Why are the White Sox bad at the things they care about?
If there's something to be pointed to as the tipping point in the White Sox 3-2 defeat to the Yankees--other than the team only having two above-average hitters and one of them being hurt...against Sabathia--it's the incredible sequence where both A.J. Pierzynski an Gordon Beckham managed to single off of C.C. to lead off the inning. Such providence is naturally evened out with tragedy.
To get the rally going, Ozzie Guillen called for a bunt from Brent Lillibridge. It probably was a good call, as Lillibridge had been up to the task in his previous plate appearance, and was an enormous strikeout risk. Yet, Lillibridge popped his bunt 97 feet in the air into the mitt of Eric Chavez, to set up the perfectly deflating lined-into-double-play by Brent Morel. A.J. dashing off 2nd base on a line drive and getting doubled off would have been deserving of U.S. Cellular's boos already, but it came after Beckham committed the exact same sin to end the 3rd inning.
In a night filled with angry boos, this was a notable highlight.
Maybe every brain cramp shouldn't be blamed on the manager, as there's a chance that the White Sox have compiled a roster full of particularly unaware players without a cure, or simply slow runners overcompensating with aggression. For example, A.J. Pierzynski isn't fast...and he's aggressive...occasionally there's dissonance.
For a man like Ozzie, who so adores the myth of the Twins--the perfect fundamental team--surely it chaps him as much as anything to see failed sac bunts, baserunning gaffes, and runners stranded. That more results don't come from such ire, surely doesn't reflect well on his leadership. Though as we'll get to, Ozzie has other things to worry about.
Alexei Ramirez recovery
It was good to see Alexei Ramirez break out for two extra-base hits Monday night, because it was really great to see someone actually have two extra-base hits. But it was particularly great to see it from Alexei (though, seriously...anyone), who killed notions of his rise to elite-player status by hovering around a .300 wOBA for June & July.
He's certainly doesn't look like he's going to rip off a 120 wRC+ season anymore, and his ceiling is especially limited if there's anything long-term to his 2011 woes against fastballs, but Alexei Ramirez is definitely too damn good to hit like Juan Pierre for the whole summer. Hopefully, ripping up C.C. Sabathia is the start of another streak in what looks to be a career of streaks.
Thinning the herd
Trading Edwin Jackson probably means White Sox fans will have to sweat out a lot more instances of Jake Peavy grinding through 110+ pitches with uncertain consequences, but now that this salary-cutting move resulted in nothing more than...a salary cut...it really opens up for speculation what the hell the motivation was.
Joe Sheehan steps into such a void:
The people who get all up in arms over how steroid use defiles baseball are nowhere to be found when something truly offensive happens. Jerry Reinsdorf, who I’m reasonably sure can order from the whole menu, forced his GM to deal away the White Sox’ #2 starter solely to save money over the next two seasons, getting nothing of baseball value in return but a mid-rotation prospect. He did this while his team was within 3 1/2 games of first place, a spot held by a team that had been outscored. So spare me the PED outrage and the whining about the integrity of the game. Selling off one of your best players in a pennant race for what amounts to a rounding error in your bank book is a hell of a lot more offensive than anything a baseball player ever did with a needle. Sportswriters, write about that.
That's a pretty aggressive rip job that ignores Reinsdorf's decently aggressive recent history, rules out the White Sox simply misjudging the stability of their 5-man rotation as is, or having some alternate use for their $10 million saved going forward. It's also the type of criticism the White Sox open themselves up for when they make a move that doesn't appear to address any other pressing purpose.
It seems that no one believes the Sox really needed to fix their bullpen.
They'll keep making sequels until all the actors are dead
Mark Teahen's gone, and his Twitter account goes with him. But! He left us with one last completely unexpected barb.
Hope my career is good enough 2 1day raise a kid 2lazy & dumb 2have a real job so I can pay his bills & he can think he's successful #Goals
If that seems like it's about Oney Guillen, don't worry about connecting the dots. Oney jumped the gun and assumed as much, launching a counter-assault of personal jabs that were apparently about Teahen and his wife, and acerbic enough to already be deleted. Teahen denied the easily-made assumption that his remark concerned the Guillens, and the family-oriented White Sox clubhouse predictably balked at Oney attacking Teahen where he lives.
Safe to say a fair # of #WhiteSox are enraged by Oney's latest tweets on Mark Teahen + wife. One term used was "smash his face in"
@CSNChi_Beatnik Brett Ballantini
Moving beyond Oney Guillen rising at the first sniff of a fight and immediately dragging it into the gutter, if Mark Teahen--the same guy who spearheaded organizational charity events since setting foot in Chicago, and played good soldier in the press after the fans turned on him early, after he was benched for the dying embers of Omar Vizquel and the growing pains of Brent Morel--still couldn't leave the White Sox while resisting the urge to hint at how irritating he found someone whose employment with the team never coincided with his....well, that sounds like Oney's a problem that wasn't fixed.
Adam Dunn looks awful
And I mean awful. He'll probably bat clean-up tomorrow after a run-of-the-mill 0-4, 3K night. That sounds awful seeing as he's useless, but in fairness, no one knows what the hell to do.