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The 2010 White Sox: Hoping For a Springboard

by Mike DePilla
Monday, May 31, 2010
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"The White Sox hope Sunday's 8-5 victory over the Rays becomes a springboard for a successful and lengthy period at home."

Boy, how many times have we heard that so far this season? That was Mark Gonzales' lede in today's Sox recap in the Trib, but it might as well be the unofficial mantra of the 2010 White Sox. It seems like every victory this season is being labeled the start of some kind of sustained run, backed by elite starting pitching and finally-coming-around hitting.

For good measure, Jason Nix threw in the biggest Sox cliche of all after the game: "The weather is warming up and we feel pretty good."

Problem is, the team has a 4-17 record in games following a W. And of their last 13 tries to utilize the ol' springboard, they've lost 12 times the next day. (Conversely, the team is 10-3 in games following losses this month.)
That right there is pretty much the definition of mediocre. Win one day, lose the next. Chris Rongey has commented on the post game show numerous times of the Sox almost uncanny ability to alternate wins and losses.

The Sox finished the month of May with a 13-14 record, better than their disastrous month of April but not nearly good enough to make up any ground on the division leaders or convince anybody they are truly contenders. The team is eight games out of first right now; what lies ahead for the Sox in June?

The one thing they do have going in their favor is that the front-running Twins didn't exactly light the American League on fire this month themselves. The Twins dropped 4 of 6 against the Yankees and Red Sox in May, en route to a 15-12 overall record in May, with one more game to go today vs. the Mariners.

Ultimately though, I wonder if the Sox fate isn't already sealed, and if it would be better for them to begin dealing with it. Part of me wants to see the Sox get red hot and run off a big winning streak. But, somehow, some morbid part of me wants to see them get shutout for a week straight like the Phillies, who somehow scored one run or less 8 times in a 12 game stretch. Maybe that would shatter any illusions about the club and force the powers that be to show some accountability and make changes.

That theme of accountability is creeping in to everything I write, some things posted here, others scrapped, about the Sox.

In any case, about the series split in Tampa, Jake Peavy overcame a lack of a slider that made him almost completely useless against lefties to notch his fourth win of the season while somehow raising his already-Navarro-esque ERA again. It was great to see Jason Nix, who showed serious power in 2009, get his first homerun this year, and in dramatic fashion. And Juan Pierre has seemingly transformed himself from a butcher in leftfield in April to a Gold Glover in May.

With upcoming series against the Rangers, Indians and Tigers at home, will the Sox finally find that elusive springboard? And hey, from a marketing standpoint, "Hoping For a Springboard" can't be any worse than the drab "It's black and white" campaign they're running out there now.

*****

While I am in favor of whole-sale changes for this club if failure, or even mediocrity, persists, I sometimes wish Ozzie Guillen and the guys in the dugout weren't so aware of it themselves and would stop focusing on it.

After yesterday's game, Ozzie commented, "It's going to be a month that is going to show Kenny [Williams], 'OK, we add or we subtract?' Are we going to move people or add people to help?"

Williams is a very pro-active general manager, always looking to make trades. This is a good thing overall, as that lack of complacency leads to constant improvement of the team. But the side effect of it is that everybody on the field is either constantly looking over their shoulder for replacements, playing armchair GM and speculating about trades or simply waiting around for some big move to be made. That kind of uncertainty has led to shaky performances for several seasons, as the players wonder what will be added for the stretch run.

At some point the players and coaches should focus simply on who they have on the field. This is the team. A trade may or may not happen. But in the meantime, the 25 guys out there right now are the Chicago White Sox. A lot of that distraction just goes with the territory and there's nothing you can do about it, but I still felt like mentioning it.

Ozzie went on to talk a little about the Konerko-to-Angels rumor (mach what, like 200?). I know he was probably just responding to a reporter's question, but it would still be nice to pretend he didn't know anything. ("What? The Angels want Konerko? Since when?")

Nonetheless, I don't care if it signals some kind of official giving up on the season or some related symbolism, I am all for a Konerko-to-the-Angels trade. Today. Unfortunately, much like David Spade without Chris Farley, these rumors just aren't the same anymore without Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the team on the field needing to focus on what they have. I hate it when people say the weather is warming up, like the colder weather doesn't effect every team.

    ReplyDelete