Thursday, June 30, 2011


Turnabout is fair play. Two nights ago, the Rockies third base coach sent the runner home on a bloop single to short center field to score the winning run in a 3-2 Colorado win. Last night, White Sox third base coach, Jeff Cox, had Carlos Quentin tag on a short fly to right field, and Q scored the winning run in a 3-2 Sox win when the throw was off line and got away from the Rockies’ catcher.
Cox justified his decision to send Quentin, who is slow enough that he needs to put his four-way flashers on when he’s running, by saying that the Sox haven’t been scoring many runs lately and sometimes you just have to go for it. Cox must have just watched Risky Business – Sometimes you just gotta say, “What the f---” – but whatever prompted it, it worked.
Mark Buehrle pitched 7.0 innings of two-run ball, but there are three things he’ll probably remember from this game: his first career double, a shot down the right field line; getting picked off second base shortly thereafter; and his first error since September 13, 2009. Three relievers – Matt Thornton, Brian Bruney (he got his first win of the season), and Sergio Santos (he picked up his 16th save) – held the Rocks scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings.
The fielders contributed as well. Gordon Beckham started a key double play with the bases loaded to end a Colorado threat. And Alex Rios made a diving catch of a sinking liner to center in the ninth.
The Sox moved to 4.0 games back of the division-leading Tigers and Indians and improved the team’s record to 39-42. They play the rubber game with Colorado today and then return to Chicago to play the Cubs at Wrigley and the Royals and Twins at the Cell. All three opposing teams are well below .500 – the Cubs and Royals, -15, and the Twins, -11 – so it’s a good opportunity for a winning streak. I know, I know. You can throw away the record books when the Sox play the Cubs, we don’t take advantage of KC like we used to, and we never beat the Twins, but what fun is thinking like that? Go Sox!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The White Sox were too smart for their own good last night. With two out in the bottom of the 13th inning and the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki on first base, Ozzie had the outfield playing deep to minimize the possibility of a run-scoring double. It seemed like the right play, given the Good Guys were playing in cavernous Coors Field with its faraway fences in the gaps. But Ty Wigginton – there’s no “loss” in his name, but there is a Ty in his first name and a Win in Wigginton – blooped a single on which Tulowitzki never stopped running until he scored the winning run in a 3-2 loss.
The Sox, who had led 1-0 and 2-1, fell to 4-8 in extra-inning affairs and wasted a lot of good pitching performances. Gavin Floyd gave up only six hits and two runs in his 7.0 innings pitched, while Chris Sale (2.0 IP), Matt Thornton (1.0), and Jesse Crain (1.1) all shut out Colorado in the highest scoring venue in the Big Leagues. Will Ohman was the victim of the duck snort single that plated the game winner, but there’s no basis for concluding that he would have escaped defeat even if the runner had stopped at third.
One quirky note from last night’s game: Four guys named Matt took the mound during the contest – Thornton for the Sox and Belisle, Reynolds, and Lindstrom for the Rockies. I guess you could say that the welcome Matt was out.
The loss didn’t result in the Sox losing ground to the Tigers, who also lost, so the South Siders are still 5.0 games back in the division race. The series at Coors continues tonight. Go Sox!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Adam Dunn is killing the White Sox. Yesterday, he struck out four times in four at bats in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals. Over the last six games, he’s whiffed 16 times – a rate that would put the Big Donkey at double the strikeouts anyone else has ever had in a single year.
And the Sox pretty much have to let him continue to do it, having given him a four-year $56 million contract last off-season. You can’t sit a guy making $14 million per year and no one else seems likely to take on his contract.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see this coming. I knew he strikes out a lot – Mark Reynolds is the only player in baseball history to have struck out more in a season than Dunn did last year when he racked up 199 K’s. But he’s always hit a raft of home runs to go along with it.
He’s had 46, 40, 40, 40, 40, 38, and 38 dingers over the seven seasons starting in 2004, the first year Dunn had at least 500 at bats. And with the more homer-friendly Cell, it seemed like a sure thing that Adam would reach his usual number of taters.
But that’s not the case. He’s got seven homers in just shy of half a season’s worth of games. Maybe it’s being a DH. Or maybe it’s being in the American League. Whatever it is, Dunn’s failure to produce is costing the Sox big time.
The Good Guys, who saw their streak of 17 consecutive interleague series wins come to an end this weekend, are now in third place, 4.5 games behind the Tigers. They’re on their way to Colorado to face the Rockies in the thin air of Coors Field. Maybe the Sox will be able to get ‘er dunn out there. Oops, I mean “done.” Go Sox!

