April 2010

Hey Paulie, Sorry About That

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Paul Konerko is off to a great start. After today’s two-homer performance, which proved to be the difference in the Sox’s 7-5 come-from-behind win over the Rangers, he is the major league leader with 10 homers along with 18 RBI and a .292 batting average.
Paulie has been only one of a handful of White Sox to play up to expectations so far. Despite that,  I have been pretty hard on No. 14 in the form of a couple of semi-snarky comments about his propensity to kill rallies by hitting into ground ball double plays.
Konerko’s double play pattern is frustrating, but where would we be with him? Our disappointing 9-13 record would likely be much worse. So, Paulie, I’m offering you an apology–and I’ll have to somehow live with your frequent DPs.

Sox notes of note: Gavin Floyd was impressive in today’s win. He gave up only a single earned run on five hits with five K’s in seven innings…Before today’s triumph, the Sox had lost six consecutive road games vs. Toronto, Cleveland and Texas with a visit to New York on the horizon. It’s never a picnic for The Good Guys against the Yankees and this year’s version of the Bronx Bombers might even be better than last year’s World Champs. That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Derek Jeter look something like this following after the three-game series in Gotham. A guy can dream, can’t he?
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How About A Do-Over?

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

If it’s not Gordon Beckham, it’s Juan Pierre. If it’s not Carlos Quentin, it’s A.J. Pierzynski. If it’s not Alexei Ramirez, it’s Jake Peavy. And while Paul Konerko has gotten off to a good start with eight homers, his patented ground ball double plays have proven to be a killer. Fellow Pale Hosers, it’s been a tough April.
Any good news? Well, Andruw Jones, Alex Rios and that sweep last weekend against the Mariners, which now seems like the distant past. Last night, in the 6-5 loss to Texas, Peavy settled down after the disastrous first inning, Quentin slammed a three-run homer and Pierzynski got a couple of hits. But in the end, it was still another loss with the Sox record standing at 8-13.
The South Siders try to salvage a game in Arlington this afternoon and then off to, gulp, you know where against you know who.
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Was That Joe Mauer? Nah, Just Matt Treanor

Let’s face facts, it really wasn’t the Rangers’ backup catcher Matt Treanor who beat Mark Buehrle and the White Sox, 4-2, last night. It was the Sox offense.

It’s true that Treanor, a .226 lifetime hitter who may be better known as the husband of Olympic volleyball gold medalist Misty May, proved to be the difference last night with a homer, double and three RBI. But it wouldn’t have mattered if the Sox had done their collective job–an unfortunate dynamic that’s developed into a pattern for the 2010 South Siders.
Juan Pierre, one of the Sox regulars who have been disappointing so far, said it best after last night’s game.
“I basically just put my uniform on,” said Pierre, who twice failed to drive in runners in scoring position. “I didn’t move the ball well.”
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                               Misty and Matt when he played for the Marlins
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Danks, Konerko Give Sox Much-Needed Sweep

Another nail-biter, another win for the White Sox as they sweep the Mariners. On Friday, it was Andruw Jones‘s walkoff, yesterday it was deja vu with Alex Rios the hero and today it was Paul Konerko‘s eighth inning homer that helped the Pale Hose squeak by, 3-2.
Three one-run victories, three dramatic game-winning homers and the Sox have come back to life. And John Danks has proven to be the early go-to guy on the pitching staff, hurling another gem today and improving to 3-0 with a miniscule 1.55 ERA.
The Sox have now played 19 games–eight have been decided by one run with our record in those games standing at 6-2. If the first three weeks are any indication, I guess we have to accept that they’ll be a lot of close games this season. Be prepared.
Sox notes of note: One of the keys to the Sox sweep of Seattle had to be the fact that Sox pitching held their No. 1 and 2 hitters Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins to a mere five hits in 24 at bats in the three games. Keep those guys off the bases and you’ve got a good chance to do what we did…Terrific feature story on Sergio Santos in today’s New York Times. 
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10 Reasons Why I’m a Happy Camper

