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Hitmen77
07-14-2008, 01:26 PM
What are your thoughts on the state of the Sox at the break?

Positives:
- FIRST PLACE. Most Sox fans didn't think we'd be even close to here in mid July. The Sox record is only 2.5 games worse that the MLB best record.
- Buehrle, Danks and Floyd look solid.
- Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez - What can I say?
- After slow starts, Swisher, Cabrerra, and Thome are looking good.
- The bullpen took its lumps over the last few games, but I still think it's still pretty solid. The latest news on Jenks sounds positive.

Negatives:
- Vazquez's performance tanked once the league's bats starting heating up. He's been a roller coaster throughout his career. Which Javy will show up after the break and take the Sox through September?
- Jose's performance really tanked once the league's bats started heating up. Can he turn it around or is he going to get lit up from here on out? Is another demotion to the bullpen (like last year) a possibility? If so, who takes his place in the rotation?
- Konerko. He goes 4-4 and teases us with the idea that he's finally had a break-thru game.......only to go 0-6 the next day when the rest of the team gets 22 hits. Ugh.
- Crede. Errors up, batting average down.
- RISP. Watching this team hit after they get runners and 2nd and/or 3rd with less than 2 outs has been very painful at times.


I still don't know what to make of this team - I'm thrilled with their W-L results so far. But, at times they've look pretty ugly too. Our schedule gets tougher from here on out with games in Minnesota (7 games to play at TrashBag Dome) and Detroit, 7 games vs. Boston, and 3 games in Oakland's house of horrors. On the whole, I'm optimistic. The Sox have a pretty solid lineup, good starting pitching, and an effective bullpen if everyone plays to their potential. My biggest concerns right now are Jose Contreras, Paul Konerko, and are struggles on the road.

WhiteSox5187
07-14-2008, 01:32 PM
I think this is a good team, I don't know if they're a DAMN good team, we'll have to wait until the second half to find out. For me the positives and negatives really go along with what you're saying, but I'm not as worried about Crede as your post suggests. His errors are up I think because he hasn't played in over a year and there isn't really a way to simulate live action ground balls, I think that his defense has improved steadily over the course of the year. Also he has always been a very streak hitter and prone to long slumps followed by weeks where he is just on fire, in a bit he'll be on fire again and be close to hitting .280ish I think.

Of course I am still worried about Jose and Javy, we need one (if not both of them) to step it up and we need it soon. I'm also slightly worried about the bullpen and the only reason I'm worried about is because it was just so lights out in the first half, can any bullpen be that dominant a whole year? But that's just my paranoia. All in all, we're in pretty damn good shape.

hawkjt
07-14-2008, 01:37 PM
I know it is supposed to all even out but I have felt from the beginning that the sox have a tougher schedule than the twins...6 with the cubs, road trips to the west coast for 3 lousy games...twice, going to the A's twice, and now with the Boston games looming,more NYY games, and 7 in the dome...I am very worried about the sox coming up short in the second half.

Now, the twins have 5 less home games the second half than the sox so that is a positive.
As for the team itself, I am cautiously optimistic that PK will come around, Thome will stay solid, and Joe will come back.
Jenks is a key ...must be healthy.
Jose..I say give him the rest of July off and bring him back strong in August and sept.
Javy? I really think he will be fine...and once he gets back in the groove, will be big for us the second half. I base this on his second half history and his sound arm.
Danks,Floyd and MB just have to stay solid or we are screwed. They will.

Overall, I am pleased with the sox position right now, and while it will not be easy, I think they will hold on to win the division....then all bets are off. If Joe is hot in the playoffs again...they can win it all once more...Go Sox.

LITTLE NELL
07-14-2008, 01:39 PM
I can't disagree on any thing you posted. I think we will win the division with 94 wins. I just dont see the Twins keeping up with us. Im not counting out the Tigers yet and it would not surprise me if they caught the Twins for 2nd.
My biggest concern right now is Contrares, about 6 weeks ago there was a thread if he was the ace of the staff over Javy. Its a long season and things sure do change.

aryzner
07-14-2008, 01:40 PM
I think the Sox have what it takes to win the division.

