Tagged: Rangers

Two Victories and Sunshine Highlight My First Day in Paradise

60031105.jpgPARADISE — The name in the dateline isn’t a real place. It’s simply my state of mind when I’m in spring training.
Yesterday was Day 1 on my annual pilgrimage to check out the fortunes of the Pale Hose. And it couldn’t have gone better, with the exception of an unfortunate injury which I’ll explain shortly.
My plane landed in Phoenix around 1030 a.m. local time, about an hour and a half before the Sox and the Rangers were about to get it going in the latter’s winter home of Surprise. I jumped into my rental car, checked into the motel and got to the game just moments before C.J. Wilson threw the first pitch to Lastings Milledge. And did I mention the weather was gorgeous?
The Sox jumped out to a three-run lead and fell behind 6-4 before rallying for three runs in the ninth and walking away with a 7-6 victory.
The Ups:
Mark Teahen has been embarrasing in the field so far this spring, but he’s on fire at the plate in his bid to win the third base job…He was 3 for 5 against the Rangers, including a two-run homer. He’s now batting .529…Minor leaguers Michael Restovich, the late-inning DH who once played for the Twins, and Drew Garcia delivered the key ninth inning hits to pave the way to the victory…Philip Humber started on the mound for the South Siders and pitched three scoreless innings, giving up a pair of hits and striking out two…Gregory Infante relieved Humber and pitched two perfect frames while Kyle Cofield was perfect in his one inning of work…Nate Jones got the win, despite giving up a run, two hits and two walks.
The Downs:
Without question, the biggest downer was the right thumb fracture suffered by Dayan Viciedo after he was hit by a David Bush pitch in the eighth inning. It’s especially frustrating since Viciedo came into camp in great shape and making a case, both offensively and in right field, that he should make the club. He’ll be out of action three to four weeks. Oh, by the way, yesterday was his 22nd brithday…Brandon Hynick got lit up after coming in at the start of the sixth trying to protect the three-run lead. He gave up five runs, four hits and two walks.
Riding high from the come-from-behind win, my next stop was dinner with Sox communications guru Scott Reifert and then it was on to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the brand new spring training home of the Diamondbacks and Rockies located on an Indian reservation in Scottsdale, for a game under the lights with the D-backs. As I mentioned to Scott, it’s Camelback Ranch on steroids–just a spectacular venue.
The Sox completed the Thursday sweep with a 5-3 win.
The Ups:
Gordon Beckham got things off right with a two-run homer in the first inning (pictured above) and went 3 for 4 on the night…Alexei Ramirez was 2 for 4 with an RBI and former Angel can’t-miss prospect Dallas McPherson went 2 for 3 with a run batted in…Gavin Floyd  gave up only a homer to Russell Branyan in 4 2/3 innings and Sergio Santos and Brian Bruney each pitched a scoreless/hitless inning with Bruney recording the save…I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that another “up” was seeing Scottsdale residents and Sox fans Jill and Lee Weiss in the house. I’m sure their good karma made a difference.
The Downs:
While Teahen is tearing it up at the plate, Brent Morel isn’t. After his 0 for 4 last night he’s now hitting .143. I still feel confident he’ll be the starter at third because of the wide gap defensively between the two…Carlos Quentin also took the collar in four at bats and is at .136 on the spring.
Sox host the Cubs today at Camelback Ranch

Eight Ex-White Sox on LCS Rosters


While the current players on the White Sox roster are at home relaxing with their families and spending time on the golf course, there are eight former members of the Pale Hose who are on the AL and NL League Championship Series rosters. Four of these players were part of the 2005 World Champions.

American League

YankeesNick Swisher, Boone Logan
National League

Phillies — *Jose Contreras, *Ross Gload, Wilson Valdez
Giants — *Juan Uribe, *Aaron Rowand, +Javier Lopez

* Played for ’05 World Champion Sox (Gload played in just 28 games)
+Played in White Sox organization at AAA Charlotte, did not pitch for big league club
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Konerko Belongs in the MVP Conversation

paul-konerko.jpgThe three names most commonly bandied about for A.L. MVP honors are certainly worthy candidates–Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Robinson Cano of the Yankees and the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera.
Here are their numbers:
* Hamilton: 30 homers, 92 RBIs, 38 doubles, a .356 BA, a .405 on base percentage and a .634 slugging mark
* Cano: 25 homers, 87 RBIs, 36 doubles, a .322 BA, a .387 on base percentage and a .563 slugging mark
* Cabrera: 31 homers, 104 RBIs, 39 doubles, a .342 BA, a .436 on base percentage and a .642 slugging mark

