Wednesday, August 31, 2011


For the second consecutive day, the White Sox starter gave up six runs. Unfortunately, the bullpen didn’t shut out the Twins the rest of the way and the Sox bats fell a run short, resulting in a 7-6 loss in the series finale. Jake Peavy, who was supposed to be the team’s ace, but has turned into much more of a wild card, took the loss. Jason Frasor is the reliever who gave up what proved to be the winning run.
There were a few highlights on the offensive side of the ledger. Dayan Viciedo had another two-hit game, going 2 for 4, which begs the question of why wasn’t he brought up sooner? Paul Konerko continued his season of excellence with a 2 for 4 day. And Brent Lillibridge transformed into Lillibeast again, smashing his 13th home run, a two-run shot. His performance begs the question of why did Ozzie pinch hit Adam Dunn for him in the ninth inning? Don’t give me lefty-righty percentages as the answer; Dunn is not hitting well enough from either side of the plate to pinch hit in such an important situation – and of course, he struck out.
One interesting box score entry occurred. The Sox used a pitcher as the Designated Hitter. After Paulie got on in the ninth, pitcher Zach Stewart ran for him and replaced him in the lineup, becoming the DH. There’s no way he would have batted in that spot had the game gone into extra innings, but it’s a nice little box score anomaly.
The Tigers, meanwhile, showed why they’re in first place. Former Sox scrub Wilson Betemit doubled in the eighth to drive in the go-ahead run and lead Detroit to a 5-4 win over KC. Part of the Nick Swisher trade with the Yankees, Betemit drove in a total of three runs for the Sox in 20 games in 2009. This year, since being traded to the Tigers, and after today’s heroics, he’s got 13 RBIs in 28 games.
Well, it’s off to the Tigers’ den for a three-game series. Anything less than a sweep (now that the Sox are 6.0 games out and Detroit’s Magic Number is 22) will likely prove fatal to the Good Guys’ chances. So Go Sox!


They’re the hottest team in the American League, having won five in a row, and have beaten the Twins five straight. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, which is tied for the best in the majors. They’re three games over .500 for the first time since April 12 when they were 7-4. So may I introduce to you, the act you’ve known for all these years, Jerry Reinsdorf’s Lonely Hearts Club Band a/k/a The Chicago White Sox! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, your White Sox won again last night, 8-6, over visiting Minnesota.
Zach Stewart didn’t have it, lasting only 4.2 innings and surrendering all six runs and all seven hits. (Edwin Jackson, who went to the Cardinals in the Stewart trade, is 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA, which is pretty similar to his 7-7 and 3.92 stats with the Sox this year before being traded. Jackson is hitting 4 for 12 at the plate, which means he’s hitting twice as much as Adam Dunn. But I digress.)
Fortunately, the bullpen did have it, as Will Ohman, Jason Frasor, Chris Sale, and Sergio Santos shut down the Twins over the final 4.1 innings. Ohman got the win, Sale struck out four in his 2.0 inning stint, and Santos struck out the side and notched his 28th save.
And fortunately, the bats were alive again last night. The Sox racked up 10 hits to go along with their eight runs. Every starter except for Tyler Flowers picked up at least one, and Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios both collected a pair. Alejandro De Aza continued his hot streak: a homer, two runs scored, and four driven in. Dayan Viciedo was a mere 1 for 3 (after going 2 for 3 in his first two games), causing his batting average to fall from .667 to .556. (I wonder if Carlos Quentin knows who Wally Pipp is. But I digress again.)
The only problem last night was that the Tigers tied their game with the Royals at 1-1 in the eighth and won it with a run in the tenth. Had KC hung on the Sox Magic Number would be down to 33 and they’d be only 4.0 behind Detroit. As it is, the MN is 34 and they’re 5.0 back of the Central Division leaders. By the way, the Tigers have also gone 7-3 over their last 10, so the Sox have gained no ground over that stretch. But in the words of Hawk Harrelson, “Don’t stop now, boys.” Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This is starting to get good. The White Sox got another sparkling pitching performance – this time from Mark Buehrle – and enough hitting to pull off a 3-0 win over the Twins last night at the Cell.
Buehrle tossed 7.2 innings of shutout ball, yielding only four hits and two walks, while striking out four. The Mark of Zero picked up his 11th win of the season with help from Jesse Crain (one batter, one strikeout; 17th hold) and Sergio Santos (three batters, no hits, no runs, one strikeout; 27th save).
We don’t know whether Buehrle will be playing for the Sox – or anyone – after this season, so let’s take a moment to appreciate what he’s done for the team. This is Buehrle’s 11th year in a row with double digit wins and likely will be his 11th consecutive season throwing more than 200 innings. In his Sox career, he’s had only one losing season – in 2006 when he was 12-13. He pitches quickly, has a pickoff move so good that umpires sometimes think it’s a balk, and fields his position as well as any pitcher ever has. His Opening Day between the legs Web Gem last year is still the standard by which ESPN measures spectacular plays – the Buehrle Meter.
But he is part of the old guard. Last night’s lineup featured a raft of players who haven’t been in the Big Leagues for five years: Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza, Tyler Flowers, Brent Morel, Gordon Beckham, and off the bench, Brent Lillibridge. All of the Sox runs came courtesy of these guys: De Aza doubled and scored on a Flowers’ sac fly; Flowers doubled off the wall to drive in Viciedo; and Viciedo’s infield single allowed Ramirez to cross the plate. A good sign for the future and not too shabby for the present either.
Speaking of the present, the Sox are presently only 5.0 games behind Detroit, which lost last night to KC. The South Siders have sliced their Magic Number to 35, while the Tigers’ has held steady at 25 for the last two days. The Sox are two games over .500 for the first time since April 13, when the team was 7-5 before losing to the Angels. Let’s make it three games over. Go Sox!

