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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Cold Comfort
by Hal Vickery

Odds and ends, bits and piecesÖ.

Iím not surprised that after Saturdayís loss in Cleveland that the Sox are 5-5. The Sox are facing tough competition all month with the possible exception of three games against the Rangers this week and a pair at Kansas City next week. And you can never count on the Sox playing well in KC!

If anything has come as a surprise so far it is that the failings of this team have come mostly from the offense rather than from the starting pitching. You have to be concerned when a horse like Freddy Garcia is replaced in the rotation by an unproven rookie like John Danks. But as it has played out so far, even though Danks is 0-2 in his first two outings, you canít blame him. The offense has scored a combined zero runs behind him in those two games.

Itís the offense that has been problematic so far. As of the completion of Saturdayís game, two Sox batters are hitting well below the Mendoza line. Darin Erstad is mired at .176, and A.J. Pierzynski is batting an abysmal .152. The only regulars hitting over .250 are Scott Podsednik (.313), Jim Thome (.273), and Juan Uribe (.290).

Of course itís early. Ten games, the majority of which have been played in conditions usually reserved for NFL North playoff games, is not indicative of anything. You have to assume the hitting will come around for most of these guys, simply due to their track record. About the only person in the lineup who seems to deserve any concern is Erstad, who only hit .221 in an injury plagued 2005 season.

In cold weather, the hitting is usually behind the pitching, so itís difficult to assess exactly where the starting pitching stands. If the cold affect Sox hitters, itís certain going to affect everyone elseís. So Iím not ready to say that the Sox rotation as good as it has looked since those rough outings by Jose Contreras and Jon Garland that started the season, but it has looked a lot better than a lot of people thought it would.

The Sox are in the toughest division in baseball. (Notice I didnít use the qualifying ďarguablyĒ either.) Their .500 start against the Indians, Twins, and Aís can be described as encouraging, at least if the offense and starting pitching get in sync.


Sales for the May 26 WSI-Fest patio party are now over.

For those of you who werenít able to attend this one but would like to meet and mingle with others who hang around here, there will be another patio party on August 20. The Sox are making T-shirts in honor of the event that youíll be able to purchase when you order your tickets. Keep your eyes on this space or on the ďSox ClubhouseĒ message board as details become available.


If you donít mind, Iíd like to mention something from my real life that will interfere with this column next week. Iíll be taking next week off from this column due to a trip Iíll be taking with fourteen students to the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

Back in March North Boone High School finished in second place at the Northern Illinois Regional competition. That was good enough to advance our team to the state competition at UIUC. Weíll be staying down there Friday night and not returning until after the competition ends late Saturday afternoon.

By the time we get back to school and I drive home, it will probably be pretty late Saturday night, and I have a minor league game to attend Sunday afternoon. That wonít allow for much time to write a column, so Iíve decided not to even try.

See you in two weeks.


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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