Boston Red Sox

While most of Chicago is focused on Melo and the ridiculous (and downright disrespectful) stories coming out about Derrick Rose, health there’s still baseball being played in this city.  Now granted, doctor it’s not very good baseball but it is baseball.  The White Sox are under .500, sovaldi they are struggling to score, struggling to close out games and struggling to get fans in the park; even though it has been a struggle there are still plenty of good things to see.  Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez were voted to the All-Star Game by the players and #TargetSale to get Ace Chris Sale to the game.

White Sox All-Stars Ramirez and Abreu

White Sox All-Stars
Ramirez and Abreu

Chris Sale and Jose Abreu are must see TV and even better in person.  Adam Eaton is a steadying force in the outfield and a catalyst at leadoff.  Paul Konerko is “sparingly” playing his final season and pitchers Hector Noesi and John Danks are bringing it each time they pitch.  You have all that and a chance for a great experience in the sun with friends and family, good food, good drinks and plenty to do for the kids.  So, why do I still have to talk about this each week, each season?  Don’t give me that it’s because they’re not winning, because this problem existed with a winning record.  Don’t give me it’s the neighborhood, are you watching it on someone’s front porch?  You’re not there for the neighborhood, you’re there for a game.  Watch the game and then go home, you’ll be safe.  Another excuse is the cost but there are so many discounted tickets and plans that you can find a game you can afford.  So, you’re out of excuses it’s time to get a group together get out to the Cell and support the men in black.

35th on the all-time home run list, Adam Dunn

35th on the all-time home run list, Adam Dunn

Notes:  Adam Dunn passed Carl Yastrzemski to move into 35th place on the all-time home run list with 453.  Paul Konerko has entered the closure phase of his retirement tour as he hit Fenway Park for a final series.  He says it is hitting him now as his family is in town and will take some games.  Will the Sox be sellers at the trade deadline?  It is pretty known some of the players who could be moved like:  Dayan Viciedo, Gordon Beckham, Alejandro DeAza, Adam Dunn, Tyler Flowers and others.  What the Sox are looking for in return is more bullpen and rotation help.  How much can any of these players return in a trade?  I don’t think much, you would probably need to offer a team Alexei Ramirez to get a positive return, but we’ll see.

The White Sox are 44-47; seven and a half games behind the Detroit Tigers.

Red Tank Top with Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $24.99

Red Tank Top with Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $24.99

Games Review:  The White Sox beat the Red Sox in the first two games of the series.  The 2013 World Series Champs are in last place in the American League East and look awful.  Sox took the holiday weekend series against the Mariners including a complete game by Chris Sale and the 27th home run by Jose Abreu.  The bullpen couldn’t close out a game leading to an extra inning defeat in the series.

What’s Next:  There are three more games in Boston and they will close out the first half of the season with three games in Cleveland.  They return from the All-Star break with a home stand against the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals.

Don’t forget:  #TargetSale…let’s get him to the All-Star game like he deserves!

All-Star? Chris Sale

All-Star?
Chris Sale

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Ladies, find it’s been a while – but I’m back.  Let me start by thanking The White Sox organization for case May 23rd vs. New York Yankees” href=”http://sportsdivasinc.com/2014/05/white-sox-host-annual-ladies-night-friday-may-23rd-vs-new-york-yankees/” target=”_blank”>a wonderful Ladies Night!  It was a night that included a walk-off home run, fireworks, massages and the beautiful Derek Jeter.  I talked to fathers/mothers and daughters, couples and just girls hanging out.  I met ladies from out of town who wanted to enjoy the city so they chose US Cellular and they definitely chose the right night.  Well done White Sox, you sure know how to treat a lady!  Now back to baseball…

From Ladies Night on May 23rd

From Ladies Night on May 23rd

Now that we have recovered from the devastating Blackhawks loss and there are over 90 days before football, baseball is in the spotlight and what a time to be there with the return of Chris Sale and Jose Abreu; both of them made an impact in their return.  The Sox continue to hover at or around .500 and are fighting for playoff position in their division (four games back) as well as in the wild card race (one game back).

Quick Review:  The Sox have split the first two games of the series against the L.A. Dodgers.  Losing the first game thanks to errors by Gordan Beckham and Conor Gillaspie.  The south side superstar Jose Abreu has homered in consecutive games, this man is on a mission and knows that there is more he can do when he improves at the plate. The Sox finished the home stand 6-4 with a masterful complete game victory by the ace Chris Sale.  The south siders also swept the Indians and split the 4-game series with the Yankees.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale

News:  To make room for the return of Jose Abreu the Sox optioned Marcus Semien to triple A Charlotte where he may begin working in the outfield to become an even more flexible player.  Alexei Ramirez is second in American League All-Star voting, trailing the great Derek Jeter.  The White Sox could be looking at sending three players to the mid-season classic, way to go fellas!