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I have to admit that I had little faith in the Sox as they entered the bottom of the ninth inning today, trailing the Mariners 4-2. I’m a glass half-full guy, but I’ve been conditioned by these 2010 Sox to expect the worst.
But the Good Guys pulled it out and I’m ecstatic. Here’s why:
1. Two consecutive walkoff homers–by Andruw Jones last night and Alex Rios today (above)–make me think the Sox are gaining their confidence and establishing themselves as a club that can indeed come back and win.
2. Happily, Rios seems to becoming the player we all thought he would be. He had a key double last night to tie the game and went 3 for 4 today with the walkoff. He’s now hitting .281.
3. Freddy Garcia was terrific–7 innings, 2 runs, 2 hits, 5 strikeouts.
4. Mark Teahen continues to contribute. He was 2 for 3 today, raising his BA to .273.
5. Sergio Santos, the “find” of spring training, pitched another scoreless inning in the eighth. His ERA? 0.00.
6, Alexei Ramirez showed signs of life by doubling in the first two Sox runs.
7. Paul Konerko, as we all know, is frustrating at times with his propensity to hit into double plays, but he also comes up big. Like today, when he hit the solo homer in the ninth to set the stage for Rio’s heroics.
8. The speed at the top of the Mariners’ lineup–Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins–was 0-7.
9. It was satisfying to beat Seattle closer David Aardsma, a miserable failure when he played on the South Side.
10. The thrilling triumph has helped me minimize the woes of Gordon Beckham, A. J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin, even though the latter coaxed a walk in the ninth. And, of course, Bobby Jenks who is making a habit out of retiring the first two batters he faces before he loses it.
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Andruw Walks Off On His Birthday, Keeps Pale Hose Nation Off The Ledge For Now

birthday_party-1733.gifIt had all the makings of another heartbreaking loss, but Andruw Jones–celebrating his 33rd birthday–made MY wish come true tonight with a walk-off home run in the ninth to give the White Sox a 7-6 victory over the Mariners. It was his second blast of the game.
Going into the top of the seventh, the Sox looked safe with a 5-2 lead as Gavin Floyd was in control and backed up by Jones, Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin homers. But visions of a win faded quickly as Jose Lopez tagged former teammate J.J. Putz for a grand slam to put Seattle up 6-5.
The Sox tied it up in the bottom of the seventh on a clutch double by Alex Rios. They then held the Mariners scoreless in the eighth and ninth thanks to Matt Thornton‘s 2 1/3 perfect innnings, highlighted by five strikeouts. It set the stage for Jones’s two-out heroics.
Andruw, thanks, we needed that. Happy Birthday and many more.
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Can It Really Get Worse?

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Jake Peavy: 7 runs, 7 hits, 7 walks in 4 1/3 innings. White Sox lose to Rays 10-2 last night.
Mark Buehrle: 6 runs, 9 hits in 4 2/3 innings Wednesday night. Rays beat Sox 12-0.
The Pale Hose Offense: 4 hits Wednesday, 6 hits last night with a total of two runs.
Enough said for now. Mariners at The Cell this weekend.
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Is This For Real?

Our Ozzie is on the record as saying that meetings are for losers. Well, after last night’s 12-0 humiliation at the hands of the Rays, the skipper met with his troops.

From all reports it was a pep talk after the 5-10 start. In essence, he told them to relax, to have fun, forget the first few games and move on from here.
It’s pretty obvious that the Sox–especially the offense–are pressing and no doubt embarrassed by what has transpired so far. All you have to do is look at the averages to see why they’ve struggled:
Juan Pierre, .214
Gordon Beckham, .228
Carlos Quentin, .176
Paul Konerko, .245
A.J. Pierzynski, .174
Alex Rios, .250
Mark Teahen, .222
Alexei Ramirez, .208

Andrew Jones is the only exception at .294.

“He (Guillen) knows we’re trying to get better, Beckham said. “It’s our job. It’s our life. We want to win. And we’re not doing it.”
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                     Quentin is one of the poster boys for the Sox offensive woes


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Thanks Danks

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The angst created by the slow start dissipated a bit last night after the White Sox rose to the occasion with a very satisfying 4-1 win over the red-hot Rays. It was highlighted by another John Danks gem.
After surrendering a first inning homer to Sox nemesis Carl Crawford, Danks was virtually untouchable. In eight innings he gave up two hits, both to Crawford, and struck out nine. He is now 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Bobby Jenks came on in the ninth for his third save.
The offense, while still far from where it should be, did just enough powered by Paul Konerko and Andruw Jones homers. I’m still waiting for Gordon Beckham, among others, to break out soon.
Kenny Williams Speaks

The Sox GM spoke to reporters before the game last night and talked about the fans and the poor start of the season:
If you have a passionate fan base, you have to be prepared for a heightened sense of urgency or worry when things don’t go your way–just as you are the beneficiary of extreme excitement when it does go your way. You got to take the good and bad with it. Right now, everyone is a little upset with the way we’re playing. So are we.”
Memories

It will be an interesting dynamic tonight as Mark Buehrle faces the Rays for the first time since the perfect game.
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What’s as Painful as the Sox Getting Off to a Bad Start?

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Question: What are some things that are as painful as watching the White Sox start the season 4-9 and lose five of their first games to the Indians–including a three-game sweep this weekend?
Answer:  A needle in your eye. A slap in the face. Getting run over by a bus. A hit in the groin. A migraine headache. Experiencing gout. Having your hair set on fire. Hiccups for two straight days. Your finger getting smashed in a car door. Blowing out your knee. A cankor sore. Told by your significant other that he/she just wants to be friends. A visit from your mother-in-law. 

Seems about the same to me.


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