" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And Then There Were Six


With Brennan Cougill ruled academically ineligible and transferring to Kirkwood for the entire next basketball year, there are now six players left from last year's team, five of which saw time:

Whew! I'll be watching to see the new system and get a feel for it but...

Wow!

Hoo!

Eck!

Nahhh!

Christo don't know 'bout this.

Tonight at 10pm: "Louie" - F/X


Haven't seen a bad review yet.




Mate's Musings

I knew when I heard the name Anthony Lerew and "third career start" that the Sox were screwed.
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THIS makes me want to throw my hands in the air, yell "DONE!" and move into a cave.
Nice logic. I'm completely convinced that human resource departments and recruiters have so little to offer, and they know it, that they start to invent theories about workers and sell them to companies as truth.
Do they read newspapers or scour the Internet? The economy was and is in pretty bad shape. It's been covered fairly regularly. I have stopped getting angry about this and have got to the shake my head in bewilderment and chuckle phase.
It's just....wow.
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On top of all that, George Will and his Republican/First Baptist Church of Smug Judgement ilk think taking unemployment benefits away from folks who have been without a job for more than 6 months or a year is the right and proper thing to do. Why? It makes people stay on unemployment. People, according to them, enjoy making 45% of what they were making and really, really enjoy barely paying their bills. Because you can always go get a job working shit hours at Burger King or washing toilets at the Best Western! What's wrong with you, people?!
It's amazing to me how easy it is for people with jobs to tell the unemployed, (who were LAID OFF! Not fired, didn't quit, lost their jobs because of bad decisions made at the top or circumstance beyond their control, like, y'know ,near global economic collapse,) what jobs they should go take. Especially when they are the ones that don't HAVE to go shovel shit or deal with a fat lady whose Frosty wasn't made right.

Here's George sharing his fantastic view that he shares with the Old Ladies at Church:

Go fuck yourself, George.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Aaaaaaand...This Is Why I Stopped Reading Salon


Offended? Nope.

Disgusted? Nope.

A general sense that the internet finds everything interesting? Yep.

Ok, I'll Admit It...

I was avoiding writing a blog entry about the Sox until the season saving streak ended....So, here it is.

Yesterday convinced me that we need instant replay in baseball. I've been leaning that way for a bit now (After years of being against it. I liked the human element of it and actually find most of the reviews in the NFL too far reaching and excruciatingly long to resolve. We don't need this in baseball) but this weekend tipped me over.
I'm not for using the "K" Zone for balls and strikes despite the unbelievably bad call to end the Tigers-Braves game on Saturday. It was a PITCH OUT! But during the bottom of the 9th of yesterday's game, with Rios as the winning run at the plate, a 2-0 pitch that was, at least, 8 inches outside was called a strike. It completely changed the at bat. Rios struck out swinging on the same pitch to end the game. Hey, he may have got out anyway but Marmol was doing his Carlos Marmol Implosion Dance and it looked like the Sox were going to become that annoying ass team that I hate unless it's my team. He got a big heapin' helpin' handout from the ump on that pitch. Big time. (BTW, if the Cubs do blow that game? Holy Cripes.....How the hell do you get back up and play again today? And Carlos, you don't get to thump your chest after you almost blow a five run lead. )
But the call that made me put my hands in the air and give up was the call at first on Alexi Ramirez's "ground out" to short to lead off the 7th. Replays showed that not only was he safe but it wasn't even remotely close. Ramirez put his hands up in a "safe" motion as he crossed the bag and, to me at least, the ump seemed to call him out because he saw that and took it as showing him up. Maybe he just blew it. Whatever it was, this is happening way too much. Easy to see calls getting blown. Badly. You wonder if the umps secretly want replay just to take some pressure off.
Naturally, Beckham hit the next pitch to Nady at first, who if he was holding Ramirez on, wouldn't have been in position to make the play. Game changing. I'm sorry but it is.
The umps are not only making bad call after bad call but they seem to be more that willing to let their personal feelings and anger at a player's actions dictate how they call the game. I'm looking at you, Joe West. It's just not Hawk who says this BTW.....

All that said, the reason the Sox lost yesterday was A) It was time and B) John Danks had absolutely no control of his breaking stuff.
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I'm not even going to bring up Zambrano. He's Bat Shit. Known it for years.
I see a Mets uniform in his future.....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sox Summary Saturday - Everybody Hates Moving


Something made the bats and arms start crafting good baseball work. I like to think that something is the prospect of moving.

Moving is hell on Earth. Almost nothing sucks more than moving. And when the prospect of having to do something that sucks so much as moving is on the horizon solely due to a product of your own making, it become a great motivator.

"Ah, man. I gotta get boxes, call VanLines, find the kids new schools. Fuck it. I'll just start hitting."

Much has been made of the laughably easy schedule the Sox have had in route to winning 14 of 15.

Doesn't matter. This stuff beats good teams. And they took advantage of an extended soft spot in the schedule to get themselves right back into the thick of baseball relevance so much quicker than even the most optimistic person ever would have thought. Remember. The BRE ruminated about the possibility of wandering into Iowa football thoughts in June just three weeks ago.

They basically had one shot and that was June. It happened. Now, when sizing up the prospects from here until the end of the season, as always, it comes down to pitching. And the Sox have it while the Twins and Tigers really don't. Not enough anyway. Keep everyone healthy and I won't have to think about that Hawk game in Arizona so much until it actually happens.

Oh, and some credit should be given. At least Zambrano kept his pants on. He's grown.

The week's recap from Saturday to Friday (6-0 overall, 4-0 at home, 2-0 on the road)

Offense:

.305/.346/.437 for a .783 OPS

Suppressed by the lack of any long balls for eight games, all of which they won.

Began the week 5.5 games back. Ended the week 1.5 games back

Walk rate: 4.7% Can't sustain that. Just can't.

K rate: 18.3% Up a hair again.

