View Full Version : First Half Evaluation

07-11-2006, 02:50 PM
It's "semester break" time for baseball. How do you think the 2006 White Sox stack up vis-a-vis the 2005 team? What do you think needs to be done for them to repeat. Comment on the following areas:





07-11-2006, 03:17 PM
It's "semester break" time for baseball. How do you think the 2006 White Sox stack up vis-a-vis the 2005 team? What do you think needs to be done for them to repeat. Comment on the following areas:

Pitching--Starting pitching needs to tighten it up a bit.

Defense--doing fine

Hitting--better than last year

Intangibles--I think they need to keep in mind that it's a brand new pennant race. So far, IMO, they have. If they continue to do so, they'll be fine.

34 Inch Stick
07-11-2006, 03:27 PM
The most notable improvements are in hitting both for power and average. Pods was the best hitter on the team at the ASG last year with a .294 average. A good portion of the starting lineup is at or above that point this year. Last year's power was wide but not deep. Paulie seemed to be on an island. This year the Sox could get 40 HR from 3 players and 20 from another 2.

The most notable areas of degradation are relief pitching, defense and aggresiveness on the bases. Steals are down this year. It seems to me the reason for this is more of a reliance on hits. The offense has come through so it is hard to argue with that reliance. However, areas like bunting and baserunning seem to have suffered as well with the reliance.

The one exception to aggresiveness on the base paths in running once the ball is hit. I cannot remember a team that has beat out as many double plays as this year. Runners have taken out second baseman and hitters have charged down the line.

I can understand why the relief pitching is down. Last year's relievers were lights out. It seemed like the entire bullpen had ERAs in the low 2s while Hermy was still healthy. The Sox lost several of those players and have payed the price. Still I am liking what I have seen lately. Thornton and Cotts might be an improvement over Marte and Cotts. I see a need for one reliever. I would love it to be Hermanson, but you simply cannot rely on this. I think a trade must be made. If Hermanson comes back strong you have an embarasement of riches.

07-11-2006, 03:34 PM
It's "semester break" time for baseball. How do you think the 2006 White Sox stack up vis-a-vis the 2005 team? What do you think needs to be done for them to repeat. Comment on the following areas:
Pitching Defense Hitting Intangibles

Pitching-- They're down from a year ago, no question about it. Buehrle and Garcia need to start stringing together some quality starts. I have a gut feeling Garland and Contreras will be consistent winners the rest of the season. Vazquez is who he is. Maybe he moves to the bullpen if they make a trade for another starter.

Defense--Very Good except when Ozuna is in left and Mackowiak is in center. Other than that, I can't complain.

Hitting-- Awesome numbers, obviously. I'd like to see the situational hitting improve. Need to see more sac flys and getting bunts down when needed.

Intangibles-- If I'm going by gut feeling, I don't like our chances in October at this point if the starting pitching doesn't improve. The offenses that we're going to face are going to bash Buehrle and Garcia around unless they step it up. Not sure if you can consider that an intangible, but that's my final analysis

07-11-2006, 03:41 PM
Pitching: Stop wasting pitches in early innings and attack hitters. 100 pitches through 5 innings usually means bad things. Everyone (besides maybe Jenks) needs to step it up in the stretch run.

Defense: Keep on keeping on. Cintron was a great acquisition.

Hitting: Either bunting improves or you have got to decrease the amount of "small ball". As of now it just creates bad hitting counts and outs for many players the team asks to bunt. Hopefully BA improves, but I'd keep running him out there regardless - his D is too valuable to be on the bench.

Intangibles: Let Ozzie continue to take the media's heat and keep it off the players. Get necessary players days off to keep them fresh.

07-11-2006, 03:45 PM
No way they'd have the record they do without a complete team. However, starting pitching needs to pick up the pace. Nobody is gonna slug their way to wins every night. There will be times when we'll have to get by on 2-3 runs and the pitching will have to hold them to less than that. Most else seems to be running well for them. And all of the starters have some serious ability. So I am sure they'll be fine.

