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Game 18: White Sox @ Royals -- Buehrle vs. Meche

Mark Buehrle (L, 1-0, 2.08, 3, 3, 17.1, 10, 3, 0.58) vs. Gil Meche (R, 1-1, 2.22, 4, 4, 28.1, 21, 7, 1.20) [Throws, W-L, ERA, G, GS, IP, K, BB, WHIP]

Time: 7:10 p.m., TV: CSN, Radio: WSCR AM-670 (Live Boxscore; 2006 MLB Gameday; 2007 MLB Gameday)


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Since I didn't get the chance to write a recap for Sunday's game, I'll breeze through some notes here. Use this as the gamethread as well. (Wiz, you can edit this to include your links somewhere in this post)

  • Even though the offense has begun to show signs of life since Buehrle's no-no, the Sox still rank last in the AL in batting average, and 11th in R/G. (Without looking it up, I believe they've accumulated double digit hits in just 2 games this season, both coming in losses, with the second being the extra inning loss yesterday.)
  • Despite ranking last in BA, the Sox carry an almost respectable .320 OBP, thanks in large part to Jim Thome's league leading 25 walks. (The Mariners have 27 walks as a team.) Subtract Thome from the lineup, however, and the Sox would rank last, or near last, in OBP as well.
  • Here's how the Sox lineup ranks (by spot in the order) in terms of OPS
    • 1st -- 7th of 14, 9th in OBP -- (.292/.338/.389)
    • 2nd -- 13th of 14, 12th in OBP -- (.210/.306/.306)
    • 3rd -- 4th of 14, 1st in OBP -- (.245/.493/.531)
    • 4th -- 7th of 14, 4th in OBP -- (.230/.373/.393)
    • 5th -- 10th of 14, 9th in OBP -- (.185/.260/.354)
    • 6th -- 9th of 14, 12th in OBP -- (.265/.306/.353)
    • 7th -- 11th of 14, 11th in OBP -- (.190/.257/.302)
    • 8th -- 8th of 14, 9th in OBP -- (.203/.269/.339)
    • 9th -- 5th of 14, 11th in OBP -- (.182/.258/.418)
  • More splits...
    • 11th in OPS w/RISP, but tied for second in HR. 13th in BA w/RISP.
    • 13th in at-bats w/RISP, ahead of only Seattle, who is short 3 games. This is the most telling stat. Since BA w/RISP can fluctuate wildly, the AB w/RISP is probably a better indicator of a teams non-HR run-scoring ability. The 04 Sox ranked last in AB w/RISP, but made up for it by leading the league in BA w/RISP. You can't be bad at both and expect to win many games.
    • Related, and part of the reason that I really wanted a so-called doubles hitter for LF, the Sox rank last in the AL in extra-base hits, behind even Seattle. That's quite an accomplishment considering they're 3rd in HR. The team, as currently constructed; doesn't do a good job of stringing hits together, doesn't hit many non-HR extra-base hits, and gives up outs (tied for 1st in SH, which doesn't include failed attempts) in an attempt to put runners in scoring posistion. That's a terrible combination.
  • After 4 starts, I think it's time to begin to worry about Jon Garland's velocity. He might have been the hardest throwing member of last year's staff of dead arms, yet he's struggling to even touch 90 this year. That being said, he's pitched very effectively since his first start. Maybe because of the movement on his fastball he doesn't need to throw in the 90's to remain effective. Though I did notice that the drop in velocity has severely weakened the strength of his changeup. It's still sitting at about 80, which is only about 8MPH difference from his fastball, as opposed to 11-12 when it was most effective.

    Yesterday, he showed a curveball that I don't think I've ever seen from him. His curve used to be thrown in the high 70's. On TV, it would come out of his had on the same plane as his fastball, but as it approached the plate it appeared to go up a little before dropping. (I know that's not true. I'm just trying to describe how it appeared.) The curve he was throwing yesterday was around 70 MPH, and was a much more conventional curve. It started on a higher plane, and appeared to have more sink to it. There was no "hump" in the middle; it was all drop. Hitters were swinging out in front and over the top of it.