Like 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.”
Normally a win over the Royals in May doesn’t mean much. But to the struggling White Sox, who came into the game tied with KC for last place in the AL Central, the 5-1 victory was filled with some much-needed positive moments.
First and foremost, Jake Peavy (above) was the Jake Peavy we’ve been expecting all along. Seven innings, no runs, four hits. nine strikeouts in a dominant performance. Andruw Jones and Alex Rios continued to hit. The former went 2 for 4 with two RBI and the latter went 3 for 4 with two ribbies. A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez, both on the road back from batting average oblivion, each had two hits and although Gordon Beckham was hitless he walked twice and scored a run.
Williams: No time to panic
Kenny Williams tried to convince reporters before last night’s game that it’s premature to press the panic button for the 2010 Sox. He’s on the record as saying that it takes 60 games to evaluate the dynamics of a team. That said, he did admit there might be a time where he has to face reality. But, according to KW, it’s not now.
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 Sports‘ Ken 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:
1. White Sox
2. Red Sox
5. Blue Jays
It hasn’t been officially announced, but Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reported this morning that the Sox have dealt second baseman Chris Getz and third baseman/first baseman Josh Fields to the Royals for Mark Teahen.
Madden speculates that Teahen will replace Jermaine Dye in rightfield, but other possible scenarios are at play here as well. Will Gordon Beckham move to second base with Teahen settling at third? Teahen has also played second, but that seems like a longshot at this point. And if Teahen is in right and Beckham stays at third, who plays second base? Jayson Nix and Brett Lillibridge don’t seem like viable starters at this point. Or how about C.J. Retherford, just off an outstanding season at Birmingham and playing well in the Arizona Fall League. Is he ready? I guess we have to stay tuned.
One real positive is that Sox pitchers won’t be facing Teahen in the future. In 77 games, he hit .277 with 12 homers and 41 RBI against the South Siders.