07.30.10

Edwin Jackson To White Sox, But Is Kenny Dunn Yet?

Posted in Baseball at 12:22 pm by

(Above: DBacks focus efforts to calculate final pitch count in Jackson’s July 2nd no-hitter.)

In spite of USA Today’s Bob Nightengale throwing a wave of revulsion into the South Side over the momentary prospect of violent moron Brett Myers passing muster with Kenny Williams, ESPN has announced that the Sox have traded Daniel Hudson and prospect LHP David Holmberg for journeyman hurler Edwin Jackson, he of the recent 8-walk 149-pitch no-no against his former Tampa Bay teammates. 

What remains to be seen is whether or not the deal is two legs of a table. The rumor mill concerning the Sox and Dunn has been spinning for more than two weeks, such chatter morphing into suggestions of a three-way pact putting EdJax to work for the Nats in exchange for Dunn’s stick.  While it’s uncertain at press time if Kenny plans to flip or grip Jackson, maybe USA Today isn’t the place to be watching for the answer.

07.29.10

Mariners Mauled, Massacre Misses Mayor, Moose

Posted in Baseball, politics at 8:49 am by

Following a contentious visit to the Comcast TV booth by White Sox legend Bill “Moose” Skowron, wherein one-man death panel Steve Stone helpfully offered to usher the 79 year-old first baseman into the next life Jack Kevorkian-style, the bony finger of death next grazed a considerably more deserving figure. In the 4th inning, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking a break from ladling out city pension funds to imbecile relatives narrowly survived Andruw Jones’s assasination attempt by flying bat.

White Sox 6 Mariners 5

Following a contentious visit to the Comcast TV booth by White Sox legend Bill “Moose” Skowron, wherein one-man death panel Steve Stone helpfully offered to usher the 79 year-old first baseman into the next life Jack Kevorkian-style, the bony finger of death would next graze a considerably more deserving figure.

In the 4th inning, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, taking a break from ladling out city pension funds to imbecile relatives narrowly survived Andruw Jones’s assasination attempt by flying bat. Down 5-3 with a man on, Jones hacked at 1-2 Jason Vargas offering around the letters, loosing his lumber at the calculating coconut of the Mayor, who demonstrated the cat-like reflexes that have already foiled many a US Attorney.

Jones, a Dutch citizen, could not be reached for comment, but is expected to receive special tribute from the city in the form of parking citations bearing the cheerful orange Netherlands national color.

The Sox, whose sweep of the Ms boosts their home winning streak to 10, battled from behind, solo blasts from Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko closing the gap with the go-ahead courtesy of an Alex Rios RBI single.  Closing duties fell to the enlarged and embattled Bobby Jenks, whose ridiculous 98 MPH heat silenced critics and produced a 1-2-3 outing characteristic of days long past…days like, you know, two weeks ago.

07.18.10

Twins Oppose, Pale Hose Lead Grows

Posted in Baseball at 11:31 am by

Last night’s complete game from Carl Pavano (pictured, W, 11-6, 9IP, 7H, 2R, 6K, 0BB 3.48) put the Twins up 3-2, handing the Sox their second loss in a row, an occurence not seen since early June.
Yet, the Sox lead in the division grew to a game and a half with the second-place Tigers loss to Cleveland, the latter squad still working out their frustrations at losing the great Harvey Pekar last week.
Mark Buehrle (L, 8-8, 8IP, 9H, 3R, 3K, 0BB, 4.18) whose characteristic pace meshed with Pavano’s to bring the game in at 1 hour 52 minutes, picked off both Denard Span and Delmon Young at first, reddening Twins skipper Burl Ives noticeably.
South Side concerns going forward include the 0-4 Carlos Quentin and his recent HBP hand injury as well as a recent tendency for Paul Konerko to bite hard at away changups. The campign for the series split begins this afternoon with Freddy Garcia (9-3) vs Nick Blackburn (7-7).

Last night’s complete game from RHP Carl Pavano (pictured, W, 11-6, 9IP, 7H, 2R, 6K, 0BB 3.48) put the Twins up 3-2, handing the Sox their second loss in a row, an occurence not seen since early June.

Yet, the Sox lead in the division grew to a game and a half with the second-place Tigers loss to Cleveland, the latter squad still working out their frustrations at losing the great Harvey Pekar last week.

