Tag Archives: for the win!

Hopefully the last mental health break I’ll need for a while. Or: The 2011 White Sox are still baffling on every level. And, I have stuff to say.

So, as you may or may not have heard, the White Sox were crushed, humiliated and put on display by the Yankees last week.

Which obviously meant that the next logical step was to go to Minnesota and squish the tar out of the Twins, who were previously 7-1 against the White Sox.

Seriously, when it comes to this team, I don’t even know anymore.

But, we’re into August and all I can do is take it one day at a time and enjoy the things that are worth enjoying, and stop worrying about the other things and just try to ignore the big picture.

And, hey, there were some good things this weekend. And some bad. To get it out of the way, let’s start there.

1) Adam Dunn continues to defy logic, time, space and several of the laws of physics while he continues to have pretty much the worst season in the history of all mankind.
2) After Paul Konerko took a pitch to his knee, he missed a few games and has been limping around the DH role for a few and he’s said that he’s not really feeling any better. This is why (other than Carlos Quentin, who has turned plunking into a sport), I never, ever want my players to “take a pitch”. The short-term gains of getting on first just aren’t worth the risks. Get well soon, Paulie.

But, onto the good!
1) Carlos Quentin, when streaking, can carry a team. A 2 HR day in Minnesota, followed by a random day on the bench, followed by a 2 double day seems to indicate that he’s on a hot streak. We’ll take it.
2)Alex Rios appears to have changed his wonky batting stance to something approaching normal – for the second time this season. It worked (temporarily) when he did it earlier this year. Let’s hope it sticks this time.
3) Brent Morel took a 4 pitch walk. AND worked a count to 3-2. In the same game. This is momentous, trust me.
4) Brent Lillibridge had started taking practice grounders at first base last week, just in case. And, well, with the other option at first being Adam Dunn while Konerko is injured, Lillibridge made his first appearance there on Saturday as a defensive replacement for Adam Dunn (and homered on his only at bat) and started there on Sunday (and homered on his first at bat) and was pleasantly adequate. Lillibridge just needs a catcher’s helmet and he can be the White Sox version of Don Kelly. (AND – momentously – he also singled in the same game. 2 HRs and he still remembered he doesn’t ALWAYS have to swing for the fences. Progress!)
5) Alejandro De Aza is a pleasant surprise so far. The Minnesota announcers would like to take him for themselves.
6) We met Zach Stewart, who was solid – not spectacular – but did exactly what we needed him to do. He pitched well enough to win and gave Jake Peavy a day of rest to be, well, the old Jake Peavy and own the game from start to finish.

Basically, the Twins/White Sox series was summed up perfectly by Jim Margalus at SouthSideSox.com.

In case you missed it, the White Sox didn’t just sweep the Minnesota Twins this weekend. The White Sox:

Beat them at Target Field.
Beat them with sellout crowds at Target Field.
Had better starting pitchers.
Had a better bullpen.
Had a better offense.
Played better defense.
Beat them with the long ball.
Beat them with the running game.
Let the Twins lose.

That was fun. Let’s do it again sometime.

Before I digress for a long moment, let’s pause to take a look at Brent Lillibridge and his shiny new first baseman’s glove.

And, on a different note, I didn’t say a ton about “the trade” around the time, but I read an article that sorta iked me, so now I have stuff to say.

Basically, the article implied that the whole trade was a ploy to get Tony LaRussa to the White Sox next year. Let’s ignore the fact that Ozzie’s option has been picked up for next year (since, yes, he could be fired).

What the White Sox had to do this trade deadline:
1. Dump salary.
2. Get *something* for one of those 6 starting pitchers. Hopefully one who is a free agent next year.

What the White Sox did:
1. Dumped salary.
2. Picked up a strongly-rated prospect (who fits right in on Redneck Row) and a quality right arm for the pen who was born in Chicago, so if he doesn’t go back to TOR, he might stick around. And, you know Ozzie always loves some good pitching.
3. Did not blow up their bullpen – which has been pretty much lights out since May – unlike TOR, which had almost no one essential and they could afford to send whoever it took.
4. Did not take on yet another OF. Cheap or not, there’s still nowhere to put him. And, if they had to move half their bullpen, who would they send? Bruney wasn’t going to cut it, Ohman probably wouldn’t either, Sale is supposed to be a starter next year, Santos is the cheapest closer in MLB and I’m pretty sure that Thornton and Crain are a little too pricey to replace – even with lesser options.