Monday, June 20, 2011


There’s been talk lately of a National League club moving to the American League to even up the number of teams in each league at 15. I don’t really care if that happens, but what I would like to see is the White Sox move to the National League. The Sox went into the weekend with a Meat Loafing of the Dodgers to their credit and added a second helping to their plates by taking two outta three from the Diamondbacks to up their Interleague record to 4-2 on the year.
Going back to the World Series season – don’t we all wish that were possible? – the Sox have compiled an amazingly good record against the Senior Circuit. The Good Guys were 12-6 in The Season. A year later, the 2006 Sox posted an even better 14-4 record. The horrible 2007 Sox reversed those numbers, falling to 4-14, but since then, the South Siders have gone back to dominating the N.L. In 2008, they were 12-6; in 2009 (almost as bad as 2007 overall), the Sox were also 12-6; and last year, the Pale Hose were an MLB-best 15-3. That’s a record and winning percentage from 2005 to the present of 73-41 and .640, respectively. Play that out over 162 games and the Sox win 104 games! Maybe the Cubs will agree to switch with their cross-town rivals. The North Siders certainly haven’t taken advantage of being in the National League, so why not let the Sox try?
Enough fantasizing, back to the reality of what happened:
  • Friday, it was a matchup of traded pitchers, and erstwhile Sox Daniel Hudson triumphed over current Sox Edwin Jackson, 4-1. Hudson improved to 8-5 by throwing a one-run, three-hit complete game. Jackson lasted only 6.2 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits. Paul Konerko provided the only Sox run with his 17th home run.
  • Saturday, John Danks continued his reversal of fortunes by hurling 7.0 innings and allowing only one earned run in a 6-2 win. Home runs by Konerko – again – and Alex “I guess he isn’t dead after all” Rios gave Danks all the help he needed to boost his record to 3-8. When is that won-lost slate something to be happy about? When you start out 0-8 like Danks did!
  • Sunday – Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there – Phil Humber did it again. The temporary substitute starter solidified his position as best in the rotation by quieting the D-Backs for 7.2 innings, permitting only two runs and seven hits in the 8-2 victory. Paulie blasted his third homer in three days and Rios added his second in two games. Konerko is having an All-Star year, batting .327 (up from .319 just nine games ago) with a .586 slugging percentage. If he makes it, and there’s really no one else from the Sox who really deserves it nearly as much, Captain Crunch will add his sixth appearance in the Midsummer Classic to his resume – having previously been on the A.L. squad in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2010. I personally don’t fill out All-Star Game ballots, but if I did, I’d vote for Konerko.
The Sox schedule of games against the N.L. continues with a set against the Cubs, who just got Meat Loafed by the Yankees. If ever there were a time I was rooting for a double forfeit, that series was it. Go Sox! Beat the Cubs!

Monday, June 13, 2011


All you really need to know is that the White Sox are only 3.5 games out of first place in the Central Division, behind both the Surprising Indians (who not surprisingly appear to be regressing to the mean) and the Tigers. Of course, if the Sox had just split with the Tigers so far this year instead of going 1-5, then the Good Guys would be 35-33 and a half game ahead of Detroit, rather than 33-35 and trailing. By the way, don’t look now, but the Twins are only 5.5 games behind the South Siders, and the two teams meet in Minnesota for a three-game series starting Tuesday.
The Sox put themselves in this position by Meat Loafing Oakland over the weekend, after taking the Thursday opener. It should have been a sweep, but Sergio Santos imploded in the ninth inning on Friday night, allowing the A’s four runs, which was more than enough to secure a 7-5 win. Sergio had another chance to blow a save on Sunday – Ozzie was showing Santos that he trusts him as the closer – and almost betrayed that trust. He allowed a run to make it close, but did not surrender the lead and the Sox won 5-4.
Adam Dunn hit another home run in the series yesterday (he hit his sixth of the year in the opener on Thursday), but still has only one hit all year against lefties. Paul Konerko on the other hand continued on fire. Paulie was 5 for 12 over the weekend, with a homer and three RBI. The Captain entered June hitting .301 and has hit safely in every game this month to raise his average to .322. Definitely All-Star material, but with the paltry attendance so far this season, it seems unlikely there’ll be enough fan votes to put him on the team. Presumably, he’ll be selected to fill out the roster unless he totally goes in the tank in the next month.
The attendance woes come back to the bad record, which actually isn’t all that much worse than it was last year at this time. In 2010, the Sox were 34-34 after 68 games. This year, they’re only slightly behind that at 33-35. By the way, the Good Guys have played more games than anyone else in baseball. Quirky scheduling or good luck with weather? Don’t know, and don’t care since it’ll even out in the end (unless it doesn’t matter to the standings). Go Sox!

