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Tag: White Sox

What Do You Think, We All Wear Uniforms?

I used to like the idea of Ozzie Guillen more than I actually liked Ozzie Guillen himself, but upon further consideration, I’ve changed my mind–I really like Ozzie Guillen. Doesn’t matter that I don’t like everything that comes out of his mouth. I like that he calls ‘em like he sees them. Ozzie is a bona fide character in the land of the canned-quote. He’s a reporter’s dream and a fan’s best friend, cause he never stops talking and always adds fuel to the fire. Most of the time, he just cracks me up. I’ve really enjoyed the bits I’ve seen of the MLB Reality Show about the White Sox.

Yanks are in Chicago for the weekend which means Ozzie is wearing bad-guy black for us. At least it won’t be dull.

AJ the Mysterious is on the hill tonight for the Bombers against ol’ Freddy Garcia. Fresh from the Lo-Hud Oven, here’s the line-up (Cliff does the rest):

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Francisco Cervelli C
Ramiro Pena 3B

The Rays and Sox also play this weekend–who do you root for? Here’s hoping the Yanks take two-out-of-three.

Feels like the playoffs are starting now and will continue–even through a couple of series against the Blue Jays and especially Buck’s “New and Improved!” Orioles–until they officially begin in October.

Never mind the holiday, Let’s Go Yan-Kees!

Dig in:

2010 Chicago White Sox

In the American League last year, only the Mariners allowed fewer runs than the White Sox, but only the M’s and Royals scored fewer runs. General Manger Kenny Williams has made a lot of changes to the White Sox dating back to his acquisition of a then-injured Jake Peavy at last year’s trading deadline, but despite all of his tinkering, I’m expecting more of the same from the Sox this year.

In April, the White Sox’ offense–restocked with Mark Teahen, Juan Pierre, controversial late-season waiver claim Alex Rios, and the ghost of Andruw Jones, the last being far and away the most productive of that quartet–has obliged by scoring just four runs per game (better than only the M’s, Indians, and Orioles), while the bullpen, stocked with veteran arms, leads all major league pens with 11.45 strikeouts per nine innings and is second in the AL to the Tigers with a 2.79 ERA. Twenty-five-year old lefty Jon Danks has been among the league’s best starters in the early part of his fourth season (3-0, 1.55 ERA, 4.33 K/BB, league-leading 0.82 WHIP). The Sox just need the rest of the rotation to shape up to fulfill the team’s destiny as an unbalanced mediocrity.

Fortunately for the White Sox, the guys who need to shape up are Jake Peavy, Mark Buehlre, Gavin Floyd, and Freddy Garcia. Peavy and Buehlre are givens. Floyd has allowed a .406 average on balls in play after four starts, so positive correction is guaranteed. Garcia, well, he’s 35, has made just 23 starts over the past three seasons, and has gone 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA this season despite a .217 BABIP, so maybe he won’t be there, but he’s the fifth starter, so the Sox will take what they can get there.

Looking at this weekend’s series, on paper, Garcia versus Andy Pettitte tonight is a win, and Danks versus Javy Vazquez on Saturday afternoon is a loss, which boils it down to a Sunday rubber game between Buehrle and Phil Hughes. I’m looking forward to that one.

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Chicago White Sox II: Same As It Ever Was

Prior to the Rangers’ just-complete series win in the Bronx, the only series the Yankees had lost in the second half came against the White Sox in Chicago. The Sox took three-of-four in that weekend series as July turned to August. The first win came via an unearned run off Andy Pettitte in a 3-2 game. The next two came by a combined score of 24-9 as the Sox tore into Sergio Mitre, Alfredo Aceves, A.J. Burnett, and Phil Coke, who combined to allow 22 of those 24 runs.

Since then, the White Sox have acquired two high-profile players, but have yet to see any benefit from either addition. The first actually occurred on the eve of that last series, when the Sox traded for injured Padres ace Jake Peavy. I analyzed that deal for SI.com:

The White Sox’s trade for Jake Peavy appears on its surface to be a trump card designed to keep them in the division race. It is not that. . . . Peavy is hurt. He tore a tendon in his right ankle in early June, hasn’t pitched since, and isn’t expected back for several of weeks — if at all this season. Certainly the White Sox could benefit from activating Peavy down the stretch if they’re still within striking distance (they’re 2½ games out entering the weekend), and would benefit from his presence in the postseason should they get there. But more likely, the Tigers, with Washburn, are going to win the division.

