July 31 Postgame – Bullpen and Offense Combine for Big Sox Win

What a day for the White Sox! They acquire Jake Peavy, lose their starter for tonight’s game in the process, only have the bullpen available against the Yankees’ offense, and they go on to win the game. The win puts Sox back into 2nd place and back in the A.L. Central race after losses by both the Tigers and Twins.

D.J. Carrasco had a rough start when he failed to cover 1B on what should have been an easy out on the first play of the game, but was decent enough in the next few innings. I normally criticize Ozzie Guillen for his bullpen choices, but I was very happy with the way it was managed. I’m not sure if Bobby Jenks was available tonight. I was at the game last night and was upset when Jenks wasn’t called in to close the game, but later learned he was out due to kidney stones. If he was available, I might have had Dotel pitch one less inning and fit Bobby in with a big lead before being thrown into another close situation. 
The Sox offense had a great approach tonight. They were down early, but still looked for base hits and didn’t try to solve everything with one big swing. The Sox also used speed with a double-steal (which included a successful steal of home) and took advantage of walks. Carlos Quentin also looked very good tonight. He seems to have started coming along recently and really boosted the offense with his home run (along with his double and walk). 
Overall, the Sox looked impressive with a big win against a very good team during tough circumstances!

White Sox Acquire Jake Peavy for Clayton Richard and Minor Leaguers (Russell, Poreda, Carter)

Wow! Kenny Williams comes from under the radar again and gets Jake Peavy [again]. This time he accepts! Just after the Twins and Tigers make big moves and the White Sox act like everything’s quiet…

I personally think this could be a steal. The only issue is Peavy’s injury, but he is making good progress and could be starting as soon as late August/early September. The Sox will need to use the likes of Torres, Colon, or Freddy Garcia to make up the time until then. D.J. Carrasco will start against the Yankees in place of Clayton Richard tonight (maybe the trade deadline should be a day off for all teams??). Podsednik-8, Beckham-6, Thome-DH, Konerko-1B, AJ-C, Quentin-LF, Kotsay-RF, Nix-SS, Getz-2B are starting against Mitre tonight. As you can see, Ozzie seems to really like Kotsay, and Ramirez is out after his injury in Minnesota. The real story tonight will be the Sox pitching against the Yankees’ hitters since it will be a complete bullpen effort tonight.
Back to the trade…Because of the injury, this has the potential to hurt the Sox in the short-term. If the Sox can hang tough until September, it may be brilliant. For the next couple years, the projected rotation looks great (Buehrle, Peavy, Floyd, Danks as the first 4). Richard has looked good recently but he probably wasn’t the answer. Considering the Sox could be getting an ace back, I think Kenny Williams may have really stolen this one.
(Note: I haven’t been blogging as much recently. I had some events and less times recently so I haven’t been doing post and pregame thoughts for every game, but will try to post when I have time and/or any big events happen)

July 28th Postgame – Buehrle Sets Record, But Sox Lose Game

The Sox lost another game in Minnesota tonight.

You don’t have a pulse if you didn’t have a nervous feeling while following this game. Buehrle lit up the sports world again as he brought a perfect game into the 6th inning, one start after making history against Tampa Bay. Mark still made history by breaking the major league record for consecutive batters retired when setting a new record at 45 (a streak that was snapped in the 6th after giving up a walk. The walk happened on a full count, and I thought Casilla swung at strike three, but the home plate umpire said he checked his swing). The previous record was held by a couple players, including teammate Bobby Jenks.

After the nostalgia was gone, the Twins went to work. Actually, I should say “the team that possesses the White Sox whenever they play in Minnesota” went to work. Bad defense killed the Sox again and lead to runs for Minnesota. Scott Podsednik had a terrible effort on a ball to LF which led to a run for Minnesota (a play that was clearly an error, but called a hit), and the next inning, Chris Getz darts to second base for no reason with a runner on first right before a ball shoots through the spot that Getz had just left. Quentin is likely to make Podsednik’s play. Maybe it would’ve helped the Sox if they were nostalgic and went with the same lineup used in Buehrle’s last game (Thome also sat, Quentin was in LF, and Fields at DH). Podsednik is an average defender and the constant shifting of positions seems to be exploiting him. Meanwhile, the Twins did their usual act of hitting balls that fall in at the perfect moment and showing good defense. 
The Sox offense did nothing against Scott Baker. The offense is starting to look lost when the top of the order doesn’t get on base. When that doesn’t happen, the team relies on home runs, which doesn’t work well in Minnesota.

July 28th Pregame – Sox vs Twins

Tonight, Mark Buerhle makes his first start since the perfect game. 

The Sox will face Scott Baker with this lineup (from Scott Reifert): 
Podsednik – LF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – DH
Getz – 2B
Beckham – 3B
Wise – CF
According to Sun-Times beat writer Joe Cowley, Jim Thome is out with a sore back and the Sox have decided to move Clayton Richard to the bullpen. Does this mean the Sox are entrusting Bartolo Colon and/or Freddy Garcia with the 5th starter spot? We’ll see with the trade deadline days away.
We’ll also see how the Sox recover from last night’s game. If you didn’t see it, A.J. and Alexei had some words after that terrible 2nd inning. I’m sure this happens all the time on teams, but can this type of stuff have an effect? Hopefully it gives the Sox a kick in the butt to get over the player’s mental hump of playing in the dome. 

