Results tagged ‘ Indians ’

Ozzie on Warpath as Sox Head to Cleveland

I wrote yesterday that unless there was something new to write about, I would wait until there was.

My hope was that I could blog today about the start of a Sox turnaround. As we all know, that didn’t happen last night as the Sox dropped a disheartening 2-1, 11-inning decision to the Royals–but something fresh and new did occur. There are a whole slew of critical comments from Ozzie, many of which reflect the disappointment and and frustration of White Sox Nation.

Here’s a sampling:

*  “(Bleeping) pathetic. No (bleeping) energy. We just go by the motions. We take the day off instead of (Thursday).”

*  “One day we’re good, three days we’re bad. We don’t have energy in the dugout. A horse (bleep) approach at the plate for the 90th time.”

*  “If we go to Cleveland and play the way we did in Kansas City, it’s going to be a (bleeping), dead-(bleep) July. That’s very bad. We’re wasting our money on this club if we go to Cleveland the way we were here.”

*  “That’s the team we have all year long. I talk (trash) because what I see. That’s all is see. Nothing against the Kansas City pitching staff. The way we go about our business here, horse (bleep).

I think you get the picture.

The Fausto Factor

Remember the good old days? Or, April 1 of this year to be exact.

It was Opening Day in Cleveland and the White Sox seemed to meet all of the high expectations set during the offseason by throttling the Tribe 15-10 on 18 hits. More specifically, they got to Indians’ starter Fausto Carmona (above) for 10 of the runs and 11 of the hits in just three innings.

We all know what happened to the Sox shortly after that. The offense went cold, mental mistakes were commonplace, the bullpen imploded and the disheartening losses began to pile up.

There’s some symmetry to the fact that as the Sox begin to escape their early season woes, having won nine of their last 12 to pull within five games of the .500 mark and eight games behind the division-leading Indians, that Fausto is again a factor in their success.

Carmona was on the mound again last night as the Sox won their third straight in the convincing 8-2 triumph. On this night in Chicago, the Pale Hose touched up the righthander for eight runs, seven hits and two walks in five innings. Carmona’s two-game total against the Sox amounts to 18 runs in eight innings. In 56 1/3 innings against the rest of the American League he has allowed just 16 runs. Go figure.

Sox Note of Note: It’ll be a homecoming this weekend for two of the stalwarts of the 2005 World Champs as Juan Uribe and Jon Garland (below) come to Chicago with the Dodgers for a three-game interleague series. Garland, in fact, will be the Sox pitching opponent on Saturday afternoon as he’ll be facing friend and former teammate, Mark Buehrle.

Sox Bats Come Alive in Win, Tie

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         Ramirez and Rios mirrored each other’s feats in games 126 miles apart

The White Sox offense finally came to life today, pounding out 28 runs and 31 hits in a split squad doubleheader separated by 126 miles. The Sox won a 12-1 drubbing of the Diamondbacks in Tucson and, after enjoying as much as a five-run lead over the Indians in Glendale, the South Siders settled for an ugly 16-16 tie when the game was called after nine innings.

Tucson Ups:
Alexei Ramirez homered in his first two at bats and added an RBI single…Ramon Castro also went deep…Brent Lillbridge doubled in three runs in a seven-run seventh…Jordan Danks collected two hits and scored twice…Edwin Jackson surrendered a lone run in 
3 1/3 innings while Chris Sale and Josh Kinney each pitched two scoreless frames…Sergio Santos pitched an unblemished  2/3 of an inning and Charlie Leesman hurled a scoreless ninth.
Tucson Downs:
Alexei committed an error, but he’s excused.
Glendale Ups:
While Ramirez clouted homers in his first two at bats against the D-backs, Alex Rios did the same at Camelback Ranch and drove in five runs…Mark Teahen went 2 for 2 with three RBIs and walked twice…Stefan Gartrell, seemingly a AAAA player, homered and singled in what was the go-ahead run in the eighth, snapping a 14-14 tie…Brandon Hynick was the only one of the six Sox pitchers NOT to give up a run. He struck out the side in the fifth in his only inning of work…Jared Mitchell, coming back from his unfortunate leg injury which caused him to miss all of the 2010 season, singled in the 16th Sox run…Dayan Viciedo went 3 for 5 with an RBI and Omar Vizquel had a pair of hits with a run batted in.
Glendale Downs:
Lucas Harrell started the game by giving up six runs, eight hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings and Gregory Infante surrendered four runs, five hits and a walk in the eighth as the Sox squandered a 14-10 lead…If this wasn’t bad enough, the Sox committed five errors. Leading the way was the human error himself, Teahen, with two throwing miscues. Granted, he was superb on offense today, but he simply can’t play the position. That’s four throwing errors in his last two games. Mr. Morel, you’ve got the job.
The Sox host the Rockies today at Camelback Ranch.