Indeed, the Sox have since fallen to four games behind the Tigers as Peavy remains on the DL while the Sox have scrambled to fill Clayton Richard’s spot in the rotation. Richards’ spot has come up four times since he was dealt to San Diego in the Peavy deal. The Sox won the first two with spot starters, but have lost the last two behind Freddy Garcia, who will start again on Sunday after Peavy took a liner off his elbow in what was supposed to be his last rehab start.

The other big acquisition was their waiver claim of the Blue Jays’ Alex Rios. The White Sox seemed like one team that could actually benefit from taking on Rios and his contract given their proximity to first place and the .224/.280/.311 line their center fielders had put up prior to Rios’s arrival. However, Rios has started just eight of 13 games in center since joining the Sox, including just three of the last eight and is hitting a mere .200/.213/.333 in that limited time. Rios isn’t helping the White Sox at all, but he’s still going to cost them $59.7 million over the next five years. There’s still a month to go in the season, but Kenny Williams’ claim of the 28-year-old Rios is already looking like a worse move than the contract J.P. Ricciardi signed the 27-year-old Rios too last April.

It will be a great story if Peavy and Rios suddenly emerge to carry the White Sox to the Central title in September, but it ain’t gonna happen. In the meantime, the team the Yankees face this weekend is much the same one they faced at the beginning of the month, minus speedy second baseman Chris Getz, who is out with an oblique strain, and with better work from their bullpen (led by the major’s top set-up man), but weaker work from their rotation.

Tonight’s game pits lefty aces Mark Buehrle and CC Sabathia against each other. The two have had wildly disparate Augusts:

Sabathia: 5-0, 2.65 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 9.40 K/9, 7.8 K/BB, 1.2 HR/9
Buehrle: 0-3, 6.03 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 2.59 K/9, 1.5 K/BB, 1.7 HR/9

On top of that, Sabathia and Buehrle have met up ten previous times without Buehrle ever picking up a win. CC is 6-0 in those match-ups.

Jose Molina starts again today as Jorge Posada continues to rest his bruised ring finger. Same lineup as yesterday.

In other news, the Yankees have decided to put Joba Chamberlain back in regular rotation, but to honor his innings limit by taking him out early. Sounds like a move to long relief minus the baggage of the word “bullpen.” This is a viable option because of the team’s lead in the division and rosters expanding on Tuesday, thus deepening the bullpen in support of Joba’s short starts. Given how poorly Joba’s pitched on irregular rest and how well he’s pitched in short stints in the past, this does seem like a better plan, even if it will drive some fans nuts to see Joba repeatedly pulled after five or fewer dominant innings.

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Chicago White Sox

Chicago White Sox

2009 Record: 51-51 (.500)
2009 Pythagorean Record: 51-51 (.500)

Manager: Ozzie Guillen
General Manager: Kenny Williams

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): U.S. Cellular Field (105/105)

Who’s Replaced Whom:

  • Chris Getz (minors) replaces Orlando Cabrera
  • Scott Podsednik replaces Nick Swisher and Brian Anderson
  • Gordon Beckham (minors) replaces Joe Crede
  • Jayson Nix replaces Juan Uribe
  • Mark Kotsay replaces Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Ramon Castro replaces Toby Hall
  • Clayton Richard and Jose Contreras inherit Javier Vazquez’s starts
  • Tony Peña replaces Nick Massett
  • Randy Williams replaces Boone Logan

25-man Roster:

1B – Paul Konerko (R)
2B – Chris Getz (L)
SS – Alexei Ramirez (R)
3B – Gordon Beckham (R)
C – A.J. Pierzynski (L)
RF – Jermaine Dye (R)
CF – Scott Podsednik (L)
LF – Carlos Quentin (R)
DH – Jim Thome (L)

Bench:

L – Dewayne Wise (OF)
R – Jayson Nix (IF)
L – Mark Kotsay (1B/OF)
R – Ramon Castro (C)

Rotation:

L – Mark Buehrle
R – Jose Contreras
R – Gavin Floyd
L – Richard Clayton
L – John Danks

Bullpen:

R – Bobby Jenks
R – Octavio Dotel
L – Matt Thornton
R – Tony Peña
R – Scott Linebrink
R – D.J. Carrasco
L – Randy Williams

15-day DL: RHP – Bartolo Colon

Typical Lineup:

