The ballplayers in the black & white clothing went 5-2 this past week, and have now captured 11 out of the last 15 contests to move to only, only, 4 games below .500. If the only real measure of a White Sox season is having a better record than the Twins, then yaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hell, they even passed the Cubs (pending Sunday night's results), what more is there to do?
Much like being a camp counselor to 14 year-olds once made me an
athletic titan, so have the White Sox rounded into winning form as
Interleague Play enters the picture. The Sox split a series versus the
first-place Rangers, swept the best-in-baseball Indians, and took a
series from a fairly lousy Dodgers team, and did so while their much-and
so darn deservedly--maligned offense racked up run totals in the last
four games of 6, 8 (twice!), and 9.
Nine's a fine number. I might name my first child '9'. I might eat 9
slices of cake. Nine, nine, nine. Now I sound like a German man of a
Anytime the Sox can score more runs than the
number of walks Francisco Liriano gave up in his no-hitter, you know
But something doesn't feel right. Maybe it's
because the team is still 4 games below .500, maybe because the Indians
are still terrorizing the countryside, lighting cultural centers and rec
halls ablaze while absconding with all the young women. Maybe it's
because the Twins are still just lying there; and you know they're still
alive...but they won't move. They're plotting something, playing
possum. Those dang Twinkies.
A Donkey in Trouble: You may recall, a certain White Sox blogger trumpeting the arrival of Adam Dunn last week
after he posted an OPS over 1.200. One week cross-sections aren't a
great way to track hitter's performance, but hey, here's another one:
3-24, 4 BB, 12 K, 1 XBH, 0 HR, .125/.233/.167
He had a three-walk Sunday, BUT OH GEE GOD 3-24 with a 50% K-rate!
As J.J. covered,
Dunn's not getting around on fastballs right now, which if a permanent
condition, is pretty much the end of a slugger's career. We're betting
on the ten-year track record and that Dunn's ability hasn't suddenly
eroded completely at the age of 31, and that still feels like a pretty
good bet here, but to say that this is the worst power outage he's ever
seen also feels right. A slump without much precedent.
are really starting to boo him and critics who never liked his
high-strikeout approach are out in force. As much as Dunn may look like
a guy closing down the local bar, I've seen some big-time free agents
who are kicking it now that they've gotten their money (Tim Thomas comes
to mind), and this isn't it. The man's pressing like crazy.
The 6-man: No
one can question this quirky idea so long as everyone's rolling, and
sure enough, every member recorded a quality start this w--
is capable of the highest highs of any member of the rotation when his
slider is working and consistent. However, the raw horror of when
Jackson's off and acting like there's an apple on Pierzynski's head that
he's trying to knock off was on full display during his start on Monday
and the tail end of Sunday's outing. Neither outing was a complete
bomb (though 14 baserunners in 5.1 IP Monday certainly could've been),
but he worked himself to death early when longer outings are needed to
make the absence of an extra reliever worth it.
word for guys who can only be great for stretches; relievers. But while
it's likely someone gets removed at some point, Jackson's temperament,
contract situation, arm stamina, and agent, make him seem like an unlikely candidate.
No longer Justin Morneau's friend: Sergio
Santos may have done the emotionally resonant work of assuming the "Not
The Closer" role, but Jesse Crain has clearly taken up Matt Thornton's
old post of the 'The guys Ozzie turns to when he needs outs with
unbridled desperation'. He's striking out about a batter an inning
while using his change-up at a higher rate than any point in his career,
which has led to a tidy 2.57 ERA with a near identical FIP (2.58)
riding an impossibly low BABIP and almost none of his fly balls (3.6%)
are leaving the yard, but these kind of stretches of effectiveness with
relievers need to be ridden. Crain leads the White Sox bullpen in
innings, so mission accomplished. As a fellow man whose beard grows in
strange, I am elated at his success.
As Brett Ballantini pointed out,
Chris Sale has become pretty much relegated to mop-up duty. While he
had seemed better this week, two hits and a walk to load the bases
Sunday with no outs in the 7th ballooned his ERA up to 6.32. He's not
going to improve a whole lot with the infrequent appearances that his
spottiness will demand. Now that the rapture has gone the way of Jeff
Abbott, the Sox do need to develop their prospects.
Nothing says "Prove it, jerkbags" like a ten-game road trip. The Sox
will head out to Texas (who just got their offense back) for three games
before voyaging to Toronto for a four-game set where Alex Rios will get
booed for getting put on waivers and cursing at that one dude(NSFW), and the Blue Jays will seem scary until at least 20 years after Jose Bautista dies.