When Sox have a lead, Ozzie has options

John Danks wasn’t his sharpest on Monday, and it was nice to say it didn’t matter thanks to some fine bullpen work.
Sergio Santos, Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz and Bobby Jenks all pitched in a scoreless inning, picking up Danks after the Indians worked him over for 112 pitches over five innings.
Their performances on Monday continued a trend of excellent pitching.  In order:
Sergio Santos
17 1/3, 10 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 21 K, 8-for-8 stranding runners
This is his entire season.  He’s been a treat.
Matt Thornton
5 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 4-for-4 stranding inherited runners in May.
Thornton looked a little rusty in his return to pitch since his scary triceps spasm, walking the only batter he faced on Saturday.  He rebounded to blow down the Indians 1-2-3, with nine of 12 pitches for strikes.
J.J. Putz
6 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3-for-3 stranding runners
These numbers don’t look all that impressive, except that the walk, all three runs and two of the three hits came in one appearance — the extra-innings loss to the Mariners.  He appears to be rounding into form nicely.
Bobby Jenks
4 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K since May 9.
Jenks has treated his ugly blown save against the Blue Jays as a wake-up call, tying together four scoreless outings that have been largely without drama.
But wait — there’s more!
It’s a pretty good sign when Ozzie Guillen can burn through four relievers and still not exhaust his supply of hot hands.  Who is the ace up his sleeve?
Tony Pena
9 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 8-for-9 stranding inherited runners since May 3.
Pena hovers in bullpen purgatory; overqualified for mop-up work, but still pretty untrustworthy if one pitch can decide a game.
But hey — ever since taking a sacrificial beating at the hands of the Yankees in the Bronx, Pena has been solid. The difference is in his slider.  He’s maybe only thrown two or three hangers over the entire month of May.
Pena has allowed 13 runs on the season, and 10 of them have come during garbage time of two blowout losses.  This is an improvement over his patterns from the last two seasons, where he could have one or two weeks of rolling sliders before righting the ship.
If this improvement is for real, it makes trading Putz and/or Jenks easier to handle.
Brandon Allen, by the way, is hitting .216/.352/.406 at hitter-friendly Reno.
The bullpen is getting hot at the right time, with a relatively weak three-week stretch coming up (save series with Tampa Bay and Detroit).  Now it’s up to the starters to avoid those huge early deficits.  I’m looking at you, Jakemeister.
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Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Jake Peavy takes a stab at leadership:

“We’re going to Tampa this weekend,” he said. “You look at going into the best team in baseball and you try to go 2-2 and win the series here and you come off the road 4-3. We have a favorable schedule over the next month.
“We still believe in this team, and I’m happy to be in a situation where, from the owner to the general manager, they’re going to try to win. There’s not going to be, and Kenny reiterated it, ‘Listen, we’re not mailing it in; we’re trying to get better.’ I’m excited to be a part of that.”

*Oral Sox has a new podcast up.
*J.J. examiners Santos’ future as a closer.
*The B-Ref Blog notes that the White Sox have more below-average hitters in their lineup (in terms of OPS+) than any other team in baseball.
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Minor league roundup:

  • Columbus 9, Charlotte 2
    • Tyler Flowers was 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout.
    • Dayan Viciedo (one K) and C.J. Retherford (two K’s) went 0-for-4.
    • Brent Lillibridge and Stefan Gartrell hit solo shots.
  • Kannapolis 2, Savannah 2 (Susp. 13 innings)
    • Miguel Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a triple and a strikeout.
    • Trayce Thompson had a single and three strikeouts over six at-bats.
    • Brady Shoemaker went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
    • Kyle Colligan drew two walks in five plate appearances.

