Tuesday, April 25, 2006

West Coast Time

I have mixed feelings about the 9:05 starts the Sox have on the West Coast. It usually means that I go a week without a good nights sleep. But on the plus side it is one of the few opportunities I have to watch a game from start to finish.

I guess it's only worthwhile when they win. And about the worst possible outcome would be for the Sox to lose in extra innings, which they they did last night, 4-3. But since I stayed up to watch I guess I'll share my thoughts:

I was not too happy to see Guillen give a day off to three starters last night: Dye, Crede, and Podsednik. I just don't see the point on the first day of the road trip. That's a pretty huge dropoff on both sides of the ball.

Garland pitched okay, and I'm not going to complain about 3 run in 8 innings. I thought Joe Cowley was off the mark today in the Sun Times, blasting Garland for not holding a 2-1 lead and giving up a homer in the eighth. The tying run scored on a weak liner off the end of Ichiro's bat. The homer was certainly on a bad pitch, but the offense gave him no room for error. If the Sox had all their starters in, Garland's effort would have been good enough for the W.

I also thought the home plate umpire did a horrible job last night. Moyer owned the corners all night and got the benefit of many borderline calls. The ump also seemed to make a number of "payback" calls against the Sox. After Mackowiak rolled his eyes at the ump after getting a called third strike, the umpire called a strike on the very next pitch to Brian Anderson that was barely off the ground.

Then later in the game Pierzynski must have made a comment to the umpire after a pitch down the middle from Cotts was called a ball. The umpire came out to clean home plate and you could see him talking to Pierzynski. The next pitch was again down the middle and again called a ball.

I thought the umpire was fair to Garland, but the large strike zone he gave to Moyer probably cost the Sox a couple of runs.

Both Pollitte and Cotts looked good out of the bullpen last night. McCarthy wasn't hit too hard in giving up the winning run. But a couple of singles can hurt your catcher can't throw out any basestealers.

Even though the Sox lost, Anderon's game tying home run with 2 out and 2 strikes in the ninth was huge. While it did cost me an extra 45 minutes of sleep, it was a great moment to watch.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tough Break for Cubs

I have a confession to make. I used to be a Cubs fan. I never liked them more than the Sox, but I did root for them in 84 and 89. A combination of things happened in the nineties - interleague play, the glorification of Sosa who pretty much represents everything I don't like in a baseball player, and the rude dismissal of Mark Grace, one of my favorite players - that turned me into a Cubs hater.

But the current team is hard to dislike. They seem like a nice bunch of guys and for the most part they play the game the right way. I even started to feel kind of sorry for Cub fans when the Tribune Company was too cheap to make the necessary moves to take control of their division this offseason.

They still had a decent chance to make the postseason with a good offense, a revamped bullpen, and a potentially good starting rotation (if Prior, Wood and Miller could contribute). But now Derek Lee is out for 8-10 weeks and their playoff chances just took a big hit. It has to be rough for Cubs fans right now and my sympathies are with them.

I still wouldn't count them out. Walker can move to first while Hairston takes over at second. They can be productive enough for the Cubs stay above .500 until Lee comes back in July. I think the bigger worry is whether Lee will be the same hitter when he returns. The Cubs just spent $65 million on Lee and they better hope that wrist is able to get back to 100%.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Third Time Is the Charm

The Sox finished a sweep of the Royals, holding them to one run and 11 hits in the three game series. I would be more excited if the Royals weren't 2-12 right now, with both of those wins coming against the Sox. After the sweep, the Sox are 4-2 against KC for the year. I don't think Cleveland and Minnesota will have too hard of a time matching that record.

The Sox have gone through the rotation three times now and posted records of:


Each Sox starter got the win in this last go round and they are 9-1 in their last ten games. They have quietly become the hottest team in baseball.

Still, not everything is running on all cylinders. Their were some bad starts by Garland and Vasquez in the last ten games and Brian Anderson couldn't hit a basketball right now. But 10-5 is a nice start - even if six of the fifteen games were against KC.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Thome v. Thomas Update

The Big Hurt started the season with a home run in his first at bat with the A's. Unfortunately for him he hasn't done much since.

He has a line of 091/200/273 with 1 home run and 4 rbis.

Thome has been crushing the ball since Arizona and had a great opening week. Through today's victory over the Tigers, Thome has a line of 318/519/909 with 4 home runs and 7 rbis.

Adantage Thome (and Kenny Williams).

Sox Blogs

The Cheat posted a rundown of White Sox blogs the other day and after a slow start the Sox are now well represented in the blogosphere.

Baseball blogs started to take off in 2003 during what was a great season in Chicago. The Sox fell short in great race against the Twins and the Cubs - well they had very memorable season too.

Both the Twins and Cubs seasons were being chronicled by some very good and very dedicated bloggers. And the Sox were being blogged by absolutely no one (blogwise that is - the Sox did have a web presence with Whte sox interactive and the southsider.com). It was embarrassing and I really felt I had no choice but to start Chisox Daily. The daily part didn't last long but honestly I just liked the sound of the name and didn't put a lot of thought into it.

It's a very different scene now as the Cheat's diverse list demonstrates. And for that the Cheat deserves a lot of credit as he set a very high standard with his site southsidesox.com. Blogging a site like mine is easy. I just post something when I fell like I have something to say. It might take five minutes or it might take and hour. Whatever.

But to build a site of the quality of Southsidesox takes hours of work each day. I hope the Cheat is able to make a little money off the site. His work is certainly appreciated here.

Anyway, you should check out the blogs on the list. The White Sox now boast a line-up of blogs that can stand up to any other team in baseball.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Let The Games Begin

The Sox got off to a great start last night beating the Indians 10-4. I was able to catch most the game despite it being interrupted by a three hour rain delay. I finally headed to bed at 1am but not before watching Jim Thome hit a monster blast and Brandon McCarthy pitch three perfect innings.

Unfortunately, I was unable to stay awake and watch new Sox lefty Matt Thornton finish off the game with 1.1 scoreless innings.

If Jim Thome can regain his pre-2005 hitting stroke, the Sox will have no problems winning the Central this year. Even if he struggles, the Sox starting rotation will keep them in the race. But if he can hit 40 homers, the Sox might be unstoppable.

The other big worry for the Sox is their bullpen. But last night's game showed what a luxury they have with McCarthy in the pen. When you have a pitcher in the bullpen who would be a front of the rotation starter on most other ballclubs, it can't be that bad.

Anyway, on to some predictions. I don't think the Sox will get back to 99 wins. Both the Twins and Tigers improved in the offseason and you can't expect them to go 14-5 against the Indians again. But I do think the Sox will win the division.

CLE 89736

The Cubs are where the Sox have been prior to the 2005 season. They have a shot if they get a couple of breaks. So do ten other teams. I think they will finish third this year in a bunched up NL Central.

MIL 86764