White Sox Week That Was - 5/9-5/15: This baseball team strives for competence

White Sox Week That Was - 5/9-5/15: This baseball team strives for competence
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"Hey Sergio, nice j--HEY LOOK, A GUY IS WEARING ZUBAZ PANTS OVER THERE!!" // Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

Three series victories in a row!  A 4-2 week!  A 6-3 West coast road trip! The White Sox are probably better than Minnesota Twins!

Boy, it certainly seems like the White Sox are getting on that season-saving roll that several people's job were staked on.  And I'm not trying to suggest that they aren't.  It's only natural that the transition from Sox' bats resembling moldy cardboard to becoming 10-runs-a-game world-beaters would be a gradual one.  Sure enough, this week demonstrated more the wonder of what can be accomplished when a team's offense allows them to be competitive, rather than any kind of breakout.

The White Sox blew-out the Angels emphatically on Monday, provided two
dull thuds on Tuesday and Saturday, and then went 3-for-3 on games that
had least one moment where some worse luck results in a loss.  If the
old rule of "In every season, you win 60, you lose 60, and the other 42
make the difference", the Sox won three of said 42 games this week.

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This picture isn't related to anything but...it's Ozzie behind the camera for goodness sake! What's he doing there?!?! // Kyle Terada, US PRESSWIRE

May 11

White
Sox rally from 4-1 deficit after Angels' closer Jordan Walden blows his
second save of the season with two runs worth of control problems, then
the Sox take the lead and eventually the game in the 10th after Kevin
Jespen throws the first pitch of an intentional walk 4 feet over catcher
Hank Conger's head.  Because that kind of thing happens.  This was also a game that saw Jake Peavy return from a career-threatening injury and Paul Konerko end the game with a behind-the-back flip to Matt Thornton to end it.

May 13

Forgetting the fact that the Sox got their fourth
run because A's starter Brandon McCarthy botched picking off Juan
Pierre, Jesse Crain stepped into a runners on the corners, no out
situation in the 7th staked to a 4-2 lead, and managed to get three
consecutive outs and hold onto a one-run advantage while doing so.  And then
A.J. Pierzynski had to make a leaping tag to stop Coco Crisp from tying
the game in the 8th with a straight steal of home.  Because that kind
of thing happens.

May 15

Sergio Santos gives Sox fans the first glimpse of how having an
effectively wild 'closer' might be stressful, as he walked two batters
in the 9th, and didn't close things out before allowing the tie run to
3rd base.  It was fun to see Sergio grit out an inning without a feel
for his slider...I guess.

The slow masher plan is working!

Dunn for the week: 9-23, 6 BB, 10 K, 5 2B, 1 HR, .517 OBP, .739 SLG.  Yes, .517.
Paulie for the week: 8-23, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 444 OBP, .609 SLG

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Speaking of slow mashers, Omar Vizquel has a .797 OPS // Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

Obviously, these numbers are exciting.  But they get more exciting knowing that Dunn's current 11.1% HRs per fly ball rate lags far behind
his career average.  More of those doubles should start leaving the
park.  Also, while Paulie's certainly going to get old, each month of
prime production speaks to that 2010 was the product of real adjustments
and benefits from being healthy, not an inexplicable flash in the pan. 
He might diminish, but he's not toeing the cliff yet.

These guys should hit all year.  Especially if Dunn spells Konerko
more.  They better too, because Quentin is slumping, and neither Beckham
nor Rios is back yet.

Oh Juan.  Juan, Juan, Juan, Juan

For Sunday, Juan Pierre went 1-4, was immediately picked off
after that hit, grounded into two double plays, and looked so shaky in
left field that Hawk busted out the call of "That should be a can of
corn...hopefully". 

With his running game essentially shot (1 of 2 stealing bases in
May....only 2 attempts!  Juan Pierre!  Being managed by Ozzie Guillen!),
a string of gaffes has him pressing badly in left field, which makes
his usual lack of a throwing arm and slow offensive start (.258 wOBA
through Saturday) a lot less palatable.

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Do you think Juan knows he's struggling? I think he probably realizes it // Cary Edmondson, US PRESSWIRE

Juan slapped a ringing line drive for a hit to start the game on Sunday,
and nearly had an RBI double down the left field line that sliced
foul.  When Pierre is right, he's slapping line drives to left field, so
it's conceivable that we could be in for a streak of hitting from him. 
At -1.2 WAR already on the season, he is simply murdering the
Sox out of the leadoff spot everyday.  He needs to do something to
justify his presence, and soon.  Even if Viciedo wasn't intriguing and Juan's contract wasn't expiring, Pierre would deserve less playing time.

Looking ahead

The Sox return to their frigid homeland for consecutive two-game
sets against teams perceived to be better than them, the Rangers and
Indians.  The defending American League champs are slumping without Josh
Hamilton and Nelson Cruz's services, whereas the Indians will bring
Fausto Carmona and Justin Masterson to the table...so crap to that.

Come the weekend, the light-hitting Dodgers and the healing tonic that
is Interleague Play washes over the South Side.  Aaaahhh, I can feel it
now.  Their inferior lineups with their built-in holes heal our wounds
and cure our pestilence.  The Sox might be the most optimistic 17-24
with a -22 run differential ever.

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