Monday, April 12, 2010

White Sox Roundup: Week One

The White Sox opened their season with a pair of three game set against divisional foes Cleveland and Minnesota, they lost both series two games to one. The common theme was a lack of offense, which was the big concern coming into the season. People knew the White Sox would pitch with a great staff and a deep and talented bullpen, but for a team the struggled to score runs in 2009, how would they cope with the loss of Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye, two players who had long been fixtures in the middle of the White Sox order.

To be succinct, the answer in 'not well.' At least not on the face of it. But the truth as it always seems to be is somewhat more complex. Yes, the White Sox did struggle to score just 21 runs in those six games (3.5R/G) but they also had miserable luck, hitting just .203 with a BABIP of just .200. Clearly that won't always be the case, and as that luck turns - and it always does - the average will rise and the brand of baseball Manager Ozzie Guillen wants to see; high average, speed on the bases, situation hitting... should begin to work out. The two players who did hit, are precisely the guys you'd expect, Paul Konerko (1.229) and Carlos Quentin (1.150). How Quentin fares over the course of the season coming back from injury, and whether or not he can hold up for the whole season, will be vital to the teams success.

On the bump, the White Sox pitching fared every bit as well as the fans could've hoped, allowing just 20 runs (19 earned) in the six contests, for a team ERA of 2.95. Leading the way were the starters with an ERA of just 2.77 with Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Freddy Garcia all pitched brilliantly.

The offense for the White Sox is going to come around, and as long as their brilliant pitching staff can stay healthy, this is a team that will be a formidable challenge for anyone in baseball as the season wears on.


  1. I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed by the Sox start this season.

    Of course every team's PR gorillas will spin hope into the minds of every fans in order to bolster ticket sales, and I think I may have bought into it a bit more than usual.

    Not to say their starting five is not among the best - and "they" say pitching and defense wins championships - but this offense has me seriously concerned. So if I'm to be comfortable and confident in the starting pitching, and at least content with the bullpen (though there are issues), then my disappointment in this 2-4 start lies with the offense.

    Juan Pierre, never liked him and that has nothing to do with Cub hating. It's the same situation as Willie Harris, another bust. Small framed light hitting speedster at leadoff... speed doesn't mean much if you can't get on base consistently. The weak shallow flies and multi-bounce grounders that even Lamaar Hoyt could run over to field are already frustrating - and it's only been six games.

    Mark Teahan was brought over in favor of Josh Fields. He has yet to impress in any regard (defense has been adequate, but not spectacular). Sure, it's early, but what scares me is what happens if he doesn't come around at the plate? If he's hitting .140 in June, then what Ozzie? Omar Vizquel full-time 3B? Jesus no, please. Not much on the farm to fill that deficiency, so Teahan better get over that lack of self-confidence, and wipe that frightened look off his face every time he bats.

    Alexei Ramirez is one of my favorites the past couple years, but I get the impression he's grown unjustifiably cocky. He's diving over grounders, swinging at pitches well outside the zone, and shooting disgusted looks at umpires when they call a strike on a pitch that WAS a strike. If he thinks being a millionaire is the culmination of his desire in this game, Chicago fans won't tolerate it for long. I know I won't.

    This entire season will see a rotating DH and probably 150 different lineups. Ok, then I'd like to see this one...
    CF Rios
    2B Beckham
    RF Quentin
    1B Konerko
    C Pierzynski
    LF Andruw Jones
    DH Kotsay (Dye?)
    3B Teahan
    SS Ramirez

    And in the meantime, Kenny, bring back Dye. He could be the full-time DH, or rotate back and forth with Quentin. Kotsay could stay around to spell Konerko and pinch hit. Vizquel and Nix back up the remainder of the infield.

    Now that I've expressed discontent and question this line-up, they'll probably go on a 7-game winning streak with hot streaks from Pierre and Teahan, with Ramirez en route to his first gold glove. Go figure.

  2. I think everyone knew this team wasn't going to score a ton of runs. They didn't score much last year and they dropped a pair of middle-of-the-order mainstays in Dye and Thome. In their place they added a group of pretty mediocre bats.

    That wasn't the point however, the idea has been to add defense. The Rios acquisition last year off the waiver wire, and Pierre in left. Teahan upgrades the defense at third while Beckham to second upgrades the defense there.

    All of those defensive upgrades serve to make the already formidable pitching even better as fewer balls will find holes. Neither Kenny Williams nor Ozzie Guillen went into the season under any false illusions that this team was going to score much, neither are that foolish. They knew precisely what they were acquiring and why.

    While it'll always be S.O.P. to downplay any business' weaknesses, it's also the duty of a fan (I guess) to see through the BS. We should accept managerial platitudes with the same degree of seriousness with which we accept the platitudes of our elected officials. That is to say, with a 25lb bag of salt.