First off, I would like to thank Carlos Quentin for losing his mind and breaking Zack Greinke’s collarbone last night.
The name “Carlos Quentin” brings back a flood of emotions. First, Quentin was the primary reason the 2008 baseball season was such an unexpected pleasure. The White Sox were terrible in 2007, and they were expected to do the same in 2008. Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, and Jim Thome were old and getting older. Joe Crede was an injury risk. Juan Uribe was a low OBP hacker. The farm system was churning out replacement level talent like Josh Fields and Jerry Owens.
Kenny Williams was able to get Quentin from the Diamondbacks for (then minor league) 1st baseman Chris Carter. Quentin was described as a “doubles machine” who had an odd batting stance and a propensity for getting plunked. It was the risk that came with crowding the plate.
For four months, Carlos Quentin was a pleasure to watch. He was genuinely exciting to watch. I would stop what I was doing to make sure I caught his at-bats. One of the best games I ever saw in person was the game on May 25, 2008. Quentin hit a walkoff home run on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
The White Sox were able to get Quentin for an A-ball because he was injury-prone, and he had a reputation for being a head case. He was intense. Very intense. He obsessively practiced his swing. It became such a joke among his teammates that the Sox built their 2009 ad campaign around Quentin’s obsessive swinging. The 2008 season ended early because Quentin broke his wrist on his own bat because he was angry at himself for striking out.
After that, Quentin showed just flashes of his 2008 self. On New Year’s Eve, 2011, he was dealt to the San Diego Padres.
Quentin always reminded me of Michael Douglas in “Falling Down,” the intense man who finally snaps. But instead of going on a road trip of hatred like D-FENS, Quentin took out all of his frustrations on Zack Greinke, another head case who had to conquer a bunch of demons before reaching his true potential.
Enough reminiscing. The 2013 White Sox can hit the ball. But they still can’t find the big hit. The team batting average is .255, with an OPS of .719. That is good for 10th in the American League. But the White Sox batting average with runners in scoring position is less than stellar .133 with runners in scoring position.
The inability to get the big hit led to the Sox being swept by the Nationals. The Sox were 3-13 with RISP. They stranded 11. Dylan Axelrod was less-than-impressive in his second start of the year. Yes, he outdueled Felix Hernandez last Saturday, but the Mariners have an offense that is just as punchless as the White Sox.
Hector Santiago did a fine job in relief. He was so good, I would be OK with Santiago and Axelrod switching roles.
We won’t be seeing Gordon Beckham for awhile. The “nerve damage” that took Beckham out of Tuesday’s game turned out to be a fracture of one of the small bones in the wrist. This will require surgery, which means Beckham is on the shelf for six weeks.
That’s too bad, because he had been seeing the ball well. With Beckham on the DL, the Sox have to make a corresponding roster move. The options are not good – Brent Morel and Steve Tolleson are bench players. Jared Mitchell needs regular at bats. Carlos Sanchez is an intriguing option, but it may be too early to call him up to the bigs.
EDIT: The Sox have called up pitcher Deunte Heath to take Beckham's spot on the roster.
The Sox are in Cleveland tonight. Jose Quintana goes up against Justin Masterson.
NOTE: I’m going to continue the tradition of naming road game recap posts after bars in various cities (at least the cities I’ve visited). It’s better than “THE SOX NEED TO PITCH MORE BETTER!”