Apr
25

Series Preview: Chicago White Sox

By

(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

The White Sox are a team that’s easy to hate. Their manager has gone from great quote to tiresome, their catcher is universally hated around the game, their play-by-play guy is insufferable, and for the next four days they are the enemy. The Yankees return home from a rocky but ultimately successful road trip through Toronto and Baltimore, kicking off the next leg of their 17 games in 17 days stretch* against a team mired in the slumpiest of slumps.

* Friday’s rain out turned it into 16 games in 16 days.

What Have The White Sox Done Lately?

The Yankees seem to have run into a lot of slumping teams of late, and the ChiSox certainly fit the bill. Ozzie Guillen’s club has lost three straight and ten of their last eleven, getting outscored 56-25 in the process. They haven’t scored a run since the seventh inning of Friday’s game, and haven’t scored a non-solo homerun run since the eighth inning of Thursday’s game. “Nothing works,” said Guillen after yesterday’s loss. “It seems like every day is a rewind movie. Seeing the same at-bats and seems like everybody we face is pretty nasty.”

White Sox On Offense

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Like I said, Chicago’s been struggling with the bats. They’ve scored just 21 runs in their last ten games, and nine of those runs came on Thursday. Their hottest hitter (by far) is Carlos Quentin, who has eleven hits (four doubles, four homers), two walks, and three hit-by-pitches in his last 45 plate appearances (.275/.356/.675). Paul Konerko seemed to break out of a prolonged slump by collecting five hits (including a double and homer) total on Thursday and Friday, but he took an 0-for-4 on Saturday (with three strikeouts) and had Sunday off. A.J. Pierzynski’s seven game hitting streak consists of nine singles, so he’s not exactly tearing the cover off the ball. Aside from those three, Guillen’s offense has been a wreck.

Adam Dunn is buried in a nasty 2-for-30 (.067) slump with 15 strikeouts, and he’s only drawn three walks during that time as well. Alex Rios hasn’t gotten a hit since last Sunday (just two walks and a HBP in his last 23 PA), and Alexei Ramirez has two singles and two walks in his last 24 PA. Gordon Beckham has reached base once in his last 25 PA (a single) and four times in his last 39 PA (two singles, a double, and he reached on an error). Mark Teahen highlights the rest of the offense (we’re talking Juan Pierre, Omar Vizquel, Brent Morel, etc.) with a .334 wOBA. As a team, the ChiSox own a .303 wOBA and a .308 OBP. Yeah, they’ve had trouble hitting.

White Sox On The Mound

Monday: Phil Humber: Claimed off waivers twice this offseason, you might remember Humber for being part of the Johan Santana trade. Safe to say that he never delivered on his promise as the third overall pick of the 2004 draft, but Chicago was encouraged by the cutter he learning from pitching coach and cutter guru Don Cooper in Spring Training. After two relief appearances, Humber has pitched to a 3.86 ERA in three starts that have gotten progressively worse: one earned run in his first start, two in his second, four in his fourth. He doesn’t strike out many batters (just 11 K in 18.2 IP this year) but he won’t walk many either (5 BB), and his ground ball rate is just okay in the low-40% range. Humber relies heavily on a low-90′s fastball, a low-80′s curve, and a mid-80′s changeup, and for whatever reason, PitchFX says he hasn’t thrown that cutter in the regular season. That’s probably a classification issue though.

Tuesday: Gavin Floyd: Floyd’s name popped up in a few trade rumors this past offseason, but he’s still in a White Sox uniform. He’s gone at least six inning in each of his four starts, and he’s actually alternated poor outings with good ones: four runs in seven innings in his first start, one unearned run in eight innings in his second, six runs in six innings in his third, and two runs in seven innings in his fourth. He’s due for a stinker. As always, Floyd misses bats (7.67 K/9, 8.5% swing-and-miss rate), limit walks (2.33 BB/9), and gets ground balls (48.7% ground ball rate) with a fastball (low-90′s), cutter (mid-80′s), curveball (upper 70′s), and changeup (mid-80′s). The curve has been his calling card since the day he was drafted, and if he gets ahead with two strikes, that pitch is coming more than 60% of the time.

