by Mike DePilla
Monday, August 30, 2010
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Hold on to your hats (and dreadlocks) everybody, it looks like Manny Ramirez will officially be in the line up tonight for your White Sox. Bob Nightengale is reporting that Ramirez is en route to Cleveland right now and will be there to make his White Sox debut against his first major league team.
Then of course the Sox head to Boston this weekend, so Manny's second series will drudge up old grudges with the Red Sox. Always with the high drama.
From the Chicago standpoint, with the offense performing well, do the Sox really need Manny? And can he be the deciding factor in making up a 4.5 game deficit with one month to play? And will he cut his hair?
The answer to both of those questions is a resounding "Who knows, probably not. What time is first pitch tonight? I can't wait to see this!"
Despite recent slumps by Carlos Quentin and (especially) Alex Rios, the Sox offense has been doing it's job pretty consistently this month, lifted by the surging Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Juan Pierre, Gordon Beckham and AJ Pierzynski.
Of course, even if Rios and Quentin were performing up to standards there still would be a significant hole at DH, so the move is defensible in any case. However it is scary to think how good this Sox line up, which is leading the AL in most offensive categories (not including nose hair, for all the Harry Doyle fans out there), would be if Rios and Quentin weren't a combined 46-for-190 (.242) this month.
It will be very interesting to see what batting order Ozzie Guillen uses with Manny. Will he demote the struggling Rios? Will he finally move Beckham up? Will he petition Major League Baseball to use 10 hitters so he can still play Mark Kotsay?
Rios has been terrific this year, but his scuffles in the three-spot are costing the Sox run scoring situations. It'd be nice to have someone with speed in the three spot for the murderous middle of the the line up to send flying around the bases, and no one's supplanting Paule in the clean up spot, so maybe the number five spot is best for Manny.
I'd love to see Beckham moved up to more of a run-producing spot in the order, but I strongly dislike seeing him in the two-hole. Ozzie uses the two-hole as a bunt 'em over spot; Beckham, who's bat has been torrid since the All Star break, thrives in RBI and extra-base situations. It would be a shame to see his at bats wasted for moving runners along, and it would be even worse to see his swing affected by that mentality. (I think a percentage of his early-season struggles can be attributed to him trying to alter his approach to fit Ozzie's idea of a two-hole hitter.)
In any case, one thing is certain: the Sox can now make a complete roster of '90s Indians players. Check it out:
C: Sandy Alomar
1B: Jim Thome
2B: Roberto Alomar
SS: Omar Vizquel
3B: Herbert Perry
RF: Manny Ramirez
CF: Kenny Lofton
LF: Albert Belle
SP: Bartolo Colon
The Indians never trotted out that exact line up (yes, I checked), but they were awful close.
Bring on Carlos Baerga and Travis Fryman!
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