Friday, June 10, 2011


I don’t have the stats, but I’m pretty sure the White Sox win an extremely high percentage of their games when every starter gets at least one hit, like they did in handing the Oakland A’s their tenth loss in a row, 9-4 at the Cell. Six Sox players had a pair of safeties – Juan Pierre, Alexei Ramirez, Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Omar Vizquel, and Gordon Beckham – and even Adam Dunn got one, his sixth home run no less. One of Paulie’s hits was also a homer, which gives him 15 on the season, good for fourth place in the American League.
The beneficiary of all this offense was Mark Buehrle. The Sox mainstay stuck around for 7.0 innings and gave up only three runs, seven hits, and a walk, while striking out four and throwing 66 of his 103 pitches for strikes. Jesse Crain and Will Ohman finished up and didn’t blow the lead for Buehrle, enabling him to improve his record to 6-4.
Cleveland was idle, so the Sox picked up a half game on the Surprising Indians. The Good Guys now trail the Tribe by only 5.5 games and sit in third place in the division immediately behind Detroit. The Sox face the slumping A’s three more times this weekend, and let’s hope that new Oakland manager, Bob Melvin, has to wait until his team’s next series to get his first win in his new job. Go Sox!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The White Sox wasted two home runs by Carlos Quentin last night, losing to the Mariners in 10 innings, 7-4. Sergio Santos couldn’t get anyone out in the final frame, surrendering three runs to dig the Sox a hole they couldn’t climb out of in their last raps.
Q bashed his 16th homer of the season in the first inning, which staked Gavin Floyd to a lead he held onto for a while – just not long enough. Between Floyd’s three runs allowed – he still contributed a Quality Start in his 6.0 innings – and Jesse Crain’s one, the Sox trailed 4-2 when Q hit No. 17 in the eighth with a man on to pull the Good Guys even.
Santos threw a scoreless ninth, but it looked like one inning was his limit last night. And the Sox batters could do nothing to recover. It was the South Siders’ 13th blown lead of the season. Had they won, it would have been their ninth comeback win of the year, but it was not to be.
It seemed to me that the team has played a lot of extra-inning affairs in 2011, so I checked. The Sox have already put in for overtime pay 10 times in 64 games, which works out to 25 games on the season. Given their 4-6 record in those contests, that projects to 10-15 for the season.
Ten games this early in the year seemed like a lot, so I checked the number of games – and win-loss records – going back to the halcyon days of 2005. Here’s what the stats show: 2005, 11-8; 2006, 7-7; 2007, 6-4; 2008, 8-1; 2009, 4-4; and 2010, 6-6. Overall from the start of the World Series year to the present (approximately 6.4 seasons), the Sox are 46-36, a .561 winning percentage. Compare that to their record in games that did not go into extra innings during that period: 474-454, or a .511 winning percentage. So the Sox have played much better in overtime games than they have otherwise – just not this year. Go Sox!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Coming into the season, Phil Humber was supposed to be a temporary fill-in until Jake Peavy was ready to pitch. Well, Humber pitched well enough to force Ozzie into using a six-man rotation when Peavy returned. And now that Jake is headed back to the DL, it’s a good thing that the White Sox have Humber.

It was especially good last night, as Humber pitched the Sox to a 5-1 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners. Humber lasted 7.2 innings before yielding to Chris Sale and gave up only one run on five hits. He threw 69 of his 106 pitches for strikes, lowered his ERA to 2.87, and improved his record to 5-3.

