Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’

In a Humber State of Mind

When the White Sox entered this season of “All In,” which of the following realities would you have thought was the most likely on June 1?

A.) Adam Dunn would be hitting .185 with just a handful of homers.

B.) Alex Rios would be a non-factor in the lineup and struggling to keep his batting average above .200.

C.) Phil Humber would be the ace of the White Sox starting staff with quality start after quality start and a 3.06 ERA.

I don’t think there’s any question that the most surprising individual development of 2011 is Humber. While we didn’t expect Dunn to be as bad as he’s been, we were well aware of his hit or miss persona. And while we expected Rios to duplicate his outstanding 2010 season, we saw how he struggled in 2009.

Humber, once a first-round draft choice projected to be a top of the rotation starter, seems to have finally arrived. He proved it again last night in the 10-7 Sox victory over Boston. For seven and two-third innings, he neutralized one of the most potent lineups in baseball. It was only David Ortiz‘s three-run bomb in the eighth off of Will Ohman with two inherited runners that brought Humber’s ERA over the 3.00 mark.

Sox Notes of Note:  The Sox won their sixth straight at Fenway Park last night, led by Alexei Ramirez‘s four-hit, three RBI effort. The night before, he collected two hits and two RBI. He’s currently elevated his BA to .290…In addition to Humber’s performance, the most satisfying take away from the first two games in Boston is the clutch hitting, which has been consistently invisible the first two months of the season…During the three, three-city road trips since April 18, the Sox are 13-16 with only this afternoon’s game left on the grueling portion of this schedule.

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.

I Love Sports Illustrated, But…

SI_RS_SotY.jpgI love Sports Illustrated. I love the people there. I spent the 20 most enjoyable years of my life as the magazine’s chief spokesman and I treasure every moment.

Now that I’ve expressed my undying love for my “alma mater,” I have to take them to task for minimizing my favorite baseball team in this year’s Baseball Preview Issue. This is nothing new. All I have to do is point to 2004 and 2005 to make my point. 
In ’04, the powers that be at SI went gaga over the first Red Sox world title since 1918, naming the team and its fans Sportsmen of the Year. In ’05, the Pale Hose won its first World Series since 1917–a year longer between championships–and not only didn’t they win the Sportsman award, there wasn’t even a mention of the feat in that particular issue. Instead, there was yet another story about Roger Clemens’ excellence representing the year in baseball. By the way, how did that work out for Roger?
So, here it is 2011 and the editors of my favorite magazine are at it again. Here’s an example:
–In the Who’s Hot/Who’s Not section, the Motor City is deemed as hot, the Windy City as not. The “Not” opinion was based on the White Sox and Cubs spring training records. What? Since when did spring training records mean anything? And the statement that neither team has much hope for the playoffs is evidence that whoever wrote this simply has no clue. Many of the foremost experts in the game, including several knowledgeable scouts, pick the Sox to win the A.L. Central.

–Although the editors pick the South Siders to finish third behind the Twins and Tigers in the A.L., I can’t complain. Reasonable people can disagree and it’s likely the three clubs will battle for the top spot all season long. But why am I not surprised that SI picked the our Sox third?

–To add insult to injury, SI falls into the same trap as most of the sports media by glorifying the Media Darlings from the North Side. They even hired political pundit Jeff Greenfield to write a fantasy about the Cubs winning the World Series. SI, it’ll never happen.

–Lastly, the magazine picks the Red Sox to win it all. What a coincidence that the baseball editor is a Boston fan. Stunning.
Am I too sensitive? Yes. Am I overreacting? Probably. I guess that’s what happens when a White Sox fan has to deal with the national media’s prejudice in favor of the Yankees, Red Sox and the other team in Chicago that plays in that overrated dump of a ballpark.
Get a good night’s sleep. Big day tomorrow in Cleveland.
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It Was Just a Matter of Time

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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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White Sox Assured of Second-Place Finish

Despite my outburst on September 18 when I wrote here that I couldn’t wait for this season to end, I’m following the Pale Hose to the end.

