Results tagged ‘ Blue Jays ’

The Red Sox are Coming! The Red Sox are Coming!

You think that you have problems? Take a look for a moment at the Bobby Valentine Red Sox.

Although they just swept a three-game series from the Twins, the Bosox stand at 7-10 and are in the basement of the A.L. East as they invade the Cell starting tonight for a four-game series. And I’m sure they haven’t forgotten last Saturday’s debacle when they blew a 9-0 lead to the Yankees and lost to their bitter rivals, 15-9.

If that weren’t enough, they’ve lost two-thirds of their regular outfield with serious injuries to Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, have a decimated bullpen that was severely weakened by an injury to new closer Andrew Bailey on the eve of Opening Day and the starting staff has been far from stellar. Add a little bit of smugness and unfortunate rhetoric from their new skipper and you have a team, as presently constituted, that will have trouble contending with the likes of the Yankees, Rays and even Blue Jays. That said, it will be interesting to see how the sweep in Minnesota has lifted their spirits.

Our Sox come in at 10-8 and in a virtual tie with the Tribe for the division lead after a 4-2 road trip to Seattle and Oakland.  It’ll Philip Humber on the mound tonight, fresh off of his perfect game. He’ll be facing promising youngster Felix Doubront.

Friday night it will be John Danks vs. converted reliever Daniel Bard, unbeaten Jake Peavy vs. Jon Lester on Saturday and Gavin Floyd vs. Josh Beckett on Sunday.

It wasn’t an oversight: No, I didn’t overlook yesterday’s 14-inning loss to Oakland. Just didn’t have the heart to revisit the bad memories.

How About These White Sox…and Tommy Lasorda’s Big Mistake

Jake Peavy did his best Philip Humber imitation, pitching a masterful three-hit, complete game shutout.  The back-to-normal Adam Dunn and red-hot Paul Konerko hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning, giving Peavy all the support he needed to offset the outstanding outing by the A’s Bartolo Colon. And, in the end, the Sox went on to win their fourth straight with a 4-0 victory last night in Oakland.

Furthermore, take a look at the standings this morning. The only American League team with a better record is Texas at 13-4.  Right behind are the Sox and Tigers tied for the A.L. Central lead at 10-6 and the Yankees and Blue Jays knotted up for the A.L. East lead with the same record. Everyone else is behind these five leaders.

I know it’s early, but this is a lot of fun and I’m going to enjoy it.

Konerko on verge of 400th homer

Konerko’s homer last night was the 399th of his career, tying him for 48th place in major league history with Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga. One more and he joins the “400” club.

Paulie’s standing as one of the game’s Top 50 home run hitters brings to mind Tommy Lasorda‘s comment when the Dodgers traded Konerko to Cincinnati for reliever Jeff Shaw (the Sox acquired PK from the Reds for Mike Cameron). The Hall of Fame manager said, and I paraphrase, that he was comfortable making the deal because he didn’t see Konerko as a 20-homer guy in the major leagues.

As wrong as Lasorda was in judging Konerko’s home run prowess, he was right about one thing. Paulie isn’t a 20-homer slugger. From 1999-2011 in a White Sox uniform,  No. 14 averaged 30 homers.  He’s had 40 or more twice, 30 or more five times and 20 or more on five occasions.

So much for Lasorda as a talent evaluator.

Sox Mojo to be Tested on 10-Game Trip

Ozzie‘s recent mantra has been to take one day at a time. For a team trying to come back from the dead, I agree that it’s the way to go. I just wish I could walk the walk.

As the White Sox were in the process this weekend of completing a 5-2 homestand on the heels of of an encouraging 6-3 road trip, all I could think of was the upcoming 10-game road swing to Texas, Toronto and Boston.

As the Sox move toward the .500 mark with a 22-26 record, they are about to face a huge challenge while trying to continue their winning ways.

* The defending A.L. champion Rangers are formidable enough, but to make matters more difficult, Texas gets both last year’s MVP Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz back from injury just in time for the Pale Hose.

* Toronto has always been a tough place for us to play and among the issues to deal with up North will be neutralizing the outstanding Blue Jay pitching and home run machine Jose Bautista. Bautista, by the way, is also hitting .353 in addition to his major league-leading 18 homers.

* We all know that the Red Sox are the Red Sox–always tough–and Boston has the major league RBI leader in newly-acquired Adrian Gonzalez (41) plus top-flight pitching.

Sox Notes of Note:  The Sox were able to win the rubber game of the Dodger series today on the strength of Alexei Ramirez‘s four hits, which included a two-run homer, and five RBI…Adam Dunn walked three times and had an RBI single while adding an eighth inning insurance run. WGN cameras caught him mouthing the words, “What was that?” after he got what amounted to his first hit of the series. At least he has a sense of humor…As a result of the Indians’ weekend sweep of the Reds, the South Siders remain nine games behind the Tribe.

