Many Decisions Still Loom For White Sox
Jose Contreras salvaged what could have been a disastrous day and may have played himself into the White Sox starting rotation. I held off on writing anything tonight until I saw some post-game Ozzie quotes, expecting him to flat-out name Count his 5th starter, sending Bartolo Colon to the pen. I haven't seen any such proclamation as of yet, but they'll probably wait until tomorrow or Wednesday to make sure Contreras is feeling fine after working deep into a major league game for the first time this season.
While the 5th starter decision appears to have been made easier by Contreras' outstanding performance, I'd like to see him prove it. I'm not even going to try and claim that Colon has been good, because, for the most part, he hasn't. But we've seen Contreras rattle off single starts like this the past only to revert to back to a pumpkin in his next 5 trips to the mound.
I don't know if he found something during his time in Charlotte. Hawk noted he was throwing a three-quarters forkball, which doesn't sound like it should work -- and I suspect often won't -- but for a night it had some Whiffleball-type movement on occasion. The pitch had this weird double break to it, first some arm-side run then dropping as it reached the plate... like a Whiffleball.
Maybe he found something in working with new catcher Ramon Castro. I don't know. I think the Sox best option is to piggy-back their two well-ripened starters the next time the 5th starter spot comes up, which is Friday... which would put Conteras on three-days rest... which means Colon should get one more start, and I've just talked myself out of the piggy-backing idea. Colon should get his next start, keep everyone on regular-to-extra rest, and Contreras should get a start Saturday against the Brewers. That would push the 5th starter decision back a week, and never require a short-rest situation.
Stuck In A Holding Pattern
When the Sox came off of a 5-1 road trip and a come-from-behind victory against arguably the best pitcher in baseball last weekend, this 12-game homestand that culminated with a 5-game set against the division-leading Tigers looked like it would be a divining rod for the front office. Put together a solid stretch, pick up a game or two on the TIgers, and the Sox are buyers. Fall on their face like they did in the first 8 games to head out on the road more than a handful of games behind the Tigers and any veteran would be available for trade. The White Sox are open for business.
The Sox could hardly have played worse over the first 8 games of the homestand, and it's still hard to call them out of this retched division at 4.5 games back. But they're still 4 games under .500. If they don't cut into the Tigers lead, if they leave town 5 games under .500, it's probably time to pack it in.
Josh Fields has read the writing on the wall.
"I think something will happen pretty soon, whether it's, no telling, something like them getting rid of me or something like that for someone else that can possibly help the team. You never know. I don't think it will stay awkward for too much longer. They've won too long and know how to win, and they'll figure something out.''
But he also doesn't seem fully grasp why he's found himself in this situation.
Given the start at 3B in the opening game of the DH, Fields firmly planted foot in mouth with his error on a routine grounder by a hobbled Miguel Cabrera. Ozzie likes to be the loudest voice in the room, but he doesn't mind his players speaking out if they can back it up. Fields... can't.
It's difficult to lose your job to a guy who has zero major league hits, but Fields might have found a way to do it with those comments combined with poor play.
Gordon Beckham reached base for the first time in his major league career, but is still pressing a bit at the plate. Still, his approach at the plate is a welcome addition to the White Sox lineup. Nearly everything he has hit has been up-the-middle and the other way. He hasn't appeared to be overmatched at the plate, and will be hitting ropes in no time.