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07-11-2005, 12:00 PM
"Bad Guys" Send Sox Stumbling To The Break

Sure the White Sox are maddeningly ineffective against the Oakland A's but that's no reason to denigrate what they've accomplished thus far. From all appearances, the All-Star break comes at the right time, so our heroes can ponder what it will take to finish off the season in style.

There’s no doubt the A’s have a plan when playing the Sox and they stick to it doggedly. They displayed incredible patience at the plate, slapping singles and drilling extra base hits all over the greensward on 35th St. For all you youngsters out there, if you don’t understand what “going with the pitch” means, just watch Ken Macha’s crew. In fact, Ozzie's boys should consider the same approach when they head to Cleveland after the break.

That aside, the White Sox are sitting pretty with a nine game lead and three days to contemplate what lies ahead. It also gives Sox GM Ken Williams a chance to consider upcoming roster moves that are already in the works.

We do know Ross Gload, Damaso Marte and Orlando Hernandez are healthy and ready to return. The likely candidates to head for the bushes are Willie Harris, Bobby Jenks and Kevin Walker. Personally, I've seen enough of Luis Vizcaino and would send him packing in favor of Jenks, who struggled Saturday night. With a fastball approaching 100 MPH, he's worthy of more time with the varsity.

Willie Harris had a terrible series, leaving runners stranded or unable to execute a critical sacrifice bunt. Harris is no great shakes with the glove either, so why have him around. Kevin Walker's only redeeming quality is his “southpawness”.

Gload's return should have an immediate impact, providing a much-needed bat from the left side and more importantly a viable alternative to the struggling Paul Konerko. Despite his five hit Sunday, Konerko has been struggling and seldom hits in the clutch. Gload should get plenty of time even if the inconsistent Konerko catches fire.

Marte struggled before the injury, but he's light years ahead of Walker. What about Hernandez? His 7-2 record is solid but with an ERA close to 5.00 it remains to be seen if he can be relied on in the second half. If he struggles out of the second half gate, look for Williams to make a trade.

As for the rest of the roster, Aaron Rowand is in obvious need of a few days off, hitting well below the Mendoza line the last week. His was clutch early on but has faded lately. Look for good old #33 to come back from the break ready for action. Joe Crede should be ready to return from his back spasms. It’s critical that he comes out strong offensively or Williams may move him. The White Sox do not engender confidence that they can hit against top flight pitching so Williams may be forced to bring in another bat if a World Series appearance is the goal

Saturday night, the White Sox performance ranged from disinterested to slovenly. The best pick to click was the fireworks crew this night. It got so bad, Guillen had to bench Juan Uribe for becoming a spectator when he launched a fly ball down the left field line. Ozzie sent the message and a recurrence is not anticipated.

Grandsons Jake and Luke attended Saturday night; it was Luke’s first major league game. When asked if he had fun, he stated in the affirmative while remarking that he likes “the bad guys”. I was stumped!

“Yeah Papa, the bad guys in the gray uniforms. They’re better!”

Even, a four year old, highly intelligent to be sure, saw it clearly. I expect his father will be getting him out there again to see the real White Sox before that kind of thinking becomes problematic!