What the Cardinals needed:
1. Short term gains in pitching.
2. To get rid of a player your manager didn’t get along with.

What the Cardinals did:
1. See above.

What the Jays needed:
1. Alex Anthopoulos has had his eye on Colby Rasmus. And, AA gets what he wants.

What the Jays did:
1. Picked up a good pitcher they could fire to St. L (since the Jays don’t really have any established arms to send).
2. Handed over a few replaceable bullpen arms and an outfielder – none of whom were part of the future of the Jays.
3. Took on a relatively large contract they could easily afford for an INF they don’t really need.
4. Acquired Colby Rasmus.

So, Tony La Russa may or may not be coming to Chicago, but looking above, it doesn’t seem like the whole thing was a complicated conspiracy to get Colby Rasmus away from Chicago AND St L at the same time. It seems like everyone sort of got what they needed and – sure, AA probably won in the end – but, there’s no reason to think there was any more to this trade than there seems.

But, maybe I’m naive.

On to Baltimore!

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Almost no time for baseball right now. Or: Thank heavens for the web gems.

So, I’ve been working the night shift all week, which means: no baseball for me.

But, things have been going well this week. I’m psyched. I am beyond psyched that the good Gavin Floyd came back from the All-Star break. Even if he continues to stupefy me. 3-hit the OtherSox, but getting lit up by the equivalent of the Minnesota Twins triple A team.

Regarding “the trade” – Not a bad deal, considering it was pretty remarkable that the White Sox found someone to take on Mark Teahen’s salary (I’m pretty sure Mark Teahen might be the 3rd highest paid player on the Blue Jays right now). I was pretty sure that was an impossible task. I’m glad that Alex Anthopolous was willing to pocket Mark Teahen’s salary to buy low on Colby Rasmus, because that might have saved at least one other White Sox player from hitting the trade market. The entire trade was, obviously, a salary dump. But, at least they picked up a righty for Ozzie to potentially use a little bit so he can stop panicking that he’s wearing out Jesse Crain, even if Jason Frasor was sad to be leaving Toronto and grew up as a Cubs fan. :) And, Zach Stewart has the potential to turn into a nice little project for Don Cooper. Maybe he’ll end-up as a two-inning man, but at least is a potential option in case there’s some sort of injury to the injury-prone starter who-shall-remain-nameless.

And, now I can go back to dreading the remainder of the non-waiver trade period and hope the White Sox can stave off a fire sale.

I definitely had more that I wanted to say about the trade (also the Toronto aspect), but this week has sucked the life out of me and this is really all have the energy for. Really, I can probably summarize it as: I’m glad Mark Buehrle’s not a Cardinal right now.

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And, so it continues. Or: Yup, even when the White Sox can’t beat the Indians, the Indians beat themselves.

So, the Indians lost today. Fortunately for the White Sox, they were the ones wearing the visitor’s jerseys. Winning a game 4-2 with 3 unearned runs is pretty much the White Sox way. But, if the opposing team is dropping fly balls, throwing pick-off attempts into the outfield and throwing wild pitches, you have to take advantage of it.

There’s a lot of unrest in the White Sox camp right now. There are intermittent coaching meltdowns, the offense is still on vacation, there are trade rumors swirling left and right and it’s possible that (even with no money to spend) the White Sox could look entirely different in a couple of weeks, Phil Humber is taking a (temporary) trip back to the bullpen, and the entire (current) team is more or less playing below expectations, but because of the insanity of the AL Central, they’re not entirely out of the race.

So, sure, the White Sox won this game only because the Indians gave it away. But, it wasn’t all bad. Edwin Jackson pitched another solid outing, Omar Vizquel made a fantastic game-ending diving stop, Chris Sale is doing such a fantastic job out of the bullpen that he might just pitch himself out of a starting job next year, and even though he wasn’t his sharpest, Sergio Santos still managed to collect his 20th save of the year – not bad for a guy who has been a pitcher for about 15 minutes. And, not to mention, special mention of the ability of the White Sox to wear their sunglasses over their eyes and not on their hats.

