Power, Ozzieball, and Buehrle Impressive for Opening Day Win

There is always something special, magical about Opening Day.  Everyone is on an equal footing, and you feel that your team can go all the way.  There are some butterflies when the first pitch is tossed, and when that first out is recorded, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

Buehrle was masterful today.  He had seven strong innings and made a sensational play that would be on hightlight reels and web gems for the year.

 

The White Sox have an impressive pitching staff, but some people question the power in the lineup.  Paul Konerko casted away some of that doubt on the first pitch he saw, smacking a two-run homer to right field.  The White Sox had their first lead of the season, and Buehrle and the bullpen didn’t tip-toe the Indians.

 

Beckham was outstanding with a 2-for-4 performance and some smart baserunning with two balls in the dirt.  It was just a taste at the more athletic White Sox, and it was great to see the aggressive baserunning.

 

I thought Rios had some good at-bats, and he ended the game with a amazing catch ala Brian Anderson in game 163 of the 2008 Season.  In the bottom of the 8th, Rios launched what seemed to be a 0-2 fastball on the outside of the plate giving the White Sox a 6-0 lead.  Rios made an impact with his bat, and in the top of the ninth, he flashed his leather will a full dive to rob Hafner of extra bases.  It was good to see Rios start strong.  He is a key piece to the success of the White Sox in their goal to the post-season.

 

Pierre didn’t seem comfortable.  I really wanted to see him drop a bunt, but I guess with Westbrook, sinker ball pitcher, on the mound that Pierre didn’t want to push it.  Pierre and Beckham is going to be a nice one-two punch once Juan settles in.

 

Quentin had a double and was hit by two pitches.  He seemed to be napping twice at first with balls in the dirt that Beckham took advantages of.  It would have been ince to see Carlos aggressive.

 

I am sure Kotsay would say that he wanted better production today, but he fought off a lot of tough pitches.  RBI and a walk – not too shabby for the veteran.

 

Putz had a strong inning of relief in the 8th.  He had two quick strikes before surrendering a single.  Thornton brought the heat, and he almost retired the Indians on nine strikes.  He struck out Sizemore, Shoo, but Hafner fouled off the nineth pitch and proceeded to launch the ball into the left-center gap in which Rios made a sensation diving catch to end the game.

 

It’s always important to start the season on a high note, and the Pale Hose did it with pitching, a little power, some smallball, and some stellar defense.

Opening Day Is Upon Us

The White Sox kick off the 2010 season with Mark Buehrle on the mound. 

It’s going to be an exciting year for the White Sox with a full season of Gordon Beckham and Jake Peavy.  White Sox might have the best starting rotation and bullpen in the AL with Bobby Jenks, Matt Thornton, and JJ Putz leading the charge in the bullpen.  Buehrle, Peavy, Danks, and Floyd look to be a nightmare for any team, and if Freddy pitches like he did at the end of the season and stay healthy, watch out folks.  The Pale Hose might be heading for another ring.

Jones had a great spring, and it will be interesting if Ozzie can find him enough at-bats.  Jones could definiting provide the power if he can stay healthy and productive.  He looked really good playing Center.  I expect him to rotation among the outfield and the DH.

Quentin and Rios need bounce back years.  Both are extremely talented players, and they need to contribute their offensive power to this lineup.  These two players are going to be wild cards with the White Sox. 

Teahen switched to the Good Guys over the winter with a trade with the Royals, but he didn’t have a strong spring.  He has always been a Sox killer, and I hope he continues to put up strong numbers at Comiskey Park.  With Teahen achoring the hot corner, this opened moving Beckham to play second base.  White Sox and fans are looking for big things from Gordon in his sophmore year.

It all starts at the top, and the White Sox aquired the speedy lefty, Juan Pierre.  I predict that Pierre is going to steal at least thirty bases this year.  I look for him to play CF/LF this year.

Kotsay will most likely be the DH versus righties and give Konerko a breather at first base.  It won’t be a shocker if you see Kotsay play some outfield.

Alexei needs a bounce back year.  Ozzie is going to drop him down in the order to let him be himself.  Hopefully Omar can help with his defense because Alexei had a team high 20 errors last year.  The Cuban Missile needs a strong year defensively if the Sox look to compete in the AL Central.

I am excited for the new year and the prospect for a magical season.  Lets Go White Sox!

LCS Predictions

NYY vs LAA – NYY in 5;  Yankees have moment with their dramatic wins in game 2 and 3.

