The first week of the season is in the books. In some ways, I am really excited about our chances this year. Gordon Beckham has been absolutely wonderful thus far. Beckham has hit .355/.444/.548, with 3 doubles (would have had another if he touched first base in Cleveland), a homer and 9 runs scored. Gordon is one of the keys to the White Sox season and after a slow start last year snowballed into a brutal first half, it is very nice to see him have a strong first week. He is hitting the ball with authority and to all parts of the field. He may have the kind of year that we all predicted for him to have last season.
Carlos Quentin has gotten me to backpedal on my strong spring training stance on him. Quentin is hitting .429/.484/.857 with 6 doubles, 2 homers and 10 RBI's. Obviously he will not be able to keep this up throughout the entire season, but I am really hoping that this isn't just his annual remarkable 2 week stretch where he will proceed to struggle the rest of the season. Hopefully, I just really missed the boat on him. Time will have to tell, but in my main fantasy league I drafted him late and am cashing in on the benefits.
Paul Konerko has continued where he left off last season. The Captain is sticking .393/.455/.500 with 9 RBI's. He has driven in a run every game this season, and they have seemingly come at opportune times of the game. If we can get a Konerko for the entire season somewhere close to the guy we had last year, our offense is going to be at the top of the rankings at seasons end.
Sergio Santos and Jesse Crain have been pretty solid in their 9 innings of work, having only given up 1 run. I was a little worried about the right handed side of the bullpen after losing Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz, but Santos and Crain have both been very good. I would like to see more of them.
Bacardi at the Park- While I just basically walked in and walked out and didn't order anything or even look at the menu, the place is very impressive. There are so many televisions that I felt like I was in heaven. It had me thinking it would be an awesome place to watch all of the football games on a Sunday afternoon during the offseason.
Unfortunately, all can't be sunshine and rainbows. There are also some things that have really concerned me thus far. Number one being the starting rotation. Besides Edwin Jackson's home opener dominating performance and John Danks loss in Cleveland, there really haven't been any other very good starts. Buehrle has been shaky in his two outings (granted Opening Day was well in hand when he started giving up runs), Danks gave up 4 runs to Tampa Bay tonight and needed a very solid effort from Crain to keep those numbers that low. Gavin Floyd finished strong, but 4 runs in the first two innings after we have a 4 run lead isn't going to cut it. We all talk about how the Sox have one of the best starting rotations in the league, lets start seeing some better results.
Will Ohman, Chris Sale and Matt Thornton have not been very good out of the bullpen. While Ohman is probably doing just about what we expected him to be doing, Sale has had 2 good outings and 2 bad outings so far, which I can live with from a rookie, but I was hoping he would be more dominant than that. Thornton has had 2 chances to close down games and has failed both times. I looked into Thornton's splits by innings pitched and found that when he pitches in the 8th inning (152 career innings), his ERA is 2.96 and he has given up 8 home runs. When pitching in the 9th inning, (82 IP), his ERA is just a tad higher at 3.09, but he has given up 7 homers. When you throw in his extra inning stints (22.1 IP), he has a 4.43 ERA but has given up 6 home runs. Thats 13 homers in just over 100 innings of work in the 9th and extra innings. He has given up only 14 home runs in the 7th and 8th innings (244 IP). Clearly, his location is not as good in the 9th and extras for whatever reason. It is of my opinion to let him settle back into his familiar and successful set up man role and give Santos a shot at closing.
The defense has been absolutely putrid. I've never seen so many dropped fly balls in left. We've had Albert Belle, Carlos Lee and Ron Kittle, all guys not known for their glove (other than the fact that they don't use it) out there and none of them booted as many balls in a season as we did in a week. That is totally unacceptable. Brent Morel has had his moments and even Alexei got involved last night by making a bad throw to first. While I don't expect the team to never make an error, they have to shore up the defense.
Roster management is also a concern. I find it ridiculous that they could potentially lose Lastings Millege because they played back to back extra inning games and found the need for a 12th pitcher after 5 games. In an organization that doesn't have much depth, it is pretty silly to lose some of the depth that they have.
The new organist needs to slow down the 7th inning stretch and Na Na Na Na. It just doesn't sound right and its much too fast. While I like the organ music, I kind of feel they should have retired it with Nancy and just played a recording of her during the stretch and "Na Na" situations. Its a small sample size though.
It has been a very eventful first week of the season. We won a game we should have lost, lost 2 we should have won, bashed our way to 15 runs on opening day, have held the lead at one point in all 7 games this season and had the most strikeouts by any pitcher during a home opener in franchise history. Its shaping up to be a pretty crazy summer down at 35th and Shields.