I don't know that they have what it takes to make a serious run at the World Series, though. In my opinion, to get there, they need:

-Paul Konerko to start hitting
-If Contreras continues to be poor, make some sort of move for another SP
-Thome to continue hitting like he has as of late
-To win at least 3 (maybe 4) out of the 7 remaining games against the Twins

There's probably more that will be mentioned by people in this thread but those are what come to mind right away. I really think that Thome and Konerko hitting are very very much key to winning the division. Thome got started finally, and hopefully Paulie will follow his lead soon.

kittle42
07-14-2008, 01:42 PM
Overall, I'm pretty pleased, particularly given how pathetic the offense was for a solid two months. Still need improvement there...I can't believe I was disappointed in an offense that scored 11 runs yesterday, but despite those runs, their weaknesses were shown.

If they continue to be dominating at home and can inch closer to .500 on the road, they'll be there in the end.

Any needs? Getting a 3rd line-type starter would make me comfortable, but I am not sure a Burnett or someone would be worth the price, or that we could package enough to get him, anyway.

Over By There
07-14-2008, 01:57 PM
I am very pleased. I hope KW makes one or two little moves before the trading deadline, maybe some insurance on the pitching side of the house. Hopefully the hitting can get beter/more consistent in the 2nd half - if it does, I think we're going to be in it until the end.

If anyone needs a reminder of how good we have it (as things stand right now), I bring you a WSI blast from the past. Let's step in the wayback machine, and go all the way back to December 2007 (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=95323)....

Start unloading guys like Paulie, Thome, Dye, Vazquez and who ever you can in order to rebuild and plan for 2010-2011. We do not have a team that can compete with Anaheim, Detroit, Cleveland, Boston, and the Yankees. Those 5 are the 4 spots in the playoffs for the next 2-3 years. It sucks I hate to see it but I just can't picture any combination of trades and signings that will catapult us into a contending team.

bigdommer
07-14-2008, 02:09 PM
The only thing that worries me about this squad is we have at best, one stopper in the rotation (Buehrle). In 2005 we had at least 3, maybe 4. That's why that squad didn't go on the losing streaks that we have this year. I am getting more comfortable about Danks, but he's not the innings eater that Garland/Garcia were.

That being said, I would feel a lot better if either Javy or Jose started pitching consistently. If we could pencil them in for 7 IP, 3ER like we did with Garland/Garcia, I think this team wins the division and I like our chances in the playoffs.

Grades:

Offense: B- (overall numbers good, but too inconsistent)
Defense: C+ (pretty strong, but Crede and CF bring us down)
Bench: B+ (Wise, Hall, Ozuna put up strong numbers)
Starters: A- (Danks and Floyd have been countered by Javy/Jose)
Bullpen: A+ (Linebrink making KW look very smart)
Coach: A- (lineups and bullpen moves make you scratch your head, but let's face it, his post-Tampa blowup has us in first)

downstairs
07-14-2008, 02:16 PM
A lot of it depends on Minnesota (and we have a say in that as well). If they stay this hot, no two ways about it- they win the division. Otherwise, we're certainly the best team in the division- which is all that matters.

How do we compare to the top teams in the league? I think our record overrates us a bit. But who cares- just get to the playoffs and take it from there.

chisoxmike
07-14-2008, 02:51 PM
I have some issues with the team...

-They beat themselves more than the opponent beats them
- Have only won two series against teams over .500
- When they hit home runs, everything clicks for them; bunting, moving runners over, etc.
- Vazquez & Contreras
- I'm interested to see how the bullpen performs in the second half.
- And the offense still can't hit hack pitchers. No reason to be shut down by some of the guys that have been thrown at us this season.

Overall, can't be upset with the team at all. When the season started, I thought they'd be out of it already at this point. May was a huge month. After being so-so in April, May could have been doom. They had a excellent road trip, came home and started rolling.

I'm still not ready to crown them AL Central Champions, but its their division to lose right now.

Madscout
07-14-2008, 02:52 PM
I think the Sox have what it takes to win the division.

I don't know that they have what it takes to make a serious run at the World Series, though. In my opinion, to get there, they need:

-Paul Konerko to start hitting
-If Contreras continues to be poor, make some sort of move for another SP
-Thome to continue hitting like he has as of late
-To win at least 3 (maybe 4) out of the 7 remaining games against the Twins

There's probably more that will be mentioned by people in this thread but those are what come to mind right away. I really think that Thome and Konerko hitting are very very much key to winning the division. Thome got started finally, and hopefully Paulie will follow his lead soon.

