As I had mentioned in my last post, Edwin Jackson has been rumored to be going places come the trade deadline, with the White Sox reportedly shopping him in exchange for a third baseman. Well, maybe E-Jax took the rumors to heart, as today he delivered one of his finest performances of the season, a complete-game, 101-pitch shutout of the Tigers. I don’t totally renege on my stance that I wouldn’t be sorry to see him go, but if he could pitch like this more often…well, now you’re talking.
More importantly, Jackson’s brilliance couldn’t have come at a better time. Two games after the All-Star break, and the White Sox are two wins richer. Considering that last week we couldn’t even beat the cellar-dweller Royals, it’s nice to see signs that the team’s ineptitude against the division rivals might come to a close. I know, I know, it’s just two games, but 13 runs over two games versus the mighty Tigers? That’s as good a sign as any. (Unfortunately, Justin Verlander is also on my fantasy baseball team. Last night’s performance coupled with Bartolo Colon’s implosion against the Blue Jays has my team’s ERA for the week sitting at an ugly 9.00.)
Today, both the Sox and Tigers donned throwback uniforms in tribute to the Negro Leagues. My first thought upon seeing the baggy blue pinstripes was that these are positively hideous, but it is always kind of cool to see a team honor those before them. Here are some pictures courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. Decide for yourself.
If you are not one of the 144,873 people in the world who follows Ozzie Guillen on Twitter, I strongly suggest you become one as quickly as you can say, “Tweet!” The White Sox manager doesn’t exactly divulge details of his personal life or the operations of the club, but the comedy quota is no less than you would expect, if for no other reasons other than his excellent spelling and grammar. Here I present to you, seven days of Ozzie in 140 characters or less. In italics are the context of the tweet, but in no way did I edit the tweets themselves. Believe me, I could not possibly dream of some of these typos.
Sunday, May 29: [Ozzie objects to how the Chicago Tribune quoted him in an article and questions the author’s ethics] The should print and said everything I said thas low blow and imrresponsable no clas followed by I have the enterviu on tape I whish I can sue then thas a very low blow
Monday, May 30: [Ozzie greatly appreciates former Red Sox and White Sox batting coach Walt Hriniak for a multitude of specific lessons.] This man teach me about life about hitting a lot good thing tanks walter
Tuesday, May 31: [Roger Bossard, with two s’s, is the White Sox’ head groundskeeper. He makes the Cell look as pristine as it does.] Thanks roger bosard to make my house luck nice buddy love ya
The White Sox lost a brutal 14-inning game to the Blue Jays today in which, as per norm, the offense went dead in the clutch. While losses are never fun, this one was not exactly catastrophic. Our guys battled back to tie it in the ninth, but in the end, as always seems to happen, the bats fell asleep. Not happy, but not much different than what we’ve been treated to this whole season.
Tell that to Ozzie.
“It went from a very good game to a very horse[bleep] game. Good game because we come back and battled back, but after the ninth inning, we [bleeping] stink. Flat out stink. We get back there, very excited in the ninth inning, base hit with two out with [Konerko]. After that we’re horsebleep.”
“Our offense [bleeping] sucks after the ninth. They [the players] can say whatever they [bleeping] want to say. For nine innings, they battled, 3-0 battled back, back in the game. Down again. After the ninth inning, they all sucked.”
“I’m drained now. I feel like I’m in September right now. You can ask my coaches. We feel the same way. And we’re not even in [bleeping] June.”
Typically, I find Ozzie’s rants amusing, but I think that this one only highlights his inability to motivate his club. This rant sounds extremely similar the ones given in late ’09 and ’10: calling out his players, saying he can’t take anymore, blah blah blah. What all those two periods have in common is that after the tirades, the team’s performance did not improve; in fact, it got worse. I know this is Ozzie’s way of “motivating” the boys, but I wish he would realize that it hasn’t worked in the past.
Hoping third time’s the charm, but wishing it didn’t come to this today.
Ah, NY traffic. Getting to the Stadium yesterday for the Yanks-ChiSox game wasn’t a picnic, with lots of rush-hour traffic on the Deegan. Getting home wasn’t exactly fun either, since the Yankees traffic directors force you to spend an extended amount of time in a not-so-nice part of the Bronx before finally hitting the highway back home.
But I don’t care. The ChiSox got a win! And, more excitingly, the bullpen did not cough it up!
Humber was fantastic, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning. I was hoping that he would maintain the no-no into the ninth, so that Ozzie could not take him out and we would not have to go to *gasp* the bullpen. (I have absolutely ZERO faith in our bullpen at this point, and I know that’s bad. I can’t wish for an October run and bash the oh-so-crucial bullpen at the same time.) But Humber gave up a hit to A-Rod in the seventh, so to start the eighth, out trotted Chris Sale. He did not blow it, to my relief.
