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The .500 White Sox come to town. There will be aces tonight, strikeouts tomorrow, McGowan-Contreras Saturday and kids Sunday. Should be a fun series.

Ozzie Guillen thinks his team is underachieving. His quintessentially Ozzie standard solution is to improve the team's grit and focus. To reach this end, he will rotate his hitters not named Thome, Dye, Konerko and Pierzynski in and out of the lineup more aggressively than ever, and reward whatever hot hands emerge with more playing time. I like this idea. It should logically work well with a team like the White Sox, with a versatile group of position players, most of whom are struggling but also reasonably established and clearly capable of escaping the doldrums given playing time. And in general, I wouldn't be surprised to find out hitters see more pitches per PA, walk more and hit more line drives immediately after they've had a day off. That might be a worthwhile study, if it hasn't been done already.

Mark Buehrle, who pitches with machine-gun efficiency and has 99 career wins, takes the mound for the Sox tonight. He faces Roy Halladay, who pitches with machine-gun efficiency and has 99 career wins. This game should end quickly and feature a well-deserved milestone win. Buehrle is Halladay's #2 comp on Baseball Reference. He's a lefty who doesn't shy away from contact, locks down the running game and is particularly troublesome when he's getting a big inside corner for his cutter, because pounding righties and lefties alike inside his bread and butter. Vernon Wells is 11-20 with three walks and a homer off Buehrle. If Troy Glaus feels up to playing tonight, he's 6-15 with 3 homers and a walk.

Strikeout artist Javier Vazquez, who whiffed 13 Jays at the Dome last August, goes Friday against the Jays' K specialist. His money strikeout pitch is a changeup that makes lefties in particular look really bad. He usually starts hitters off with fastballs and pounds them down and away late in the count - righties mostly get breaking balls, while lefties get changeups.

The ageless Jose Contreras goes Saturday. (Wait, hang on... he actually does have an age. 35. Are we buying 35?) Contreras boasts a baffling out pitch in his slow splitter. His problem is getting ahead in the count with his unoverpowering fastball and slider. Current Jays are a combined .219/.312/.375 off Contreras... but Sal Fasano is 3-6 with a homer.

Flyballing lefty John Danks was the centerpiece of Chicago's return in the Brandon McCarthy trade this offseason. Danks has remained in the Sox rotation all year. He pitches almost as quickly as Buehrle. Danks also throws around 90 with a fastball which he cuts sometimes. Buehrle taught him the cutter early on this year. How helpful is Buehrle? "Mark's funny, because he's one of those guys where he's so good, he doesn't know how he does it." The cutter is still a work in progress. Danks has a nasty curveball in the mid-70s which he throws often, as well as a change. He had won three straight with a 1.89 ERA in those starts heading into his last outing, wherein the Twins roughed him up and forced his exit in the fourth inning. What was the headline? "Danks looks like rookie."

Bullpen changes: Andrew Sisco, out. Dewon Day, in. Day is a 26-year-old rook. He was originally drafted by the Jays in the 26th round in 2002. He struggled to climb the organizational ladder and went through TJ surgery in 2004. The Sox snapped him up in the 2005 minor-league Rule 5 draft and slowly let him work his way up to AA this year, where he's been lights out. Day has phenomenal strikeout numbers in AA. He's a straight two-pitch pitcher, with a fastball around 93 and a mid-80s slider. In his two appearances this year he's been erratic, but that's natural for a rookie.

Utilityman Pablo Ozuna is out with a fractured fibula. Ozzie misses him already. Andy Gonzalez, a 25-year-old infielder with pretty good career minor-league K/BB numbers but little power, takes his place. Gonzalez can play second and third. He's already been with the big club a couple of times, and is 0-5 with a walk. With Gonzalez in the majors, hot-hitting prospect Josh Fields has played a bit of shortstop in Charlotte.

Craig Wilson signed a minor-league deal with the Sox earlier this week.

With this year's game taking place in an NL park, Joe Crede is incredibly the only Sox player among the top five All-Star vote getters at any position.

And A.J. Pierzynski is frustrated by his teammates' having to constantly answer questions about him. "I've always said if people are worried about me -- especially on this team -- they're worried about the wrong guy with Jermaine [Dye], [Jim] Thome, Paulie [Konerko], Joe [Crede] and all these guys we have. It just makes me laugh because, Toby [Hall] and I had this conversation -- 'Even when you don't do anything, you do something.' Jim and I had a long talk about it yesterday and I just feel bad for the guys on this team because I don't want them to have to answer questions about me. That's one of the things about the whole [Mark] Buehrle thing that made me so angry, the fact that [the Chicago Tribune writer] that wrote the article ... come to me and talk to me about it."

The Credit Section: Batted-ball and Leverage Index are available at Fangraphs. K% and BB% are strikeouts and walks as a percentage of plate appearances; GB% is groundballs as a percentage of balls in play. Minor-league stats are from Minor League Splits. Everything else is available at The Hardball Times.

Advance Scout: White Sox, May 31-June 3 | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mylegacy - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#169042) #


The question tonight is: Which Halladay returns from Holiday? The one that stunk the place out the last few starts before he went off injured or the Lord of the Mound we've come to know and love...I've got that icky feeling that starting pitching wise, things are falling into place so well lately, that tonight we might see the other shoe drop. Alka Seltzer anyone?

King Rat - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#169046) #
I think the other shoe dropped last night, if you remember. I think Doc will be good, but not spectacular. It ought to be a good game.
Rob - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#169047) #
It ought to be a good game.

Halladay-Buehrle? The game's probably over already.
CeeBee - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#169050) #
Nah, only the 6th inning :)
scottt - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#169052) #
Second shortest game of the season at 1h 50.