Monday, August 29, 2011


Just when you think the White Sox are out of it, they go and sweep a series against the Mariners. Yeah, they’re still 6.0 behind the Tigers and Detroit’s Magic Number is only 25, but the Good Guys are above .500 again, have taken over second place all by themselves, and have still got six games to play against the Central Division leaders. Let’s take a brief look at the weekend games.
• Friday: Jake Peavy pitched just well enough to win (he’s now 6-6), giving up two runs in six innings, and the bullpen shut down the M’s the rest of the way. Brent Lillibridge, who grew up 30 miles outside of Seattle, performed some hometown heroics for the Chisox. Lillibeast, as A.J. Pierzynski calls him, blasted his 12th home run of the season, a two-run shot, that broke a 2-2 tie and provided the winning margin. With that dinger, the Sox Super-Sub pulled ahead of Adam Dunn in the home run derby. Who’d have predicted that at the start of the season?
• Saturday: John Danks was superb, again. After starting 0-8 on the season, Danks has totally turned it around, going 6-1 since then. In his start against Seattle, Danks whiffed 10 Mariners, which tied his all-time high. The complete game shutout was the second of his career. Paul Konerko drove in the first (and what proved to be the winning run) with a single. Alexei Ramirez plated the second score with a sac fly. And Alejandro De Aza ended the scoring with his second home run of the year to give the Sox a 3-0 win.
• Sunday: Gavin Floyd wasn’t as sharp as Danks, but he was in command on the mound over his 7.1 innings. Floyd allowed only two runs on five hits and struck out six to improve his record to 12-10. Dayan Viciedo staked Floyd to a 3-0 lead with a three-run home run in his first at bat since being called up. (Remember that the August 23 edition of The Update called for the Cuban Tank to replace the injured Carlos Quentin on the roster. Thanks, Kenny, for finally listening.) Tyler Flowers poked his first career grand slam to make the score 7-0, and the Sox hung on to win 9-3. Except for Brent Morel, every Sox starter had at least one hit – which almost guarantees a successful outcome.
The South Siders return home for a three-game series with the Twins before heading to Detroit for a showdown with the Tigers.  (Yikes, we face Justin Verlander, who's 20-5, in the first game of the Detroit series.) The Sox pretty much have to win five of their remaining six games with the Bengals if they’re going to make up the current deficit, but they can’t lose focus when playing Minnesota. More than one loss to the former Piranhas will make the games against the Tigers less meaningful. And we all want meaning in life. Go Sox!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Let’s talk Magic Numbers. Since this is the White Sox Magic Number Update, that seems appropriate.
The MN for the Sox is 41, a reduction of one from yesterday’s MN, courtesy of Detroit’s loss. The Good Guys’ own loss (8-0 to Jered Weaver and the Angels) prevented the Sox from cutting it to 40. The Tigers’ MN is a mere 28. Folks, those aren’t encouraging figures.
  • The Sox have 34 games remaining and Detroit has 33. If the Tigers go 17-16, the Sox must go 24-10 just to tie. So, assuming Detroit plays just above .500, which is worse than their season-long winning percentage of .543, the Sox will have to play at a .706 clip – considerably above their current .492 pace and they’ve given us no reason to believe will happen.
  • If the Tigers just continue to win at a .543 rate, they’ll go 18-15, which means the Sox need a 25-9 record (.735) from here on out to tie.
