As I’ve mentioned before, one of the reasons that I love Mark Buehrle so much is because of all of the strange distinctions he holds. He’s the first pitcher in World Series history to start and save consecutive games. He is one of only two pitchers in history who allowed seven runs in the first inning yet went on to win the game. (The other was Jack Powell in 1900.) And now, for the record books, Mark Buehrle has become the all-time winningest interleague pitcher, with 24 wins acquired during interleague play.
I know, I know, I am clearly on the record as a hater of interleague play. But this distinction is yet another quirky facet to Buehrle’s already unusual resume. Now I can tell my kids that as a teenager, my favorite player was not Albert Pujols or Derek Jeter, no way. Nope, it was Mark Buehrle, who topped the likes of Jamie Moyer and Freddy Garcia to become the winningest pitcher in a stupid period of baseball history known as interleague play.
Has a lovely ring to it, don’t you think?
Oh, and I finally decided to take advantage of this WordPress conversion by replacing the MLBlogs theme with one of the WordPress themes. What do you think of my new look? Tell me in the comments; I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Well, it’s been a busy couple of days in ChiTown, starting with the fact that Alexei has reportedly signed a four-year extension worth $32.5 million. This makes me very, very happy. I had been skeptical about Alexei for quite some time, but last season, when he won a Silver Slugger and should have won a Gold Glove, he convinced me that he was more than worthy of being our shortstop.
Another tidbit of news is that Freddy Garcia will not be rejoining the ChiSox. Instead, he signed a minor league deal with the Yankees, leaving me to wonder what exactly the Yankees are doing. I realize Freddy won 12 games last year, which isn’t anything to sneeze at, but these are not the Yankees my father introduced me to when I was little. First Bartolo Colon and now Freddy? The Yankees always signed the best, the brightest, and the most worthy. As a member of the ’05 squad, not to mention the pitcher who I saw when my dad took me to my first baseball game, Freddy will always hold a place in my heart, but I think even his most ardent supporters can agree that his best days are most likely well behind him.
I see on the Detroit Free-Press website that The Sporting News picked the ChiSox to edge the Tigers in AL Central this year. Even though it’s still very early, I like the sound of that, especially because the Twins aren’t involved in the equation. This is probably irrational on my part, but I hate the Twins much more than I hate the Tigers. I’m not quite sure why. So if the Twins are the ones to be clawing and scrapping this year, I will be very pleased.
Yet, sadly, I will not be able to see my boys on their march to the division crown. This summer, I will be turning sixteen, and I was planning on making my first pilgrimage to the Cell in honor of this occassion. Unfortunately, I recently learned that that will not be possible for several reasons. One is that my mother hates flying, and is refusing to come with my father and I. Since I will be away on a retreat on my actual birthday, the trip would be my birthday celebration, and I cannot imagine celebrating my 16th without my mom. Secondly, I know that next year, I will want to head out to Chicago to visit Northwestern and the University of Chicago as part of my college search, and it’s probably smarter to pay for the airfare when I absolutely need to go. That’s not to say I’m not disappointed. I’ve been a fan for six years, but I’ve yet to see my guys on their home turf. But I know I’ll get out there someday. For now, I’ll have to settle for their Memorial Day match against the Red Sox at Fenway. I’ll still be their biggest supporter, even if I’m in the wrong part of the country.
What a surprise…more snow. I look out my window and see a gray sky and more of this white slush. I need to move to Florida.
However, in my head this is a countdown keeping me sane. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and in 5 days, ChiSox pitchers and catchers will descend on Glendale, Ariz. to begin their run at the AL Central crown.
Yes, you read that above sentence correctly. The same White Sox who rolled over down the stretch last season will be playing in October, mainly due to the pitching staff. Don’t get me wrong, I have complete faith that Gordon Beckham will not face a sophomore slump and that PK can make this a year to remember, but they certainly do not boast the best lineup in baseball. However, I will make a strong argument that they have one of the best 1-2 pitching punches around. Discounting SF’s Lincecum-Cain and Boston’s Beckett-Lester (in my opinion, putting Lackey in the #2 spot is a mistake, but I digress), who tops Peavy-Buehrle? New York’s Sabathia-Burnett? I’m not going to go as far to say that Peavy is better than Sabathia, but if Peavy can perform like he did in his three starts at last season’s end (3-0, 1.35 ERA), we might have ourselves an argument.
As for Mark Buehrle…everyone feels the need to remind me of his collapse after the perfecto, as if that didn’t pain me too along with all other ChiSox fans everywhere. I will continue to argue that MB is a low-key guy, and the fanfare in Chicago (Mark Buehrle Day? Really?) overwhelmed him. More importantly, I will point to his first half stats, when he made the All-Star team with a spiffy 10-3 record. We all know what MB is capable of, and with all reminders of his perfecto pretty much gone (though I would suggest to the webmasters at whitesox.com that the link to his perfect game highlights should be removed…It was nearly 7 months ago. No one cares anymore.) I’m looking forward to seeing him in the All-Star game once more.
Backing up those two are John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Freddy Garcia. Personally, I favor Dan Hudson over Garcia, but I think Freddy’ll be fine for now. Danks and Floyd are solid third and fourth starters, and with a better bullpen behind them, their win totals should significantly improve. Which leads me to ah, the bullpen. Still not totally confident here, though I do like the addition of JJ Putz. I think that the addition of him significantly improved the middle relief corps, taking the load off of Matt Thornton. As for Jenks, I’m hoping some of Ozzie’s insults got to him and he lost some of the pounds (not to mention shaved that hideous goatee. Won’t help his pitching at all, but may make him look slightly less…AJ-ish. The less bleached hair on a team, the better). He belongs in the closer’s elite, where he looked to be heading before last season.
Only five more days, five more days, five more days…