Daniel Hudson is one of Baseball America’s Stars of the Weekend.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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ceverettsdinosaurs

I must say, the bullpen has largely been a pleasure to watch this year, with the possible exception of Randy Williams. I still don’t understand why Ozzie insists on using our LOOGY against right-handed batters.
I think the problem with my enjoying watching the bullpen, is that I’ve never really enjoyed watching it in the past. And that’s not because it wasn’t good at times, it’s just I’ve usually had other areas of the team that were more exiting to me. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case this year. Having a bullpen this good is an unnecessary luxury on a team this bad. It gets me wondering what guys like Jenks and Putz could bring back in a trade. I’d like to see some other teams trade some good prospects for solid bullpen arms like those guys, but I feel like a lot of teams are reluctant to do so. Does anyone here have any ideas on what kind of prospects we could expect from trading those guys? There are definitely some teams that could use the help (Phillies, Yankees, Rays, Rockies, etc.).

fustercluck

Maybe Ozzie’s trying to convince Kenny to hock the LOOGY.

jimbo

You could expect a prospect like Brandon Allen for Putz or Jenks.

knoxfire30

The bullpen starting to look like a strength is great from 2 avenues, 1 It could lead you to getting back into the al central race (im not to convinced that will happen but… lots of season left, haha) and 2 as we have already noted lots of teams are gonna come looking for bullpen help at the deadline, lets fleece someone!
Side note, at what point will someone be upset with Alexei, his 3 year offensive trends dont look good, he continues to make errors and bonehead plays. This guy is basically below average in everything he does but I feel he gets a complete pass due to his managable salary and quality 2008 performance.

knoxfire30

I dont disagree but after 2011, who plays shortstop, im not resiging alexei to a contract worth anything… and in the system I dont think any shortstops are knocking down the door.

tdogg

The White Sox have Alexei for 6 years.

knoxfire30

We owe him money for 4 years, after that yes we have him under arbitration for 2 more but we dont need to offer it, so my point remains I wouldnt pay him for either of those years.

tdogg

Because cheap (even with arbitration numbers) defensive shortstops are easy to find? You don’t know where Alexei will be offensively then. Get over it. He’s here for the full 6.

fustercluck

Re: 2)
Just.. just…
Zounds!!

Shinons

Heck, I like Alexei. Looking around at what other teams are throwing out at shortstop, I figure he’s a whole lot more talented even if tantalizing. He’s one of the few guys on this team who gets better with guys in scoring position, and defensively, well, maybe Jose Valentin just made my standards pretty low…

knoxfire30

Of 21 eligible shortstops alexei is 18th in ops, and on pace to commit 27 errors. If your happy with that your expectations are way worse then low.

yinkadoubledare

It’s actually quite funny that Jose Valentin was brought up, because Alexei has been somewhat similar as a shortstop. Too many errors, but range that is good enough to more than nullify the errors and net them out as above average defensive shortstops by UZR.
It’s very weird to me that Alexei has been much better as a shortstop (by UZR) than he was his one year as a second baseman. Perhaps it’s a comfort level thing since he was a shortstop his whole career before coming to the Sox?
That said, his defense isn’t so good as to make up for the rotten hitting this year — he’s barely above replacement level overall.

tdogg

Im not sure what SS you are watching Alexei play but he saves a hell lot more runs than the errors account for. I compare him to a Ventura who also made a lot errors. People need get over just using errors. A rangey shortstop is valuable as hell.

Shinons

Dear knox,
I apologize for liking a White Sox player. My bad. I’ll try to learn from this mistake and incorporate more vitriol in my breakfast.
Sincerely,
Shinons

marshlands

According to UZR, Valentin actually played pretty good defense. Also, he had a lot of shortcomings at the plate, but didn’t he lead SS in HRs for a few years? That was pretty awesome. Plus, mustache.

knoxfire30

jose made a lot of spectacular plays and missed a lot of easy plays, a lil bit similiar to alexei
where they arent similiar is at the plate, jose hit 136 homers in a 5 year span for the whitesox, he also hit a ton of doubles in that time frame, jose’s averages werent that good but for the most part his OBP was better then alexei’s

tdogg

You do realize that this is Alexei’s 3rd professional MLB year right? And actually his numbers given his time and age are quite similar to Jose.

marshlands

Also, Alexei’s bat has been unreasonably poor. Despite playing slightly above average defense, his poor offense puts him 14th in MLB for SS in RAR. Yes, behind Cliff Pennington, Orlando Cabrera, Jason Bartlett, Juan Uribe, Ronny Cedeno, Ian Desmond, etc.

tdogg

The offense overall has been a problem. If he rebounds again in the summer, they seriously need to find a way to get him off to better starts.