Humber had help from Carlos Quentin, who bashed his team-leading 15th home run and drove in two runs. Omar Vizquel also plated a pair and became the second oldest player to triple (behind Julio Franco). The other run came courtesy of Paul Konerko’s 14th homer.

Konerko’s home run was the 379th of his career, good enough for a tie for 61st place on the all-time list. Does Paulie have another 21 home runs in him this season so that he reaches the 400 mark? At his current pace of 14 in 63 games, Captain Crunch projects to 36 for the year, which would give him 401 for his career. That’s cutting it kind of close, but it wouldn’t take a superhuman effort for him to pull it off. By the way, 401 would leave him in 48th place, right behind Duke Snider. Along the way, Paulie would pass former White Sox great and current coach, Harold Baines, as well as former Sox player Albert Belle.

With the win, the Sox kept pace with the Surprising Indians, remaining 6.0 games behind the division leaders, and reduced the Magic Humber, err, Magic Number to 108. There’s one more game with Seattle at the Cell, so Go Sox!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


As Cheech Marin said in Tin Cup: Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! John Danks finally joined the ranks of the winners yesterday, not allowing Seattle an earned run (though there was one of the unearned variety) in a 3-1 White Sox victory. Danks looked like the pitcher we all thought he would be this year, tossing 7.1 innings, while scattering seven hits and a walk to go along with six strikeouts. Jesse Crain finished up the eighth inning without imploding like he did over the weekend against the Tigers to earn his ninth hold. Sergio Santos pitched a perfect ninth inning to notch his eleventh save.

A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin each banged out a couple of hits, and Paul Konerko smacked his 13th home run, a solo shot. Juan Pierre and Gordon Beckham each contributed a single, but that was it for the Sox. As you know from recent posts, the Good Guys aren’t very good when they collect only seven hits, but that stat gets trumped when they allow only one run (4-1 record) or seven hits (5-3). Moreover, it was Seattle at the Cell, where the Mariners have now lost nine straight. Ah, the M’s at home, the Red Sox on the road. If only every game were like that.

If the Surprising Indians continue to lose – they’re up to five in a row – we’re going to have to remove “Surprising” from their name. But that would be a good thing. As it is, even with getting Meat Loafed by Detroit over the weekend, the Sox are only 6.0 games behind the Tribe, and the Magic Number is down to 109. Keep it up against Seattle, who’s here for two more games. Go Sox!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Surprisingly, the Surprising Indians lost yesterday, reducing the Magic Number for the idle White Sox to 115 and the Tribe’s lead over the Good Guys to 8.0 games. The Sox are actually two games ahead of their record last year, but that was before they go super-hot. It’ll be hard to duplicate the feat of winning 25 out of 30 games, but it’ll be a ton of fun if it happens. Tonight is a good time to start winning against our own division, as the Tigers – the team I actually worry about the most now that the Twins have the worst record in baseball – invade the Cell.

Since there’s no game to talk about, let’s take a look at some stats. Specifically, I was wondering how much small ball – regular readers know I’m not a fan – Ozzie is playing this year.

To do that, let’s start with stolen base attempts. The Sox have tried to swipe a base 51 times this season, which is a bit shy of the league average of 54. But there are eight teams with more attempts, led by Toronto and Texas with 71. Even Oakland, which was profiled in the book Moneyball as disdaining the stolen base, is ahead of the South Siders with 54 tries. On the other hand, of the five teams with fewer attempts, three of them are in the Central Division. Cleveland has 42 tries, while Detroit and Minnesota have 29 each.

But maybe it’s a good thing that Ozzie is running the boys more often since the Sox already lead the league in being caught stealing. Their total of 25 far exceeds the league average of 15. Math majors among you will already have figured out that the Pale Hose have successfully stolen 26 bases, which lands them in 11th place in the A.L. and well below the league average of 39.

