If the White Sox want to turn right their ship and become one of the elite teams, they are going to have to change their offense. I enjoy the fireworks with the homeruns as much as anybody, but I would like to see them bring back some of the strategies from the 2005 & 2006 seasons, the 2 best back-to-back seasons in recent White Sox history. As far as I am concerned, their pitching is enough to get them to the Promised Land. With Buehrle, Danks, Floyd, a healthy Contreras and a filler in Clayton Richard, they have the starters to carry them far. Don Cooper and Ozzie are not afraid to let their pitchers pitch deep into games, as we saw with their 2005 post-season run and 4 straight complete games in the ALCS. I understand this staff is a not the same, but they had a successful 2008 and are beginning to turn things around in 2009. During 2008, these were their numbers:
1457.2 IP (2nd highest in AL); 4.06 ERA (6th in AL); .546 WPCT (5th in AL)
All this with an offense that put up these numbers:
.263 Avg. (4th lowest in AL); .448 SLG (2nd highest in AL); .332 OBP (9th in AL); 235 HRs
Their pitchers ate up innings, most notably Mark Buehrle. Mark has pitched over 200 innings every year since 2001, when he became a full-time starter. The offense has completely dwindled since 2006, the season after the White Sox won the World Series. In 2007, these were the truly offensive stats:
In total, their offensive stats for 2006-2008 are:
.263 Avg. (19th in ML); 2372 R (10thin ML); 661 HRs;
.251 Avg. (2nd lowest in AL); .405 SLG (11th in AL); .324 OBP (10th in AL)
638.1 IP (9th in AL); 4.07 ERA (2nd lowest in AL); .486 WPCT (10th in AL)
Their slugging percentage and HR totals are higher because of the way U.S. Cellular Field is laid out, being a hitter’s park. It was during 2005 and 2006 that the White Sox went with Ozzie’s “small ball” strategy, winning a World Series, and coming darn close to going back to the postseason.
Having brought back Scott Podsednik (Scotty Pods; Pods) has reignited the offense. Having him get on base and providing some speed makes the pitcher have to focus on him as well. This means that the pitcher is more likely to leave one over the plate for the following hitters (Ramirez, Dye, and Thome). This was seen in the Sunday Cub/Sox game with cra-Z Carlos pitching. After hitting Scott, he left a 2-1 pitch out over the plate that Alexei deposited into the seats in left-center. Their offense is chugging along right now, but if the sluggers don’t get the job done, then the offense will get nothing done. I like Getz’s and Beckham’s production at the bottom of the order. Getz can easily leg out a double and even stretch it out into a triple. Beckham is beginning to find his stroke. Slowly but surely he is raising his average. The team is good enough to win the Central Division, as the Tigers have not been overly impressive. They have a solid team, but the White Sox have handled them very well. I know the White Sox won’t be able to compete with Boston, New York or the Angels, unless they were to really turn it on. For that to happen, Ramirez would have to really step it up and the bullpen would have to stop giving up so many runs.
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