Tagged: Jim Thome

End of Season

I, once again, have neglected to blog. I have my own all-baseball website now and have been writing on that, but I still need to come back here as often as I can to talk about my White Sox.

Let me say, first-off, that I still have a rotten taste in my mouth. We were close enough to the Tigers all season to have a good shot at the playoffs when it came down to crunch time. We were able to fend off the Twins for a while, too, but that (obviously) didn’t work out. I often find myself thinking how cool it would’ve been to have made the playoffs back-to-back years when absolutely nobody thought we’d amount to anything in either of the two seasons.

This year was pretty cool — I must say. As rough as late-August and all of September was, we as Sox fans have a lot to look back on. Mark Buehrle’s perfect game was ridiculous. My dad and I are magicians and I remember that we were in De Kalb, Illinois about to go in to do a show. We had the Sox – Rays game on and Kazmir and Buehrle had just plowed through the first inning in probably two minutes. I turned to my dad and said, “Well, we’re looking at a two hour ballgame if they keep this up.” When we came back to the car I heard the voice of Chris Rongey (the pre- and post-game guy) telling the listeners that the Mark Buehrle had thrown the eighteenth perfect game in MLB history.

Awesome.

And then how about the emergence of a prominant third baseman? I had doubts about young Gordon Beckham at the beginning of the season; though he played third base like a short stop; thought he was too quick to swing the bat. He ended up hitting a solid .270 with fourteen homers and sixty-three batted in. Those numbers are good enough for the top-three in Rookie of the Year candidates, if not the winner.

On July 31st we all got the fantastic news that we had traded for Cy Young pitcher Jake Peavy. I remember a day earlier in the season when the Sox, after losing 20-1 to Minnesota, didn’t offer enough to San Diego to be able to get Peavy. I could live with the final score of that game, but when I heard we missed out on Peavy, that ticked me off. We ended up getting him anyway, and he went 3-0 in a Sox uniform. That’s enough to keep us eagerly anticipating what he’ll do come 2010.

I wont even begin to mention how bad of a feeling it was to hear the news that Thome had been traded to Los Angeles. Contreras going to Colorado was fine, but when we lost Thome, a whole lot of the team went with him.

The World Series is set to start in about a week or so.

Spring Training starts in four months.

I’ll keep counting down the days on the calendar in my room (like the baseball nerd I am) as next year will be pretty special.

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6/1 Good Start to the Month

I haven’t blogged in a while and I won’t make excuses for it. I’ll just pick up as if I’ve been writing this whole time.

Being a Sox fan, it’s not unusual to see things done in dramatic fashion. That’s the way I’ve grown up! Every year we win 20 games (at least) on a heroic hit in the late innings. Today’s game was one of them for this year. Jim Thome cracked a three-run home run in the eighth inning to put the Sox up 5-2. Not only did we win the game with one more run for insurance, but that blast was Thome’s 550th career homer!

Gavin Floyd pitched a strong seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits with eight strike outs. Like Paul Konerko, it takes Floyd a few weeks to heat things up. Once he’s on fire, though, he’s the most dominant pitcher on the staff and I can’t stress how much that needs to continue.

I know, cruddy post, but at least it’s something. I’ll preview our next game tomorrow and then hopefully review tomorrow night.

Go Sox!!

4/6 Off to a Good Start

I feel awkward saying that I’m glad yesterday’s game was postponed. It was a gorgeous day on the South Side (or so I hear, seeing as I wasn’t there) for today’s ballgame.

The game didn’t look so hot in the first couple innings. In the second inning Mark Buehrle served up a home run to Royals’ third baseman Alex Gordon, putting them up 1-0 quickly. The Sox came back, though, in the bottom of the inning as Josh Fields drove in Jim Thome to tie it up at 1.

The Royals pulled ahead 2-1 and stayed there until the Sox opened up a can of “Dramatic Comeback” Energy Drink in the eighth inning. Fields led off with a single, followed by a pop fly to center field off the bat of Dewayne Wise (ending his strikeout streak at 3 consecutive). Chris Getz then singled, moving Fields to third. Up comes Carlos Quentin with the chance to put the Sox up by 2 runs with a blast to anywhere he wanted, but he struck out on a 1-2 pitch. That left everything up to veteran first baseman/designated hitter Jim Thome! And, wouldn’t you know, Mr. Incredible came through with a 3-run blast to dead center field to put the Sox up for good.

