Magazines and batting issues

The Minnesota Twins are on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but the Chicago White Sox are worthy of the magazine treatment, too.

While watching the White Sox get shut out by former farmhand Gio Gonzalez and the Oakland A’s, Joe Posnanski had the temerity to tweet that his story on Jim Thome and the Minnesota Twins is the cover story for the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.
Oh yeah? Big deal. The Twinkies aren’t the only AL Central coverboys of popular sporting magazines:

I’ve only played Tucson’s municipal courses, so I’m especially interested in this issue.
Move over, Matt Thornton’s forearm and Bobby Jenks’ also forearm, because Gavin Floyd’s shoulder is the new tightness!
Sorry. Shoulder tightness cut Floyd’s start short after just seven pitches, and it might end his season along with it:

“I’m not going to go and pitch Gavin again unless he’s 200 percent [healthy],” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I’m not going to listen to him say ‘Oh, I feel OK.’ Nah, I’m not taking that chance. If we take that chance, all of a sudden we regret it.” […] “It felt like it progressively got inflamed more and more,” Floyd said. “It felt like it wasn’t getting better. I felt it every pitch and it’s one of those things that you [hope] is nothing serious, which I don’t think it is. It’s one of those things you don’t want to get too serious.”

The silver lining is that Floyd’s shoulder makes stomaching the Minnesota sweep easier. Even if the Sox attempted to challenge the Twins, they would have been simply too short-handed to do so now.
But on the worrisome side, this is the second straight season an injury has cut his September in half. On Sept. 16 of last year, Floyd left a start against Seattle after three innings due to some hip discomfort. So now after throwing 209 1/3 innings in 2008, he’s seen that number drop two years in a row (193 and 187 1/3). At least the Sox were out of contention each time.
Tony Pena will likely get his remaining starts, and that should be fascinating to watch. The two times he’s been presented an opportunity to work deep into games, he’s taken advantage of it. Monday night was effectively his second quality start of the season, even if it doesn’t count as such.
I know Pena has few fans around here, but there’s some solace in the fact that he’s essentially D.J. Carrasco. Carrasco was a better pitcher, but the Sox went 18-31 in his appearances; the Sox are 17-33 when Pena pitches this year. And unless Pena is the next one dragged down by the Tight Ness Monster (sorry, again), he should eclipse Carrasco’s innings total last year.
A D.J. Carrasco ain’t worth Brandon Allen, I know, but there’s value in having a guy in the bullpen who will happily and effectively chew up three, four, seven innings in a pinch. It might not be the utility the Sox envisioned when they traded for him, but at least he’s good for something.
You know, besides helping snap an 0-for-34 career-starting drought. I’m looking at you, Scott Linebrink.

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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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As Cirensica

Just dropped Gavin from my Fantasy team…picked up Kevin Slowley. At least, the Twins appears to know how to win games more often than not even when Mauer does not play (See last night’s clobbering against the Indians sans Mauer, Morneau, and Kubel…3 of Twins more efficient sluggers). Yes, it appears the WhiteSox needs a big overhaul. I cannot stand another season with Carlos Quentin. I just dislike guys that appear to swing the bat powerfully “to see what they get”. I am sorry, but when a guy like Wilson Betemit out slug you (BY A LOT), then you are worth Kotsay status. I don’t want Tony Pena back. Yes, he is a good inning eater, but we need good pitchers, having inning eaters is a premise for a defeat. I don’t want Andruw Jones, and Mark Kotsay. I rather we go with an established DH rather than a bunch of broken bats….I wish we don’t have Linebrink. I wish we could trade Teahen away, but seems it’s a hard thing to do, then I wish Teahen getts an utility BENCH role. I wish we give Vizquel another year. He appears to have good influence in our infield…..sigh…it’s easy to be a GM by commenting blog’s articles. Are we gonna win a game again before the season ends?


Boy oh boy, I can sure why Kenny dumped Gio for Swisher! He looked totally awful last night. With gavin possibly hurt, maybe in the off-season, Kenny can package Infante, Morel and Sale for Gil Meche?