hillerichnbragsby

Not to worry – you can count on Guillen finding a way to screw all this good news up. While the BP is showing great signs of promise – isn’t it peculiar that OG leaves his starters in way too long and allows them to surrender far too many runs for the BP to do any good? I wouldn’t trade anyone in the “Pen”. With the way OG let’s his starters get “rung up”, we need everyone of them who can stop the bleeding. All this inept manager needs to figure out is pulling his starters as they are getting shelled early enough for the Pen to keep the SOX in the game. If the SOX want to get rid of anyone, it’s Guillen.

soxicano

Ozzie Guillen, as a young and developing manager, has already brought a world series championship to chicago, followed by two 90 game winning seasons, 06 and 08 central division champs. He is the most successful sox manager in recent Chicago history, maybe ever. Firing him would be a big mistake. This team would take forever to recover from that and we could forget the Sox contending for years to come. There is nobody out there of his caliber that can replace him. Ozzie is not the problem. An underperforming underwhelming lineup is more responsible, but Pierre, Pierzinski, Alexei, and Quentin are pushing their batting averages north so thats going to change to along with the favorable home schedule

blah

The Sox only won the division in ’05 and ’08…
They only won 90+ games in ’05 and ’06…
And Ozzie makes the lineups…
Favorable schedules didn’t help them compete last season…
Just saying

blah

And a guy who has been managing for 7 years can hardly be called young, especially when only Mike Scioscia has been tenured longer.

ricksch

Alexie hit his ceiling. This is a guy with a lot of natural ability, but no real feel for the game. Staying mentally sharp is a huge challenge over the season. Ramirez is clearly unable to do that and will never be more than a below average ballplayer. We’ll get the spotty hot streaks to give us hope — he looked to be getting into one about a week ago — but that’s all we should expect. Alexie should have been traded instead of Getz and Beckham put back where he belongs at SS.
Sox absolutely must sweep the Indians to prove they can dominate a pure-shit team in their division. If you can’t beat on your own cellar dwellers, what hope do you have? Indians have about three good position players on that team and very little in the way of pitching. If you can’t get a few runs off those bums and shut down their weak line-up, why bother flying into Tampa?

blah

So you would rather have Getz than Alexei? That doesn’t seem like a good idea

ricksch

I never saw Getz as anything more than a useful back-up and pinch runner, at his salary of $400Kyr. Putting Beckham at short is what I like the most about that equation. Maybe Beckham wouldn’t be so screwed up this year. Also, Alexie’s trade value peaked this past off-season. He made another bad play last night, as did Teahen despite his banner day at the plate.

blah

So you would rather have a backup infielder instead of an everyday shortstop… When Ozzie can’t even find time to play Nix…
Can you explain how that’s better?

fustercluck

A legit bulldog would not be satisfied with a 4-3 road trip. It should be 7-0 or hang up the spikes. Anything less than the best is a felony. Now get down on your knees, Jakemiester, and choke yourself!

blah

Not with your hand stupid with MINE!!!

striker

I am in a world of shit

fustercluck

“White Sox baseball. It’s a World of Shit.”

blah

That’s better than “It’s black and white” and yet still along the same lines…

winningugly

It is baffling to me why folks are surprised Che is doing better at SS than 2B. He’s a SS! And he’s been learning a lot of his stuff on the fly. Now that he has some consistency in his position he’s improving.

bigfun

“at what point will someone be upset with Alexei”
At the risk of beating a dead horse, when Kotsay, Pierzynski, Vizquel, Teahen, and Pierre are off the team.
Maybe a team like the Rays that is already very, very good can look at a player like Ramirez and say, “hey, we could improve over this.” But the White Sox? They have so many more serious areas of concern than a cheap replacement level shortstop.

hillerichnbragsby

soxicano : What the hell are you smoking? GUILLEN sets the lineup. GUILLEN decides how long the pitcher stays in. GUILLEN has a losing record over the last 4+ seasons. And you think he’s the 2nd coming of managers? WTF?

hillerichnbragsby

ricksch: “Sox absolutely must sweep the Indians to prove they can dominate a pure-shit team in their division.” Great call! Ok – now what? That bubble is broken! If anyone else was the GM of the SOX – who would you expect to trade with, and who would be nuts enough to WANT any of this club? Good job Ken/Ozzie – you’ve undone in just a little over 4 years what took 4 decades to develop.

blah

Por que?