Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Sports, WHITE SOX — Rick Moran @ 10:03 am


Recently acquired Mark Kotsay avoids the tag of Yankees catcher Jose Posada, who had the ball in his other hand, in the eighth inning of yesterday’s game. The Sox won 14-4.

I have not written about my beloved White Sox this year, sparing most of my regular readers who either have no interest in baseball or the Sox.

The reason for this dearth of postings about my favorite baseball team is quite simple; the White Sox have stunk up the joint this year.

Wildly inconsistent, they can look like contenders for a stretch of 4 or 5 games and then tank for the next 5. Their starting pitching can look like Cooperstown candidates for a week while the bullpen appears to have de-evolved into a bunch of  manic chimpanzees, throwing the ball all over the park. Those roles can be reversed the following week.

Only in the last month or so has the team begun to hit the way they should. But even here, they fail the consistency test, being unable to buy a hit with a man in scoring position one day while turning into a bunch of Ted Williams clutch hitters the next.

It is perplexing in the extreme to see this team fumble, kick, drop, or simply miss routine plays in the field. This is the only thing they have done with any consistency all year . Their defense is so porous, if it were a shirt, it would have been given to “Save the Children” so full of holes it has proven to be.

But today, my Sox find themselves only 1.5 games behind the division leading Detroit Tigers (3 games down in the loss column). The fact is, both Detroit and Minnesota have proven to be as sucky as the Sox so that all three teams are bunched together at the top of the Central Division, waiting for one club to break out and get hot.

That may not happen. None of those three teams have the pitching to dominate other teams over long stretches. Each club has perhaps 3 good starters while the rest are Bozos in cleats. The Sox improved their staff marginally by acquiring former Cy Young Winner Jake Peavy from San Diego for a couple of real good pitching prospects. Ordinarily, this would have fans swooning in anticipation of another divisional flag flying over US Cellular Field.

Alas, Mr. Peavy has been on the disabled list for more than a month with a bad ankle and won’t see the mound at what many of us still defiantly call “Comiskey Park” until late this month - if at all. As former Sox pitcher Jack McDowell pointed out on his blog, that will give Big Jake only 6 starts before the end of the year - hardly enough to make an impact. In fact, GM Kenny Williams said that the Peavy move was done as much for the future as the present.

Williams may not believe the team has much of a chance to win this year either.

Be that as it may, we have the illusion of a pennant race this year anyway. But really, the Sox should have been eliminated after last week’s catastrophic road trip to Detroit and Minnesota that saw the Tigers take 3 out of 4 from the hapless Chicagoans (the Southsiders were ahead in 3 of those games but blew two of them in the last inning), and getting swept three straight in the Baggie Dome in Minneapolis.

But the Baseball Gods have a streak of comedy in them. Immediately after wiping the floor with the Sox, Detroit journeyed to Texas where the resurgent Rangers pummeled them. Thus, the Sox only lost 1 game in the standings while hanging a “Do Not Disturb - Ballplayers Sleeping” sign over the visiting clubhouse in Minnesota.

Their performance during that stretch did not generate any confidence for the 4 game Yankee series that begins the current 10 game homestand. It is a shame that the Yankee-White Sox rivalry has all but disappeared the last few decades. In the 1950’s and early 60’s, it was white hot as the hated New Yorkers went on a stretch between 1949 and 1962 where they won the American League pennant 11 times. Only Cleveland’s win in 1954 and the White Sox triumph in 1959 spoiled that historic, incredible run.

Games between the Yanks and Sox in those days were very intense with the crowds really getting into the action on the field. From 1957 to 1965, the White Sox finished second to the Yankees 3 times - five times a bridesmaid altogether. It seemed in those days before the playoffs where the winner of the 10 team American League went on to the World Series, the pennant was decided those last few days of the season with the hated Yankees winning when they had to and the Sox falling just short.

With the Cubs on the Northside and their record of futility, you wonder why Chicago baseball fans are so schizophrenic?

