Harsh Royality

There was one pitch that Jake Peavy made on Saturday night that almost convinced me to write.
It was his 110th pitch of the night.  On an 0-1 count to Jose Guillen, Peavy unleashed the running fastball from hell.  It started in the left-handed batter’s box, and broke back over the outside corner, knee high, at 94 m.p.h. to put Guillen in the hole.  Three pitches later, Peavy made Guillen fish on a cutter low and outside for the first out of the ninth.
But I wasn’t going to buy it.
That’s to take nothing away from Peavy, who, on Saturday night, was everything the White Sox haven’t been all season — energetic, resilient, proud, handsome, free and tall.  But we had seen this act before — an inspiring victory, followed by efforts nearly worthy of the squatting dog.
Sadly, Sunday afternoon was going to tell us a lot more than Saturday night.  They should have beaten Brian Bannister, a guy they always hit well. They should have taken two of three from the Royals, especially since Zack Greinke wasn’t pitching.
They didn’t.
So we’re at the point where we can no longer say the Sox “should have” done anything to make up ground.  And Kenny Williams knows it.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A one-word text response spoke volumes.
Asked on Saturday if he was ”losing patience,” general manager Ken Williams waited a good 10 minutes to fire back: ”Yes.”

And the vultures are starting to circle, as the Rangers have inquired about A.J. Pierzynski, who at least had the courtesy to back me when some had challenged my claim that he was a bad baserunner.
It’s about time, really.  It’s getting to the point where the rationalizations are razor-thin at best.  Look at Mark Kotsay:

”I don’t think anybody in here has the answers to why we haven’t had success,” Sox veteran Mark Kotsay admitted before the rain-delayed second game of the Royals series. ”Because if you put them all down on paper, put the numbers down and throw down the average years for each individual in here and you get that from everyone, you would assume that we would win the division.”

Just for giggles, career OPSes:

And when you consider how many of those White Sox ones are on the way down, there are no two ways about it. This team, she is flawed.
I have to get up early for golf, but I’ll have more on where the Sox stand tomorrow, as they try to embark on yet another one-game roll.
********************************
Minor league roundup:

  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 7, Charlotte 6
    • Dayan Viciedo went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI.
    • Jordan Danks doubled, tripled and struck out twice.
    • Tyler Flowers walked and struck out over four at-bats; C.J. Retherford doubled.
    • Jeff Marquez allowed three unearned runs on six hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out three and induced 10 groundouts.
    • Alan Embree allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in the time it took him to retire two batters.  At least he struck out both of them.
  • Birmingham 9, Montgomery 0 (7 innings)
    • Brent Morel went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a walk.
    • Christian Marrero went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
    • Nice game for Matt Long, who allowed just a hit over six innings, striking out seven.
  • Winston-Salem 6, Lynchburg 4
    • Nathan Jones worked around a lot of hits: 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.
    • Dan Remenowsky struck out two over a perfect ninth.
    • Jon Gilmore hit his first homer of the season, part of a 2-for-5 day.
    • Brandon Short drew his fourth walk of the season, part of a 2-for-4 day.
    • Justin Greene walked, struck out and stole his 10th base.
  • Kannapolis 7, Hickory 1
    • Justin Collop allowed one run on three hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out just one.
    • Jimmy Ballinger and Ryan Buch each worked a scoreless inning. Buch allowed a hit and struck out a batter.
    • Miguel Gonzalez went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.
    • Brady Shoemaker went 2-for-4 with a strikeout.
    • Trayce Thompson went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
    • Kyle Colligan wore the collar and a silver sombrero.
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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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matt

Yeah, the first thing I thought of when I saw AJ make that incredibly ill-advised attempt at 1st to 3rd was, “that should remove all doubt.” That 2nd inning had potential, but was mucked up something fierce by the baserunning. I know it’s not technically possible to lose a game in the 2nd inning, but I sure felt like they were done after that.
Although Teahen did make a nice barehanded pick at one point. Kind of feels like congratulating a Starbucks barista for making a cup of coffee, but gotta start somewhere.

knoxfire30

How many outs is a team that consistently cant get on base going to make when they actually do get aboard? Bannister was completely on the ropes and he is bailed out by stupid ass baserunning by AJ then some ill advised steal attempts.
It just isnt happening, noone is playing to par and noone has a simple reason why, we have way to many guys on the wrong side of their career norms and only one guy really outproducing his (alex rios) isnt enough to compensate.
And for those keeping track, Frank Thomas insisted gil meche was occassionally the best right hand pitcher in the game, gavin floyd has the best breaking ball in the game, and that mark kotsay isnt just a good player he is a “great” player. If thats the standard that Kotsay is great what does that make Pujols or Mauer? Must be something Hawk and Frank are sharing in the booth I use to think it was jack daniels but now it has to be some mythical happy juice or something.

