Well, the All-Star break really didn't do the White Sox from any good. After opening with an encouraging, professional series win over the Atlanta Braves, they returned to their old ways by losing five of six to Detroit and Kansas City, scoring three runs or fewer in those five losses.
If you're keeping track, the Sox are:
- 20-40 since Hawk Harrelson introduced "The Will To Win"
- 16-38 since reaching .500 on May 26.
- 9-17 at home since reaching .500, and 7-21 on the road since May 26.
It doesn't matter where they're playing, who they're playing or who's pitching (Chris Sale losing a 1-0 game to Wade Davis being the perfect example to date) -- they're pretty much taking a knee at the start of the third quarter. The trade rumors are a relatively new variable to the equation, and that's why Paul Konerko didn't hide behind them when giving the quote of the year following Sunday's loss:
Konerko was asked if all the trade rumors have affected White Sox's play: "Not really. We were shitty before the rumors"— Scot Gregor (@scotgregor) July 28, 2013
On the subject of facepalms, Scott Lindholm has assembled a chart documenting all "mistakes" -- fielding errors, pitching mishaps, baserunning gaffes -- made by teams, and committed by those teams' opponents. As you might guess, the White Sox are near the bottom in net mistakes:
28. Washington, -67
29. White Sox, -113
30. Houston, -114
- Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framing, 7/26
- All-Star Break Pitch-Framing Update | FanGraphs Baseball
If you missed it in the comments a couple days ago, Baseball Prospectus' Ben Lindbergh commended Tyler Flowers on his receiving after Flowers pulled off the week's third-best framing job:
Flowers rates well as a receiver, and a Chicago radio host told me that he's focused on his receiving skills even more since coming across online analysis of its value. This is the way to do it.
According to Jeff Sullivan's list in the FanGraphs link, White Sox catchers are two strikes below average, but ahead of last year's work. On a related note, Lindbergh has A.J. Pierzynski as the ninth-worst pitch framer this season.
- Will fireworks in front office light a spark in disappointing Nationals? - CBSSports.com
- Marlins hitting coach resigns over allegations of abusive behavior - MiamiHerald.com
Two hitting coaches have lost their jobs recently, and for vastly different reasons. In Washington, Rick Eckstein was dismissed in the typical attempt to shake up a disappointing team. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo made the decision, which pissed off Davey Johnson, but Rizzo thinks the standard "different voice" argument is worth making for a team two games under .500, and well behind NL East-leading Atlanta. Eckstein was popular with players, and was tight with Adam Dunn during his two years in DC.
In Miami, Tino Martinez was accused of heaping verbal abuse on his players, and grabbing Derek Dietrich by the neck. He denies the latter, but apparently the former was a real problem, and so he resigned.
As a frequent visitor to Cooperstown, I've been reading plenty of stories about the village's rough summer, thanks to an absence of living inductees (I've seen estimates of 2,000 to 2,500, when the average is 10,000), and a few other issues.
Jim Caple's story is the best I've read, as it deals not only with the BBWAA's inability to bring itself to honor anybody, but with a variety of other issues. For instance, I drive by the Cooperstown Dreams Park baseball campus when I'm driving the boring route, but didn't know the extent of its drawing power and drawbacks (does it fill up lodging, or waste availability on people who are there more for business than tourism?). Plus, Ommegang's fine operation gets some well-deserved props in a brief rundown of Upstate New York's hydrofracking conundrum. It's got everything!
Share links to what you think we should be reading. I, for one, would like to know.