Results tagged ‘ Rays ’

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.

Random Sox Thoughts on a Wednesday Morning

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Things I’m thinking about…

* After the 12-2 win over the Tigers in the opener I would have loved a doubleheader sweep last night, but as one of the members of my Sox posse e-mailed after the second game: “It’s baseball. You don’t win them all. We split two games and gained one-half game. I’ll take it.” And we all know how difficult it is to sweep a twinbill.
* You’d be hard-pressed to find a better story than that of 43-year-old future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel (above). Having taken over the third base job after Mark Teahen‘s injury, he’s now hitting .293 with numerous clutch hits and superb defense. Remarkable.
* Has anybody noticed that Alexei Ramirez is hovering around the .300 mark at .296? And, oh, that defense.
* Less than two months ago Chris Sale was the club’s No. 1 draft choice out of Florida Gulf Coast University. Is he now headed to Chicago? After four games with Class A Winston-Salem, he was promoted to AAA Charlotte and has struck out 15 in 6 1/3 innings over seven relief appearances. With Carlos Torres shipped back to Charlotte after last night’s start and Erick Threets on the DL, speculation is that Sale might be joining the big club as the second lefty in the pen.
* I wonder how the hapless Orioles will respond to new manager Buck Showalter, who Ozzie sarcastically has referred to as “Mr. Baseball.” If they improve, I hope they start after we leave town next Monday night.
* I’m eager to see Edwin Jackson face his former teammates in Detroit tonight. Would love to see a lights-out performance.
* A big thank you to the Rays, now on top of the A.L. East, for taking the first two games against the Twins.
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Sox Split with Rays; Jayson Delivers in Nix of Time

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A week ago, when the White Sox embarked on their seven-game road trip to Cleveland and Tampa Bay, it’s safe to say that we would have been happy with what now has happened–a series win over the Tribe and a split with the Rays. 
Of course more would have been better, but the way this season is going a 4-3 mark is satisfactory–with the hope that June will be the time for the turnaround.
The finale in Tampa Bay yesterday, an 8-5 triumph over baseball’s best team, had a lot of heroes. Jayson Nix, who replaced Mark Teahen (injury to right middle finger) at third in the middle of the game, gave the Sox the lead for good in the sixth with a grand slam (pictured above). Alex Rios went 3 for 5 with his 11th homer and a pair of RBI and Juan Pierre made two spectacular catches. 
On the pitching side Jake Peavy was nothing special, but got the win. Sergio Santos lowered his ERA to 0.48, Matt Thornton pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Tony Pena finished the game by retiring Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena.
Now it’s back to Chicago to face the Rangers, Indians and Tigers. No time to waste.
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We Can’t Blame it on Rios…or Freddy…or Santos…or Thornton

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With the White Sox having the dubious distinction of a league-low team batting average of .235 and a comparable mark with runners in scoring position, their 21-27 won-loss mark is no surprise. In fact, you could make the argument that it should be worse.
Amid the underperforming hitters is Alex Rios, whose .309 batting average is about 60 points more than the next regular, Juan Pierre (.251), and 108 points higher than last year’s rookie sensation, Gordon Beckham. Paul Konerko, whose average has dwindled to under .250, has come through on the power side, but Rios has been the man overall adding 10 homers and 25 RBI. He did it again last night with the key two-run homer off of David Price in the 4-2 victory over the first-place Rays. He’s been a godsend.
That goes for Freddy Garcia as well, who bounced back from his horrendous outing against the Marlins to dominate Tampa Bay last night. He’s been pretty darn good for a fifth starter especially since his fellow starters, for the most part, have underperformed. While we’re at it, we have to add Sergio Santos, he of the 0.50 ERA, and Matt Thornton (1.77) to the mix of stalwarts.
The common denominator here is that all of the above have been significant contributors for the first two months of the season and each had a hand in the win last night.
I don’t know where we’d be without them.
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Can It Really Get Worse?

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Jake Peavy: 7 runs, 7 hits, 7 walks in 4 1/3 innings. White Sox lose to Rays 10-2 last night.
Mark Buehrle: 6 runs, 9 hits in 4 2/3 innings Wednesday night. Rays beat Sox 12-0.
The Pale Hose Offense: 4 hits Wednesday, 6 hits last night with a total of two runs.
Enough said for now. Mariners at The Cell this weekend.
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Is This For Real?

Our Ozzie is on the record as saying that meetings are for losers. Well, after last night’s 12-0 humiliation at the hands of the Rays, the skipper met with his troops.