Shinons

Ha, and last week Pujols was calling Homer Baily “amazing.” Even though it’s probably time to fire Ozzie, I sure do love the fact that he’ll just call a guy a horseshit ballplayer.

brent

Sox DHs entered Sunday with sub-.220 batting averages and .554 OPS. The Padres pitchers have .593 OPS.

fustercluck

Rays just DFAed Pat Burrel (.625 OPS). Go get ’em, Kenny.

blah

We could always trade for Zambrano as well. Peavey and Beckham should do it, right guys?

soxicano

I would rather bring up Dayan Viciedo and Jordan Danks and not trade AJ Pierzinski to try to upgrade the hitting. Send to minors Nyx or Beckham and/or Quentin. A.J. is too valuable to trade and to only receive moderate prospects in return. Do this if and/or when the team falls ten games under .500 and morphs into the cellar dweller they are heading towards. No way Ozzie can be blamed for Pierzinski, Quentin, and Beckham’s slumping season. This is a freak underperformance by too many hitters, more like a bad spell, not a reflection of managerial failures. If anything Ozzie’s style of grinder ball inspired decisions to bring guys to White Sox like Juan Pierre and Alex Rios, even Andruw Jones as DH.

bigfun

Danks is not hitting well in AAA and Viciedo can only hit lefties. Why would you call them up now? Neither improves the team. They should be developing for 2011.
I wouldn’t blame Ozzie for the slumping hitters, but Pierre and Vizquel are probably partly his fault, as are the dreadful lineups. The Cheat summed it up well on South Side Sox:
“While Ozzie certainly deserves some blame for his influence over the roster construction, the final decision ultimately should come down to Kenny Williams. And when Williams passed the buck to allow Guillen to make the final decision on Thome, he essentially said ‘I’m tired of arguing with you (Ozzie) and making tough decisions. Here’s enough rope to go hang yourself.'”
http://www.southsidesox.com/2010/5/16/1474781/white-sox-drop-series-to-royals#storyjump

soxfan1

I wrote 10 days ago that the Sox should back up the truck and start to prepare for next year. Anyone else with me now????
For the record, I’d resign &/ or keep: AJ, Konerko, Beckham, Rios & Pierre.
I’d dump & try to replace: Quentin, Teahen (yeah I know about his contract), Ramirez, Floyd, Jenks.

blah

Make a case for it.
Beckham, Rios & Pierre are all signed through at least next season anyway.
Who would replace Ramirez, Floyd & Quentin? No real depth for ss in the minors. Floyd is having early season struggles and will probably return to form and if not, there is next season. I hate to use the “if,” but IF Quentin comes back to some balance of 08 & 09 then the Sox have a decent option for dh/rf.
And please don’t say “some prospects” because that is a cop out and doesn’t further the discussion.
I agree that a lot of these problems go back to the offseason. Signing Thome and O-Dog probably would have done a lot to take the pressure off of Beckham and Quentin in the lineup. While in principle I absolutely hate Pierre, I do understand the trade over signing Pods so I won’t totally trash this move. In and of itself these moves could have increased productivity for the top and middle of the lineup and probably would have meant Teabag was still in KC and we would be scoring more runs and it would allow Ozzie to add in Jones if Pierre was more effective.
All MO though.

bigfun

All of your dump/replaces are sell-lows, and I don’t understand the reasoning behind most of them.
I don’t see any reason to keep AJ. He’s only going to get worse from here on out and the Sox have a great replacement that is major-league ready.
If Konerko wants to sign for 1-2 years at $6 million per, that’s fine. Otherwise the Sox would be better off taking advantage of the oversaturated 1B market.
Try to move Pierre, but there probably won’t be too many interested teams. He’ll probably be here through the end of next year.
Quentin has no trade value. Re-sign him for one year this offseason. His arbitration cost should stay pretty flat if he continues to hit poorly this year.
Teahen’s not going anywhere. Try to find other spots for him to play, platoon him with the bench infielders, and hope that Morel is ready by late 2010 or the beginning of 2011.
Ramirez continues to be underrated. If he continues to have a down year, re-sign him early next year for 2012 and 2013 at a bargain price.
Floyd: ERA 7.00, FIP 3.92. Easy, easy, easy keeper. If he wasn’t already locked up this would be a great time to get a team-friendly deal.
Jenks: If his ERA returns to where his FIP is, trade him. Otherwise probably have to non-tender him at the end of the year, as his paychecks and performances have been going in opposite directions.

blah

I tried to turn it back on the guy to defend his POV, but your way works too.

bigfun

wrote that before I saw your response; I agree with your points as well

Shinons

My personal white flag is waving. Headed into the KC series I wrote that if we didn’t win it, I’d be ready to see us look to the future.
Seeing how many games we’ve lost by just a run or two, it kills me to think how many wins Jim Thome might be worth to this team. If we do nothing else between now and next spring, we have GOT to get a big lefty masher. I don’t care who it is, just so long as he makes life slightly unpleasant for opposing RHP.

striker

Rockies were 14-22 at this time last year and they still made the playoffs. They did however fire Hurdle.

blah

They could hit though.

