Results tagged ‘ Ozzie Guillen ’

The Blame Game

The conventional wisdom in the media is that lists, polls and surveys are sure to create buzz among its viewers, listeners and readers. So, everybody does it.

I was particularly amused today when I saw a poll in the Chicago Tribune asking readers to answer the question, “Who is most to blame for the Adam Dunn debacle?” The question is certainly a legitimate one so I have no problem with the paper posing the inquiry. What made me chuckle was the responses from the 2,462 individuals who participated as of this morning.

–68 percent blamed Dunn himself

–24 percent pointed to GM Kenny Williams, who signed the slugger

–4 percent said skipper Ozzie Guillen

–4 percent said Greg Walker

I don’t know if you agree, but how can only 68 percent blame Dunn himself? I know that nothing is black and white and I can see small percentages for Guillen and Walker if you are so inclined to believe they have had a negative effect. And even though he thought he was getting a proven 40 homer, 100 RBI man, I can see why some blame Williams. But to me, the percentages are way off.

Here’s the way I think it should measure up:

–Dunn: 90 percent…he’s the one who has been unable to hit and has given new meaning to the phrases “mental block” and “being out of shape.”

–Williams: 10 percent…He made the right move, but the player didn’t deliver…Why am I giving him any blame at all? It’s a token gesture since he was the architect of the signing.

–Walker: 0 percent…he’s a hitting coach, not a shrink.

–Guillen: 0 percent…No manager could have been more patient. He played Dunn in an effort to get him out of his doldrums, played him at first in case his inexperience at DH was the problem and rested him when he thought it was prudent. And I don’t buy the argument that Ozzie should have benched Dunn early and often. The hope was that he would turn it around and he couldn’t do that from a seat on the bench. Whether the Big Donkey was in the lineup or sitting next to the skipper in the dugout, the truth is that we were going nowhere without him hitting.

The Pen Again

Yesterday’s blog featured a photo that included Monday night heroes A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham and Sergio Santos celebrating after the game. Also in the photo was Brent Morel, who went 0 for 4 and committed what could have been a fatal fielding error if the Sox hadn’t rallied to win.

What a difference a day makes. Last night, Morel bounced back and was at the center of the offense as the Sox won their fifth in a row, 4-3. He drove in the Sox’s second run in the second inning with a single and homered in the fourth to widen the Pale Hose lead to 4-0.

While Morel’s bat, along with Carlos Quentin‘s 24th homer and Pierzynski’s RBI double, paced the attack, it was the shutdown bullpen that was most impressive as it held the O’s to only the three runs they scored off starter Gavin Floyd in the fifth. Granted, the pen hasn’t been perfect as evidenced by Jesse Crain surrendering the three-run homer to J.J. Hardy on Monday. But the talent and versatility that Ozzie has at his disposal gives the Sox an advantage over most of their opponents.

Here was last night’s scenario:

* Despite showing signs of tiring, Floyd  began the seventh. He gave up a double to Felix Pie, who moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Floyd then retired the red-hot J.J. Hardy on a grounder to third. Two outs, runner on third, Sox killer Nick Markakis at the plate. Ozzie makes the call to the pen and lefty Will Ohman ends the threat by striking out Markakis.

* Jason Frasor came on to start the eighth. He walked Adam Jones and struck out Vlad Guerrero. With the lefty Chris Davis coming up, Ozzie called on Chris Sale, who retired Davis on a popup and then struck out Mark Reynolds.

* Instead of calling on Santos to begin the ninth, the skipper chose to have Sale face switch-hitter Matt Wieters. He struck him out. With the Orioles opting to call on Josh Bell to pinch-hit for lefty Felix Pie against Sale, Ozzie decided to stay with his lefthander. Bell grounded out to shortstop. Two outs, nobody on.

*Making his final move, Ozzie then called on Santos to face righthanded hitter Robert Andino and  he proceeded to strike him out, the way he did with the three batters he faced the night before. For Santos, save number 24.

