Friday, July 30, 2010


The brooms were out last night, as the White Sox came from behind again to defeat the Mariners 9-5 and sweep the four-game series. The win was the 11th in a row at home, the 18th out of the last 19 there, and the 31st triumph out of 50 games at the Cell this season. Ed Farmer said on the radio broadcast that this was the longest home winning streak since 1989, which means it’s the longest ever at new Comiskey-U.S. Cellular Field. The sweep leaves the Sox with a 9-1 record against Seattle, the only loss being the game Bobby Jenks blew at Safeco Field in the bottom of the 11th inning on July 21.

Freddy Garcia contributed a Quality Start (6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 W, 3 K) and got credit for the win to improve to 10-4 (who’d have predicted that at the start of the year?), but it was the bats that got the job done. The Sox pounded out 13 hits, with every starter save Mark Kotsay and Alex Rios notching at least one. Ramon Castro made the most of a rare start by knocking two balls into the seats for his fourth and fifth home runs of the season, and adding another base hit. Omar Vizquel also had three hits and raised his average to .287. Carlos Quentin had two hits, including his 20th home run, and Gordon Beckham also had a pair. Paul Konerko continued his assault of the Mariners, homering against them for the fourth straight game and seventh time this season. All of this suggests that the Sox do not need to trade for Adam Dunn, especially at the inflated price that the Nationals are demanding. Speaking of the Nats, they sent their All-Star closer Matt Capps to the Twins. Thanks a lot, Nats.

And speaking of the Twins, they were idle yesterday, so the Sox picked up a half-game on them and now lead by 1.5 games. It’s likely to be close again for the A.L. Central crown and right now, the one-game tiebreaker would be in Minnesota. This year, the record between the two teams determines who gets to be at home for that game, and the Twins lead the season series 6-3. There are nine games left, so the Sox need to go 6-3 in those games to even the record. I don’t know what happens if they’re tied 9-9. If you do, share your knowledge with the rest of the world by commenting below. Go Sox!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Home, Sweet Home! Last night the White Sox improved their record at the Cell to 30-19 by winning their 10th home game in a row, which was also their 17th triumph in their last 18 contests on the South Side. They overcame a 5-1 deficit and eked out a 6-5 victory over the Mariners. Three home runs – by Alexei Ramirez (11th), Paul Konerko (24th), and Gordon Beckham (5th) – increased the Good Guys’ total at the Cell to 75, second most in the American League behind Toronto.

In addition to the homers, the Sox collected six other hits, with every starter except Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski reaching base safely at least once. Ramirez had a pair, as did Alex Rios, who drove in Juan Pierre (who stole his major league-leading 38th stolen base) with the winning run in the seventh inning.

Mark Buehrle failed to match the complete game performances of his last two outings, but escaped without a loss thanks to stellar work by the bullpen. Buehrle lasted only 5.0 innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and a walk. Sergio Santos shut down Seattle for 1.1 innings, notching two strikeouts. Matt Thornton allowed two hits, but no runs in 0.2 innings and was rewarded with the win. J.J. Putz extended his scoreless appearance streak to 27 games by shutting out the Mariners in the eighth inning. (During his streak, J.J. has struck out 27 batters and walked only three, and opponents are hitting a measly .140 (13 for 93) against him.) And Bobby Jenks, who is trying to prove he still deserves to be the closer, made a pretty good case for retaining that job – striking out the side in the ninth to pick up his 21st save.

Since June 9, the Sox have posted the best record in baseball. The Good Guys are 32-11 and have batted .285 as a team (411 for 1441). The pitchers have a 2.72 ERA (115 runs in 381.1 innings). And the team has outscored its opponents 221 to 127. The Sox have been in first place every day since July 11 (Oh, thank heaven for 7-11!) and are one game up on the Twins and five games ahead of the Tigers. As Hawk says, “Keep it up, boys!” Go Sox! (Note that The Update just set its own record of exclamation points in three consecutive sentences. Wow!!!!!!)

*  There's no significance to this other than that's how Roger Maris's home run record was designated.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The St. Valentines Day Massacre happened on the North Side of Chicago on February 14, 1929.  Last night, a different kind of massacre took place on the South Side, as the White Sox annihilated the Mariners, 11-0.  With a score like that, it's hard to say what's better, the pitching or the hitting.

