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Wednesday, April 20, 2005
See you in four months

There have been 3 complete games pitched against the Sox this season, all of them have been complete game losses. That pretty much tells you how this season is going so far on the southside. If the opposing pitcher is dealing, they've been able to scratch out a couple of runs, keep the other team off the board, and come away with the victory.

The team OBP is terrible. They're not hitting much. The closer situation is shaky at best. But, as the new marketing campaign says, only one stat matters -- W.

I'm not going to complain. 10-4 is tough to beat, especially when you go 4-1 against your chief rivals in the process.

* * * * *

Gamer. There's no other word that describes El Duque so concisely. He's 2-0 vs. the Twins, allowing just one run in 13 innings pitched. You'd think he'd have some dominant numbers against them. But that's just it; he's been hit around pretty good on both occasions. He's been in tough spots, and hasn't backed down. He's gotten the key double play, the clutch strikeout, whenever he really needed it. In a word, Gamer.
18.0 24 5 5 9 1.65 2.50 3.92
Those peripherals aren't going to impress anyone. FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, is a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible (BB, HR, K, and HBP) and is used to approximate what their ERA should be regardless of the defense behind them. El Duque is outpitching his peripherals. Some would say lucky -- If it was Contreras outpitching his peripherals I would say lucky -- but El Duque knows what he's doing out there.

* * * * *

It wont show up in the box score. The announcers on TV and radio didn't draw any attention to it, but there was one play that just might have shown that the Sox really are a little different from last year. When Joe Crede tagged up on a sac fly off the bat of Scott Podsednik, it was clear that he had his sights set on Joe Mauer. There really wasn't a play, as Mauer moved forward to catch a late Torii Hunter throw, but Crede still took a little shot at Mauer. He could have gone in harder, but it was still nice to see. It's a step in the right direction. Anyone who watched Sox games last year can remember Frank Thomas sliding into home for an out at least three different times like his grandmother was the catcher.

Update: As I head to bed, I can't claim to be the only one who noticed. Rick Morissey, and Mark Gonzales both write about it.

Quoting Crede: "If [Mauer] is going to block the plate, I'm going to do whatever I can to score."

* * * * *

I know he's not stopping by this blog between innings, but it was nice to see Ozzie take my advice, and pull Shingo as soon as he saw Joe Mauer. It's pretty clear there's a "closer controversy" on the Southside. Ozzie's postgame comments(which I can't find a link for) essentially said as much, insinuating they would be situation-by-situation decisions as to who would get the save opportunity, which when you think about it, is a very sabrmetric way to use your bullpen. That is assuming you actually play the right matchups.

* * * * *

Like I said yesterday, We won't see the Twins for another 118 days. To give you a better idea of how long that's going to be, here's a list of the teams they play between now and then. Number of series in parentheses.
  • Detroit (4)
  • Kansas City (4)
  • Oakland (2)
  • Toronto (2)
  • Tampa Bay (2)
  • Baltimore (2)
  • Texas (2)
  • Cubs (2)
  • Angels (2)
  • Cleveland (2)
  • Colorado
  • San Diego
  • Arizona
  • Dodgers
  • Boston (2)
  • Seattle
  • New York

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Tadihito Iguchi is a professional hitter. He's going to have his ups and downs, but he works the count, and can foul off pitches he doesn't like. He's the only White Sox hitter who seems to be looking for his pitch instead of trying to put the ball in play as quickly as possible. Mark Buehrle got a lot of pub, from both mainstream media and me, for his quick game on Saturday, but I don't think you can discount how much the Sox hitters helped by swinging early and often, and failing to take a pitch.

Defensively, he's been in the middle of a number good double plays. His range, however, is not what we've been accustomed to on the southside. As I said over at BTF's game chatter "passed a diving Iguchi" has replaced "nice pick by Uribe/Harris" in the White Sox broadcaster's lexicon.

* * * * *

The Sox start a two game series at Detroit Wednesday. The Tigers aren't worried. They only split a series against the Royals, who are a joke in their own town. Let's just hope the Sox have Dmitri's comments pinned up in the locker room. Jon Garland (2-0, 3.46) takes the hill against Wilfredo Ledezma (1-0, 3.75).

* * * * *

I swear to God, if Timo sees any playing time tomorrow I'm going to puke. There's absolutely no reason for him to have almost 5 times the number of at-bats as Ross Gload.

* * * * *
From Gleeman (via Hardball Times)
With an MLB-leading seven homers in 14 games so far this year, Paul Konerko now has 48 homers in his last 162 games, dating back to the last season. Prior to that, he had hit 45 homers in his last 294 games, including just 18 in 137 games in 2003.

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Straying from the baseball theme that I try and stick to here, how 'bout them Bulls?
  • The Knicks hate Ben Gordon
  • First time in the playoffs since 1998
  • First winning record since '98
  • Home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs
  • Scott Skiles for coach of the year
  • Ben Gordon as a serious RoY contender -- I don't think he'll win, but he should get the 6th man award to wipe his tears away with. -- It would be a traveshamockery(that's so 2004) if he doesn't win at least one of them.
  • Tyson Chandler has got to be one of the most underappreciated players in the league.
  • They've got a tough match up with the Wizards, having to go into the series without two of their starting frontline in Luol Deng and Eddie Curry. Hopefully they make it interesting.
  • I don't think they'll be able to win a series, even with home court, that's why I'm writing this now. It was a nice ride. They surprised a lot of people, including me. Hopefully they can surprise some more, and advance deep in the playoffs, without 40% of their starters.