Tag Archives: uneducated rambling

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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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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I feel like we’re back in May. Or: Ugh. Another loss.

Okay. So, the White Sox offense has scored 2 runs since last Sunday. This hurts my soul a little bit.

I am going to be even more depressed if, when I wake up tomorrow, we have the same players in the same place in the line-up and nothing has changed. I have read that Ozzie feels that shaking up the line-up tells his players that he doesn’t have confidence in things.

Well, with the starting rotation holding it together fairly well, the bullpen holding it together fairly well, and the defense is pretty even (though, could be better in places), the major kink in the machinery would seem to be the offense. I like so much about this team, but I have to wonder if maybe – at least for the moment – we don’t have a few reasons to have some wavering confidence…

I want to have fun watching a baseball game again. I don’t need to win every game, but I would like to not have the entire hope of winning the game disappear the moment the ace of our starting rotation gives up a solo-HR on 3 hits over the course of 8 innings.

I said in my post earlier today that I wanted to make it through this series without having to tip my cap to another pitcher. Well, with Hudson’s first ever-complete game, limiting us to (I think) 3 hits and one run, it looks like I’m taking my hat off again.

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A loss in Minnesota. Or: I probably could have written this post before the game even started.

So, anyone not new to my blog knows that I am a huge fan of Gavin Floyd (see: banner at the top of the page), almost in spite of myself. And, because of this, I am acutely aware of how incredibly frustrating he can be at times. Obviously, tonight was one of those times. When he’s having a rough day, it’s hard to watch, because he just doesn’t seem as mentally solid as a lot of other pitchers. You (or, okay, maybe just me) just want to grab him and shake him and tell him to breathe and relax and send him a sports psychologist.

(Incidently, this is probably why, of the current 5-slash-6 man rotation, he would probably have the hardest time coming out of the bullpen (ironically, he was the one of them who has actually been used in relief), in my very humble opinion.)

So, Gavin usually loses to Minnesota. So, it wasn’t terribly surprising that – even though the current Minnesota line-up was sort of haphazardly pieced together from the Minnesota farm system – the sight of the Twins’ uniforms still managed to unsettle him. A mentally-fragile player against a team that (despite all protests to the contrary) seems to psych him out a bit and I’m sure the extra 24 hours he had to think about it didn’t help. He eventually settled down, but by that point, the damage was done. The White Sox don’t beat Minnesota, Gavin doesn’t beat Minnesota, we still can’t stop a running game, and today wasn’t really anything we didn’t see coming.

I don’t like blogging about the White So when they lose, but I am particularly unhappy about doing so when Gavin loses, so that’s really all I have to say about that.

But, all of that being said, when Gavin is on, he’s incredible to watch, he can be dominating and he’s got an intangible presence about him, and I have no trouble remembering why I’m such a fan of him.

I just wish I didn’t need a Maalox every time he takes the mound.

On to tomorrow. Hopefully, we stop living in the past and get out of here with a little bit of momentum going forward. Go Sox!

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Is it too early to see the writing on the wall? Or: 2 and a half innings of ouch.

Okay, so I know that we’re only in the mid-3rd, but man. This has already been painful.

I am going to preface what I am about to say with making it very clear that I really like Ramon Castro as a catcher. I think he can call a great game (see: Mark Buehrle’s perfect game) and he’s not bad with a bat and he’s been more than servicable this season in the back-up catcher role.

However, that being said, Gavin Floyd has a decent record this year. And, a great record in Boston over his career. However, his 1-5 daytime record says something that makes today not all that surprising. We’ve only seen two innings of work from Gavin and, by this point, I’ve seen him shake off at least a half-dozen signs. To say nothing of the 7 hits and 3 earned runs already piled up on the Boston scorebard. For reasons that are unclear to me, I just don’t know if Gavin can pitch to him.

Either that, or Gavin just *REALLY* isn’t a morning person.

SIGH. Oh well. Back to the game thinking positive thoughts and hoping that things go upward from here.

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A tough loss to the Dodgers. Or: Blogging after a loss brings out my whiny side.

If, time and again, I can forgive Gavin Floyd for being, well, Gavin Floyd and occasionally forgetting how to pitch, I can forgive Sergio Santos for tonight’s outing (and probably a few more besides) – as painful as it was. It happens to everyone, eventually. It’s going to take more than that for me to start worrying when I see him warming up in the ‘pen. Sometimes, it is just not your day.

Which, yes, tonight’s loss was kind of all-around painful (I guess I have gotten more used to winning lately than I realized. Winning is fun! Can you blame me?), but it also highlighted a few of the things that have been bothering me this season.

Most notably, I am now going to take the opportunity to whine about the thing that is currently bothering me the most. So much so that I don’t even have to think twice about trying to come up with the thing that is currently bothering me the most. :p (The remainder of this post is brought to you by the fact that a friend of mine texted me to inform me that tonight’s game was the free mlb.tv game of the day and I caught the middle 75% of the game at work. Free mlb! A mixed blessing tonight, I think. :) )

Warning: You are about to enter a free-for-all whining zone. Proceed at your own risk.

The pitch counter. Everyone needs to stop looking at the pitch counter. Particularly with the starters. We have a 6-man rotation. We’re not following the rules, SO WHY IS EVERYONE WHO CALLS THE SHOTS MARRIED TO THE PITCH COUNTER? I don’t understand.

Does it matter so much if someone throws 120 pitches when he gets 5 days of rest instead of 4? Pitching is so much a mental game that I just don’t understand when someone is in a groove, throwing well (like tonight, with Humber and then with Crain), that we automatically can’t send them out in the 8th inning? The whole ‘We have a set-up man. We must use him’ mentality. What would happen if the pitcher feels good and wants to go out and finish (more of, if not the whole, job) and the coaches just let him? Now, when everyone in the starting rotation gets an extra day off, is the time to try.

Or, conversely, when (like tonight, with Santos, or Gavin’s start against Oakland last week) nothing is going right and the pitcher’s rhythm is off and things are just basically falling apart, we have to watch the started struggle through 2 or 3 or more rough innings, just because they’re the starter and the should be pitching 6 or so innings or around 100 pitches? What would be so wrong with pulling out one of your long relievers (or, in a real bind, one of your well-rested starters)?

I know that I am probably blowing a lot of hot air, and I know that I know way less about strategy and timing and the ins-and-outs of managing a baseball team than everyone who is involved in the White Sox organization (probably even less than the dude who gets coffee and makes the photocopies, really), but I guess, as an outsider, I don’t understand how we can break convention and have a 6-man starting rotation, but can’t seem to ever think outside of the box when it comes to anything else with the pitching staff.

No comprendo, señores. No comprendo.

And, now I’m done with the whining. My frustrations have been aired and I am ready to move on to bigger and better things tomorrow. My optimism is (mostly) alive and well in the month of May and I still love this team.

Here’s hoping for a fog-free day at The Cell tomorrow.

Go, Sox!

Peace out, y’all.

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