Tuesday, August 31, 2010


If the White Sox were able to score 10 runs on 21 hits in an 11-inning win over the Indians without Manny Ramirez in the lineup, just imagine how much more potent the offense will be once Manny arrives. Uh, wait, the offense hasn’t been the problem lately, has it? Manny, Schmanny. The problem, which surfaced again last night, is relief pitching. So instead of putting in a waiver claim on Brian Fuentes, the Good Guys let the Twins – yes the very team the Sox are chasing for the Central Division crown – acquire the lefty reliever who led the league in saves last year with 48 and racked up 23 this year with the Angels.

But since we don’t have Fuentes – and don’t even have our own guys Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz available – we had to use Bobby Jenks in a 4-out save situation and Bobby blew his fourth save of the year. Handed a 6-3 lead, Jenks allowed three runs on three hits and a walk. To be fair, he had a little help from Brent Lillibridge, who threw a ball away, but the runs were all earned. The three runs in the bottom of the ninth sent the game into extra innings and the Sox were forced to use Scott Linebrink in relief for two innings. Fortunately, Liner came through like the Liner of old – no runs, no hits, no walks – and was the beneficiary of a four-run 11th inning outburst by the Sox bats to pick up his second win of the season.

Every Sox starter hit safely. Alex Rios led the hit parade with five hits, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Mark Kotsay had three hits and five Sox players had a pair: Omar Vizquel, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez, and Gordon Beckham. The Sox improved their record to 2-0 this year when knocking out 21 hits – the only team to have done it even once in 2010. They’re now 19-1 all time when reaching that hit total. Scoring 10 runs in a game has a pretty high correlation with winning as well. No kidding, you say. Well the Sox are 321-30-1 all time when plating 10 men. That winning percentage is not quite as good as that racked up by all teams – 93-5 – this season when scoring that much. (Update subscriber Billy Addison tells me he loves these stats, so I’m going to keep throwing them out there.)

The win drew the Sox to within 4.0 games of the Twins, but there’s sobering news. With 31 games left, if Minnesota goes 16-15, the Sox will have to go 21-10 to win the division outright and 20-11 to tie and play a tie-breaker game at Target Field. The Good Guys have their work cut out for them and Manny won’t help the bullpen. Go Sox!

Monday, August 30, 2010


White Sox fans of a certain age -- mine -- learned to hate the Yankees before George Steinbrenner's excesses.  We hated them because the Sox kept finishing second to the Bronx Bombers and because of the whole Second City thing generally.  So any loss to New York hurts twice as much as any other loss (except one to the Cubs).  That means it felt like we lost four games over the weekend.

It really was only two, Saturday and Sunday, after winning Friday night.  But if I could have arranged the order of the outcomes, I would have saved the win for Sunday.  That was the day the Sox retired Frank Thomas's number and put his graphic on the outfield wall between Billy Pierce and Carlton Fisk.  I didn't get to see the ceremony, but The Tribune reports that the Big Hurt was extremely moved by the honor and got pretty emotional.  Good for Frank.  You're supposed to feel that way when something like this happens.  I'm just happy that my favorite Sox player of the last 20 years got his due.

A guy I don't expect will rank high on my list of favorite players looks to be coming to the Sox today.  It appears that Manny Ramirez will be joining the Pale Hose for the rest of the season.  Please, Kenny Williams, don't give away any player of value to get him.  We've mortgaged enough of the future this season, and while Manny might help in a short spurt, there's no long term future there.  Hopefully, all we do is pay the rest of his exorbitant salary for the remainder of the year, and Manny responds like he did when he first came to the Dodgers -- carrying the club at just the right time to give himself leverage for his next contract negotiation.  I'll take a great performance from him, but I don't have to like him.

The weekend's activities left the Sox with a 4.5 game deficit to make up and less time to do it.  Plus, the team hits the road for a 10-game trip to Cleveland, Boston, and Detroit. We're only 32-33 away from the Cell, so it's not looking good for the Good Guys.  Maybe Manny being the Manny of old will make a difference.  Go Sox!

