I've never been one to worry about accolades and awards -- I even thought that Jermain Dye's World Series MVP could have gone to Joe Crede -- but it's time for Jermaine Dye to start getting some recognition for what he's done this season. He leads the American League in slugging percentage at .690. He leads the American League in OPS at 1.101. He's clutch, as evidenced by his WPA that will climb over 200 after tonight. That trails only Derek Jeter in the AL. In a line-up that features Paul Konerko and Jim Thome, he's running away with team MVP honors.
JD 4 MVP
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I don't know if there could have been a clearer demonstration of why Ozzie has to keep putting Brian Anderson in the lineup than the last two games. Yesterday, Mackowiak made a number of boneheaded plays that let the Tigers push across the go-ahead run in much easier fashion than it should have been. Tonight, Anderson ran down what looked like a run scoring double in the 8th to keep the Sox in the game.
It's a terrible situation for the Sox to be in. Brian Anderson would be best served being in the minors trying to get his swing back together. (He's starting to resemble the pop-up or nothing Crede from '03-'05.) The White Sox, however, are better served with him playing center field.
In this division, where every win is important, the Sox need to stick with the kid until they can find a suitable replacement on the market. [more on that later]
Update [2006-6-10 0:44:11 by The Cheat]: Ozzie said in the post-game press conference that Anderson is his starting center fielder. Scott Reifert says that the decision was made before the game. And while I believe that Ozzie was persuaded to give Anderson some more time out there before the game, it was the contrast in CF play the last two games that really decided it.
I never really understood the infatuation with Kerry Wood even before he started ending up on the DL 3 times a season. It seemed to me that he was always getting himself into trouble and had an ERA that prevented him from being among pitching's elite. After one Kerry Wood-like start from Javier Vazquez, I think I understand.
Javier had what announcers call 'no hit stuff' tonight, but he had absolutely no shot at a no-hitter. He was alternating between struggling with his release point, trying to be too fine with his pitches, not getting good pitches called for strikes, and giving up weak hits to get himself in trouble. Each time he got himself in trouble though, he had the stuff to work himself out of the jam.
In fact, I would have left him in to face Travis Hafner even though he had thrown 110 pitches. Hafner was 1-3 (0-3 really) with two strikeouts against him in the game. The lone hit came one pitch after Vazquez had clearly struck Hafner out looking, but the home plate umpire disagreed. Hafner hadn't really come close to touching him, and if it wasn't for Uribe's boneheaded play he wouldn't have even been in that situation.
With Detroit blowing another one, (the third time in 4 games that the bullpen has failed them) and the Indians poised to take a game on both the Sox and Tigers, this might have been the biggest victory of the season... so far.