Sunday, August 31, 2003

Defensive Improvement

The defensive play of Jose Valentin has been much better this year. I doubt most people will acknowledge it, since once a player gets a reputation for being bad defensively, it's almost impossible to shake. But Jose has usually been able to make the difficult plays. He makes careless errors on the simple ones.

He has made the simple plays this year. And the improved infield defense up the middle is a big reason for the Sox resurgence. A lot of people questioned whether replacing Jimenez with Alomar was actually an improvement (see here, here and here). The only thing I can say to these people is that they haven't watched these guys play everyday. I follow numbers and see where they are coming from. But in this case the numbers do not tell the whole story.

Jimenez was not liked by fans, teammates or management. He made stupid mistakes that did not always show up in the boxscore. I noticed earlier in the season how he used to barehand the ball needlessly to turn double plays. The first time I him barehand a ball I actually shouted at my wife that the guy was an idiot and that eventually he was going to drop one of them. And of course he did. Against the Cubs. The Cubs series turned out to be the last straw for fans and management alike. He was gone less the week later and no one had a kind word to say about him. I’ll take the sweet fielding Alomar, even with his limp slugging %, any day.
Back in First
The Sox picked up a half game last night after the Royals were rained out. Key Plays: the Big Hurt's 3 run homer and two impressive double plays started by Jose Valentin, one with the bases loaded. One play that turned out not to be so big, was Frank being thrown out at home on a shallow fly to center. The Sox were up 3-1 with no outs and the bases loaded. Frank blew past the 3rd base coach’s stop sign. Now either the center fielder has a weak arm or Frank if faster than he looks, but it was actually a close play. Luckily, the next inning the Sox were able to get out of a bases loaded/no outs jam, or this play could of come back to haunt them.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Not a Good Start
In baseball, where even bad teams win 40% of their games, you normally can't expect to sweep a series. However, a series against the Tigers, one of the worst baseball teams in the history of professional baseball, is an exception. The Twins have gone 11-1 against Detroit, and KC 10-2. The Sox are only 9-8. If the Sox could just consistently beat this one crappy team, they would be in first by five games.

I had hoped the Sox could go 4-2 on this road trip and it's still a possibility. But losing another game to the Tigers would not only be a disappointment, but also quite an embarassment.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Waving Wendell Strikes Again
The Cubs lost another heartbreaker last night 3-2. Waving Wendell sent another runner home just to be thrown out by 3 steps. The score was tied 2-2, runners on second and third with one out in the eighth. Martinez hit a line drive to shallow center which was caught by Jim Edmonds. Edmonds was in full sprint so it took a few seconds to gather himself, and he still easily threw Glanville out. Baker and other Cubs defended Kim by saying you have to take a chance. Well, why not take a chance that Sosa will drive him in with two outs? Or there could be a wild pitch, pass ball or error. Those odds were certainly better than hoping Edmonds makes a bad throw. Now it was a great throw. But believe me, even a bad throw had a good chance of nailing Glanville. Outs are just too valuable to waste on stupid baserunning.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

First Post:

With the White Sox in the middle of an exciting division race, I thought it would be a great time to write about White Sox baseball. Especially since there doesn't seem to be a lot of Sox blogs out there. I guess most Sox fans don't work with computers (or know how to use one). I'll also post some about this city's other ballclub, but I'll give Cub fans a break and not mention the blown game in St. Louis last night.

Anyway, the Sox lost 7-5 to the Yankees today. Bad omen in the first when Crazy Carl got thrown out at 3rd with two outs. Must of thought it was a full count. I would have liked to seen Valentin get a chance to hit in that situation with two men on and two already in. Oh well, Carl did hit a homer and have three rbis to make up for it.

I also have to question Manual starting Cotts today. Going into the game he had 13 walks in 13 IP, and he had 4 more BB in .1 IP today. Buerhle would have been a better match against a patient team like the Yanks. But a least we learned Cotts is not ready for primetime. And with Wright's great pitching in relief, I think he deserves another shot in the rotation.

Minnesota has already beaten Anaheim to pull with 1.5 games of first. Go Rangers.