But today, the White Sox have an opportunity to do something they haven’t done since 1964; sweep a 4 game series from the Yankees. That’s because the previous games of this series that have been won by the Sox have seen the South Siders punish the Yankee pitching staff for 27 runs in three contests, chewing up and spitting out almost every hurler the New Yorkers have put out there. It has been an offensive exhibition that the Sox were known for in previous seasons but has happened all too infrequently this year.

Leading the charge has been the Kiddie Korps of Jayson Nix, Chris Goetz, and the probably American League Rookie of the Year Gordon Beckham who is tearing up the league at age 23. All three (and 26 year old second year man Alexie Ramirez) give the Sox something they haven’t had in a decade - speed at the top and bottom of the lineup. Ramirez twisted his ankle in Minnesota and missed the first three games of the series although he may be on the field today. But the rest of the kids are hitting very well while not embarrassing themselves too badly in the field.

Two other bright spots for the Sox of late has been the stellar play of outfielders Scott Posednik and Carlos Quentin. Posednik joined the team in May after being out of baseball for a few weeks, cut by the Rockies. Pods had been a big part of the World Championship team in 2005 but had been traded after a couple of injury plagued years following that glory.

Now hitting over .300, running the bases like a teenager, the 32 year old former all star seems to have found a Fountain of Youth.

And Quentin’s return from a painful bout with planter fasciets that has kept him out of the lineup until last week’s road trip, is finally starting to bear fruit as the slugger appears to slowly be getting his stroke back. How long he will stay in the field before he re-injures himself is anyone’s guess. If we’re lucky, he’ll stay healthy. But Quentin’s history of constant nagging injury would seem to make that a fool’s hope.

The dog days of summer are officially upon us. Between now and the end of August, the heat on the field and the constant pressure of the pennant race will take its toll on the players as the every game starts to take on a significance not seen in the early part of the season. One thing is sure. Unless the White Sox can find some magic that will help them play more consistently both at the plate and in the field, this season will almost certainly be a bad memory when the calendar next turns in September.


  1. Rick,
    As a Yankee fan, I am loathe to admit it but we have been PWNed in this series by you guys - worse, this has come at the same time the Sox that we really hate (TM) has had a winning streak of its own - its all even now in the AL East for practical reasons (Boston has played one less game at this point)

    While we are still on baseball, I dont know if you had a chance to read Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe lamenting about how Manny Ramirez and Big Papi were found to be on the list of players using performance enhancing drugs.


    He goes so far as to say that Ortiz’s entire career may be a lie !

    We have our own parade of shame from Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite and Jason Giambi - makes you wonder how many more are out there !

    I know that you had a post during the All Star game about how the game has lost it’s national status especially after the steroids scandal broke out - but how much more terrible would it be if a former World Series MVP ( Manny Ramirez) was found to be on performance enhancers the entire 2004 season ?

    Btw, that Carlos Quentin is one heck of a ball player and probably the best thing to happen to the SouthSiders in quite a long time.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 8/2/2009 @ 12:18 pm

  2. Greetings:

    Well, if it’s any solace, my father used to say, “In baseball all you have to do is play .500 ball and get hot in September.” Times may have changed somewhat since the ’50s and the ’60s (last time I looked only two teams were playing .600 ball), what with all the player mobility and the lack of emphasis on the “regular” season record as opposed to getting into the playoffs. But it’s still all about putting the wood on the ball.

    Comment by 11B40 — 8/2/2009 @ 6:35 pm

  3. The White Sox…one of the few issues where I agree with Obama.

    Comment by oneblankspace — 8/2/2009 @ 9:21 pm

  4. I can’t stand the Sox. Have always hated the team. The manager is a emotionally handicapped idiot and the catcher just bugs me.

    Tigers to repeat 2006.

    Comment by Economics — 8/3/2009 @ 10:20 am

  5. Economics,

    I hope you’re right about the Tigers. If they could win a road game….

    Comment by I Callahan — 8/4/2009 @ 5:06 pm

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