Friday, August 27, 2010


The White Sox found the perfect recipe for Meat Loafing the Orioles last night: One part brilliant pitching by Edwin Jackson; one part robust hitting; mix together at U.S. Cellular field for two to three hours; serve up an 8-0 win.
Jackson hurled -- no, not that kind of hurled -- eight innings of shut out baseball, allowing only three hits and two walks.  His slider was devastating and was responsible for most of the 10 strikeouts he racked up -- the second consecutive game he's reached double digits.  Tony Pena finished up the low-leverage situation by preserving the shutout.
The Jackson for Daniel Hudson trade is looking fairly even at this point.  Jackson's line: 2-0 record, 0.96 ERA, 28.0 IP, 23 H, 4 R, 7 BB (1 intentional), and 34 K.  Hudson's line: 3-1 record, 1.72 ERA, 36.2 IP, 26 H, 7 R, 6 BB (1 intentional), and 36 K.  A bit of an edge to Jackson, especially considering he has to face a DH.
On the offensive side of the ledger, the Sox exploded for 14 hits, the eleventh time in the last twelve games they've reached double digit hits.  Alex Rios led the way with three safeties, followed by Juan Pierre, Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin, A.J. Pierzynski, and Mark Teahen, who each had two, and Alexei Ramirez with one.

Paulie deserves special mention.  Captain Crunch went 2 for 5 last night and his average over the last 30 at bats dropped.  He had been hitting .560 (14 for 25) and came out hitting .533 (16 for 30).  Give that man a contract extension.  Not five years, but maybe three.

Minnesota finally beat the Rangers yesterday, so the Sox are still 3.5 back in the Central Division race.  The Twins' Magic Number is now down to 32.  Basically, we've got to win four more games than they do.  Let's start with the Yankees who are in town this weekend.  Go Sox!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The Twins lost, but White Sox squandered the opportunity to gain ground by falling 4-2 to the Orioles, the team with the worst record in the American League.  Mark Buehrle twice gave up what Hawk Harrelson refers to as "the dreaded leadoff walk," and twice paid the price as those runners came around to score.

Speaking of dreaded, Kenny "The Trader" Williams continues to talk with the Dodgers about the (literally) dreaded Manny Ramirez.  The holdup in the acquisition seems to be what the Sox will give up -- if anything -- in return for taking Manny's contract off L.A.'s hands.  Maybe Ramirez is what we need.  After all, the team cranked out a grand total of five hits last night, and the big guy can still hit.

Speaking of late additions of big guys, I checked yesterday and Ted Kluzewski played only 31 games for the Sox after joining the Go-Go Sox in 1959.  He hit two homers -- I've been remembering it as a lot more than that, but apparently, incorrectly.  Klu did hit three homers in the six World Series games, though, so maybe that's what's burned into my memory bank.

Speaking of memories, I think we'd all like to forget the recent lackluster performance by our guys, but the immediate future looks bleak too.  The Sox have to play the Yankees and Red Sox in two of the next three series after finishing up with the O's.  The Good Guys are still 3.5 games behind the Twinkies.  The time is now to start gaining on them.  Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Yes, the White Sox beat the Orioles last night (7-5) and the Twins lost to the Rangers, but I want to talk about personnel moves. Specifically, Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz, and Manny Ramirez.

Thornton is going on the 15-day DL with left-elbow inflammation, retroactive to August 18, which means he’ll be eligible to come off on September 2. Ouch, that takes away an All-Star caliber reliever at a time when the Sox can least afford to lose him. Thornton’s loss is compounded by Putz’s joining him on the DL after he reinjured his knee while throwing his third pitch in the ninth inning Tuesday. Lefty Erick Threets is likely to come off the DL to shore up the bullpen, but no way gaining Threets makes up for losing those other two.

The third move deserves its own paragraph. Apparently, the Dodgers are going to place Manny Ramirez and the $4 million left on his contract this season on waivers. Kenny “I haven’t fed my player acquisition habit recently enough” Williams is eyeing the PEDs-using, dreads-wearing, chemistry-upsetting, frequently-injured slugger. Kenny says Manny can do only so much damage in 30 days. Ozzie says he can handle him. I say (again) it’s more proof that the Sox should have re-signed Jim Thome.