While the Sox have long since been eliminated, I want them to finish strong and am relieved that as a result of last night’s 5-2 win over the Red Sox they have clinched second place.

With that win and four games to go, the Good Guys are at 85 victories with an outside shot at 89 if they capture the finale against Boston and sweep the Tribe this weekend. It may not amount to all that much and won’t vault us into the postseason, but it’ll make the entry into the offseason a little easier to take.

Farewell to Freddy?:  It’s too early to speculate about Freddy Garcia’s future, but whatever happens he exceeded all expectations this year and a case could be made that he was the club’s most reliable starter. Garcia finished the year at 12-6 with his impressive performance last night and if it weren’t for a few blown saves, he could easily have won at least three or four more.  Garcia will always be remembered fondly by Sox fans for his role in the 2005 championship run and his highly-competitive nature.

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Dayan for a Victory

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In this season of White Sox schizophrenia, a constant has been the club’s ability to rebound from early deficits. It happened again last night as Dayan Viciedo lined a ninth-inning RBI single to leftfield for the 5-4 walkoff win against the Bostonians.
The South Siders were indeed “Dayan” for a win, having lost seven straight games at 
home–three to the Twins, three to the Tigers and the series opener against the Red Sox.
Sign him up:  As the speculation heats up about the futures of free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, one of the most valuable Sox of 2010, Omar Vizquel, has said he wants to come back.
“I got used to the city and the teammates,” Vizquel said. “And it’s nice to come back to a team where they know what to expect from you, and what kind of personality you have. In my career, I really have been jumping from team-to-team, and you always want to feel comfortable in a place you like. I like it here, so I hope they maybe can think about having me back.”

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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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The “Cojones Kids” Do it Again

castro-620.jpg55995248.jpgTime will tell whether or not the White Sox will overtake the Twins and go to the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, it’s been a treat to watch this team from the point in early June that they made their move.
These guys just won’t quit. Because of their extraordinary intestinal fortitude, maybe we should call them the Cojones Kids (please see a Spanish dictionary for details if you’re not familiar with the term).
On this road trip alone–where they now find themselves 6-0–there were a pair of late-inning three run-homers (A.J.Pierzynski and Paul Konerko) and a close-to-a-miracle 11th inning shot by Brent Lillibridge in Cleveland and the amazing comeback this afternoon in Boston. This, after the impressive doubleheader sweep yesterday.
Down 5-3 heading to the top of ninth today against the Red Sox’s Jonathan Papelbon, here’s what happened on a beautiful day in Beantown. Please note that all the scoring came after two were out.
--Omar Vizquel flied out to center.
Alex Rios walked.
Andruw Jones, batted for Konerko. With Jones at bat, Rios steals second. Jones called out on strikes.
Carlos Quentin doubled to center, Rios scored. Red Sox, 5-4. Brent Lillibridge ran for Quentin.
Ramon Castro singled to center, Lillibridge scored. Score tied at 5-5.
Alexei Ramirez walked, Castro to second.
Dustin Richardson replaced Papelbon for Boston.
Mark Teahen walked, Castro to third, A. Ramirez to second. Robert Manuel replaced Richardson.
Gordon Beckham walked, Teahen to second, A. Ramirez to third, Castro scored. White Sox lead 6-5.
Juan Pierre walked. A. Ramirez scored, Beckham to second, Teahen to third. Sox, 7-5.
–Vizquel lined out, making his second out of the inning.
And Matt Thornton, in his first appearance since coming off of the DL, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save as the Pale Hose remain 3 1/2 games behind the Twins, who finished the sweep at home vs. Texas.
What a day–and now on to Detroit for four.
The Quentin Factor: There were many heroes in today’s glorious comeback win. Count Quentin as one of the biggest ones, as he went 3 for 5 with a pair of RBIs including a key one during the ninth inning uprising. CQ is beginnning to heat up and that can mean only good things for the South Siders.
Note of the Day: The Good Guys were a huge threat on the basepaths today with a total of six stolen bases, paced by Rios whose three thefts gives him 32 on the season. Only Pierre, with a league-leading 54, has more this season in a White Sox uniform.
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