If the key to happiness is low standards (an axiom that only horrifies if your standards aren't low enough), then the White Sox have set themselves up to provide moments of boundless joy to their fanbase.
Perhaps taking two out of three from the light-hitting, last-place--although not as emphatically as others--Mariners doesn't register as an incredible accomplishment, but after getting no-hit by a guy about to get kicked out of the starting rotation earlier in the week, just showing up in matching black & white uniforms would merit some praise for the South Siders.
Hell, they didn't even accomplish that on Sunday, and I'm still pleased.
Going 3-3 for the week, especially with the prime opportunities the
White Sox had handed to them at every turn, isn't much of an
accomplishment, but after the unabashed horror that was the two-game
Minnesota sweep, and dropping to 11 games under .500, any kind of
positive trend; some kind of reason to talk of what the Sox could
accomplish if they ever got "right", some reason to not think about how
there's pretty much no walking away from the commitments that have been
made to this roster...goodness, we'll take it. Twice. At outlandish
It's the pitching, it's always been the pitching. You
think it's about the hitting, but that's only because it's been so
relentlessly terrible. The long-term viability of this team is rooted
in the starting rotation:
Looking for a reason to feel not so
great about the White Sox breaking even for the week? They posted that
mark despite getting quality starts in all six games. In fact, the Sox
didn't allow more than 3 runs total in any of their games.
that, they had opportunities to win the game in their last at-bat in
both of the Minnesota losses, and went into the 9th inning tied on
Friday night in Seattle. 3 out of 6 in eminently winning games is...not
But miring transcendent performances are what games are for. Here's a delicious line of stats:
Buehrle vs. Orioles, 5/2: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 4 K, 0 R (This is Mark, ignore the peripherals)
Jackson vs. Twins, 5/3: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 ER (ignore being a footnote to infamy)
Danks vs. Twins, 5/4: 8 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 3 ER (ignore the '0-5 record' part)
Humber vs. Mariners, 5/6: 7 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 ER (ignore Jake Peavy's existence)
Floyd vs. Mariners, 5/7: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 R (ignore nothing, witness the GLOYD)
Buehrle vs. Mariners, 5/8: 8 IP, 9 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 ER (Buehrle is back! Ignore your Mom!)
you'll recall, the Sox' preposterous sprint to 1st place at the
All-Star break last season begin when Gavin Floyd snapped into form
against Detroit on June 9th, and the starting rotation responded by
posting 26 quality starts in 31 outings.
This is far from an 'if
A, then B' situation, but operating under the assumption that the
offense can't play any worse, then reducing their contribution
requirement to "anything, anything at all", figures to make the slow
transition of half the lineup from 'deadweight' status a little easier.
Running Rios: Remember
Alex Rios? The man who owned the month of May 2010? The man who kept
the team from starting the season 10-47 (approx)? Who looked like a
sure-fire All-Star and made former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi look like
someone who totally deserved to be fired?
say? Ok. Well, thanks to lack of organizational depth, all-time
centerfielder Alex Rios was at least worth starting in theory, but a
facsimile of mad bomber Rios would be nice.
Rios during 5/2-5/8: 11-24 (.458 BA), 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 R, 3 RBI
now! Not a single walk but....uh, let's just give up, and admit that's
not really the team's style anyway. He'll always be absurdly
pull-happy, so just to see him hitting ringing line-drives up the middle
is a good sign.
Who's your closer?:
Ozzie, on his Closer Who Must Not Be Named: "It's obvious, he's there every ninth inning when we've got the lead."
Well, then. It's Sergio, who's proved his mettle by knocking out the only two opportunities he got all week.
great when situations like this just work themselves out, though
ideally it wouldn't have worked itself out by Thornton and Sale both
struggling with command into May.
Congratulations, Sergio, you've stood strong as your compatriots have
collapsed in pestilence around you. Don't breathe the air.
Looking ahead: We're
stuck in effing California all week! Stock up on barbiturates, because
it's four-straight 9pm starts. At least they're stuck on the West
Coast, so a failure to turn the season around against middling AL West
competition can't be blamed on jetlag.
Without getting too much into previewing three game sets in Anaheim and Oakland, click on this, check the upcoming pitching lines, and tell me if you see anything interesting.