Sox-Wise and Otherwise


My weekly offseason opinions and observations about the White Sox and more…


340x.jpg

Is it Cora’s time?

Hahn isn’t the only member of the White Sox family in interview mode. Sox bench coach Joey Cora (pictured above), who has been mentioned for previous managerial openings, is reportedly a serious candidate for both the Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers jobs. Cora has been passed over more than once in the past. Wonder if the powers-that-be around baseball view him as a successful coach who doesn’t have what it takes to manage. We’ll see.


Hahn on
Mets short list

Pale Hose Assistant General Manager Rick Hahn is one of the leading
candidates for the New York Mets GM job along with the likes of long-time MLB
exec
Sandy Alderson
and L.A. Dodger Assistant GM
Logan
White
. How valuable has Hahn been? Just listen to his boss, Kenny Williams: “I know I’m going to lose him
(at some
point)
and it’s going to be a heavy blow.”
An unnamed baseball exec told
the New York Post: “
His
fingerprints are on everything Kenny does.”

 

Arizona
Fall League report

While the Sox have six prospects with the AFL’s Peoria
Saguaros (a seventh, catcher
Josh
Phegley
,
was set to play but was sent home with a health issue), the
main player to keep an eye on is centerfielder
Jared
Mitchell
. The MVP of the 2009 College World Series with LSU and the
No. 1 Sox draft choice just weeks later was injured in spring training and
missed the entire 2010 season. So his performance this fall is the first step
on his road to recovery. For the record, Mitchell knocked out three hits in his
first game and in his  initial five
contests he boasted a .389 on base percentage.

 

The
magic of Herm Schneider

Year after year, the White Sox are at the top or among the
healthiest teams in the major leagues. Highly respected
Herm Schneider is the reason why. During
the course of the 2010 season, the Sox tied the Arizona Diamondbacks for fewest
trips to the disabled list and had the fewest days spent on the DL.

 

A.J.
offers his two cents

Viewers of the ESPN week-day show First Take are being treated to a pundit
better known around Chicago as the White Sox starting catcher. That’s right,
A.J. Pierzynski,
appearing from an Orlando, FL studio, is offering his analysis of the
postseason–and he’s doing a pretty good job. Any Sox sighting in October is a
welcome addition to the universe, though it’s  still up in the air whether A.J., a free agent, will be in the Sox fold come 2011.

 

Paulie
update (sort of)

Speaking of free agency, it would be a shocker if news concerning Paul Konerko‘s status would come out before the end of the World Series. But, just for
the record, he hasn’t gone anywhere yet.


mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

You Gotta Love the Way These Sox Bounce Back

55143923.jpg

There’s no doubting the resiliency of these White Sox. And it was evident again last night as Mark Buehrle observed the first anniversary of his perfecto by snapping his personal Oakland jinx in a sparkling 5-1 complete game victory.

Thanks to Tim Clodjeaux, a member of my Sox posse, I am reminded that after their three most heartbreaking defeats this season, the South Siders have rebounded in impressive style.
May 9 (Mother’s Day): The White Sox take a 7-5 lead into the ninth against the Blue Jays in Chicago, but Bobby Jenks implodes, giving up four runs, including a three-run homer off the bat of Jay Fred Lewis, in the 9-7 loss…Two days later, after an off day, the Sox put the Blue Jay defeat in the rearview mirror. Behind Freddy Garcia and a five-run fifth, the Pale Hose topple the Twins, 5-2, at Target Field.
July 18 (last Sunday): In arguably the most gut-wrenching loss of the season, the White Sox go into the ninth against the Twins in Minnesota up 6-3, but lose 7-6 on another Jenks implosion…The next night in Seattle the Sox acted like that heartbreaking loss never happened. Thanks to a fine performance by Dan Hudson and a balanced offense, sparked by Alex Rios, the Hose bounced back with a 6-1 triumph.
July 21 (last Wednesday): With the White Sox and the Mariners hooked up in a Gavin Floyd-Felix Hernandez pitching duel in the series finale, the teams are scoreless through 10. The Sox score a run in the top of the 11th, hoping it would hold up. Not so much. Jenks gives up a pair in the bottom of the inning and the Sox lose, 2-1…With Buehrle compiling an 0-6 record in Oakland and the Sox facing red-hot hurler Trevor Cahillfans couldn’t be blamed for doubting the club’s chances in the opener of the three-game series after an off day. But Buehrle was masterful last night and the Sox offense delivered.
The truth is that these kinds of games are going to happen–to every team, multiple times every year. The key is to minimize them and when they do happen bounce right back. The Good Guys have done that.
Standings update:  The Sox are now 53-42, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Tigers and three in front of the Twins. Minnesota lost last night to the Orioles and the Tigers and Blue Jays were rained out.
 mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