Anyway back to the game. Gavin Floyd was back in form, throwing 7.0 innings and allowing only two runs on seven hits and two walks. Chris Sale, who’s been a professional baseball player for all of two months now, tossed an inning of scoreless relief to lower his ERA to 1.23. But then things went up in smoke. Sergio Santos, who had given up only two runs in his last 19 innings, couldn’t get anyone out. He faced four men, giving up three hits and a walk, and gave way to Putz, who physically was unable to get through one batter. Bobby Jenks came in and got a double play and retired the next man to put out the fire, preserve Floyd’s ninth victory, and pick up his 24th save.

Gordon Beckham was the hitting star, with a three-run homer that broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning. Juan Pierre had three of the Sox’s 14 hits, as every starter had at least one hit – except for Omar Vizquel. I won’t bore you with the record when pounding out 14 hits. Instead, I’ll frustrate you with the prediction of Coolstandings.com.

The site says the Sox have an 18.9% chance of making the playoffs. Here’s how they explain their numbers:

How do we calculate these statistics? Basically we simulate the rest of the season millions of times, based on every team's performance to date and its remaining schedule. We then look at how many "seasons" a team won its division or won the wildcard, and voila - we have our numbers.
The trick, of course, is to determine what chance each team has of beating every other team. Our method is to use simple team statistics (e.g. runs scored and runs against) to predict how each team will fare against all others. For those of you familiar with baseball prediction, we use a variation of the Bill James "Pythagorean Theorem" to predict results. Pretty smart, huh? That's why we call this prediction mode "Smart mode".
Let’s hope they’re wrong. The Sox are 3.5 games back of the Twins, who have a Magic Number of 34. The Good Guys have two more against the O’s – the worst team in the A.L. – while the Twinkies play the first-place Rangers two more times. But then things switch around. The Sox entertain the Yankees, while the Minnesotas visit the lowly Mariners. At least, we’re not playing the A.L. Central. Go Sox!

P.S.  This The Update's 400th post since we changed over from emailing to blogging.  Our stat counter registers 16,290.  It's a small audience, but there are those who love it.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I’ve asked this question before, so you should know the answer: Q. When is winning one game of a three-game series a good thing? A. When you’ve already lost the first two. Last night, the White Sox turned a potential disaster into a good thing by beating up the Twins 11-0.

Mark Buehrle was in command, scattering five hits and just one walk in seven innings of shutout ball. J.J. Putz pitched two-thirds of an inning before taking himself out due to injury. Tony Penal finished the eighth without incident, and Bobby Jenks, pitching in the lowest-leverage situation I can remember seeing him in, preserved the 11-0 lead he was handed in the ninth.

But the real story was the hitting. The Sox pounded out 21 hits, led by Paul Konerko’s 5 for 5 night, which included his 31st homer (tied for second in the league) and a double. (Any thoughts of a cycle must be quickly dismissed, given Paulie’s speed, or more accurately, his lack of it).

Since 1920 (as far back as the Baseball-Reference.com database goes), the Sox are 18-1 when accumulating 21 hits. The one loss was 16-15 to the Tigers during the 1925 season. (Mike Sehr, you remember that one, don’t you?) The 11 runs against the Twins is the second-lowest total in any of those 21-hit games, the lowest being a 10-1 win over Detroit. This is the third time the Good Guys have scored 11 against Minnesota, the other two times being back in 1967 and 1974.

It’s no surprise that the Sox won when they scored 11 runs since their record since 1920 when doing so is 226-20. I guess what’s surprising is that they lost 20 games with that kind of run total. It’s the third time this year they’ve done it this season, the other two times being in April against the Blue Jays and in July against Seattle.

Enough about that, back to Paulie. Captain Crunch has a good shot at reaching the 40 home run mark. And he’s playing better than his career averages. Before last night, he had an on-base percentage of .382, slugging percentage of .572, and an OPS of .955, compared to his career marks of .355,.497, and .852. Paul Henry Konerko deserves a contract extension. Get ‘er done, Kenny.