White Sox trade Brian Anderson to Red Sox for Mark Kotsay

This move has been confirmed by Scott Reifert. Anderson requested a trade after being sent to AAA last week. Mark Kotsay really does nothing for me…he will be 34 in a few months and wasn’t able to catch on with the Red Sox. The Sox have much more important things to worry about and this just feels like a move that was made for the sake of making a move. It’ll be interesting to see what roster moves the Sox make in lieu of this news. Kotsay would probably be an OF and/or 1B backup, which have been roles for Dewayne Wise and Josh Fields in recent times.

In a way, I feel good for Anderson. He was never given the chance to prove himself when he was supposed to be the CF three years ago (and forced to platoon with other players every year); it also seems like Ozzie Guillen had a personal vendetta with the guy. Guillen was out of line when he threw Anderson’s name out in a media tirade a few years ago. Boston is getting a good defender and good clubhouse personality. Anderson has struggled at the plate over the years, but he will hit a few home runs whenever he gets a chance to play regularly.

July 27th Postgame – Sox Lose In Minnesota

This tells you all you need to know about the White Sox playing in Minnesota:

July 27th Pregame – Sox back in Minnesota

This place again? The Sox return in Minnesota for another series in the little dome of horrors tonight. 

Mark Gonzales confirms that Matt Thonrton has left the team to be with his wife, who is having a baby. This means there are no lefties in the bullpen.
The Sox lineup, per ESPN:
Podsednik – CF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – LF
Beckham – 3B
Nix – 2B
Fields – DH
Danks – SP
Again, Ozzie sits many of the lefties, even though lefties are hitting over .350 against tonight’s starter, Glen Perkins. 
John Danks is back after missing a start. He had a very rough first inning when he last pitched in Minnesota, but he then came back and did very well. He needs to avoid all mental obstacles and keep himself out of trouble tonight.

July 26 Postgame – Sox Fire On All Cylinders to Salvage Game in Detroit

Clayton Richard steps up again as the Sox avoid the sweep. Richard goes 8 innings for his 2nd straight start, giving up 5 hits and 1 run in the win. 

The Sox offense struck early against Porcello. A few hits and a couple of homers gave the Sox a 5-0 lead. On the flip side, the Sox were not able to score later in the game. Luckily for the offense, the pitching did the job and the Sox cruised to a big win. The Sox now travel back to Minnesota for another series with the Twins. 
The Sox are now faced with a tough decision as the trade deadline looms. Do the Sox trust Clayton Richard until the end of the season or do they use recent strong starts as leverage to make a deal? If the Sox can make a good deal for a pitcher, and not include a guy like Beckham, I would be all for it. We’ll see what happens…

July 26th Pregame – Sox in Detroit (on ESPN)

Tonight the Sox get to see Rick Porcello. Porcello is more of a groundball pitcher, but he will give up the home run. Detroit seems to be careful with the rookie, who has not thrown 100 pitches once this season. Lefties have done a good job against Porcello, so they could play a big role for the Sox tonight.

Tonight’s lineup, per Scott Reifert’s Twitter account ( http://twitter.com/InsideTheSox/status/2858627085 ):
Podsednik – CF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Thome – DH
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – LF
Getz – 2B
Beckham – 3B
Clayton Richard – SP
This is another huge start for Richard. He was up for the challenge against Tampa Bay, but the Sox really need a quality start or better in this big game. 

July 25th Postgame/In-game Post: Sox lose in 10

I was too busy to do a pregame post today, but I’ve been following this afternoon’s game on the radio. I will be posting as the game goes along, so scroll down to read the latest updates.

Pierzynski got the Sox on the board with a solo shot in the 2nd, and the new guys have helped the Sox break through against Detroit in the 5th. Getz scored from first on a Beckham double (and misjudged play by Ryan Rayburn in LF) while Ozzie implemented the hit and run. 
As it stands now, the game is heading into the bottom of the 6th. The Sox threatened but couldn’t score in the top half of the inning.Gavin Floyd seems to have settled in after a tough first inning, but he already has 92 pitches. It’s likely we’ll see the bullpen later in the game, and the pitching will have to be strong to hold the Tigers.
UPDATE: Matt Thornton saves the day again in the bottom of the 7th and strands a runner on 3rd to preserve the 3-2 lead. A.J. has led off the top of the 8th with a hit and is now 4-4 on the day. The Sox are currently facing Detroit’s bullpen.
UPDATE: Dotel comes into the 8th to preserve the 3-2 lead. He takes care of Polanco and Thomas, but walks Miguel Cabrera (with a very tight strike zone behind the plate). Jenks is warming and Ozzie has now made the call for the 4 out save. It will be very interesting to see how Jenks recovers from his recent struggles
UPDATE: Jenks has blown another save in the 9th. The inning just ended and Sox are going into extras. It’ll be interesting to see who the Sox go to if they take the lead. Pena?
                                                                         

The Sox have lost and Bobby Jenks has blown another save. The offense could have performed better and again blew chances late in the game, but again, it means nothing to Jenks since he has the lead and his job is to close it out. His recent struggles have come against good teams, but today he faced the bottom of the order in the 9th. Today Ozzie opted for the 4 out save. This may have been a questionable move with Jenks’ recent struggles. He  is also the type of pitcher who likes to leave everything out there and has always seemed to have issues when having to pitch for more than one inning. I do think he has an issue leaving it all out there, coming to the dugout, and then going out there and having to do it again. Again, the fact that he’s been struggling only adds more issues to his mental approach in that situation.
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