And, at the end of the day, my team still likes each other – which makes watching the ridiculousness that is the 2011 White Sox a little bit more bearable.

And, just in case you had forgotten, Omar is awesome. And, this might be my favorite picture of the entire season so far.

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Welcome back, White Sox. Or: So, the cure for what ails the White Sox is the future AL Cy Young winner?

So, it’s both very surprising and not-at-all surprising that the White Sox won the opener against Detroit. On one hand, Verlander has been unrelentingly brutal on hitters and it’s no secret that our offense has been somewhat… lacking. On the other hand, for some reason, the White Sox seem to do better against team over .500 and worse against sub-.500 teams. So, really, you never know what you are going to get.

Sure, I spent the first 3+ innings just praying SOMEONE would get a hit. I really didn’t want to watch a no-hitter. But, then when Gordon Beckham (!!!? I know, right) came through, followed by Mark Teahen (again, what??!), it was off to the races.

Firstly, and most importantly (other than Beckham initially calming my nerves and being my hero of the game by breaking up the no-no), was the return of the good Gavin Floyd. Gavin Floyd is as good as anyone else out there, but he’s so inconsistent (I think he probably needs to borrow Adam Dunn’s sports psychologist sometimes), you never know what you are going to get. But, last night, he out-pitched Justin Verlander and it made me a very happy sports fan (and, okay, a Gavin Floyd fan) and, aside from the one bad pitch, he was a pleasure to watch. I fully acknowledge the fact that he can have an utter meltdown any day of the week and he can be incredibly frustrating, but I’m still convinced that he has no-hitter stuff in there somewhere and I can keep hoping. :)

And, it was nice to see a happier mood around the White Sox camp after the game today. Rumor has it that ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ made it into Gordon Beckham’s locker after the game, but he moved it to Gavin’s locker. Both of those sound about right to me.

It was a good game. At the very least, I’m just happy that (almost) everyone got in on the action and there was actually offense. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I would be thrilled if they didn’t feel like they had to rely so much on the home run to win ballgames.

There was a lot of good baseball last night: the Charlotte Knights won (White Sox AAA team) with John Danks on mound in a fantastic rehab start, the Jays won, the Rays won, KC made a late comeback against the Twins, and Juan Rivera hit a HR in his first at-bat as a Dodger.

It was good to be back.

Hopefully, it’s the start of a lot of good things for the second half.

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2 Games Down. One more to go. Or: Interleague play loves the ChiSox.

Well, 2 games against the other Chicago team and 2 wins. Which means that, regardless, we have won two series in a row. I’ll take it.

I feel like I need to say something. I get incredibly frustrated sometimes with things in the ChiSox camp, but I love my boys. I love that they’re nice guys who show up and paint schools and community centers on weekends. I love that they have a giant cut-out of “the most interesting man in the world” in the locker room that always ends up in the locker of the game MVP every day and obviously get along. I love that the ChiSox are a home for misfit toys and Don Cooper seems to be able to piece them back together. And, though it might not be popular opinion, I also love Ozzie. I love that he says (and tweets) what he thinks. I love that he wants everyone’s kids in the clubhouse and that he defends his players (maybe even to a fault) and that he puts himself in the line of fire and that he LIKES his players and that he and the rest of the staff seem to care about them.

And, I know we can all be Sabermetrics experts from our sofas, and we all know there are lots of things we would do differently, given the chance. But, the truth is, we all exist in a vacuum in our living-rooms and we don’t have to deal with the economics of the game and the politics of the front office and there is obviously so much more to it than just filling out the line-up card every day. And, yes, even one or two better OBPs in the line-up would be tremendously helpful, I don’t think 1 single kid from AAA is going to magically save this team. And, Ozzie’s not perfect, but neither am I and neither is anyone else. So, at least for the moment, I’m not quite ready to see the end of Ozzie-ball in Chicago, and I hope that the Powers-That-Be aren’t either.

I am also aware, however, that I would be a terrible manager, general manager, third-base coach and – heck – probably a terrible ballgirl as well, so this is mostly just more of my uneducated rambling.

