Thursday, May 12, 2011

What More Could Possibly Happen This Season?

The White Sox got off to a huge start on Opening Day. Then, perhaps the largest collapse in team history happened. A combination of bonehead plays, bad luck, a bullpen meltdown and an anemic offense, that was capped by a no-hitter thrown against the team.

There have been signs of life all season, but usually those glimpses into what the fans were sold have been offset by one of the four main culprits from above. The level of talent that the Sox have and the money dedicated to that talent have made things very frustrating for the fans, who had sky high expectations. I'm sure it's even more frustrating for the players and employees of the team watching this carefully crafted component fail, time after time, in an array of endless ways.

The Sox have naturally responded by... going with a six man rotation? For now, yes. Jake Peavy has returned, and pitched decently in his season debut. Peavy's short term replacement, Phil Humber, has pitched so well, that no one wants to dethrone his starting position. The other four starters (the law firm of Buehrle, Danks, Floyd and Jackson) aren't going to the bullpen, and they have pitched well this season. Even tough luck John Danks' first poor outing was just the other day. It might not have been that poor if the offense showed up that day.

This idea of a six man rotation might hold water, if each starter is available for an inning on their side day. If not, this is the worst idea since the hybrid field of Sox Sod, installed before the 1969 season. The Sox already sent down Lastings Milledge because the bullpen needed bolstering after the first week. I agree Phil Humber deserves a spot in the rotation. If the starters are made available in the bullpen on their sides day, there may be traction for this idea.

Last night's game featured a bit of everything. A medical first coming back to play. Horrible defensive blunders. A season high fifteen men stranded on base! When all seemed lost, the Sox scratched and clawed their way back, in the eighth and ninth innings, to tie the game.

The tenth inning was something out of a Marx Brothers movie. While intentionally walking Paul Konerko, a Kevin Jepsen pitch sailed over catcher Hank Conger's head, causing Alexei Ramirez to score. To add insult to injury, when Konerko got on base, he stole second.

I'll admit, I had a bad feeling when Matt Thornton came into the game, in the bottom of the tenth. The Sox were up by two and I had seen the team's Opening Day closer blow many saves this season. With two out and Torii Hunter at the plate, Thornton induced a ground ball to Paul Konerko, who then flipped the ball behind his back to a running Matt Thornton, who caught Paulie's throw barehanded, for the final out.

Matt Thornton recorded his first save of the season. Konerko must have gotten a mojo boost from the pink shoes he wore on Mother's Day, because that was the most athletic final out I can ever recall seeing. Hopefully, this will be the turning point for Thornton this season. How does the Konerko/Thornton play ranks on the Buehrle-meter? Through the legs. Behind the back. The White Sox must practice these plays to make them seem that routine.

I am officially ready for anything this White Sox season.

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