How do you get offense to seemingly click with a terrible walk rate, an increasing strikeout rate and no homers? Two reasons, both of which we've tracked religiously here at SSS:

BABIP: .346 !!!

Avg. w/RISP: .442 !!!

These are unsustainable rates. But good teams have these kinds of weeks all the time. It's just that the Sox haven't had one of these weeks yet. In fact, six of the nine regulars in the lineup had a BABIP above .400 for the week.

Individually, welcome back, Carlos. With a .661 wOBA for the week, only Josh Hamilton and Dustin Fuckin' Pedroia and his stupid Red Soxy trot were better. The team had six homers for the week and Carlos had four of them. Alexei's hitting and even drew two walks, rising his total to 13 on the year, and quietly got his average up to a respectable .263. He's gone from someone who nobody would moan if he were traded to an actual asset, especially defensively.

Ramirez, Rios and Pierre have been the defensive stars of this team, all in the top five in all of baseball at their position. Ramirez is the best shortstop in the majors according to UZR/150 with Pierre sitting at 3rd in left and Rios 4th in center. Konerko hit .381, Pierzynski hit .389, Rios hit .333. And Pierre hit .217 with no walks (Sigh). If there were one trade that should have happened, it may have been flipping Andruw Jones when, for the second straight year, hit out of his gourd for the first month and a half. A LOOGY not named Randy Williams is needed on this team.

The "I'm gonna steal home in the first inning" stolen bases stat: 2 stolen bases, 3 caught. Ramon Castro had one of them. On him, when Castro, Viciedo and Konerko are in the same lineup, the Earth's gravitational pull sinks a tick.

This has been one of the weirdest Sox seasons in a long time. Schizophrenic in so many ways. And just think! We get to see how it all happened behind the scenes in a mere three weeks! You know, for posterity's sake.

Pitching:

It's the bookends of the rotation that kept the Sox from falling 10 games back or 10 games under .500 at any point this year. It's Peavy and Garcia. The odd thing about Peavy is that this has been his M.O. throughout his career. He goes through stretches like this, just shorter. There's good Peavy and bad Peavy. With tougher competition and more wear on the arm, the stretch was just extended longer this year. But 16 shutout innings on the week with talk of fluid in the shoulder? Take it and run. He's 3-1 with a 1.20 ERA in June. Garcia has eight wins and Ed Farmer has him in the All-Star game. Slow down, Ed but he's been the best #5 in baseball and it's not even close. Wins aren't a great or even a good gauge on how a pitcher actually pitched but with fifth starters, they matter, mainly because of the incredibly low expectations from the slot. He's on pace for 17 wins.

As a team, the Sox led all of baseball with a 1.67 ERA. Danks was Danks. Buehrle's righted the ship. After a bumpy start to the month, he's 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last three. Floyd's had some rough luck, exhibited by his 3.33 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in no-decisions this year.

This week's spotlight shines on Putz. He's thankfully marginalized Linebrink. Since May 7, he hasn't allowed a run in 15.2 innings of work, allowing just a .130 BAA and a .294 OPS.

And look! Jenks is a relevant closer again. Who knew?

Inter Alia

Six game week this week, off Thursday. Competition in terms of baseball goodness begins to get only slightly tougher from here to the break (and I'm barely counting the Angels).

Two more against a Cubs team that's barely a baseball team now then they hit the road for six before coming back for a four-game set against the Angels.

Lerew's a new one for the Sox. Dayton Moore loves anybody that might have once passed through the Braves' system, good or not. Wilson had a workmanlike win against the Sox in April.

Check out these numbers against Bannister by current Sox hitters:

Click to enlarge (huh-huh)

Right after the break, the Sox go on a 10-game road trip with four at Minnesota before heading out west for six against Seattle and Oakland. In fact, seven of the first 14 games after the break are against Seattle, more incentive for Sox fans to be watching the Cliff Lee sweepstakes (he's walked four hitters in 87 innings this year - that's just ridiculous).

And the schedule from August 27 to the end of the season in just brutal. But from the looks of things, it seems that Iowa football might have something jockeying for its attention.

Who knew that three weeks ago.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wake Up, Jerk Offs.....

What can you say about the BP Clusterfuck in the Gulf that hasn't already been said?

Tony Heyward, if I didn't know any better, was being paid by MoveOn.org to fulfill every stereotype of the unfeeling, dickhead CEO known to man. Seriously, Tony. A yacht race? Holy fucking Lord.
And Joe Barton should be beaten with a gigantic tree branch. I'm not kidding. I want him beaten with a tree branch. Preferably one dripping with steaming hot oil caused by that poor ol' victim, BP. The line of oil money to this asshole is longer than the piss line at Wrigley.
I have many friends who refer to themselves as "conservative". I, myself, agree on some principles of the fiscal side of that ledger.
But, God, are the hard corers getting tired. Holy Shit.

Media Matters has a list. The whole Fox News/GOP/Rush Limbaugh party line bullshit was annoying but ultimately I knew ,deep down, that most people could see through it and take it for what its worth: pandering to morons.
But now I have to come to one conclusion: If you listen to Rush Limbaugh/watch Fox News or revere Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin and take everything they say as gospel than you are a 100% Grade A motherfucking Idiot.
I've got news for ya, fuckbags. Because I ,y'know, look at these things called facts.

Global warming is real.
Off shore drilling is dangerous.
Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.
The Insurance Industry was getting away with murder.
Barack Obama was born in the US.
Sarah Palin is dangerously unqualified to be anything more than a yammering whack job.
Medicare is a government run program.
So is Social Security, the FDA, the highways, the police, the military, fire houses..you get the idea.

Oh, and BTW, these guys are taking you fuckers to the cleaners. Rush, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Palin and the entire Right Wing Entertainment Machine. Go buy another one of their idiotic, rambling, hate filled and 95% fucking laughably WRONG books, you manipulative drones.