Other things of note:

1. Juan Pierre is on a bit of a streak. You can’t argue with a hot bat and, at least for the moment, his is on fire – driving in the winning run 3 games in a row. Today, he flaired a single into LF which: 1) broke up a no-hitter in the 6th. 2) broke up a shutout, and 3) was the winning RBI. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good.

2. Brent Morel is shining in the number 2 spot and if he keeps up his defense at 3B, I will personally start the write-in campaign for his gold glove next year all by myself. He’s still young and makes some “rookie mistakes” (that term exists for a reason, y’all) and he still doesn’t hit for average, but he is still putting together some highly intelligent at-bats and he managed to draw a four-pitch walk today – which might be the first of his career. He’s campaigning to get in the next version of the header that I make for this blog.

3. Quentin’s cooled off a bit, we are going to have to play Adam Dunn – minimally – when there’s a right-hander on the mound, and I think everyone wants to see Paul Konerko in the lineup, so today was probably as good a day as any to give Q (who has a .avg similar to Dunn’s over the last 10 days) the day off. Of course, Dunn had a line-out and 3 strikeouts (103 so far for the season), but I don’t think a single ball was hit to RF while he was there, so there’s that. Paul Konerko has cooled off a little lately – which is like saying that Jose Bautista is slumping when he goes 3 games without a home run. We’ll probably see Adam Dunn at first base tomorrow. Which, really, is fine. If we’re really in this for the long-haul and PK needs a day off, I’d rather have it after taking at least 2/3 from the Cubs and have him sharp for the upcoming intra-division stretch we have coming. It’s a little short-sighted, I think, to wear PK out by the time you really want him hot.

4. Philip Humber. Again. There’s not much to say about this kid that hasn’t been said. He was having a rough day, his control was all over the place and his best inning was 13 pitches. But, that being said, even though he gave up 5 hits, walked 3, hit a batter and didn’t have an inning with fewer than 13 pitches – he still ended up with a shutout.

5. Big thumbs up for Matt Thornton today with a perfect 8th and 9th and collecting the save when Sergio Santos needed a day off. Our bullpen is still awesome.

6. Last, but most certainly not least:

At least for one day, we’re a .500 team. It’s not much normally, but things have been so much worse than that, so it really is a cause for celebration.

Happy Day Before The Yankee Exhibition Game All-Star Game Announcements, y’all.

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Squeaking out a series win. Or: The Bullpen Olympics and the Utility-Player Hoedown.

For all intents and purposes, the Chicago White Sox played themselves this week.

There were runners stranded everywhere, sporadic (at best) offense, and failure to execute in the clutch. The fact that the White Sox squeaked out 2 wins in the last 3 games is, again, a testament to our pitching – and possibly the random nature of the universe.

However, kudos to the bullpen. I’m pretty sure that when we went into this series, no one was going to expect Ohman to grab a loss, followed by wins for Bruney and Crain. The deciding run came in the 13th inning, the 9th inning, and the 10th inning in each of these games.

I had the Colorado feed for the first 2 games of this series. I’d bet good money that the people who work for Roots Sports in Colorado haven’t been watching the White Sox this year. Firstly, they seemed surprised when we didn’t score with runners in scoring position, they were impressed with the number of double plays that the Rockies were able to turn, and seemed to not realize that Juan Pierre has been struggling of late.

However, it turns out that Juan Pierre really likes playing in Colorado, going .500 for the series and missing a grand slam by about a foot below the top of the RF wall (seriously. Juan Pierre. there aren’t even words for the surrealness of this.) – but still managing to drive in three clutch RBIs today.

Also of note, we started the game with a Sunday afternoon lineup on a Thursday. Aside from Omar, who has historically hit very well against Aaron Cook, it seemed as though the rest of the lineup was pulled out of a hat – with Quentin, Konerko and AJ (who combined for all of our RBIs and 3/4 runs from the win yesterday) on the bench.

Jake Peavy had a relatively good outing, aside from the first inning, but certainly not as good as his relief appearance the other day. Juan Pierre likes playing in Colorado, but Adam Dunn went from striking out to grounding into 2 double plays. And, when we were down by 4-1 in the 7th, it seemed like the lack of offense had the writing on the wall. However, when we squeaked up to 4-2 (Gordon Beckham finally had a good offensive day), the regulars started sneaking into the lineup and the day started looking up.