Mark Buehrle (L, 8-8, 8IP, 9H, 3R, 3K, 0BB, 4.18) whose characteristic pace meshed with Pavano’s to bring the game in at 1 hour 52 minutes, picked off both Denard Span and Delmon Young at first, reddening Twins skipper Burl Ives noticeably.

South Side concerns going forward include the 0-4 Carlos Quentin and his recent HBP hand injury as well as a recent tendency for Paul Konerko to bite hard at away changups. The campaign for the series split begins this afternoon with Sweaty Freddy Garcia (9-3) vs. the comparatively moisture-free Nick Blackburn (7-7).

07.08.10

Danks Beats Angels, Traffic

Posted in Baseball at 4:34 pm by

White Sox 1  LAA 0

In a 2-hit complete game shutout coming in at 1 hour 50 minutes, Pale Hose LHP Johnny Danks (W, 8-7, 2H 7K 0BB 3.29)  completed the team’s first sweep of the Angels since 1983, a season similarly marked by a jaw-dropping turnaround on the South Side.  (Only this time, the Orioles are not a factor.)

The white-hot club is 22-5 over their last 27, are 8 games over .500 and half a game behind idle 1st place Detroit with three games in KC between now and the ASG.  Outside the exercise yards of the nation’s maximum security prisons, the Sox are credibly the most dangerous team in baseball: what a difference a month-and-change makes. June 2nd it ain’t.

07.07.10

Peavy On The DL: Did Torii Break Jake?

Posted in Baseball at 4:45 pm by

According to the White Sox front office, following today’s evaluation, a detached right latissimus dorsii suffered in last night’s White Sox/Angels tilt has put a sudden stop to the rejuvenation of RHP Jake Peavy and landed him on the 15-day DL, (a time frame more optimistic than those found in Pentagon briefings).

From my view last night in section 534, Peavy looked fine until Torii Hunter moved to steal in the second inning. Everything was weird about the attempt; Hunter’s jump looked ill-advised and Peavy, after spinning around, jogged toward to second before awkwardly tossing him out by a mile.

Peavy’s next few windups to Mike Napoli looked somehow hitched at their tops. A 2-2 fastball finally sent the Cy Young winner marching right off the mound in pain, practically stalking past trainer Herm Schneider.

Tony Pena came in and held the Halos to 5 hits and their only run.  As the pen suppressed the Angels a second time in the series for a 4-1 win, thoughts first turned to the likely callup Daniel Hudson, whose appearance in the All Star Futures game was today cancelled.  The 23 year old has a 3.47 ERA, 1.20 WHIP over 17 starts with Charlotte, averaging 10.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.

Shortly after, thoughts of past infield transgressions dating to Torii’s reign with the Twins surfaced.  But these were not more than the disgruntled ramblings of scapegoaters.  With long memories.

07.06.10

NBC’s Gleeman: Ozzie Won’t Take A Lillibridge Too Far

Posted in Baseball at 11:33 am by

(Above: Brent Lillibridge, dressing to the right.)

In last night’s White Sox 9-2 pounding of Anaheim, 2B Brent Lillibridge’s stand-in for the benched Gordon Beckham (.206/.271/.280) satisfied, both in terms of leather and wood.  At the plate, Lillibridge’s (.467/.933/1.433 on 15AB) 1 for 3 w/1 RBI was more than sufficient to eclipse Beckham’s lousy numbers of late, and the steady diet of rockets to second courtesy of Angels biting at Gavin Floyd’s (W, 4-7, 7IP, 5H 1R 4K 2BB) bent heaters kept Lillibridge impressively busy with numerous big-league grabs.  Adequacy in his role is no delusion.

As comfortable as the replacement seems, enthusiasm is not universal for twitterer @BSLillibridge, as NBC Sports’ Aaron Gleeman illustrates (while raising suspicions as to which second baseman appears on his fantasy team):

Beckham has followed up his strong rookie season by hitting just .206/.271/.280 with two homers in 72 games, but the good news is that being benched in favor of Lillibridge “for as long as he hits” won’t be very long.

Lillibridge is 7-for-15 with four extra-base hits in his latest stint in Chicago, but prior to that hit just .177/.258/.251 with a 49/17 K/BB ratio in 197 plate appearances as a big leaguer. And he wasn’t much better in the minors, hitting .255/.321/.379 in 1,247 plate appearances at Triple-A. He’s a utility man-caliber hitter, at best.