Swisher has been worth Gonzalez. I dont get what your trying to prove. Three young prospects were traded for one young highly productive player, of the three prospects 1 is good (gonzalez) and on the other side of the deal the young productive player was bad for one year but has been good if not great bouncing back for the last two.
When will people realize the initial swisher trade wasnt bad, it was the stupid sell low on the 2nd swisher trade that was a huge mistake?


Sorry, but the deal at the time made little sense. Recall that the intent of the trade was to get a centerfielder. Kenny, rebuffed by Hunter, and perhaps Rowand, made this deal out of frustration. The problem was, Swisher is a poor centerfielder.If you wanted just a hitter, he probably could have had one for a lot less that Gonzalez, Sweeny and De Los Santos, whom I feal one day will be a good pitcher. Heck, there were probably better CF options on the scrapheap (Mike Cameron). You are correct in that the second deal with the Yankees was awful.


The deal was to get better, swisher was young, cheaply signed, an attitude guy (which they wanted at the time), could play multiple positions, was an OBP machine ect ect. I make that deal 10 out of 10 times.


It was deferring to Ozzie’s preference that f’d KW in the second trade. I can’t find it but I read a report that after the playoffs KW went over and hugged Swisher and said Swish would come back next year and rake. Ozzie just didn’t want him here.


This can be looked at six ways to Sunday but perhaps the acquisition was the mistake – given it turned out they didn’t want him.
Interesting, at the time, the Yankees relegated him to the bench coming out of Spring training and were purportedly open to moving him.


OMG…I just noticed the second ‘sidebar’ story headline on the fake magazine cover!!!Hilarious!


Is Kenny going to chew out the SI editorial staff for “messing with White Sox business”?


Can someone explain to me why Herm gets a free pass?From Peavy to Floyd not a peep of negative press but when everyone is healthy – he’s the man. I suggest they immediately shut down Chris Sale – way too much risk with nothing to gain.


I was definitely a Brandon Allen fan, and bitter at Pena when he first came here. But he’s been great while getting jerked around and having his role constantly changed. I still really wish we had a big left handed bat in the farm and that Allen has great potential, but looking at Pena with the opportunity costs aside, he’s been great.

As Cirensica

I disagree with the part of Pena been great…..I am probably missing something, but I see a 4.87 ERA and 1.49 WHIP pitcher and 41 walks to 50 Ks ratio….rather mediocre. We were better off with Allen.


Well if you want to be basing a reliever’s worth based on ERA, that’s your call. There were a number of games where he put the team on his back and where without him we would have not have had a chance to win the game and gone deep in our bullpen in the process. After Peavy went down and we needed Hudson in the rotation, we had absolutely no one who was capable of doing that for us. I think that value goes a weeee bit further than his ERA.
And notice how right before I said “he’s been great” I said “looking at Pena with opportunity costs aside?” Brandon Allen was the opportunity cost.


And it seems as though it doesn’t take much to balloon the ERA of a reliever. One really bad inning here and there and a guy’s ERA can swell to 5.00.
I would also dare to say that the team’s dismal record when Pena pitches could have as much to do with the fact he’s called upon to clean up the starter’s messes or perform mop up duties when Chicago is getting blown out.
On an IP per appearance basis, he’s at 1.77, whereas guys like Sale, Jenks, Putz, Thornton, Santos, Threets, Williams, etc. are all hovering around 1.00. Ozzie has the luxury of using these guys as situational pitchers, in part because he has a long-reliever like Pena.