    Original Line-Up –> Final Line-up

  • 1. Juan Pierre LF
  • 2. Omar Vizquel 3B –> Mark Teahen 3B
  • 3. Adam Dunn 1B –> Mark Teahen 1B –> Paul Konerko 1B
  • 4. Alex Rios CF
  • 5. Mark Teahen RF –> Brent Lillibridge RF
  • 6. Alexei Ramirez SS
  • 7. Ramon Castro C –> AJ Pierzynski C
  • 8. Gordon Beckham 2B
  • 9. Jake Peavy P –> (Carlos Quentin) –> Will Ohman –> (Brent Morel) –> Chris Sale –> Jesse Crain –> Sergio Santos

What it boiled down to in a nutshell was: We used everyone on our bench and by the end of the day, our lineup looked more like a Friday night line-up. This series started out with the bullpen olympics followed by the utility-player hoedown and somehow, we ended up scraping wins 2 out of 3 days.

It was weird and it was messy, but we’re scuffling right now, so I’ll take it.

Now, back to the North Side and, well, at least the Cubs went extra-innings today, too. But, someone should probably send bottle of Aleve, a case of Red Bull and a massage therapist over to the White Sox bullpen, just in case.

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There is no “I” in team. Or: It’s never dull on the South Side.

I ❤ the White Sox. They frustrate the snot out of me sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love ’em.

And, today was certainly a day on the South Side.

When your starter leaves the game after 1 2/3 innings of work, you have at least 2 problems. One: your starter is injured. Two: You have to make it through at least another 7 and 1/3 innings.

When it happens on a day after your entire bullpen was used in an epic 14-inning rollercoaster (and, not to mention that your traditional “long man” is on the DL), you have a whole extra set of problems.

Well, Brian Bruney (DFA’ed by Washington last year, coincidentally) came out and pitched 2 1/3 and then Jake Peavy made his first career relief appearance. His previous 238 appearances in the big leagues had all been starts. Anyone who follows the White Sox knows that when he was about to come off the DL, Peavy offered to take a place in the bullpen, if they wanted to disband the 6-man rotation and they felt that he could help from the pen. He’s an amazing competitor and, obviously, a real team player.

“We manage and coach big games, bad games, close games. But [I won’t forget] this one, just because the way the team stuck together at that particular time,” Guillen said. “When Danks went down, everyone knew much we were struggling in the pen. We couldn’t use a couple guys and all of a sudden three guys came up and said I’m ready to go just in case you need me. That’s class act. As a team, I hope this thing takes off to the next level and we start playing better.”

“I think Peavy jinxed it,” Guillen said. “He went to my office before the game and said, ‘[If] you need me, I’ll be available.’ I said, ‘[If] we need you, we’re in trouble.’ Well sometimes you’ve got to be careful what you say. All these games I’ve been managing in my career, I think this one I’m not going to forget.”
(Click here to watch Ozzie talk about the awesome team spirit attitude today in his post-game press conference)

Serendipitously, AJ Pierzynski was sitting out today (giving his knees a rest after the 14 inning Friday game) and had to catch for Peavy while he was warming up in the bullpen. Professionals and competitors, they appeared to have forgotten about their disagreement during Peavy’s last start, so we obviously all should as well.

I haven’t given out a gold star in a while, but I think today definitely deserves a gold star.

Peavy was dealing. 7K, 1H, 0BB and 0R in 4 innings of relief. If he hadn’t hadn’t had to sit so long on the bench while we grabbed a couple of insurance runs in the 8th, he wanted to come out and pitch the 9th. We were happy for the insurance runs and, hey, it’s always nice to watch Santos deal out a 3-out save.

And, since we’re focusing on the positive today and ignoring the nagging negative stuff: Brent Lillibridge continued his streak of diving in the outfield to save runs for John Danks (even when he’s not in the game anymore). Rios and Morel went 3-for-4 and Ramon Castro continues to be the best back-up catcher in the American League (and, I’m biased and I don’t care).

So, one more chance to eek closer to .500 tomorrow. But, win or lose. I still love my boys.

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