The Sox are now 4.0 games back of the Twinkies and get to play teams that they should beat. But we know how that’s worked out in the past. This time, they need to take care of business. Go Sox!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Carol's Comments

Special Guest Commentator Carol Zelek had this to say on the state of the Sox:

The Tragic Number is 1 – they must win tonight! Almost all of our losses to the Twins have been by one run so we were close, but as the saying goes, it only counts in horse shoes and grenades.
We need another arm on the staff. Kenny Williams should go to the Cubs with an offer for Carlos Zambrano. I’m thinking Freddy Garcia to fill the spot Big Z would leave. He’s won 10 in the AL he should be able to win his next 5 in the NL. Zambrano would even out the pitching staff and he’d be a switch hitter off the bench who can bunt and hit for power. No anger management either – the madder the better -- he could take it out on the Twins. There’s a lot of money attached to his contract so the Cubs would have to eat a good portion of that but I think it would be a win/win.

Another day, another 7-6 come-from-behind victory by the Twins over the White Sox. The Sox continue to hit – six runs and ten hits ought to be good enough to win – but their pitching has let them down. This time it was Gavin Floyd, the best pitcher in baseball since June 8, who couldn’t get anyone out. Floyd gave up all seven Minnesota runs, and did so in only 5.1 innings.

Let’s look on the bright side, or at least what will have to serve as the bright side. The Twinkies have the best record in baseball since the All-Star Game. No team can keep up the pace that they’ve been playing at lately, so we can expect them to cool off, just as the Sox did after their stint as best team in baseball for an extended period. The Sox, by contrast, have lost eight out of their last 10 games. We know that they won’t continue to play .200 baseball for the rest of the season. Hell, even the 1962 Mets, the poster child for lousy teams, had a .250 winning percentage. (You: How could they have a .250 percentage in a 162 game season, since that would mean they had 40.5 wins? Me: They had two rainouts that weren’t made up, so they played only 160 games and won an even 40.) So, I expect us to close the gap. Today would be a good time to start cutting into that 5.0 game lead.

Before I close, I want to raise the question of Jim Thome as a Hall of Fame player. His home run the other night was the 12th walk-off homer in his career. That ties him with Babe Ruth, Jimmy Foxx, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, and Frank Robinson – all HOFers. (Thanks to The Washington Post for this tidbit.) And Thome’s OPS+ stats are the eighth highest for any player 39 years old with at least 80 games in a season. Copy and paste this into your browser to see the original work on this factoid: http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/7854

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, Roger Clemons chances took a hit today. The Washington Post is reporting that he has been indicted for lying to Congress about performance-enhancing drugs. Someone more cynical than I (yes, there are such people) might say that everything said on Capitol Hill is a lie, so what’s the big deal? But this is a big deal.

Fortunately, neither Jim Thome nor my personal favorite, Frank Thomas, has been linked to PEDs. Both belong in the Hall in my view, and I’m sure that the Big Hurt’s plaque will show him in a White Sox cap. Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I stayed late at the office, so the game was just starting when I was driving home around 8 pm, and of course I tuned in on my XM radio. Before I passed the Lincoln Memorial, the White Sox were trailing the Twins 3-0, and I switched to the all-Springsteen station. Better the Boss than another loss.
But I couldn’t help myself and tuned in again to check on the score. By this time, the Sox had made a game of it and I thought, the team has some spunk after all. (I immediately flashed back to the first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show when Lou says to Mary, “You know what? You’ve got spunk…. I hate spunk.”) And when the Sox tied it up in the top of the ninth on an Alexei Ramirez home run, I started watching on the MLB Network.

I was ecstatic when the Good Guys pulled ahead in the top of the tenth, but was holding my breath when Matt Thornton came out again to pitch in the bottom half of the frame. In my book, Matty is not a guy you want out there for more than an inning. I haven’t looked at the stats, but my sense is he doesn’t do well if he has to sit between innings.

Well, whether the stats prove my point or not, last night’s result did. Jim Thome faced Thornton for the first time and crushed a home run with a man on for the first walk-off home run at Target Field. Yes, that Jim Thome, the one I’ve been saying we should have re-signed to be our DH. He was a cheaper version of Adam Dunn that we wouldn’t have had to give up anyone to get.

Big mistake last night and big mistake in not signing him. In only 81 games, Thome has 17 home runs this year. He’s got a .273 batting average, not far off from his career average of .277. His on-base percentage is .391, a bit below his career mark of .404. But his slugging percentage is .593, 35 points better than his .558 lifetime percentage. Tell me the team that couldn’t use someone with Thome’s average production for a year. I’ll tell you who could use him: The White Sox.

