The White Sox made things a little difficult for themselves in the final game of the series, but they clung on for the win, 5-4, over the Pittsburgh Pirates, to complete the sweep and continue their fine run of form.
Story of the game:
Wait, what? That was a Major League team?
OK then, let me rephrase. White Sox beat up on Pittsburgh's "Major League" team, with a little help from the Pirates and their 6 errors.
Story of the game:
It would be safe to call this a late review of yesterdays game, which saw the Chicago White Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 6-4.
Story of the game:
If Monday was a glimpse of how good the White Sox can be this season, Wednesday was a glimpse of another path, as Jake Peavy went just five innings in his 2010 debut, and the offense managed just two hits.
Forget the end result ... if the White Sox play the rest of the season like they played Monday, things will be very good. And as expected, it all starts with the rotation and Mark Buehrle.
Every team this time of year is confident about their team, and if not will at least say so to not create controversy for being honest. Ozzie Guillen and John Danks are confident
, and with good reason. It's hard not to like the rotation. But the lineup and bullpen doesn't carry the same feelings, with the middle of the lineup consisting of an aging Konerko, over-paid Rios and injury-ridden Quentin, and the pen relying perhaps a bit too much on one guy coming off a 5.22 ERA, 29 IP season. To keep the negativity going, let's talk about the starting four...
Dayan Viciedo, the soon-to-be 21-year-old, is a raw talent with a lot to learn with the bat and glove, but also something called work ethic. Days after switching agents to Scott Boras -- fantastic news for the White Sox -- Viciedo felt it was ok to jog out a play at first base. This isn't going to keep him on Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams good side, at least the sides of Guillen and Williams that like to make you think the White Sox roster is only for hard-working, gritty players.
Let's ignore half of Sox's roster over the past decade where running hard was optional, or even Saturday, when Andruw Jones decided to walk/jog home with a play at the plate. Fact is the White Sox are no different than most MLB teams. Dogging it is unacceptable ... unless you're an established big leaguer.
It's been a while. There usually comes a point every baseball off-season where I go into hibernation, only showing interest when something of actual importance happens. Nothing has been missed over the past couple weeks, but here goes anyway...
Halfway through the off-season, the White Sox and Kenny Williams have undergone one of the bigger makeovers from 2009, with the likes of Jake Peavy, Freddy Garcia, Juan Pierre, JJ Putz, Alex Rios, Mark Teahen, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel expected on the opening day roster, all of whom where not in the organization opening day last season. Let's add December to our list.
For die hard baseball fans, the winter months can be tough. Sure, there's the hot stove to watch, but usually all that provides is a couple days of simmering and a whole lot of watched pots. So let's turn our attention south, where the weather is actually suitable for outdoor activity, and where some White Sox talent (both major league and minor league) are getting in some work... The Caribbean Winter Leagues.
With this decade coming to end (or not for those that will wait till next year to acknowledge it), here's a look back at the opening day lineup of your 2000 Chicago White Sox.
Gallery sneak peek (10 images):
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Like it or not (I like it), Juan Pierre will be leading off for the White Sox in 2010, so here's a look at the lineup as we stand on December 16. Still not pretty, but hopefully not finished, and only taking shape.
Gallery sneak peek (9 images):
View the gallery...
Along with not being able to hit or field very well, the White Sox bullpen was a mess much of 2009. With Bobby Jenks proving unreliable, Scott Linebrink buckling halfway through, and the rest minus Matt Thornton and DJ Carrasco just sorta being there, it needed to be addressed this off-season. So far, it's one talented-but-injured guy in (JJ Putz), and two less-talented-but-healthy-and-equally-effective-relievers out (Carrasco, Octavio Dotel).
Gallery sneak peek (7 images):
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One month into the off-season, the White Sox have been active, but still have a ways to go over the the next 2/3 of it. Through it, we'll be recapping each month and projecting the opening day roster based off the team's present state.