I get this for a playoff run. I don't get it for the playoffs. I feel like, if he can keep himself from ****ting his pants every start, and give us good starts maybe 2 out of 3, we can get to the playoffs. If we are in there, I don't have Jose pitch. I go Javy, Mark, John, and Gavin in the playoffs, in that order (Javy starts against the other teams #1 because when he is on he can beat that starter, Mark is where he is as he wants to win for his team more than the rest and is our stopper. John because he pitches well on the road, and Gavin because he is better than Jose right now).

Save McCuddy's
07-14-2008, 02:53 PM
This team should win the division and be an interesting match-up for just about anyone in the playoffs. Anything short of a trip to the playoffs will be a disappointment and the season should be chalked up as a failure. Harsh, but it's theirs for the taking.

chisoxmike
07-14-2008, 02:56 PM
This team should win the division and be an interesting match-up for just about anyone in the playoffs. Anything short of a trip to the playoffs will be a disappointment and the season should be chalked up as a failure. Harsh, but it's theirs for the taking.

Every season they don't go to the playoffs is a failure in my opinion. Second place is the first loser.

Foulke You
07-14-2008, 03:04 PM
The only thing that worries me about this squad is we have at best, one stopper in the rotation (Buehrle). In 2005 we had at least 3, maybe 4. That's why that squad didn't go on the losing streaks that we have this year. I am getting more comfortable about Danks, but he's not the innings eater that Garland/Garcia were.
I think you are selling Danks short. He has had a bevy of quality starts this year and not a lot of wins to show for it. I agree that he isn't the innings horse that Freddy was but he has improved leaps and bounds over last season and has probably been our most consistent starter since April and I'd feel extremely confident handing him the ball in a must win game.

I agree that the rotation needs to get back to being at least 3 deep again for us to win the division and 4 deep to win the Pennant. Floyd has been up and down in his last 5 starts but still showing flashes of his early season form. Gavin's start in Texas was one to forget. Javy still looks like he has his stuff but he needs to find his command and confidence again. Contreras is another matter. He is starting to look like that old man from last year again. I'm hoping this is a "dead arm" period for him and not a "dead career" period. Jose's forkball is floating waist to letter high which is practically screaming to be crushed. Jose's fastball doesn't have any life to it and he has no command of his slider. I think the Sox would benefit from skipping one or two of Jose's starts after the All Star break and let Russell take the ball. Adam's arm is already stretched out for being a starter anyway and the break could give Jose a breather to regroup and come back strong in the 2nd half.

jabrch
07-14-2008, 03:09 PM
- RISP. Watching this team hit after they get runners and 2nd and/or 3rd with less than 2 outs has been very painful at times.

RISP - 2nd in the league
RISP w/2 outs - LAST in the league.

RISP with less than two outs...TOP OF THE LEAGUE...

I know it hurts to leave guys in scoring position, but this team has been pretty good all year at hitting with RISP.

Foulke You
07-14-2008, 03:11 PM
RISP - 2nd in the league
RISP w/2 outs - LAST in the league.

RISP with less than two outs...TOP OF THE LEAGUE...

I know it hurts to leave guys in scoring position, but this team has been pretty good all year at hitting with RISP.
I would love to see the home and away splits for our RISP #s. It seems to me that we leave a hell of a lot more runners on base when playing on the road vs. playing at The Cell.

Viva Medias B's
07-14-2008, 03:21 PM
I think we're good enough to win the AL Central and maybe the ALDS, but I think we need to make a move or two if we want to have a better shot at winning the ALCS and the World Series. Overall, I am very pleased with where we are right now.

jabrch
07-14-2008, 03:25 PM
I would love to see the home and away splits for our RISP #s. It seems to me that we leave a hell of a lot more runners on base when playing on the road vs. playing at The Cell.

I wonder if it is any different than our home/road batting splits...

WhiteSox5187
07-14-2008, 03:29 PM
I think we're good enough to win the AL Central and maybe the ALDS, but I think we need to make a move or two if we want to have a better shot at winning the ALCS and the World Series. Overall, I am very pleased with where we are right now.
The playoffs are really such a crap shoot anyways, I'd more focused on just getting into the playoffs. Once we're there, anything can happen. Contreras might become the ace of the staff again and Paulie might power our way back into the promised land.

cws05champ
07-14-2008, 03:29 PM
I have some issues with the team...

