When the White Sox acquired Kevin Youkilis, nobody was happier than I was. The White Sox had the worst play by their third basemen of any team in baseball. Add in the fact that the White Sox basically got him for nothing and it made the trade that much better.
The effects of having a major league player at third base were seen immediately. He knocked in 15 runs in his first 14 games. A bunch of them ended up being game winners for the White Sox. He also played good enough defense. The White Sox won 9 of their first 12 games with Youkilis in the lineup.
Obviously, he wasn't going to keep up his torrid pace. After his batting average peaked at .262 on July 8th, he was back down to .238 by the end of the month. Still, Youkilis was a huge upgrade over Orlando Hudson and Brent Morel. He was a major league hitter who made pitchers work and provided some pop in the lineup.
In September though, things have gotten bad. Youkilis is 9-56 on the month, which pencils out to a .161 average and his OBP isn't too special either at .288. While it still beats out Orlando Hudson's June, that isn't saying a whole bunch.
Robin Ventura made the move to dump Gordon Beckham down to 9th in the order when Youkilis came aboard. After a lot of struggles, Beckham has finally put it together and has been one of the teams top hitters in September with a line of .313/.421/.625. Is it time to move Gordon back up to the second spot in the order and drop Youkilis to 6th or 7th? I don't know. Maybe Beckham shouldn't be moved when he is hitting so well and he should just ride out the streak. After all, he was hitting pretty decently when he got bumped to the ninth spot and then he proceeded to slump for the next month and a half.
Youkilis is hurting them though. His knee has been acting up and his wife gave birth to their first child which may be messing with his head. There is a little more than a week left in the season and the White Sox need Youkilis to be a threat in the batting order. His current pop up to center, ground out to short type of at bats aren't going to work. He is probably the most experienced member of the White Sox when it comes to pennant races. It is time for him to show up.
* Today is my son's 5th birthday. I remember back in 2007 the White Sox were playing out the string in their worst season this century. One of the lone bright spots that year was Javier Vazquez, and on that day he was pitching against the Twins. He improved to 14-8 as the Sox won 8-3. Jerry Owens had 5 hits, Darin Erstad had 3 (including a homer) and Jim Thome hit a homer as well. It was a great start to the beginning of the rest of my life. I had pushed hard to name the kid Frank Thomas, but the plan was a last second veto. Damn wife played the "just gave birth" card and I folded on my strong stance. Anyway, it will be a nice fluff piece for ESPN when Shawn Philip wins his first MVP in about 17 years for the White Sox.