What does a manager say after his team, picked by many experts to win its division, starts the season 4-8 with most of his starters in the lineup slumping? Here’s what our Ozzie said to reporters after the White Sox lost 3-2 to the Indians yesterday. It’s classic:
“I’m going to sleep like a baby–wake up every (bleeping) two hours and cry.”
After witnessing today’s 3-2 loss to the rebuilding Tribe, I couldn’t help but think of the quote below from legendary humorist and White Sox fan Jean Shepherd. Watching the Sox score three runs or less in eight of their first 12 games, I’m simply running out of ways to describe the South Siders’ disappointing 4-8 start–so I’ll let the late Shepherd’s words do it for me.
”If I was going to storm a pillbox, going to sheer, utter, certain death, and the colonel said, ‘Shepherd, pick six guys,’ I’d pick White Sox fans because they have known death every day of their lives and it holds no terror for them.”
Despite the split in Toronto, there were encouraging signs that the Sox might start hitting and playing better baseball overall.
That certainly wasn’t the case last night as Tribe rookie Matt Talbot (pictured above) dominated the South Siders 6-2 . The Sox, the pick of many to win the AL Central, are now 4-7 and in last place four games behind the division-leading Twins.
“Like I keep saying,” a seemingly patient Ozzie told reporters after the game. “When you’re not swinging the bat good, you’re not pitching well, the more you think about it, the worse it gets.”
It’s not that Ozzie won’t be making adjustments. Today, he will move Mark Teahen and AJ Pierzynski up in the order and will put Andruw Jones in left against Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook. It’ll be Jake Peavy, trying to rebound, for the Pale Hose.
I guess we should be happy to leave Toronto with a split, but I was hoping for more. Freddy wasn’t ready, the offense reverted to its “first week” form and the Sox lost the chance to win the series and leave Canada with a .500 record. On to Cleveland for, hopefully, better results.
I have to say that the 7-3 defeat Thursday night had a very special moment. Backup catcher Donny Lucy, the Sox player who was forced to endure scooping up my spring training ceremonial first pitch out of the dirt, hit his first career home run (pictured above). The 27-year-old, who has bounced around the minors for six seasons with only a cup of coffee in the bigs (2007), had no chance to make the team this spring until Ramon Castro was put on the DL. All he’s done in his brief action is hit .500–and now a homer. Great story.
The Sox were “get away day” flat, but Lucy’s homer lifted my spirits.
More good news: In addition to Lucy’s solo blast, there was another big positive in the Sox defeat. Four relievers–Randy Williams, Sergio Santos, J.J. Putz and Scott Linebrink–combined for five scoreless innings and 12 strikeouts after Garcia faltered.
It was one of those “sit back, relax and enjoy” nights. As they say, a laugher. A total of 11 runs, 15 hits and a gem by one of your aces will do that.
In the 11-1 Sox victory in Toronto last night, John Danks gave up a mere two singles in seven innings. Carlos Quentin blasted a grand slam and drove in six runs. Andruw Jones added a homer and had three hits. Four players–Quentin, Juan Pierre, Gordon Beckham and AJ Pierzynski–had two hits apiece. My guy Donny Lucy pinch-hit a double.
The South Siders, with Freddy Garcia on the hill, can move to .500 tonight with a win. They also can win the four-game series after the 10 consecutive losses at the Rogers Centre.
Why Ozzie is talking about getting another job with two years to go on his contract is beyond me. But that’s our Ozzie. In a story by Mark Gonzales in today’s Chicago Tribune, the Sox skipper talked about his future if he ever severed ties with the White Sox.
“There are a lot of horse (bleep) managers out there that were given two and three shots to manage in the big leagues. I don’t see why not me…if I get fired I will tell (Jerry Reinsdorf) to fire Steve Stone, Farmio (Ed Farmer) or DJ (Darrin Jackson). I want that job.” Ozzie was of course referring to being in the broadcast booth.
Photo Credit: Associated Press
I feel better just knowing that Jake Peavy is on the White Sox. It’s his Cy Young Award pedigree and intense and combative nature that make me both like him and realize he can be a huge boost to a contending team. So it’s been pretty disappointing that in his first two starts he has compiled an 8.44 ERA in 10 2/3 innings of work.
“There is nobody more frustrated with the way (Monday) night’s start went than me,” Peavy told Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times. “There’s no front office member, no guy in this clubhouse or fan in the city of Chicago that’s more upset with my performance than myself…Giving up a couple of leads–there’s no other way to say it–that just makes me want to puke. I want to vomit on the mound.”
The Sox are relying on their starting staff to be at the forefront of leading them to a division title. If Peavy goes from Cy Young caliber to mediocre, we’re going to be in trouble. As a result, his woes–albeit it’s only two starts–are troubling. The biggest fear is that he won’t be able to make the adjustment from the National League to the American League.
Next up for Peavy will be the Tribe in Cleveland. We’ll be watching closely.
Sox notes of note: John Danks will make the start tonight against Brandon Morrow and the Jays in an effort to help the Sox take the lead in the four-game series, now knotted up 1-1 after last night’s 4-2 defeat…Speaking of last night, after getting booed upon his return to Toronto Alex Rios had to get some satisfaction from breaking up Ricky Romero‘s no-hit bid with a two-run homer in the eighth.
Leave it to our Ozzie to sum up a situation with a perceptive twist.
Ozzie, of course, was referring to the fact that the White Sox have had little to cheer about recently at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, losing 10 games in a row through 2009. It joined the now defunct Twinkiedome and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as the Sox’s personal houses of horror.
All that changed last night, however, as the South Siders continued to snap out of their first week hitting doldrums by smashing the ball and showing some grit in the 8-7 thriller against the Blue Jays to break their Toronto losing streak. It was the third 11-inning marathon in their first seven games–and the first one in which the Sox emerged victorious.
It was comebacker Andruw Jones and the much-maligned Mark Teahen who provided the fireworks. Jones went 3 for 4, clouted two homers and drove in four. Teahen was 3 for 5 and it was also when he delivered. He sent the game into extra innings with a leadoff blast in the ninth and provided the winning run as he tripled in Omar Vizquel (pictured above). Vizquel was running for Mark Kotsay, who had a key single pinch-hitting for Alexei Ramirez in the 11th.
While Jake Peavy had his second straight poor performance, the bullpen came through. Aside from Randy Williams walking in the 7th and go-ahead run in the sixth, Sergio Santos, J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks hurled 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Jenks struggled after getting the first two outs (as he did Sunday) but got the save. Thornton was lights out as he struck out four in two innings of work.
Sox notes of note: Did you see Ozzie’s reaction right before he yanked Williams after Randy walked in the go-ahead run? I’m not lip-reader, but the expletives were flying…Ozzie’s getting beat up a bit about counting on Jones and Kotsay. Maybe the critics will be quieted, at least for today…It was nice to see that the Sox have the comeback gene. To me, that’s the true sign of a winning ballclub.
If the first week of the season is any indication, 2010 is going to be a nerve-wracking year for the White Sox. In their first six games the Sox have played three one-run contests and two two-run games, a pair of 11-inning marathons among them.
Making matters more intense for Sox fans is that until Andruw Jones‘s pinch-hit single (pictured above) in the bottom of the eighth scored the winning run in today’s 5-4 come-from-behind win against the Twins, the Sox had lost four in a row. And this win was no walk in the park as the game ended with the potential tying run thrown out at the plate in the top of the ninth.
* Without his best stuff and location, Mark Buehrle gutted it out for eight innings after falling behind 2-0 and 4-2 for his–and the team’s–second win. He also helped the overworked bullpen catch their collective breaths.
* The South Siders needed a big hit badly and got it from Jones.
* There was no small ball at The Cell today as Paul Konerko, Mark Kotsay and Gordon Beckham all went deep.
* Even this early Mark Teahen is a concern. He looks like he’s in a fog and has to be among the major leaders in weakly hit ground ball outs.
* It’s a good sign that Carlos Quentin belted out a single and a double. Need him to get back to 2008 form.
* Bobby Jenks gave up two hits after easily retiring the first two batters in the ninth, but the good news is that he was consistently hitting 96 mph.
* It’s Jake Peavy tomorrow night in Toronto against the Jays in the first of four. Look for him to bounce back from his sub-par effort on Tuesday.
Breaking News: Sox lose fourth consecutive game, second in a row to the Twins by one-run. This time a Jim Thome walk and a Jason Kubel homer in the seventh inning did us in,
Sox offensive highlight: Mark Teahen doubled in AJ Pierzynski, who also doubled, in the fifth inning for the lone Sox run.
Sox pitching highlights: Freddy Garcia was outstanding, giving up two runs and five hits in seven innings. Scott Linebrink rebounded from a poor outing last night to throw two scoreless innings, including shutting down the Twins with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth.
Observations: If hitting is contagious, there is an epidemic on the South Side. Hard to win with the absence of any significant scoring…Also evident is that the hitters are pressing. Body language, specifically from Gordon Beckham and Paul Konerko, says it all…Mark Buehrle, the Opening Day winner, tries to stop the skid tomorrow against Nick Blackburn and the 5-1 Twins. Then on to Toronto, where it’s never a picnic for the Pale Hose.
Freddy was ready, but the offense wasn’t
The new baseball season, with the promise of a revamped Sox approach leading to a division title, has so far been a nightmare–make that nightmares.
Opening Day was a pleasure, but for the past three nights the South Siders have blown leads, lost two heartbreakers in 11 innings and scored three runs in each contest with an average of six hits. To make matters worse, the hit total includes only four extra base hits–two homers and two doubles. The result? a 1-3 record and a three-game losing streak.
Add the weak offense to the somewhat shaky and already-overtaxed bullpen and the natives are becoming restless in Week 1. The biggest culprits? Mark Teahen and Scott Linebrink. The slumping Teahen, benched last night, had a chance to redeem himself in extras, but hit into an inning-ending double play. Linebrink, with two years left on his lucrative contract, doesn’t look like he’s going to improve any time soon. He walked two of the three batters he faced against the Twins.
To make matters worse the The Twinkies look tough, very tough, and it was almost unbearable to see Jon Rauch do his Joe Nathan imitation last night.
If I’m disappointed, I can only imagine how Ozzie and KW are feeling right now. Think they’ve had a conversation or two in the past couple of days? My sense is that if the Sox are in the doldrums for an extended period of time, changes will be made quickly. But, remember, we’re still only four games into the season.