The 7-6 loss (there’s another loss when scoring six runs) drops the Sox to 4.0 games behind the Twins and makes the next two games must wins. Go Sox!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I keep saying that I’m going to keep this short because the results are no fun to write or read about. This time I mean it.

The Tigers meat-loafed the White Sox over the weekend, winning the last two games of the series on blown saves by J.J. Putz after the Sox took the opener 8-4. Putz is closing because Bobby Jenks has back spasms. Putz appears to have neck spasms or perhaps he’s just choking.

Meanwhile, Minnesota continues to win, sweeping the A’s, to extend their lead to 3.0 games over the suddenly fading Sox. The Good Guys head to Target Field for a three-game series with the Twinkies. We can wind up anywhere from tied for first (3-0 will do it) to 6.0 games behind (0-3) by the time it's over. Let’s hope for the former. Go Sox!

(See, I told you I was going to keep it short.)

Friday, August 13, 2010


Update subscribers Brian Frankl and Bob Koza both told me that they were going to the game last night, so I’m holding them responsible for the White Sox losing to the Twinkies, 6-1, and falling one game out of first place. When I trekked up to Baltimore last week to watch the Good Guys take on the O’s, they won their only game of the series. I guess we know who’s got the mojo and who doesn’t.

In fairness to Brian and Bob, last night it was Gavin Floyd and the Sox batters who lost their mojo. Floyd, who’s been the best pitcher in baseball for the last couple of months, was far from it yesterday. He gave up six runs, but he’d have had to have thrown a shutout to win, since the Sox could push only one run across the plate.

You expect to lose when you give up six runs: This season, the Sox are 3-8 (.273 winning percentage) when the opponent crosses the dish six times, which is about the same as the 98-257 (.276) record for all teams. And you expect to lose when you score only one run: the Pale Hose are 2-11 (.154) when scoring only one run, which compares favorably with baseball as a whole at 38-332 (.103). But you don’t expect to lose when you get nine hits like the Sox did on Thursday: In 2010, the Sox are 11-2 (.846) when getting exactly nine safeties; all teams combined are 219-187 (.540). So it was bad pitching and an inability to drive in the men on base that made the difference. But Brian and Bob could have told us that even without these stats. Go Sox!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


What a difference a day makes. Tuesday the White Sox scored six runs and got blown out by the Twinkies, 12-6. Yesterday, they again plated six, but coasted to a 6-1 win over the Minnesotas to regain a share of first place in the division. The difference, of course, is pitching. “Unsteady” Freddy Garcia was off; John Danks “for the Memories” was on.

Danks lasted eight innings and gave up only one run on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven. He pitched out of jams when he needed to, and had an easy time of it when he didn’t let the leadoff man get on. Sergio Santos mopped up with an inning of scoreless, hitless relief. Also important: The rest of the bullpen rested.

Carlos Quentin had quite the night. Q stroked his 24th home run of the season and second of the series. He also singled and was hit by a pitch twice. (The second HBP prompted home plate umpire Mike DiMuro to issue warnings to both benches. Hawk complained because the Sox were vics not perps (I’m watching too much TV), and their pitchers would lose the ability to throw on the inside part of the plate for fear of being ejected.) That means Q’s batting average and on-base average for the game each was a perfect 1.000, and his slugging percentage was a gaudy 2.500. While it doesn’t make sense to look at single game stats like those, it’s fun to toss them out there.

Speaking of stats, since it’s fresh in my mind from yesterday's post, I’ll update the Sox’s record when scoring exactly six runs. The Good Guys are now 11-5 and have held their opponents to an average of 2.0 runs in the 11 wins and to an average of 8.6 runs in the five losses. Night and day in terms of how the Sox pitchers are performing.

My question is why the attendance was only 32,033. The team is playing one of its arch-rivals. First place is on the line. What does it take to sell out the Cell? C’mon Sox fans, support your team. Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


You don't want to read about it, and I don't want to write about it, so this is going to be short.  The Minnesotas came to the Cell last night tied with the White Sox for first place in the A.L. Central Division.  They left a full game in front, knocking the Sox out of the top spot they've held since July 11.  It was ugly, and I don't mean Winning Ugly.  I mean 12-6  losing ugly.

