Sunday, August 30, 2009

The White Sox Finally Hit the Wall

Ozzie Guillen says he's embarrassed. He says his team should be embarrassed after making more errors (3) Saturday against the Yankees than they had hits (1). The White Sox have now lost six of their last seven, most of which against the power of the AL East. It looks like this aging team has hit a wall that they can't climb over.

The White Sox have three fundamental problems. First and foremost, they have committed 36 starts to the likes off Jose Contreras, Bartolo Colon, Freddie Garcia and Carlos Torres. Between the four of them, they sound like the latin version of a fantasy camp. The second problem is fielding where they are next to last in the American League in fielding percentage. Lastly, despite some guys who can go deep, they are tenth in the fourteen team American League in OPS. For most of the year, they haven't had a centerfielder that can hit. And they have a second baseman and shortstop with OPS+ stats of 78 and 86 respectively. Add those three things up and you have a team that can make Guillen pretty feisty.

Let's start with those 36 starts. Contreras, Colon, Garcia and Torres are a combined 8-20 with 285 base runners allowed in 193 and 2/3 innings. That works out to a WHIP of 1.47. Let's say that if those starts had come at an even .500, that would make up six games in the standings and it would be the White Sox on top of the division and not the Tigers.

For a while, Scott Podsednik gave the team a spark but he has tailed off and now his OPS+ is under 100 and a .347 OBP isn't that hot for a lead off guy. Pods is 33 now and that is part of the equation with this team. Pierzynski is 33, Dye is 35, Konerko is 33 and Thome is 38. That's five out of the nine guys in the line up that are past their prime. And those are the only five that can at least hit a little. The problem with older guys is that they will get you if you make a mistake because they have seen a thousand of them in their careers, but they can be over matched too at this stage in their careers. Thome is batting .256, Dye is at .264. In fairness, Podsednik is the only one of the five below league average in OPS+. Pierzynski is having one of his best offensive years. But when faced with tough pitching, they are past the point in their careers when they are going to be able to hang in there.

The White Sox lead the American League in errors with 100. They are tied for seventh in defensive efficiency and they are third from the bottom in throwing base stealers out. When you are that leaky on defense, tenth in the league in OPS and have committed 36 starts to guys who have had no business starting, that spells disappointment and has obviously led to another Guillen press harangue.

To top it all off, the White Sox lead the league in names that are hard to spell. There's Linebrink, Podsednik, Pierzynski, Poreda, Alexei Ramirez, Jayson Nix, Dewayne Wise, Lillibridge, Buehrle and even a short appearance by a Jhonny Nunez. Man, that poor clubhouse guy in charge of uniforms.

What is currently happening to the White Sox has been expected here in the FanDome for quite some time. But there is no joy in being right. There is only a sad knowledge that the window of opportunities for these guys is closing rapidly and it doesn't seem clear where the White Sox will go from here.


Capital League Baseball coming soon. said...

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Josh Borenstein said...

The most embarrassing thing of all was being 1-hit by Sergio Mitre. No excuse for that.

Alexei has to moved back to 2nd next year. He's an awful SS. Move Beckham to SS, his natural position. Then, either bring up Viciedo to play 3rd or acquire someone like Kevin Kouzmanoff to man the hot corner.