Injury prone players come in a few types: those who are soft, those who aren't in proper shape, and those who simply can't avoid injuries. Carlos Quentin can certainly be considered the third, with a touch of bad judgement, which he showed in 2008 when he ended an MVP-season early by punching a bat.
Being considered by your manager the MVP of a sub-.500 team that tanked in the heat of the race isn't something to brag about, but it's still something, especially when you're DJ Carrasco - all-purpose reliever.
Since joining the White Sox in 2005, AJ Pierzynski can safely be pointed to as one guy who -- through all the team slides and ruts -- can be cleared of blame first.
While Brent Lillibridge flopped as a piece from the Javy Vazquez trade with Atlanta, he wasn't the centerpiece of the deal. That was Tyler Flowers.
Dan Hudson came into the 2009 season as a strong selection to be a White Sox sleeper prospect. Currently, he is a strong selection for Minor League Player of the Year. Starting the season in Low-A Kannapolis and finishing with the White Sox, Hudson pitched in five levels of professional baseball this year, a feat almost unheard of.
There were two points of interest with John Danks coming into the 2009 season. One, like Gavin Floyd, will he have a strong follow-up to a breakout '08 season? And two, can he elevate his game to the next level?
The story of getting Jake Peavy in a White Sox uniform had plenty of twists and turns.
Signed to a minor league contract, not a whole lot was expected of Jayson Nix. After losing his starting job with the Rockies just 25 days into the '08 season, Nix was back in AAA and at 26 years old, far from prospect territory. But he found life and a role with the White Sox, if not another chance to start.
There comes a time in a major league pitcher's career when age and years of wear and tear set in. Most see their career come to a slow, if not scorching, halt. Others make due and give themselves life. Freddy Garcia has given his career life.
Rule #1 in off-season free-agency signings: when it comes to relievers, tread lightly. Hopefully White Sox GM Kenny Williams will follow this rule in the future, thanks to Scott Linebrink.
You'll hear from time to time about a player needing a change of scenary. That's because from time to time there are guys like Gavin Floyd that make that theory plausible. Acquired three years ago from the Philadelphia Phillies for Freddy Garcia, Floyd has found his career in Chicago.
There's nothing at all flashy or impressive in any aspect of Chris Getz's game. Speed, arm defense, power, contact. And entering 2008 as a 25-year-old with 10 games and seven at bats under his career belt, you couldn't label him a young prospect nor a player with experience. But when you combine all that he does bring to the table, what you have is a baseball player.
When Gordon Beckham was drafted 8th overall by the White Sox in the 2008 draft, his path to the bigs was projected to be a short one. Beckham and the White Sox didn't want to wait that long, because on June 4, 2009, he made his major league debut.
After nine years, you come to expect certain things from Mark Buehrle.
No White Sox had more on their plate heading into 2009 than Alexei Ramirez. Not only did Ramirez have the pressure of avoiding the sophomore slump, but dealing with it while transitioning to a new position.
When Octavio Dotel signed a two-year, $11 million deal two years ago with the White Sox, it wasn't one of Kenny Williams brighter deals. Guaranteeing that much money to a guy that had thrown just 56 innings in the previous three seasons combined is never smart. To expect him to stay healthy, let alone earn the money, was wishful thinking.
Going on 33 and coming off a dissapointing 2008 season, which included his first ever stint on the disabled list (oblique), Paul Konerko was at the stage of his career where you didn't really know what to expect.
During SoxNet's visit to Arizona this past March for Spring Training, a friend of ours spotted Scott Podsednik, who was then with the Rockies, and told him that the White Sox could use a lead-off hitter. Podsednik's response? "I'm ready."
Since 2006 Bobby Jenks been in a transition, going from pure fireballer to pitcher. Part due to a natural drop-off in velocity; part from knowing the length of his career is dependent on it.
