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White Sox Wed Jun 02 2010
As the Chicago White Sox had started the season off with a less than dominating start (OK, let's admit it: they're terrible), questions among some of Chicago's more prolific Sox blogs had been looming large as to whether or not a fire sale was eminent. Given that until recently the Southsiders had been struggling against even the lowly Cleveland Indians and perennial punching bags the Kansas City Royals, it looked like it was time to give up and work on the farm system. White Sox GM Kenny Williams dismissed the idea before yesterday's game though, saying he he "Still believe[s] in these guys."
The Sox started a nine game home stand yesterday, which also kicks off what looks to be a cakewalk of a month. Throughout June, the Sox face an NL sandwich of terrible teams book-ended by crosstown rivals, the equally ineffective Chicago Cubs. AL opponents include the Royals, Indians and second place Detroit Tigers. So if there is ever a time to save this season and right the ship, this is it.
Last night started promising, with the Sox manufacturing runs in ways not often seen this season. An nice sacrifice RBI by Paul Konerko, a solo home run from Carlos Quentin and a pair of clever RBIs from Gordon Beckham and A.J. Pierzynski in first two innings gave the Sox a 4-0 lead and a reason to be optimistic. Unfortunately, things went down hill from there as the Sox fell in the series opener 9-6.
What Went Wrong: First there was the continuing troubles of what was supposed to be the Sox strongest suit: the rotation. Mark Buehrle was never particularly sharp yesterday as he loaded the bases early and often. Over the 5.1 innings he pitched, he gave up 12 hits and 6 earned runs. If the Sox starters cannot maintain four run leads, this is a team that will not accomplish much more than it has: nothing. The bullpen added difficulty when Santos, Linebrink and the ever-terrible Williams (Note to Kenny: get a new lefty!) gave up an earned run apiece.
Then there was the lack of offense when it counts. Another constant problem throughout the 2010 season, the Sox have absolutely no clutch hitting. A big hole in this year's offense is the apparent lack of a designated hitter. Mark Kotsay went 0 for 5 yesterday, stranding 9, three of which were in scoring position. The entire line up left a mega-total of 29 on the bags yesterday. Given that the Sox had 11 hits and drew a hefty seven walks but only finished the day with six runs, it would stand to reason that this is a team that needs some serious offensive help. If the rotation is going to keep disappointing everyone who was expecting them to dominate, the bats are going to have to warm up when there are men aboard. The team average of .240 isn't going to get these guys ahead in the standings.
What Went Right: Not much. Beckham and Vizquel had better nights at the plate and Rios and AJ kept up their end of the offense. Unless this team improves vastly and quickly though, I think we can start the countdown to that fire sale. My guess is July 1st, after the Sox fail to make any gain in the standings after playing a slew of equally bad teams in June.