-They beat themselves more than the opponent beats them
- Have only won two series against teams over .500
- When they hit home runs, everything clicks for them; bunting, moving runners over, etc.
- Vazquez & Contreras
- I'm interested to see how the bullpen performs in the second half.
- And the offense still can't hit hack pitchers. No reason to be shut down by some of the guys that have been thrown at us this season.
With out doing any research I know this is wrong. They beat the Cubs 3 straight, swept the Twins 4 straight, and beat Tampa in April 2 out of 3 games.
Now that I look it up, They also took a series against the A's, beat the Twins in May 2 of 3 as well, That's 5 series wins against teams over .500.

34 Inch Stick
07-14-2008, 03:35 PM
The playoffs are really such a crap shoot anyways, I'd more focused on just getting into the playoffs. Once we're there, anything can happen. Contreras might become the ace of the staff again and Paulie might power our way back into the promised land.

If the regular season is any indicator, the playoffs will come down to whichever team has home field advantage. The Angels road performance makes them the least desirable opponent in a playoff series.

chisoxmike
07-14-2008, 03:39 PM
With out doing any research I know this is wrong. They beat the Cubs 3 straight, swept the Twins 4 straight, and beat Tampa in April 2 out of 3 games.
Now that I look it up, They also took a series against the A's, beat the Twins in May 2 of 3 as well, That's 5 series wins against teams over .500.

I'm talking records when the played.

They played the A's in April in Oakland, it was a 2-game set they split. The four game series in July they split. And OK, the Twins were a game over .500 when they played in May & June.

So, four series' wins against teams over .500.

Flight #24
07-14-2008, 03:42 PM
IMO, the good looking forward:
- Obviously, the record and position in the standings
- I think Quentin is for real, and he and Dye are capable of carrying the team. Add in Ramirez and hopefully Paulie can get back hitting his usual to go with Thome and this can be a powerful O.
- Danks, Buehrle, and the bullpen are for real.

And the "makes me nervous":
- Contreras/Vazquez: Jose scares me more than Javy although both are maddening. I have more faith that Javy can turn it around whereas Jose's been so up and down the past few years that I don't have the confidence in him. IMO they need another SP but I'm not sure what they have to offer up in trade. If anyone wants Richar I'd do that in a heartbeat.
- Floyd: I know he's been dominant at times, but he also sometimes falls apart (see last outing). Given the struggles of Jose & Javy, it makes me nervous relying on him.
- No true leadoff guy: This is mitigated if Swish & Paulie can turn it around, but IMO there's a hole on this team at the #1 and unfortunately, nowhere to put a guy like Lofton if you signed him. Even if you could trade for a Roberts, where do you put him? Sit Ramirez who's been amazing? Can you sit Cabrera? Can you deal Cabrera?
- Twins mojo: I hate them. I think they're playing over their heads, but that's the kind of team that historically has found a way to do that. Good news is that the Sox will have the opportunity to beat them H2H, and they need to take advantage of that.

Basically, I think the squad is in great shape if the pitching holds up, particularly Floyd.

Soxman219
07-14-2008, 04:04 PM
If you told me we would be in first place at the break I would have laughed at your face. I'm very happy that we're on top right now. My biggest worry in the beginning of this season was Danks and Floyd and they have impressed the hell out of me. We have had one of the toughest schedules in baseball and we came out of it in flying colors. Going 7-3 in that west coast trip was huge.

The keys for us to have a great second half is Konerko and Contreas. Now that Thome is heating up, PK is the last person that needs to step up.

Contreas is known to be good for 7 weeks, then terrible for 7 weeks. If he stays, all we can hope for is that he starts becoming great again in August.

We also need to be more clutch with RISPw/2 outs.

Other than that I think we should be fine.

Lip Man 1
07-14-2008, 04:08 PM
If the pitching holds they will stay in the race against the Twins to the end.

For them to win the division, they'll have to win some games at the Metrodome, play better on the road and be more consistent offensively.

If they can do these things there is absolutely no reason in the world why they can't clinch the division. If they can't or don't do a better job, it's a dicey proposition because the Twins aren't going anywhere.