In his career with the White Sox, Jermaine Dye has never been one to doubt. He was signed in 2005 as an aging, injury-prone right-fielder, and like the rest of the '05 team, proved a lot of people wrong. One year later and one year older, he was even better, with a MVP-worthy .315 average, 44 homers and 120 RBIs. Since, however, Dye's also been one never to have expectations for. The '07 season was a disaster till August and 2008 was promising through July. Enter 2009.
It's safe to assume that a good chunk of Tigers fan were on pins and needles for this past weekend series against the White Sox. With the Twins just two back after the Tigers struggled over the past month to pull away, it was a huge series. Miguel Cabrera may not have had the same thoughts. At least his actions over the weekend suggest it.
Thankfully, the very sub-par 2009 season for the White Sox is over. 79-83 and in third place behind the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. And like their record suggests, the good wasn't more than the bad.
The Tribune's Phil Rogers is wondering why Kenny Williams hasn't received heat for the trades of Nick Swisher and Javier Vazquez
, who are each having good seasons for the Yankees and Braves, respectively. It's simple: because there's nothing to give him heat for.
Due to their .500 record and time running out, the White Sox need wins, regardless of the quality of their opponent. Even going into a weekend where they're facing one of the AL's best (Angels) and the Tigers are facing one of the AL's worst (Blue Jays), the Sox needed to make up ground, no excuses. And with the Tigers dropping two of three, they had their chance.
If you're the optimistic type and are searching for anything that keeps the White Sox playoff hopes alive, then the Tigers being swept by the Kansas City Royals should do the trick. The Sox are still a sizable six games out, but with six games left between the two teams and 13 games away from any of them being played, a Tigers skid could open the door for the Sox (and Twins) to at least make it interesting.
I know Tuesday night's appearance wasn't Daniel Hudson's major league debut, but since I missed his first one over the weekend (two scoreless innings, btw), this will have to do.
The deeper the hole you put yourself in, the further you'll not only have to climb, but your opponent will have to fall. It took Labor Day weekend for the White Sox to finally play playoff-race baseball, as they have now won five of their last six. Unfortunately for them, the Tigers have been playing the way division-winners play, and have managed to extend the already gapping hole between the two teams with a six-game winning streak. The Sox are now 7.5 out.
When you go from second place and as close as two games out to third place and as much as 7 games out, and your GM trades two vets and cash for a couple minor leaguers at the waiver wire deadline, it's time to start looking at next year. But with a month to play, let's look at the present with a September to-do/see list for the free-falling White Sox.
It's hard to find the words to describe this weekend's series with the Yankees, but Ozzie Guillen does a good job of it: "The only thing I got to say is we come to New York, and we visit Yankee Stadium. It's a pretty nice ballpark, a very attractive ballpark, and the hotel we stayed at was very nice. That's all I can say."
Ozzie Guillen, you have been a ton of fun during your period on the South Side as the team's Manager. You've brought a tenacity (and a World Series) that otherwise has been missing from the White Sox. You've been hilarious to listen to, fun to watch, entertaining, and you called out the Hineybird.
Heading into his fifth inning of work in his third rehab start, things were looking good for Jake Peavy and his pending return to the White Sox. He was throwing pain-free and like a guy ready to take the mound in New York this Saturday against the Yankees. And then he was hit with a line drive off his throwing elbow. He finished the inning, but you knew the swelling to follow would put the decision on his first start on hold. So now Saturday is up in the air. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it doesn't really matter.
The White Sox had the early momentum, generated by a 4-1 lead and a shaky looking Clay Buchholz, but they lost it all in the third inning when Contreras lost his control and compounded it with a game-changing error, which kick-started a six-run inning and an eventual 12-8 Red Sox win. The loss puts the Sox at just one game over .500 with another nine games left in this road trip.
Following this weekend's three-game series with the Orioles, two things are known -- one reaffirmed, the other realized. One, the White Sox playoff hopes are still alive and well (still 2.5 games out), and two, they are far from deserving of it.
That's why you play the game, because when Jose Contreras goes up against Zack Greinke, anything can happen. On Wednesday afternoon, Contreras out-pitched Greinke, allowing just one run over seven innings, en route to a 4-2 White Sox win.