07-11-2006, 03:45 PM
Pitching: WAY too many 2 strike mistakes.
Hitting: Get sacrifice bunts down.

Chicken Dinner
07-11-2006, 03:47 PM
Starting pitching is being carried by the offense. The big 5 need to get it together.

We still can't get down a bunt for some reason.

Too many errors in the last 2 weeks. Oh, and don't forget the baserunning blunder.

Even know his numbers are awsome, it's tough watching Thome strike out so much. You'd think he could make more contact.

Jury still out on Cliff and Riske. Brandon seems to be throwing a few to many homerun balls. Very pleased with Thornton.

Widger is pissing me off.

07-11-2006, 03:50 PM
Pitching B- Pitching staff, right now is overrated. Nobody is throwing like they should be.

Defense B- Until Anderson is the everyday CFer, Mack brings this grade down.

Hitting A Nothing to be said, except that the bunting is awful, Ozuna seems like the only one who can put one down. But number 1 in HRs and runs scored AND sac flies.

Intangibles B+ We won last year, look to be just a powerful, but still haven't put it together, again pitching is a major problem, staff ERA is too high, we arn't going to score 8 runs every night, especially if we get to the playoffs. Here's my South Side/Sox fan quote of the day -SECOND PLACE ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH!

Ol' No. 2
07-11-2006, 04:10 PM
Pitching: Obviously not as good as last year. Look over the World Series teams over the last 10 years or so. Almost all were in the top three in their leagues in pitching. The Sox are currently 6th. While much has been made of the bullpen problems, I believe what's been attributed to the bullpen is actually a result of poorer starting pitching exposing the bullpen more. When your starters routinely go 7 innings, the back of the bullpen doesn't get exposed and you can use only your 2-3 best relievers in close games. When starters exit earlier, you wind up digging deeper into your bullpen and using the weaker pitchers. They had weak relievers last year, too. They just didn't get as much of a chance to screw things up.

Defense: It's been shaky at times. For some reason, errors seem to come in bunches, so you tend to remember them more, but overall the defense has been good enough.

Hitting: They've been tearing the cover off the ball, but have sometimes had trouble with clutch hitting. They must lead the league in LOB. And what happened to their bunting??? They were stellar at this last year, but this year it's awful.

Intangibles: This team definately has a different feel to it. Last year they would score a few runs early by hook or by crook and then hang on. This year seems to be more of a come-from-behind team. Whatever. All that matters is the "W".

Flight #24
07-11-2006, 04:14 PM
IMO, the key both offensively and with the starting pitching has been lack of execution. It's not so much the LOB as it is the failure to get the bunt down/sac fly. Similarly, it's the 2-out hits allowed (or more frustratingly, 2-out BBs).

I have faith that Ozzie will get the offense turned around and that guys like Buehrle & Garcia will improve. I'd like to believe that as things get to crunch time, the guys will find that little extra bit of focus & bear down. The great thing is that the offense is generally leaps & bounds ahead of last year, so if they can tweak things just a bit, this team will far & away be the best int he league.

Not that that means they'll win it all, but it's the first step.

07-11-2006, 04:18 PM
This is where I get stuck, though, it seems to be like comparing apples and 18-wheelers.

Are we still even a 'small ball' team? 3-4-5 suggests otherwise, and then there is the colaberative ignorance by many as to the fundamentals of bunting that I don't see how you can do a mirror image.

We have a truly potent line-up that I am not sure I want to change. Top to bottom, the team is putting up good averages.

The other thing I say to myself occassionally is "Self, if opposing teams watch the way we went wire-to-wire last year, the effective way we played, would they not be almost anticiapting it?" Meaning, small ball was the name of the game last year, but this year they have much more ammo in the arsenal. So, in essence, more ways to exploit the opposition.