matt

And they could field. And they could pitch. And they didn’t seem to make dramatic baserunning SNAFU’s. Right now, the Sox only have maybe one of those things going for them, or partial credit on two of them.
As a Rockies fan, the problem was that we knew we were good. We had a lot of good young players that we’re getting jerked around by Hurdle. The lineup seemingly changed everyday. When he was gone, the team settled down and started clicking. But it goes back to having the talent on the team. Right now, the Sox are just bringing knives to gunfights.
But the biggest reason the Rockies made the playoffs after last year’s slow start? They play in the NL, which means that they didn’t have to deal with the holy AL East trinity who have the wild card in a death grip. Only way the Sox make it is by winning the Central, and that really doesn’t look likely.

fustercluck

Knives to gunfights? That’s not the Chicago Way.

matt

Exactly.

knoxfire30

I really dont like exceptions to the rule, rule is you start out this bad you arent making the playoffs, its time to prepare for that, especially with 10 and 5 rights kicking in soon on a couple guys.

soxicano

It is true that last year Sox were at about this record, then they won a few series, got to about 5 games over .500, Buehrle pitched the perfect game, and then sunk back to below .500. Just because they are below .500 now doesn’t mean they will remain so. Just because they stink in the first half doesn’t mean they will in the second half. Nor does it mean Minnesota and Detroit will continue to play like they are. Afterall the only consistent pattern I have seen is that when september rolls around, you better be real good, because it doesn’t matter how good you were, but how good you are come then.

soxicano

Remember how stinky Rios was for the first 40 Sox games of his career. Now look at him.

bigfun

But he’s the exception on this team – a guy in his prime with a proven track record who last year was playing well below his actual talent. Most of the Sox hitters are either past their prime, lacking a proven track record, or (tragically) both.

bigfun

Last year they were five games back with neither Detroit nor Minnesota looking particularly dominant. Over the offseason the Twins got significantly better while the White Sox were treading water. This year they’re eight games back. Very different situation.
Yes, we don’t know for sure what will happen. Teams get hot or lucky and unexpected things happen. But it’s not nearly as uncertain as you’re suggesting. There are not enough players on the team, particularly on the offense, who are playing well below their projected or career level.
A week ago Knox estimated how good the Sox would have to play if the Twins merely were .500 the rest of the year, and he came up with 74-54. The odds of this team playing that kind of baseball are really, really small.

blah

And if last year is the gold standard for Sox success….

striker

This years records is the results of:
1. Poor starting pitching
2. Poor relief pitching
3. Poor hitting
This organization has no depth, so rebuilding doesn’t make sense.
No one could predict that 6 weeks into the season Peavy, Buerhle and Floyd would have ERAs over 5.
No one could predict that our team would be batting .229.
No one could predict that Santos would be our best pitcher.
At this point we might as well keep the team together. See if they can make things interesting and make moves after the season, when we REALLY know what our problems are. At this point everyone sucks so bad that we don’t know truly what our problems are. Trading 20 players doesn’t make sense so you have to play it out.

bigfun

I’d scratch #2 from that list. White Sox relievers have the best K/9 in baseball and range from OK to good in most other categories. If they look worse than they really are, some of the blame goes to Ozzie for misusing several of them.
I agree though that there’s not a lot of good trade options right now. Jones is the only definite one.

blah

I predicted that the Sox hitting would be awful. So did a lot of other people when the best acquisition was Mark Teahen.
Hitting was awful last year and they got rid of their best bat in terms of OPS (Thome).

therestoomuchlove

The off-season was baffling and pretty much everyone saw the offensive struggles coming. The major moves they could make now would be symbolic at best–firing Walk, etc.–and there isn’t much benefit in panicking and calling up prospects who aren’t ready. This season may be toast in terms of playoff contention, but it’s still important this early to field the most competitive team possible, win games (especially in front of home crowds), and hope to identify who’s just in a slump and who actually is, as Ozzie would say, “a very horseshit player.”

hillerichnbragsby

Speaking of horseshit: Guillen heads the list. Over the last 4+ seasons, the SOX actually have a losing record, and considering all the new faces that have come aboard and old ones “given” away, this mess starts/remains/ends with Guillen and Williams. Williams for insane personnel changes and Guillen for ridiculous on the field moves (or in the case of their starting pitching – no moves at all) and the formula for this team was beyond obvious last season when OG threw in the towel BEFORE the SOX were eliminated from the race. In the days of not long ago, no team/player/manager quit before they were eliminated from contention. Before the SOX do anything, they need to get rid of Guillen, bring in a knowledgeable baseball talent at manager and THEN rebuild the manure pile that Guillen and Williams have made out of this team. And if KW can’t pull his head out of his ass, replace him. Just don’t take too long to do so. Reinsdorf needs to quit thinking of LeBron and the Bulls and buying an NHL Franchise and start paying attention to one of the longest established MLB franchises in existence – or perhaps he thinks that SOX fans will always be there no matter what. Sorry Jerry – this is not the Cubbies. SOX fans want and deserve more than you are giving them. Wake up!