Posts

Showing posts from April, 2016

Chris Sale Is Different, And Possibly Better Than Ever Before

Image
Ordinarily, if you had a starting pitcher whose velocity has dropped significantly during the first month of the season, as well as his K% and K/9, this would be cause for concern. Just ask a Houston Astros fan how they feel about reigning American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel at the moment.

The White Sox have a pitcher whose velocity and strikeout rates have all seen much more significant decreases this season, yet that pitcher could currently be on the way to a career season, only a year after setting a franchise record with 274 strikeouts.

Through five starts this season Chris Sale is 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA and an MLB-best 0.6484 WHIP, yet he's doing things in an entirely different manner than the one we're used to seeing from him.

Keep Matt Albers Away From Your Cat

Image
I'm not sure what I find more enjoyable. Watching Matt Albers pitch during his current streak of 30 consecutive appearances without allowing a run, or his trips back to the dugouts once those appearances have ended.

We've seen him spit his gum out and swat it out of the air like Dikembe Mutombo used to do to layups around the basket, and we've seen him hit himself in the head repeatedly if he wasn't happy with himself, even though he didn't allow any runs.

On Monday we saw Albers make a nice play on a bunt to end the inning, and when Albers reached the White Sox dugout, he made sure his teammates knew which animal his reflexes had a lot in common with.

What You Need To Know About Miguel Gonzalez

Image
The White Sox announced on Sunday that Miguel Gonzalez would be starting on Monday night in Toronto, and that John Danks would be getting skipped in the rotation. It came as something of a surprise because, if skipping Danks was going to be the decision, with Erik Johnson already on the roster after he was called up last week following Carlos Rodon's horrible start against the Angels, the easiest thing to do would have been start Johnson on Monday.

Instead Johnson will end up receiving a week's worth of that MLB money without having to do anything, which is a great way to go on vacation to Chicago for a week.

Because of all the moving parts, and some of the answers that Robin Ventura gave when asked about those parts, it's hard to know exactly what it all means right now.

But we're gonna try to figure it out anyway.

What's Wrong With The White Sox Offense?

Image
I went to Monday night's game against the Angels, hoping to see an excellent Carlos Rodon start, and maybe the Sox offense break out of its rut. Instead what I saw was Rodon record one out before being pulled after giving up five runs on six hits and two walks.

It sucks more than a little bit when your first game of the season is basically over before the second out is made.

Maybe you could convince yourself that the Sox had plenty of time to work themselves back into the game with some runs, but based on the way they'd been hitting all season, it was unrealistic. Instead they managed three hits on the night, and didn't score a single run.

Still, even while Rodon had a horrible night, I expect that to happen to him from time to time. No matter how amazing he looks in stretches -- and he came into Monday night's game with 10 straight quality starts -- he's going to struggle because he loses his command at times, and he's still a very young pitcher, without a t…

The New White Sox Curse Has Its Claws On Todd Frazier

Image
The White Sox are 8-4 through 12 games, which is fantastic. If I were presented with an 8-4 start to the season before Opening Day, I'd have jumped at the chance, and you would have too.

The problem is, even if the Sox are 8-4, there's still plenty of things to worry about based on what we've seen. The glaring problem is the offense, which was the one area of the team that got the biggest makeover during the offseason, and so far it's not working out that well. The Sox are averaging a paltry 3.25 runs per game, and have scored three runs or less in seven of their first 12 games.

There's a lot of blame to go around, as there are only a couple of guys in the lineup that have really been contributing, but the major omissions are Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier.

When it comes to Abreu, it's easy to dismiss any concern because we've all seen who Jose is the last two years, and we all have reason to believe he's going to be fine.

The guy we haven't watched…

So About That Offensive Upgrade At Catcher

Image
When the White Sox parted ways with both Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto this winter, and then replaced them with Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, the reasoning Rick Hahn gave was that he wanted to make an offensive upgrade at the position.