  • If the Sox play just .500 ball going forward (17-17) – a much more likely scenario – that means Detroit needs to win just 10 of its remaining 33 games to tie.
None of that seems likely. But neither did an earthquake in D.C. Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The White Sox are in Southern California, so let’s go with a show business theme to start.
Me: I’ll take White Sox for $200, Alex.
Alex: Poor fielding, bad baserunning, mental errors, mediocre pitching, and a lack of production from the meat of the order.
Me: What caused the Sox to lose to the Angels 5-4 last night?
Let’s take ‘em one by one.
• In the first inning, Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez made errors that led to a run off Mark Buehrle.
• In the seventh, Tyler Flowers tried to advance from first to third on Brent Morel’s grounder to second. Flowers, of course, was thrown out, violating baseball maxim of never make the third out at third base.
• In the bottom of the ninth, with the score tied, L.A.’s Erick Aybar singled and went to third on pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo’s single. Gordon Beckham failed to cover second on the play where there would have been a play on Callaspo trying to take the extra base. That took away the potential double play and forced Ozzie to change strategy by walking Maicer Izturis to face Peter Bourjos instead. Bourjos poked a single to score Aybar, and this game was o-vuh.
• Mark Buehrle struggled all night, giving up four runs in his six innings, though the first of them was unearned. Jason Fraser couldn’t retire Bourjos with the game on the line.
• The third through sixth hitters – Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, and Adam Dunn – were 2 for 15, with one RBI.
The one RBI and one of the two hits belonged to Konerko. It was Paulie’s 2,000th career hit, which begs the question of how likely is he to reach 3000. I hate to say it, but I’m afraid the answer is “not very.” It’s taken Paulie 1,970 games to reach 2,000 hits, so at that same rate, he’d need another 985 games to accumulate another 1000 hits. Even if he played in every game, Paulie would need another six seasons. He’d be 41 by then and it’s far from clear that he’ll be playing at that age, let alone continuing to be as productive as he’s been till now. But, hey, there are only 28 guys who are in the 3000 hit club, so it’s no shame for Konerko not to join.
Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The White Sox didn’t play last night – travel to L.A. – but they fell another half game behind the Tigers, who beat the Rays. The good news is that the Indians lost to the Mariners, meaning the Sox are now tied for second place with the Tribe, both 5.5 games back of Detroit.
Today is the ninth day the Sox have been in second place this year. The Good Guys have spent three days in first, 92 days in third, 30 days in fourth, and 10 days in last.
The team sits at .500 once again, having dipped as many as 11 games below the break-even mark (11-22) on May 6. Since then, the Chisox have gone 52-41 to square their record at 63-63.
With Carlos Quentin out, or at least day-to- day, with a shoulder injury, this seems like a perfect time to bring up Dayan Viciedo. Viciedo showed enough last season and in spring training to merit a promotion to the big league club, but has been stuck in Charlotte all year. He’s hitting near .300, with decent on-base and slugging percentages too. I think he could help on the West Coast trip that starts tonight. Go Sox!

