Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sox Sweep Royals, Dominate Road Trip

I could talk about this road trip as a whole for hours, but I'm going to try to keep this one short because we don't need to get too high about being 4 games out of first. But that being said, what a week for the Sox. 5 wins in 6 road games including a sweep of the then 2nd place Kansas City Royals. The pitching was awesome, bullpen was stellar, and the hitting was good and clutch.

This Royals series particularly could go down as the turning point for the 2009 White Sox. They were ready to turn the corner of the poor baseball they were playing in the early half of this month and make some legitimate strides in a positive direction, and this weekend they did exactly that. They are getting great production out of the top of the order from Podsednik to Ramirez to Dye, Konerko, and Thome. And the pitching has been out of this world. Great starts from Buehrle and Floyd and a gutsy effort by Danks today. This is good baseball.

The Sox are now heading home for a mammoth of a home stand. 4 against the A's, 3 with the Indians, and then a huge 5 game set with the Tigers. Oakland and Cleveland have been struggling as of late so there's a great opportunity to win some games there. Then the Detroit series will be a golden opportunity for the Sox to put a signature on the first half of the season. If they find a way to win 9 of the next 12 and/or win 4 of 5 from the Tigers they should be right next to, if not in, first place as they head off to Milwaukee and into Wrigley for the first of the Crosstown Classic.

There is a major opportunity for the Sox that they need to take advantage of. Not too often are you as hot as they are AND heading home for 12 games straight. 2 weeks more of great baseball will put the Sox right in the thick of things, and give Kenny even more motivation to go get that extra pitching help he so desperately feels we need. There's no denying how well the Sox have been playing, but this is no time to let up. Go home and continue on the winning ways. Protect the Cell and make a run towards the top that we can look back on happily come September.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Broadway Traded, Oswalt/Cain Rumored

The White Sox completed a trade for backup catcher Ramon Castro today. They received Castro and cash (how much, no one knows) for pitcher Lance Broadway. Castro is a solid hitter (.253, 3 HR's in 26 games). But I don't understand this trade.

What is the rush to move Broadway? Did the Sox really need a back up catcher? I know Corky was bad, but it didn't seem to me that the need was that critical. I was never that high on Broadway, but I don't understand moving a young pitcher like him for a backup catcher, one of the most useless positions on the team.

Castro will play maybe once a week, and from my research (Mets fan roomate) he does not have a great arm and he has had problems with the Mets organization including not being in shape and not stepping up when opportunities presented themselves. So all in all, I just don't get this one at all. I don't think Broadway is good, I don't think he will ever be good, but I think he's more valueble than Ramon Castro.

On to the more important and interesting stuff. Bruce Levine has reported that the Sox have interest in acquiring Roy Oswalt or Matt Cain. To me each would be perfect fits and I would be ecstatic if either one become a part of the White Sox.

There are a few problems with this happening though. First off any move that is reported Kenny Williams seems to kill immeadiatley. It's more visible looking at it the other way. None of the deals Kenny has ever pulled off were rumored before they happened. See Peavy, Griffey, Thome, Vazquez, and the list goes on.

The other problem is the move that happened today. Broadway was one of the Sox top pitching prospects and was rumored to have been part of the Peavy deal. Odds are the package the Padres were getting is the same package that would be neccesary to get Oswalt or Cain. So now there needs to be a new piece, and I really don't know who that is. There are other prospects but they are either too low on the totem pole meaning trade partners wouldn't want them, or they are considered untouchable by the Sox.

So as far as I'm concerned I don't see either of these things happening. I'm still on the bandwagon for making a play for Brandon Webb and/or Ben Sheets. The lethal combo of Don Cooper and Herm Schnieder can fix anyone. Who knows with Kenny Williams. At least it always keeps up on our toes.

Sox Win Again, Move Into Second

This was a great win for the White Sox today. A great outing out of Buehrle coupled with some clutch hitting late. Also, let us not forget the nice day by the bullpen as Linebrink and Jenks both brought it tonight.

I had a bad feeling as this game progressed because of the continued struggles with people on third base. But things turned around and beside Brian Anderson the hitting was very clutch tonight. My favorite inning of the game was the 8th when the Sox went up there an put 2 bunts down both of which were botched by the Royals and led to the go-ahead run. The Sox are continuing to play much better baseball and it's really starting to shine through. They have now won the first 2 games of each of the last 4 series and have a 4th consecutive sweep opportunity tomorrow. Also, the rest of the AL Central has really been struggling. The Sox are now just 4 games back of the division leading Tigers and the Sox actually lead the Royals and Twinks by half a game. Who would have thought that a few weeks ago.

Tomorrow is Greinke day for the Royals, so we are looking at a real tough one for the Sox. Greinke has been nasty against the entire league but he's been especially good against the White Sox. He's recorded 17 K's allowing just 12 baserunners and no runs in 15 innings so far against the Sox. Really going to be tough for the Sox, but they have to finish a sweep off at some point right? Maybe not.

Friday, May 29, 2009

This is Fun to Watch

The Sox have really been playing great baseball as of late and it is continuing tonight in Kansas City. The Sox are doing a great job getting runs in when they are there, and they are doing well stringing hits. No longer are we banned from scoring in more than one inning per game.

It is so much more fun to watch baseball when it's being played well. Hitting, pitching, and fielder are all coming together for the Sox. And what is nice is that it isn't too late to start playing better. The Sox fell down in the division early but there is plenty of time to climb back. When tonight ends (Sox will win, Tigers will lose, Twinks will lose) the Sox will be 4 games out of first and a half game behind both the Royals and the Twinks for 2nd. Not too bad. I was on the brink of panic, and this blog saved me because when I sat down and wrote about what was happening I realized it wasn't that bad. Now I can start to see the light. Now to get back to .500

On another note as mentioned in an earlier post by Justin, Carlos Quentin has indeed been placed on the 15 day DL. He is eligible to return on June 10th as the DL stint is retroactive to May 26th. Podsednik and Anderson will hold down the fort for now, however Wise is on his way back and could play as early as tomorrow (EDIT: Wise entered the game to run for Paul Konerko in the top of the 6th). makes a valid point claiming that there is not enough room to keep Wise, Podsednik, and Anderson on the roster when Quentin comes back, so these next few weeks will be very important for each of them. On the bright side June 10th is 6 days before Cubs/Sox so hopefully Carlos is back and better than ever by then.

(During the writing of this post the Sox scored 3 runs increasing the lead to 11-0, and the inning still isn't over)

By Some Small Miracle Ted Wins!

It sure looked today that Ted Lilly was going to get screwed by his offense. 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball ended with a solo homer by Matt Kemp to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Lilly finished off the next batter, but at the point I turned off the TV in disgust. I thought for sure Ted was going to get stuck with a loss because the Cubs crappy offense was unable to capitalize on multiple RISP chances. 