LAD vs PP – LAD in 4; Holliday’s error changed the series, and the Dodgers didn’t miss their opportunities to win game 2 and their easy win of game 3.

 

NYY vs LAD – LAD in 7.  I think it’s going to be a tough series.  You are going to see the Old Coach vs the New Coach, but I think the edge is Torre.

 

I’m hoping to catch a game in LA with Dodgers.  :)

It’s Been a While…

Seriously… my blogging took a nose dive these last few months, but I hope that will change.  I’m going to put aside the White Sox for a moment, and talk about the LCS and my memories of the 2005 series between the White Sox and the Angels.

I was able to purchase tickets to all three games in Anaheim, and I was able to witness some White Sox history in the making.  I spoke about this before, but catching Paul Konerko’s foul ball was a special moment for me.  The couple I was sitting next two were Angels fans, but we made a pact saying that if one of us would catch the opposite team’s foul ball that we would give it to the respected person.  It was in the 6th inning if I recall, and the gentleman sitting next to me got up to get his wife something to eat since the White Sox were coming up to bat.  There wasn’t a lot of people sitting around me between innings, and they weren’t in a rush to get back to their seats when the White Sox were up to bat.  The ball flew a few rows above me, but people were fighting for it.  I was tracking the ball, and I raised my hand up and the ball magically appeared in my hand.  I was shocked at first, and then I errupted in celebration, sporting my new treasure for the world to see.  When the gentleman came back, I smiled and showed him the ball.  His wife was telling him the story, and he was upset that he missed it.

While catching the foul ball was a special moment for me personally, watching the White Sox advance to the World Series was mind blowing.  It was a cold day in Anaheim, and the rain made it hard to keep score.  It’s a tradition I have when I attend ballgames that I keep score.  I had to shield my score card with my elbow to write, and as the game went on, the ink started to run as well as my hopes for the Sox to clinch.  Contreras was on the ropes, but Ozzie had faith in his right hander.  I think Contreras didn’t want to be the starter that couldn’t go the distance as the previous three starters were able to – Buehrle, Garland, and Garcia.  The rain was coming down faster, and I knew the Sox needed to step it up when the Angels took the lead in the bottom of the 5th.  The White Sox regained the lead in the 7th and never looked back.  I kept willing Contreras to throw first pitch strikes!  After the last out was recorded, I raced down to the White Sox dugout.  There was already a mass of White Sox fans gathered, and we all started chanting four more wins over and over.  It seemed that we were there for hours.  The security kicked us out around 9PM PST, and I remember calling everyone I knew to gloat!  lol

While the White Sox aren’t in the playoffs this year, new memories for fans will be created, and I hope they will have special moments that they will continue to cherish for years to come.

Late Inning Magic for the Pale Hose

While this road trip has been a nightmare, the White Sox managed to claw out a win at the Metrodome.  Down to their last out, the Pale Hose struck and struck with thunder.  Beckham and Konerko went back-to-back against Joe Nathan.  Walks to Dye and Quentin set up the winning run for the Cuban Missile.  With Wise running for JD, Ramirez laced a liner to left and Wise managed to slide into home giving the White Sox a 3-2 lead.

Buehrle pitched well going six innings giving up two runs.  It was a game in which the bullpen held their ground to give the offense to rally a comeback against one of the best closers in the game.

While the White Sox playoff hopes seem a longshot, but it was good to see the White Sox fight all the way to the last out.  Hopefully this will give them some momentum going into the Cubs game tomorrow and the Boston series this weekend.  The White Sox need to mount a strong win streak, and nothing would be sweeter than starting off with a win at Wrigley tomorrow.

White Sox Playoff Hopes in Jeopardy

It’s been a few months since my last blog, but I haven’t really anything to say since the all-star break.  The White Sox haven’t been playing a stellar second half, and their current roadtrip has almost removed the White Sox hopes for a post season run.

They started their road trip in Boston, and the White Sox had many opportunities for a series win or even a sweep.  The bullpen has been horrible, and it didn’t matter who Ozzie sent to the mound.  The result was the same: a White Sox loss.  Freddy Garcia has been a surprise.  I wasn’t happy with his first start as a White Sox, but his last two outings have been good enough for a win.  Unfortunately, the offense hasn’t been good, and the Pale Hose are wasting quality starts from our starting pitchers.

