Perhaps I'm revealing myself as a cynic, but the White Sox dropping 2 out of 3 to the Rangers in their opening series registers as...oh, alright.
Sunday night's offering to a national TV audience was a rather hopeless dud, but the other two games were one-run toss-ups waged against the defending AL champs. They almost won both of them! They also almost lost both of them. They did alright, then!
The Sox above-average pitching staff will be at war with their below-average lineup all season long, and for two games in a very difficult atmosphere, they battled it to a draw. That's impressive, especially since the Sox hit .192/.252./.303 for the weekend. Which is terrible.
They were also 2-for-19 with 7 K with runners in scoring position, and both those hits were from Konerko. Assuming things would even out, even if the Sox hit .192/.252/.303 as a team for the entire year, they would still score runs more frequently than they did this weekend. I think. This is just a thought exercise to indicate that they've been unlucky with runners in scoring position; if the Sox hit .192 for the season, by all means, stop watching.
After 2011, no one's really excited to see the Konerko & Friends offense again for any length of time. Beckham's been bad, De Aza's been bad and struck out too much, Rios had that one home run, Alexei is hibernating, Morel has yet to reach base. None of which means anything yet, but it hasn't been fun to see.
However, it's actually been Konerko & Friends with Special Guest Adam Dunn. The strikeout rate now sitting around 25% for Dunn, but that's also the walk rate. His massive second-deck home run on Opening Day was nice, but he also hit a line-drive, opposite-field single on Saturday, which was weird and different, and thus good.
It was easy to count the number of mistake pitches that John Danks and Gavin Floyd threw this weekend, because they were playing the Rangers, so all of them were hammered. Danks managed around his Kinsler-itis to strikeout a batter-per-inning in an outing where he could have gone longer than six frames, while Floyd lacked command and was more deserving of his ignoble fate.
On a warmer, mid-summer night, Peavy's Saturday outing might have descended into the disaster it threatened to be early on, but he recovered to rely on a cutter and slider in the wake of diminished velocity.
The bullpen was surprisingly perfect; recording 7.1 IP of shutout ball despite using Hector Santiago as a closer--which is apparently the way things are going to be--and throwing Nate Jones to the heart of the Rangers' order. The inexperience of the unit gives it the potential to be a weak point on a team that can't afford to have another, so it's nice to see them off to a good start.
Brent Morel's otherwise forgivable knockdown of a hot smash prevented a double play being turned in the 6th inning on Friday, and the runner who stayed on scored the winning run. Alejandro De Aza's misplay of an Ian Kinsler liner turned a single into a triple and later a run, but it came in the same game as the brilliant, diving Alexei Ramirez catch that aided Hector Santiago's first save.
Tyler Flowers threw out the only attempted steal of the weekend--Ian Kinsler got a horrible jump--and A.J. Pierzynski allowed a runner to reach on a dropped third strike. Pierzynski in turn displayed a much better rapport with his pitchers, but in fairness to Flowers, he was trying to deal with Jake Peavy
The major point of concern is in the outfield corners, where Dayan has yet to make an ass out of himself, and Alex Rios looks award-worthy in his return to right field. I'm not sure whether Rios' is more comfortable this year because he's in right field, or is more comfortable in right field because it's a new year, but either way I just want him to hit more dingers.
The White Sox head to Cleveland to start the week, where they will face three right-handers, and one of them will be Justin Masterson (he is trouble). The Tribe went 1-2 in their opening series against Toronto, and showed a predilection for blowing late leads and losing games in extra innings.
Filed under: White Sox Week
Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, baseball, Brent Morel, Cleveland Indians, Dayan Viciedo, Gavin Floyd, hector santiago, ian kinsler, Jake Peavy, John Danks, josh hamilton, Justin Masterson, nate jones, Paul Konerko, Robin Ventura, Texas Rangers, Tyler Flowers, White Sox