And at the risk of burying the lead, the Indians extra-inning win over the Tigers helped the Sox narrow the Detroit lead to four games. A win tonight and the Sox are back at the .500, something we doubted might happen again this season after last week’s four-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Headline: White Sox shut out Indians, 3-0.

Last night’s game began like so many others as the Sox stranded seven runners in the first three innings. Witnessing that familiar phenomenon, it was a “throw up your hands in disgust” moment for me, especially since it appeared that Ozzie’s rant in Kansas City had absolutely no effect on the troops.

But the South Siders overcame the slow start out of the blocks with a second straight post-All-Star Game gem by Gavin Floyd and a three-run homer by Carlos Quentin to go 4-3 on the road trip.

The win is certainly cause for cautious optimism, but not celebration–yet. There’s still two more games in Cleveland, then a stretch where the Sox will host the Tigers (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees (4) before heading to Minnesota (3). And our offense is still far from clicking. Case in point: Quentin, with three, has the only Sox homers since the break.

Where do we go from here? One day at a time.

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.

It’s the Offense, Stupid!

Some may point to the fact that Jake Peavy was off of his game last night, giving up five runs, six hits, a pair of walks and a crucial two-out, two-RBI single to journeyman catcher Matt Treanor in six innings of work.

But the truth is that it was the offense that has to bear the bulk of responsibility for last night’s 5-3 loss to the Royals. It wasn’t about getting on base, but rather the season-long problem of clutch hitting. The Sox collected 13 hits and a pair of walks, but stranded 13 runners. The math is simple: if just three of those runners had crossed home plate, the loss would have been a victory.

As Ozzie said after the game, “We’re so unpredictable…We struggle with people on base, and like I preach, we have to get better than that. We need big hits…”

Paul Konerko again was the center of the offense, going 3 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs. And A.J. Pierzynski (3), Omar Vizquel (2), Juan Pierre (2) and Carlos Quentin (2) had multiple hit games, but only Quentin drove in a run. With Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez out of the lineup, Adam Dunn, Brent Lillibridge and Gordon Beckham went 0 for 13 with seven strikeouts.

Remember what Ozzie said: “We have to get better than that.”

No Happy Ending

Ozzie put it best when he said he didn’t know if the Sox “played very good or not that good” in last night’s 9-5, 14-inning loss to the sizzling Washington Nationals.

Comebacks in the ninth (Mark Teahen‘s three-run homer tied the game at three), 10th (a bases loaded wild pitch that evened the score at five) and the 12th (a two-out, two strike homer by A.J. Pierzynski to make it 5-5), showed that the Sox had some grit. The kind of ability to come back that we’ve rarely seen so far this season.

On the other hand, we witnessed some negatives that proved to be fatal. There were multiple missed opportunities with men in scoring position, including the failure to score the winner with the bags full and one out in the 10th. And there was the crucial  throwing error by Alexei Ramirez that Teahen couldn’t handle at first (pictured above), which opened the door to four unearned runs in the 14th.

All in all, good or bad?

Bad, of course, because we lost and blew the chance to reduce Cleveland’s division lead to 3 1/2 games. That said, there was a silver lining with the impressive three comebacks and the fact the Indians, Tigers, Twins and Royals all lost.

Keeping it positive, remember this:  The Sox have won all three interleague series–against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Cubs–but have dropped the series opener in each case.

I’m Flummoxed

When you don’t have the answers, pull out the cliches:

  • You can’t win when you don’t score.
  • You’re not as bad as you look when you’re losing and not as good as you look when you’re winning.
  • A team that’s not hitting looks more lethargic than it really is. 

I don’t know what else to say. This White Sox team of the “All In” expectations entering this season has become a conundrum wrapped up in an enigma.  From day to day you never know what team is going to show up.

The biggest issue, of course, has been the offense–an offense that seemed destined to break out on a daily basis. They have been a far cry from what we expected. You only have to look at the last three games, the first three of the road trip. Losing each contest, the South Siders scored one run in the two games against the Twins and scored just a single run last night against ex-Sox Daniel Hudson in the 4-1 loss to the surging D-backs. Surprise, it was a Paul Konerko homer.