Note to Sox: Keep Teahen Away From Third

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The White Sox lost again today–8-3 to the Tribe–dropping to 1-5 in the Cactus League. Not much to glow about and the most frustrating part was Mark Teahen‘s two throwing errors at third base, which helped the Indians jump out to a 5-0 lead. Let’s face it, he can’t be trusted at the hot corner. Brent Morel, the job is yours.

The Ups:

Omar Vizquel was the only Pale Hoser to collect two hits and Paul Konerko doubled for the only Chicago extra base hit…Vizquel, Lastings Milledge and Gordon Beckham each had an RBI…Matt Thornton, Brian Bruney and Anthony Carter each pitched a scoreless inning.
The Downs:
Teahen, who also was thrown out at home trying to score from second base in the fifth inning…The Sox continued their failure so far this spring to sustain rallies and hit in clutch situations…Gavin Floyd, who suffered the loss, gave up four runs (three earned), a pair of hits and walked three in his two-plus innings of work. It broke the streak by Sox starters, who had gone five games and 10 innings without surrendering a base hit…Reliever Freddy Dolsi, who gave up the game-winning homer in Wednesday’s loss to the Reds, gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in the seventh and eighth innings to effectively take the South Siders out of the game.
Sox host the Royals tomorrow at Camelback Ranch, hoping to get back on the winning track.

Peavy’s Start Overshadows Weak Sox Offense

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Jake Peavy gave White Sox fans a big boost today as he delivered a sterling performance in his first appearance since he walked off the mound in agony last July 6 against these same Angels. The righthander pitched two scoreless innings, striking out a pair while walking one. In all, he made 26 pitches, 16 for strikes.

Peavy’s performance gave the five Sox starters the distinction of hurling five straight 
games–10 innings–without giving up a hit. Jake was preceded by Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and John Danks, each of whom hurled two innings in their first spring starts.
The Ups:
Sadly, Peavy, the “streak” and one scoreless inning apiece by Chris Sale, Sergio Santos and Charlie Leesman were pretty much the only positives for the Sox as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Halos to go 1-4 on the spring. After getting shut out through eight frames, the South Siders finally scored as Brent Lillibridge singled in Jim Gallagher, who led off the ninth with a triple.
The Downs:

The Pale Hose offense collected only seven hits and left the bases loaded in both the fifth (with one out) and the sixth (with nobody out)…Not that he was the only inept Chicago hitter, but Adam Dunn went 0 for 4. He’s now hitting .091…After driving in the first (and only) Sox run in the ninth, Lillibridge killed a potential rally by getting picked off of first base with none out. Not a good thing if you’re on the roster bubble.
The Sox face the Indians tomorrow in Goodyear.

An Early Look at the “Others” in the A.L. Central

baseball-caps-american-league-central-division-main.jpgThe White Sox go into the upcoming season as one of the favorites to win the A.L. Central, but it’s not going to be a cakewalk. The Tigers have improved, the Twins have lost a number of key components but are always strong and the Indians and Royals seem to be making strides as well.

The following is a thumbnail rundown of the Sox’s Central opponents and how they’re constituted going into the new season–in order of their finish in 2010. As we all know, the Pale Hose finished in second place behind you know who.