As Cirensica

You know why I dismiss Pena’s work? Because Guillen cannot use him in tight situations because he is not dependable (Only 1 hold in the whole season). The same goes with Linebrink. I am a also an enemy of pitchers that are called “inning eaters” because that is a preemptive thought of defeat. Having pitchers occupying roster spots for “losing situations” does not square well in my logic. That, to me, is the same as to concede defeat. It’s like bringing a mechanic with you in your long vacation trip to Nevada in your expensive Range Rover just in case “the Range Rover fails in the middle of the desert”. He will seat between your two kids in the rear seat and we will put plastic in the leather seats so it does not get stained with oily greasy stuff. That’s a loser mentality. If you buy a used Saturn with 250K miles (i.e. Pirates Pittsburgh), then yes, you are justified, bring that mechanic guy with you, but the WhiteSox is an expensive ride, it should have dependable pitchers everywhere. The Twins bring in to pitch ANYONE in the tightest situations because it’s a collective issue. The Twins or for that matter, good teams do not have 1 or 2 roster spots occupied by “pitchers for losing situations” or the so called “inning eaters”. What is that suppose to mean? My point is, in few words: If a pitcher is not worthwhile to bring in the 7th or 8th inning in a close game, then that pitcher shouldn’t be consider good or valuable. They are just Tony Penas or inning eaters….in other words mediocre pitchers as I said above.


Wow, that’s really great how you show stats. Holds are soooo useful. Did you watch the games?
If so, you might have remembered May 26, when Joe West threw out Buehrle in the 2nd for some bullshit balks – then Pena rode in and saved the day. Rather than blowing through our entire bullpen, Pena threw four great innings, put the team on his back, and gave us a chance to win – which we did 5-4. We would have lost that game were it not for Pena. Or perhaps the game Peavy got injured in? Going up against Jered Weaver, Pena came in and finished up the 2nd then gave us four more innings of one run ball – and we managed to beat the Angels. Or August 21, after we got screwed out of Edwin Jackson’s start because of Joe West’s douchery, Pena made an emergency start and went SEVEN innings – for a guy who was a reliever all season – Floyd for instance only went 7 innings in 38 percent of his starts – and another game that we’d be waving the white flag in, we won.
When you’re in a division race, and dug the kind of hole we did early in the season, pulling out those games you shouldn’t win matter – and we wouldn’t have without Pena. He deserves due credit. He won a hell of a lot more games for us this year than Brandon Allen did for the Diamondbacks.

As Cirensica

Shinons, Pena threw some good ball few times…way too few. He certainly put us in a win situations 3 or 4 times the whole season. I am not taking that away from him. Because he saved the day 3 or 4 times we should call him “good” pitcher? Pffft….the season is 162 games long, and a good pitcher should be good all season long. John Ely also had very good games (More than Pena), and he ended up in the minors (recently called up again). Look, I am only saying that Pena is a mediocre pitcher, subpar, below average. I am not saying he is not useful. I just disagree with some people, including our manager Guillen, that keep saying what a good job Pena has done for the WhiteSox. Is like saying, what a good job Mark Kotsay has done in the rotating DH scheme. By the way I do watch almost every WhiteSox game (I am watching A’s defeating us 5 x 2 in the 7th). It’s midnight here, and I work tomorrow. I have seen way too many times to Mr. Tony Pena come and allow 4 runs in a jiffy. I can’t remember an opportunity when Guillen brought in Pena or Linebrink in a 7th or 8th inning when winning a game by 1 run. Even when Putz and Thornton were down. Guillen preferred Sale, or Santos or even Jenks!!! Why is that? Because Pena will surely allow some runs. To me, Pena, Linebrink and Randy Williams are in the same bag…. Inning eater? pffft…I rather we have kept Octavio Dotel.


While Manny’s extra base power has been near nada in 50+ at bats he has 11 BB’s and an OBP over .400. A mini doubles/homers streak and his production becomes very good.
Meanwhile, Ozzie keeps trotting out our crappy starting catcher and his mere 14 BB’s. I can’t believe any sentiment exists to bring back A.J.
If Morel is consistently playing, so should Flowers.


If a “walk is as good as a hit” (which we know it’s not), then a HBP is certainly as good as a walk (if more painful). Which means, according to the logic of walks being the be-all, end-all of productivity, then Carlos Quentin, with his walks and HBP combined – not to mention his power – is a keeper.
Alexei Ramirez doesn’t walk very much either.
If a reason exists for ridding themselves of AJ – who calls a good game from behind the plate, does he not? – it would be his age and the probability of his production declining.
He’s overcome a protracted slump to finish the year with decent numbers for a catcher. I for one am not ready to show him the door just yet.