Alexei Ramirez All-Star?

Alexei Ramirez All-Star?

What’s Next:  The Sox will continue their west coast trip with two more games against the Dodgers and new left fielder and might I add beautiful Matt Kemp and three against the L.A. Angels

New left fielder and a little disgruntled Dodger, Matt Kemp

New left fielder and a little disgruntled Dodger, Matt Kemp

My Thoughts: I don’t’ know about you, but hovering around .500 and fighting for playoff position is a pleasant surprise.  As Rick Hahn and the Sox were putting together this team I didn’t think they would be competitive and who knows where they’ll end up because there’s still time for a swoon.

White Sox Black Triblend Women's T Shirt with Distressed White Vertical "Sox" Logo by Fifth and Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

White Sox Black Triblend Women’s T Shirt with Distressed White Vertical “Sox” Logo by Fifth and Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

 

Their bullpen is still suspect due to injuries and their defense can still cost them a game, but it just doesn’t feel like they’ll go through a terribly long losing streak like the Boston Red Sox.  The Sox are exciting to watch because you never know what can happen or who will be the star.  What makes this resurgence even better?  It was done the right way; with a mix of youth and veterans who can teach the young players how to win and persevere through hard times.  I’m not going to guarantee an above .500 record or a playoff berth, but I will guarantee this team will keep you on your toes, delight and anger you.  It’s baseball baby and it’s one of the greatest reality TV shows, so sit back and enjoy every twist and turn.

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It’s a very busy time in the Chicago sports scene.  The Chicago Blackhawks and Bulls are battling in the first round of the playoffs, medical Bulls MVP Joakim Noah won the Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Chicago Bears returned to Halas Hall for voluntary workouts. With the Bulls and the Blackhawks both beginning their playoff runs, physician many fans aren’t particularly focused on baseball. However, cialis the Sox continue playing decent ball during a time of the season that they have historically fallen behind early.

Current standings: 10-11 (.476) two games behind Detroit in AL Central.

Injuries: There were more injuries to hit the team in the last week.  The injury that is causing most fans to worry is the flexor muscle strain the will keep Pitcher Chris Sale on the disabled list for 15 days.  Pitcher Charlie Leesman was called up from Triple A to replace him.  The team was relieved to find out that there was no structural damage to his UCL and he should be able to return when his DL stint ends the first week of May.

Sale was placed on the disabled list after his 127 pitch performance against the Boston Red Sox, which of course left Manager Robin Ventura open for criticism.  Some believe a game in April is too early in the season to allow a pitcher as valuable as Sale to go that long.  Others wonder will his delivery be a reason he has chronic issues.  Chris Sale and the White Sox are very confident that this is a non-issue and he will return when ready and there is no concern that this will be a lingering problem.  So, until proven otherwise all we can do is trust they all know what they’re doing and they will not jeopardize the career of their franchise.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale

Adam Eaton has to take a few days off to rest a strained hamstring.  Conor Gillaspie will sit to rest his injured hand.  Pitcher Felipe Paulino landed on the disabled list after a terrible outing; he is being replaced by Pitcher Andre Rienzo who was called up from Triple A.

News: Last week the White Sox went 2-4 against the Red Sox and Texas Rangers and won the first game of the series against the Detroit Tigers.  Chris Sale struck out 10 and allowed 1 hit to the Boston Red Sox in the only win of the series.  The south siders had an offensive explosion scoring 16 times to salvage the final game of the series against the Texas Rangers.  In the blowout game First Baseman Jose Abreu and Centerfielder Jordan Danks each hit 2-run home runs.  It seems like Abreu is coming out of his mini slump learning to readjust to the adjustments the pitchers made against him.  Pitcher John Danks continues to pitch well holding the Detroit Tigers to 1 run in the win.

Fireworks Night on April 25th

Fireworks Night on April 25th

Looking for something to do this weekend?  The men in black return to The Cell this Friday to begin a 4-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.  The weather is supposed to be a little cool, but nice on Friday for the fireworks and some will receive a reusable tote.  This early in the season  great tickets are always available for some of the lowest prices you’ll see all season.  Find the best deals on seats HERE

My thoughts: By all accounts Paul Konerko is fine with his part-time role as he is the ultimate professional and team player, so you’ll never hear anything different.  I don’t know about you but I envisioned this farewell tour going a little differently.  He only has 19 at bats, 0 home runs and is hitting 105. Shouldn’t he get in the games more?  I know for Adam Dunn hitting 250 is like another player hitting 300 and he has 4 home runs, but I still can’t help thinking why can’t Paulie DH more.  Even with his terrible average it is early enough in the season to turn it around and make an impact offensively.  Sure he’s great on the bench and helps guide these young players, but this is the captain not some rookie who needs to earn his place.  Maybe Dunn is in there more to showcase him for a possible trade this summer, maybe Konerko really is fine with his extremely limited role.  I don’t know what it is, but I know I don’t like it.