Then came Koyie Hill and his random magic home run. Hill hit his second homer of the season in the bottom of that seventh inning to tie the game at 1. Then the Cubs loaded the bases with one out. This is the situation that has killed us recently, I mean killed us. Thankfully Fukudome hit a flyball that scored the go-ahead run. Not the base hit that we really need more often, but at least they got the freaking sacrifice. 

Carlos Marmol struggled through a bizarre eighth inning that included a missed hit by pitch and a bad call on a double play ball- both of which went the Cubs way. The blown call at first was "made up" in the bottom of that inning with a bad call against Mike Fontenot.

Bring on Kevin Gregg to try and close out the game. The first two outs were pretty easy, but in true Gregg fashion he had to make us sweat. Andre Either got a base hit and Bobby Scales screwed up a routine ground ball from Matt Kemp. Thankfully Mark Loretta hit a into a 6-4 force out to end the game.

Always nice to win, especially with a crap lineup and with so many blown chances on offense. Simply put the bottom of the order has to do better for this team to win games. One final note, Andres Blanco is very good at playing shortstop, if him and Theriot are in the game, Blanco needs to be the SS and Theriot the second baseman. 

The Dodgers are Really Good, and the Cubs are Very Average

As I watch the Cubs miss another chance with runners in scoring position, I look at the Dodgers and see a World Series caliber team, and certainly the best team in the National League. This is a distinction that many handed them pre-season and their start certainly justified that distinction. 

When Manny got suspended most people thought that the NL West race would open back up, but Juan Pierre has stepped in and hit .403 in Manny's steroid mandated vacation. In fact the entire Dodgers offense is killing the ball right now, with the exception of Russel Martin and Andre Either- who happen to be the two most proven hitters the Dodgers have right now. They have also gotten sick pitching from their starters and Jonathon Broxton has the ninth inning locked down. 

Before the season started Greg and I both thought that their pitching would be the downfall, but with the way they pitch, and the obvious hitting ability, expect to see this team in the NLCS

That is not a place you will be finding this Cubs team. In fact I've already made plans for October that don't involve the Cubs. That doesn't mean this season isn't worth watching, because it will be a blast to watch these guys play good or bad. Every Ted start is going to be fun, because its Ted. Milton Bradley is pretty much must watch theatre because he might meltdown at any moment. Plus you can't possibly miss a Zambrano start after what happened the other day. 

One Sox note to pass on, I'm sure Ken will have more on this later but I saw that Carlos Quentin will take his injured foot to the DL. Hopefully for the Sox's sake he gets better fast because nobody wants to watch Scott Podsednik play left field. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good Not Great

Winning series is always good, but missing out on countless opportunities to sweep is not acceptable. 20-1 vs. the Twinks, blow a save with 2 outs and no one on against Pittsburgh, and then forget how to hit after dropping 17 on a team in game 1. I wrote that I thought the Sox would go 7-5 in the next 12 games (which started against the Twinks and ends Sunday at KC). They already have 6 in the bag, but I think the matchups look like my 7-5 projection will come true. However I do see a highly likely situation in which the Sox drop their 4th consecutive sweep game in as many series with Grienke going on Sunday.

But this is not a time to complain. The Sox have done a great job getting back on the right track. They have been playing far better baseball. They look more inspired and the defense has been spectuacular. Fundamental struggles still continue, but I can see that as a positive because if they ever do get it straightened out they are going to be really tough to beat.

Royals are next. Seems like these two teams are matching up every week now-a-days, but I like the timing on this series. I know I said earlier the Sox will lose 2 in this series, but it's possible they win the first two and fail in game 3 again. The reason I take dropping two as my projection is because A) Grienke is pitching a game, and B) Bannister vs. Richard on the road doesn't look too promising for the Sox.

Tomorrow is an off day, and then Friday is a critical game for the Sox. If they win game 1 the pressure really will be allieviated. Lose game 1 and you are staring a sweep right in the grill. They just need to find a way to get to that Grienke game feeling good about themselves and then see how it goes from there. But all in all, it's really nice to not have to watch awful baseball any more. Even today when they lost, it wasn't that painful to watch because it was a well played game that the Sox got out pitched in. Much better than the 20-1 garbage we were previously used to.

Couple of interesting notes to pass along here. The Sox have not won 3 games in a row on the road all year. The Sox are 1-4 against the Royals including 2 shutouts to Grienke. And Jered Weaver is now 4-0 allowing just 2 earned runs in 34.2 innings pitched.

Cubs Win 2 in a Row, Big Z Blow Up

The nice thing about dumping expectations for the season is that I don't have to be concerned about what happened at Wrigley today, I can just enjoy the entertainment. The Cubs have won two straight games against the Pirates and now sit a game above .500 at 23-22. 

New roster additions Jake Fox and Andres Blanco both had two out RBI doubles in the eighth inning after Reed Johnson broke a 2-2 tie with one out in that inning. Clutch hitting is a wonderful thing to see, so is great pitching which is what the Cubs got out of Big Z, Angel Guzman, and Carlos Marmol today. 

On to the Big Z ejection, first of all I loved it. While I don't enjoy the suspension that will most likely come of it, more on that in a minute, I love that Z cares so much. From his vantage point I can understand why Z thought the runner was out, and why he argued with such fire. Z couldn't see Morgan's left hand sneak in right before the tag, because it happened right behind him. This team needed somebody to blow up, and I'm glad Z got his moneys worth. The issue will be the suspension that MLB will surely give Z because of supposed contact with the home plate umpire. The home plate umpire bumped into Zambrano first, and Z pushed back, which means if anybody should be facing discipline for making contact, its the umpire. Now if they want to give him a few days off for throwing his glove and the ball, fine, but don't justify the suspension based on contact with an umpire.

In other news the Cubs made three roster moves today, two good and one kind of disappointing. Coming up to the Cubs are Jake Fox, Andres Blanco, and Jason Waddell. Down go Bobby Scales and Neal Cotts. Scales because of his illness and Cotts because he sucks. In the best news of the day Aaron Miles was moved to the 15-day DL with shoulder stiffness, enjoy two weeks of Miles free baseball Cubs fans!

With the Dodgers coming into town, I'll be thrilled with a split, especially since Dumpster pitches one of the games. 

Sox Playing Well, I Like This

I've been away from the blog-o-sphere for a little while. And while I've been gone the Sox have been playing great. They have now won 6 of their last 8 and are looking to complete their first sweep in their third consecutive chances. I'll get into more on why I think they are playing well lately and if this will continue tomorrow.

The latest on Quentin is not good. He will not be joining the team in Kansas City, and it will be determined on June 1st if he is going to be placed on the DL. Let's hope not.

Tomorrow is Floyd vs. Weaver. Sox are +175 on the moneyline. I think that's a little high. Place your bets everyone.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The 10 Biggest Disappointments in Chicago Baseball So Far

Obviously both sides of town haven't quite had the start to the season we all hoped for. The Sox had a nice bounce back week and home, while the Cubs have hopefully hit rock bottom. With all the struggling going on, obviously there are some players who have  disappointed us all. Here are Chicago's 10 most disappointing players so far. 