The big disappointment has been Jose Contreras.  Here was no end to his woes, and Kenny finally said enough is enough and traded the right-hander to the Rockies for a minor league pitching prospect.  Kenny also made another major move by trading Jim Thome to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  I hope Jose and Thome well with their new teams, and I really hope the Thome has an opportunity for a chance at a ring.

Kenny has sent a clear message to the team in regards to the veterans.  If you can be traded, you will be.  I assume JD and/or Pods to be next on the list.  Pods has been the MVP for the White Sox, but if Kenny could get some value from a trade for Pods, I am sure he will make it.  JD has had an aweful second half, and there doesn’t seem to be a nice horizon for JD. 

The only player I could see Kenny keeping is Konerko.  He is by far the best first baseman the White Sox have.

I think Beckham has plateau’ed.  His average has dipped a lot in the last two weeks, and I assume it is because of all his playtime.  With Getz getting ready to come off the DL, I assume that Gordon will get some time off while Nix plays thirdbase.

Sweet Home Chicago

It’s been a while since my last blog entry.  I’ve been busy having fun back in Chicago with my family.  I arrived last Tuesday, and everyone has been keeping me busy.  Last Thursday we went to see the Pale Hose walk off with a win via Pods single in the bottom of the 13th. 

It was a crazy long game, and it was very hot sitting in left field.  We were right behind the Sox bullpen, so it was good to see who was warming up.  The game shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did.  The Sox had lots of opportunities to score runs, and Alexei’s two errors in the game didn’t help matters.  Lucky for us that only one of the errors really hurt us.  It was a very exciting game nonetheless.  It was funny watching fans slowly exit as the game progressed, and it was a little weird to have rain when it was completely sunny out.

We went from a win on Thursday to a loss on Friday.  I went to the park with my sister and her son.  We had seats that were to the left where I was sitting the day before.  It wasn’t as hot as it was Thursday, but it was still a hot box in left field.  I really thought that AJ had a chance to break open the game when he came to pinch hit, but a double play ended the threat and any chance for the White Sox to come back in the game.  Eventhough they lost on Friday, the White Sox still won the series over the Cubs.

Overall, the White Sox have been playing very solid baseball.  Beckham has been on a tear along with JD.   It’s good to see Beckham get accustomed to the speed of the Majors and start contributing to the team with some clutch hits and RBIs.  Eventhough the bullpen has been a little roughed up, you cannot complain too much about the pitching. 

Sox sweeping the Indians tonight was huge.  Never let up on a team when they are down, and the Pale Hose put the petal to the metal against the Tribe.  Starting pitching was excellent during the series, and the Sox have won five straight now.  They head to KC with Buehrle on the mound tomorrow.

Mortal Kombat! White Sox Head to Wrigley for an Intercity Clash

Interleague play continues this week with the White Sox vs the Cubs at Wrigley Field.  It’s always a battle royal when these two teams meet, and I am sure it will be a colorful series as it usually is.  Last year both teams split the series winning their respective games at home.

Both teams offense have been struggling, but this series will come down to clutch hitting and how well their bullpens fair.  It’s going to be a fun series, and I am sure we will get some juicy soundbites from Ozzie and Sweet Lou.

This year the White Sox look for their fourth consecutive road series win, and they send John Danks to the mound.  Danks came off an eight inning outing in which he was out dueled by Justin Verlander, but it was one of Danks best outings in a while, and the young southpaw looks to expand on his success and continue to put his team in a position to win.

The Sox played an overall solid series against the Brewers, and the Sox will need to play just as well against the Cubs.  It will be a playoff atmosphere and emotions will be hot.

Thome will still be coming off the bench for pitch hitting duties, so the White Sox will need to rely on Dye and Konerko to kick start the offense while Podsednik sets the table.  For some players, this will be their first trip to Wrigley and versus the Cubs, so it will be interesting how Beckham, Getz, and Nix perform in a playoff-type series.

I think Beckham is the player to watch in the series.  His bat is starting to heat up, and he earned his first four RBIs Saturday and Sunday.  The ball is finding gaps.

Contreras will pitch Thursday, so that will be a fun game to watch.  Contreras won the AL player of the week when he pitched sixteen scoreless innings in his last two starts.  Contreras is a feel good story in which he requested to be sent down to triple a to regain his control.  The demotion paid off, and Contreras is back to his former self – dominating hitters.

 

Pale Hose Take Series From the Brew Crew

Contreras, coming off his first win of the season Monday, saught for win number two against the Brewers, and the White Sox offense came out in support.  Contreras continued with his nintendo stuff pitching a masterful game.  In a season of ups and downs for the White Sox, Contreras and Podsednik are two stories that are inspirational. 

