I'm a heavy sleeper -- I've been known to sleep through nearly anything. Dogs barking, lightning crashing, my alarm ringing, I can sleep through them all -- So too is the White Sox offense.
Bonser and Blackburn barked; the Sox offense caught some Zzzz's. Marcum rang, Litsch crashed; the Sox bats slumbered.
It would have been surprising if they were roused from their hibernation by a perennial Cy Young contender coming off 4 consecutive complete games. And in that respect, the Sox did not disappoint. Roy Halladay breezed through the Sox lineup the first time through the order, perfect through 3.
In the 4th inning, however, the offense showed some signs of life. The Sox sent 8 men to the plate, and pushed 3 runs across. They managed only one baserunner after the 4th inning. The offense was not awake, it was merely rolling over, adjusting before nodding back off. The outburst might have just been gas.
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It says a lot about the makeup of the team that when Ozzie needs to shake up the lineup, he turns to Pablo Ozuna, who was always a fringy talent but now has become an outright liability. Ozuna can't play defense, or at least he's below average at all of the positions he supposedly can play. He doesn't have the speed he once did, and he's hit just .239/.271/.313 with 4 stolen bases in the last 22 months.
With numbers like that, it's little wonder that I stoop so low as to bring up the name Jerry Owens. Some have felt vindicated by that mention. But Owens is not a savior. He's not even a good baseball player. He's a 4th outfielder at best. My mention of Owens was an indictment of how bad Jermaine Dye looked at the plate, not praise for the unique skill set of one Jerry Owens.
Still, Owens is on the tip of beat writers' tongues. Joe Cowley has already proclaimed it "Jerry Owens Time," while Mark Gonzales is leading off his recaps with thinly veiled pleas to add Owens to the mix. It's little wonder that Ozzie Guillen has grown tired of all the lineup suggestions.
I can understand all the calls for Owens. I don't agree with them, but I understand them. It's the same reason I was willing to drive Greg Walker out of town at this time last year. When something's not working, you make some changes. Last season, I thought the best move was to can Walker. And while I still think a fresh voice would do a world of good, I've become resigned to the fact that Walker has perpetually renewable contract at least until 2012.
For the sake of my own mental health, I've decided to drop the calls for Walker's head. He's part of the problem, but only a small part of it. This is where I agree with Ozzie.
"[Nick] Swisher, [Orlando] Cabrera, Konerko, [Jim] Thome, [Jermaine] Dye, A.J. [Pierzynski] and [Joe] Crede, they don't need coaches. They need to get their heads out of their asses and start hitting."
Walker or no Walker, Owens or no Owens, that core has to hit. If they don't, the Sox will continue their slide down the AL Central standings. Simple as that.