This list is in no particular order, just five names from each team

1. Milton Bradley, OF- Milton has been a victim of bad luck at the plate, but the fact is he is hitting .188 and that isn't good. He got $1o million a year with the idea that he would be a great hitter and put the Cubs lineup over the top. Instead he has been a major part of the problem two months into the season.

2. Geovany Soto, C- Quickly becoming one of my least favorite players, Soto has gone from power hitting stud to fat piece of crap in just one offseason. He has one wind blown homer, a .579 OPS, and not much else. Soto appears primed to join the long list of Cubs rookies who go on to be one hit wonders.

3. Rich Harden, SP- It isn't the predictable trip to the DL that bothers me, or is it the inability to go more than 6 innings a start. We know that stuff about Harden, the problem is he has a 4.74 ERA and seems to alternate between great starts and horrific ones. 

4. Mike Fontenot, 2B- This might not be Fontenot's fault, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing. The trade of Mark DeRosa led to Fontenot being put into the role of everyday player. His .208 batting average suggests that he isn't an everyday player. A lack of able backups further suggests that we are going to see a lot more of Fontenot for better or for worse. 

5. Derrek Lee, 1B- We all sort of knew that this would happen. Lee had an awful second half of last season, and has continued it this year. Now his .248 BA actually isn't that bad considering the rest of the team, but it is bad considering he is supposed to be the three hitter of an elite MLB team.

White Sox
1. Josh Fields, 3B- Fields was a one point the top prospect for the Sox, and even had a real strong showing in 2007 to get people excited. Joe Crede left after last year and Fields was given the everyday job a third, only to blow it on both offense and defense. His UZR is terrible at third, and his two homers and .217 batting average aren't helping things. 

2. Carlos Quentin, LF- If he hadn't broken his wrist last year, we are looking at the AL MVP. This season he started on home run tear, but his batting average never really got off the ground. His .223 average is awful, but he does have a .766 OPS so he hasn't been useless. Odds are Quentin figures his stuff out and produces a mid .800 OPS for the season. 

3. Gavin Floyd, SP- Floyd along with Jon Danks helped propel the White Sox to the playoffs last season. Now Floyd was really good his last start, but his season hasn't been the best so far. His 6.54 ERA isn't good at all, and he is on pace for 100 walks this season, 30 more than he issued in 2008. 

4. Alexei Ramirez, SS- Before the season started Ramirez was named the "Best Player in Chicago" by the Sun-Times, but it isn't fair to hold Chris De Luca's ramblings against Ramirez. Alexei was one of the best rookies in the AL last year, and was key to the Sox down the stretch, but so far this season he has been nothing short of bad. His three homers and .599 OPS leave much to be desired. Unlike his fellow sophomore slumping Chicago player Soto, Ramirez isn't a victim of being fat, rather I think the league has figured out how to pitch to him making it his turn to adjust back to them. 

5. Jose Contreras, SP- Him being a disappointment isn't his fault, but rather the way the media in Chicago got excited that he was able to come back from a torn Achilles so quickly. Contreras is an old man that probably should have been pulled from the rotation after his second start. The 8.19 ERA and 0-5 record barely tell the story of his awfulness. Fortunately he was sent to AAA to rot, where he can't do any damage. 

Did I miss somebody? Name somebody I shouldn't have? Comment below. 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Five Reasons Not to Panic Cubs Fans

Seven game losing streak is unfortunate, but I think there is some hope for the Cubs. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. Starting Pitching
Carlos Zambrano is back, and while he isn't the great pitcher he used to be, he is still pretty good. Ted Lilly has been a victim of bad offense, and I see no reason why he can't win 17 games again this season. Ryan Dempster has started to be good at pitching again, and hopefully that will be more the norm. Sean Marshall has been impressive as the fifth starter, hopefully some offense will come his way. I've been real impressed with Randy Wells and I think he can be a valuable contributor to this team. Rich Harden has been real hit or miss so far, and I think this DL stint will do him a world of good.

2. Carlos Marmol and Angel Guzman
These two have looked really really good so far this season, Marmol will always have some control issues, but his stuff is awesome and he almost always gets out of the tough jams. Guzman has turned into a strike throwing machine that is setting himself up to be the regular seventh inning guy. 

3. The hitting cannot get worse
Sure it can stay the same, but it can't be worse. Fontenot got some hits the last few days, Bradley was driving the ball into the depths of hell in San Diego. Soto was hitting some balls hard, though he is still a fatass one-year wonder in my book. Odds are Soriano and Theriot aren't going to get any worse, somebody just needs to tell Theriot he isn't a power hitter.

4. Aramis will be back
Not any time soon, but he will come back. If this team can somehow play a bit above .500 while he is out, they can make a huge push at the end.

5. Oh What the Hell
PANIC. Seriously this team is a disaster right now. Odds are they are about a .500 team the rest of the way unless the hitting picks up. Its been pathetic at best recently, and that comes with some nice starting pitching. With Heilman and Gregg in the bullpen who knows what could happen if Marmol and Guzman need a day off. 

The Cubs are in for a rude awakening tomorrow night when they get booed like crazy. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Preemptive Strike Against the Cubs

I will do my best to not be too harsh in this post, but it will be hard. Coming into this season I, along with every other person in baseball outside of St. Louis figured the Cubs would win the NL Central without much issue. I went as far as to point out a number of things that would have to happen for the Cubs to not win the division, and they all are happening. Injuries have ravaged the Cubs, and even with Big Z coming back there is no hope. 

Aramis Ramirez is the key to the middle of the order, and it is starting to show. He won't be back for a long time. Even when he does come back it will take another two weeks for him to adjust to major league pitching and odds are his power won't be what it was for a while. This injury is really making the trade of Mark DeRosa look that much stupider. I can't wait to watch more of Ryan Freel and Mike Fontenot playing third base, while Aaron Miles and his .566 OPS man second. What a joke. 

First base is occupied by Derrek Lee, former all star who has become a shell of himself. Meanwhile Micah Hoffpauir has proved to me that he needs to play as much as possible. Lee can't hit, and Hoffpauir can.

The outfield is set, but still concerning. I don't care about Soriano, nothing about him will ever change, and I don't want it to. I still love Milton Bradley the person and the quote machine, but again his play is leaving something to be desired. Luckily he knows it and odds are he goes on a tear soon and settles around .280 for the season. I'm getting real concerned with Fukudome, it's about that time of year, and the Fuku-copter is out again. As I write that sentence he drives in the first Cubs run of the game. The fact remains, you have to be worried about him falling off the cliff again. 

This offense is pathetic, notice I didn't talk about the fat one year powerless wonder, that's because I can't write my thoughts about him without swearing up a storm. There might not be a way to fix it either, I would expect a race to the wild card post sometime this weekend while I watch the Padres beat up the worthless piece of crap that is the Cubs offense.