Monday, August 22, 2011


The White Sox Meat Loafed the Rangers over the weekend, losing the opener, but coming back strong to take the last two. (For those of you who are new to The Update – this means you Howard, Dale, and David Primer, “Meat Loaf” means to take two out of three games, as in the Meat Loaf song, Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad.) Sunday’s game deserves particular mention.
Gavin Floyd gave up only three singles and a walk in seven innings while striking out six, and the bullpen preserved the shutout. But Floyd could have been a whole lot worse, as the Sox pounded out 10 runs on 16 hits, with every starter not named Alexei Ramirez getting at least one, and seven of them having at least two.
My Dad used to complain about games like this – not that there’ve been that many – saying that instead of winning 10-0, the Sox should have saved some of those runs for games when they’ll need them. Ojala! (which if I remember correctly from high school Spanish, means “would that that were so.”) But of course it doesn’t work that way. It did get me thinking about how many hits and runs the Sox average and how they do when they reach those averages.
Through 126 games in 2011 the Sox have accumulated 1094 hits. That works out to about 8.7 hits per game, which we’ll round to 9. When the South Siders collect 9 hits in a game, they’re 7-7. On the season, the Pale Hose have pushed 507 runs across the plate, for an average of 4.02 per game. In games where they score their average 4 runs, the Sox are 8-9, which is as close as you can get to .500 in 17 games. (Ok, theoretically a tie is possible if there were a suspended game, but you get the idea.) Thus, it should be no surprise that the team’s overall record is 63-63.
Well, that record leaves our boys 5.0 games behind the Tigers, who swept the Indians over the weekend. The good news there is that means the Sox trail second-place Cleveland by only a half game. What they need to do is learn how to win at home. The Chisox are a disappointing 29-36 at the Cell, although they’re a surprising 34-27 on the road. Let’s hope they keep up their road success, since the team heads to Anaheim to face the Angels. Go Sox!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


One night after collecting 22 hits, the White Sox could manage only four and wound up on the short end of a 4-1 score against the Indians. Alejandro De Aza had a single and a double, Alexei Ramirez homered, Adam Dunn singled, and that was it for the Good Guys. Mark Buehrle allowed 12 hits and four runs, ending his 18-start streak of giving up three or fewer runs. The best thing that happened last night is that the Tigers lost, so the Sox didn’t lose any ground on first-place, remaining 3.5 games behind Detroit.
I read that after the 14-inning game on Tuesday, Ozzie decided to rest Paul Konerko by having him DH and playing Dunn at first. Surprisingly, the Sox have a much better record when Paulie plays that role. The team is 19-6 when he’s the DH and 41-49 when he plays first. Even more surprising, the Sox do better with Dunn at first (16-11) than when he’s the DH (29-40). I’m not saying that Oz should make this a permanent thing, I’m just sayin’ ….
It’s the rubber game with Cleveland tonight. While it’s a bit too early to call a game a must win, it’s getting close to that time. So for today, I’m switching it up: Just win, baby!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I tried to stay up. I really did. But when the White Sox and Indians went to the 11th inning and it was past midnight here in the Eastern time zone, I went to bed. I figured the Sox would lose because they’d already frittered away the lead multiple times, including a blown save by Sergio Santos in the 9th inning. But I figured wrong, as Juan Pierre came through with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 14th inning to give the Sox an 8-7 win over the Tribe.
The Sox banged out 22 hits, a total the team had reached 13 times before that since the 1919 season when’s stats start, and have exceeded 18 times, with the highest total being 29 hits in a 29-6 win over the Kansas City Athletics on April 23, 1955. In the prior 13 games with 22 hits, the Pale Hose had never scored fewer than 11 runs, so last night’s output of only eight runs set a new record for inefficiency.
Among the 22 hits, were five triples: two by Alejandro De Aza and one each by Tyler Flowers, Alexei Ramirez, and Alex Rios. That was the first time since 1986 that any team has had that many three-baggers in a game and the first time the database shows the Sox ever had exactly five – though two times in the 1920 season they had six, both wins.
Sox pitchers set a record for strikeouts, accumulating 19 Ks on the night. The previous high of 18 came in the 19-inning win over the Red Sox on July 9, 2006 that yours truly and son Jeff attended. Also in attendance at that game were Update subscribers Mike Sehr, Lisa Pildes, Judy Deutsch (and husband Tom), Howard Silverman (and son Bradley), which I know because at various points in the game, I sat with all of them.
The win moves the Sox over .500 for the first time since April 15. It keeps them 3.5 games behind the Tigers. And it moves them to within a half game of second-place Cleveland, whom they play again tonight. Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