Sox Notes of Note:  Ozzie insists that Juan Pierre will remain in the leadoff spot and left field despite the pressure to recall Dayan Viciedo and move Carlos Quentin to left. Guillen also added “as long as he’s here.” I wonder if that was a throw away line or a Freudian slip–and there’s some movement behind the scenes to move Juan…While Pierre’s job is safe right now, Brent Lillibridge will be in the leadoff spot and in left field today against Arizona lefty Zach Duke. Brent Morel will be in the No. 2 hole, Alexei Ramirez will bat fifth and Ramon Castro will be behind the plate.

Sox Rainy Day Notes and Quotes…

 

Peavy will do what it takes

There is no “i” in team and apparently no “i” in Jake Peavy.  Before last night’s postponement, the Sox injury-plagued righthander said the following about his pending return from the DL:

“We’re sitting here talking about me coming back, and I’m telling Don Cooper and these guys, ‘I’ll do whatever needs to be done.'”  If I need to go to the bullpen and help out there, we have five starters doing their thing. I certainly think I can be a leader in the rotation as well and be as good as these guys have been. But I’ll do whatever it takes because there is no weak link right now on this team. We’re swinging the bat offensively. We’re starting to catch the ball and play fundamentally a lot better than we did early in the year.”

What do KW and Ozzie think? Word is that they think it’s too early to make the call.

 

You knew someone would bring it up and who better than Ozzie?

After all those years playing in what was a house of horrors for the White Sox, the skipper put it all in perspective:

“Where’s the Metrodome when you need it?” Ozzie, of course was referring to the fact that last night’s game wouldn’t have been called if the Twins still played indoors.

Finally, something positive for the Sox to say about the Twinkiedome.

 

Here and there…

No makeup date has been determined for the rainout…Gavin Floyd and Carl Pavano will still be the starters…Jesse Crain, an important Twins contributor for several years, is making his first trip back to his former baseball home since joining the Sox…Ozzie on Brent Lillibridge: “Can he show us he can play every day? Well, that would be nice. If you can produce very day, I’ll get you the shot. But, right now, we have to wait and see”…KW on Dayan Viciedo: “It would be awfully interesting to have him in this lineup. He’s ready. He’s obviously got some things he still needs to work on, but I would have no qualms about bringing him here.”

Our Ozzie

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you’re well aware that I’m a huge fan of Ozzie‘s.

First and foremost, he’s one of us. In a world where the White Sox have little identity outside of the South Side and nearby environs, he gives us a torch bearer. If baseball fans know anything about the team, it’s Ozzie. He’s put us on the map.

Second, he is hilarious. His off-the-cuff remarks on a daily basis bring some much-needed humor into the ups and downs of the long season. Finally, and this is something that is the least publicized about him, Ozzie is a very good manager. Underrated because his theatrics take center stage, but very good nonetheless.

All that said, our skipper does have an Achilles Heel and it surfaced again in Toronto as the South Siders dropped the final three games of the four-game series against the Jays.

It wasn’t that Ozzie ripped his players after the 14-inning loss on Saturday. I’m glad he did, they deserved it. What I find tiresome is that every time the Sox are in the throes of losing and criticism from the fans and media come his way, Guillen goes into unintelligible, defensive tirades. He’ll criticize the criticism, say or imply he’s not appreciated, question fan loyalty and make the point that he doesn’t need the job because he has plenty of money, etc. In the current episode, he tweeted Sunday that the media misrepresented his remarks, but there was enough on the record to believe the initial reports.

I understand that this is Ozzie’s way of releasing the frustration that all of us feel, but it’s getting old. Blaming the outside influences like the fans and media is not the answer. At least when he criticizes player performance, he’s focusing on the individuals responsible. After all, they’re the ones who have compiled the 24-31 record and stand 9 1/2 games behind the first place Tribe.

While we may not like it, we all know that this is Ozzie’s way and it’s not going to change as long as he’s at the helm of the Sox. Let’s just hope this season of ugliness doesn’t get any uglier.

Ozzie: “I Might Call Bobby Thigpen”

bobby-thigpen-1990.jpg

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.
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