Peavy Officially Turns Down the Sox

Jake Peavy is an absolute joke. How can a pitcher of his caliber be afraid to switch leagues. It's pretty pathetic that this guy is not even confident enough in his stuff to step up to a challenge. He's happy with sitting back in his cushy ball park, in the inferior hitting league in baseball, pitching to 7.5 hitters per day as opposed to 9 in the AL.

I was not thrilled at the way the process worked out. The pressure that was put on Peavy himself (which he crumbled under) and the pressure put on the Sox to try and lure him to Chicago. I don't understand how a deal like this can be fully agreed upon only hinging on a primma donna's no-trade clause. I'm sure this is not the way Kenny Williams intended it to go down, and I'm even more sure he's not thrilled with the final outcome.

I could go on for years about how much of a pansy Jake Peavy is. I don't understand how an athlete has the power to dictate exactly what league he wants to play in, what team he wants to play in, and what ballpark he prefers. What's next, is he going to ask the opposing team to only use players that he can get out. What a woos, I'm starting to wonder if the Sox would even want a guy who has Cy Young ability but doesn't trust himself.

So what does this mean for the Sox. Well first of all I think Peavy just took a direct shot at the organization. He claims he didn't want to leave the NL, he didn't want to go to a home run park, but I there is no way you can't look at this as a slap in the Sox face. Maybe it will light a fire under the White Sox. Peavy says he wants to go to a team that's going to contend, and by turning down this deal he's telling the Sox he doesn't think they are good enough to win.

As far as organizationally for the Sox. I really respect what they tried to do here today. Kenny Williams isn't one for waiting around. He went out and tried to do something that would positively impact the team tomorrow. Too bad the guy he targeted is too afraid to pitch in Chicago. Too afraid to leave Petco Park where his ERA is well under 3. Too afriad to have to face desginated hitters. Too afraid to embarrass himself and prove how much of a product of the ballpark that he thinks he is.

I'll end with this. Jake Peavy has immeadiatley risen to one of my least favorite players in baseball. It's sad that a guy with as much talent as he has can't even trust himself. A normal (non-childish) athlete would step up and take the challenge. Show the league how good he is. Prove to the world that he's not only good because of the park he pitches in. But that's not who Jake Peavy is. Jake Peavy is a man who does not trust himself, and is too scared to get out of his comfort zone. Good work Jake, you are the new public enemy number one on the South Side. I cannot wait until the Padres make their next trip to the Cell, you think Disco Demolition night was bad, that was nothing.

Peavy Probably Rejecting

I'm going to hold off on the rant until I see it officially reported from both the White Sox and Padres. The latest news is coming from this whirlwind is this...,jake-peavy-white-sox-trade-chicago-052109.article.

Looks like it's not going to happen today. What a shame.

When Will We Know on Peavy

This whole deal is starting to get really confusing. Every moment that ticks away is another step towards baseball in San Diego. I would have to think he would have a decision made by the time he heads off to the game tonight.

What's confusing me is whether the wait is making this deal more likely or less likely? It's really hard to tell. I have a hard time believing he is just sitting around with his agent and family thinking abut whether he wants to go or not. I think Kenny Williams is still working really hard to get this thing done.

Usually the way Kenny works, the more it looks like something is not going to happen the more likely it is to happen. He's a surprise artist, and I really hope we are all surprised some time tonight. But my odds are now up to 95% that he turns down the trade.

Do Sox Make Playoffs If They Do Get Peavy?

My inclination is to probably say no. It will surely make them a better team than they are right now, but I don't know that this would neccessarily get them over the hump. The Tigers are a really good team and I'm not sure the Royals are going to go away as quick as I once thought.

However I really don't know that the Sox making it this year is that important in this trade. Do realize that Jake Peavy has a deal signed through 2013. So this deal would legitamize the Sox staff for at least the next 4 years. Buehrle, Peavy, Danks, and Floyd give you a solid 4 for at least the next few years. So honesly I think this is a win for the Sox whether they make it this year or not. But I still hold on saying that it wont get done.

Peavy Odds

Everything I read says it's about 50/50 right now that Peavy decides to join the Sox. I put it at 85/15 leaning towards no. The reason I say this is because if he actually wanted to join the Sox it would be done already. He wouldn't have needed 8 hours or so to decide.

Peavy has made it clear that he wants to stay in the National League, and I don't think you can blame him. It's not bad to get one basically automatic out every 9 and then I'd say more than half the NL teams have a patsy 8 hitter as well. He also says he likes to hit. I don't know how true that is. He's a career .178 hitter and doesn't have a hit this year.

But I think this is a great situation for him. The Sox are not a great team, but they are surely better than the Padres. And with Peavy on the Sox roster the pitching staffs effectiveness increases tenfold. He has never pitched in the Cell, so he can't say he's historically bad there. I know it's a hitters ballpark, but if that's truly the case how is Mark Buehrle one of the best pitchers in the AL and why are the Sox the 2nd worst hitting team in the league?

Also the rumors of him not wanting to leave Petco are bogus. It's definitely true that Petco is a great place to pitch, but it's also true that if Peavy wants to win Petco is not the place.

If I had my chance to talk to him right now I'd tell him this, "It's time for you to step up and truely validate your career. You have your money and no one is going to take that away, no matter how you perform. This is your chance to come to a great baseball city on and off the field. Stand up, be a man, and drop this need to be in the NL thing. Take the deal, get yourself out of San Diego, and take a shot to learn what a real baseball town is like. Come to Chicago Jake, we need you. And remember, if you turn this down, the entire South Side is going to be out for your head."

UPDATE - ESPN has just reported that the hold up for Peavy is the length of the contract. This is actually good news for the Sox. If Peavy was just sitting there weighing why he doesn't want to come to Chicago, eventually I think he comes up with enough reasons why not to. But if he's worrying about contract, I think he may actually have come around to the idea of moving and now it just hinges on how sweet the Sox can make the deal. Come on Jake, make the right choice.

Peavy to White Sox?

I asked for change, and maybe this is actually happening. Are you serious right now? I would probably lose my mind with jubilation if they indeed does happen. This would be exactly the change I was asking for.

I'm a little concerned because when rumors get out involving the Sox before the deal is done, it's a good sign it's not happening. See Soriano in 06, Griffey a few years before. There have been more I just need to get to work.

Here's the link. Hopefully I'm writing something tonight to talk about how excited I am about this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Soriano Gets His WWE On

Alfonso was hanging around a WWE event Sunday Night, he took part in a skit with "The Miz" (whoever that is) and then celebrated John Cena's victory with Cena himself. Here are some low quality pics of Soriano and Cena, I'm hoping to get some higher quality screencaps later this week.

Now I'm not a wrestling fan, but this is still cool stuff. 

Sox Win, Must Be Buehrle's Day

What other way is there to explain why the Sox won today. No but seriously, it was actually a fun game to watch tonight. They got some hits early in the game made some nice defensive plays, and scored in more than one inning. All that coupled with Buehrle on the bump makes for a nice way to snap that losing streak.