Let's start on the mound.  Gavin Floyd continued to impress, yielding no runs on five hits and no walks in his seven innings.  Matt Thornton struck out three M's in his one inning of relief, and even Tony Pena contributed a scoreless frame.  Since June 8, Floyd has the best ERA in the A.L. at 1.04 (8 earned runs in 69.1 innings).  Opponents are batting only .202 against him during that stretch (50 hits in 247 at bats).  And it was his ninth Quality Start (out of 10 total starts) during that period.

In the batter's box, the Sox built their 11 runs on 12 hits, including three home runs (Paul Konerko's 22nd, Alexei Ramirez's 10th, and Andruw Jones's 14th). Every starter except for Alec Rios and Carlos Quentin had at least one hit, and Ramirez again led the way with three.  Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo each had a pair of doubles.   The remarkable thing is that with all those hits, the game still took only two hours and four minutes to play -- a time more suitable to a pitchers' duel.

So the question in my mind is: Do the Sox really need an Adam Dunn?  Just looking at the 21 games so far this month, they've scored 106 runs, which works out to more than five runs a game.  Ourrecord when we score four or more per game is 39-9 this year.  Now that the bats have awakened, I don't think we need another bat.  And don't forget left-handed Mark Teahen is about to come back, although some of us might like to.

There's also the question of whether the Sox really need another pitcher.  Over those same 21 games, the Sox staff has allowed only 66 runs, or just over three per game.  The Good Guys are 39-11 when holding the opposition to fewer than four runs in a game.  It's too early to tell what Daniel Hudson is going to be like, but are we willing to pay what it will take to get someone better than he is, and with his potential?

Sox remain a game ahead of Minnesota, as they go for the sweep of Seattle.  Go Sox!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"Monday, Monday, so good to me."  The White Sox must agree with that old Mamas and Papas song, as they improved their record on the first day of the work week to 7-1 this season by coming back to beat the Mariners last night, 6-1.  You can tell from that opening that this post is going be all about the numbers, so hang on to your calculators.

Let's get the game facts out of the way first.  John Danks improved to 11-7 by pitching eight innings of one-run, six-hit, one-walk ball.  Sergio Santos mopped up with one inning of scoreless, hitless relief.  The Sox collected 13 hits, with every starter except Gordon Beckham having at least one.  Juan Pierre (now batting .255) and Alexei Ramirez (.282) had three apiece, and Carlos Quentin (.240) had two.  Paul Konerko homered, his 22nd.

With the win they improved their record in : 
  • night games to 34-32 (they're 20-12 during the day)
  • first games of a series to 21-12
  • home games to 28-19 (they're 26-25 on the road)
  • games against the A.L. West to 15-10
  • Quality Starts to 36-13
  • errorless games to 38-23
  • games when they homer to 39-24
  • games when they score more than three runs to 46-14
  • games when the opponents don't score more than three runs to 38-11
  • games when they outhit the other team to 38-6
  • games when they have double digit hits to 28-9
The Sox remain in first place, 1.0 games ahead of the Twins and 3.0 games in front of the Tigers.  Go Sox!

Monday, July 26, 2010


Well, at least the White Sox are still in first place.  In years past, a trip to the West Coast has meant a losing record and a tumble in the standings.  This time, the Sox came away with a split, although it looked more promising than that after the Good Guys won three of the first four.

The third win came Friday night in an absolute gem by Mark Buehrle.  A year to the day after his perfect game, Buehrle gave up only four hits and no walks in a 5-1 complete game win over the A's.  Carlos Quentin drove in two runs without getting a hit, A.J. Pierzynski singled home two, and Alex Rios got credit for an RBI when he reached on an error.

But Saturday, things turned around, as Oakland beat up on the Sox 10-2.  Freddy Garcia lasted only 1.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks.  Tony Pena wasn't a whole lot better, giving up four runs on four hits and four walks in just 3.2 innings.  Since the Sox could muster a mere four hits and two runs, the putrid pitching was largely academic for that game, but not a good sign down the road.

