Tagged: White Sox Playoffs

End of the Line in ’08…Sox Lose Game 4 of ALDS With 6-2 Loss to Rays

The Chicago White Sox were not even supposed to be in a position to lose let alone win a postseason round in 2008.  They were supposed to finish in fourth place in the division behind the Tigers, Indians, and Twins.  Instead, the White Sox beat the Indians, Tigers, and Twins consecutively in elimination games to claim the 2008 Central Division crown.  For me, that was in a sense the Sox’ ‘World Series.’  They fought so hard all season long to get to that point.  They did it down the stretch without Carlos Quentin, Joe Crede, and Jose Contreras.  They endured six weeks without premier setup man Scott Linebrink, and some time without their great closer Bobby Jenks.  All things considering, it was not a bad season for the White Sox, and I’m proud of what they accomplished.  It could have been worse…they could have been the Cubs, but I digress. 

As for next year, I see essentially the same team, but without Orlando Cabrera, among others.  He just never seemed to fit on this team, and while he hit better as the season went on, I was overall disappointed a bit with his range and his hitting for a while.  It also sounds like he was not exactly a favorite in the clubhouse.  Nick Swisher?  He too had a subpar season.  I like the personality and energy, but his hitting was not great.  Nick also didn’t seem to find a groove here, and I know him being moved around from center field to first base to the bench at the end of the season had to take a toll on his psyche.  Nick is probably a natural first baseman, but the Sox have Paul Konerko.  Since we have Quentin next year to play left, and Dye in right again with another year for Thome in the DH slot, that leaves only center field for Swisher, and he’s not exactly a true, natural center fielder.  It seems Nick has more of a place in the clubhouse than he does on the field.  He just doesn’t fit well anywhere except first base, and I know there is not going to be a platoon situation with him and Konerko there.  The Swisher situation is a little strange to me. 

Crede will almost certainly be gone next year.  His back problems and his agent pretty much make that a done deal.  I see Juan Uribe at third, unless the Sox want to try Josh Fields next year.  I personally don’t believe they will do that since Fields is an average fielder at best.  I see Alexei Ramirez moving to short, Konerko still at first, and I think the White Sox need to get a second baseman.  Brian Roberts would fill a need on both sides of the ball, offering a viable option at the leadoff spot, with much needed speed, and quality play at second base.  Still, while Juan Uribe has filled in admirably and done a good job at third in the absence of Crede, I don’t consider him an everyday third baseman.  Without Roberts or someone else, at second, perhaps Uribe moves back to second, with another option at third base.  I don’t know. 

The pitching looks pretty good.  I like Buehrle, Danks, and Floyd.  I’ve never been crazy about Vazquez, this playoff appearance notwithstanding.  He’s an innings eater and will beat the Royals in May.  As for his value in big game situations, I don’t trust him.  I think Contreras is essentially done.  Clayton Richard has done enough I think to get a good look for an audition in ’09.  We shall see.  Until that time though, there is still plenty of postseason baseball left to watch…even with the White Sox out of it…

 

 

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Heeeer’s Johnny!…Sox Win Game 3 of ALDS 5-3 Over Rays

The day after the Sox’ Northside rivals got swept out of the playoffs by the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the White Sox played well enough to live to see yet another day.  ‘Backs against the wall’ seem to be the way the White Sox like things this year, and they have won their fourth ‘win or go home’ game in just over a week.  What was most impressive to me about this victory is that is was convincingly done without the benefit of the home run, featured extra base hits, stolen bases, and outstanding starting and relief pitching.  It was also an error free game.  This was a tight, well-played ballgame by the White Sox. This is the kind of baseball they will have to play the rest of the way if they want to go deeper in the playoffs.  I’m still not sure the White Sox can advance past this round, but I love the fight of this team, and John Danks has to be called a ‘big-game pitcher’ if he hasn’t been already.  Johnny got it done again.  Buehrle and Danks from the left with Floyd, who will go for the Sox tomorrow, from the right, have been outstanding.  They, along with Quentin and Alexei Ramirez, are a big reason why the White Sox have come as far as they have this year.  The White Sox are the underdog to be sure.  But today, they played some of the best baseball I’ve seen them play all season.  No matter what happens, this team should be proud.  They have done all this without Quentin, Crede, and Jose Contreras.  What they have done is amazing, and Ozzie Guillen has done the best job of his managerial career as far as I’m concerned.  The White Sox will have to win another ‘do or die’ game tomorrow.  But it looks like that’s the way they like it…

Sox Lose Game 1 of ALDS 6-4 to Rays

I called this result when I knew Javier Vazquez was pitching this game.  Javier has proven time and again his inability to pitch in ‘big game’ high pressure situations.  One of the  unfortunate parts of the Sox hard road to the postseason was their inability to set the rotation to their liking.  I’m not sure whether or not Buehrle was available to go on short rest for Game 1 today, but that’s what I would have done.  Vazquez is such a head case, he has no business in a postseason rotation.  This is where the loss of Jose Contreras earlier in the year is especially felt.  The White Sox managed to get to the postseason without him, but they really needed him for the postseason.  I believe this could cost the Sox, and lead to a quick first-round exit, which I hate to admit, I predict. 

I believe the White Sox can get a game in this series, but I don’t see them going further, and certainly not to the ALCS.  I would like to believe they can, and perhaps they will.  For now though, the Sox remain what they are…a slower power hitting team that has to pitch almost perfectly to win.  I’m not sure that’s enough to get it done in the playoffs against competition like the Rays who are simply better balanced.  We shall see what the Buehrle/Kazmir matchup will bring tomorrow…