As the White Sox enter the home stretch, there is little doubt what the key is to the remaining season. The Bullpen. Okay stop laughing. We all know its the offense. Or dare I say lack of offense. The seven runs the squad put up on Sunday is the equivalent of the red sea parting, especially because they "won" in the process. How bad has it been? The last 49 games the Pale Hose have scored 179 runs for an avg of 3.65 runs a game. During the same span they gave up 183, so I guess going 25-24 is probably appropriate. Other than the Yankee bitchslap fest the pitching is the sole reason the White Sox wake up today only 5.5 games out. Well that and newsflash*** the central division is not very good. So in our perfectly legit world of "arbitrary dates" and with roughly 50 games to go in the season, lets see what the frak has been going on in the past 50.
- Konerko .921 OPS has slowed down but dude has been boss. Why anyone would ever pitch to him, especially since Ozzie has felt obligated to bat Dunn behind I will never know.
- AJ .785 OPS He too has slow down a bit recently but after a poor start we can't complain. His defense seems as bad as ever but he can hit. Right now for this team that's like a small water hole in a desert. Yes its dirty and muddy water but dude its like 117 degrees outside.
- Quentin .760 OPS He's streaky. I heard you the first 100 times. I don't care. Ride or die. Carlos will be pivotal in any serious run the team makes. The Sox are 8 games under .500 at home. Q splits? .717 OPS home/1.004 OPS road. Holy moly.
- Pierre .696 OPS - .345 OBP The old vet has rebounded as he normally does. Pierre is a lot like an umpire. When you don't notice or complain about him you know he's done a solid job.
- De Aza .703 OPS Had a couple nice games including a homer in first at bat when recalled. Has quickly fit into the culture of minimal walks (none). His defense is solid and hopefully he can continue to spell and put pressure on Rios.
- Alexei .662 OPS Yes the defense is there but this issue has gone a little under the radar. Where is my hot weather Alexei? If getting off to a good start results in this then please please go back to the old way. I didn't like moving him from the 2nd spot. It seemed unnecessary and his OPS is close to .800 in that part of the lineup. "Hey silver slugger guy? Wake up!"
- Lillibridge .652 OPS Yeah the homers were nice, BUT....... I don't know about you but I would prefer my fill in 1B be a Cuban with a big bat instead of big ears. In the name of everything holy White Sox get your head out of your ass and correct this roster "problem." Did you see the "good" part above????
- Beckham .632 OPS Ugh. Is this really it? Even with his great defense, a low .600 OPS makes Gordon barely passable. The dynamic duo in the middle don't have to resemble Utley and Rollins but geez man stop watching 1950s White Sox games. I'm not interested in Fox and Aparicio numbers.
- Rios .595 OPS Maybe this 2 game swing has him on the uptick (I doubt it.) I never like to accuse players of being lazy etc. It takes a great deal of hard work to make it to the highest level in your prospective sport. But damn man. At times it does "appear" you don't give a crap and you HAVE let your offensive struggles carry over into the field. A combination of defensive systems has you as the WORST defensive Sox outfielder this year. That's ridiculous. Whatever. Defense for another day. The Sox still need a semi resurgence from one of the awful 2. Its appears in this short race Alex may have taken the lead on most likely. Its a hands thing...... right.
- Dunn .559 OPS WTF? I am of the opinion that Dunn is toast this year. He shouldn't face left handers unless the Sox fall totally out of it and he should not be batting 4th. Why? Lineup makes no difference (whiny voice). Sure it can. Over a season...no it evens out but in a few important games Dunn batting between Konerko and Quentin is just flat silly at the present moment. The Sox need to maximize runs. They kind of like suck at it. Get this man away from RBI situations.
- Morel .557 OPS Doesn't it seem like to you whenever he plays he get like 2 or 3 hits? Me neither. I have no idea what the hell Hawk is talking about. Brent fits in well of the 1950s version of the White Sox. I kid but a .700+ OPS from Morel, Becks and Alexei makes them all reasonably valuable. Now about that .700......
- Vizquel .464 OPS Sometimes old people really do belong in a home. Seriously what's the point here?
The team had its ass handed to it by the elite east teams last week. Stay focused on the larger point, central division games. Since the all star break the Sox have gone 8-4 vs its rivals and any hope mandates that to continue. BP odds this morning gives the Sox about a 17% chance at the division. That can change quickly with an extended win streak. Here is your chance as the team plays the lowly O's with Danks on the mound starting tonight.
Ozzie has to make tough decisions. Isn't that what he's paid for? The White Sox can not afford to wait for players to snap out of it. They have 50 games to catch a streak from "whoever." Promote Dayan. Minimize Dunn and move him down in the order except perfect situations. Flip Rios and DeAza frequently. Forgot about the other backups, unless you take my advice and DH Flowers sometimes :-). Plenty of folks will tell you its over. Not quite yet. Stay tuned.