Chicago White Sox: 5 Matchups to Watch in 2012
The Chicago White Sox matchups to watch for during the 2012 season will be interesting to say the least. There are many aspects of this team Sox fans will keep a close eye on.
After a disappointing third-place finish in the American League Central, the Sox look to rebound and make a potential playoff run. The division will be for the taking among the Sox, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, and the Cleveland Indians.
But what battles will the White Sox have to win in order to capture a division crown?
Dunn, Rios, & Beckham vs. Themselves
Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Gordon Beckham had trouble at the dish in 2011 to say the least. They will look to rebound in 2012 but to do so, the trio will have to get the disastrous 2011 out of their head.
They have to realize it is a new season and not bring their '11 struggles with them to bat. If they want to be an integral part of the offense, they will have to make the adjustments that were lacking in last year's campaign.
If this trio can get their hitting to where it was expected to be when general manager Kenny Williams built the White Sox roster, there is no doubt Chicago will be in the running for a division title.
White Sox Beat Writer Joe Cowley vs. the White Sox
Chicago Sun-Times columnist and White Sox beat writer Joe Cowley made the White Sox managerial situation extremely interesting when the Sox season ended.
Cowley made White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper out to be the one who ran former skipper Ozzie Guillen out of town to become manager of the Miami Marlins. He also accused Cooper of going behind Guillen's back searching for a contract extension.
Cooper called Cowley a liar and a hack writer and said he got his information from Guillen's son, Oney, who is known to leak clubhouse information via Twitter. Oney bashed former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks about Jenks' personal issues, which were told in confidence to Ozzie.
Regardless, the White Sox will have to overcome distractions in the press and more so Cowley's future columns to have a great season.
Floyd, Danks, & Peavy vs. Potential Big Paydays
Three-fifths of the starting rotation are eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Jake Peavy enter the final year of contracts and if history tells the story, athletes perform at their highest level in contract years.
If Floyd can hide the one inning a game when he seems to implode, if Danks can rebound after a horrible 2011, and if Peavy can shake the injury bug, they can earn big paydays.
Whether those potential big salaries will come from the White Sox or elsewhere remains to be seen, but the Sox will reap the benefits of those three if they have big years.
White Sox Hitting Coach vs. Greg Walker's Inabilities
Whether it is Frank Thomas who replaces Greg Walker again (he did in 1990 as White Sox first baseman) or anyone else, they will have their work cut out for them.
The White Sox batted a disgusting .252 during 2011. The numbers have to get better for them to have any playoff aspirations.
They also hit .239 with runners in scoring position and .211 with runners in scoring position with two outs. The bats have to wake up, especially when they're needed most.
What better choice than the greatest hitter in White Sox history to turn that thing around?
Kenny Williams vs. His Job
No one wants a successful 2012 more than Kenny Williams, and his job depends on it.
He let Ozzie Guillen go to Miami, he paid over $130,000 per hit for Adam Dunn and Alex Rios in 2011, and over $1.6 million per win. That is a huge chunk of change for a team he made the decisions to build.
This year he hired a volunteer high school hitting instructor in Robin Ventura to lead this team. Gone by the wayside are Guillen and hitting coach Greg Walker.
This now solely falls on Williams' shoulders. Things have to turn around for Kenny's sake or owner Jerry Reinsdorf will have a South Park moment with an "Oh My God, They Killed Kenny!!!"