The mandate for the White Sox during a 7-game homestand week versus Seattle and Oakland was pretty clear: make hay...preferably lots of it. And whatever caution that Seattle's promising record might have elicited was burnt away when the Sox won match-ups versus Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda. They won the two hardest games of the week, leaving them with a game versus someone you would never trade John Danks for, and four games against the reeling A's. A very long win streak was possible.
So is it a disappointment that the Sox finished the week 5-2, with the two losses coming via late inning Sergio Santos breakdowns?
Nah, between Lillibridge saving the day on Saturday night and Santos recording a save without the use of a slider on Sunday, the Sox could just as easily wound up 3-4. Cleveland's in free fall and Detroit is in neutral, so take this progress and run with it.
So you had to work twice this week: While Peavy headed to the DL to start the week in a particularly chipper mood, would-be ace John Danks and possibly actual ace Phil Humber both pulled multiple starts and well....man...
Humber: 14.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 12 K
Danks: 15 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K
I touched on how Danks' success has turned with the recovery of his cutter earlier on Sunday, but Humber has curiously had shakier command recently while using his curveball more effectively as a strikeout pitch. Either way, his K/BB ratio is around 2.5, so he's still for real.
Sergio is annoyingly human: So Santos had a bad week:
3.2 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 6 BB, 4 K, 2 SV, 2 Ls
Scouting this has been pretty simple; Sergio has lost control of his slider, pretty much completely. While he has a good fastball, it's not good enough to compensate for the fact that it's the only pitch he can throw for a strike and every hitter he faces is loading up for it. Hell, if his fastball was good enough to make up for that, I don't think he would have ever learned a slider.
The fact that he's lacked a great feel for his change all year long hasn't helped matters, and he certainly didn't seem crisp on Sunday trying to introduce it.
Normally I wouldn't address the mental aspect, but Santos keeps talking about it, so it could be some kind of factor. He cited Ozzie sticking with him in the 9th on Sunday as a major boost for his confidence, but being able to throw a slider a strike would probably give him more. At least he's not ruined.
Their backs must be sore: Lost in the tragedy of getting nothing from the dirty 30s of Alex Rios and Adam Dunn, is that the White Sox have gotten production from Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin that has far exceeded any reasonable expectations.
At 35, faced with the task of repeating what was viewed as a fluke season, Konerko has uh...pretty much repeated it.
Which was really helped by him going 11-28 with 4 HR this week.
Quentin on the other hand, has been chasing the legend of 2008 for the past few years, and has made it seem a lot more attainable now that he's completely, undeniably healthy.
Which was really helped by him hitting 9-29 with 3 HR and 2 2B this week. With Quentin not murdering the team on defense anymore and some of Konerko's positional rivals (Youkilis and Morneau) out of his way, they both merit All-Star consideration.
Hey, and even Dunn homered twice and Rios hit .350 for the week.
Draft!: I think we can safely conclude that high-risk, high-upside is the new way of things for Sox prospect hunting. Without a true 1st round pick, Chicago selected Keenyn Walker from Central Arizona JC. Like Jordan Danks, Jared Mitchell, and Trayce Thompson before him, Walker is a highly-athletic outfielder with great speed and a long way to go to being a polished hitter. Prospect experts love the upside, but he also has more total bust potential than average.
The Sox used their 2nd round pick on Erik Johnson, who doesn't appear to project much higher than a middle of the rotation starter, and their 3rd round pick on Jeff Soptic, who can apparently throw hard, button his uniform, and not a whole lot else.
The White Sox declined to take Ozney Guillen due to the lack of any good reason, and it doesn't appear that anyone got punched in the face over the matter.
Looking ahead: The Sox just can't seem to face the league-worst Twins at the right time. Earlier in the season, the ChiSox happened to meet Minnesota and played as bad as humanly possible, and now face a Twinkie squad that has won 9 of 11, is scoring at will, and may even have Joe Mauer back by Thursday for crying out loud. At least the Sox miss the newly dominant Liriano.
After three games at Target Field, the Sox head out to Arizona to play the surprisingly successful Diamondbacks and old friend/spurned son Daniel Hudson. Hopefully their being 6 games over .500 is entirely the result of the NL being stupid.
Jeff Marquez is gone...take note. Or don't.
Filed under: White Sox Week
Tags: Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, arizona diamondbacks, baseball, Carlos Quentin, Daniel Hudson, Jake Peavy, jared mitchell, jeff soptcic, John Danks, Jordan Danks, justin morneau, keenyn walker, kevin youkilis, Oakland A's, Paul Konerko, phil humber, Seattle Mariners, Sergio Santos, target field, trayce thompson, White Sox