Tagged: Dailies

An Explosive Offense, a Thrilling Comeback and an Opening Day Gem Highlight Early Going

60732994.jpgHaving been missing in action, blog-wise, for close to a week, I have tons of thoughts about the beginning of the season.
There were enormous highs from the first two games in Cleveland and the downer that we couldn’t sweep. Then, the “so close, yet so far” 12-inning loss in the K.C. opener and the thrilling come-from-behind extra inning triumph the next night. Yesterday’s home opener was a joy and showcased Edwin Jackson, the man who could turn out to be the ace of the staff in 2011.
All in all, we have to be happy with the 4-2 mark and an offense that seems to be living up to the offseason hype.
Some more opinions and observations:
* Have to admit I was beside myself when the Sox fell behind 5-0 against the Royals in the game they would eventually win. For six innings they looked like the lackluster team from spring training. And I was thinking that maybe the Sox brass needs to rethink how they approach the time that’s spent in Glendale. But then came the rally and my blood pressure returned to a normal level.

* Carlos Quentin has been a monster. As I’ve said all along, a great year by CQ and the offense goes from very good to great.

* Speaking of the offense, almost everyone deserves kudos. A special shout-out to rookie Brent Morel, who certainly looks like he belongs.

* After an emergency appendectomy, is it really possible that Adam Dunn can DH this weekend?

* Bullpen has been hot and cold. I’m not really sure about Tony Pena and Will Ohman and how things will play out this season–frankly, it’s a little scary. Chris Sale has been good and bad–with the good coming in his most recent outing. Matt Thornton got his first blown save of ’11 before he recorded one. And Sergio Santos still has a 0.00 ERA that began in spring training.

* The Sox had no choice but to DFA Lastings Milledge. After the two extra-inning affairs another pitcher was needed. Jeff Gray, the former Cub, is the current answer to the 12th man in the pen.

* Ozzie, do me a favor and hide Mark Teahen’s glove. I know he made a fine play at first base in the Royals series, but…there’s an exception to every rule.

* I guess I’ll have to live with Brent Lillibridge, though I still contend he should be a smarter player than he is.

* So happy to see the great Minnie Minoso (below with Ozzie)  throw out the ceremonial first pitch yesterday. One of my all-time favorites and arguably the most popular player in the club’s history, he is one of a kind.

Big Bats Prevail…Sox Win Again, 8-3

Two games. Two victories. 23 runs. 29 hits.
And did I mention the impressive batting averages?: Carlos Quentin, .625. Gordon Beckham, .625. Adam Dunn, .429, Paul Konerko, .429. Juan Pierre, .375., A.J. Pierzynski, .333. Brent Morel, .333.
All is well so far in SoxWorld. Guess that 11-20-1 spring training mark didn’t mean a thing. John Danks will be on the mound tomorrow as the Pale Hose go for the opening series sweep.
Final Note: I will be off “on assignment” for the next week so Art of the Pale Hose might not appear as frequently. I’ll be back on my regular schedule soon.

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                                            Quentin and Beckham: On Fire

Sox Offense Definitely “All In” on Opening Day

OK, let’s take an Opening Day quiz. What was the best part of the White Sox’ 15-10 victory yesterday in Cleveland?
A. Sox won
B. South Siders scored 15 runs on 18 hits
C. Pale Hose didn’t commit an error
D. Carlos Quentin‘s 3 for 4 day, which included a homer and five RBIs
E. Adam Dunn‘s 2 for 4 afternoon, which featured a homer and four RBIs
F. Gordon Beckham‘s 3 for 4 day with three runs scored
G. Brent Morel‘s two hits and two RBIs
H. Paul Konerko‘s 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored
I.  A.J. Pierzynski’s 2 for 5 with two RBIs
J. Mark Buehrle headed into the sixth inning with a shutout
K. Every starter had at least one hit with the exception of Alex Rios

The truth is that there is no right answer and “all of the above” could be yet another category. Feel free to pick your favorite. Mine is “A” because, let’s face it, none of it would have mattered if the Sox hadn’t hung on despite the bullpen giving up 10 runs in the last four innings.
We’ve got 161 games to go, but so far we’re definitely “All In.”

I Love Sports Illustrated, But…

SI_RS_SotY.jpgI love Sports Illustrated. I love the people there. I spent the 20 most enjoyable years of my life as the magazine’s chief spokesman and I treasure every moment.