So I’m driving home from vacation and turn on the Tigers-Twins game (thanks, XM) just in time to hear Jim Thome hit his 600th home run. I had to smile even though it was for Minnesota – though the fact that it came against first-place Detroit helped too.
Everything you hear about Thome is that he’s a great guy; he was the runaway leader for nicest guy in baseball in Sports Illustrated’s poll of ball players. And he’s never mentioned in connection with steroids unlike three of his fellow 600 Club members (Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriquez, and Sammy Sosa). At 40 years, 353 days, Thome is the oldest guy to hit 600, but did it in the second fewest at bats (8,137) behind Babe Ruth (6,921). For those of you who haven’t memorized the list the others are Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Ken Griffey, Jr.
For me, the Thome memory that stands out the most is his home run to win the tie-breaker game with the Twins, 1-0. That was the last time the White Sox made the post-season, though they’ve still got a chance this year.
While I was gone, the Sox played the bottom feeders – the fourth-place Twins, the last-place Orioles, and the last-place Royals – and won eight of ten games. (Check the back issues of The Update. The Sox always do well when I’m on vacation and not posting.) That brought them back to .500 and 3.5 games behind the Tigers. It’s the seventh time this season they’ve been at the break-even mark, with 0-0, 2-2, 7-7, 42-42, 43-43, and 52-52 being the others. Two surprises: that gap of 70 games between 7-7 and 42-42 and the fact that they haven’t been over .500 since April 15, when they were 7-6.
They say that every team wins 60 games and loses 60 games, but it’s what happens in those other 42 that makes the difference. Well, the Sox have won their 60 and lost their 60. Now, it’s time for the difference makers. I figure they need to win 87 to take the division, which means they have to go 27-15 the rest of the way. Tonight’s the night to start. Go Sox; Beat Cleveland!

Friday, August 5, 2011


I must have seen this sign many times before, but last night was the first time it registered: DiGiorno Pizza, the official pizza of the Chicago White Sox. Really? In a town known for its deep dish pizza, the Sox chose to affiliate themselves with a thin crust version that comes out of a freezer?

Why am I talking about pizza? Because I don’t want to talk about the game. The Sox lost to the Yankees 7-2 to complete a sweep and boost the losing streak to six games. The highlight while I was watching was Alejandro DeAza laying down an almost perfect bunt along the third base line, only to have it roll foul – much to Hawk’s amazement that the grounds crew’s manipulations would allow any ball to roll foul. Eventually, DeAza chopped one that Derek Jeter had to backhand, and the Sox speedster beat the wide throw for an infield single. DeAza came around to score on Juan Pierre’s sac fly to tie the game at 1-1. But then things started to get ugly, and I just couldn’t watch anymore.

That means I missed Adam Dunn’s 11th home run. Dunn is batting .300 over his last three games and .226 during the ten-game homestand. The latter might not seem like much, but it’s more than 65 points higher than his average at the end of the last road trip.

Hopefully, Dunn will stay “hot,” as the Sox need some offense when they travel to Minneapolis to play the Twins. The Northmen are only 1.5 games behind the South Siders (who remain 6.5 games out of first), so if the Sox get swept again – perish the thought – they’ll be in fourth place and fading into irrelevancy. Go Sox! Beat the Twins!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The White Sox made history – at least in games I can access from the database, which includes all contests from 1919 through the present. For the first time, the team gave up 18 runs and 23 hits. Before last night, they’d given up 18 runs 13 times, all losses. They’d also given up 23 hits five times, also all losses. But they’d never given up the precise combination of 18 runs and 23 hits. When you’re a Sox fan, you have to take your accomplishments where you find them.

Looking at it from the offensive side of the equation – seven runs on 14 hits – it was not unique, but it was against the odds. The Sox record when they score seven runs in a game is 759-191, a .798 winning percentage. The team’s record when collecting 14 hits is 390-120, a .765 percentage. Surprisingly, the record when doing both is only 47-25-1, a .653 percentage. I would have thought that it would have been at least as high as the lower of the two, but that’s not what my search shows.

Anyway, the Good Guys have now lost five in a row since climbing back to .500. They stand 6.5 games behind Detroit and are in danger of playing themselves out of the division race. With only 53 games left, the time to do something about it is now. Go Sox!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


When I saw that the Yankees had scored their fifth and sixth runs in the top half of the seventh inning and the game was called before the bottom half of the inning could be played, I wondered whether the score should be 6-0 as the newspaper reported or 4-0 if those last two runs didn’t count? Some recollection from my youth told me that because the home team White Sox didn’t get their last raps, the score reverted to what it was at the end of the last complete inning of play – 4-0. So I consulted the Official Baseball Rules.

According to Rule 4.10(c)(1), if a game is called, it is a regulation game if five innings have been completed. Rule 4.11 states that the score of a regulation game is the total number of runs scored by each team at the moment the game ends, and Rule 4.11(d) provides that a called game ends at the moment the umpire terminates play. Taken together this means that the game was regulation because five innings (and more) had been completed, and as a regulation game, the final score is what the score was when the game was called. Now if those two runs the Yanks scored in the top half of the seventh had given them the lead, then under Rule 4.12(a)(5), the game would have become a suspended game that would have to be completed at a future date.

