The Game That Wouldn't End might have finished a lot sooner if Alexei Ramirez hadn't pulled Paul Konerko well off the bag with another one of his lackadaisical lollipop throws to first base. Ramirez clearly has a strong enough arm to play shortstop in the major leagues, but he's shown a reluctance to showcase that arm on plays that don't require it, turning routine, easy outs into bang-bang plays, making Konerko dig balls out of the dirt, and, on occasion, extending innings with completely avoidable errors.
His error Thursday may not have cost the Sox in the 'W' column -- the only stat that matters -- but it set the wheels in motion for Ozzie Guillen to burn through the bullpen, and shortens his pen options for tomorrow's game with the Cubs.
- Octavio Dotel has pitched in 3 consecutive games, which means he'll probably be unavailable.
- Bobby Jenks has pitched on back-to-back days. So while he's not off-limits, Ozzie might be reluctant to use him in anything but the highest-leverage of save situations.
- Scott Linebrink, as I've discussed before, hasn't been good in over a year when pitching on back-to-back days, but he'll definitely be available. Oh joy.
- DJ Carrasco threw 38 pitches one day after throwing 15.
The rest of the pen should be available, but they're all left-handed, which means Jim might get one of his wishes. Asked directly about Aaron Poreda's performance, Guillen gushed
"That's his first [win] in the big leagues?" Guillen asked after Thursday's game. "There's a lot more to come. When this kid comes out of the bullpen and is throwing strikes with cockiness, he'll be used a little more out of the bullpen now."
Poreda has breezed through his first 4 outings, using almost exclusively fastballs. He threw only one non-fastball on Thursday, a quality slider to strike out Mark Loretta. I've felt that Poreda could succeed from the bullpen for the last year now, and haven't seen anything to change my mind in his few appearances.
As for Ramirez, Ozzie was not nearly as positive
"We played 14 innings because we were lousy in the field," Guillen said. "Lousy and lazy in the field. I never criticize my players for making errors, I never will. But when you make a lazy error, that really [bothers] me."
"I made a big mistake when I said in January he's going to be a better shortstop than Ozzie Guillen. I never thought I was that bad."
I don't expect Ramirez to sit out any games of the Cubs series this weekend. But he at least got an earful from Ozzie after the press conference, which might be the kick in the pants he needs to finally throw over to first base like a professional.
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Frank Thomas is 'close' to retiring, which isn't really news. It's not like teams are were beating down the door to sign the broken down slugger. But it's of interest to us here because the White Sox could have something planned. It sounds like both sides want to work something out.
"I hope so," he said. "This is family. The South Side made me who I am, and I had such a great career there, so I would love for that to happen. "Right now, I haven't officially retired. Once I officially retire, we can sit down and talk about what we want to do."
If the Sox plan a Frank Thomas night for sometime in September, where he either suits up one more time to 'retire' in a White Sox uniform, or just simply retire his number -- the statue comes later -- I'll be there. They could probably even make it a premium date. ;)