This Time Around: A More In-Depth Look at the White Sox's 2009 Rotation
I admit, I made a mistake that all sports writers make sometimes in their writing career. I'm still a teeny bit embarrassed with myself. Just what did I do?
I allowed myself to dream a little bit too much.
However, I figured out a very quick fix for the situation, and decided it was time to get more serious about the upcoming season, just as the White Sox are doing right now.
In my most recent article, I made a few pitching "predictions" that may have been just a little bit far-fetched, so I think it's time to set the record straight on what I really think is going to happen to the White Sox rotation in 2009.
1. Mark Buehrle
2. Gavin Floyd
3. John Danks
4. Bartolo Colon
5. Jeff Marquez/Clayton Richard/Lance Broadway/Jose Contreras
Original "Prediction": 18 Wins, 5 Losses.
Real Prediction: 15 Wins, 9 Losses.
Mark has the ability to be a consistent team ace once again. His defense at the pitching position is top notch, and it does save him the trouble of some plays that other pitchers would never be able to make, but at the same time, he doesn't always get the run support that Gavin Floyd received last year, or even Javy Vazquez did.
Still, look for him to dominate unsuspecting hitters with his quick pitching pace and smooth delivery. Don't forget that his pick-off move is still one of the better ones in the league.
Original "Prediction": 17 Wins, 7 Losses.
Real Prediction: 10 Wins, 8 Losses.
Gavin Floyd had a very good year last year for the White Sox, and it was one that many people just didn't see coming. Granted, he got some of the best run support that a pitcher has ever seen, but it is still hard to take away from his win total for the Sox last year.
His fastball still catches some hitters off guard, but he's really going to have to have improved over the off-season in order to have anything close to my original prediction. To be a bit more fair, I'm putting him at only 10 wins, then, to give him some room to improve, and hopefully, he'll do just that.
He really does need to work on keeping his pitches lower, though. It'll be the death of him at U.S. Cellular Field if he can't do that.
Original "Prediction": 20 Wins, 4 Losses.
Real Prediction (Yes, I mean this): 20 Wins, 5 Losses.
Just hear me out on this, people.
John Danks is looking to embark on his best year so far in a White Sox uniform. He opted against pitching in the World Baseball Classic for the fact that he'll likely be pitching his highest number of innings yet this season, and he bulked up about fifteen pounds in the offseason, a sign that he's getting a bit more serious about becoming a big-name pitcher.
As I've said more than once before, Danks avoided the sophomore slump, and really got shorted of a better season than he pitched. With the same kind of run support that Javy or Gavin got, what kind of numbers would Danks have had?
Last year, Danks pitched in six games where the Sox lost by no more than two runs. Those scores (0-2), (0-2), (0-2), (3-4), (7-8), (2-3), all only amount to Danks getting 12 runs of support in six games. That means that he only received two runs of support on average in games where he was the losing pitcher, approximately.
Of the 21 runs the Sox gave up in those games, Danks was only responsible for 11 of them, meaning that he still beats the scoring curve by a run.
Offense and relief lost those games for him. Given his overall W-L last year, (12-9), if you chalk him up those six wins and take away six losses, his totals become 18-3. It doesn't sound too far off now, does it?
Give Danks a chance to be a big game pitcher for the Sox again this year, and to do big things for the South Siders for at least a few years to come.
Original "Prediction": 12 Wins, 13 Losses.
Real Prediction: 7 Wins, 9 Losses.
Because of an injury slowed start to his season, it would be prudent to imagine that Colon won't be making all of his starts this year. This isn't all bad, as whoever doesn't win the fifth spot in the rotation could likely be called up to fill in for him, or even take over the spot, if Colon gets injured again.
However, as much as I hate to see a losing record in a starting rotation, it's going to happen, and this is one area where I see it happening for the Sox this year. I'm not sure Colon can regain the needed endurance to pitch a whole season, or pick up that many decisions this year.
Time will tell, and we may be pleasantly surprised, but for now, don't go too crazy over it.
Jeff Marquez/Clayton Richard/Lance Broadway/Jose Contreras
Original " Prediction": 6 Wins, 9 Losses for the first half, 5 Wins, 3 Losses for Jose.
Real Prediction: A combined 8 Wins and 10 Losses.
This prediction doesn't reflect, in any way whatsoever, that I think any of these pitchers are necessarily bad pitchers.
However, we don't yet know how Marquez will handle The Cell, Clayton Richard didn't have a good enough season last year to inspire too much hope, and Lance Broadway seems to handle the Royals, but doesn't do too well with anyone else.
Look for these three to battle it out for the first half of the year, and when Jose returns, look for him to be back in decent shape, to at least notch up a few wins for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Overall Rotation Record: 60-41.
It's not too crazy to expect 101 decisions out of the White Sox starting rotation this year. It might be kind of crazy to expect them to win 80 or more of those decisions, though.
The bullpen looks like it's going to bring back some proven veterans, as well as work in a few new cogs to keep the relief in Chicago a well-oiled machine, and hopefully, it can pick up as many wins as possible with the remaining 61 decisions.
But that's another story, for a whole other article.
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