The Sox pitchers didn't have it.  Freddy Garcia surrendered six runs on eight hits -- including second inning home runs to Jim Thome, J.J. Hardy, and Joe Mauer -- and a walk in just 2.1 innings.  Tony Pena gave up four runs on three hits -- including a Michael Cuddyer four-bagger -- and four walks in 3.2 innings.  And Scott Linebrink allowed two runs on two hits -- including a dinger by Jason Kubel --  in 2.0 innings.  Only Bobby Jenks, pitching in a non-save situation, was able to shut down the Twins, permitting no runs in his 1.0 innings pitched.

The six runs should have been enough to win.  The Good Guys are now 10-5 this year when scoring exactly six runs.  I would have thought they'd be better.  The problem is that in the five losses, they've given up an average of 8.6 runs.  In the 10 wins, by contrast, they've held the opposition to an average of 2.1 runs.  Two of the losses have been to the Twins.  None of those wins has been over a team that currently has a winning record.

Bottom line is the Twins have the Sox's number.  The Pale Hose need to go 6-2 the rest of the year just to break even in the season series.  And remember, there's no coin flip if the two teams tie.  Better record gets home-field advantage in any tie-breaker game.  Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Well, at least Edwin Jackson did his part. The recent acquisition by the White Sox pitched six strong innings, giving the Orioles only one earned run (two total) on six hits and one walk, while striking out seven. But it wasn’t enough because two usually reliable teammates couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain, leading to a 3-2 loss in ten innings.

Paul Konerko, whom we think of as having a high baseball IQ, had a brain cramp. With the bases loaded and one out, Paulie fielded Matt Weiters’s sharp ground ball, turned, appeared to step on first, and then threw home too late to prevent Luke Scott from scoring from third. The obvious play was to come home with the throw for the force and have A.J. Pierzynski whip the ball back to first to get the second half of the double play. Even if the batter beats A.J.’s throw, you’ve still prevented the run from scoring and still have a force at any base. After the game, Konerko explained that he realized his mistake midstream, intentionally did NOT step on first base, and fired home to try to get the force. Paulie said, "But what actually happened on that play, if you watch the replay, I never touched first base. The first-base umpire, if you watch the replay, called that guy safe -- and then out for running out of the base line.” Either the home plate umpire didn’t realize that the force was still on, or the throw was too late to nab Scott.

The other steady performer who failed in the clutch was J.J. Putz. After Konerko redeemed himself by knotting the game in the top of the ninth with his 28th home run, Matt Thornton came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and struck out the three batters he faced. The Sox wasted a chance to score in the top of the tenth, and in the bottom half of the frame, Putz came on to pitch. His first pitch to Brian Roberts was a ball. His second pitch was a walk-off homer, and the Sox lost their third game of the four-game series to the team with the worst record in baseball.

Of course, if the Sox had hit better last night – they had only five hits total – or scored more runs during the series – they had a total of 10 in the four games against a horrible pitching staff – the Good Guys might still have a lead over the Minnesota.

But they didn’t and they don’t. The Twins come into the Cell tonight tied for first with the Sox at 63-49, both teams 33-20 at home and 30-29 on the road. Using Bill James’s log5 method of determining the chances of winning a single game between two teams, we see that the home Sox (.623 winning percentage) have a 61.65% chance of beating the road Twins (.508 winning percentage). It’s a complicated formula, but when neither team has an exceptionally good or bad record, a rough approximation of the formula would be to add the difference between the two team’s percentages to .500. Here, that works out to .623 - .508 + .500 = .615 or 61.5%. Close enough and a number we like. Now they need to turn that theory into reality. Go Sox!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Jerry Reinsdorf needs to pay me to go to White Sox games.  Friday night, I worked late and didn't make the trip to Baltimore, and the Sox lost 2-1, despite a brilliant effort by John Danks.  Sunday, I was playing golf in the morning and the round went long, so I decided to watch on TV, and the Sox lost 4-3.  But Saturday, I drove up to Charm City with Bob Shapiro, sat relatively close to the Sox dugout, and cheered the Sox on to a 4-2 come-from-behind win over the O's.

