It’s been difficult to watch the Twins playoff push knowing full well that if the Sox had played close to their collective ability we would be on top of the division or at least the ones on the march.
After the 2-4 road trip, which ended in a blown ninth-inning save and a 14-inning loss, Ozzie felt compelled to address the troops before last night’s contest. Included in his comments was a plea to the Sox that they play hard in the final 15 games. Following the 11-0 horror at the hands of the Royals, the pep talk obviously didn’t have any short term impact.
The details of last night’s 4-3, 14-inning loss to the Mariners are almost too painful to recall, but I’ll try.
The Sox took a 3-1 lead into the ninth after a superb eight-inning performance by John Danks and looked to win the series and gain a game on the Tigers…Not so fast, Bobby Jenks proceeded to cough up home runs to Jose Lopez and Bill Hall, blew the save and the Sox ultimately lost on an Ichiro walk-off single off of Scott Linebrink. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Jermaine Dye and Alex Rios were 0-12 between them.
OK, I got it all out. Now let’s hear from Ozzie, who had a few choice words after the game and even promised lineup changes for the series opener tonight against the Royals at the Cell:
“I’m tired and I don’t have anything…it was 2 1/2 hours of satisfaction and then 2 1/2 hours of horse (bleep) baseball. Go ask them. I don’t have any more quotes, seriously. What the (bleep) am I going to say? They’re horse (bleep)? Yes, they are…if they give up on me, then I give up on them.”
As if that’s not enough, Ozzie came out with one of his classic gems before last night’s disaster:
“This is a tease, man. “It’s like when you have a girlfriend and you are kissing her all over the place and you get to the mambo, and she says no. That’s where we are right now. That’s the way we are.”
You can say this for the White Sox–they’re consistent in their inconsistency. The Sox are 5-5 in their last 10 games, have alternated wins and losses since September 5 (including last night’s 4-1 loss in Seattle) and, if recent form holds true, will defeat the Mariners today for a 3-3 road trip. We hope.
Although the South Siders (72-74) failed once again to reach the .500 mark, they are proving to be the consummate .500 club. It would surprise no one if the Sox finished 81-81.
The offense, which has been woeful, proved to be the Achilles heel again last night in the losing effort. This was the case despite two hits apiece from Alex Rios and Jermaine Dye, who have been AWOL from any significant offensive contributions. The one highlight was Gordon Beckham’s 12th homer of the season.
If I haven’t already made my case for “.500,” is it really a coincidence that last night’s losing pitcher Gavin Floyd, who has been the ace of the staff for much of ’09, is now 11-11 on the season?
One day up, the next day down. It’s just been that kind of season. When you think they are back on track, they falter. When you think they’re out of contention they rise to the occasion.
Ladies and Gentlemen, these are your 2009 Chicago White Sox.
As testimony, we just have to look at the last few days. A Friday loss to the Angels, a Saturday win in Anaheim, another losing effort to the Halos on Sunday and a comeback 6-3 victory last night in Seattle to move within 5 1/2 games of the Tigers. That gives us yet another chance tonight to reach the .500 mark.
Who in the heck are these guys? From what he says, I don’t think Ozzie even knows.
What we do know is that the South Siders wouldn’t be close to .500 without A.J. Pierzynski. He did it again last night with a 10-pitch at bat that resulted in him driving in two runs in the seventh, including the eventual game-winner. In all, Pierzynski went 3 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored. With Dye and Rios non-factors and Quentin a far cry from the 2008 version, A.J.’s contributions have been key to keeping the ship afloat.
Notes of the day: Kudos to Freddy Garcia for another solid outing last night as he picked up his second win of the season, giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings of work…The wait is almost over for Sox fans to get a glimpse of Jake Peavy. He’ll be on the mound Saturday at the Cell against the Royals. Hurrah!
The list is certainly impressive.
Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, Gary Peters, Pete Ward, Tommie Agee, Carlos May, Britt Burns, Ron Kittle and Ozzie Guillen comprise the honor roll of Sox players who have been named American League Rookie of the Year by either the Baseball Writers’ Association of America or The Sporting News.
If Sox fans controlled the voting, Gordon Beckham would unanimously join this illustrious group in ’09 and claim the team’s first rookie award since Ozzie in 1985. He has been nothing short of spectacular since being called up from Charlotte on June 4, and he’s got my support, but as good as Beckham has been he’s not a shoo-in.
As I see it, it’s a six-player race with outfielder Nolan Reimold of the Orioles, A’s closer Andrew Bailey, Tigers hurler Rick Porcello, Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero and the Rays’ Jeff Niemann rounding out my top candidates.
Here’s the comparison:
* Beckham: In 86 games he has knocked out 87 hits, including 11 homers and 25 doubles, scored 48 runs, driven in 53 and sports a .279 batting average with an on-base percentage of .353.
* Reimold: In 103 games he has knocked out 99 hits, including 15 homers and 18 doubles, scored 49 runs, driven in 45 and sports a .279 batting average with an on-base percentage of .365.
* Bailey: He has compiled a 6-3 record with a 2.03 earned run average and 24 saves. He also has struck out 81 while walking only 23.
* Romero: The talented lefty has bolstered the Jays’ staff with his 12-8 record. 4.22 ERA. In 153.2 innings he has struck out 119 and given up just 68 bases on balls.
* Porcello: He is 13-8 with a 4.21 ERA and has struck out 78 while walking 45 for the AL Central-leading Tigers.
* Niemann: He has compiled a 12-5 mark with a 3.57 ERA and has K’d 106 while walking only 50.
For us Beckham boosters, who have seen the gifted one play every day, it’s a closer competition than we’d like. But here’s hoping that Pale Hose justice prevails.
You’re simply not going to win very often without some semblance of clutch hitting–even if the pitching is there. And for the umpteenth time in 2009 the Sox proved the rule with a disappointing 3-2 loss today at the hands of the Halos despite a solid seven-inning performance by Mark Buehrle.
I know the following to be true about the Pale Hose:
White Sox Miss Opportunity to Gain Ground, Beckham is Back and Former Sox Farmhand Enters Hall of Fame
It would have been nice if I could talk today about a Sox victory in Anaheim and how we picked up a game on the Tigers and Twins, who both lost on Friday night.
For those of you who read my blog yesterday, I made my selections for whitesox.com’s All-Time 9. It’s a poll created for all of us to name our personal Sox starting lineup based on single-season hitting stats.
To help us in the process the Sox site offers a list of candidates for each position. As I mentioned yesterday, I was confused about the omission at first base of Dick Allen’s 1972 season and the fact that Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins was listed as a first baseman. Well, I woke up this morning to find that the mystery has been solved. Allen is now on the ballot and Collins is in his rightful place at second.
With this monumental issue solved, we now can enjoy the day without a cloud of confusion hanging over our heads :-).