What about sacrifice bunts? Well, there the Sox rank a little higher. Their total of 20 puts them second in the league behind Detroit, and significantly ahead of the average of 14 sacrifice hits. So what does all that mean? I’ll leave it to you to decide, but as yesterday’s post demonstrated, we’re not winning much unless we get double-digit hits.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, what about home runs? The answer is that the Sox have hit 56, which places them above the league average of 51. I expect that ranking to improve considerably. First, the team has played a disproportionate number of games away from the Cell, a noted home run haven. Second, the weather is finally starting to warm up, which is more of a factor to a Chicago team than say a Texas or Anaheim team. Third, two of the Sox with good to very good home run totals last year are mired in horrible slumps. Adam Dunn has got to break out of this sooner or later; he’s been too consistent a home run hitter over too many years not to start pounding the ball better. Alex Rios, while not blessed with Dunn’s power, is certainly better than he’s shown so far. Watch out for the Sox when those two guys get hot.

Finally, here are some random stats to chew on: The Sox are first in the league in being hit by a pitch by a big margin over the next team; second in plate appearances and at bats; surprisingly, fourth in hits; and dead last in intentional walks. Go figure. Go Sox!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Double-digit hits for the third consecutive day – this time a dozen – led to a third consecutive White Sox win over the Red Sox. Gavin Floyd (6-5) pitched just well enough to win, allowing four runs on nine hits in his 6.2 innings, and Chris Sale (1.1 IP) and Sergio Santos (1.0 IP) gave up no hits or runs in relief to pick up their third hold and ninth save, respectively. But as the lead indicates, the real story was the hitting.
Four players had multi-hit games. Paul Konerko was 3 for 4, including a seventh inning single that drove in the lead run and a ninth inning homer (his 12th) that plated two insurance runs. Alexei Ramirez was 3 for 5 and raised his average to .297. (During the series in Boston, the Missile was a white-hot 9 for 14.) Brent Lillibridge, who is making a good case for being a starter, was 2 for 5, with his sixth home run, to up his average to .308. This time it was Lilli who started and Alex Rios who came in as a defensive replacement for Carlos Quentin, who also was 2 for 5.
It’s a good thing the Sox collected 12 hits, since they have a losing record at every hit total that isn’t double digits, and a winning record at every hit total at or above that mark, except when getting 14 hits.  Oddly enough, the Sox reached 10 hits six times by April 8, but did so only two more times that month.  They notched 10 or more hits 13 times in May and are 1 for 1 in June.  Don't stop now, boys!  Go Sox!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Here’s a trade that Kenny Williams should try to make: Fenway Park for U.S. Cellular Field. With Tuesday’s 10-7 victory, the White Sox are 2-0 at the Fens in 2011 and have won six straight while being hosted by the Red Sox. Besides, we’d pick up an iconic park to compete with the one already located in Chicago. Actually, I’m not that impressed with Fenway as a place to watch a game, but that could have something to do with the fact that my only time there, I was sitting so far back in center field that I couldn’t even see the Green Monster. (And don’t get me started on Wrigley, which is just old and actually ugly until the ivy comes in and has too many obstructed view seats.) It’s just that our Sox seem to play well in Boston.

That’s more than I can say about the Cell, where the home team is a pathetic 10-13. Fortunately, the next three squads to visit don’t have winning records on the road: Detroit, 12-15; Seattle, 13-13; and Oakland, 13-15. Maybe we can finally feast on some home cooking.

Anyway, Phil Humber continued to show yesterday that he’s more than just a rotation-filler (while Jake Peavy was out), picking up the win to improve to 4-3 on the year. Humber pitched 7.2 innings and gave up four runs – though two of them scored on a Big Papi home run that Will Ohman surrendered after Humber hit the showers. Brian Bruney tried his best to give the lead away in his first appearance for the Chisox, permitting two earned runs in 0.2 innings pitched – an ERA of 27.00. Chris Sale earned the save by striking out the only man he faced.

Alexei Ramirez led the offense with a 4 for 5, 3-RBI night, but there were plenty of hits to go around. Every starter except Alex Rios had at least one, including Adam Dunn. Dunn is now hitting .185, which is exactly 100 points below his weight. That’s to be expected though, as the Big Donkey had never batted .285 in his career. Rios’s .201 average also puts him on the Jenny Craig team, since he weighs in at 210.

The win leaves the Sox 8.5 behind Cleveland, with one more game to play in Fenway before heading back to the Cell – the team’s home until Kenny makes that trade I’m pushing. Go Sox!