Then came Sergio Santos…
Granderson-A-Rod-Teixiera, a 2-0 ChiSox lead, and a crazy Stadium crowd in the bottom of the ninth. My heart was pounding as it was, and then Granderson hit a leadoff single. I buried my head in my sweatshirt, and looked up just in time to see Granderson steal second. The crowd went nuts, and since they were so loud that no one could hear me, I yelled “NOOOOOO!!!!” I could see it now…a two-run shot by A-Rod…out trots Thornton…a solo walk-off shot by Teixeira…my imagination went nuts. But no! Three more quick outs! A win! A win! A win!
Then we got to sit for 45 minutes in traffic immeshed in the dark Bronx streets not completely sure where we were going. But once we got onto a well-lit highway, I forgot about that. Because…
WHITE SOX WON!!
Tonight’s first pitch is in less than 5 minutes. Let’s do it again, boys.
Sometimes I’m glad I don’t get White Sox games on TV. I just see the score flash across the bottom of ESPN, and I don’t know how they won or lost, I just know that they won or lost. When I saw A’s 7, White Sox 4, Final 10, I initially thought “Ugh, another extra-innings game.” I didn’t realize that the bullpen was that miserable, until good ol’ Ozzie brought it up in a trademark rant. Honestly, Matt Thornton? Four blown saves in four opportunities? That is not only killing the White Sox, that is killing my fantasy team. His 20.25 ERA this week–yes, I said TWENTY POINT TWO FIVE–is putting my team’s ERA through the roof. But, it’s not about my fantasy team. It’s about the White Sox’ 7-5 record looking a lot worse than it actually is, since it should be at least 9-3. Ozzie suggested bringing back Bobby Thigpen. Hey, why not? Thigpen’s only 47, and last I checked, Jamie Moyer pitched until he was like 75 or something. Either way, Ozzie’s gotta do something. I’m not sure I can survive a season of this.
In happier news, yesterday, I designed and purchased the coolest t-shirt ever from CustomInk.com. Groaning to my mother that there are no witty or remotely funny White Sox shirts for sale, she suggested I design one myself, so I did. It reads “This Girlie Loves Buehrle.” Ok, I admit that I stole that saying from a 7-year-old I read about in the New York Times, but I am not ashamed. My shirt should look like the design below and will come in two weeks. I can’t wait to wear it.
All of the members of the 2005 champion squad have a special place in my heart, but Scott Podsednik, or Scotty Pods, holds an even bigger spot than most. He wasn’t flashy, but he hit for average (an overrated stat that I’m a sucker for nonetheless) and stole a LOT of bases. After returning to the Sox in ’09, he went to KC for part of the ’10 season, then spent the rest of the year with the Dodgers…but now where is he?
A simple search on MLB.com reveals that Scotty is now in…Canada.
Yes, he is a Blue Jay, playing sparingly this spring due to a nasty case of plantar fasciitis, a fancy term for swollen heel tissue. He has appeared in one game so far, drawing two walks, scoring a run, and, of course, stealing a base. Not even a messed-up foot will stop him from running.
I hope he gets his foot problems in order soon and goes back to being the consistent player the South Side fondly remembers him as. I also hope he doesn’t get too fat off of all of that delicious maple syrup they have up there over the border.
In other news, Jake Peavy appears to be indomitable, with not even the flu stopping him from making his scheduled start today against the A’s. When I had the flu a couple years back, I didn’t want to walk from the couch to the television, let alone throw a baseball 40 times. But I guess he really values getting out there on a regular basis. But what if Peavy suddenly vomits on the mound, or something equally horrifying/disgusting? Ozzie’s not quite sure what to do next. In his always honest manner, he said, “Anyone own a White Sox uniform?”
I never like waking up in the morning feeling sore, but I’ve also never pitched a major league baseball game. I guess after a few innings of work, albeit in a spring training game, you do get sore, and it’s not a bad thing. Unless you happened to have recently undergone surgery to reattach a muscle to your bone, then you might be more paranoid about soreness than the average pitcher.
Thankfully, Peavy was sore in what he deemed to be appropriate places, so his continued rehab will go according to plan: a simulated game today and a start on Wednesday. I am very pleased. With every pitch, Peavy is closer to returning sooner than anticipated (originally the target date was July 14, the first date after the All-Star break). While our rotation is strong, it’s always nice to have another guy to help shoulder the load. (Excuse the pun. I’ve been hanging out with theater kids for the past two weeks.)
Ozzie, as always, has something to say after the Sox have opened spring with an ugly 1-5 record. Apparently, if things do not come together soon, he will begin “throwing people under the bus.” In Ozzie-speak, that means sending people down. Candidates look like Dallas McPherson, who partnered with that obscene Mark Teahen to commit three errors at third in the last game, and Brent Lillibridge, who killed a potential rally by getting picked off at first. I know it’s only spring, but tension already seems to be in the air. Maybe they just need to get the jitters out of their system before the run to the division crown? I hope…