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Though we had dreams of Daniel Hudson staking a black-and-white flag on Dallas Braden’s mound at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday, he ended up making an entirely different kind of statement with his disappointing performance in the White Sox’s 6-4 loss.
Simply put, it was, “Trades probably aren’t going to help.”
Lest I sound overdramatic, that’s not to say I think the White Sox are leaking oil. They’re just settling into the .500 groove they’ve avoided all season, first by starting the season 24-33 and then shooting to 50-38. At the beginning of this season, “.500ish” was a generally agreed-upon descriptor for this pitching-heavy, hitting-thin squad.
The problem is something chisoxt touched upon in the last discussion — Jake Peavy’s injury has dramatically reduced the pitching options, and when it comes to the offense, the options were never really there in the first place.
Kenny Williams could probably improve the offense by dialing the wrong number. It’s not hard to find better hitters than Mandruw Kojones, and if he can find a slugger placed curbside like the Dodgers happened upon Jim Thome last year, there shouldn’t be anything stopping him. Considering the state of the economy and what the Diamondbacks received for Dan Haren, there may be a few amnesty days for teams down the road.
But making a concerted effort and giving up genuinely interesting prospects for an Adam Dunn or Prince Fielder — or even Luke Scott and Adam LaRoche — seems short-sighted, if not completely ineffective.
It’s not that the White Sox are fine without a trade as Ozzie Guillen or Paul Konerko would suggest. It’s just that there is no longer one cure-all (or cure-most) for their ills, as there was in those heady Healthy Peavy days.
There’s a sizable list of sizable problems that picking up Lefty Q. Hitter wouldn’t address, including:
The pitching staff: I don’t think it’s right to make too much of Freddy Garcia’s four-out start on Saturday. His stuff is such that he’s going to look horrendous when he’s merely bad. It’s not wrong to be aware of the possibility, as he’s in unfamiliar territory since crossing the 100-innings barrier. Throw Hudson’s problems on top of it, and it’s a similar situation to the first half of last season, when Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon brought up the rear of the rotation. Emphasis on “rear” in Colon’s case.
On top of that, any attempt to circumvent the fifth spot means Mark Buehrle will have to pitch more in August. Historically, that’s been a month unkind to Buehrle.
Investing in a bat would require Buehrle to pitch like Mark Buehrle in a month when he’s usually Jose Contreras. With Peavy, the Sox could absorb Buehrle’s annual malaise. Now, it’s basically up to Buehrle to keep a good rotation from being a liability. And if the rotation is a liability, they’re dooooomed.
Juan Pierre: Probably because we’re all resigned to the fate that he’s Leadoff Hitter for Life, little has been made of the fact that Teflon Juan is hitting .195/.283/.220 since the All-Star break. Also, because he’s apparently a .300 Hitter for Life, little has been made of Juan Pierre’s monthly batting averages:
- April: .193
- May: .286
- June: .257
- July: 253
I don’t know if Pierre’s done, but considering he’s based his entire offensive game around a high batting average, it’s a problem that can’t be ignored. And speaking of possibly done…
A.J. Pierzynski: Fun fact: Pierzynski’s OBP hasn’t been over .290 since he stepped into the batter’s box for the third time in a game against the Indians on April 8. Any momentum from his quality June (.317/.349/.463) has been sapped by a poor July (.186/.226/.322).
Carlos Quentin: Quentin is 2-for-18 so far this second half, which isn’t necessarily telling with the way he runs hot and cold. His health is the bigger issue, as a lefty bat would force him to play the field basically every day, and one wrong step could force Mandruw Kojones to be everyday people. The kind you won’t love.
Them’s a lot of problems for one guy to solve — especially if said guy isn’t going to be around next year. These problems will likely follow the Sox into 2011, and they’d theoretically find themselves in the same situation all over again.
Trace this back to February, and this is what was wrought when the Sox bypassed Jim Thome. Williams and Ozzie Guillen put together an offense whose sole virtue, if everything broke right, was a lack of holes. Obviously that hasn’t happened, and while one big bat might be able to cover up a leak in the lineup, it can’t do anything for the one that has sprung in the rotation.
Now, if another team needs to shed a couple million, the Sox should open the wallet. Alas, the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins have similar needs, so that lessens the chances of Williams getting lucky on the waiver wire. This is the hand he’s dealt himself. It might make for a frustrating final two months, but the Sox gotta dance with who they came to the dance with.
Regarding Hudson, this post got a little too long to launch into another screed, so expect a post later this afternoon.
Minor league roundup:
- Charlotte 3, Indianapolis 2
- Alejandro De Aza went 2-for-4, but was caught stealing.
- Brent Morel was 1-for-4.
- Lucas Harrell was solid, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings, with no walks and two strikeouts.
- Birmingham 4, West Tenn 1
- Charles Leesman threw six shutout innings. Better yet? No walks. He allowed four hits while striking out three.
- Kyle Bellamy allowed a run on two hits and two walks over an inning, with a strikeout.
- Potomac 13, Winston-Salem 3
- Terry Doyle allowed a run on six hits and four walks over six innings, striking out four.
- Jon Gilmore was 0-for-2 with a walk and an HBP.
- Brandon Short went 1-for-4, Jose Martinez 0-for-4.
- Kannapolis 2, Asheville 0
- The Intimidators faced the minimum, with Ryan Buch allowing just a single over seven innings, striking out five. Here’s a story on it.
- Kyle Colligan, Nick Ciolli and Brady Shoemaker were all 1-for-4.
- Tyler Saladino walked and struck out three times.
- Miguel Gonzalez was hitless, striking out once over three ABs; Juan Silverio doubled.
- Pulaski 5, Bristol 1
- Rangel Ravelo was 2-for-4; the rest of the lineup was limited to three singles.
- Great Falls 8, Idaho Falls 7
- Steven Upchurch survived, allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks over five innings, striking out two.
- Ross Wilson singled twice, walked and struck out twice.