I agree pitching needs to shore up a little more, but other than that, I like it.

But then again, I am not so smart sometimes.

Dan H
07-11-2006, 04:37 PM
I agree with Sox1970. The starting pitching just isn't there, and that is what has been most disappointing. It looked like Garland turned a real corner last year but he has not been close to he was in '05. In fact I think he was better in '04 than he is now. Garcia needs to stop the tamtrums and start pitching. I don't even want to talk about Vazquez.

The hitting is awesome, and the defense has been good. But a contending team needs pitching to get through the playoffs. You're not going to slug your way to the World Series. Just ask all those Sox teams in the beginning part of this decade that hit 240 or so homers and won nothing.

07-11-2006, 06:25 PM
Pitching needs to step up. It's that simple. Garland seems to be coming on as the season progresses. Contreras has been solid. Buerhle needs to stop giving up big innings. Garcia and Vazquez are driving me nuts. Both are pitching way below their potential, working out of the strike zone, falling behind hitters and nibbling way too much. Bullpen is improving, but needs another right-handed arm to be solidified. Our left-handed relief is a huge strength this year, and Jenks has exceeded my expectations.

Defense is solid, as long as Mackowiak isn't playing CF.

Our hitting is much stronger than last year, but our execution fails us at times. We need to do a better job of manufacturing runs. For the most part, we're relying on extra-base power, which we have plenty of this year.

Intangibles: I don't notice any difference from last year. The guys seem to enjoy playing together. They rarely quit on any game, and they play with a lot of toughness.

The pitching is the main category for us to talk about at this stage. That's what carried us last year, and it hasn't been nearly as good this year. All the guys in our rotation have proven they can pitch and succeed at the highest level. I don't think any of them are candidates to be replaced. It's just a matter of them righting the ship, going out and getting the job done. The onus is on them.

07-11-2006, 06:35 PM
Are we still even a 'small ball' team? .
We were never a small ball team. Not for one second. I have no idea how that label got put on a team that hit 200+ HR in 2005. We were, though, better at executing in "small ball" situations last season, i.e. bunting.

07-11-2006, 06:41 PM
I think we're in good shape. Sure the pitching isn't as good as last year but its not that far off the pace.

Nothing a 20 game winning streak couldn't cure. :D:

Flight #24
07-12-2006, 10:20 AM
We were never a small ball team. Not for one second. I have no idea how that label got put on a team that hit 200+ HR in 2005. We were, though, better at executing in "small ball" situations last season, i.e. bunting.

I.e. Smart ball. A team that can score with the longball, but also executes to push across (or prevent) the single runs in key situations.

07-13-2006, 12:35 AM
No way they'd have the record they do without a complete team.

Look at all those games they've played bad and won.

07-13-2006, 12:56 AM
true or false, we lead the mlb in sacrifices? I think the inability to bunt has been overblown because we are remembering key situations where we failed.

Hitting has been unbelievable. 1-9 in the 2nd half I expect to be a no contest with anyone out there.

Pitching - Contreras great, garland looked good lately, but as others have said we need more consitency. I expect big things from javy as he and coop continue to work much like jose last year. Buehrle will be fine, but I do worry about freddy.

Bullpen - people are making way to big of a deal out of. Ill take riske thornton cotts setting up jenks over almost anybody elses pen.

Defense - when we got out everyday lineup in with anderson, fantastic.

07-13-2006, 01:03 AM
Nothing a 20 game winning streak couldn't cure. :D:

"I just LUV the 20-game win streak!"

07-13-2006, 01:46 AM
Pitching- Contreras has been solid, Buehrle has been decent but he can do better, Freddy, Vaz, and Garland need to step up.

Jenks has succeeded my expectations as closer, I thought he would be shakier. Cotts has been as expected, Cliff died, Coop worked his magic with Thornton, McCarthy has done as expected. Riske was a nice pick up.