Somebody once said that America is going to "Drown in it's own crap"....I think that day is becoming a reality.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Can Start Paying Attention To the Twins Now....

Well, the Sox got to .500. How? By playing and beating up on crap.
As someone who was one more pop up with the bases loaded away from washing my hands of the whole clusterfuck that the 2010 White Sox was becoming, I'm not going to be "that guy". No pissing in the Sox Corn Flakes. This team did what it had to do to avoid a late June/early July disaster at the gate and subsequent sell off.
Therefore, hope still lives. It will probably be a carbon copy of last year, where they pasted the godawful National League (thanks, Phillies, BTW....Fucking Assholes), then started playing good teams again and nose dive. But the starting pitching is lights out and they've actually got a few 2 out hits! I had to rewind three times the other day when Carlos Quentin actually got one! Who was that?

Back to full blog mode tomorrow. Had to take a bit of a break. Why? Laziness.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sox Summary Saturday - Look Who Has Their MoJo Back!


And look who's happy.

He has a right to be. Sure, it was the Cubs, Pirates and the beginning of the Nationals series, but good teams take bad teams and beat the hell out of them.

To wit: In 2008, the Sox had a team entirely comparable in talent to this year (better pitching, less hitting on this team). That year, they finished 89-74, winning the division by one game against a Twins team almost entirely comparable in talent to this year's Twins team.

In 2008, the Sox weren't a great team but they were a fun team to watch right through to the end of the season and into the playoffs. And it was fun because the Sox beat up on below .500 shite to the tune of a 49-26 record.

I mention this for two reasons. First, the division was essentially in the same situation with the Sox and the Twins flip-flopped on June 19 of that year with the Sox up four games on a Twins team hovering at .500. 5.5 games back less than halfway through the season is nothing.

Second, it doesn't seem anyone has noticed that the Twins aren't that great (except Sox Summary Saturday because he enjoys watching teams he hates lose - hence the 50 Mariners games he's watched this year). Since late April, they've been a .500 team, players are bitching about how Target Field depresses their homers and HEY!...LOOK! Justin Morneau isn't a .380 hitter! He's hitting .204 in June.

This year's Sox team probably isn't going to do much...but at least they're at the point where I want to tune in to see how much "much" is.

The week's recap from Saturday to Friday (5-1 overall, 0-0 at home, 5-1 on the road)

Offense:

.224/.301/..303 = .604 OPS (worst mark on the season)

Mostly brought on by superlative pitching they faced in three of the six games this week, they nonetheless won two of those games. Silva continued to pitch out of his gourd Saturday, Lilly pitched the game of his life Sunday and the Sox last night were introduced to a 90 mph change-up from Mr. Strasburg to ugly results (on him, he's faced 34 right-handed batters so far and struck out 20 of them!).

Began the week 8.5 GB. Ended the week 5.5 GB.

Walk rate: 6.5% down a tick.

K rate: 18.9% understandably up a tick

BABIP: .271 Normal enough.

Avg. w/RISP: .246

Individually, no homers for the week, which is a tad odd. Konerko continues to hit in June. Rios had an off week. Nix had a decent week with the bat and promptly got designated for assignment (that was inevitable at some point) to make room for the $10 million man who seems to be not that good at baseball. Viciedo gets the start at third today. Pierre was productive with the bat and freakin' stellar with the glove. Andruw Jones got a start in Pierre's left field spot Sunday and also led off! He pulled an oh-fer on the week. Pierzynski went 4-5 Friday and promptly went back to sucking. Overall, it wasn't good with the collective stick but with the pitching the Sox got from the bump, they didn't need to be.

On Viciedo, he's apparently not starting today and your 2-3-4 hitters are Vizquel, Kotsay and Jones. Consider me perplexed on all fronts.

The "I'm gonna steal home in the first inning" stolen bases stat: 3 stolen bases (all Pierre), caught once.

Updated offensive rankings on the year: Runs = 21st. Homers = 7th in all of baseball. Doubles = 25th. Strikeouts = best. Walks = 21st. Average = 26th. Slugging = 22nd. Stolen bases = 3rd. BABIP = last. wOBA = 23rd.

Fielding: Team UZR/150: minus 3.2. BUT! Alexei is rated as the 4th-best shortstop in UZR/150 this year. Rios is the best CF BY FAR in all of baseball. Pierre is the second-best LF, behind only Carl Crawford, and Beckham is above league-average. On the bad side, Konerko is at minus 16, ahead of only Glaus for last place. Third base has been a sieve this year and Quentin in right has gone according to Hoyle. He's in Brad Hawpe territory for being bad at catching the ball at minus 45.3.

Pitching:

Here's why 5-1 happened. 2.13 ERA for the week with a .213 BAA and 1.02 WHIP. Take Santos out of the equation and, across the board, it was kinda ridiculous in a ridiculous goodness way.

Floyd nearly matched Lilly's performance Sunday, going eight, giving up one run on three hits and three walks. He doubled up last night against Strasburg, going eight, giving up one on four hits and one walk. 1.13 ERA for the week and still didn't get a win. Danks beat up a bad Pirates lineup, Garcia continues to keep the Sox in games, not looking great on Tuesday but - AGAIN! - winning after a Sox loss. He's 7-3 on the season. Buehrle won two games this week against the Cubs and Pirates, walking one and striking out 13 in 14 innings with a 1.29 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Peavy goes today after rumblings of shoulder drainage/pain reliever issues and Guillen talking about wanting him on the DL. Daniel Hudson has probably packed his bags and will be sitting by the phone tonight.

Putz, Thorton and Pena gave up nothing in a combined 6.2 innings of work. Jenks got four saves in as many chances, giving up one run. Santos has probably come back down to Earth.

Good pitching + enough hitting = 5-1, especially against bad baseball teams.

The next two weeks promise more opportunities to gnaw on badness before the schedule turns to teams better at basebally-type stuff.