It’s really all academic anyway. The Sox weren’t going to come back from a 6-0 deficit. The largest lead they’ve overcome to win a game all year is three runs. Going into last night's game, they were 6-40 when trailing after six innings, 13-41 when the opponent scores 4+ runs, and 11-31 when the other team gets 10+ hits.  It just wasn't going to happen.

The only good news on the night is that the loss wasn’t Adam Dunn’s fault. He got one of the three Sox hits in the game, though he did add a strikeout to his total. It’s interesting that Dunn has struck out 80 times at home and “only” 58 times on the road in an equal number of games. The Big Donkey is giving Sox fans what they seem to enjoy – a chance to boo their own player. Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The White Sox don’t seem to be able to do the big things, so they have to do the little things right to win, especially when facing a pitcher like C.C. Sabathia. They didn’t and they didn’t, committing several miscues and losing 3-2 to the Yankees before a “crowd” – where are you Sox fans? – of 24,142.

Brent Lillibridge missed a cut-off man, which led to New York’s first run. Adam Dunn, playing first base in place of the injured Paul Konerko, had a ball bounce off his glove, which led to the Yanks’ second run. Lillibridge couldn’t get a bunt down with men on first and second, popping out instead. Small things that added up to a big loss.

Sabathia was hittable last night – the Sox collected 10 hits with Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski, and Gordon Beckham picking up two each – just not by Dunn. But that’s true of just about every left-handed pitcher, since Big Donkey is now batting .039 (3 for 77) against southpaws. By comparison, he’s a veritable hit machine against righties, batting .203, which is more than five times better against them than against lefties. Dunn’s on-base percentage is also way better – almost 10 times as high – against righties: .039 vs. .384. And so is his slugging percentage, .213 against left-handers, .323 against right-handers.

Think he’s feeling the pressure of playing in front of the home-town “fans,” who boo him every time he strikes out – which he did three times last night to raise his season total to 137? Well, his slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) at home is .132/.253/.277 and on the road is .194/.337/.323.

Hey, there’s plenty of blame to go around on this team, but the biggest share of it has to fall on the shoulders of the biggest guy, Adam Dunn. Go Sox!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Let’s get the results part of this out of the way quickly, because I want to focus on something else. The White Sox got Meat Loafed by the Red Sox over the weekend, winning on Friday and losing the last two games. That leaves them 4.0 games behind Detroit and 1.5 games behind Cleveland. The Yankees visit the Cell for four games, so the Good Guys have their work cut out for them, especially since they’re going to have to do it without Paul Konerko for at least the first game. Paulie took one for the team on Sunday, getting hit in the leg by a pitch that forced in the lead run – but the lead didn’t hold up and neither did Konerko. He went down hard and stayed down for a bit. I doubt it was intentional since it led to a run, but regardless it knocked him out of the game and the lineup for today’s game. Get well soon, Paulie, for your sake and for ours.

The subject that’s on my mind is Frank Thomas. The Big Hurt was honored on Sunday with the unveiling of a bronze statue in the left-field concourse area. It shows Thomas finishing a swing one-handed, as was his style. His graphic is now in place on the outfield wall, along with other Sox players who have had their numbers retired. By the way, No. 35 originally wore No. 15 when he started with the Sox (Dick Allen’s old number).

I don’t know if fans realize how good Big Frank really was. He racked up some pretty amazing stats during his career – a batting average of .301, on-base percentage of .419, slugging percentage of .555, and 521 home runs. Only three other players in baseball history have done all of those things: Babe Ruth, Jimmy Foxx, and Ted Williams. All of them are Hall of Famers, and Frank Thomas should be too. That doesn’t even count his two MVP awards in 1993 and 1994, or what should have been his third in 2000 when the admitted steroid-user, Jason “the Juicer” Giambi, stole Thomas’s third MVP award.

I don’t want to hear about his having been a DH for a part of his career. If that doesn’t count as being a player, then they shouldn’t allow it. And it’s hard to pinch hit four to five times a game, which is essentially what DHing is like. Just ask Adam Dunn. If Frank Thomas isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer, then the system needs to be revised. I look forward to attending the ceremony when it happens. Go Sox! Go Big Hurt!