Still there were some issues including the continued failures at bunting and continued struggles with 2 out clutch hitting. But today is not a day to complain. The Sox did well tonight and I am thrilled to see that they are actually still capable of playing good solid ball.

The Sox "Look Forward" tour continues tomorrow as Danks will go for the Sox against Liriano and the Twinks. Both young lefties have struggled so far early this season, but I got a sneaking suspicion tomorrow will be a low scoring game. We will see if the Sox can win their first series in 2 weeks tomorrow.

Time to Look Forward

The Sox past is not good so far this year. So let's look ahead to see what could be happening in the next few weeks.

The schedule shows Minnesota and Pittsburgh at home followed by at the Angels and Royals. Of these four teams the Royals and Angels have above .500 records, but they way those teams have been going it's possible (maybe likely) they are both below .500 by then. So what does this mean for the powerhouse 15-22 White Sox. Well, it means they are actually going to hit some teams that aren't playing better than they should be. No more hot Jays, hot Rangers, hot Royals. Just teams that are comparable to the Sox.

So what should we look forward to as far as wins? Let's split it into the home stand and the road trip. Home stand is 6 games long against two teams that perennially are not great in Chicago (both sides for the Pirates). So I'd say 4 wins is a success, 5 would be great, 6 and I'll probably weep of joy. My guess would be they will somehow fund a way to win 4, but 3 wouldn't surprise me. As far as the road trip goes, the Sox are usually bad on the west coast, but probably best in LA of the 4 west coast destinations and Kansas City is still Kansas City no matter what ESPN and MLB Network want to shove down your throat. So I like 3 wins of the 6 would be nice, but 4 or 5 is actually possible (if they stop playing like dog poop). I'll guess 3.

That means I guessed 7-5 in the next 12 games. Good, not great. But much better than what they Sox have been doing recently.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fukudome's Future and the Bullpen Situation

I've avoided talking about it for a while because Kosuke Fukudome has been pretty awesome this season, but we all know that he did this same thing last season and then fell off. So is he just a six-week wonder again or is he for real this time? Lets look at the numbers and see.

His power is essentially equal to what it was through the same amount of games last season. He had 14 extra base hits in his first 36 games last season as well. Along with 15 RBI in 2008 and 17 this season. His OPS was .892 at this time last season, which is really good, but not as good as his .989 OPS this season. That 100 point increase comes from a few more homers and a couple more walks. That combined with a few days off has given Fukudome an even better start to 2009. The starts are almost identical, so will the rest of the season also be identical?

I think so to an extent. People still have their Fukudome excuses at the ready, including a new one about his surgically repaired elbow giving him problems last year. The same new country, new baby, new league crap also gets floated around, and I still don't buy it. That doesn't mean he will be as bad as least season, but I still think he settles around .275 with about 12 homers and a .775 OPS which means he will be a league average center fielder. His defense in center has really improved, to the point where he is only a -.02 UZR. Again league average- not worth anything close to $12 million a year, but whatever.

I'm thrilled with Fukudome's hot start and I really hope he can continue to be a hitting star this season, but I have serious doubts. People have gotten suckered into the same six week stretch again, I'll remain the lone guy who remains a skeptic. I sure do hope I'm wrong.

The bullpen is the mess that may ultimately cost the Cubs this season. Too many walks which means Lou likes them less and means that Lou will use Carlos Marmol more. That makes Marmol less effective as well. Fortunately I have some positive bullpen thoughts today. 

Marmol is still the teams most reliable reliever even if he is so inconsistent. His last time out he was real good and his control improved. Walks have been his enemy this season and his great stuff has gotten him out of most of the jams.

Kevin Gregg is going to have meltdowns like Saturday a couple times a month. He just isn't very good. A stretch of shutting down the game will be followed with a stretch of suck. As long as he remains the closer it isn't a major concern.

Angel Guzman has really been good lately. He seems to trust his stuff and is throwing lots of strikes which is producing lots of outs. I've always been optimistic about Guzman in the pen and I remain upbeat about his season and future. 

Jose Ascaino is the new addition from AAA after everyone's favorite Notre Dame alum proved to need a lot more time in AAA. He didn't do so hot on Sunday at first, but he settled down and got outs. Just keep doing that and he can be a serviceable middle relief man. 

Those four will hopefully remain solid options the entire season. Now we must move to the two negative spots. Neal Cotts and David Patton. One sucks and is only around because he throws lefty and the other sucks and is only around because he is a Rule V pick. With the emergence of Randy Wells as a solid starter the Cubs have some options that should eliminate one of these bums from the team. Either Wells remains a starter and Sean Marshall goes to the bullpen- which means Cotts can go far far away; or Marshall keeps starting and Wells takes over for Patton who is returned to the Rockies A-ball team. 

Marshall should remain a starter because it maximizes his value and he is pretty good at it. Wells has had a good start, but a spot in the bullpen probably protects Wells from having his stuff figured out as quickly.

Ted takes the mound against the struggling Cardinals tomorrow night in St. Louis. Dumpster will try and ruin Chris Carpenter's return on Wednesday, and Marshall will face Wainwright on Thursday. The only favors the Cubs in the first game, but Carpenter is pitching his first game back and could just as easily leave the game in the second inning as he could pitch a complete game shutout. Wainwright was awesome his last start (I was there- the Brewers got dominated by him with the exception of one pitch). Hopefully Marshall can keep the Cubs matchup close. 

I'm thinking two of three, but knowing the Cubs they will only get one of these games.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Feelin' fine

Just like a hitter in a slump is bound to break out, a team with a winning streak is bound to fall at some point. That point for the Cubs came today, as they lost to the Astros 6-5. My biggest issue with today was that Ascanio came and didn't put the burden on the Astros to score runs by bailing them out with two hit-batsmen and a wild pitch. I usually get upset about losses like that, but I saw enough good things today to leave me feeling pretty content.

Derrek Lee went 4-5 with a double and home run, having probably his best day of the young season. It was great to see him drive the ball with authority to left and left center. It is so important that Derrek get going because he is one of the players that this lineup was built around in the first place. Despite his struggles and my frustration with him, he still commands respect and attention from opposing pitchers. 

Geo Soto also seems to be breaking out of his slump. He had a solid single up the middle which indicates a hitter's timing is right. That ball he smacked in the ninth inning looked to be ticketed for the left field corner, but good positioning by Keppinger saved it from getting there. Though the result wasn't good, as a Cub fan you have to feel good about how Geo is swinging right now. 

I usually don't feel all that positive, but right now I'm really riding a wave of optimism. I think that the starting pitching has proven that it can throw quality innings. The gems the team got out of Dempster and Harden consistently last year aren't there, but they are still piling up quality starts. As for the lineup, I think there is a lot to like there as well. 

So far the Cubs are six games above .500 with only Soriano, Fukudome, and Theriot having great seasons. Fukudome's production has been an added bonus and the same can be said for Theriot's pop. However, Theriot is a role player, not a centerpiece. Also, what he has done aside from the home runs can be expected for the rest of the year. Lee, Bradley, and Ramirez (the expected big contributors), have not produced up to their averages or capabilities. Neither has Soto. My point is that when this lineup finally synchronizes (which won't fully be until Aramis is back), there is a great chance it can be very potent. 