Now that I’ve expressed my undying love for my “alma mater,” I have to take them to task for minimizing my favorite baseball team in this year’s Baseball Preview Issue. This is nothing new. All I have to do is point to 2004 and 2005 to make my point. 
In ’04, the powers that be at SI went gaga over the first Red Sox world title since 1918, naming the team and its fans Sportsmen of the Year. In ’05, the Pale Hose won its first World Series since 1917–a year longer between championships–and not only didn’t they win the Sportsman award, there wasn’t even a mention of the feat in that particular issue. Instead, there was yet another story about Roger Clemens’ excellence representing the year in baseball. By the way, how did that work out for Roger?
So, here it is 2011 and the editors of my favorite magazine are at it again. Here’s an example:
–In the Who’s Hot/Who’s Not section, the Motor City is deemed as hot, the Windy City as not. The “Not” opinion was based on the White Sox and Cubs spring training records. What? Since when did spring training records mean anything? And the statement that neither team has much hope for the playoffs is evidence that whoever wrote this simply has no clue. Many of the foremost experts in the game, including several knowledgeable scouts, pick the Sox to win the A.L. Central.

–Although the editors pick the South Siders to finish third behind the Twins and Tigers in the A.L., I can’t complain. Reasonable people can disagree and it’s likely the three clubs will battle for the top spot all season long. But why am I not surprised that SI picked the our Sox third?

–To add insult to injury, SI falls into the same trap as most of the sports media by glorifying the Media Darlings from the North Side. They even hired political pundit Jeff Greenfield to write a fantasy about the Cubs winning the World Series. SI, it’ll never happen.

–Lastly, the magazine picks the Red Sox to win it all. What a coincidence that the baseball editor is a Boston fan. Stunning.
Am I too sensitive? Yes. Am I overreacting? Probably. I guess that’s what happens when a White Sox fan has to deal with the national media’s prejudice in favor of the Yankees, Red Sox and the other team in Chicago that plays in that overrated dump of a ballpark.
Get a good night’s sleep. Big day tomorrow in Cleveland.

Sox Head East with Arizona in Rear-View Mirror

The Cactus League season ended today for the White Sox and it concluded the way it 

began–with a thud.

With their 3-2 loss to the Royals the Sox leave the Valley of the Sun with an 11-20-1 record, undistinguished for a team with World Series aspirations. But we all know spring training games are meaningless and perhaps even more meaningless for the Sox, who put absolutely no stock in winning exhibition games. Time will tell, however, if the South Siders’ pathetic record is an indication of what lies ahead in 2011.
The Sox are now on their way to Winston-Salem, N.C. to face the hometown Dash, one of two Class A clubs in the organization, tomorrow night. Then it’s on to Cleveland for the season opener Friday against the Tribe.

Latest Loss a Bad Ohman?

48b30f530e1285d76f405167b4927738-getty-108971775hh009_chicago_whit.jpgThe White Sox certainly didn’t distinguish themselves today in their spring finale at Camelback Ranch.
The confluence of events during the lopsided 9-1 loss to the Reds doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that this is the team favored to win the A.L. Central.
–Perhaps most troubling was Will Ohman‘s continuing spring habit of giving up the long ball. I believe today was the third time in recent games he was tagged for a homer. Today, he coughed up a three-run homer to the immortal Brian Barton.
Alexei Ramirez was scratched from the starting lineup due to lower back discomfort. According to the Missle, it doesn’t seem to be serious.
–Future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel, usually flawless in the field, committed two errors, one on a grounder, one on a throw.
–Speaking of giving up homers, John Danks surrendered his fourth of the spring today, a three-run blast to his good friend Drew Stubbs. He gave up four runs, four hits and two walks in five innings as he took the loss in his last spring start.
Brent Lillibridge had the lone RBI and all nine Sox hits were singles.
The Sox leave Arizona tomorrow after facing the Royals in Surprise. It’s off to Winston-Salem to play their Class A club there on Wednesday, an off-day on Thursday and Opening Day in Cleveland on Friday.
Now 11-19-1, I’m ready for the regular season.

Unofficially, Both Milledge and Lillibridge on Opening Day Roster

The White Sox can’t officially announce their final moves before leaving Glendale, but it seems the word is out:

Lastings Milledge and Brent Lillibridge have both made the 25-man roster as the South Siders have decided, at least for now, to go with an 11-man pitching staff.
Jeff Marquez, thought to have secured the “seventh spot” in the bullpen, has been placed on waivers. Since he is out of options, he needs to clear the waiver wire before he returns to the Sox organization. This means that Philip Humber will fill the “fifth starter/long man out of the bullpen” role for the time being.
Jake Peavy (shoulder) and Dayan Viciedo (thumb) will start the season on the disabled list.
Sox play the Reds this afternoon, their last game at Camelback Ranch this spring. They travel to Surprise to play the Royals tomorrow, then break camp and head to Winston-Salem to face their Class A farm club there. After a day off Thursday, it’s Opening Day vs. the Tribe in Cleveland.