From all reports it was a pep talk after the 5-10 start. In essence, he told them to relax, to have fun, forget the first few games and move on from here.
It’s pretty obvious that the Sox–especially the offense–are pressing and no doubt embarrassed by what has transpired so far. All you have to do is look at the averages to see why they’ve struggled:
Juan Pierre, .214
Gordon Beckham, .228
Carlos Quentin, .176
Paul Konerko, .245
A.J. Pierzynski, .174
Alex Rios, .250
Mark Teahen, .222
Alexei Ramirez, .208

Andrew Jones is the only exception at .294.

“He (Guillen) knows we’re trying to get better, Beckham said. “It’s our job. It’s our life. We want to win. And we’re not doing it.”
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                     Quentin is one of the poster boys for the Sox offensive woes


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Thanks Danks

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The angst created by the slow start dissipated a bit last night after the White Sox rose to the occasion with a very satisfying 4-1 win over the red-hot Rays. It was highlighted by another John Danks gem.
After surrendering a first inning homer to Sox nemesis Carl Crawford, Danks was virtually untouchable. In eight innings he gave up two hits, both to Crawford, and struck out nine. He is now 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Bobby Jenks came on in the ninth for his third save.
The offense, while still far from where it should be, did just enough powered by Paul Konerko and Andruw Jones homers. I’m still waiting for Gordon Beckham, among others, to break out soon.
Kenny Williams Speaks

The Sox GM spoke to reporters before the game last night and talked about the fans and the poor start of the season:
If you have a passionate fan base, you have to be prepared for a heightened sense of urgency or worry when things don’t go your way–just as you are the beneficiary of extreme excitement when it does go your way. You got to take the good and bad with it. Right now, everyone is a little upset with the way we’re playing. So are we.”
Memories

It will be an interesting dynamic tonight as Mark Buehrle faces the Rays for the first time since the perfect game.
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The Springtime Ritual of Predicting the Winners

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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

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Why?

Headline: Andrew Bailey of A’s voted 2009 Baseball Writers’ Association of America AL Rookie of the Year.

Don’t get me wrong. Andrew Bailey is a very worthy choice for the honor with 26 saves and a 1.84 ERA.

What I can’t understand is how Sox rising star Gordon Beckham can win AL Rookie honors from two player polls–Sporting News and the Major League Baseball Players Association–and finish fifth with no first place votes, 11 points behind fourth place and 78 points in back of Bailey. For the record, the Top 5 were Bailey, the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus (65), Rick Porcello of the Tigers (64), the Rays’ Jeff Niemann (21) and Beckham (10).

What do the writers know that the players don’t or vice versa? It just doesn’t make sense.

Beckham in the Thick of AL “Rookie of the Year” Race

The list is certainly impressive.

Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, Gary Peters, Pete Ward, Tommie Agee, Carlos May, Britt Burns, Ron Kittle and Ozzie Guillen comprise the honor roll of Sox players who have been named American League Rookie of the Year by either the Baseball Writers’ Association of America or The Sporting News.

If Sox fans controlled the voting, Gordon Beckham would unanimously join this illustrious group in ’09 and claim the team’s first rookie award since Ozzie in 1985. He has been nothing short of spectacular since being called up from Charlotte on June 4, and he’s got my support, but as good as Beckham has been he’s not a shoo-in.

As I see it, it’s a six-player race with outfielder Nolan Reimold of the Orioles, A’s closer Andrew Bailey, Tigers hurler Rick Porcello, Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero and the Rays’ Jeff Niemann rounding out my top candidates.

Here’s the comparison:

* Beckham:  In 86 games he has knocked out 87 hits, including 11 homers and 25 doubles, scored 48 runs, driven in 53 and sports a .279 batting average with an on-base percentage of .353.

* Reimold:  In 103 games he has knocked out 99 hits, including 15 homers and 18 doubles, scored 49 runs, driven in 45 and sports a .279 batting average with an on-base percentage of .365.

* Bailey:  He has compiled a 6-3 record with a 2.03 earned run average and 24 saves. He also has struck out 81 while walking only 23.

* Romero: The talented lefty has bolstered the Jays’ staff with his 12-8 record. 4.22 ERA. In 153.2 innings he has struck out 119 and given up just 68 bases on balls.

* Porcello: He is 13-8 with a 4.21 ERA and has struck out 78 while walking 45 for the AL Central-leading Tigers.

* Niemann
: He has compiled a 12-5 mark with a 3.57 ERA and has K’d 106 while walking only 50. 

For us Beckham boosters, who have seen the gifted one play every day, it’s a closer competition than we’d like. But here’s hoping that Pale Hose justice prevails.                     

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