With the exception of batting average, Cabrera has the statistical edge with Hamilton second and Cano third. But keep in mind that the voters usually like their top candidate to be on a contender and after a fast start the Tigers have faded and will likely finished third in the A.L. Central. That said, look for Hamilton, on a club that looks like a shoo-in to win the A.L. West, to be crowned the league’s MVP.
As prejudiced I am for the Pale Hose, I’m not saying that Paul Konerko should rank above any of the three mentioned above–although he’s pretty even with Cano. What I am saying is that he deserves to be in the conversation and at least among the top four as a result of the following numbers:
Konerko:  31 homers, 87 RBIs, 24 doubles, a .314 BA, a .393 on base percentage and a 
.581 slugging mark. Among the four, he’s tied for the HR lead, tied for third in RBI, fourth in doubles, fourth in batting average, third in on base percentage and third in slugging percentage. And he’s the main offensive force on a serious contender.
Voters, give Paulie some love.
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O’s Baffle Sox, is Manny on the Way?

Manny-Ramirez.jpgAs rumors swirled about the possibility of the White Sox making a waiver deal for the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez, the South Siders went down tonight to the suddenly “pain in the neck” Orioles by a score of 4-2. Look at the bright side: we didn’t blow a save and the Twins once again fell to the Rangers as The Good Guys remain 3 1/2 back.

So, what about the Sox obtaining Manny? I say, why not?
–When you have a chance to go for a division title, do whatever you can to make it happen.

–Manny can be a huge problem in the clubhouse, but there’s only five weeks left in the season.

–He can carry a club when he’s hot.

–Without another offensive force that would help make up for the injured and sagging bullpen, chances for the postseason are slim.

–The prospects we’ll be giving up probably won’t be blue-chippers. The money? It’s only money.

–I think we’re all getting tired of watching the failures of Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones at DH.

To me, it’s a no-brainer. But Manny has a no-trade clause so the decision is ultimately in his hands.

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Sunday’s Heartbreak Now in the Rearview Mirror

55047840.jpgYou have to give it to these White Sox. After Sunday’s ninth-inning meltdown in Minnesota, the third Sox loss in a row, no one knew how the club would react as they headed to Seattle and Oakland. Rest easy Sox fans, at least for now.
There are still five more games remaining on the road trip, but the early signs on the West Coast are very promising. Behind a fine performance by 23-year-old Daniel Hudson and homers by Alex Rios and Andruw Jones, the Sox coasted to a 6-1 victory over the Mariners. In the process they increased their division lead to 2 1/2 games over the Tigers and Twins, who both lost–to the Rangers and Indians respectively.
Some highlights:
* The Pale Hose cranked out 12 hits. Omar Vizquel, Rios, Paul Konerko and Gordon Beckham led the way with two apiece.
* Vizquel has been a marvel, at the plate and especially in the field. He’s now batting .271.
* Rios had three RBIs, including the two-run homer, giving him 54  for the season in addition to 16 roundtrippers and a .307 BA.
• Paulie continues to sizzle. His two hits last night raised his average to .303.
* Beckham’s surge has been fun to watch. Once languishing on or near the Mendoza line, GBeck is hitting .571 during his current eight-game hitting streak. He’s now at .241 and 
rising. In other words, he’s back to being the Beckham of a year ago.
* Hudson went 6 2/3, giving up only a lone first inning run. Matt Thornton, Tony Pena and Scott Linebrink closed the door in relief, combining for 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
                                                 Mr. Hudson to the rescue

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A.J. Explodes, Buehrle Outstanding as Sox Rip Royals for 6th Consecutive Victory

Two days ago I commented to my Sox posse that I was concerned about A.J. Pierzynski‘s recent hitting slump. One of my guys said his toughness, ability to call a game and his durability outweighed what he did with the bat. Another said A.J. had lifetime immunity due to his now-legendary run to first base on a strikeout in Game 2 of the 2005 American League Championship Series against the Angels.
After hearing their reaction I was sorry I even brought up the subject. Now, after A.J.’s two-homer, four RBI performance in the 8-2 White Sox victory against the Royals last night, I was compelled to send the posse an apology.

Sox Vets Rise Above the Rest
In the wake of the LeBron James PR fiasco, where apparently no thought was given to humility and common sense, we Sox fans need to realize that we have two of the most authentic sports role models in our midst–Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko.
Their leadership, humble nature and on-field performance should be an example to everyone in the sports world. Ironically, because of their low-key demeanors relatively few outside of the South Side recognize what outstanding examples they are. 

Buehrle On Top of His Game

Speaking of the Sox lefty, Buehrle’s seven innings of scoreless ball last night continued his recent mastery of A.L. hitters. Mark is now 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last six outings, all being quality starts. Buehrle and his fellow starters have surrendered only 16 runs in their last eight games against the Rangers, Angels and Royals.
Standings Update

Sox are now 47-38, a half-game behind the Tigers and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Twins. We’ve won six in a row and 23 of the last 28. Pretty amazing.

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