Sunday was an even worse sign for the future.  Daniel Hudson, the replacement in the rotation for the injured Jake Peavy, permitted the A's five runs on six hits and four walks in 5.0 innings.  The Sox rallied late, pushing across three runs in the seventh, but fell short, 6-4.  Hudson's performance may have caused his stock to drop enough that he won't be part of any trading deadline deal.

Speaking of trades, the Sox are still being mentioned as being in pursuit of Adam Dunn, but now the Tigers have joined the chase for the Big Dunnkey.  The deadline is Saturday, so we won't have to endure this much longer, but we've still got a week to think about how cheap and easy it would have been to sign Jim Thome as the left-handed threat the Sox are searching for now.  In only 171 at bats, Thome has 12 home runs and 31 RBIs.  He's got a .263 batting average, but a .395 on-base percentage, a .550 slugging percentage, and a .945 OPS.  Dunn, by contrast, has more than twice as many at bats and correspondingly about twice as many homers and runs batted in -- 22 and 63. Dunn is hitting for a  higher average  at .281, but the on base, slugging and OPS numbers are comparable -- .369, .515, and .945.  And Thom has racked up his numbers in the more difficult American League.  Just something to think about.

The Sox lead Minnesota by 1.0 games and Detroit by 2.0 games.  The Twins play at KC, the Tigers at Tampa Bay, and the Sox host Seattle.  Go Sox!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I was traveling on business yesterday, so no Update then, and now I'm jammed, so this is going to be real short.  But that's okay, since you don't really want to read about the White Sox's last night's 2-1 extra-inning loss to the Mariners.

Gavin Floyd (7.0 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 6 K, and 2 BB) locked up with Felix Hernandez (8.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 6 K, and 0 BB) in a good old-fashioned pitching duel.  They both turned it over to their bullpens, and both were let down -- Floyd just enough more than Hernandez.  After going ahead in the top of the 11th on an Omar Vizquel single that scored Gordon Beckham, who had doubled off the wall, Ozzie turned it over to Bobby Jenks. 

Bad Bobby was just that.  Seattle's Jack Wilson beat out a bunt down the first-base line for a single.  Ichiro sacrificed Wilson to second, who moved to third on Chone Figgins's line single to center.  Figgins stole second, and then Franklin Gutierrez delivered his third hit of the night, a line single to left-center that plated both Wilson and Figgins for the Mariners' win.  This time, Jenks was charged with the blown save and the loss.

If the Sox wind up losing the Central Division by one or two games, we're all going to look back on Jenks's failure to hold the lead against the Twins and now the Mariners as games that should have been won, but weren't.  The lead for now is still safe at 2.5 games over the Tigers and Twins.  Let's get 'er done in Oakland , which is on a two-game winning streak and has a 28-21 record at home.  I don't have time to look it up, but I know that the Athletics' record against the Sox out there has to be much better that that over the last several years.  Go Sox!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Daniel Hudson was good enough last night to keep.  Or trade.  Personally, I'd rather play with the guys we've got than mortgage the future by picking up a rental player -- e.g., Adam Dunn -- for the rest of the season and then losing him.  Hudson made his case to stay -- or go elsewhere -- by throwing 6.2 innings of five-hit, one run ball to pitch the White Sox over the Mariners, 6-1, in Seattle.

Matt Thornton (0.1 IP), Tony "We must be way ahead or behind" Pena (1.0), and Scott "Yes, I'm still on the team" Linebrink (1.0) each shut out the M's in relief.  Fortunately, the game wasn't close enough at the end to need Bobby Jenks.  By the way, because he didn't give up the tieing run, Jenks wasn't charged with a blown save.  But we know who really blew it on Sunday.

The Sox bats were alive again last night.  Alex Rios slammed his 100th career home run (16th this season) and Andruw Jones slugged his 401st (13th in 2010).  The team collected a dozen hits with everyone except Mark Kotsay getting at least one, and four guys getting two: Omar Vizquel; Rios; Paul Konerko; and Gordon Beckham.  Vizquel's multi-hit game was his fifth in his last six starts and raised his batting average to .271.  Omar was batting just .244 going into the All-Star break.  Beckham, who was carrying a .206 average on July 3 is now up to .241.  Nice improvement for the two infielders.

