Tagged: Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Belongs in a White Sox Uniform

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You won’t find many White Sox fans who support Ozzie Guillen as much as I do.
Mostly due to the constant controversy that surrounds him, he’s grossly underestimated as a manager. Just as important, he’s one of us–a White Sox guy through and through–and he is the face of the franchise nationwide. For a team that struggles with its identity even in its own city, the importance of that reality can’t be ignored. And I haven’t even mentioned that he brought us a World Series ring.
Now, as this schizophrenic Sox season comes to an end, Ozzie is asking for his bosses to give him some love beyond the security of being here one more year with an option for another–vested if he wins the A.L. Central next year. The skipper seems to want an answer as he sees the Marlins job his for the taking. How do you say leverage in Spanish?
Despite those voices that keep saying that Ozzie has lost the team, and point to the September collapse as proof, I want him back. White Sox World needs him for the reasons expressed above and I don’t want to be in the position of regretting his loss after he’s left. His departure has all the makings of a perfect example of how you don’t realize what you had until it’s gone.
Because of his intensity and passion, I’ve also been a big fan of Kenny Williams. While he’s made his share of miscalculations, he’s been outstanding overall. I have to admit that his recent admission to how he’s been affected by the stress of the job troubles me. Especially when it’s put in the context of deciding who’s more important to the Sox–Ozzie or KW–and who will stay and who will go.
As the drama unfolds in the weeks ahead, it may very well be a matter of choosing one or the other. It’s my contention that what’s best for the White Sox is to make Ozzie happy and promote Williams, who would then be off the daily rollercoaster. This would open the door for the club to give the GM job to KW’s No. 2 Rick Hahn, who would give the Sox a fresh approach as they attempt to be consistent contenders in the A.L. Central.  
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Second Place, Manny and Looking Ahead to 2011

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Some White Sox thoughts on a football Saturday:
* Even before this week Sox fans got used to the fact that we weren’t going to catch the Twins. No one is really talking about it, but we now have a challenge to stay ahead of the Tigers and secure second place. After last night only six games separate us and Detroit. Two more Tiger victories this weekend (it’s Lucas Harrell vs. 16-game winner Justin Verlander this afternoon) and our lead is down to four. Then it’s off to the West Coast followed by a four-game series with the depleted, but always tough, Red Sox. I don’t want to cause any panic, I’m just saying…
* I wrote it before we acquired Manny Ramirez, I wrote it when we got Manny and I’ll say it again now after Manny has had no impact on the Sox pennant chances: regardless of his performance in a Sox uniform, it was the right thing for management to do. I do find it almost laughable, though, that it took a green uniform (because of the halfway to St. Patrick’s Day promotion) and nearly three weeks for him to record his first home run and RBI. To be fair, he is hitting .295 with a .456 on base percentage since arriving in Chicago.
* The Sox brass has a lot of lot of decisions to make in the offseason. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the ’11 Pale Hose are constituted. Some questions:
–Will the Sox sign free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski?

–Will the South Siders bring back Omar Vizquel, after his amazing season?

–Will the intense, but brittle, Carlos Quentin be back?

–Will Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks, who both seemed to take a step back this season, be viable candidates for the major league roster?

–What will become of Freddy Garcia?

–Will Chris Sale be in the starting rotation?

–Will Jake Peavy be ready for spring training?

–I can’t see Manny, Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones returning, so who becomes the DH?

–All indications are that Bobby Jenks is a goner, so who will close? J.J. Putz?

–Despite the fact he has two more years to go on his three-year deal, will the disappointing Mark Teahen still be in a Sox uniform even as a utilityman? 

–What are Brent Morel‘s chances of winning the starting third base job? Maybe a platoon with Vizquel?

–I know I’m burying the lead, but will both Ozzie and Kenny Williams be back? 
The offseason certainly won’t be boring.
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Konerko and the “R” Word Sum Up Sox Season

If we didn’t know it before, we know it now. The Twins are clearly the best team in the A.L. Central. It was never more apparent than it was this week as Minnesota not only swept the White Sox, but outscored them 26-11 and increased their division lead to nine games.

The fact that the Sox aren’t going to the postseason doesn’t mean we can’t have some good feelings about this season. Granted, the horrible start, the inconsistent pitching, porous defense and the lack of clutch hitting was exasperating. But how about the 25-5 run before the All-Star Game and the seven-game winning streak just a few weeks ago?
In the end, the identity of this team wasn’t about championships, but rather about its fight. Time after time they showed resiliency after getting down early in games. They may not have won all of those contests, but their heads and hearts were always in the game. 
And then there was last night. While the Sox fell to the Twins, 8-5, a incident involving Paul Konerko best illustrates what the 2010 Pale Hose have been all about. 
In the first inning, with two outs and Omar Vizquel at first base, a Carl Pavano pitch collided with Konerko’s face. Being led off the field by Ozzie and trainer Herm Schneider, Paulie refused to come out of the game and jogged to first, fat lip and all. Then, in the third frame, Konerko got the appropriate revenge by smashing his 37th homer of the season. 
You can make the case that this scenario is the Sox season in a nutshell. It can be summed up this way: resiliency, resiliency, resiliency. 
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56202734.jpgHere it is. Paulie gets clocked, then rebounds with No. 37 two innings later.