Inter Alia

* Another six-game week this week with Monday off again - two more in the nation's capital and then they come home for the start of a six-game homestand with three against Atlanta and the start of the Cubs series.

* Supposedly a two-start week for Peavy. We'll see.

* Watch Lannan. He's three words the Sox never want to hear: Soft Tossing Lefty. Add three more: Who Is Struggling. Add six more: Who Hasn't Faced The White Sox. The Braves' series isn't the best of match-ups. Hudson has resurrected his career, Hanson (never faced the Sox) is one of the best young starters in the game and Derek Lowe, though wildly overpaid and not good, has been feasting on great run support and is on pace to win 20 (which, if it happens, would be one of the most dubious 20-win seasons ever). Lilly rematch Friday.

* This is a good time to make a move on the Twins. They just started a nine-game road trip against the Phillies, Brewers and Mets. Then they come home for three against Detroit and four against the Rays leading up to July 4. In that same stretch, the Sox see three each against the Nats, Braves, Cubs, Royals and Texas. This could be a race quicker than many thought. Of course, the Tigers have won seven in a row and are a half-game out so...

* Wanna hate the vuvuzela more? Well...the Marlins hope to assist you in that quest. Tonight, when they host the Rays, the first 15,000 through the gates will get a free one. How can that go wrong?

* Saw a ten-minute preview last night of "The Club," the White Sox reality show starting July 18 on the MLB Network. Looks oodles better than I thought it would be.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mate's Musings

OK, so the Big 12 or Big 10 or whatever the hell they're gonna call it now is saved. But did ya take a gander at the deal? I believe Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State will now be officially referred to collectively as "the Bitch"...All the exit fines for Nebraska and Colorado go to Texas, Oklahoma and A&M? No new tv deal yet. Fox wants to own the rights to any mid tier teams radio? Texas Tech may still walk....Wow. Was the sink cold when they bent you over it?
That said, the mega conference stuff annoyed me. I'm glad it didn't happen.
I'm slightly on the happy side of "meh" when it comes to Nebraska joining the Big 10. It creates a natural rivalry with Iowa, I guess. From what I've heard, Nebraska fans make Penn State fans seem rational and humble. Could be interesting.
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Was at the Sunday near no hitter. It was kinda cool to be there for it but I just had a feeling that the Sox were going to get a hit. I never had that "Holy shit, I'm gonna witness a no hitter!" feeling. For whatever reason.
I left being more pissed that, once again, the Sox managed to get two guys on 2nd and 3rd with no outs and, somehow, get no runs.
Carlos Quentin is rapidly becoming the new Deacon.
It's mid June! Time to beat up on the National League garbage, get our hopes up and have reality shoved in our face shortly thereafter.
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So I spent two days at Wrigley. Can we officially demolish this thing please? God, what a craphole. We sat in the very back row of the upper deck Sunday and were about 2 feet from the infamous netting protecting us from falling concrete.
Oh, and anyone who rips on US Cellular for steep upper deck stairs obviously hasn't almost fallen to their death by slipping on the wet cement stairs that go down at Wrigley.
Twice. Almost fell twice. Get narrower aisles BTW....
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Bernstein brought it up yesterday but I thought the same thing...Didn't Patrick Kane get arrested in the off season for being a drunk asshole? And isn't he acting pretty much the same way now? And noone, NOONE, called him out on joking about beating up the cab driver at the rally. And way to thank your idiot friends and cousin before your teammates, ass.
Methinks we have a gigantic douche in our midst.....
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OK, I know nothing about soccer but isn't the World Cup a tournament? Ties?! Really?! Ties? How do you have ties in a fucking TOURNAMENT?!
Jesus, between 0-0 and 1-1 ties, the idiotic trumpets and the 88 minutes of nothing happening I am absolutely riveted!

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Wanna Hear The Most Annoying Sound In The World?"


Congratulations, soccer. I was never going to become a fan but you created something that makes the infinitesimally small chance that I ever would an iron-clad impossibility.

The vuvuzela.





Tried to watch a bit of the U.S.-England game Saturday and came to one conclusion. I'd rather take a cross-country trip with Ed Farmer and Dan Hampton than go to a soccer game where vuvuzeli are present.

There. My hat is in the proverbial ring. I join the chorus against the vuvuzela. The world has been eagerly awaiting my response.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sox Summary Saturday - Lighten Up, Francis


On the field, the Sox had a nice week.

Off the field, not so much.

It's fun. It's fun listening to two bickering children talk about how they like to settle squabbles in-house and do so with integrity while never missing an opportunity to talk to the press about every freakin' detail of said squabbles. Yes, we get it. You "don't have to be brothers." Isn't that the 15th time one or the other has said that in two months? We. Get. It! (AND. We get it, Ozzie. You make a lot of money. 50 grand doesn't mean a lot to you or your family. Have some grace and stop reminding the world.)

On the field, first three-game winning streak since the Mariners sweep (second on the year)! There's something about that 27-33 record that leads to begrudging acceptance of marginal feelings of possibly thinking about wandering into hope. You know...if you have a few drinks in you and the world feels like one where "anything can happen!"

The June schedule is the equivalent of throwing a couple Tequila shots on top of that and it becomes "anytin con happend, bitch!"

And then you throw up.

The week's recap from Saturday to Friday (4-2 overall, 3-2 at home, 1-0 on the road)

Offense:

.309/.360/.505 = .865 OPS (.373 wOBA - good for second in the majors for the week)

This is two weeks in a row now. The offense is striking the ball and scoring points. Except when Mitch Talbot pitches.

Averaged 6.5 runs/game. Gave up 4.2. Good time to find the groove. In the next 17 games - six at home, 11 on the road - the Sox face the Cubs five more times and three each against the Pirates, Nationals, Braves and Royals. Project how you like but this is the best extended stretch of average to bad opponents the Sox have all year. Now or never.