AWeb - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#169053) #
Well, that was exactly what I needed to see to get the bad taste from yesterday out of my mouth. I seem to recall Halladay and Buerhle having a few of these ultra-short games before, but wow. I almost missed it; I missed one half inning because I didn't flip back to it in time.  It would have been 3 minutes shorter if Erstad hadn't injured himself.  Best wishes to him, by the way. It might be annoying to hear about his punting skills from 15 years ago every game, but I wouldn't wish a torn achilles (seemed like the most likely thing, I have no information beyond that) on anyone. Also, now his backup gets to play, and he's a much better hitter, so that's not good for the Jays.
CeeBee - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#169054) #
And who says a pitchers duel is boring?... Not I.  What a game... Doc goes 7 after having his apendics removed 3 weeks ago. 6 hits, no walks, 7 K's and poor Mark Burlhe..... a complete game 2 hitter and he loses. ah well, baseball is a funny game but sure beats the heck out of anything else at this time of year. Oh, they are still playing hockey?  Pity as it's really hard to get into an on ice type of sport when the weather is 31 degrees and I'm thinking of turning on the AC.
Original Ryan - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#169055) #
poor Mark Burlhe..... a complete game 2 hitter and he loses. ah well, baseball is a funny game but sure beats the heck out of anything else at this time of year.

Kind of reminds me of a Kevin Appier - Pat Hentgen duel in 1994.  Appier allowed one run on three hits with 10 K's, but lost to Hentgen who allowed only two hits with 14 K's.  I remember that Appier face was ashen at the end of the game when he was sitting on the bench.  I don't think he could fully comprehend that he'd just lost.  I almost felt sorry for him.
China fan - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#169056) #
    Jays now only 5 games back in the race for the wild card!    (Unfortunately six teams are still ahead of them for the wild card.....)
greenfrog - Thursday, May 31 2007 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#169060) #
On Halladay's performance (associated press):

"Let's be honest, he's as good as it gets," Pierzynski said. "It doesn't matter, DL or no DL, the stuff he was firing up there tonight, the way his ball moves. He just didn't make any mistakes.

"He's kind of found a new weapon," Pierzynski added. "He used to throw a cutter but it used to not be as hard. Now he's throwing it 92.  That's tough. He didn't throw anything straight and it's hard to square him up."

Now that is the kind of quote I like to read.

Mylegacy - Friday, June 01 2007 @ 01:21 AM EDT (#169067) #

As ChinaFan says, we're only 5 games out of a playoff appearance.

With our rotation now hitting STRONGLY on four cylinders, our bullpen turning from a 53 Studebaker to an 07 Corvette and our hitting waiting for the turbocharger(s) to break it open...I really like our chances. The other day I said they were 50/50 to make the!

No question we are, at this moment in time, a team you can believe in!


90ft_turnleft - Friday, June 01 2007 @ 03:28 AM EDT (#169070) #

Damn straight believe..................almost a capital B here but not quite.

For me to believe that this team can truly challenge for a playoff spot then they really have to put several wins together.As in 7,8 or 9.

Enough with the big tease of talent and hope aka Halliday,Hill,Marcum,Accardo,Jansen,Rios et al.Please guys let's try and synchronize all our gears here and finally put it all together.

Don't get me wrong I think that the above mentioned have almost fully rekindled my belief that we may have another version of the '83,'84,and '85 Jays  just around the corner.

Lately we've seen pitching and 'D' pick up the slack in the absense of the offense from the likes of Wells and Thomas most specifically so I'm hoping we score a few more runs to keep sychronistic time with the above average pitching and 'D' we have been getting from the youngsters.

Nice to see the big guy get closer to 500 too.Maybe a series against his old team is just the tonic.

Doc,you're a freak............and I mean that in the best possible way."Appendix,we don't need no stinkin appendix".

90ft_turnleft - Friday, June 01 2007 @ 03:45 AM EDT (#169071) #
Sorry for mispelling Janssen.........bed time here..........GO JAYS
scottt - Friday, June 01 2007 @ 06:00 AM EDT (#169072) #
Is Luis Terrero better than Erstad?

Erstad is their lead off hitter. Whenever Terrero gets the odd start, he bats ninth.
Correct me if I'm wrond, but so far, they've used Terrero mostly as a defensive replacement for Jermaine Dye.

They're already missing Ozuna and Podsednik so they'll probably need to put Erstad on the DL and recall a 4th outfielder.

Chuck - Friday, June 01 2007 @ 07:21 AM EDT (#169074) #
For all Tabler's yakkety yak about Erstad being a gritty player, there was no mention that he's a pretty crappy player. 264/311/341 shouldn't be hard to replace, solid defense or not. Those kind of numbers should be within Brian Anderson's grasp.
tstaddon - Friday, June 01 2007 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#169105) #
Frank was pretty bad until June of last year as well, so he might just get it started soon. If he can go on the kind of tear this summer that he did last, it's almost enough to cover for himself and Wells. I think there'll be changes when Sparky returns, too, so there's plenty to look forward to. Plus, there are ways to stack this lineup that don't disable Rios' wheels, too. Imagine:

1. Johnson
2. Overbay
3. Rios
4. Glaus
5. Wells
6. Thomas
7. Hill
8. Zaun
9. Clayton/McDonald
scottt - Saturday, June 02 2007 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#169142) #
Actually, only Thome has a better average than Erstad and since he missed around 20 games, Erstad leads his team in hits.

The White Sox are focused on small ball.  Another 2 sacrifice flys in Saturday's game.

Advance Scout: White Sox, May 31-June 3 | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.