Ten games into the season, and Ozzie Guillen has yet to like one lineup enough to try it a second time.
But it’s not like Guillen is using a randomizer function on an Excel spreadsheet. There are some constants, including ones that make sense:
- Gordon Beckham has always hit second.
- Carlos Quentin has always hit third.
- Paul Konerko has been the cleanup guy.
And other ones that have been reliable for far flimsier reasons:
- Juan Pierre has been the leadoff man in every game he’s started.
- Mark Kotsay hits fifth when he starts.
Guillen is taking steps to resolve one of those last two points. He’s anointed Andruw Jones an everyday player:
“The way he’s swinging the bat, he’ll play every day,” Guillen said before Jones went 0-for-3 with a walk. “Where? The three (outfield positions) plus designated hitter. We have four positions for him to play every day.”
Until Jones hits a wall, Quentin’s foot flares up or something else drastic happens, I don’t think Guillen has that many surprises up his sleeve. I could see Alex Rios replacing the Rotating DH in the fifth spot, but the rest of the changes will be largely negligible.
Mark Teahen’s the only one to keep an eye on. He’s been reaching base at a .414 clip, and while that’s not sustainable, there’s a very healthy chance that he’ll be out-OBPing Alexei Ramirez and A.J. Pierzynski by a significant margin. He could slide up to No. 7 (or No. 6 if Konerko or Quentin is out), and that would alter the shape of the bottom of the order. Like that means a lot.
Basically, Guillen may change his batting order at a record-setting pace, but it’s hard to see it actually upsetting anything, or anybody. People were resigned to Pierre owning the top spot when he was traded, so as long as Omar Vizquel never bats higher than eighth and Kotsay doesn’t get the lion’s share of DH duties by default, the number of permutations Guillen goes through should be nothing more than a curiosity.
Over at Beyond the Box Score, adarowsky sifts through White Sox history to find the most WAR-worthy players in franchise history, both on the whole and at each position.
There’s a lot to read, and there’s no point in summing it up, but here’s one piece of trivia that’s fun. For me, at least.
The pitcher with the fourth-worst season in franchise history in terms of WAR is the wonderfully named Sloppy Thurston, who owned a 5.95 ERA over 183 innings in 1925. That’s good for an ERA+ of 70. To get an idea of how bad that is relative to his competition, remember when Jaime Navarro had the 6.36 ERA in 1999?
His ERA+ was 72.
Anyway, the weird thing about Thurston is that he was a good pitcher for the Sox just the year before, when he went 20-14 with a 3.83 ERA over 291 innings.
Yet despite the fact that Thurston was at the height of his powers, he struck out just 37 batters over those 291 innings. That’s roughly one every nine.
Now, flash forward to Opening Day 2010. Matt Thornton entered the ninth inning and struck out the first two batters he faced on six pitches. He then got ahead of Travis Hafner 0-2, and made the right pitch to get the third punchout — high and just off the plate.
Hafner, like a soccer goalie in a shootout, guessed right, tomahawking and getting just enough to chop it foul, spoiling Thornton’s bid for the immaculate inning.
If Easy Heat were able to sneak that third fastball by Hafner that day, he would’ve been the first White Sox pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitches since 1923.
Instead, the most recent Sox pitcher to accomplish that feat is still … Sloppy Thurston.
And now you know the rest of the story.
Minor league roundup:
- Charlotte 2, Gwinnett 1
- Jordan Danks hit a solo homer, his second of the year.
- Jeff Marquez threw five shutout innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out three.
- Scott Elarton added two scoreless innings in his Charlotte debut, with one walk and two K’s.
- Tyler Flowers and Dayan Viciedo went 0-for-6 with five strikeouts.
- C.J. Retherford went 2-for-3.
- Mobile 5, Birmingham 1
- John Shelby went 2-for-4 with a triple.
- Brent Morel singled twice and struck out once in four at-bats.
- Jhonny Nunez tossed six scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing three hits and two walks.
- Winston-Salem 7, Potomac 6 (10 innings)
- Nathan Jones struck out seven over five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk.
- Santos Rodriguez had issues, allowing a run on two walks and two hits over one-third of an inning.
- Tyson Corley struck out both batters he faced.
- Justin Greene and Jon Gilmore had two hits apiece.
- Kannapolis 5, Lexington 1
- Nick Ciolli’s finding a groove — he went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI and his second steal. He struck out once.
- Brady Shoemaker singled, doubled and walked; Kyle Colligan singled and walked.
- Daniel Wagner and Jose Vargas had three hits apiece.
- Miguel Gonzalez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Terry Doyle threw seven shutout innings.
- Kyle Bellamy struck out a batter and allowed a hit in his scoreless inning of work.