Struggling, Contreras asked to be optioned to triple A so he could work on his control, and that decision worked with Contreras notching his first win of the season versus the Tigers.  Jose pitched wonderfully as he logged eight innings of no-run baseball.  He managed to give himself in trouble in the eighth inning, but he told Ozzie to leave him in when there was bases loaded with two outs.  I think that spoke volumes about the confidence Contreras has in his stuff.

While Contreras has been hot since coming back to the team, so has leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik.  Cut by the Rockies, Podsednik called Kenny Williams in search of a job and signed a minor league deal.  With the injuries to Wise, BA, and CQ, Pods was called up and has been fantastic for his old club.  Without Podsednik, I would be sacred to see where the Sox would be in the standings.  He is clearly one of the MVPs of the White Sox the first half of the season.

Speaking of firsts, Beckham managed to net his first pair of RBIs Saturday when he smacked a double to right plating two runners.  He reproduced the feat Sunday when he hit a flair to left center where he legged out a double which plated another two RBIs for the young phenom.

Thank the maker for Paul Konerko.  He was in the lineup Saturday and Sunday, and he made his presence known Saturday in which he had some big clutch hits for the Pale Hose.

While the White Sox were in total command Saturday, it was a wild one Sunday as Buehrle searched for his seventh win of the season.  Trailing 1-0 in the third, Buehrle helped himself as he hit his first career home run to right field.  Buehrle struggled throughtout his outing giving up three home runs, but he battled to keep the Sox in the game.  After he exited, the game was tied 4-4, and it came down to the bullpen.  Instantly, thoughts of Friday night’s disaster crept into your mind, but the Sox bullpen got it done.  The bridge to Jenks completed with Gobbles, Dotel, and Thornton.  Linebrink was up if the Sox couldn’t score in the ninth, but some veteran heroics managed a key walk, single, and a game-winning single that plated a pitch runner who was a pitcher.

With one out in the ninth, Thome coaxed a walk from Hoffman who hasn’t given up a run all season.  Pods, who has been stellar in his second stint as a Pale Hose, found a hole on the left side, and the Sox had runners at first and second for Alexei.  With a fly out to center, AJ stepped up to the plate.  Working the count to 3-0, AJ smacked a grounder to center scoring Clayton Richard who pitch ran for Thome at first.  Yes, a pitcher scored the the first and last runs for the Sox.  It was a nail biter of a game, but the Sox found a way to win, and Jenks netted his 14th save of the season.

Eventhough the White Sox won Sunday, some red flags flared up: Wise’s missed bunt situation, Fields’ strikeout in the ninth, and Buehrle’s continued struggles with giving up the long ball.  Wise hasn’t been the same since he came back off the DL.  While his defense looks okay, his offense hasn’t been as good as we saw before he got hurt.  The Sox haven’t been very good laying down the bunt this year, and that can really fustrate a team and their fans.  Fields has been a disappointment.  When you thought he made a meaningful turn for the better, just hasn’t shown the fans what he can really do.  He is still prone to errors, and he still strikes out a lot.  I felt that  Ozzie should have had JD bat for him in the ninth, but I know he wanted to save JD just in case.  BUT, when AJ managed the RBI single, I would have replaced Fields to try for an insurance run.  Granted, Bobby nailed down the save, but in that situation, I just didn’t think Fields could do it, and he proved me right when he struck out.

The Sox walked away with a series win, and it was an important series expecially against a team that is first in their division.  With loses to the Tigers and Twins, the White Sox managed to gain some ground on the teams above them.  They currently sit four and a half games behind the Tigers, and three games behind the Twins.  The Sox have a long awaited day off on Monday, and they will need it going into their next series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

The Cubs haven’t been playing stellar ball, but the same thing could be said about the Sox.  It’s going to be a tough series, and it’s a must win series for the Pale Hose.  The scheduled pitchers for the Sox are: Danks, Floyd, and Contreras.  Ozzie confirmed that he will push Contreras’ start to Thursday – that is how important the series is.   

Contreras Looking to Capitalize Off of Last Outing

Jose Contreras goes to the bump tonight versus the Brew Crew, and he looks to extend his win streak to two games.  He was simply spectacular in his last outing versus the Tigers, and the White Sox need the veteran righthander to reproduce his success.  The Pale Hose need to give Contreras the run support they did Monday night, and they need to play a solid game defensively.

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