was still running the team when he allowed Kenny Williams to take on Jake Peavy's contract, with a cool $56 million remaining. But yesterday, when Williams -- fresh off picking up a $65 jaywalking ticket outside of Safeco Field -- worked the waiver wire to pick up Alex Rios and the $62M owed to him through 2014, I knew King George had taken over for Jerry. That's the only explanation that makes sense.
Now, it's up to Ozzie to figure out where and when to play the two-time All Star outfielder for the Blue Jays. Rios is a lifetime .285 hitter with a .335 on-base percentage and .451 slugging average (stats that are most similar to Bernie Williams through age 27) and is a better outfielder (someone described him as Torii Hunter-lite) than anyone currently starting for the Sox, but who gets to sit down? Last year's MVP candidate Carlos Quentin? Sure Q is struggling and may have a bum knee to go along with his foot problem, but he needs the at bats to get back in the groove he had last year. Scottie Pods? He's batting around .300 and has been the leadoff hitter the club desperately needed. Jermaine Dye? He leads the team in home runs and is a respected veteran. One thing seems likely: neither Mark Kotsay, another recent pickup, nor Dewayne "The Catch" Wise is going to see a lot of time in the outfield. My bet is that Wise is "ovah," as Hawk would say.
On the field, the results were disappointing, a 6-4 loss to the Mariners. Gavin Floyd, who'd been the best Sox pitcher of late -- four straight Quality Starts -- caught what must be the Swine Pitching Flu from the rest of the starters and stunk the joint up. Floyd's line from last night reads 5.2 IP, 5 R, 7 H, 3 BB and makes him deserving of the loss. The Good Guys' four runs is ordinarily enough to win, but not with pitching like that. Surprisingly, Ken Griffey, Jr. drove in two runs for the M's, which just about matches his total for all last season with the Sox. (Actually, he had 18 in 41 games, but it sure didn't seem like even that many during 2008.)
Fortunately, the Tigers lost to the Red Sox -- is every Boston game shown on national TV? -- so their lead over the second-place Sox remains at 3.0 games. The Magic Number drops by one to 54 -- hence, the big 54 at the top of this post. Go Sox!

Monday, August 10, 2009


There. I told you the Magic Number. This is the White Sox Magic Number Update, so that's all I have to do. Please don't make me write about the Sox over the weekend. Okay, so the masthead says you can "find out the Magic Number and more."
All I'm going to say is they lost two of three to last-place Cleveland and probably deserved to lose the game they won. Mark Buehrle hasn't done anything right since setting the record for most consecutive batters retired. Jose Contreras has turned back into No Way, Jose. Jake Peavy isn't ready yet and Clayton Richard can't pitch for the Sox while he's on the Padres. And the Sox are seriously talking about having Sweaty Freddy pitch for them in the Big Leagues. The best pitching news we've had is that Bobby Jenks's kidney stones have been blasted away.
This division is there for the taking and we've not been taking. Today is the day to start -- or more accurately, tonight. The Sox play Seattle at Safeco Field. The next series is at another of those places we never do well -- Oakland. In honor of the Raiders' boss, I'm going to close with "Just win, baby."

Thursday, August 6, 2009


A musical tribute to today's game:
  • The White Sox failed again to sweep, losing the third and final game of the series to the Angels. Now don't be sad, cause two outta three ain't bad.
  • The Sox didn't just lose, they got Dolly Partoned today, losing 9 to 5.
  • The Halos could touch this, and they hammered John Danks: 6.1 IP, 7 R, 9 H, 3 BB, 3 HR.
  • Jhonny "My parents are dyslexic" Nunez" finished up the game in relief and was the only pitcher who did anything positive, notching goose eggs in his 0.2 innings. Yes, Jhonny be good today.
  • Ozzie heeded Dewayne Wise's cry to "put me in, coach" and let him pinch hit for center fielder Scottie Pods in the ninth inning; Wise showed he was "ready to play" by homering.
  • Detroit won and extended its lead to 2.0 games over the Sox.
  • Tomorrow is another day and the perfect time to rock Cleveland.