Beckham has been bad enough that it’s tough to blame Guillen for riding the hot hand and perhaps losing some starts to a marginal big leaguer like Lillibridge will motivate the disappointing sophomore, but it’ll be a surprise if “for as long as he hits” lasts until the end of the week.

That’s a bet I’ll take.  The evidence: the diminutive Lillibridge is less so than before; work on his strength has upped his bat speed (and gun caliber).  To my eye there’s not much difference in his general acclimation to the bigs than was seen from Beckham last season.  Seems it’s going to take a magnificent BP from Beckham to change Ozzie’s mind on Lillibridge.

06.23.10

Singles Going Steady: Pale Hose Eschew Long Ball, Break .500 Anyway

Posted in Baseball at 5:25 pm by

Sometimes it’s tough to write about a team as a homer during an upturn.  When things begin to go well on the field, opportunities for savaging the responsible parties dwindle and the mind turns to attaboys and accolades.  And, really, who wants that?  You just can’t wail, gnash teeth nor unleash withering bathos against the impression that tens of millions of player contract dollars are being *well*-spent.
So it’s with a thimble of selfish regret that I report the Chicago White Sox have remarkably returned as a contender in the AL Central power struggle.  A tussle, to be sure, only slightly more epic than an outbreak of hair-pulling in the back of a second-grade classroom, yet the playoffs seem to hinge upon it.
The Sox, who once considered adopting the pointless solo home run as the team mascot, have left behind their free-swinging ways, a decision that has paid handsome dividends.  With the rhythmic regularity of Mountain Dew belches from Bobby Jenks, the Pale Hose have notched 12 of the last 14 and moved above .500 for the first time in 2010.  They’ve mowed through the National League on an 8-1 road trip, dealing defeat to the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals, and last night, the far more serious Braves, piling on 16 hits and finally, a dinger.  Prior to last night’s Carlos Quentin 3-run bomb, the Sox’s turnaround was engineered without a single home run in 8 games, a drought that reaches back to the 1940s.
Bats that no longer twitch trying to correct.200 averages in one swing are one story.  On the bump, the prospects are no less bright.  Sunday’s complete-game Jake Peavy victory against the Nats is a signal of a rejuvenated rotation including the awakening of Gavin Floyd and a general deep-inning work ethic. Reliefwise, outside of Sergio Santos (control problems) and Scott Linebrink (meatball delivery problems), the rested pen holds, the LOOGYs get their men and the leads get protected.
As a package, this is no longer a team that can be counted out of a division dominated by the Twins and the Tigers, whose arms can’t match up to these when firing on all cylinders.

Sometimes it’s tough to write about a team as a homer during an upturn.  When things begin to go well on the field, opportunities for savaging the responsible parties dwindle and the mind turns to attaboys and accolades.  And, really, who wants that?  You just can’t wail, gnash teeth nor unleash withering bathos against the impression that tens of millions of player contract dollars are being well-spent.

So it’s with a thimble of selfish regret that I report the Chicago White Sox have remarkably returned as a contender in the AL Central power struggle.  A tussle, to be sure, only slightly more epic than an outbreak of hair-pulling in the back of a second-grade classroom, yet the playoffs seem to hinge upon it.

The Sox, who once considered adopting the pointless solo home run as the team mascot, have left behind their free-swinging ways, a decision that has paid handsome dividends.  With the rhythmic regularity of Mountain Dew belches from Bobby Jenks, the Pale Hose have notched 12 of the last 14 and moved above .500 for the first time in 2010.  They’ve mowed through the National League on an 8-1 road trip, dealing defeat to the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals, and last night, the far more serious Braves, piling on 16 hits and finally, a dinger.  Prior to last night’s Carlos Quentin 3-run bomb, the Sox’s turnaround was engineered without a single home run in 8 games, a team drought record that reaches back to the 1940s.

(Above: Alex Rios puts it where they ain’t.)

Bats that no longer twitch trying to correct.200 averages in one swing are one story.  On the bump, the prospects are no less bright.  Sunday’s complete-game Jake Peavy victory against the Nats is a signal of a rejuvenated rotation including the awakening of Gavin Floyd and a general deep-inning work ethic. Reliefwise, outside of Sergio Santos (control problems) and Scott Linebrink (meatball delivery problems), the rested pen holds, the LOOGYs get their men and the leads get protected.

As a package, this is no longer a team that can be counted out of a division dominated by the Twins and the Tigers, whose arms can’t match up to these when firing on all cylinders.