Injuries of course are always a wild card for both teams.

Lip

Soxman219
07-14-2008, 04:19 PM
If the pitching holds they will stay in the race against the Twins to the end.

For them to win the division, they'll have to win some games at the Metrodome, play better on the road and be more consistent offensively.

If they can do these things there is absolutely no reason in the world why they can't clinch the division. If they can't or don't do a better job, it's a dicey proposition because the Twins aren't going anywhere.

Injuries of course are always a wild card for both teams.

Lip

:(:. That's what I'm afraid of. I don't want this 2nd half to be mirror images of the 2nd half of 2003 and 2004. I hope we have a sizeable lead before he go there in the Trashbag, Terrordome, the Humpdump whatever you want to call it. If the Sox keep playing the way they have been playing this last week, the Twins will murder us, then they could win the division again and get eliminated in the ALDS again. The Sox can't let that happen!

asindc
07-14-2008, 04:39 PM
I have some issues with the team...

-They beat themselves more than the opponent beats them
- Have only won two series against teams over .500
- When they hit home runs, everything clicks for them; bunting, moving runners over, etc.
- Vazquez & Contreras
- I'm interested to see how the bullpen performs in the second half.
- And the offense still can't hit hack pitchers. No reason to be shut down by some of the guys that have been thrown at us this season.

Overall, can't be upset with the team at all. When the season started, I thought they'd be out of it already at this point. May was a huge month. After being so-so in April, May could have been doom. They had a excellent road trip, came home and started rolling.

I'm still not ready to crown them AL Central Champions, but its their division to lose right now.

I've checked the records of the Sox and Minny and here is what I came up with. My math might be off a number here or there, but this is a quick summary:

The Sox have played 14 series against teams currently .500 or better (I'm including the made-up postponed April game against the Twinkees in its original series).

They have won 5 of them and tied 3 of them.

Their record in those 44 games is 21-23. These numbers don't include the 5-4 against .500 Detroit.

Their record in the remaining 50 games already played is 33-17.

The only above .500 team in the AL (8 total) the Sox have yet to play is Boston.



Minny has played 13 series against above .500 teams so far.

They have won 5 of them and tied 2 of them.

Their record in those 45 games is 17-28! These numbers don't include the 6-6 against .500 Detroit.

Their record in the remaining 50 games already played is 36-14.

The Twinkees have played every above .500 team in the AL at least once.


And remember, they have more road games left than we do. I imagine the Minny fans are asking just how hot do the Twinkees have to get to overtake the Sox for first.

ondafarm
07-14-2008, 04:49 PM
Remaining series against .500 + teams (no Detroit)
3 games unless noted

White Sox

Home: Angels (4) Boston, Tampa, Texas 13/ 36
Road: Boston, (7) Minn, Oakland, Yankee$ 16/ 32

Minn

Home: (7) White Sox, Oakland, Yankee$, Texas 16/ 31
Road: (4) Angels, (4) Tampa, (4) Oakland, Yankee$ 15/ 36

I see this as a substantial advantage for the White Sox.

ilsox7
07-14-2008, 05:42 PM
And remember, they have more road games left than we do. I imagine the Minny fans are asking just how hot do the Twinkees have to get to overtake the Sox for first.

The Twins play 24 of their last 36 games on the road. That includes a 14 game road trip with only one day off and a 10 game road trip. If we can maintain status quo until late August, we are in good shape.

russ99
07-14-2008, 07:09 PM
I agree that the rotation needs to get back to being at least 3 deep again for us to win the division and 4 deep to win the Pennant. Floyd has been up and down in his last 5 starts but still showing flashes of his early season form. Gavin's start in Texas was one to forget. Javy still looks like he has his stuff but he needs to find his command and confidence again. Contreras is another matter. He is starting to look like that old man from last year again. I'm hoping this is a "dead arm" period for him and not a "dead career" period. Jose's forkball is floating waist to letter high which is practically screaming to be crushed. Jose's fastball doesn't have any life to it and he has no command of his slider. I think the Sox would benefit from skipping one or two of Jose's starts after the All Star break and let Russell take the ball. Adam's arm is already stretched out for being a starter anyway and the break could give Jose a breather to regroup and come back strong in the 2nd half.