Defense- Has been decent but nothing like it was last season. Uribe has had some throwing troubles. Anderson has been decent but can't stay in the lineup and has forced Macowiak to play some games in CF where he doesn't have the range to play. Crede was outstanding to start the season but hasn't made some plays as of late.

Hitting- Every player having a career year except Pods, Anderson and Uribe. If they get going or if they make a move, we could be looking at a ballclub that can score 950-1000 runs.

07-13-2006, 01:33 PM
Pitching: WAY too many 2 strike mistakes.
Hitting: Get sacrifice bunts down. By far the biggest bug-a-boo's for me this year. If i had a nickel for how many 2 strike pitches went down the middle of the plate i'd be richer than Bill Gates. Know i can understand wanting to be aggressive, and not wanting to nibble too much, but if your going to throw a strike with 2 strikes, PLEASE try to make it a "Quality" strike..........And as for bunting.....Pods needs to work on bunting EVERY day for the rest of the year.....as do the rest of the team...... Also for my major concerns going into the 2nd half, #1 would have to be Garcia, I dont know what happened to his velocity, but unless he can start getting the ball down in the zone more frequently, it could get uglier for him in the 2nd half. Also Vazquez NEEDS to step it up as well..... And finally, Oz, PLEASE make Anderson the everyday CF, I've seen enough of Mack out there to last a lifetime. Use Mack as a SUPER sub, and thats it....... Other than that, This team has been GREAT!

Frater Perdurabo
07-13-2006, 02:06 PM
Pitching - Need more consistency and better production from the back end of the rotation. Garland has been much better lately; needs to keep it up. Vazquez started off strong and has regressed; needs to be more consistent. Apart from a few clunkers here and there, Buehrle, Contreras and Garcia are solid. Jenks and Thornton have been excellent; Cotts pretty good; McCarthy and Riske good; Montero average; Logan below average; Politte and Nelson dreadful; Tracey incomplete.
Mid-Term Grade: B-

Defense - Infield needs to turn more double plays. Last year ground balls with a man on first were "automatic" double plays. This year they haven't turned them as regularly. Outfield needs Brian Anderson to get as many starts and innings in CF as possible; the grade suffers because Ozzie has played Mackowiak far too much in CF.
Mid-Term Grade: B-

Hitting - Podsednik needs to get on base more but has improved after a terrible first 10 days. Uribe needs to be more consistent but has been better of late. After a dreadful 10 weeks, Anderson seems to be coming around. He needs to continue his progress. The second through seventh spots have been excellent with all six players playing at an All-Star level (even if Iguchi and Crede didn't get picked).
Mid-Term Grade: A-

Intangibles - The Sox have shown moxie against the toughest teams in the league. It bodes well that they are 5-1 against the Tigers. They seem to have faced the top ends of many opposing rotations and have fared as well as could be expected. Need to avoid letdowns against clearly inferior teams. Joey Cora seems to have a knack for knowing when to send the runner. The team continues to have a "grinder" mentality.
Mid-Term Grade: A-

Not playing to either their potential or expected norms, this team has room to improve. This says a lot since they have the second-best record in the majors and play in the vastly superior American League and in the division with the best pitching.
Overall grade: B/B+, or about at 87%

Frater Perdurabo
07-13-2006, 02:11 PM
We were never a small ball team. Not for one second. I have no idea how that label got put on a team that hit 200+ HR in 2005. We were, though, better at executing in "small ball" situations last season, i.e. bunting.

Yes, the Sox did play "small ball," most notably in Game 4 of the World Series, but also for an extended stretch to open the 2005 season. Both Dye and Konerko got off to terrible starts, and the worst #3 hitter in the MLB - Everett - had to hit third. So many times Pods got on, stole second, got sacrificed to third by Iguchi, and Everett sacrificed him home. Frank's return coincided with Konerko and Dye getting hot, and both remained hot for the rest of the year, taking pressure off Pods, Iguchi and Everett (when Frank when back on the DL).