Gavin Floyd pitched a beauty: seven innings, six hits, two runs. A.J. Pierzynski doubled down the right field line to tie the game at 2-2 in the seventh. Alex Rios singled up the middle to drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth. Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz each tossed an inning of no-hit, no-run relief to preserve the victory for Floyd. As far as we know, Bobby Jenks was available, but Ozzie chose not to use him to close the game. Putz did a nice job of it, but what does this mean for the future? If you don’t use Jenks as the closer, does he lose confidence and therefore the ability to pitch altogether? If you do use him as a closer, can he get the job done? Inquiring minds want to know.

Going into the series, we liked the idea of playing the worst team in baseball. Unfortunately, since Buck Showalter took over as manager this past week, the Orioles haven’t been playing like it. We’ve got one more chance to beat the O’s on Monday night – and no, I won’t be able to make that game since my wife is flying in that evening from Chicago. The Sox will just have to win without my personal mojo – unless, of course, Reinsdorf hires me as a good-luck charm.

The Twins, who visit the Cell later this week, trimmed the Sox’s lead to a half game. But the good news is the Good Guys are still in first, where they’ve been since July 11. Hang on to your hats, this is going to get even more interesting this week. Go Sox!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


This afternoon’s post is about relationships among the White Sox. The way we figure it, Freddy Garcia must be pissed at Bobby Jenks, and Jenks must love Mark Kotsay and Sergio Santos.
Garcia was the starting pitcher in today’s getaway game with the Tigers, and he continued his mastery over Detroit. In 6.2 innings, Steady Freddy gave up only one run on five hits and four walks while striking out four. With a 2-1 lead, he turned the ball over to Matt Thornton, who got the last out of the 7th inning and the first out of the 8th without yielding a run to pick up his 18th hold of the season. J.J. Putz took over from there, and finished the frame without allowing a hit, walk, or run, earning his 13th hold of the year. That set up Bobby Jenks for the save, who came in with the score 4-1 (more on that in a moment). But as a rule, Jenks does not do well when he comes in with a three-run lead, and today was no exception. He wound up giving up three runs, thus blowing his third save of the season. It was the second time since the All-Star break that he cost Garcia a win.

Fortunately, Mark Kotsay, who had homered in the top of the ninth to extend the lead to 4-1, saved Jenks’s butt. In the top of the 11th, Kotsay tripled in two runs to establish a 6-4 lead that Sergio Santos, who pitched the 10th and 11th innings, preserved. The win was Santos’s first in the major leagues and very timely.

The Twins came from behind to beat the Rays this afternoon, so had the Sox lost, the lead over Minnesota would be down to 0.5 games. With the win, it is instead 1.5 games. Thanks, Mark and Sergio. Bobby, what is Ozzie going to do with you? We’ll find out this weekend, I’m sure. Go Sox!

So, how’s that Daniel Hudson for Edwin Jackson trade looking to you now? After Hudson won his first start for the Diamondbacks by throwing eight innings of one-run ball while giving up only three hits and a walk, lots of folks (including all of us here at The Update) were worried that the White Sox had gotten taken. After last night’s performance by Jackson, things are looking a bit more even.

Jackson tamed the Tigers for seven innings, spacing the nine hits and one base on balls he gave up so that Detroit could create only one run – and that came after J.J. Putz took over and uncharacteristically surrendered a free pass of his own and an RBI single. Thankfully, Matt Thornton put out the fire in the eighth, and Bobby Jenks earned his 23rd save by tossing a perfect ninth to preserve the 4-1 win for Jackson. By the way, Jackson fanned six Bengals, reaching the mid to upper 90s with his fastball, while Hudson whiffed just three; but it’s the runs that matter, and in that category it was a standstill. Of course, Hudson accomplished his feat in the National League, while Jackson had to face a DH – not to mention the overall superiority of the A.L.

Three of the four Sox runs resulted from Dr. Longball making a couple of house calls. Paul Konerko continued his tear, hitting his 27th home run of the season. Paulie also singled in Juan Pierre, and the two RBIs boosted his total to 76 on the year. Carlos Quentin scored Paulie ahead of him when he poked his 21st dinger to elevate his RBI total to 69.

