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White Sox Flummoxed Against First-Timer, Again

You know about the White Sox inability to hit pitchers they've never faced before. So rather than blathering on about it, I'll just post the gory stats.

White Sox vs. Pitchers they've never faced before

First Timers 5-1 8 51.2 9 1.57

Tuesday's game had a familiar feeling to it in more ways than one. The first time through the order closely mirrored yesterday's game, with Bartolo Colon surrendering an early run on one ringing hit while the Sox were unable to capitalize on a youngster who was a bit shaky. And that's the ironic part about the game; the more the White Sox saw of Vinny Mazzaro the less chance they had against him.

Add in Wilson Betemit playing behind Colon and you've got yourself a recipe for a parade of unearned runs in an eventual blowout. Betemit is well on his way to cementing himself as one of the White Sox worst pickups in recent memory. The Swisher deal was bad when we considered Betemit simply a poor utility man, but Betemit has yet to show more utility than the comically over-matched Brent Lillibridge. His defense (everywhere, but specifically) at 3B makes Josh Fields appear competent, which is quite a feat.

It's nearly impossible to come up with a reason for Betemit's presense on the club. His bat has never played in the AL. Nix is a better defender and baserunner. Honestly, if Fields wasn't the one about to be demoted for Gordon Beckham, he'd be gone for sure. So congratulations, Wilson. You found a team willing to keep you around because you've already been tagged as a utility player, and they continue to hold out hope that their former first-round pick isn't a complete bust. It's good work, if you can get it.

Elsewhere, Scott Gregor speculates that Jose Contreras could be taking Colon's spot in the rotation.

Jose Contreras is scheduled to come up and start one of the day-night doubleheader games against the Detroit Tigers on Monday. If Contreras pitches well, don't be surprised if the White Sox strongly consider leaving him in the rotation and taking out Bartolo Colon.

There seems to be considerable sentiment among the beat writers that Contreras' demotion has gone swimmingly. Certainly they have more access than I, and I haven't actually seen or listened to any of Counts AAA outings. But his pitching lines, aside from the run prevention, don't inspire much confidence. I know, aside from the headwound, Mr. Lincoln, how was the show?

Contreras' problem, the main reason for his demotion, was a lack of control in the strike zone with his fastball and the complete lack of his forkball. In other words he needed to work on his control. So what did contreras do in his latest outing that has the beat guys singing his praise? Walk 4 and strikeout 3 over 6.2 innings. Hardly anything that's indicative of a guy who's got it all figured out now.

Even if Contreras was to pitch swimmingly in the Monday DH, that shouldn't be enough to unseat Colon. Count showed surprising command in a single outing late in spring training, and the Sox may have paid a win or two in judging him on that data point. Why should they trust another single data point in Count's comeback? Make him prove it.

While fully acknowledging that Colon is a nothing more than a 5-inning, one-pitch pitcher right now, he still gives the Sox the chance to win the game anytime Betemit isn't manning 3B. Until Contreras proves the same, maybe by being Colon's 6th-9th inning caddy, he shouldn't be in the conversation.

How crazy is it that it's not Clayton Richard who the writers are talking about replacing?