Photo courtesy AP/Nam Y. Huh and 

Something Needs to Change

In a year that the word "Change" was so popular (thanks Barack) it's time for our own change on the South Side. Switch up the lineup, fire the hitting coach, fire the pitching coach, have Ozzie off in the media, make a trade, pull up some more young guys. Do something... anything, we need something new.

It's just not working right now. The stats say it all but I'll steer clear of those for this post. Really I'm just getting really angry, and bored, with watching bad baseball every day. Every single time out there the Sox are out-hit, out-pitched, and frankly outclassed.

I don't care what specifically changes but it needs to be something, and sooner than later. The next set of games (after the end of the wrap-around) is against the Twinks and the Pirates. Winnable games. So it's time to get going here. Even if it's something as simple as giving guys an extra day off, now is the time. YES WE CAN.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How to Lose Baseball Games : Featuring the Chicago White Sox

2 posts ago I claimed I was "Officially Fed Up" with the Sox. Now I am just downright angry. The Sox have lost 10 of their last 13 games in route to a record of 4-10 in May. They have scored 4 or less runs in 10 of the 14 games and lost 2 of the games they scored more. The starting pitching has been bad, the hitting has been bad, and now with today's loss you can chuck the bullpen into the blender.

This team is an absolute trainwreck right now. There is not one consistant hitter on the team. The "sluggers" that make up for the middle of the lineup (Quentin, Dye, Thome,) are hitting .229, .275, and .234 respectively. The speedy supposedly good on-base guys are doing far from that as the leader on the team in OBP is Brian Anderson with a whopping .383. Last year's Rookie of the Year candidate (and one of my favorite players) Alexei Ramirez is hitting .218 with an OBP of .254. The pitching staff minus Buehrle have given up 96 earned runs in 136 innings for an ERA of 6.35.

But enough with me laying down stats about how bad they are. We all get it, they are awful and we hate it. So what needs to change. First and foremost I think it's time for Greg Walker to go. I know this will be hard for most Sox fans but harpen back to 2007 . The Sox were one of the worst hitting teams in baseball. Fundementally awful, bad at-bats, never looking to go the other way with pitches. Everyone tried to hit extra base hits every AB. Now to 2009, we are back in the same spot as 07. Quality AB's are incredibly rare. No one works counts, no one moves runners over, no one can get runners in. Mainly because the approach at the plate is wrong. People need to start working the count and having better at bats all around. Look to go the other way for a solid single, try to bunt for a base hit, foul some pitches off to get the pitch counts up. The Sox do none of these things. And who is responsible for this? Well, it's got to be either Ozzie or Greg Walker. If your going to tell me the king og garbage base-hits and bunt singles Ozzie Guillen is telling these guys to go try to hit homeruns I'm going to tell you that you are crazy. So I say, out goes Walker, in comes Mr. Outside-Hire.

Next, the pitching staff needs to find some consistancy. And I think the main problem that we are having is that there is no confidence in their own abilities. Everyone expects to need to go out there and give the offense 7 shut-out innings to get a win (and seeing from today even that's not enough). The pitching staff needs to relax. It's ok to give up a run here or there. But no huge innings. All 5 of these guys (maybe the exception of Contreras/other 5th starter) have the ability to get through 6/7/8 innings allowing 2/3/4 runs. It's very do-able, but when you pressure yourself into needing a shutout, bad things happen.

Fianlly, every as a whole needs to stop and look at where we are right now. Sure 10 of 13 is awful. Sure the hitting has been bad. Sure the pitching has not been good. But look at the division. Actually examine where we are at for just one second. As of 5 PM on May 16th (note that it is still May) the Sox are 3.5 games out of first place. Take a moment to realize what 3.5 games is. One series and one game. Not even 4 games. If the Sox were to win 5/6 games in a row starting tomorrow, I honestly think they would be either in first or right there. So this is no time to panic. It is a time to be mad and demand more out of the team (which I am doing and you should join), but is not time to throw in the towel.

So after we lose to Halladay tomorrow, let's reset and restart everything. It's not as bad as it feels. So stop feeling sorry for yourselves and start hitting the baseball and we will be fine.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ted Lilly Makes his Cy Young Push, Weekend Preview

Ted Lilly continued his quest to win the Cy Young by improving his record to 5-2 and putting his ERA at a solid 3.27 with a 6.1 IP 3ER 0BB 7K effort. The Cubs then finished off the sweep behind Ryan Dempster's good start and Bobby Scales strong hitting.

Today's game against the Astros was rained out, and Randy Wells will be pushed back and start tomorrow. Another off day is never a bad thing, and while we will pay for it July 30th with the make up day, every day that passes without a game with Aramis out is a small victory. 

Wells will face Roy Oswalt tomorrow afternoon, and Milton Bradley will have to sit out due to suspension. Since Bobby Scales is currently playing out of his mind it won't hurt to have him out one game. I'm Derrek Lee will return to the lineup, though that might not be a good thing. This means either Hoffpauir in right or Reed Mantle in center- hopefully RJ gets the start. 

Ryan Theriot was accused of using steroids by Rick Telander, what a joke. I'm not going to link to the article because it isn't worth the time. If Theriot were using steroids he would be getting bigger, and would hit homers that aren't wind aided shots that only happen at Wrigley. I hate when Chicago journalists go stupid (Phil Rogers does this every day).

Big Z will be back next weekend, Ted Lilly is making a run at the Cy Young, and the rest of the rotation is pitching well. The bullpen will hopefully get better, and I'm really hoping that without Aramis we can get the offense going and his return will put us over the top. For the first time all season I feel good about the Cubs. 

So expect a six game losing streak soon. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Too Many Shutouts

The Sox have been shut out 6 times in 33 games this year.

That's not good.

I'm Back

With my school work mostly done, its time to get back to blogging about the Cubs. Oh so much has happened since I last had free time. Aramis Ramirez will spend the next two months out with a separated shoulder. Carlos Zambrano will be back next weekend. Derrek Lee returned from injury last night, and still sucks at baseball.

The Cubs have been playing really well despite some major injuries. Bobby Scales has some up from the minors and impressed, he hit his first homer last night. Milton Bradley has shown that he is still an awesome hitter. He hit a missile to right-center yesterday that would still be flying if the stands didn't get in the way. Rich Harden hasn't lost his arm yet, and he fought through control problems to pitch really well last night. Sean Marshall was impressive for not having good stuff on Sunday, and Ted Lilly pitches tonight (more on that in a moment). Heck even Randy Wells tossed five shutout innings in his first start.

The bullpen has still remained pathetic, Carlos Marmol is in walk mode again though he is capable of getting out of his own jams. Aaron Heilman is awful, same with Cotts and Patton. Guzman showed some signs of being good Sunday, same with Kevin Gregg. Bottom line, throw strikes and Lou won't kill you.

