Art Berke, a lifelong White Sox fan, has worked at the highest levels of the sports industry with Major League Baseball, ABC Television and Sports Illustrated. He grew up in Northwest Indiana, in the shadow of old Comiskey Park, and proudly proclaims 2005 as the best year of his life. Art offers his glass half-full opinions and observations as he lives and dies with the Sox.
The last time the White Sox were rained out, a disaster ensued as the Sox played three games in 22 hours and lost two of them. Admittedly, the current situation in Boston is a bit different than it was in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago.
If you remember, a Joe West error of judgment (He decided to start the game on that Friday night as the rains came and the contest was eventually washed out) cost the Sox the services of EdwinJackson, forcing reliever Tony Pena to make a start in the second game of a makeup doubleheader the next day.
Whatever the circumstances, playing a day-night twinbill is not ideal for a pitching staff. That said, the good news is that rosters have been expanded and Matt Thornton has been activated from the disabled list. The bad news is that it’s always hard to win both ends of a doubleheader.
So it’ll be John Danks and Gavin Floyd vs. the Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz and John Lackey in a day-night DH tomorrow. Let’s hope for the best.
It’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.
Manny on deck just before Pierzynski’s clutch homer
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it doesn’t matter who is wearing the Yankee pinstripes, they will find a way to beat us.
Both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira out of the lineup? Derek Jeter struggling? No problem. Rookie Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner and Marcus Thames break our hearts. Andy Pettitte on the DL? No worries, a youngster named Ivan Nova, with help from his bullpen, shuts down the South Siders.
So it was this weekend as the Yanks won two of three at the Cell. The Sox scored nine runs in each of the first two games in a 9-4 victory and 12-9 defeat, respectively, but couldn’t muster much offense off of Nova and his bullpen mates in the finale for the 2-1 loss.
A series victory would have helped matters, but time is now running out on the Sox with 32 games remaining. Next up…a 10 game, 11 day road trip to Cleveland, Boston and Detroit.
The Big Hurt Takes His Rightful Place
White Sox legends Billy Pierce (left) and Carlton Fisk unveil the brand new likeness of Frank Thomas as Hurt’s number was retired in a ceremony at the Cell today (pictured below). Pierce, Fisk and Thomas and their retired numbers will now be side by side by side on the left-centerfield wall.
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.
We all know that preseason predictions mean nothing–nada, zilch, zero. And while we shouldn’t take them seriously, it’s still a lot of fun–especially when the so-called experts pick your team to win.
Historically, it’s very rare when the baseball media elite pick the White Sox to win their division, let alone the AL pennant or World Series. It’s not that much different this year as the Twins seem to be the most common pick to conquer the AL Central. That said, there are a few “big name” media types among those who have picked the South Siders:
* Hall of Fame electee Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and author of the forthcoming bio of George Steinbrenner.
* Fox Sports‘ Ken Rosenthal, who somewhat tongue-in-cheek picked the Sox to win the World Series while referring to them “Team Wacko.” Think that had anything to do with our Ozzie?
* ESPN‘s Tim Kurkjian, who doesn’t exactly wear a Sox jersey on the weekends.
* Jon Heyman, he of SI, SI.com and the MLB Network.
Since I’m drinking the prediction Kool-Aid, I might as well add my two cents. Here are my divisional picks for 2010:
While Sox favorites Jermaine Dye and Joe Crede are still looking for new homes, a number of other former Pale Hosers are with new teams–for example, Jim Thome (Twins), Jose Contreras (Phillies), Scott Podsednik (Royals) and Jon Garland (Padres). The following is a list of the most recent ex-Sox to sign: one fairly significant, the others not so much.
* The well-traveled, but talented, shortstop Orlando Cabrera is now with the Cincinnati Reds. For the record, this is the “fairly significant” signing.
* Timo Perez, a reserve outfielder on the 2005 World Champs, signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
* Josh Fogg, a one-time closer candidate for the Sox, inked a minor league pact with the New York Mets.
* Lefty hurler Jimmy Gobble, who had a cup of coffee with the Sox, is now with the Colorado Rockies after agreeing to a minor league contract.
* Catcher Gustavo Molina, not related to Bengie, Jose and Yadier, signed a minor league agreement with the Boston Red Sox.
* Pitcher Horacio Ramirez, who had a short stint with the South Siders, just signed with the San Francisco Giants on a minor league deal.
There’s nothing like waking up on a chilly November morning to see the Hot Stove burning with a White Sox rumor.
This one involves the Sox, Angels and Padres. As the rumor goes, Chicago would get All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, LA would get Paul Konerko (who has the right to approve any deal) and San Diego would receive top prospects from both clubs.
There’s a long way to go before this deal becomes reality, but Gonzalez, who walloped 40 homers, drove in 99 runs and posted a .407 on-base percentage in 2009, would be a great get. Not to mention he has a very affordable contract. He’s due $4.75 million in 2010 with a club option of $5.5 million in ’11.
Before we Pale Hosers get too excited, it’s pretty much a certainty that this won’t be the only deal presented to the Padres for their prized player as they look to cut payroll.
For instance, It’s well known that the Red Sox are very interested in Gonzalez and it just so happens San Diego recently hired Jed Hoyer, former Red Sox exec, as its GM. Needless to say, he has a good handle on what Boston has in its farm system. And if the Sox acquire a player of Gonzalez’s caliber, the Padres would most likely want one or more of the likes of catcher Tyler Flowers, outfielder JordanDanks and righty Daniel Hudson. Would Kenny Williams be willing to mortgage the future to that extent?