While it made sense in theory -- Tyler Flowers could hit a moonshot once in a while, but you couldn't count on him for much else -- so far in practice it's not working out.

The Problem With Jerry Sands

Image
When the White Sox decided to give Jerry Sands the final spot on the roster over either Travis Ishikawa or Matt Davidson, it caught me by surprise. I figured that, following the retirement of Adam LaRoche, Ishikawa would make the most sense.

He's a lefty, and he can play first base to give Abreu a day off, as well as some left field if you really need him too.

Instead the Sox went with Sands, and on Wednesday night, the flaw in their logic was on display.

Five Thoughts On That ESPN Story About Adam LaRoche

Image
ESPN's Tim Keown wrote about Adam LaRoche and his decision to retire for ESPN The Magazine, and you can read the entire thing here, or you can just read what I have to say about it.

It's the first time LaRoche has spoken about his decision with anybody in the media, and, well, if you thought the entire War of LaRoches was strange, shit gets even weirder in the ESPN puff piece.

Did you know that Adam LaRoche spent part of the offseason going undercover in southeast Asian brothels? What? You don't do that?

Well, Adam LaRoche does. I learned that in the ESPN piece.

White Sox Power Rankings: Mid-April Edition

Image
When I originally wrote the White Sox Power Rankings before spring training began, the plan had been to write the next set after spring training came to an end, and before the regular season started.

Oops!

Instead, here we are, now over a week into the season, with seven games under our belt. Seven good games too, as the White Sox are off to their first 5-2 start since 2012, which is also the last time the Sox had a winning record.

The most recent seasons before 2012 with a 5-2 start were 2005 and 2008. One of those seasons ended in a World Series, and the other was the last year the Sox actually made the playoffs.

So, you know, there's reason to be optimistic right now, even if there still are 155 games to go. With today being the first (scheduled) off day of the regular season, it felt like as good a time as any to release the second edition of the White Sox Power Rankings.

So, without any further ado, here they be.

Chris Sale Strikes Hitters Out At An Historic Rate

Image
Through two starts this season, Chris Sale is striking out 9.0 hitters per nine innings, or one per inning. For most starting pitchers, that's a very good number.

For Chris Sale, though, it's below average.

Five Takeaways From The Opening Series In Oakland

Image
The White Sox are off to a 3-1 start in a season for the first time since 2005. We all remember damn well what happened last year, so even if we've already clinched yet another World Series title in 2016, there's still a long way to go before we're poppin' champagne.

Before we get there, I want to take a look back at the first four games of the season, and look back at the five things I'm taking away from the series win against Oakland.

On Adam Eaton, Jimmy Rollins, And Seeing What We Want To See

Image
Late Tuesday night, Jimmy Rollins hit a home run in the ninth inning to give the Sox a 5-4 lead after Nate Jones had blown a 4-2 lead an inning earlier. The home run would serve as the game-winner, and help the Sox get off to a 2-0 start on the season.

That's good!

Unfortunately, that's not what the story was on Twitter following the home run or the game. Instead White Sox fans decided to start playing Armchair Psychologist, and many diagnosed both Rollins and Adam Eaton with a case of "Having Beef."

Five Fearless Predictions For The 2016 Chicago White Sox

Image
I don't know if anybody has told you, but it's Opening Day. That's right, tonight at 9pm Chicago time, the 2016 White Sox season will begin as Chris Sale and the White Sox take on Sonny Gray and the Oakland Athletics.

It'll be the first of 162 games, and as fans always do on Opening Day, we'll overreact to every single thing we see. Inside we'll all know that nothing that happens tonight -- unless it's a major injury -- is going to have a meaningful impact on the entire season, but we react that way regardless. It's just more fun.

The truth is we don't know what the next six months are going to bring.

That's not going to stop me from making fearless predictions about this season, though, so let us look the future right in the face and tell it what's going to happen.