Prior to Monday's game, Kenny Williams had some words about the performance of this year's team
to this point. In short, he called them "underachievers." The Sox responded with an 8-7 win, but that wasn't of the pretty variety
. On Tuesday, the underachievers were out in full force, going up 4-1 only to lose 5-4 to the team with the AL's worst record.
You never like to see a player get injured, but when a player getting injured allows a much better player to step in and play every day surely it's a good thing? Not according to the majority
of White Sox fans.
Tools are nice, statistics are better, on-field performance is the best. But when you have a player locked up for five years and are paying him millions above what he's shown he's worth till this point in his career, knowing what you're getting as a person is pretty important.
With a 4-11 record and 5.09 ERA (6.75 ERA in five starts since the break), Jose Contreras has been dead weight on a contending White Sox team. Add in the strides made by Freddy Garcia down in Charlotte, and tonight's game against the A's isn't just about the Sox proving they can beat a bad team, but Contreras proving he's still fit to start.
Throughout the season, White Sox fans and GM Ken Williams had a wish-list for team needs and it went something like this: Cy Young Starter, All Star Centerfielder, and premiere reliever. Well Ken Williams has made two of those wishes a reality (Jake Peavy and Alex Rios) and has an opportunity to finish off that wish-list by acquiring a six time all star who is nearing the end of a border-line hall of fame career: Billy Wagner.
The news of the White Sox being rewarded the waiver claim of two-time All-Star Alex Rios on Monday afternoon came to no surprise to those following the news around internet sports sites such as ESPN and Soxtalk. However, this does not lessen the effect of such an unprecedented talent being given away during the prime of his career on the mindset of the economic stability, or rather, instability of Major League Baseball.
There's a lot of thought that goes into making out a lineup, but once you find one that fits (and works), you stick with it, making minor tweaks along the way. So is the case for most managers. But starting tonight, Ozzie Guillen won't have that luxury.
The White Sox season till this point can probably best be described in a word: tease. Watch them, and you know deep down they are nothing more than a slightly above average team in a questionably average division. But then they offer moments of surprise, and get you thinking they are more than they seem.
Gavin Floyd went 8+ innings and Jim Thome hit a pair of opposite field homers to carry the Sox to a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels
, who like the Yankees before them, entered the Cell as the AL's best and will be trying to fight off a sweep in the series finale.
Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald wrote in his blog
the idea of bringing back Jermaine Dye for another two-year deal.
The White Sox season took a roller coaster-ish turn last week and into the weekend. Dropping quickly with two lackluster series' against the Tigers and Twins, and then an impressive rise behind news of acquiring Jake Peavy and taking 3-out-4 from baseball's best.
In a surprise move that started to get reported after the deadline, the White Sox acquired Jake Peavy from the San Diego. Here's more on who they coughed up...
The White Sox have now lost 5 of 6 since Buehrle's perfect game and now find themselves 3 games back and in need of a spark. With the trade deadline just 24 hours away, could Roy Halladay be that spark?
As the trade deadline approaches, and the White Sox are playing God-awful baseball, now three back in the AL Central, one has to wonder if maybe they shouldn't be buyers. It's already been twelve years since the infamous White Flag Trade. Should they be considering a second installment?
Days away from the July 31 trade deadline, it's safe to say it's the beginning of crunch time for the contenders. The White Sox, having dropped the first three in a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers, had their biggest regular season game to date on Sunday. Win, and you're two games back heading into another key series with the Twins. Lose and you're four games back and one bad stretch of games away from falling out of the race. Thank you, Clayton Richard.
Lost in all the hoopla of Mark Buehrle's perfect game and second no-hitter was this: the White Sox are tied for first place.
Spot-starting for John Danks -- who is out with a circulatory problem in his left index finger, but is fortunately on schedule to start Monday -- Carlos Torres made his major league debut last night in the White Sox's 4-3 win over the Rays.