Apparently the White Sox are intent on turning 2011 into 1988. My dad used to take me to Old Comiskey and we would buy an upper deck ticket. The upper deck would be closed as us and 4,998 others would all get great seats to see the likes of Freddy Manrique and Jeff Bittiger. Sure it wasn't always pretty, but it was White Sox baseball and time with my dad, so all was good. You could spread out, get a drink by waiting less than 30 seconds in line, go take a leak and come back without missing an out- the good old days. It looks like those days may return to the Cell this season. With the way this team is playing and with gas, ticket, concession and parking prices being what they are- it takes a special kind of idiot to go to the game. I will be there tonight.
The big difference between 2011 and 1988, however, is we knew the team was going to suck in 1988. This year the fans were sold on the team being "All In", we have a great rotation, a great bullpen, an improved lineup and an improved defense. Gordon Beckham was finally going to be the player we all thought he was going to be. Adam Dunn was going to hit home runs off of the scoreboard. Edwin Jackson was going to be a stud now that he has had time to work with Coop. I bought into it. I figured the Sox were going to be one of the top teams in the league. I keep waiting for the team to turn things around and start to play ball. It still hasn't happened. Last week, I wrote about taking the last 2 in Detroit and winning 3/4 in New York before coming home to play the Orioles. Instead of winning 5 of those games, we won 2 and then came home and had an absolute abortion of a game vs. the Orioles last evening. I know it is still April. I know they could turn it around and we will be laughing about these early season struggles while we sit 20 games up on 2nd place like in 1983. I just am really having trouble seeing how they are possibly going to do this. Sure, eventually the offense should start to click. You would think there is too much talent on the team for them to hit like garbage the entire year. If it was just an offensive problem, I wouldn't be nearly as worried as I am.
The defense has shown that they have the knack for making errors at the worst possible times. From the dropped fly balls early in the season all the way to Paul Konerko fumbling a relay throw from Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez booting an easy grounder allowing what it seemed like 300 runs to score in the 7th inning last night. That inning had me watching the NFL draft in order to scout for the upcoming fantasy football season that there may not be, because I felt compelled to scream and swear at my television and my daughter was asleep.
The Bullpen has consistently looked awful in times of need other than Sergio Santos (and Brent Lillibridge). Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Chris Sale have all been disgusting for the most part. Crain has shown some flashes, but has also looked like the Crainwreck that Twins fans came to know. If there was one part of the team that I would have guaranteed to be good it would be the 2 lefties at the end of the game. Instead, we could have Andy Sisco and Randy Williams and the results wouldn't be all that different. Will Ohman has outperformed Thornton and Sale since his first 2 games. Sickening.
The Starting Rotation hasn't been all that great either. Philip Humber has been the best starter. This is the 2nd season in a row that the 5th starter has started out the season pitching better than everyone else. This evening the Sox will turn to Humber to stop yet another losing streak, just like they did with Freddy Garcia time after time last year. Gavin Floyd has also pitched well. Mark Buehrle has been shaky, Edwin Jackson has been putrid and John Danks can't win.
Danks is the opposite of Jack McDowell. Black Jack would come out on top of the low scoring games and complete his own games to get the 2-1 win. Danks finds a way to give up a dinger right after the Sox score a couple runs for him to take the victory out of the equation and turns the game over to his below average 'pen to blow his games. I am not saying he isn't a good pitcher or hasn't done well this year... he is and has. However, he always finds himself on the short end of the stick with last night being no different. The Sox showed signs of life, scoring 3 in the 2nd inning. 2 minutes later it was 3-2. 20 minutes later it was 3-3. Even when he gets an out it isn't enough, as his strikeout of Mark Reynolds got by A.J. Pierzynski for a dropped 3rd strike and Matt Wieters promptly deposited one deep into the left field seats to give the Orioles the lead.
This team has not shown the killer instinct that winning teams have. In close games, the offense shuts down late. In close games that we have the lead in, the bullpen and defense falter. In games where we have gotten the lead early, the starters find a way to either give away, or severely shrink the lead we had. At least we can count on our Manager to lead us through these bad times. Oh, my bad, he's too busy getting suspended for Tweeting. Good Lord.
*Carlos Quentin leads the American League in Total Bases. I can't say anything bad about this guy as he's also our best defensive outfielder. Keep it up, I was wrong. (So far at least).
* Mark Teahen needs to play until further notice. He's been hitting well, making good defensive plays and has outplayed Brent Morel on both offense and defense. With the rest of the lineup struggling, Teahen needs to be in.
* Brent Lillibridge has done a nice job this year. He's hitting .320, has shown some power (his home run last night is one more than Alex Rios has) and his plays to close out the Yankees on Tuesday night are unforgettable. A 51 year old KenWo will be writing about them in a history lesson during the 2031 offseason.
* Jake Peavy threw 85 pitches and was touching 90 MPH. By the time he gets back we may be 10 games out.
* Can we go 4-1 on the 5 remaining games in the home stand? I'd love to say yes. However, I think 1-4 is more likely at this point. Lets hope for a turnaround.