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Some of you may have been disappointed by Brent Lillibridge’s RBI “single” in Monday’s 6-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians. As well you should.
Not only did Lillibridge drive in his first and only run of the season with a 60-foot nubber — he needed Jhonny Peralta to mishandle it as well. Why didn’t Lillibridge make like a real Sox shortstop and call the official scorer during the game? There’s no way that should’ve counted.
However, it turns out that Lillibridge wasn’t in control of his destiny in his quest for immortality . Had that been ruled an error, Li’l Bridge would still have an uphill climb toward setting the record. As it turns out, somebody has beat him to it — and he’s playing right across town.
The Cubs’ Sam Fuld is up to 99 plate appearances without an RBI this season. But unlike Lillibridge, who used medium-range flyballs to pad his total, Fuld appears to be a victim of incredibly bad luck. He’s batting .280/.404/.354 this season.
Even more amazing, he’s 5-for-20 with RISP, but still doesn’t have an RBI. Maybe the Sox aren’t the only team that fails to treat second base as “scoring position.”
(It might also bring a new meaning to “being Chicagoed.”)
Cardboards Gods isn’t to blame. At the time, Lillibridge had more plate appearances than Fuld. Then Fuld started three straight games over the weekend, racking up 12 plate appearances to blow by everybody on that list. Such is the rapidly changing nature of ignominy.
So while the Lillibridge anti-fans might rue this day, it may turn out that he wouldn’t have had a shot at the title, anyway.
He’s just another Toby Hall, now. In 2007, Hall went 100 plate appearances with just one RBI. He racked up his first one on the Fourth of July, and didn’t get his next until after Labor Day. He finished the year with three in 120 plate appearances, which isn’t all that unique, as it’s been achieved 193 times.
If you want a real reason to get riled up — Lillibridge played the exact kind of game Ozzie Guillen wanted to see when Lillibridge was demoted to Charlotte in May. He slapped two infield singles, drew a walk and went from first to third on a hit-and-run. Guillen had urged Lillibridge to make better use of his speed instead of trying to muscle the ball past the outfielders, and maybe he’s heeded that call. He has only struck out once in 15 very sporadic plate appearance, which could serve as further proof.
It’ll still take a great spring for Lillibridge to overcome his poor first impression — or a Chris Getz injury, which is more likely. But his White Sox future, unlike his shot at infamy, is still alive, like it or not.
After notching his first major-league complete game, I think we can say that John Danks made good on his gamble.
Danks now has a career high in wins (13) to go along with a career high in innings (195 1/3). And while he’s regressed slightly in some peripherals (walks and strikeouts) and significantly in others (home run rate), the results are still remarkable for a guy who experienced a huge jump in innings the year before, and battled blister and circulation problems for an extended period of time.
One more start, and Danks will eclipse the 200-inning mark for the first time. That’s always an excellent thing for a pitcher to point to when making the case for more scratch.
(It should also erase the notion that Danks is nothing more than a good No. 4, aheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem.)
Danks declined the same offer Gavin Floyd accepted in the offseason — four years, $16 million — and it looks like he’ll be a little bit wealthier for it. Floyd is set to make $2.75 million next year, so $3 million for Danks might be a good baseline.
At South Side Sox, Larry had a great poll question: Who will be the White Sox’s scapegoat this coming offseason?
You can’t be someone who will be retained for the 2010 season. So that eliminates the coaching staff and front office. You also can’t be someone who has an unmovable contract. So Scott Linebrink will have to wait to take the fall for the 2011 season. Essentially, you’re looking at guys who are free agents to be or will be traded or are already gone.
Jermaine Dye is the leading vote-getter by a landslide, but I have a feeling about A.J. Pierzynski. The college football subplot is the kind of late-developing excuse that led to Nick Swisher’s departure. Plus, we know he has always bristled at any threat of reduced playing time, even if it’s for the greater good.
On the other hand, Dye has expressed discontent about his contract situation before, back in 2007 after the Sox worked out Mark Buehrle’s extension, so he’s one “the Sox were great to play for, except for that one time…” comment away from getting the Magglio Ordonez treatment.
The only difference is that Dye will have to initiate the backlash, since Guillen gave him a glowing review on Sunday.
*Guillen says his only regret is rushing Bartolo Colon and Jose Contreras at the start of the season. Honestly, I can’t think of many more from a personnel standpoint. I’d say he’s had a weaker year with words than anything else.
*A few days late with this, but Phil Rogers said “some baseball people” think that the Sox are interested in Carlos Zambrano, even if he might cost Jake Peavy. Scot Gregor mocked it — and rightly so. Pay no heed to the original report; I’m only linking to this for posterity. It could be the dumbest rumor of the offseason, and the offseason hasn’t even started yet.
*Mark Kotsay sounds like he’s leaning toward re-signing with the Sox, all things being equal. I’d be perfectly OK with that for the price of an Erstad.
*D.J. Carrasco is done for the year after straining his left hamstring while stretching. Evidently, Sox relievers can’t be trusted to get loose anymore.
Carrasco will fall short of his goal of 100 innings, but his lead in multiple-inning appearances appears to be safe. Carrasco is at 34, while Brian Bass is second with 30. He won’t be able to close that gap with less than a week to go.
*Oral Sox has a new podcast up.
*J.J. ponders the fifth starter spot.