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Wednesday: Mark Buehrle: Aside from a dominant showing against the Athletics in his third start (eight innings, two hits, no runs), it’s been a brutal season for Buerhle. The usually reliable left-hander has allowed at least four runs in each of his other four starts, pitching into the seventh inning just once. He’s also walked seven and allowed 34 hits in just 22.2 IP in those starts. The Yankees have traditionally had their way with the changeup artist, tagging him for 14 runs in three starts (15 IP) over the last three seasons. Buerhle will bore you to death with that changeup and three mid-80′s fastballs (four-seam, two-seam, cutter). He’ll also break out the occasional curveball, but there are no surprises here.

Thursday: Edwin Jackson: The former Dodger, Ray, Tiger, and Diamondback has enjoyed the best success of his career under Cooper’s watch in Chicago. Four of his five highest single game strikeout totals have come in a White Sox uniform, including a 13 whiff game against the Rays earlier this season. He’s missing more bats than ever (just about a strikeout per inning with the Sox) thanks to a new (wait for it) cutter and increased reliance on his slider. Jackson has allowed 12 runs in his last two starts though (12.2 IP, 23 H, 4 BB) and the Yankees have seen plenty of him in the past (11 career starts vs. New York, plus four relief appearances), so again, no surprises here.

Bullpen: Guillen’s bullpen, at least his core relievers, come into the series well rested. Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, Chris Sale, and Sergio Santos have thrown a combined 6.1 IP over the last seven days, though Thornton and Crain each pitched an inning yesterday. The mop-up crew – Jeff Gray, Will Ohman, and Tony Pena – have done much of the heavy lifting of late, throwing eight innings total over the last five days.

Thornton was supposed to be Guillen’s rock at the end of the game, but he blew his first four save opportunities of the year and has been brought into mop-up spots his last two times out. Sale’s been slightly better, and really the team’s two most reliable relievers have been Crain (5 H, 11 K in 10.1 IP) and the former infielder Santos (13 K, 5 H in 9.2 IP, but 5 BB). That’s not exactly how they drew it up in Spring Training. The White Sox probably won’t be out of any game because their starting pitching is very good, but the Yankees have a way of waiting those guys out and going to town on the middle relief.

Recommended White Sox Reading: South Side Sox

Categories : Series Preview
  • baravelli

    I hate the White Sox for the reasons you cite, but my biggest reason for hating them is Hawk Harrelson. I’m an MLB.TV guy, and back before they made it so you could choose whether to watch the home or away TV feed, I was often forced to watch the Chicago broadcast. The sheer untrammeled obnoxiousness of that man’s call cast a pall over the entire team for me.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Good call, I added Hawk to the post.

    • Rick in Boston

      I want to put Hawk and Tommy Heinsohn from the Celtics broadcasts in the same room. I’m not sure if there are two more obnoxious homers in sports.

      • MannyGeee

        +1… a ‘Tommy Point’ for you, sir…

      • Brian in NH

        “you’re gonna call that a hahd foul? YOU’RE GONNA CALL THAT A HAHD FOUL!?!?”

        a classic tommy quote

        • Rick in Boston

          My all-time favorite Tommy move is when he sits silently in protest after a call (correctly) goes against the C’s. If Garnett had been called for a moving pick in Game 1(?) of the playoff series last week, Tommy wouldn’t have spoken for a month.

    • JohnnyC

      For those who hate Kay, Sterling, and Waldman, there are a lot worse out there…a lot worse.

    • Sabermetrically Challenged

      You put it on the boooooaaaaarrrrdddddd in your ass!!!

      • http://www.twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

        GOOD GUYS WIN, BAD GUYS LOSE

      • http://www.blogs.thetenthinningstretch.com the tenth inning stretch

        He gawn.

    • Sean C

      Where I live, Comcast blacks out my mlb.tv, so I’m stuck with Hawk (except tonight’s game is on ESPN). I don’t even listen to the audio when my only option is Hawk. I need to get the hack of mlb.tv from my friend that re-routes your IP/MAC address to Alaska so no game is blacked out (good to have geek friends).

    • John S.

      http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play......id=5699087

      Uhhh, this still annoys the crap out of me.

      • MannyGeee

        He’s not the best colorman in the league for nothing, folks!

        /Harry Doyle’d

      • JerryNYG

        AAAAAALLLLLLEEEEEEXXXXXXXEEEEIIIIIIII!!!!!!!! YAAAARRRGGGGHHH!!!!!

