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Good...Not great, but Good.

By: Matt Hoeppner

It started out looking like a great road trip, and ended up as a pretty good one. Either way the White Sox had another winning road trip, going 5-2. The only bad taste is that they started the trip 5-0 before dropping the final two games in Kansas City.

All things considered, I'll take it. The Sox sit 2.5 games back of the Tigers in the Central and a half game behind the Minnesota Twins. The men in black need to continue their winning ways next week with the Indians coming to the Cell and a trip to Minnesota before heading into the All Star break. One week into the two week test and I give the Sox a passing grade.

Now for some things I take away from this week:

Gordon Beckham is the real deal. This kid can flat out play the game of baseball. He might not be the greatest player of all time but this kid has a bright future. He has his average up to .263 after starting his Major League career 0-13. His approach at the plate is excellent, he isn’t up their trying to pull the ball into the seats on every pitch. He has no problem taking what the pitcher is giving him and going to the opposite field or back up the middle. He has knocked in 16 runs in the last 20 games and has helped solidify the bottom third of the Sox order.

Which brings me to my next item…the bottom third of the Sox order (That’s what we in the business refer to as a segue). The improved hitting of the 7-9 hitters is one of the biggest reasons for their recent success. On the road trip the bottom third of the Sox order hit .308 and drove in 14 runs. That is the kind of production that can lift a team up, and take the pressure off of the 2-5 hitters. As stated before Beckham has been the biggest contributor, but Chris Getz has been swinging a nice bat recently as well.

Finally the pitching has been better lately but I can’t help but think that Clayton Richard is never going to be a legitimate starter in the Major Leagues. He had a very good outing against Cleveland, but he was also working with a healthy lead. Against Kansas City on Sunday he got burned buy some tough hits, a couple duck snorts and seeing eye singles cost him runs and knocked him out of the game. Overall I just don’t think the kid has what it takes. He struggles the second time through the order and doesn’t seem to adjust after the hitters adjust to him. I think he needs to go back to the pen where he can come in for long relief situations and also be another left hander for match ups late in games. After the All Star Break it might be time to work out Aaron Poreda as the fifth starter.

Overall a good week, but the last two games could be an omen of bad things to come. Hopefully with the Indians coming to town the Sox can right the ship and take at least two of three from the reeling Tribe to get their momentum headed in the right direction when they head to Minneapolis next weekend.


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