Tagged: offense

July 31 Postgame – Bullpen and Offense Combine for Big Sox Win

What a day for the White Sox! They acquire Jake Peavy, lose their starter for tonight’s game in the process, only have the bullpen available against the Yankees’ offense, and they go on to win the game. The win puts Sox back into 2nd place and back in the A.L. Central race after losses by both the Tigers and Twins.

D.J. Carrasco had a rough start when he failed to cover 1B on what should have been an easy out on the first play of the game, but was decent enough in the next few innings. I normally criticize Ozzie Guillen for his bullpen choices, but I was very happy with the way it was managed. I’m not sure if Bobby Jenks was available tonight. I was at the game last night and was upset when Jenks wasn’t called in to close the game, but later learned he was out due to kidney stones. If he was available, I might have had Dotel pitch one less inning and fit Bobby in with a big lead before being thrown into another close situation. 
The Sox offense had a great approach tonight. They were down early, but still looked for base hits and didn’t try to solve everything with one big swing. The Sox also used speed with a double-steal (which included a successful steal of home) and took advantage of walks. Carlos Quentin also looked very good tonight. He seems to have started coming along recently and really boosted the offense with his home run (along with his double and walk). 
Overall, the Sox looked impressive with a big win against a very good team during tough circumstances!
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Pitching Will Be Key For Sox During Hellacious 2nd Half Schedule

Last night the Sox kicked off one of their toughest stretches of the season. The Sox started a stretch where they host Tampa Bay for 4, go to Detroit for 4 (including a double header), back to Minnesota, host NY, finally get a day off, and then host the Angels. That’s a stretch of 18 games against teams over .500. 

In late August, the Sox then go to Boston for 4, go to NY, then to Minnesota again, go to Wrigley for the make-up game against the Cubs, then host Boston. This stretch is in the middle of a 20 game stretch filled with travel and no days off. 
Doing well in these stretches won’t guarantee the Sox a playoff berth, but it can easily break the Sox season. The Sox offense has been hot this month and picked up the slack, but the pitching has been troubling. The Sox will be facing very good offenses and pitching, so they will need a good combination of both to win games. I’m not sure what propelled the Sox offense recently. The pickup of Podsednik has certainly helped and has made a difference. Some people argue that the weather plays a role and the summer is always better for hitters, which is a possibility. The main point is that the Sox can’t be expected to blow out teams regularly and the pitching needs to keep the team in the game. Buerhle has been great this season, but Floyd and Danks really need to be more consistent and pitch deep into games since the bullpen has looked shaky lately. Another big problem is the 5th spot in the rotation. As it stands now, Clayton Richard is starting tonight and still has the job, but he can’t be the long-term answer. It would have been nice to see Aaron Poreda get a shot, but he was taken away from his regular starts and now needs to get back into the rhythm of starting. The Sox also have Bartolo Colon (who will start the doubleheader at the end of the week) and have signed Freddy Garcia, but are these old pitchers that no one else wanted really the answer? The Sox really need to pursue a move to strengthen the rotation. In 2004 and earlier, the 5th spot in the rotation was always an automatic loss and really hurt the Sox when chasing a division. In 2005 the Sox found the perfect storm with a combination of Orlando Hernandez and a great prospect in Brandon McCarthy who lived up to his billing during the season. Both pitchers gave the Sox a chance to win and that season the  team did a better job of not throwing games away.
Just for fun, I decided to look at a couple simple stats to look at the trends of the offense (including home runs because that has been a big part of the Sox offense for a long time) and pitching.
There doesn’t appear to be any strong correlation with wins and losses. In the end, it depends on the individual game and scoring more runs than the other team. This does, however, show the trends of the offense and pitchers, and how important these trends may be with such a tough schedule coming up. It also shows how well the offense has done with creating runs without relying completely on the home run, and how the pitching has given up more runs then it has all season.