(Paul Konkerko, hitting the 2nd of his two HR’s off Seattle’s Ryan Franklin yesterday)
If the White Sox were 3-8 instead of 8-3, can you imagine what Greg Couch of the Sun-Times might be saying?
The Sox are 8-3, and that’s a great start. But do we have to spend the first part of every season buying into every Sox reincarnation? Last season we had Ozzieball, the life and energy reflected from new manager Ozzie Guillen. That’s what the Sox needed after having a morgue of a clubhouse under Jerry Manuel.
And then they started well and went into first place. And we loved Ozzieball. First place never would have happened without Ozzieball. And then they lost in the end. So this season, the Sox dumped their best and most expensive players and came up with smallball, a team not based on expensive muscle but on an ability to manufacture runs when homers aren’t there.
Smallball? If you take away Konerko’s homers, the Sox managed two hits Saturday, including Joe Crede’s smash off the center-field wall. Some guy named Ryan Franklin was dominating the Sox.
So what did they do to manufacture runs?
They didn’t attempt one bunt to try to start something. They didn’t draw one walk, not once working the count or fouling off pitches. They didn’t stick out the bat and punch one opposite-field single.
I’m not buying it. It’s all in how you look at it, I guess. To me, though, the Sox just look like a team that can’t hit as many homers as it used to.
Maybe we’ll just call this lessbigball.
“Now,” Guillen joked after winning behind homers, “we don’t play smallball, I guess.”
That isn’t funny. These guys can’t get on base. And they’re not particularly fast. Yes, they play defense much better, but when Frank Thomas plays again, that will mean homers. Aaron Rowand can hit homers. Crede. Jermaine Dye, who is about due to get hurt, can hit homers. Carl Everett isn’t going to walk or steal bases.
It’s not that this isn’t a home-run-hitting team anymore, only that the Sox are loaded with guys who might hit 20 homers instead of 35.
Smallball? Smartball? Entering the game Saturday, the Sox were third in the American League in homers and last in on-base percentage.
No, the only thing manufactured here is the theme. This is one big trick, a ploy not to pay Magglio Ordonez — who is out for a few weeks in Detroit with a hernia — or Carlos Lee.
Can you just imagine how the Sox came up with this?
General manager Ken Williams: “Jerry, we can’t hit home runs.”
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf: “If we can’t hit big ones, then what can we hit?”