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Watching the White Sox Not for the Faint of Heart

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Pierzynski.jpgIt’s not easy watching these White Sox but, at least for tonight, all’s well that ends well as the South Siders eeked out a 4-3 win against the Tribe in Cleveland.
Before running into some trouble in the ninth inning, Edwin Jackson was spectacular once again, getting the victory and striking out 10 or more for the third straight game. He finished with 11 before tiring (he threw 129 pitches) and giving way to Bobby Jenks, who chalked up his 25th save with two outs and the winning run on base. 
With the score knotted up 1-1, A.J. Pierzynski smashed what turned out to be the game-winning three-run homer in the ninth–his first since July 9–as the Sox clinched the series which concludes tomorrow afternoon.
Aside from a short stint in the on-deck circle during the Pierzynski at-bat, Manny Ramirez spent the night in the dugout. He would have made his Pale Hose debut had A.J. not homered, but Ozzie decided to pull him back and stay with Brent Lillibridge, who entered the game earlier as a pinch-runner for DH Mark Kotsay.
Freddy Garcia will be on the hill tomorrow afternoon as the Hose go for the sweep before an off-day and a weekend series against the Red Sox in Boston.
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                         Manny on deck just before Pierzynski’s clutch homer




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“Aside From That, Mrs. Lincoln, How Did You Like The Play?”

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Every team in baseball has to deal with key injuries. Look at the Twins. Justin Morneau has been out since the All-Star break and Joe Nathan has been missing for the entire season. How about the Red Sox? Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Victor Martinez, Jacob Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and Clay Buchholz are among those who have been laid up and Youkilis, Ellsbury and Cameron are out or likely out for the year.
So as much as it took away from last night’s more-exciting-than-it-needed-to-be 7-5 victory over the Orioles and the reality that we gained a game on the Twins, we just have to deal with this unfortunate fact: both Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz are going on the DL and we’ve got to head into the stretch without two key components.
There’s no word at this juncture as to who will replace them. It’s expected that Erick Threets, who has been on a rehab assignment, will take Thornton’s spot–joining rookie Chris Sale as the two lefties in the pen. The other callup could be Carlos Torres or Lucas Harrell, who did such a stellar job when he was promoted to Chicago earlier this year. Or maybe it could be former “cup of coffee” major leaguer Ryan Braun, who has 18 saves and a 2.00 ERA at Charlotte.
Of course, the timing couldn’t be worse. The bullpen has been overworked and struggling as it is. Because of Sergio Santos‘ erratic performance last night and Putz’s injury, Bobby Jenks had to be summoned two days after hurling three innings in Kansas City. The good news is that he was terrific both times–and got the save last night–but how much longer can he hold down the fort by himself? And Ozzie, shown above making the change from Santos to Putz in last night’s harrowing ninth inning, will have to do a major juggling act.
In baseball, sometimes up is down and down is up and what’s expected plays out exactly the opposite. Let’s hope for that.
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Win or Lose, These Sox Keep Coming at You

55690296.jpgYou’ve no doubt heard all of the details about the circumstances behind last night’s split doubleheader between the White Sox and Royals in Kansas City:
* The  terrible decision to start the game on Friday when umpire Joe West was told a torrential downpour was on its way.
* The fact that Edwin Jackson lost his start and reliever Tony Pena (above) had to start Game 2.
* The Fox Sports edict that the first game had to start at 6:05 CT–with a day game on Sunday.
Those developments set the stage for an eight-hour marathon, which saw the Sox play two extra-inning games–a 6-5 defeat in Game 1 (11 innings) after they blew a 5-1 lead and a 7-6 victory in Game 2  (10 frames) after they came back after blowing a ninth-inning lead.
What can we take from what we saw last night?
–Although he loaded the bases that set the stage for Yuniesky Betancourt‘s game-tying grand slam in Game 1, Freddy Garcia did what he had to do in 6 2/3 innings.
–Bravo to Pena, who made his first start in years, and went seven strong innings in Game 2. Aside from a four-run fourth inning, he was stellar.
–He was the losing pitcher in Game 1, but No. 1 draft pick Chris Sale is a stud. He looked overpowering in his 1 2/3 innings of work. And it was Bobby Jenks who coughed up the winning run.
–Our bullpen has been awful. First it was Santos and Jenks in Game 1, then J.J. Putz blew his third consecutive save in the nightcap after striking out the first two after Scott Linebrink gave up a blast in the eighth. Miraculously, Putz shut the door in the bottom of the 10th.
–The Sox could have very well won Game 1 if Brent Lillibridge, running for Paul Konerko, hadn’t hesitated around second base in the 10th after Carlos Quentin’s gap double to right-center. It was inexcusable for him to be thrown out which would have been the lead run. Lilli needs to be a better fundamental player and avoid the brain freezes.
–In Game 2, Ramon Castro‘s two-run homer, Alex Rios‘s RBI single and Juan Pierre‘s clutch two-out double in the 10th to put the Sox ahead for good, saved the day.
The No. 1 takeaway is that for all of the problems the Sox have had in the past couple of weeks, they keep coming back. They could have packed it in after Game 1 and again after the Royals took the lead in Game 2, but they didn’t and kept fighting. Win or lose, that’s really the legacy of this team.
“To bounce back in the second game and play the way they did, what can be better than that,” Ozzie said in the wee small hours of the morning.
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                  Lillibridge’s blunder: The run that should have scored in Game 1



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