Dana Eveland (Who?) Does His Sandy Koufax Imitation

sandy koufax.jpg

Dana Eveland, who is with his fourth organization since 2005, might as well be Sandy Koufax when he faces the White Sox. He’s now 3-1 in six starts this season with two of the victories against the South Siders.
He beat them on April 15 in Toronto, allowing only two runs and three hits in six innings. Last night, in the 2-0 Blue Jay win, he hurled seven innings of shutout ball, surrendering a mere two hits. It’s either that Eveland has turned the corner since failing to stick with the Brewers, Diamondbacks and A’s or he’s simply taken advantage of our season-long offensive doldrums.
It’s reached the point in the Sox season where nobody really knows if this is a .500 team or a contender. John Danks has been the only consistent starter and aside from Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Andruw Jones, the offense, in the words of a fellow Sox fan, has been revolting. And the bullpen has suffered from the starters’ inconsistency.
We have no other choice but to wait it out and hope that a winning streak is right around the corner.
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

It’s Time for Some Consistency

53635572.jpgLike most White Sox fans I’m looking for signs. Signs that the Sox will bust out of their inconsistent play, go on a run and enjoy a lot more post-game celebrations.
Winning their second series of the season this week–the first against a division opponent–is a start. Jake Peavy‘s performance on Monday and Freddy Garcia‘s outing last night were encouraging, as was the nine-run outburst led by Andruw Jones and Alex Rios on Wednesday. But the inconsistency reared its ugly head on Tuesday in the 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the Royals, forcing Sox Nation to scratch their heads in confusion.
This weekend’s series should be telling. The Sox face the Blue Jays in a four-game set. Toronto is holding its own in the AL East and boasts a talented starting staff. One of the questions here is if the Sox staff, so highly touted entering the season, can match up with them. It’s almost been as baffling as the sometimes non-existent offense
“On paper, we were one of the best, and now when you look at that paper, we’re one of the worst in the league,” Mark Buehrle told the Sun-Times. “We haven’t done our job, and us going out there and lasting four, five innings messes up the bullpen. I think you point fingers at us on why they’ve had some problems in the bullpen.”
Tonight it’s John Danks (3-0, 1.85 ERA), the lone consistent performer on the Sox staff, vs. Dana Eveland (2-1, 4.76) who was impressive against us in Toronto. Tomorrow night it’s Buehrle (2-4, 5.30) vs. Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.12). It’ll be Peavy (1-2, 6.31) vs. Brett Cecil (2-1, 2.61) on Saturday night and Gavin Floyd (1-3, 6.89) vs. Ricky Romero (3-1, 3.00) on Sunday afternoon.
“Everything in life is about consistency,” our Ozzie told reporters. “When you’re not consistent doing something, you’re always going to fail. I think that happened here.”
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

Can the Sox Win a Series in Toronto?

53304099.jpg

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.

Our Ozzie

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


mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

What’s up with Jake?

53252404.jpg
                                                                                          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.
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

The Springtime Ritual of Predicting the Winners

PressHat3_2.png
We all know that preseason predictions mean nothing–nada, zilch, zero. And while we shouldn’t take them seriously, it’s still a lot of fun–especially when the so-called experts pick your team to win.
Historically, it’s very rare when the baseball media elite pick the White Sox to win their division, let alone the AL pennant or World Series. It’s not that much different this year as the Twins seem to be the most common pick to conquer the AL Central. That said, there are a few “big name” media types among those who have picked the South Siders:
* Hall of Fame electee Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and author of the forthcoming bio of George Steinbrenner.
* Fox SportsKen Rosenthal, who somewhat tongue-in-cheek picked the Sox to win the World Series while referring to them “Team Wacko.” Think that had anything to do with our Ozzie?
* ESPN‘s Tim Kurkjian, who doesn’t exactly wear a Sox jersey on the weekends.
* Jon Heyman, he of SI, SI.com and the MLB Network.
Since I’m drinking the prediction Kool-Aid, I might as well add my two cents. Here are my divisional picks for 2010:
AL CENTRAL

1. White Sox
2. Twins
3. Tigers
4. Royals
5. Indians


AL EAST 

1. Rays
2. Red Sox
3. Yankees
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays


AL WEST

1. Angels
2. Mariners
3. Rangers
4. A’s

NL EAST

1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals


NL CENTRAL

1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Brewers
4. Cubs
5. Pirates
6. Astros


NL WEST

1. Rockies
2. Dodgers
3. Giants
4. Padres
5. Diamondbacks

mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.