Twins
Our perennial nemesis has suffered a number of key losses, primarily Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes and Jon Rauch in the bullpen, second baseman Orlando Hudson, shortstop J.J. Hardy and infielder Nick Punto. But we know full well, they’ll be a contender once again. Minny still has All-Star catcher Joe Mauer, outfielders Denard Span, Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer, reliever Matt Capps, re-signed DH Jim Thome and starter Carl Pavano and are counting on comebacks from Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau and Pat Neshek. The Twins could get a huge boost if Japanese export Tsuyoshi Nishioka pairs up successfully with Alexei Casilla in the middle of the infield.

Tigers
C-DH Victor Martinez, reliever Joaquin Benoit and free agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez were the key additions over the winter. Along with Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer at the top of the rotation, the monster bat of first baseman Miguel Cabrera and the solid play of third baseman Brandon Inge and shortstop Jhonny Peralta, these Tigers will be growling. Detroit is also counting on a young group headed by outfielders Austin JacksonBrennan Boesch and Ryan Rayburn and second baseman Will Rhymes. A comeback by reliever Joel Zumaya would also be a key factor in their run at the division title.

Indians
The Tribe has a long way to go and were silent over the winter in terms of major acquistions. Cleveland appears to have a young, improving pitching staff with folks like Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco, and some good young players like shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, first baseman Matt LaPorta, outfielder Michael Brantley and arguably their best player, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. A big question mark centers around erstwhile star centerfielder Grady Sizemore and if he recovers from his injury problems. Based on the current roster, it’s improbable that they could gain on the Sox, Twins and Tigers in the standings.

Royals
We’ve been waiting a long time, but it finally appears as if KC is on its way with several blue-chip prospects. In fact, six of MLB.com’s Top Prospects are in the Royals system. Part of this youth movement has come from the Zack Greinke trade, which brought the likes of shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. Other “can’t missers” include first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and hurler Mike Montgomery. That’s the good news. The bad news is that odds are that very few, if any, will make an impact in 2011. In the meantime,  the Royals will have to count on a group of players led by Billy Butler in the field and starter Luke Hochevar and closer Joakim Soria on the mound to get them out of the cellar. Their odds to escape aren’t very good.

White Sox Look to Viciedo and Morel as Possible Pieces to 2011 Puzzle

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Dayan Viciedo (above), Brent Morel (below), Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza found themselves in the Sox starting lineup last night as the likes of Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski, Manny Ramirez and the injured Gordon Beckham were firmly planted on the bench in the third base dugout.

Ozzie apparently felt that giving the youngsters some playing time was more important than the Sox extending their three-game winning streak and finishing the season a game shy of 90 victories. The Good Guys wound up losing to the Tribe, 7-3, after Tony Pena surrendered three runs in the first.
With so many questions that need to be answered, it’s impossible to predict what roles, if any, the above four prospects will have with the big league club in 2011. In my view, Morel could certainly be the starting third baseman and Viciedo either a DH or maybe the first baseman if Konerko doesn’t return. With his great speed, De Aza is a possible fourth or fifth outfielder. Pun intended, the bloom could be off the Flowers rose. He no longer looks like the blue-chipper both the Braves and White Sox thought he was. I would be surprised if he’s in the picture next season.
With two games remaining, it’s uncertain who Ozzie will put on the field. But there is still something to play for. I would like to see Mark Buehrle get to the .500 mark tonight with his 13th win and it would be a nice sendoff for Edwin Jackson, who has been less than stellar lately, to shine in his last start of the season.
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They Don’t Come Much Better Than Paulie

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I don’t have to tell you how important Paul Konerko has been to the White Sox. Paulie and Mark Buehrle have been the core of the Sox for the past decade, which has seen the Pale Hose bring a world title and three division titles to the South Side. And in this day and age of bad athlete behavior, Konerko and Mr. Perfect have been two of the most solid citizens in the world of sports. We’ve been privileged to have them in our uniform.
Last night, Konerko smashed a grand slam off of 19-game winner Jon Lester to help give the Sox an 8-2 victory over Boston. What was a wonderful moment also was a bit bittersweet. With Paulie a free agent, it was hard to ignore the fact that his blast could be the last one he hits for the White Sox. Not a happy thought.
Will Paulie be back in 2011? Here’s Konerko’s take:

“I think where they (the Sox) stand right now is probably just figuring out where they want to go as a team. I’m kind of secondary. That goes for the other guys here who are in the same boat. Obviously it’s a business, so they have to figure out payroll stuff and when they do that, then hopefully I’m in their conversation, as far as being brought back. Until then, I don’t know what will happen…and I’m telling you it could be a better deal than anyone else’s and I decide to go somewhere because what I’m feeling for myself and everybody involved in that moment. That’s the honest truth.”
Paulie also addressed the 800-pound gorilla–the Twins:
“It’s not just about the talent on the field. It’s no different than Little League. It’s not always the talent that finishes first, second third as far as who has that on paper. I do think that (the Twins) are a great team on paper, too. Probably at this moment a better team. So if you’re not the better team you have to do a lot of things to catch them that are beyond the talent. That’s something that will have to be addressed if they want to go in that direction.”

Sox note of note:  Last night’s victory was the 86th for the Sox, assuring them of finishing at least 10 games above the .500 mark with the three games to go against the Indians. They’ve already clinched second place and are now seven games behind the Twins, hoping to make the final standings look more respectable. It may seem that these facts are insignificant, but I, for one, am happy the Hose are finishing on a high note.


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Ozzie, Manny and KW on Sox Future

56399739-27221748.jpg.gifThree games against Boston and three against Cleveland are all that remain on the Sox 2010 schedule as they sit eliminated and nine games in back of the Twins.
So what’s there to talk about? Here’s three items that come to mind:
* He’s Baaack: Ozzie had his sit downs with owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams and it seems as if Oz got the assurances he was looking for so he’ll be back in 2011. I know it was a cause celebre for a few days because of the constant controversy that surrounds Ozzie, but this might have been much ado about nothing. Regardless of what anyone says, Guillen needs the Sox and the Sox need him. A match made in heaven for sure.
 
* Oh, Man, oh Manny: I was on the record at the time we acquired Manny Ramirez as saying that regardless of the outcome, it was a wise decision to take the chance on the slugger. I still feel that way so you won’t see me second-guessing the move. That said, Manny has been awful and has had zero positive impact with his .258 batting average, one homer, one double, two RBI and 21 strikeouts. His 15 singles and 12 walks have contributed to his .410 on base percentage, but it’s all been meaningless. And last night’s lack of hustle going into second base was inexcusable–but typical of what you get with him.
*What’s Next: So where do the Sox go from here. I’ll let Williams explain: 
“Every year, I go through three different scenarios. Where we are currently, which right now is kind of middle of the road. Yes, we have potential to be that notch above, but I have to look at where we are right now. You look at going out and adding the necessary pieces through free agency and through trades where you think you can compete for a championship.

“After that, you take a look and say, ‘well, if we have to go the other way because of budgets or my pie-in-the-sky thinking, we aren’t going to be able to afford it,’ then what’s the best young team we can put out there and start the process?

“It wouldn’t be the typical rebuilding. We’ve worked hard over the years here to make sure we are never in a position for total rebuilding kind of project. If you just look around the field, we have good young players under 30-years-old that are some of the better players in the league. I don’t think that’s the case, but if you have to filter two or three young guys around that position player-wise and maybe someone in your bullpen, well then that’s going to be called, I know how that works in Chicago, it’s going to be called rebuilding.

“In our minds, it’s still with the midset of trying to win. One you start using the “R” word, you create a different kind of mindset. I think a part of what we’ve done here is making sure our players understand that whatever the composition of the team is, it’s designed to win.”

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Sox Win! Sox Win! “Marks” Save the Day

 

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I know that the White Sox have been eliminated.

I know that the recent eight-game losing streak was too much to bear.
I know that we’re still in danger of finishing in third place.
All that said, today’s 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the A’s, giving the Sox their first victory since September 12, put a smile on my face. I needed it to cure my baseball blues.
Two forgotten South Siders–Mark Kotsay (above, top) and Mark Teahen 
(above, bottom)–came to the rescue today with key ninth-inning pinch hits. Manny Ramirez, bless his heart, was nowhere to be found.
So it’s on Anaheim. My hope is we can close out the season against the Angels, Red Sox and Indians with three series victories. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
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