Tuesday, it was the top of the order that led the White Sox over the Angels. Yesterday, it was the heart of the order that was responsible for the 6-2 win. The heart of the order and Gavin Floyd, that is.
Numbers three through six in the lineup were a combined 7 for 15, with five runs, five RBIs, three homers, and a double. Jim Thome led the charge, smashing two dingers over the left field wall. The blasts, Thome's, 19th and 20th of the season, raised his career total to 561 and left him only two behind Reggie Jackson, who is twelfth on the all-time list. Paul Konerko chipped in a tater of his own, No. 23 on the season. Jermaine Dye, who had some making up to do for a three-base error that resulted in the Angels taking the lead in the first inning, had a hit and scored a run. A.J. Pierzynski went 2 for 4 to raise his average to .313 (behind only Gordon Beckham, who doubled and scored a run) and crossed the plate one time.
Floyd continued his stretch of fine pitching at the Cell by throwing eight innings of six-hit, two-run (only one of them earned), six-strikeout, one-walk ball. Ozzie left him in to pitch out of a jam in the eighth and Floyd struck out Bobby Abreu to get out of the inning. After putting two men on in the ninth, Oz brought in Matt Thornton to finish the game. Thornton allowed one man to score, but gave up no runs or hits of his own, and Floyd collected his ninth win against six losses. Floyd's going deep into the game was critical, as the Sox bullpen was depleted after Tuesday's game. D.J. Carrasco' four innings meant he wasn't going to pitch last night, and Bobby Jenks was still out with kidney stone problems. They finally "blasted" them -- we're assuming ultrasound rather than dynamite -- and he's supposed to be available no later than Friday.
The Sox improved to 41-14 when getting a Quality Start, 28-12 when hitting multiple homers, 51-15 when scoring four or more runs, 40-9 when holding the opposition to fewer than four runs, 44-9 when outhitting the opponent, and 31-8 when getting double-digit hits. In other words, they pushed all the right buttons to get a W.
The win sewed up the seventh series in a row at home for the Sox, who remained one game behind victorious Detroit. Minnesota lost, so the Sox stretched their lead over the Twins to 2.5 games. It's getaway day for the Angels, so today's game is an afternoon affair. John Danks faces off against Ervin Santana, and Danks has a better record and ERA. Let's hope that translates into a win and a sweep of the A.L. West leader. Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Before yesterday's game, Scott Podsednik told "On any given day, you can pick up the USA Today and look at what the one and two hitters do on any ballclub and kind of predict what their team did on that particular night." Well, leadoff man Pods proved prophetic, as he and No. 2 batter Gordon Beckham led the White Sox to a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the A.L.-best Angels last night.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Pods drove in the winning run by lining a hanging slider to right-center that scored Jayson Nix, who was on second with a double. It was Scottie's third walk-off hit of the season. Earlier, Pods, who had doubled himself, scored when Gordon Beckham singled him home. Becks also ripped his sixth homer (and first at the Cell) in the first inning. Combined, the first two men in the order were 4 for 9, had two extra-base hits, scored two runs, and drove in three. Only five Sox got hits -- Nix, Jermaine Dye, and Carlos Quentin, who homered, were the others -- and each of them scored a run.
Podsednik, who says he wants to re-sign with the Sox beyond this season, is making a strong case for A.L. Comeback Player of the Year, after starting the year out of the Majors. Beckham is doing likewise for A.L. Rookie of the Year, after starting the season in an 0 for 13, 2 for 28 slump. In 27 games in July, Becks hit .330 with three homers, 10 doubles, 18 RBI, and a .526 slugging percentage, which earned him Rookie of the Month honors. He's also had multiple hits seven times in his last eight games.
The timely hitting and some good relief pitching bailed out starter Jose Contreras, who just didn't have it last night. Contreras couldn't even finish three innings, giving up three runs on five walks and a hit in 2.2 IP. D.J. Carrasco, who had been mentioned as a possible fifth starter, threw 4. 0 innings of one-run, two-hit out of the bullpen. Randy Williams (0.2 IP), Tony Pena (0.1 IP), and Matt Thornton (1.1 IP) followed and didn't allow a run. Closer Bobby Jenks had to leave before the game because of a second kidney stone.
The Sox gained a game on the Tigers, who lost to the Orioles. That leaves them 1.0 games behind Detroit (and 1.5 ahead of Minnesota) in the A.L. Central race. The Magic Number is at 58. And Mark Buehrle Appreciation Series continues against the Angels. Go Sox!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Raise your hand if you thought the White Sox, coming off a 1-6 road trip, would take three out of four from the Yankees, who were tied for the best record in the Majors before the series started. Just as I thought ... no one's got his hand in the air, and that includes the entire Update staff.
But that's exactly what the Sox were able to do, with the Bronx Bombers winning on Sunday to avoid a sweep -- which would have been the Sox's first four-game sweep of New York since 1964. You remember -- or have read about -- 1964, don't you? The Yanks beat the Sox by one game in what turned out to be the last year of the Yankee dynasy.
The key to the Sox victories was hitting. Aside from Thursday's game, the pitching for the Sox was nothing to write home -- or in The Update -- about. But the bats finally woke up. The Sox knocked out 49 hits over the four-game series and scored 32 runs. That works out to an average of 12.25 hits and 8 runs a game. Of course, the Sox can't keep up that pace, but it's nice to think about them coming close.
A.J. Pierzyynski leads the club -- now that Clayon Richard and his .333 batting average are gone -- with an average of .315. Gordon Beckham is up to .311 and had six doubles in the series. Scottie Pods is sitting on a .302 average, and even Chris Getz has worked his way up to .271.
After the weekend's results, the Sox are 1.5 games behind Detroit and the same distance ahead of Minnesota. The Magic Number is down to 60, and falling. The Good Guys face another division leader in the Angels, who have won five in a row, starting Tuesday. We say, bring 'em on. Go Sox!
Peavy update: He threw in the bullpen and was pain free. He may be back in time for that horrible road trip coming up later this month, which would be would be faster than we first heard.