The win moved the Sox to a 2.5 game lead over the Tigers and Twins, both losers last night -- and permanently to most Sox fans.  Two more with the Mariners and then it's on to the West Coast version of the White Sox personal House of Horrors -- Oakland.  Go Sox!
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Monday, July 19, 2010


The White Sox are a team of streaks.  After winning nine in a row, including the first game of the current series in Minnesota, the Sox have now dropped three straight to the Twins.  There's nothing fun to talk about when your team is in a losing streak, so this will be short.

The amazing thing to me was that on Sunday -- a game the Sox had all but won: a three-run lead and Bobby Jenks, who had converted 20 of 21 save opportunities this season, trying but failing to close out the Twins -- the Sox collected 16 hits.  I thought to myself, "Now getting 16 hits and losing doesn't happen very often," so I did some research.  Since 1920 (as far as I was able to go back), the Good Guys have notched at least 16 hits 638 times.  Their record in those games is 558-80.  That works out to less than one loss a year when that happens, compared to more than six wins a year in the same situation.

By the way, the most hits they ever got in a game was 29, in a 29-6 win over the Athletics on April 23, 1955.  The Sox had seven homers, five doubles, and 17 singles.  The 29 runs in that game was also a team-high during since 1920.

The only good news over the weekend, was that the Tigers also lost three in a row.  So the Magic Number as to them is 71 -- it's 70 as to the Twins.  Both teams trail the Good Guys by 1.5 games.  It's on to Seattle to play the Mariners before heading to Oakland.  Go Sox!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I don't know about you, but I thought the All-Star break came at the worst possible time for the White Sox.  The Sox had won eight in a row and 25 of their last 30 games when they were forced to shut it down for three days, risking the end of the best roll they've been on since August 27 to September 27, 1983, when they also put together a 25-5 mark.  So it was a relief when the Good Guys pulled out an 8-7 victory over the Twins at Target Field last night.

John Danks didn't have his best stuff -- at least, he didn't in the second inning, when he gave up six runs to turn a 4-0 lead into a 6-4 deficit.  But these White Hot Sox don't quit.  They came back behind a robust hitting performance and a balk to even their 2010 record against the Twins and improve their all-time mark at Target Field to 2-1.  Every Sox batter except Carlos Quentin collected a hit, with Juan Pierre leading the way -- he is the leadoff man, after all -- with three safeties.  Omar Vizquel and Alex Rios, who follow Pierre in the order, and Gordon Beckham, who precedes him, each notched two hits, as did Mark Kotsay.  Even Q managed to get on base twice by coaxing a walk and being hit by a pitch -- again.

The bullpen preserved the win for Danks (9-7).  J.J. Putz gave up no runs in his two-thirds of an inning, the 23rd consecutive appearance he's blanked the opposition, covering 23.2 scoreless frames.  During the streak, opponents are hitting .130 (10 for 77), and Putz has given up only three walks, while striking out 24.  All-Star (goat) Matt Thornton struck out the only man he faced; Sergio Santos didn't allow a run in 0.2 innings (though he did give up three hits); and Bobby Jenks picked up his 15th save in a row and 20th overall with a rare extended performance that lasted 1.1 innings.

The win moves the Sox a full game ahead of the Tigers and 4.5 in front of the Twins in the Central Division race.  By the way, this is the 11th time the Sox have been in first place at the All-Star break.  Five of the other times, they have gone on to play in the post-season -- 1959, 1993, 2000, 2005, and 2008.  Ten of the 15 teams to lead the Central Division at the break have made the playoffs.  As the Magic Eight Ball would say, "All signs point to yes."  Go Sox!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It's the All-Star break, so no White Sox action yesterday.  Let's take a moment for a brief  look ahead at the rest of the season.  The Sox have 75 games remaining.  Forty of them are against the Twins, Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels, all of which have at least a .516 winning percentage.  Thirty-five of them are with the Mariners, A's, Orioles, Royals, and Indians, all of which have less than a .484 winning percentage. 

Assuming that those teams perform at the same level against the Sox as they have overall -- an unrealistic assumption since teams play better against certain teams, some clubs are hot while some are cold when you face them, teams play better at home than on the road, etc. -- the Sox will lose 22 games to the good teams and 14 games to the bad ones.  Those 36 losses added to the 38 they already have will give the Good Guys 74 losses, which means an 88-74 record for the season.