Walk rate: 7.5%

K rate: 14.2%

BABIP: .319 Things are starting to balance out. .256 on the year now from a low that was below .200, only 14 points behind the next-worst team which, surprisingly now the Blue Jays, a team that's kinda fun to watch.

Average w/ RISP: .420 (10-53, 20-38 in wins (10-12 in Wedneday's win), 1-12 in losses)

And only 19 of their 39 runs for the week came via the long ball.

Began and ended the week 8.5 GB

Individually, odd things happened. The Sox had ten homers for the week with nine different players getting in on the action (even Vizquel, Castro and Lillibridge went long and high).

Everyone got in on the action except for Andruw Jones, a guy who we can probably put to bed now. Vizquel had a .990 OPS for the week and promptly left for a family matter in Venezuela. We hardly knew ye. Pierzynski's 10-5 rights kick in three days from now. Guillen told him he's not going to be traded and he apparently liked what he heard. Since May 1, he's been more like himself with a .273/.296/.471 slash line. Ramirez in hitting, Pauly was happy to see May go bye-bye (1.333 OPS in June) and Quentin could be on an excurciatingly slow climb back to respectability. Since he hit his nadir on May 8 with a .172 average, he's hitting .256/.316/.453, not walking but not striking out during that span. Some hope, there.

The "I'm gonna steal home in the first inning" stolen bases stat: 5 stolen bases, caught four times. Rios with three, Pierre with two. On Pierre, gotta say, while he hasn't done anything with the stick, his defense has been pretty un-bad this year, bordering on great.

Pitching:

First, if Thorton, who is suddenly bad at throwing balls where bats aren't, didn't give up seven earned in 2 1/3 innings, the bullpen had a 1.80 ERA.

Peavy had a couple of very nice and encouraging starts this week, both seven inning, two-run efforts (1-1). And something should be noted on Peavy. From May 3, after two consecutive starts where he walked 12 batters in 11 innings, he's walked a total of seven in 54.2 innings, striking out 48. Joel PiƱeiro led the majors last year with a 1.14 BB/9. Projecting Peavy's seven-walks in 54.2 inning span out to a full season of 218 innings (times four because I'm lazy), that's 1.16 BB/9. Encouraging stuff.

Garcia won again after a Sox loss, Danks and Floyd dominated the Tigers. Buehrle...ugh.

A lot to like this week from the bump.

Inter Alia

* Six game week, off Monday, all on the road. Two more against the Cubbies for the legendary BP Crosstown Cup. Over the past 300 years, families have come to blows with numerous reported deaths over the Cup. Midweek three-game series at Pittsburgh and then the beginning of three in Washington, starting Friday against Mr. Steven Strasburg.

* Two start week for Buehrle, not the best of circumstances with the way he's pitching. Outside of Strasburg, it's not a collection of Cy Youngs that Sox hitters will be staring at this week.

* Duke pitched well against the Sox last year, going eight, giving up two runs on six hits, striking out seven but taking the loss. Ohlendorf had a fair-to-middling outing against the Sox last year, taking the loss as well. Brad Lincoln used to be a highly-rated prospect. He's now 25 and pitched his first game in the majors last week. Write the script. Silva and Lilly have long histories against the Sox. Pierzynski has a good chance to extend his hot streak against Silva today. He's hit him well in the past with a .296/.310/.556 slash line including two homers in 27 at-bats. Against Lilly, the current Sox roster has an .875 OPS. Kotsay WILL start Sunday (1.500 OPS in nine ABs against). Konerko's gone deep three times in 21 ABs against Theodore Roosevelt Lilly.

* AL Central teams' records in the last 30 games: Twins (16-14), Tigers (14-16), Sox (15-15), Royals (15-15) and the Indians (12-18).

* Sunday's game is the ESPN night game. Joe Morgan will talk at length about inconsistency.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just A Game? Go Fuck Yourself.

Much like half the people in this picture, I really don't care about hockey. At all. I've made that fairly clear lately. Mainly, I just don't have the time or energy (mainly energy) to take on a new sport/team. Hockey is too manic, too goddamn random (in my limited hockey knowledge, it seemed that the Flyers had 400 shots on goal in the OT last night and then Kane just kinda/sorta got lucky) and too strange for me to latch onto it. I appreciate it. I see why people can get into it ,particularly when you watch it in person. Even the most ardent hockey fan admits hockey on TV is pretty alienating to a non-fan. But, much like George Costanza's shower, it "didn't take" with me.
So, I'm not going to pretend to give a shit about the Blackhawks championship. Yeah, it's great for the hockey fans in this city but it doesn't do anything for me frankly.
THAT SAID, let them have their day or week. If you don't care, keep your mouth shut. If you're not a sports fan, walk away and shake your head at them smugly like alot of you are so good at doing. Go to a poetry slam or something much more engaging. And for the love of God don't say "it's just a game." Unless you want to be slapped.
When the White Sox won in 2005 (I know I'm not supposed to bring this up anymore. So say the baseball council of ethics, i.e Dan Bernstein and the dumb ass quadrant of Cubs fans) it was a moment of inescapable, wonderful, out of body happiness and joy that, for a brief day or two, made life sweeter. The air smelled better. The birds chirped louder. The bums seemed charming. It was fleeting. It didn't last long and all the while you know it's really not all that important in the grand scheme of things. We get it. But the reason we sports fans invest so much time and energy to our teams is so we can have that moment. It doesn't happen very often (unless you're a Yankee or Laker fan and in that case you can eat poison and die) but when it does, you give yourself a moment. A moment that can't really be described to people who don't "get it". It just is.
So, "just a game" can not be said to anyone this week wearing a Blackhawks jersey. Yeah, they may be a band wagoner and they probably didn't watch a single game all regular season but they are enjoying it.

Let 'em.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Wackiness: I HATE YOU, CHRIS PRONGER!