L – Scott Podsednik (CF)
R – Alexei Ramirez (SS)
R – Jermaine Dye (RF)
L – Jim Thome (DH)
R – Paul Konerko (1B)
L – A.J. Pierzynski (C)
R – Carlos Quentin (LF)
L – Chris Getz (2B)
R – Gordon Beckham (3B)

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Chicago White Sox Redux: Fight To The Finish Edition

Untitled The Yankees haven’t seen the White Sox since late April, when the Yankees took two of three from the Pale Hose in Chicago. Surprisingly little has changed for the Sox since then. The White Sox had a slim 2.5 game lead in the AL Central when the Yankees left the Windy City on April 24, and arrive in the Bronx tonight holding an even smaller 1.5 lead over the Minnesota Twins. The Sox briefly slipped down to third place in early May (though they were never more than 2.5 games out of first), but otherwise have been battling the Twins for the division lead all season long. The two teams haven’t been more than three games apart since June 19, when the Sox had a four-game lead, and the White Sox haven’t been more than a game behind since May 15.

A year ago, the White Sox stumbled to a surprising fourth-place finish with a mere 72 wins due largely to the impotence of their offense, which fell from third-best in the AL in 2006 (5.36 runs per game) to dead last in the league (4.28 R/G). It should come as no surprise, then, that the Sox’s resurgence this year has been led by their resurgent offense, which has scored 5.05 runs per game, the fifth-best rate in the league.

Leading that charge, and thus throwing his had into the ring for league MVP, has been Carlos Quentin, who was acquired in the offseason from the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league first-baseman Chris Carter, who was subsequently flipped to Oakland in the Dan Haren deal. Slotted in as the D’backs’ starting right fielder last year, Quentin suffered through an injury-plagued season and struggled mightily in his major league stints, but crushed the ball when rehabbing in the minors. A career .313/.413/.527 hitter in the minor leagues, the 25-year-old Stanford product won the Chisox left field job out of camp this year and proceeded to set the junior circuit on fire with .288/.394/.571 rates and the league lead in home runs.

Unfortunately, the fragile Quentin broke his right wrist when punching his bat during an at-bat on September 1 and is out for the season. Similarly, first baseman Paul Konerko is out indefinitely after spraining a ligament in his right knee during a run-down on September 9. Konerko suffered a decline last year that was part of the offense’s problem and has continued that decline this year. Still, his injury moves Nick Swisher to first base, creating a hole in the lineup filled by minor league veteran Dewayne Wise. The 30-year-old Wise has hit well for the Sox this year, but he’s a career .220/.256/.389 hitter in the major leagues even with his solid 91 plate appearances as a White Sock mixed in. Quentin’s injury makes room for deadline acquisition Ken Griffey Jr. to play full time despite his having hit just .245/.330/.347 since returning to the AL.

That all leaves the Chicago offense in the hands of the resurgent Jermaine Dye. Dye was the World Series MVP when the Sox won in 2005 and an MVP candidate in 2006 (.315/.385/.622), but last year he was one of the main reasons that the offense collapsed as he was barely above league average, and was far worse for most of the season prior to a hot August. This year he’s back to bashing (.295/.348/.555), but with Quentin out, the only other man in the lineup who’s meaningfully above average is 37-year-old Jim Thome, who has been healthier this year than last, but less productive on a game-to-game basis.

The Sox’s postseason hopes are further imperiled by the season-ending Achilles’ tendon rupture suffered by Jose Contreras, which has handed the fifth-starter’s job to rookie Clayton Richard, who has a 7.09 ERA in seven major league starts.

Still, this year the Central has been one of those divisions that no one seems to want to win. The Indians came within a game of the World Series last year, but never got off the mat this year and cashed out early by flipping C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers three weeks before the deadline. The Tigers were the preseason favorites, but have traced a parabolic path this season, starting out poorly, looking unbeatable in June, and since falling back below even the Indians. The Twins have been in the fight all season but took an inexplicably long time to bring Francisco Liriano back up from the minors (he’s gone 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA since returning). In fact, that could have been the difference in the division had Quentin not gotten hurt. Now things are back in flux, and the White Sox will arrive tonight desperate to keep their noses out in front.

They send reliable lefty Mark Buehrle to the mound tonight. Buehrle has made 30 starts in each of his eight full seasons in the major leagues and could pass 200 innings for the eighth-straight season with a strong outing tonight. Buehrle had a rough August (5.86 ERA), but has allowed just one run in 13 1/3 innings in September. He’ll face off against Alfredo Aceves, who aced the Angels in his first major league start his last time out and will make his first start in the Bronx tonight.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver