A common sight these days in SoxWorld: Adam Dunn striking out. Three more K’s in
tonight’s 2-1 loss to the Rays gives him a total of 17 in 37 at bats with a .162 batting average. Enough said.
Trust me, I’m trying.
In all my years of being a White Sox fan, believe me, I’ve been here before. But it never gets any easier and when you’re in the throes of this kind of losing streak it seems like it’s never going to end.
I’m a firm believer in hitting being contagious, both positively and negatively, and the Sox are currently making my point. It seems that everyone’s in a slump. And facing Jerod Weaver, Dan Haren and David Price hasn’t helped.
All we can do is drag out the old cliches–It’s Baseball, It’s a long season, It’s early–wait it out and hope we turn it around before the Tribe clinches the A.L. Central.
More Bad News: If the loss to the Rays and the five-game losing streak aren’t bad enough, the Sox suffered another huge blow last night. Jake Peavy, making a rehab start for Birmingham, left the game with “discomfort” after throwing just 15 pitches. This was supposed to be his second to last minor league start before joining the Sox at the end of April. Now, it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll return to the majors.
It was a 4-6 homestand filled with blown saves, errors and lack of clutch hitting against the Rays, A’s and Angels. As the White Sox head to Tampa Bay, Detroit and New York for 11 games in 11 days we can only hope that the quality of play will improve.
The euphoria we felt after the Sox pummeled the Indians in the first two games of the season has been replaced with frustration and bewilderment. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. By the way, how’s the Tribe doing these days?
Perhaps the worst part of all of this is that the club brass, after loading up with payroll in the offseason, was counting on a quick start so the fans would start believing and proceed to fill the sets at the Cell. You have to wonder if the Sox faithful will continue to believe if the South Siders continue to reel.
I know, I know, it’s a long season. We’re only a game under .500 and gave a better effort today against a tough customer in Dan Haren. But it’s not only the won-lost record and the four-game losing streak that bothers me, it’s the way we’re playing. Sure, things could turn around in a heartbeat and these early season woes will just be a bad memory. But when? And we all know that the next three series will be anything but easy.
Take a close look, because you probably will never again see a Yankee logo in this blog–at least in a positive light. But if you’re a reader of Art of the Pale Hose you know that all the members of the 2005 World Champions have lifetime immunity with my White Sox posse and me.
So, despite never having rooted for the Bronx Bombers–even for a single game–I owe it to Big Game Freddy to give him his due. This afternoon in The Bronx he threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits, as he was the winning pitcher in the Yanks’ victory over the defending A.L. champion Rangers. It was his first win for the Yanks and the 134th of his outstanding 13-year major league career against just 87 losses.
It was a wet, sloppy, messy night at the Cell. I’m talking about the weather AND the Sox performance on the field in the 4-3 loss to the Angels. Granted, there was no blown save and no extra inning heartbreaker, but it also didn’t do anything to inspire confidence that this is a special team.
On the positive side, Phil Humber was decent in his five innings. Jeff Gray was a welcome sight out of the pen holding the Halos at bay until Will Ohman got a key out in the eighth and Sergio Santos, the closer in waiting, shut the door in the ninth to give the South Siders a glimmer of hope. But in the end, the Sox failed to deliver with the potential tying and winning runs on base in the eighth and ultimately haunted by Brent Morel‘s earlier error that caused two unearned runs to score.
With the way the Sox have been playing at home, it’s a little scary to think they’ll soon be off on an 11-game road trip to Tampa Bay, Detroit and New York. Then again, maybe it’s a good thing that they’ll be leaving their comfort zone and the boo birds who have been so critical of the bullpen and the porous defense.
No, I didn’t forget the Adam Dunn two-run homer off of Sox nemesis Jered Weaver on my list of positives. It was nice, but simply not enough.
With the White Sox bullpen situation at a crisis level, Ozzie sarcastically suggested that Bobby Thigpen, who once held the single-season save record with 57, might be his next option.
I really don’t know what to say. As I was getting ready to celebrate our eighth victory and a series win over the A’s, the roof fell in. What else is new?
Another blown three-run ninth inning lead, Matt Thornton‘s fourth blown save without recording one and poor performances by Chris Sale and Jesse Crain proved to be too much to overcome as we lose, 7-4. For the record, we lead the major leagues in allowing 12 ninth inning runs. Not good, not good at all.
I really don’t feel like extolling the virtues of John Danks‘ outstanding eight-inning performance and recapping any of our offensive exploits. The bottom line is that we blew another one and we look nothing like a contender.
Even though his new team is having its own struggles, somewhere Bobby Jenks is laughing.
It was the Missile’s night. Alexei Ramirez
‘s three-run second inning homer gave the Sox a 3-1 lead and his 10th inning walkoff blast sent the fans home happy with a 6-5 victory. And, by the way, we’ll forgive him for his error in the fifth that prompted Ozzie
to yank Edwin Jackson
before the Pale Hose starter qualified for the for the “W.” Nobody’s perfect.
It was a satisfying win, especially due to the fact there was still a collective hangover from Matt Thornton‘s blown save and Juan Pierre‘s dropped fly ball Monday night. Those bad memories surfaced again in the sixth inning when Alex Rios‘ dropped the club’s sixth fly ball of the season. Fortunately, no damage was done as a result.
Apart from Ramirez, the most positive news resulted from the four scoreless innings–two apiece–by Sergio Santos and Chris Sale. With the bullpen less than effective in our first several games, it was a welcome sight and gave the Sox the chance to ‘hang in.”
And welcome back, Adam Dunn.
The White Sox have started the season of being “All In” with a respectable 6-4 record after their first 10 games, but due to some serious bullpen woes and shoddy defense things don’t feel as good as they may seem on the surface.
Three of the Sox losses have resulted into a trio of Matt Thornton blown saves. The man who would be the successor to the much-maligned Bobby Jenks has yet to save a game. In their losses, the Sox have blown two three-run leads and a one-run margin made even worse by dropped fly balls and other miscues.
Take last night. Mark Buehrle was magnificent, throwing eight innings of scoreless, two-hit baseball. Then the roof fell in. In the ninth, Thornton gave up a leadoff double to Andy LaRoche and pinch runner Cliff Pennington scored when Juan Pierre (pictured above), for the second time in four days, dropped a very catchable fly ball. That tied the game and Kurt Suzuki hit the game-winning homer in the 10th to give Oakland a 2-1 extra inning victory.
If Thornton or his bullpen teammates don’t find the formula to save games and the defense doesn’t play better in clutch situations, the explosive offense will be negated and the summer of “All In” will be a bust.
On a day that saw the White Sox dominate Tampa Bay, 6-1, with an outstanding eight-inning performance by Gavin Floyd
, two home runs by Paul Konerko
and a solo blast by Gordon Beckham
(pictured above), I can’t stop thinking about the status of our bullpen.
My focus is there because of Ozzie‘s comments this weekend that he may approach the closer role a bit more democratically than simply turning to Matt Thornton. Earlier this spring when the manager announced that Thornton would be the main guy, he did leave the door open a bit by saying the tall lefty would get most of the save opportunities. But his recent comments, perhaps a result of Thornton’s two blown saves without recording one, seem like he’s getting closer to creating a “committee” with Thornton perhaps the primary option.
In most circumstances I wouldn’t be in favor of having multiple closers, but the flexibility of this year’s pen gives me the confidence that it would work with the situation determining who would close. The candidates are Thornton, Chris Sale, Jesse Crain and Sergio Santos. There are no guarantees, but I would feel comfortable with any of them appearing in a save situation. And at this point, Santos is the hottest of the four with a 0.00 ERA.
For those of you who think the lack of closer stability would be a detriment, think back to 2005. The South Siders started out with Shingo Takatsu, followed with Dustin Hermanson and won a World Series with Bobby Jenks. Granted, it was a very different situation, but I think you see my point. It can work.