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      I don’t mind “homer” announcers. They are catering to their team. I’m just not a big fan of “unbiased” broadcasters who always seem to have an agenda.

      • MannyGeee

        I think a certain sports station out of Bristol just spontanously lit on fire…

    • UpstateYank

      I have lived in Iowa for the last year and a half and have to suffer through the damnation that is Hawk every time the Yanks play the Chisox. I was trying to convey to one of my friends back home just how bad he is, but that in itself is hard to do.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Take them out of contention early. I want Floyd. Hell I’d take anyone on that staff at this point.

    • Ted Nelson

      He’s not my first choice in terms of talent, but in terms of value Buerhle intrigues me. If he has a rough season maybe the Sox will just hold on and then re-up him on a short deal to let him try to rebuild value, but if they’re willing to basically give him away to a team willing to pay his 2011 salary and 2012 vesting option ($15 mm, which vests if he’s traded… so trade market for him is probably not going to be hot…) he could make some sense for the Yankees.

      He’s actually only 32 this season, so he’s not *that* old. He’s obviously a lefty and would be pitching roughly half his games in YS and some games against the lefty-heavy Red Sox. His FIP is only 3.81 despite a 5.4 ERA on this young season. I think there’s a good chance his ERA will be more like 4 than 5 on a full season and he’ll eat some innings (200 every season since 2001).

      Even with his early 2011 stinkatude, the Yankees probably win 3 or 4 of his 5 starts (just a guess… but the White Sox have won 2 of the 5, lost the 8 IP 0 R outing, their offense is at 4.3 R/G while the Yankees are at 6.1, and their pen is at a 4.65 ERA while the Yankees are at 3.58.)

      For a fat chunk of change (he’s owed $14 mill this season and would then be owed $15 mill next season) Buerhle could give the Yankees a solid starter without having to go very deep into their farm system. Then again, the White Sox might prefer to just keep him for the season rather than giving him away at the steep discount his vesting option may cause.

      Stabilizing force in 2011 and a bridge to prospects in 2012. Not the second true ace the Yankees would to bring into the rotation, but also (may be) available at a fraction of the prospect cost.

      Anyway, agree that White Sox are definitely a place to look for starters if they don’t compete this season. They’re not poor, but have a solid rotation and Ken Williams seems to like shaking things up.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It really is interesting. As I said below (and above), if when the White Sox fall out of it, they’ll present three intriguing options:

        A.) Floyd, a #2 who probably costs an A- prospect
        B.) Jackson, a #3 who probably costs an B- prospect and cash relief
        C.) Buerhle, a #4 who probably costs an C prospect and cash relief

        Which one will we pick? I bet Cash picks eitherDoor B or Door C, depending on how good they look and how bad the back end of our rotation looks.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Rumors had it that Kenny was open to trading Floyd in the offseason.

          http://twitter.com/#!/Joelsher.....4374209536

          Take it FWIW. Probably not much but hey it’s Kenny fucking Williams here. I think he’ll be underrated and Cash can do his thing. I don’t think it’ll ost an A level prospect however. But I’m only a random so we’ll see.

          I’m with Ted though, I don’t think Buerhle is a number four if I’m understanding you right which I’m probably not. Now he’s an expensive one, and even more so if he gets traded but he’ll be a good option while waiting for the Killer B’s if they make it. But he’ll surely cost the least prospect wise.

          Jackson too intrigues me. His strikeouts seems to be going up however as is his walk rate. Also has a good GB rate. Definitely a quality pitcher.

          I’d be happy with anyone.

          • Ted Nelson

            Floyd’s value seems hard to define. He’s 28 and owed $21 mill from now till the end of 2013… he’s young-ish and very cheap. Advanced metrics like his performance and he’s been between 4.5 and 5 fWAR the past two seasons. More traditional metrics don’t like him nearly as much, though. For all the Ks… we’re still talking about a 4 ERA guy who gives you a bit over 6 IP/GS (which is where I think people get in trouble assigning too much value to a proxy like Ks, which is related to success but isn’t success in and of itself). Would certainly be an upgrade for the Yankees, but not a legit second ace.

