The 2013 schedules were released Wednesday, opening up a dangerous line of thinking.
To begin thinking about 2013 is to begin thinking about how the White Sox will manage to be competitive next season. Option years are coming up for Youkilis, Peavy, and Floyd. Konerko, Dunn, and Pierzynski are another year older....and A.J. doesn't even have a contract! Oh, I'm not spending anytime thinking about this with only a half-full bottle of generic ibuprofen at my side.
For goodness sake, Gavin Floyd starts Wednesday night with the fate of the world on his shoulders. Carpe diem, no? Perhaps a 'YOLO', for the younger crowd? No? What do the kids say, anyway? I don't care, kids have awful ideas. Here are some notes.
- The White Sox open the season at home for once, with series against Kansas City and Seattle. The White Sox will start next season 3-3.
- Interleague series are all over the year next season. Indeed, the third series of the year will be in Washington, as the NL East will be the Sox interleague partner. Since that includes showdowns with the Nationals, Braves, Phillies, and obnoxious reunion with Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins, this cannot be construed as a positive.
- BAD DEVELOPMENT: Only two series against the Mariners next season
- GOOD DEVELOPMENT: Two series against the Astros next season!
- The last six series of the season are all against AL Central foes, including a four-game home set against the Royals to close the year. If the White Sox are in it--and who could know such a thing??--they'll have a late-season showdown with their main competitor for the AL Central crown..
- There's a goofy four game home-and-home set with the Cubs
- Why not just look at the thing yourself?
Adam Dunn received an injection for his oblique strain, but will not be able to start Wednesday night. If Dunn had been healthy, he certainly would have bat third, instead, it'll be Dewayne Wise.
As we know, the point of batting order is to arrange hitters in a way that will optimize run production, but this arrangement clearly shows Robin Ventura values something else--consistency. Wise is certainly not deserving of batting in front of Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski, but since both Paul Konerko and Dunn have OPS's in the ~.750 range since June 1st, one could argue that they don't deserve to either.
That's fuel for the fire that there should be a shakeup, but also should tell us that Ventura isn't out to chase the most perfect setup every day, he's looking to plug guys in roles and keep them there. That's not to say there should be no reaction to Konerko's troubles and Dunn's continuing mediocrity, or Dewayne Wise being a Quad-A guy, but this activity has a purpose, and is probably among the reasons why Sox players praise his consistency.
Francisco Liriano apparently has been removed from the rotation, since he's been pushed aside in favor of Hector Santiago for the Minnesota series. Surely it's not accompanied by oceans of disappointment, since Liriano had walked 15 batters in 14 innings over his last three starts, but Frankie's certainly not getting afforded the patience someone like John Danks or Gavin Floyd might have been offered.
That could be due to the time of year, the stakes at hand, his lack of tenure with this organization, or it could be still temporary, even. But Liriano seemingly intoning none of the adjustments suggested to him and not responding to pleas to try to work ahead in the count certainly could not have helped.
The White Sox aren't good at anything
7th in the AL in weighted-runs created (that's hitting weighted to the ballpark)
6th in the AL in starters' wins above replacement (that's the quality of starting pitching weighted to the ballpark)
11th in the AL in bullpen wins above replacement (that's the quality of the bullpen weighted to the ballpark)
8th in the AL in defensive efficiency (percentage of balls in play turned into outs)
I would describe their strength as "intangibles".