Adam Russell's been used as a reliever since last spring, so I doubt he'd start, and Masset's been too valuable as the long guy.

If Contreras looks as awful as yesterday at home vs. the Rangers next Tuesday night, I wouldn't mind seeing Broadway get a spot start to see how he can fit in the rest of the way and especially in September. He's had an iffy season in Charlotte, but he opened a lot of eyes in his start here last year.

But I guess if Contreras stinks up the joint again, Kenny will get us a starter at the deadline. This club is too close to winning it all to roll the dice on Jose getting his stuff back.

Another advantage the Sox have in September are the quality of our potential call-ups. If healthy, we can expect Fields, Ozuna (if he stays with us) Owens, Richar, Eldred, Wassermann and Broadway (at least) to be a big help to us that month. If we can somehow get a decent lead, that would also allow Ozzie to rest some guys.

That 7 game trip to Detroit and Minny will be a good barometer as to how our 2nd half may shape up.

Hitmen77
07-14-2008, 08:49 PM
I seriously think this team has enough talent that, if.....IF it all comes together, they could make a 2nd half run reminiscent of the 1983 Sox. Now, I didn't say they are going to do this or even that they "probably" would do this. I'm just seeing that I can see that it's possible.

On the other hand, I could also see this team fold and fade in the 2nd half just like in '03 and '06. I'm hopeful that we'll end up closer to the first scenario. I just don't know what to make of this team at times. They look like total studs one week and then like total pretenders another week.

Overall, though, I can't complain about 1.5 game lead at the break, 7 games ahead of the Tigers, and Cleveland essentially out of the race. I'm not a dark cloud, but this far exceeds my expectations so far.

GoSox2K3
07-16-2008, 04:48 PM
I'm optimistic about the Sox in the 2nd half. We have a pretty solid lineup and Thome is finally coming around.

My concerns: Contreras (huge concern), Vazquez, Konerko.

I wasn't too happy with the crappy baseball the Sox played in KC and Texas. If they play like that from here on out, they're going to get swept aside by the Twins. If the Sox can play sound, fundamental baseball they'll be in the playoffs.

hawkjt
07-16-2008, 09:20 PM
I just hope the Twins do not add a quality third baseman. They are getting Liriano back soon and he is supposedly throwing nails tough with an added changeup and 96mph fastballs.
If the Twins get a boost from additions and grab that lead before that late road stretch they may hold on. It is gonna be a dogfight...Phillips on ESPN just said sox by 10 games but I am not buying.

Bucky F. Dent
07-17-2008, 07:08 AM
It's hard to complain about first place (but let me try. :D:)

Defensively, I have been happy with the results. After a rough start O.C. has been strong at SS. Ramirez has been a revelation at 2B. I expected Dye to have lost a step in the outfield, instead he has been our strongest every day outfielder. Quentin and Swisher have been serviceable in the outfield. Nothing spectacular, but nothing dreadful. Our catchers are both weak from the perspective of holding and throwing out runners, but are good at handling the pitchers, and playing an overall defensive game. Crede's lapses at 3B have been glaring.

Starting pitching has been the strength of this team so far, and their performance in the second half will dictate how we finish the year (granted, the same can be said of the other 29 teams in the league). After a rough start Buehrle has returned to form. Javy & JC have been been somewhat inconsistent. I expect Javy to turn it around - not so sure about JC. Danks & Floyd have been the highlights of the team so far this year, and their continued positive productive play is a key element in our success in the second half.

Bullpen - I have been less than thrilled with the recent performance out of the pen. Octo's ability to gack a hold and Jenks recent loss of velocity have me concerned. Logan, Thornton, and Linebrink have been solid when playing within their comfort zone, but it seems to me that the return of a productive Jenks (or his replacement by Thornton or one of the kids in Charlotte) is key to the performance of the pen in the second half.

The offense, its inconsistency, and its failure to produce with RISP has been the low point of the squad. The efforts of Thome, Konerko, Swisher, O.C., and Crede need to improve over the long haul. Obviously TCQ and A.Ram. have been a pleasant suprise.

Keys to the second half:

Continued effort of Floyd & Danks
Return to consistency from Javy
Return or replacement of Jenks
Overall improvement of the offense (esp. with respect to the veterans mentioned above.)