My number one concern going into the game was our bullpen. It hasn’t changed much since last year and the 2008 season was one of the worst I can recall for our relief corps. But Clayton Richard was a beast, mowing down all 6 hitters he faced in the 6th and 7th innings — collecting 1 strike out to go with it. I was really happy to hear Richard dominate the Royals (even though they are the Royals), followed by Dotel’s striking out the side in the 8th inning.

On the offensive side of the ball, I was really disappointed with Dewayne Wise’s performance. I know it’s only the first game but, watching the “highlights,” one of the balls he struck out on was obviously outside the zone and he needs to learn to stay away from those. I’ll also give him the benefit of the doubt seeing as it was his first Opening Day start and the butterfiels must’ve been fluttering like crazy.

Chris Getz, on the other hand, really impressed me. 2-4 with a double and a run scored is pretty darn good! Josh Fields went 2-3 with a pair of singles and a run batted in. Thome was, in my mind, the player of the game; going 3-4 with 3 batted in and the go-ahead home run is Opening Day-clutch to the max.

Fields’ play in the field also impressed me. Let me just say, real quick, that I think Fields is going to be an intricate piece of our success this year and is going to turn out to be something real special. His experience as a quarterback may turn out to be an advantage not many infielders can wield! He has an acceptional arm and a pretty long range for a young guy.

I could sit here and analyze all day, but I won’t. That’s boring and doesn’t make for a good read. Though it’s the job I’m pursuing, I’m not getting payed for it at this point so I’ll end my rant here.

Until tomorrow (following the 7:05 game), go Sox!

“Youth Movement” Thoughts & Other Stuff

We all like a good batch of young, talented players. And I am not one to argue the worth of a prospect. But what if none of the players have ever played together at a big-league level? What if it’s a whole new team of youngsters with absolutely no chemistry?

The Sox are going into the 2009 season with a team full of new ballplayers. Dayan Viciedo, Josh Fields (though he’s played before), Cole Armstrong, Chris Getz and a few other pitchers all have never played — or never played long — at this level. We’ve still maintained a handful of the experienced players, but for the most part we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for an opening day roster.

Spring Training hasn’t started yet, I know, but I can already tell we’re headed for a roller-coaster ride of a season. Sporting News, in their annual preview magazine, see the AL Central as follows:

  1. Twins
  2. Indians
  3. Royals
  4. Sox
  5. Tigers

At first glance I was shocked and appalled at this prediction but now that I have given it time to sink in… I realize the possible truth to their outlook.

Our infield depth has dropped considerably. Orlando Cabrera, Joe Crede and Juan Uribe are all gone. Uribe could play any infield position while O.C. and Crede were limited to only one slot, shortstop and third base, respectively. Alexei Ramirez, our current shortstop, can also play center and can beat the heck out of the second base position. Chris Getz, a promising rookie, is filling the second base role on the current Sox depth chart. In ten games on the South Side squad last year Getz had seven plate appearances with two hits for a .286 average.

Here are two ways the season could turn out based on my above comments.

  • We crash and burn as Sporting News predicted.
  • We sit in first place for a good portion of the year, then drop off the map

Now give me some time to argue with myself.

Maybe having a bunch of rookies is a good thing! All of these players will be fighting to keep their jobs which, more often than not, results in good statistics. Look at Evan Longoria last year. He was rookie trying to keep the job the Rays had given him at third base and he ends up winning Rookie of the Year. I won’t say that any of our players are in line for winning American League Rookie of the Year as David Price, steering clear of injury, will surely walk away with the award.

Though this has nothing to do with the topic, I am going to throw this into the equation.

Say Carlos Quentin matches or betters his 2008 stats. That will give us roughly 100 RBI and 36 home runs (+/-) from one player alone. Give Thome the same thing and we’re up to 200 RBI and 72 homers. Same for Dye and Konerko and we’re already at 400 runs driven in and 144 round trippers from 4 players alone. All of the above mentioned players are more than capable of producing those kinds of numbers and have in the past.

2008Carlos Quentin… you know the story.
2006
– Jermaine Dye drives in 120 runs and hits 44 homers.
2006 – Jim Thome parks 42 jacks with 109 driven in. 
2005 – Paul Konerko hits 40 home runs and drives in 100.

There is proof that those players have had Ruthian seasons.

But, like in science, something has to be repeatable to be possible.