I came late to the primary races this year. This piece got me back on the political horse.

*** Crazy Lady, I mean Orly Taitz, had the Republicans shaking in their boots as late as this past weekend when one poll showed her winning the California Secretary of State race. She ended up getting destroyed but over 350,000 Californians deemed her a good choice to lead their state in...whatever the Secretary of State in California does.

Weird mental meanderings about possibly moving to California at some point in my life now CANCELLED!

*** A guy in South Carolina, Alvin Greene, won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate without raising one penny in funds, didn't campaigning and didn't even have a website. He'll now go up against Tea Party teddy bear, Jim DeMint in November. His challenger Vic Rawl, a moderate Southern Dem, was a much more seasoned politician with four House terms and a judgeship. Asked to explain the loss, the state's Democratic Party Chairwoman said it was most likely because Greene appeared alphabetically before Rawl's name on the ballot.

South Carolina? NOOOO!

*** Speaking of the California Republican Senate primary (top link), Carly Fiorina beat Tom Campbell by a fairly big margin. The background details of the race are entirely worth your time but if you want a shortcut to get the gist of what happened, this is it.

DEMON SHEEP! (You just gotta watch the whole thing):


I have a question. Who are the sheep supposed to represent? The voters?

*** If I tasted a Casey's pizza or smelled the Mississippi in August while hearing some old guy ramble on about the Indian Summer or stood on a Little League baseball field in Camanche and heard the test horn for the fire department, I would be immediately transported back to the 1983. If I experienced all of those together, I might fall into a fetal position with flashbacks the likes of which I've never seen.

But nothing prepared me for reading the news, read for the first time ONLY LAST NIGHT, that Terry Branstad was running for the Republican primary for governor in Iowa. AND HE WON! Seriously. I read the headline and thought he had a son or something running. Nope. It's him.

Reopen the Johnny Gosch investigation and my head might explode.

*** Anybody else find Ozzie's reaction to his son being drafted by the Sox in 22nd round a bit weird? It's almost as if he saw it as some sort of slight. Just a little bit. And of course had to mention that little bit.

*** Nebraska looks like it will be the newest Big Ten member as early as Friday. Two more teams will probably be added but if that's the biggest name that ends up joining the conference, I officially cry foul on all the hype leading up to this. I know there's reports talking about Texas letting Nebraska take the lead in order to save face and all that, but if it ends up being Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers? JHC, who cares?!

If the Big Ten's going to expand, it should probably go all the way and make sure said expansion makes them at least on par with the SEC in marketability, tradition, blah, blah, blah. Long way to go and a lot of things can happen but a crack seems to be opening or a scenario emerging where Delany might be the one that ends up "dropping the ball." If Texas gets away and goes to PAC 10, Delany failed. Or EPIC FAIL, as the kids (rip my eyes out) annoyingly say.

*** Don't forget. Sweaty crotch fest, I mean the Taste of Chicago begins in three weeks. 100,000 people, no parking, too few toilets, 100 degree weather, overpriced mediocre food, gunplay every year. WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE?

*** Seven days in Portugal in September for the Ney house. Four in Lisbon, three in the Douro. How do you say, "My hovercraft is full of eels" in Portuguese? Two years of the language in college and I barely remember how to say hello.

Should be fun. I was there ten years ago during the most hastily thrown together five-week European backpack adventure ever planned by man. It's easily the most wonderfully strange place I've ever been.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fire Sale?

First off, I hate that term.

Second, it looks more and more like this is going to happen according to some Chicago baseball people. Barring an out of nowhere sweep of the Tigers (assuming they play tonight) and Cubs this weekend (you can pretty much count that out as I'll be in attendance for two of the games), the trading will begin.

Yes, it's tempting to "wait and see what happens in June" as the schedule is drool inducing with games against some pretty poor to mediocre National League teams (Pittsburgh? Again?!) but that happened last year, too. They were awful, they got hot against the inferior league, then got back to being horse shit playing teams that are good at baseball again.

So, who's gone? Probably AJ. Probably Jones. Probably Jenks. Probably Putz. Maybe Konerko. Maybe Buehrle.

Are there really any untouchables on this team? Really? With the exception of Rios, who is signed through 2014 and the only guy playing well consistently, I can't think of one guy that I wouldn't at least look at what they are offering....Danks, maybe. Beckham is probably off the table but I personally wouldn't be averse to listening. Peavy will stay as he has that huge contract.
Remind me, why is Alexi untouchable again? If I see that fucker pop up with the bases loaded one more time....

And I will give you money to take Mark Kotsay.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This Might Be the Beer Talkin' Marge But You've Got A Butt That Won't Quit...They Got These Chewy Pretzel Things Here...

Well, it's June and that means it's time for a few Iowa football players to get caught in some sort of underage drinking/public intox/bar fight shenanigans.

And they didn't disappoint!

You can set your watch to this shit. Oh, and apparently DJK (I use this only as writing his full name is waaaay too much work) posted something stupid about it on Facebook. Something all athletes should be on by all means....

And as I write this the Sox are about to drop the first two to the Toledo Mud Hens, I mean, the Cleveland Indians.

Cue Price Is Right Failure Horn!

Sox Summary Saturday - Eat Up, Fellas


4.8 runs/game average for the week.

7.3 runs/against. That equals 2-4.

In a prolonged state of delusion, I held out some level of hope until sometime during the Texas series. After Neftali Feliz essentially walked the bases loaded in the ninth (four straight to Quentin, the previous batter) on Tuesday, Alexei came up with one out, down three. FIRST PITCH SWINGING! Infield pop-up. Two fails. Alexei apparently didn't know to take one or two pitches and apparently nobody told me to, either.

They're done now. That's not even trying.

Say the Twins finish with 88 wins (on pace for 94 but have been .500 since April). In order for the Sox to win the division (cuz they ain't gettin' the Wild Card), they would have to go 66-42 to get to 89 wins. This team isn't going to play .611 ball. For reference, the 2009 Yankees played .636 ball on their way to 103 wins.