The Sox finish up this four-game series in Detroit with a day game – remember, we’re awfully good when the sun shines – before heading to Baltimore for another four. A week ago, the series in Camden Yards looked like easy pickin’s as the O’s had the worst record in baseball. They still do, but have won two in a row under new manager Buck Showalter. I guess I’ll have to bring my personal mojo to bear by attending some of these games. Hopefully, the Sox can build on their 1.5 game-lead on the Twins, who eked out a victory over the Rays last night in extra innings. Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Here’s what matters: The White Sox are still in first place. In fact, by splitting a day-night doubleheader with the Tigers while the Twins were losing to the Rays, the Sox picked up half a game on Minnesota to extend their lead to 1.5 games.

Here’s how they got there: In the first game, a 12-2 win, Mark Buehrle turned in another masterly performance by throwing 7.2 innings of two-run, seven-hit ball. Combined with some hot bats for the Good Guys, that was enough to rest the high-leverage guys in the bullpen and allow Scott Linebrink to make what’s becoming an increasingly rare performance. Liner didn’t disappoint, finishing up the game without allowing a run.
The bats were hot again, as the Sox pounded Tiger pitching for 15 hits. Every spot in the order contributed at least one, although it took Dayan Viciedo’s home run pinch-hitting for Omar Vizquel to preserve the honor of the two hole. Alexei Ramirez really shone by going 4 for 5, and Alex Rios and Juan Pierre each had two hits and joined Viciedo by hitting homers. For Pierre, who also doubled, it was his first dinger in 809 at bats.
As my Dad says, the Sox should have saved some of that firepower for the nightcap. Under the lights, they were able to manage only one run, Paul Konerko’s 26th home run. But it hardly mattered how little they scored because Carlos Torres – called up to take Daniel Hudson’s spot in the rotation (what’s the matter with Edwin Jackson?) – gave up five runs on nine hits. At least he lasted six innings. Sergio Santos, Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz, and Bobby Jenks sat out again, as Linebrink pulled double duty for the day, this time pitching a perfect seventh inning, and Tony “The Game’s Out of Reach” Pena mopped up, somewhat sloppily – two runs, one of them earned.

The doubleheader continued a trend for the Good Guys. The team’s record during day games is now 22-12, a .647 winning percentage or a 105-win pace. After dark, the club is 38-34, a .528 winning percentage or an 85-win pace. Maybe the wrong Chicago team is playing most of their games in daylight. The Pale Hose need to Take Back the Night. Go Sox!

Monday, August 2, 2010


The White Sox Meat Loafed the A’s over the weekend, winning the first and third games of the three-game series, allowing the Good Guys to hang on to first place. But just barely. By a half game over the hard-charging Twins.
The Sox won Friday behind rookie Lucas Harrell, who became the first Sox pitcher since Kip Wells to win his first start in the big leagues. Harrell, called up to replace the traded Daniel Hudson (sent to Arizona along with minor-leaguer Mike Holmberg for pitcher Edwin Jackson), gave up only one run in his debut. The Sox bats supported him quite nicely with six runs on 13 hits, including three by Dayan Viciedo, and a pair each by Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, and Gordon Beckham. With the acquisition of Jackson, Harrell won’t be in the rotation, but it’s nice to know that he can do it if needed.
We won’t talk about Saturday, other than to say John Danks didn’t have it for a change, the offense didn’t bail him out, and the Sox lost 6-2.

Sunday saw the continuation of Gavin Floyd’s journey from scrap heap to top of the heap. Floyd threw seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball, and earned his seventh win (preserved for him by the Big 3 – Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz, and Bobby Jenks). Since June 8, in our view, no one’s been better, and the stats back us up. Floyd is 5-2 with a 1.06 ERA (9 runs in 76.1 innings). Opposing batters have hit only .198 against him (54 hits in 271 at bats). And even when he didn’t get the wins, he still pitched great. Oh, yeah. Brent Lillibridge struck the big blow, a bases-loaded triple that provided three of the runs in the 4-1 victory.

Now it’s on to Detroit for four games. Although the Tigers have been slumping lately, they’re still 35-17 at home, while the Sox are 26-25 on the road. Meanwhile the Twins travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays, who are 32-21 at home, while Minnesota is 26-26 away from Target Field. The good news is that the Rays are hot too, so maybe they’ll do us a favor and beat the Piranhas. Go Rays! Go Sox!