Ted Lilly has willed the rain out of Chicago and the Cubs will face Chris Young and the Padres. Young likes to give up stolen bases, so Soriano, Theriot, and Fukudome should have fun running tonight. Its Ted Day! Lets celebrate with a Cubs win please. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm Officially Fed Up

A few days ago I commented on here (or Twitter or Facebook) saying I was losing faith in the Sox. It now official that I am truly angry at the team as a whole. I'm not by any means giving up on the season, I'm not by any means saying they are not going to bounce out of it, and I'm not saying they can't win the division. I'm saying that this "slump" has gone too far.

The pitching is garbage. The hitting is trash. The team as a whole is a different word for garbage or trash. Seemingly every day the Sox are down early. Seemingly every day the Sox are making below-average pitchers look like stars. Seemingly every day the game compounds as it goes on and there is never a real chance for the Sox to win.

It starts with pitching. You have to give the offense a chance. Buehrle gets a pass here but he only pitches once a week. Usually when the Sox go through pitching woes its in the bullpen. That's not the case right now. There have been 3 quality starts in the last 9 games. The Sox are 2-7 in those 9 games. 4 of those same 9 they have allowed less than 5 runs. This is not giving your offense a chance. In those 9 games the Sox have scored a total of 28 runs. With 3 times scoring more than 5 runs in the game. Sox pitching allowed them to win just 1 of those 3 games.

On to the hitting. It's basically a feast or famine offense right now. Either they score 6 or 7 so, or they get 1 or 2 (or get shutout). Clutch hitting has been pathetic. Fundamentals have been pathetic. Time and time again the Sox are getting guys on only to not get them over and then not get them in. It seems as though every time a guy gets on first base the ball gets slapped out to the second baseman. And then when guys are on third they can't even get the ball to the second baseman. Some people have been hitting, but no one is coming up with big hits. All in all it's just been pathetic.

But all that being said let's look at where the Sox are. They are 14-17, 3.5 games back of first, and a half game back of Minnesota for 3rd. They have scored 129 runs while allowing 150 which indicates a record that should be worse than 14-17. They are only 8-8 at home and have won only 3 of their last 10 games. This could be much worse. Much worse. The Sox are lucky to be where they are, and they need to take advantage of that.

Work on getting better starts, work on having better at-bats, and work on fundamentals. Do these simple things and this team-wide "slump" will bust. This team is too talented to sit back and watch it all go down the pooper this quickly. Have a solid week and see where you are then. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves like everyone seems to be doing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Enough Already, Geez

Please dear god get Jose Contreras out of the rotation. Look at his game log...

4/10 - Sox lose 12-5
4/15 - Sox lose 9-0
4/21 - Sox lose 10-3
4/26 - Sox lose 4-3
5/2 - Sox lose 9-6
5/8 - Sox lose 6-0

Contreras is 0-5 with an ERA of 8.19. The Sox have won 0 of 6 games he has pitched. The Sox have had a chance to win 1 of the 6 games. Why in the world is this man still in the rotation, and furthermore why is he in the majors anymore? He's awful. There is no hope.

Put in Clayton, put in Poreda, put in Marquez, put in Haeger, put in Alexei, put in Ozzie, put me in for god sake. It cannot be worse than what we are seeing. From now on if Contreras starts, go to Vegas and drop your life savings on the moneyline against the Sox. In this economy it's probably safer than trying to find a real job.


Some More Time Away

There has been no new content for a while now. There will be after finals week is over next week. Until then enjoy the Cubs being better at baseball and of course every time Ted Lilly starts.

I would be thrilled if we took 2 of 3 this weekend. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Missed Opportunities

You need to score runs when you have a runner on third and less than two outs.

I know I harp on this a lot but it cost the Sox a game again last night. Two times the Sox had the situation come up and both times the runner was stranded. Once Podsednik actually got a base hit and we still did not score. Alexei and Getz were the main culprits (they didn't get the runners in) but also AJ is to blame for not scoring on the ball that bounced over the pitchers head (maybe Cox too if he told him to hold).

This needs to stop being an issue. Good teams get those runs in. Whether the score is 0-0 or 9-1 those runs will be important in these games. Had we had either of those runs last night we win the game. The bats sure did wake up, but they need to become more consistant in that specific situation.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Boy the Sox are Frustrating to Watch

Greinke is good. Not news, just true and I'm not necessarily talking about today's game in this post. but I'm really starting to get frustrated watching the Sox. I feel like they are never winning. And the main reason for that is because they don't score early in games. In the last 4 games the White Sox have scored 1 run total in the first 5 innings of each of the last 7 games. That's pathetic.

The Sox are 9-1 when they score first. And when you score average .14 runs in the first 5 innings of games odds are you are not scoring first.

I'm also not happy with the fact that time and time again bad pitchers are making the Sox look bad. Again today does not count, but in those same 7 games pitchers named Jakubauskas, Feldman, McCarthy, and Harrison have made the Sox look pathetic.

Tomorrow the Sox face Kyle Davies. First off, this guy is bad (4.85 ERA with a 7 inning shutout appearance included, 16 ER in last 4 starts). Secondly, the Sox have seen him. They were unsuccessful, but they have all seen him. And lastly, his name is not Zack Grienke. So one would expect the Sox to score some runs tomorrow. But who knows.

Bye Bye Zambrano

We are going to be without Carlos Zambrano for a while, Bruce Levine thinks he is headed to the DL, and I agree. I will never criticize a player for playing as hard as he can, anybody who has ever gotten mad at a player for not hustling is in the same boat as me even if you don't realize it.

Z will miss some time to heal his hamstring, honestly giving his arm some rest isn't the worst thing. I think every starting pitcher should get one DL stint a season to keep their arm fresh. As more official news comes in I will update this post and bump it up to the top. In the meantime does anybody think Zambrano did something wrong in this case?

Some possible subs for Zambrano's pitching slot include Mitch Atkins and Randy Wells from AAA. Former relief pitcher Jose Ascanio might also get a look. 

3:45 Update: Levine is saying Z goes to the DL and Bobby Scales comes up. No word on who starts Friday, but I would guess Jeff Samardzija. 

The Cardinals are Really Good and Here to Stay

Seriously this post isn't satire, the Cardinals are really good this season and it does pain me a bit to say it. I was wrong about them when I wrote the preview and this is a sort of makeup try. 

Albert Pujols is still really good, we know that, but he has been awesome so far this season. Hitting grand slams out of stadiums and even stealing bases in big spots. Ryan Ludwick hasn't fallen off very much at all. His homers are steady as well as his RBI. He also brings solid defense to right field which is very important on this particular Cardinals team. 

Yadier Molina looks like he has figured out hitting, this season his at-bats are almost always solid, he rarely strikes out, and his OBP is almost .400. Skip Schumaker has been solid hitting leadoff and playing second, while his numbers are a bit low, I would expect them to rise as the season goes along. He has shown he can be about a .300 hitter with a little pop at the top of the order. Chris Duncan is healthy and swinging the bat well, getting some walks and not striking out as much. 

