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April Report Card

A sock's perspective on the Sox

by Senor Sock  


The world's foremost playboy, celebrity Sox Fan, and sock, Senor Sock!  The Toast of Argentina is swingin' Hollywood-style for our Pale Hose!

Okay, we’re one month into the season at this writing so how have our Sox done after the first 21 games? At 11-10, they finished the month tied for second, one half game back of Detroit.  Not bad, if one grades on a curve.  At the same time, not great.  It’s like almost getting a kiss goodnight. Unsatisfying. 

Starting Pitching—B  

The staff has been anchored once again by Mark Buerhle (3-0), and John Danks (2-1). Each has had one bad game in April, but they’ve generally been reliable and you want them on the mound if you’re going to a game that night. Gavin Floyd has had it a bit rougher (2-2, 5.52 era). Floyd was good against Kansas City and Tampa Bay, but rocked by Detroit (though he still got the win) and Toronto. But remember he was 2-1 last year at this point and still won 17 games. Bartolo Colon has been a pleasant surprise (2-1, 4.15) and proved how Kenny Williams made the right decision by signing him instead of Freddy Garcia in the off-season. Colon blanked Minnesota and Seattle while getting ripped by Tampa Bay and lasted only three innings against Baltimore. Not bad for a pudgy old guy. If he can stay healthy, Kenny may have found another bargain. The jury is still out for Jose Contreras. Although he hasn’t won a game and has a Navarro-like era, he’s shown enough flashes of the Contreras of old (as opposed to Old Contreras) to stay with him for awhile.  Hopefully the big Cuban will get better as the weather gets warmer. 

Relief Pitching – B 

The back end of the bullpen has been solid. Dotel so far has kept his gopher on a diet of singles this year and Linebrink has been solid except for the one game he lost to Toronto. Other than giving up a few meaningless runs, Jenks has converted all 5 save opportunities.  I keep waiting for him to turn Big Bob James and eat himself out of the game, but Jenks appears to be smarter than that.

The usually reliable Matt Thornton did his impression of Dotel ’08 by giving up a grand slam to the first man he faced in Tampa Bay to pick up a loss, but otherwise has been the lefthander you want coming in late in games.

The rest of the relief staff brings the bullpen grade down. MacDougal, Egbert and Broadway have been the pitching equivalent of Rosie O’Donnell on “Dancing with the Stars”, while Richard (4.76) and Carrasco (4.15) have been inconsistent at best. It looks like we may see a parade of AAA and AA hopefuls trying to fill that M-E-B spot in the bullpen. 

Defense – D 

The Sox team is 12th in the American league in fielding percentage, 6th in errors made and are the worst in the league in turning double plays as well as throwing out base runners. The Missile seems to have made the transition to shortstop okay, but we have yet to see anything spectacular. Perhaps his glove will heat up along with his bat as the season progresses. Otherwise could we end up seeing the Missile back in center and Beckham brought up to play short? Just sayin’… Fields is no Joe Crede, but he has not embarrassed himself at third, while Brian Anderson did a good job in center before he was hurt. The defense could get even worse if the injuries to Anderson and Wise linger and the Sox are forced to play Scott Podsednik in center, but having former playmate Lisa Dergen Podsednik back in the house would help beautify the Cell.

 Speed – C 

The Sox ended April with 15 stolen bases, which is good enough for 8th in the American League. Ramirez leads the team in steals despite the fact he didn’t get on base that much, while Anderson and Getz have shown they can steal the occasional base when needed and Lillibridge can be an effective pinch runner (now if he could just shorten that swing, become a good chop hitter and use that speed!) 

Offense – C+ 

The bats have started off slowly. The team is 11th in slugging percentage (.413) and 11th in average (.261) while only 7th in home runs (25) and 10th in runs scored (97). The Sox have also struck out more (151) than Andy Dick on a Saturday night and three teams in the league. The hitters have got to get on base and drive in more runs if they are going to stay in the race this year. 

Paul Konerko has done his part (.333, 3, 18). The Captain has bounced back and silenced a lot of critics who said he was through and wanted to trade him to the Angels or Arizona or somewhere. I was really worried THE Carlos Quentin would turn into a one-year wonder and become known as just A Carlos Quentin, but he’s tied for second in the league in home runs with 8. and has 16 rbis to go along with 6 hit by pitches (ouch!). Still I’d like to see Carlos bring that average up. Last time Jermaine Dye was in a contract year, he tanked and stunk up the whole first half. He’s doing much better this time, hitting just under .300 with 6 home runs and 13 rbi.  Rookie Chris Getz has been a pleasant surprise, hitting .340 in April, while Brian Anderson also showed signs of finally realizing his potential (.288, .383 obp) but seems to have misplaced his extra base power. He couldn’t have gotten hurt when he stunk? If these two can come back and hit the way they were before their injuries, nobody should complain. 

Of concern has been Jim Thome, who is almost certainly playing his last year as a member of the Sox. In 2006, Thome started off red hot, hitting 30 homers by the all-star break and was a one-man demolition squad. This year he’s still shown some occasional pop with four home runs but is saddled with a .218 average and almost three times more strikeouts than walks. He may be playing less and less against left-handers. Josh Fields surprisingly leads the team in triples, but unfortunately also leads them in strikeouts. He has only one home run after hitting 23 in 2007. Alexi Ramirez was the regular with the lowest April batting average, but he showed signs of thawing out the last few games. Obviously the Sox are a different team when the Missile lives up to his nickname. 

Bench – B+ 

Wilson Betamit showed in spring training he can hit when he gets enough at bats to stay loose. He’s done a good job in limited service (24 ab, .292) and may pick up some at bats from Fields and Thome if they continue to struggle. Corky Miller has been adequate as the team’s backup catcher, and Lillibridge provides speed on the basepaths as well as being able to play second, short and center. 

Manager – B 

Personally I still think Ozzie tends to leave his starting pitchers in a bit too long when they’re weakening in an attempt to get them a full five innings for a win or get through 6 so the bullpen isn’t taxed, but he seems to be able to keep the club loose and provides a lot of good quotes after the games. You can’t blame him for giving MacDougal a chance, Mac pitched well in the spring, and he earned it. It’s just too bad he ended up having a Billy Koch like career with the Sox. 

Overall—B-/C+ 

They’ve managed to stay near the top in the division despite not yet playing the kind of baseball they are capable of. If there’s a troubling thing it’s that the schedule has not been that tough on them so far. They get Minnesota, Detroit and Toronto again in May, plus the Angels (I will be at these games), in addition to the Rangers, Pirates, Indians and Royals (for some reason the Sox make two separate trips to KC in May!). June brings the A’s and the Cubs series, while the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t around until late July and August. If anything, the calendar gets tougher as they go along. So it behooves the Sox to have a strong May and June (I myself prefer a sexy Mae and June!). 

Go Sox!


Editor's Note:  An idol in his native Argentina, Senor Sock became the toast of the entertainment world while a regular on E! Entertainment Television's Emmy-award winning "Talk Soup". He has been romantically linked to many of the world's most beautiful women, including Suzanne Somers, Monica Bellucci, Donna D'Errico, Halle Berry and Peri Gelpin. Visit his NEW WEBSITE at http://sockfilmreviews.bravehost.com.   He is of course, a lifelong White Sox fan.
 

 

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