That may be enough to sneak into the post-season in what is admittedly a weak division.  Once they get there, the Sox have the kind of pitching -- at least they have lately -- that can carry a team to a title.  All of this is just me looking ahead through somewhat rose-colored glasses, but isn't that what sports are for?  In any event, the Sox are a better team now than they were when they racked up most of those first-half losses, so maybe they'll do even better than the numbers suggest.  We may need that home field advantage in the World Series that comes with winning the All-Star Game.  Go American League!

By the way, check out the Letters to the Editor in the July 12 edition of Sports Illustrated (the one with Serena Williams on the cover).  SI published my letter concerning Stephen Strasburg, which mentions "my beloved White Sox."  Go Sox!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


What's hotter than red hot?  White hot.  What's hotter than white hot?  White Sox Hot, that's what.  On the strength of their 15-5 slaughter of the Royals on Sunday, the Sox swept KC, completed their sixth-ever perfect homestand (7-0), extended their winning streak to eight games, and took over sole possession of first place for the first time this season.  We're Number One!  We're Number One!  Foam finger sales are booming.

The only thing hotter than the White Sox is Carlos Quentin.  Q smashed two more home runs -- a solo shot and a Grand Salami -- to boost his Big Fly total to 19 for the season.   During these seven games at the Cell, Q has six home runs, including three multi-homer games, 11 RBI, and a .538 batting average.  Over his last 16 games, Quentin is 18 for 49 (.367) and  has 11 four-baggers, and 24 RBI.

Q was not alone, however, in his hitting prowess on Sunday.  Omar Vizquel, Mark Kotsay, A.J. Pierzynski, Andruw Jones, Dayan Viciedo joined Q with two hits apiece, and Gordon Beckham led the way with three, as The Sox pounded out 18 hits in all.  Five of those hits were dingers, including four in the seven-run third inning.  Alex Rios, Q,  Jones (his 400th career blast), and Viciedo combined to tie the Sox record for homers in an inning.  (And they did this without Paul Konerko, who is resting up for the All-Star game, now that he's replacing Justin Morneau on the A.L. squad.)  The Sox have now hit 31 home runs in their last 17 games at the Cell contrasted with only two in their last 14 games on the road.

Daniel Hudson gave up five runs in his first start since replacing the injured Jake Peavy.  Tony Pena picked up his third win, not being charged with a run -- though he did let an inherited runner score.  Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks each threw one scoreless inning, with Jenks needing only six pitches -- all strikes -- to retire the side.

All we can say is Go Sox!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010


I'm baaack!  There's a problem with Blogger that's prevented me from posting since June 30.  Son Jeffrey found a work-around that allows me to post until Blogger fixes its site.  And what a bad time to miss out on posting.  The White Sox have been White Hot again, with another winning streak that today reached five games behind John Danks's two-hit shutout of the Angels.  The 1-0 game was very Buehrle-like in length, taking only one hour and fifty minutes to complete.  The most important thing is that it put the Sox a half game out of first place and eight games over .500.

I won't try to catch up with everything that happened while the site was down, but Jake Peavy's going on the DL with a latisimus dorsi injury deserves special mention.  Jeff Marquez has been called up to take Peavy's roster spot, but it seems more likely that Daniel Hudson will be asked to take Jake's spot in the rotation.  Hudson pitched well enough in spring training to make the team, but there wasn't a place to put him.  Well, now there is.  I'm not suggesting that Hudson is as good as Peavy, but it's nice to have a replacement that you were willing to go to war with at the start of the season.

One other point of discussion:  Adam Dunn.  I've watched him all season with the Nats and he's the perfect DH for the Sox except for one thing.  He doesn't want to DH.  The Big Dunnkey thinks he can play defense.  He was horrible as a right fielder, but has improved to mediocre as a first basemen.  Since Dunn is in the last year of his contract, he's not likely to re-sign with any team that won't let him play the field -- like the Sox.  So that turns him into a rental -- shades of Bill Veeck and the South Side Hitmen.  I do not want to see the Sox give up anything of value for a three-month rental.  I'd love to have Dunn, but only if we can sign him to a new contract.  Go Kenny Williams!  Go Sox!