They are also getting good production out of Joe Thurston and Brian Barden. Barden has an OPS of .977 this season, that will come down, but if he can keep it in the mid to high .800s then the Cardinals have themselves something nice. Thurston has also been great with his speed and bat. Troy Glaus will be back in late-June which will only make the lineup that more potent.

The pitching is also been really good. Kyle Loshe has been able to turn his talent into on-field production with a 1.97 ERA so far this season. Adam Wainwright struggled with control early in the season, but his ERA is under three, and he has pitched much better the last few times out. Joel Pinero might be getting a bit lucky with balls in play, but a 4-1 start is hard to ignore. Even if he settles around a four ERA, he will be producing really well for the Cardinals. Chris Carpenter will return eventually, he looked awesome before his injury. Todd Wellemeyer hasn't been very good this season, but once Carpenter gets back he can be taken out of the rotation if Mitchell Boggs is pitcher better.

They still have a shaky bullpen, but Ryan Franklin is a solid closer and Kyle McClellan has settled as a solid setup man. Chris Perez and Jason Motte have tons of potential and might just be figuring out how to pitch as the season goes on.

This team is really good and the favorites to win the Central right now. I do think they slow down a bit and settle as about a 92-94 win team. Do I think the Cubs can catch them? Maybe, but it won't be the cakewalk we all thought it would be. Not when Geovany Soto and Milton Bradley are fighting to not rename the Mendoza line. 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Power Rankings Week 4

After taking a week off I am back to put some NL Central power rankings. I'll try to keep the hiatus's to a minimum. 

1. St. Louis Cardinals (17-8) - Nine games over .500 at this point in the season is something that I don't think Tony La Russa could have even predicted. I still think that the bats of Brian Barden and Yadier Molina will cool down eventually and this coupled with their spotty defense so far (22 errors), will bring them back to the pack. However, they have a nice cushion, and if they keep getting the production they are getting from Kyle Lohse (one or fewer earned runs in three of his past four starts), they will hold on to this top spot for awhile. 

2. Pittsburgh Pirates (12-12) - The simple explanation for why the Pirates have been more successful than usual so far is their starting pitching. Duke, Maholm, and Ohlendorf all have pitched over 31 innings and all have ERA's under 3.50. There is also a simple explanation to why I put them here, and it is there run differential, which currently stands at +19. This is better than the Cubs (+2) and Reds (-7), but falls behind the Cardinals (+36). 

3. Cincinnati Reds (13-11) - As mentioned above the Reds run differential is not great, but their starting pitching is really starting to come around in the last few days. Arroyo, Volquez, and Cueto have each had starts in the past week in which they have not given up an earned run. With Jay Bruce's power starting to heat up (6 home runs) and Votto still mashing, you have to feel pretty good if you are a Reds fan. I would say right now they have the deepest rotation in the division. 

4. Chicago Cubs (13-11) - This has not been the start Lou Piniella was hoping for, but I think if he were talking candidly he would tell he is pretty happy where the Cubs stand right now. No team in baseball has had to deal with the injuries the Cubs have had so far this year as Ramirez, Bradley, Lee, Soto, Zambrano, and Marmol have been banged up at one time or another. Ryan Dempster, Zambrano, and Harden have been inconsistent so far, but after taking 3/4 from the Marlins, the Cubs aren't in the worst spot they could be.

5. Milwaukee Brewers (13-12) - Going 7-3 in their last 10 games has erased the Brewers poor start. However, despite Mike Cameron provided some unexpected offensive help, I don't think this team has enough to outhit its pitching deficiencies. On any three game series with the Reds, Cubs, or Cardinals, the Brewers simply can't match up. Braden Looper is throwing great though.

6. Houston Astros (11-14) - At 3 games under, the Astros aren't as far out as you'd think for a last place team. Knowing the way the Astros always finish seasons, this may be exactly where Cecil Cooper wants them, just joking. With series coming up with the Nationals, Rockies, and Padres in the next few weeks, they have a nice shot to even it up. 

I Stop Watching, the Cubs Go Grand Slam Happy

So I guess I shouldn't watch the Cubs anymore because I don't watch for three days and they go 3-0 with two grand slams one of which was hit by Ryan Theriot. Having not seen any of these games I can tell you that I'm very happy with the starting pitching in the series (beside Rich Harden) and really happy to see some clutch hitting with men on base from people not named Alfonso Soriano

Ryan Theriot won't hit another homerun all season I can promise you that, but it was nice to see him have a two day power surge. Derrek Lee had two homers over the weekend as well and hopefully he can start building on that. Heck even Aaron Miles drove in a run Sunday with an RBI double.

There are still concerns with the team. Carlos Zambrano is going to find some time on the DL after he strained his hamstring today. Milton Bradley is becoming less able to hit everyday (I may have a post about this tomorrow), same with Geovany Soto. Rich Harden HAS to learn to be more consistent, this 3 or 4 inning 100 pitch start stuff needs to stop. Thankfully we have Ted Lilly, who might just push for the Cy Young this season if enough of his starts fall at Wrigley. 

Next up is two games at home against the Giants. Jonathan Sanchez will face Ryan Dumpster on Monday, NL CY Young winner Tim Lincecum will face Sean Marshall on Tuesday. 

Posting has been down lately because finals are approaching, but I'll do as much as possible to post everyday. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sox + Rangers + Rain = Long Long Long Game

The Sox and Rangers have just entered their 4th rain delay of the night. It is currently 11:47 CST and this game is still not over.

The Sox have done a real nice job getting back into this game, and who knows maybe they can knock a few more in and find a way to tie this thing up. I doubt it but who knows.

The worst thing about this whole rain thing is that WGN doesn't want to put alternative programming on so we have to listen to Hawk and this other guy who is not Steve Stone. It's painful.

Please stop raining, and please get 3 or more runs.

It's Been a While

I have not posted to much Sox stuff on here lately. Here's the deal.

Good win in Texas tonight. Good to see Podsednik in the lineup again. Bobby Jenks is awesome. Tomorrow is probably going to be awful. Quentin needs to get that average up and take advantage of Texas to get that HR number into the double digits. The Sox are in first place, that's good.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Derrek Lee Sucks At Baseball

It is at the point now where I honestly expect nothing out of Lee. He was really good in 2007 despite regression in his homer totals. Last season he started off real hot in April and got everybody excited only to disappear for the rest of the season. 

He is back at it again. After tonight's amazing 0-4 night with two strikeouts Lee is hitting an amazing .189. He has hit one whole homer and has an on-base percentage of .253. His defense has been pathetic lately and at this point there is no hope for him to be good.

Hendry tried to trade him this offseason but Lee has a no-trade clause and way too big a contract for a smart team to take him. As the Cubs season beings to unfold before our eyes Derrek Lee is one of the biggest reasons why.