Of course I want the Sox to win the AL Central, but whether or not that happens–and it sure is a longshot at this juncture–here are some other things I’d like to see as the regular season winds down:
1. Alex Rios goes on a tear, giving us some real hope for him in 2010.
2. Gordon Beckham finishes the year healthy and in the driver’s seat for AL Rookie of the Year honors.
3. Jake Peavy makes a start. And is it asking too much for him to chalk up his first AL victory?
4. Our defense continues to play the way it has the past week–a big improvement over “The Road Trip.” I’ve said all season that if you go position by position it’s a decent defense (and not the club with the league’s most errors). Somehow, though, it unraveled.
5. Daniel Hudson and Carlos Torres are given the opportunity to shine so they can be right in the mix for the fifth starter’s spot next spring–along with Freddy Garcia and perhaps others.
6. We get a good look at Tyler Flowers. Just like it is with Beckham, I can’t get enough of seeing our top prospects.
7. Jermaine Dye finishes strong. Whether or not he’s in our plans for ’10, he’s meant a lot to the franchise and along with guys like Konerko, Buehrle and Thome (before he was traded) gave the Sox a lot of character in the past few years. If he does play elsewhere next year, I’ll miss his presence on the South Side.
8. Tony Pena turns it around and pitches like he did yesterday in the eighth inning vs. Boston. With the likelihood of changes in the bullpen for next season, we need Pena to be more consistent. Not to mention it would take some of the sting out of trading young slugger Brandon Allen to Arizona for the reliever.
9. Mark Kotsay has a hot September so he makes a case for a roster spot in 2010. He’s a grinder, a veteran leader who can play multiple positions. I’ve always had a soft spot for players like Kotsay. To me, he’s a keeper.
10. Hawk Harrelson goes three innings without prefacing an observation with, “In my 50 years in this game…”