They're done.

The week's recap from Saturday to Friday (2-4 overall, 1-3 at home, 1-1 on the road)

Offense:

.274/.357/.493 for an .849 OPS....

....um...it wasn't really the offense that led to a 2-4 record...expect for more brutality in situational hitting. Even with the continued awfulness with RISP, the offense can't be expected to put up six runs a game in order to win games. They struck the ball and scored some points.

Walk rate: 9.7% Pretty consistent.

K rate: 14.4% Consistent.

BABIP: .273 Normal enough.

wOBA: .370 Sixth-best mark for the week.

Average w/ RISP: .189 (10-53, 3-17 in wins, 7-36 in losses)

28 runs for the week. 17 via the homer.

Beginning of the week: 7 GB - End of the week: 8.5 GB

Individually, Konerko seems to be getting his stroke (huh!) back. 1.532 OPS for the week. Hey, he even beat Matt Treanor against the Sox and Jhonny Peralta who has a 1.289 OPS at U.S. Cellular this year. And Alexei continues to salvage his season with an .843 OPS over the last 15 days. Something should be noted with the ridiculous season that Rios is having. He has a .303 BABIP on the season. That's normal in the normalest way normal can be. Might even be a tad low for a guy with a modicum of speed like Rios. His career .318 BABIP might suggest that his numbers could become even more gaudy with a hot BABIP spell. Quentin had four hits in 24 PAs, three went over the fence. With Pierre, I simply won't mention Jon Ely. It's too Phil Rogers-y.

The "I'm gonna steal home in the first inning" stolen bases stat: 7 SB, 5 CS. They lost their ML lead in stolen bases! THAT's the reason they were 2-4!

Pitching:

Not doin' it. Everybody sucked with Floyd and Danks being the suckiest of the suck in the realm of suckdom. Freddy Garcia might be the best pitcher on the staff right now. He's the one that's stopping losing streaks. All four of his wins have come after a Sox loss. Of course, there's been a lot of losses.

Jenks, Putz and Thorton threw 9.1 innings of scoreless ball. Linebrink, Santos, Pena and Randy threw 14 innings of 12 run ball.

Team ERA on the year: 4.80 (26th in all of baseball) xFIP: 4.20 (10th)

Starters' ERA on the year: 5.20 (29th in all of baseball) xFIP: 4.40 (11th)

Relievers' ERA on the year: 3.91 (13th in all of baseball) xFIP: 3.76 (3rd)

This is where I admit that I was completely wrong about the rotation being the strength of this team because...well...they're not.

An overall 4.20 xFIP compared to a 4.80 ERA means that from a strictly pitching standpoint, it's a little better than the outcome. Their xFIP is 10th-best in baseball on the year. So if you want a frayed strand of hope to latch onto, that's the best I got. The Astros are sixth in xFIP so...

BUT!!! If the Sox offense didn't have a .249 BABIP, still the worst by far on the year, and a .227 average with RISP, ahead of the team that's barely a baseball team, the Orioles, they're probably a .500 or slightly bettter team. I don't think that can be debated.

If they were just normal in those categories relative to the league, they're the Angels who ARE normal in those categories and sit at 29-28.

At 29-28, the Sox are four games back and the feeling of this team is utterly different.

I love alternate realities.

Inter Alia

* Six game week with Monday off. Two more at home against the '27 Yankees...I mean Cleveland and then they welcome the Tigers for three midweek games. Friday begins the Cubs series at Wrigley for the dramatically scaled-down BP Crosstown Cup. Insert dead fish joke here.

* Two start week for Peavy against Cleveland and the Cubs. Buehrle faces Westbrook Sunday for the THIRD TIME THIS YEAR! God, baseball's scheduling is getting dumb. Let's level some of this crap out, shall we?

* Never faced Scherzer. 14 Ks the last time out. I predict 20. The rest of the opposing pitchers are well-established. Mitch Talbot becomes Mitch Fucking Talbot against the Sox. Randy Wells beat them last year in a seven inning, two-run effort. They've beaten up Galarraga in the past. They just beat Porcello two weeks ago. The Sox miss Verlander which is actually too bad. He's 1-6 with a 5.19 ERA in his career at the Cell.

* Three day games this week. Hey! I get to watch more Sox baseball live. LUCKY ME!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Just Great Stuff


Worth every second.

H/T to AWG:


Friday Isn't For Thinking

Oh, good. The Sox managed to take one from the Rangers, who prior to the Sox series were 8-15 on the road.
Wow! Both Andruw Jones and Bobby Jenks' curve made an appearance!
Can you feel the momentum? Me neither...
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Gee, I can't imagine why people hate oil companies and think CEOs are unfeeling, self centered pricks....

Oh, we're sorry. Are we taking you away from something? Jesus. Do these fuckers even think before they talk?
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I happened to catch Mike North's new gig "Monsters and Money In the Morning" today. The dog got me up.
Anyway, it is the most scatter shot, odd, weird show I think I've ever seen. Who green lit this? It's North and Dan Jiggets essentially doing a PTI type show with 2 finance people (I'm far too lazy to look it up) and making weird comments.
Today, the news lady took it back to Jiggets with some inane observation about some story about not eating before working out in that forced bonhomie way that newscasters do (i.e Hey, Dan, maybe we wouldn't have any energy if we skipped breakfast....) and Jiggets was stuffing his face with food. He then did an "aaaaabsolutely", not having any inkling of what this woman had just said. It was Paul Burmeister levels of embarrassment and I shuffled frantically for the remote. I looked for it on the website but they edited it out.
DVR it. Just once. It's a train wreck.
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The Big 12 is apparently going under. I don't know how I feel about this as the expansion talk kind of bores me.
But it looks like Nebraska and Missouri will be in the Big 10 and Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado are going to the Pac 10...Maybe.
Yes, Texas Tech will be in the same conference as Stanford.
But what does this do for Iowa State? Where do they go?
I'm not one of these Cyclone hating Iowa fans. I'm actually fairly indifferent to them except when they play Iowa. They are pretty much irrelevant in the state outside the Des Moines area and Iowa wins the best players in the state consistently. At least in football.
But where do they go? The Mountain West? Conference USA? the MAC?

