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20 Questions

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In honor of the Sox being the first team in Major League Baseball to reach 20 wins, I thought I would play a little (modified) game of 20 questions.

1. From yesterday:
What date does Dye eclipse Pauly in batting average?

That one's easy. It happened tonight. Jermaine went 2-3, raising his average to .207, while Pauly was dropping his to .194 by going 0-4 on the night.

Okay, that one was cheating a little bit, but I wasn't very confident that I could come up with 20 legitimate questions.

2. Is it time to start getting worried about Konerko?

In a word, yes. He's shown with his poor stretch from late 2002 all the way through 2003 that he's not immune to prolonged slumps. He's looked absolutely terrible at the plate the last week or so. If I was Ozzie, I'd be looking to give him a day or two off. Unfortunately, Gload is on the DL, and it looks like the back-ups are Widger, Ozuna, and Burke.

3. Is Jon Garland for real?

Yes, but it depends on what you mean by "for real." Garland is a completely different pitcher this season. He's not afraid of anyone's bat, and he's trusting his defense.

4. So he's got a shot at the Cy Young?

No. He's a different pitcher, but there's no way he can string together 28 more starts like his first 5.

5. What should we expect from him then?

He's going to keep you in almost every game. He's going to prove to be a horse, probably eclipsing his innings pitched total from last season. His BABIP indicates that he's been "lucky," so expect some regression to the mean. Even with that regression though, he should post an ERA under or around 4, which is incredible for your 5th starter.

*6-20 below the fold*

6. What about the rest of the starting staff? They've all been great.

Buehrle is Buehrle. You know exactly what you're going to get. 220+ IP with an era just under 4.

Garcia is pitching a little bit over his head right now. He seems to nibble a little too much for my liking. Trusting his defense a little more would really help him out.

El Duque, as I've said before, is a gamer. He's gonna fight tooth and nail for each victory, even if he doesn't have his best stuff. I'm not worried about his ERA or WHIP at all. I just want him to keep putting up W's.

El Conde is, is, is well. There's no way I can say with any confidence what the future holds for him. I can say that he has looked pretty tough the last two outings when he's concentrated on establishing the fastball.

7. What's wrong with Shingo?

I wish I could say it was just one thing. There are some teams who have adjusted to him. They are really patient with him, and force him to get all of his pitches over for strikes. Getting strikes has been his main problem. He's been falling behind too many hitters - That means less "Frisbees" - That means less hitters off balance - That means more hitters sitting on fastball - That means a lot of balls getting hit hard.

8. Who's the closer then?

Who cares? I love what Ozzie's doing with the pen right now. I don't know if he's going by the numbers or if he's just going by his gut. Whatever it is, I want him to keep doing it. He knows what each of his guys can do, and for the most part, he's consistently putting them in a position where they, and in turn the team, can succeed.

9. Will we see Brandon McCarthy in a White Sox uniform this season?

Yes. At the very least, McCarthy will get some experience late in the season as a September call up. It's still a pretty good bet that one of the Los Cubanos will have to spend some time on the DL too.

10. Will anyone else from the minors contribute in a major way this season?

Not that I can see. Brian Anderson is the only other prospect who's close to being ready to contribute to a major league club, and we all know Timo will play over him.

11. Which Scott Podsednik did we get, 2003 or 2004?

Neither. In 2003, Scott was playing way over his head. He had a crazy BABIP of .362. He was lucky. In 2004, he had a BABIP of .275. Those two numbers should be fairly consistent from year to year. This season he sits at a BABIP of .282. A player with Podsednik's speed should probably have a BABIP of better than league average. So I would expect Scott's AVG and OBP to climb along with the BABIP.

Another sign that he's not the same hitter is his K and BB ratios. He's walking more, striking out less, and not hitting for any power. He's just slapping at the ball trying to get on base. That's fine with me. All I ask of him is to have a decent RISP avg, and get on base by any means possible every time there's not a duck on the pond.

12. Can Tadahito Iguchi keep it up?

I don't know. My feelings on this change daily. Like Podsednik's 2003 season, Iguchi has a very high BABIP(.394) right now. He hasn't really walked much either. He has hit tough pitchers very well, however, and works the count better than any one else on the team. He's not going to be among the league leaders at the end of the season, but there's a chance that he could crack the magical .300 mark.

14. Didn't you forget #13?

Yes.

15. What's wrong with Aaron Rowand?

Nothing. Here's his numbers for the month of April the last 3 seasons.
2003 -- .132/.207/.170
2004 -- .226/.268/.453
2005 -- .233/.295/.326
For some reason he never hits in April. I don't think it's time to be overly concerned with his lack of production yet.

16. Can the Sox stay out front all year?

Yes. The pitching is going to come back to earth, but the middle of the line-up is going to be better than it has been so far.

#4 -- .198/.306/.448
#5 -- .186/.236/.343
#6 -- .245/.295/.388

That's supposed to be the run producing spot in the line-up. All they've succeeded in producing so far is outs in greater than 70% of their plate appearances.

17. If the Sox don't win the division, is there a possibility that they can still win the Wild Card?

I would have thought this was impossible before the season, but it's actually possible. A few things need to fall the Sox way though.

  • Boston's rotation needs to remain in disarray for a while
  • George has to blow up the Yanks
  • The West teams need to beat each other up
Obviously there's others, but it's stunning to think that the Wild Card might not come from the AL East.

18. Boxers or Briefs?

Sometimes.

19. If you're Kenny Williams what area are you looking to upgrade?

First I'm looking for one more bullpen arm, maybe even a "closer." Then I'm going to monitor the outfield situation. If I don't feel comfortable with Brain Anderson filling in if they're still struggling, I've got to ship him out for help. Timo's going with him, of course.

20. Can Ozzie keep it together for the whole season?

Yes. Ozzie take a lot of heat, from the sabermetric community for giving away outs (even though he's done a very good job of selecting when and when not to use this strategy); and in the media, for his mouth. Some of the latter criticism is warranted, but the media seems to key on the wrong situations.

The Maggs situation is nothing. Nobody on the team cares. The Frank situation was completely overblown. Ozzie just says what's on his mind.

* * * * *

Just one game note. Tadahito Iguchi and Juan Uribe made two incredible plays to end the game. Iguchi showed more range than I thought he had on a roller back up the middle, then displayed good arm strength and body control to get the out at first. Uribe showed of his superb range on a little bloop that would have landed behind Crede at third. Uribe was able to make a sliding catch for the final out just a few feet into the outfield grass behind third. Crede was still at the cut of the grass watching him make the play.