            Same with anyone, but would really come down to the trade. If he’s the most attractive SP on the market and the bidding is somewhat intense (plus the Sox don’t have to deal him since he’s cheap) he might not be worth it. Then again, in that case he might also be their best option and they just have to suck it up. If people see a 4 ERA, 6 IP guy and other trade options attract attention, maybe it’s a good deal.

        • Ted Nelson

          It’s not just which the Yankees pick, but also the White Sox. They’re not poor and don’t have to deal any of the three if they don’t feel like it. He is a “leader” and club mainstay, but I’m speculating that maybe Buerhle will be at the end of his rope with Chicago. Just as likely that they want to keep him around, though, so I could be totally off there. Especially since the vesting option is a disincentive to trading him.

          I think you’re underselling Jackson’s value. The White Sox got him last season for Hudson, MLB ready and the #66 prospect according to BA going into the season. Jackson pitched well for them in 2010, though he’s been a bit up and down this season and on his career. A good run, and we may be talking Dellin Betances for him… less than that and maybe Brackman. I would not consider either of those B- prospects. He’ll almost definitely be overpaid this offseason, but for 2011 he’s only making $8 mill. Half way through the season a $4 mm commitment is not going to keep many contenders away.

          Floyd is 28 and under team control this season plus two more at an average of $7 mill per… he’s got a lot of value there. He’s underperformed his FIP each of the past two seasons, though, and his only real winning record was 2008… so I’m not sure teams will value him as a legit #2 performance wise. Not sure exactly what his value is. In the end you’re pretty likely to get the same results with Buerhle as Floyd really… about 200 IP and an ERA of about 4. A lot cheaper monetarily with Floyd, but maybe a lot more expensive in prospects.

          I wouldn’t call Buerhle a #4. He’s been good for 200 IP and an ERA under 4 in the AL for 5 of the past 6 years, 7 of the past 9. That’s the Yankees #2 right there, and an ok #2 or good #3 overall. For a strong WS contender… maybe more like a solid 3 or good #4.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            I wasn’t really saying that Floyd/Jackson/Buehrle would be this team’s #2/#3/#4, just that that’s roughly how I view them in the abstract. Obviously, Buerhle would be our #2, but he’s not a true #2 starter anymore; he’s not really that good.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I think I’d rather have Jackson, because he’ll cost far less in prospects for only slightly less in production.

      JMHO.

  • Sean C

    A bunch of guys that work in my area are ChiSox fans (live in central Illinois), and I want 3 out of four very, very badly. These guys worship Hawk and are completely ignoring the fact that their team is on a serious bender right now. I don’t want to see them wake up against the Yankees. They (the Sox team and fans)need to be put in their place. My favorite part: the guys I work with are completely opposed to putting money on the games (even just a couple bucks). That tells me all I need to know.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Don’t want Adam Dunn to wake up in YS. Chip shot for him.

    Instead I’ll hope for Gardy/Posada/Swish from the left side to wake up

    /putthatonthe boaarrrrddddddd!

    YES

    • MannyGeee

      you raise a good point. This entire ChiSox team (not just Dunn)is completely due to start hitting the hell out fo the ball. I am concerned that this will happen against an AJ Burnett that has been pitching well over his head….

      ditto for Colon, who I am afraid to say is due for regression back to a 38 year old fat guy…

      double ditto for Nova, who has not been shelled yet. hit around maybe, but not shelled.

      • Rick in Boston

        More than anyone else, Nova needs to have a good start. He needs to show he can go deeper into the game or else he’ll be back in AAA for the start of the Millwood era in the Brox.

      • Ted Nelson

        I wouldn’t say Burnett is pitching over his head at all. He’s underperforming his xFIP by a pretty wide margin. He’s using the change to good effect, which is in turn making the FB more effective. He may fall apart again like 2010, but I don’t think it’s at all predestined.

  • Jay T

    I normally say, in order to be playoff bound, win 2 of 3 in those series and split the even numbered ones. However, I would be disappointed if the Yanks didn’t take 3.

  • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

    I actually like the White Sox for all the reasons you state other than Hawk.

    And I love Kenny Williams.

    • Johnny O

      You may love Kenny Williams, but I LOOOOOOVE Kenny Williams!
      -Brian Cashman

  • MannyGeee

    over under on how many AB’s before Swish wakes up? he is historically a White Sox killer… 4 dingers last season alone.

    http://www.baseball-reference......at%7CAB%7C

    • Gonzo

      Revenge is one hell of a motivator.