Yikes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yeah...


That would be...out.

I've done a 180. I want replay.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

You Only Wish You Were As Magnificent As Matt Treanor


I'm not going to say that the Sox this year have been struck by the bad luck gremlin because they haven't.

This is a bad team made bad by a strange roster construction to begin with and made worse by nearly-historically awful situational hitting.

They're not a fun team to watch (evidenced by my turning of the dial to an episode of a Chicago couple on House Hunters that I've already seen last night) and they're not a team to particularly like. Nothing to hate but nothing to like.

In fact, the gamer-grindy bullshit has been toned down dramatically this season. I venture to guess that that ship has sailed now. That line of crap doesn't even wash with Bob from Cicero anymore. And that rests on Guillen but I've beaten that horse one too many times. Even so, could somebody tell me how the White Sox since 2005 have been any different from any mediocre baseball team in baseball when it comes to being a "dirtbag"?

I want to like this team...or at least the recent incarnations of the White Sox. I've lived in Chicago long enough to be more than willing to let things of that ilk in...and it's certainly not going to be the Cubs. I'm not completely in as the Angels have been just productively frustrating enough to keep my attention on the West Coast.

But with the White Sox, from someone that's always more than passively followed them throughout my entire life, it's the disgusting familiarity of it all that's always kept me from committing too much time. Same script for the most part since '84 with a glorious exception in '05.

But really...Matt Treanor?

Let me tell you about Matt Treanor. First off, Floyd's brutal. Way to build off the last two starts, Gavin. But Matt Treanor?

This is a 34 year-old guy that's never seen more than 234 plate appearances in his major league career. This is a guy that was a .245 minor league career hitter in over 2800 at-bats. This was a guy that didn't even whiff the big leagues until age 28. This was a guy that had 14 plate appearances last year total.

This year: .221/.303/.337 (.639 OPS) with 3 homers, 14 RBI, 3 doubles in 118 PAs.

Against the Sox: .357/.438/.938 (1.376 OPS) with two homers, 7 RBI, 2 doubles in 16 PAs.

Against the rest of the league: .190/.233/.238 (.471 OPS) with one homer, 7 RBI, one double in 102 PAs. That's significantly below replacement-level, which is what Matt Treanor is, offensively.

But against the Sox, let's extrapolate his numbers out to a full season of 600 PAs:

.357/.438/.938 (1.376 OPS) 75 homers, 75 doubles, 263 RBI. Babe Ruth beat that once in his career by three one-thousandths of a point (1.379 OPS in 1920).

It's kind of a mantra in baseball. You don't let bad baseball players beat you. The Sox seemed to never have gotten the memo.

I'm pulling an Ed Farmer. If Ozzie doesn't drill Matt Treanor today, he will, for the 1000th time, be all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I'm not tethered to the Sox from my youth, which gives me the ability to float in and out, usually doing something else while the game is on TV or on the radio (God help me). I made a nine year-old brain's decision, mostly to be different, to follow Reggie Jackson to the Angels.

But why would I ever want to be "all in" with this year's crap? Three hours a day for 162 days a year?

It's bad baseball.

...And go get Derrek Lee, Angels. I can't think of a better pick-up.

Oh...and Armando Galarraga was robbed. But at least Joyce had the balls to admit it.

Teetering

Went to the Sox game last night. I may have witnessed the moment where I resigned myself to the fact that this team is just too goddamn frustrating to watch.
I have tickets for Sunday's game against Cleveland and then 2 for the Cubs-Sox at Wrigley. Unless something insane happens between now and then (like a 6 game win streak or something) I may be tuning out.
Up 4-0 last night against a team that had just got swept by Minnesota. And you lose 9-6.
The Sox loaded the bases with one out in the 9th and I didn't for one moment think they were going to score. I didn't even leave my chair. And then Alexi Ramirez swings at the first fucking pitch right after 2 walks, and pops up. Then, Ozzie inexplicably doesn't pinch hit for Vizquel, and he flys out. Um..is Andrew Jones dead?

And Mark Kotsay continues to play why?

Oh, and Justin Smoak can blow me.
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One thing I'll give Sox fans is that we vote with our feet. There was maybe 18,000 there last night. The fans are saying "I'm not going to pay 23 dollars to park, 20 bucks for a ticket (maybe) and get home late on a weekday to watch this garbage."
Call it what you want but I'll take that over blind loyalty any day.
But can we please stop wearing Black Hawk jerseys to Cubs or Sox games? We get it. You have recently discovered Chicago has a hockey team. Congrats.
I know it probably shouldn't annoy me but it just...does.
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Thank the Maker. It looks like Iowa will have minimal 11am starts this year. I have hated these things for a long time. It's really bad when you are actually AT the game. Forget tailgating. But, more importantly, games shouldn't start before Noon. It just has always seemed weird to me. I get that it's for TV but is it too much to ask to have the games start in the afternoon?
Anyway, night game against Penn State. Fine. I like the prime time games. Iowa State is 2:30. Michigan the same. Arizona is 9:30 (!!). I'm assuming Ohio State and Wisconsin will be 2:30.
So, we're probably looking at Eastern Illinois and Ball State as the 11 Am's and probably Indiana and Northwestern.
Not a fan of the 11am games.
Christo may disagree....
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Finally got around to seeing "Taken'. What a magnificent, engaging, fun pile of crap. 90 minutes of escapism at it's best.
But horrible.
And I loved it.
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