  • sjferrari

    I work in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. When I came in to work today, a Sox fan co-worker said to me, “Can your guys not beat up on us too much this week? Please?”

    “I make no promises,” I replied.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I expect great performances from Gavin Floyd, Mark Buerhle, and Edwin Jackson this week. After all, they’re all pitching for the right to impress Brian Cashman the most to get traded out of that second-rate city into Yankee pinstripes to actually compete for a title for a change.

    Whomever has the best game against us this Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday will be our Game 3 ALDS/ALCS/WS starter. Book it.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Yup exactly. Our future number 2 is coming from this rotation.

    • Gonzo

      I’m hoping for Floyd. What about you?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        See above.

        • Gonzo

          Gotcha.

  • the Other Steve S.

    “their play-by-play guy is insufferable, ”

    OK, it’s not just me.

    I particularly like the way he “he gawns” guys in the ninth when the Sox are 7 runs behind.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Listening to Hawk Harrelson speak makes me wonder how anyone ever thought he’d be a good general manager.

  • Yank the Frank

    It’s a sss but the Chisox have played 2 more games on the road than at home and lost them both. I’d say that’s a good omen for us. 3 out of 4 or a sweep will do.

  • Irony

    Funny thing about Hawk Harrelson is when he broadcasted Yankee games on Sportschannel back in the late 80s before they moved to MSG Network he was really good, and barely showed any bias at all toward the visiting team. Now he is the biggest homer in the game. When Konerko gets a hit, ‘Atta boy Paulie!!’

  • Mulva

    The only way we don’t win 3 or 4 is if Brett Gardner starts in 3 of the ballgmes, Derek Jeter continues to hit leadoff, and Joe Girardi overmanages. Otherwise, our starting pitching led by CC and Bartolo should be able to shut down their weak offense and 7/9 of the starting lineup will destroy their pitching.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Stetch! YES! YES! YES! YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOOOAAARRRRDDDD! HE GONNNEEE AND THIS IS GAME IS OVVVAAHHHH!

    I think Mark Buehrle is the poster child for shitty pitchers being glorified by ESPN. He’s had like, what, three good seasons tops?

    • Ted Nelson

      Buerhle has had a sub-4 ERA 7 of the past 10 seasons, and pitched 200 innings 10 of the past 10 seasons… He’s at 43.1 fWAR in his career, which makes him the 7th most valuable pitcher in baseball from 2001-present.

      I think he’s the poster child for consistency. And for people overvaluing velocity and Ks.

      He’s not a HOFer or anything, but he’s had a very fine career.

      • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

        I never said he wasn’t valuable. But I don’t consider him an ace.

        • Ted Nelson

          You called him a shitty pitcher… That pretty much implies a lack of value.

          You then said that he’s had 3 good seasons, when he’s had 7 seasons of sub-4 ERA and 200 IP.

          I don’t think anyone at ESPN or elsewhere is really putting him in the same sentence as Halladay or anything… Just that he’s been a good pitcher for a long time. One of the best LHSP of the past decade.

          • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

            Buerhle’s trash. Top ten most trashy pitchers of all time.

            • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

              Trashiest perfect game, too.

  • LEOLUCCA RANDISI

    some one on the yes network boards mentioned something about drug tests that were given to Yankees on Saturday or Sunday. he said It was in the New York post. but if its this story I am about to post then it is from last year as we did not play the white sox yet we play them tonight? I am just trying to separate the facts from the made up Internet BS,

    Last T&RNext T&R.MLB gives drug test to Yankees employees
    Views4380Comments26Email Print Buzz Facebook Digg RSS Share 04:48 AM ET 09.18 | MLB’s drug police were at Yankee Stadium yesterday – before the Yankees’ 5-1 victory over the White Sox – to administer tests to non-uniform personnel several days after players were required to pee in a cup. Strength and conditioning coach Dana Cavalea and massage therapist Scott Yelin were among those on the list to be tested. Testing staff members was introduced this year, and it was the first time the testers surfaced at the Stadium. MLB testers already have tested Met’s staffers.
    New York Post

    Read more: http://www.fannation.com/truth.....z1KZlVbH8P