 

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Alexei Ramirez wins the game

Alexei Ramirez wins the game

It’s still too early to have a definitive answer to the burning question:  how good will the White Sox be in 2014?  It being too early isn’t stopping this team and management from being downright giddy about the possibilities of this team and the difference in attitude and play from last year.

There have been a few games this season that players and manager, generic Robin Ventura believe that last year’s team would have lost, medicine but not this team…so far.  Even Paul Konerko has high praise for this team.  He believes that this team’s offense is better than the ’05 offense.

Okay, let’s slow down a minute the season is only a couple of weeks old and there are reasons to be concerned.  The offense has bailed out the poor bullpen but they won’t be able to out slug every team every night.  If pitching coach Don Cooper isn’t able to work his magic with his struggling pitchers and the offense isn’t able to make up for their mistakes will this team be as happy?  Only time will tell.

White Sox Celebrate The Win

White Sox Celebrate The Win

The Soxs’ 7-game home stand got off to a great start with the southsiders winning 3 out of 4 games against the Cleveland Indians; the same team that last year had a record of 17 wins and 2 losses against the Sox.  Shortstop Alexei Ramirez was the hero in Sunday’s game with a game winning homerun.  He definitely is off to a hot start and seems more at ease this season as he is hitting 420 and has a hit in each game so far this season.  The bad news is that Right fielder Avisail Garcia is out for the year after undergoing surgery for his torn left labrum.  He sustained the injury while diving to attempt a catch during Wednesday’s game.  Due to this injury Outfielder Dayan Viciedo will get an opportunity, will he take advantage of it like 2nd Baseman Marcus Semien who hit the go ahead home run on Sunday and has been patient at the plate and played good defense.  The heroics of the offense have been made necessary due to the struggling bullpen, which is last in the AL with a 6.93 ERA, 26 walks and teams batting 295 against them.

The Sox finish up the home stand against some old friends on the 2013 World Champions Boston Red Sox, Jake Peavy and  A.J. Pierzynski.  After snowing on Monday the weather will slowly improve this week, so get out to the games either for a date night or hanging with your girlfriends.  Eat good food, have a few drinks and watch a much improved baseball team.

Sox Notes

Streaks:  “Sexy Lexi” Alexei Ramirez has had a hit in every game, Conor Gillaspie in on a 10-game hitting streak, and Adam Eaton has gone the last five games with multi-hits

The Sox signed RHP Frank Francisco, 34 years old, with 73 career saves and 3.93 ERA who was immediately sent to Triple-A in Charlotte

All of MLB honored the legacy of Jackie Robinson on Tuesday, April 15th                  

K-Zone Section

K-Zone Section

Promotions:  April 16th-White Sox Calendar, April 17th-K-Zone Cards for the Chris Sale K-Zone in the stands

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The first week of White Sox baseball offered a glimmer of hope for fans.There’s excitement surrounding the fast start by the offense, online  Chris Sale continuing his dominance, health Jose Abreu living up to expectations, look Adam Eaton setting the table and playing highlight reel defense and the unexpected power of Alejandro De Aza. Now hold on because even though there are signs of improvement there are also some concerns with the defense and a shaky bullpen.

Chris Sale after another great outing

Chris Sale after another great outing

The South Siders sit at 4-4 eight games into the 2014 season. After their Opening Day 7-6 win against the Twins last Monday, they dropped the follow-up game on Tuesday, and then lost two of three against the Royals and are 1-1 so far in the series against the Rockies. Considering that most experts predicted between 75-80 wins, technically this is not too bad of a start, but things definitely need to improve.

The Sox don’t have an easy road in the beginning with the following series on deck:  April 9: @ Rockies, April 10-13: vs Indians, April 15-17: vs Red Sox, April 18-20: @ Rangers, April 21-24:@ Tigers

White Sox White Women's Triblend Batterman Tee, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

White Sox White Women’s Triblend Batterman Tee, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

A quick look back at last week’s action: Along with the Sox win over the Twins and the great opening day weather in Chicago, the new food, beverages and attractions were also a hit on Opening Day.  The bacon on the stick was crisp, the new beers were refreshing, the hot chocolate kept you warm and the team won. So it was an all-around great day for the White Sox faithful.  On Thursday it was so cold that team officials decided to reward fans in attendance by giving them a ticket to a game in April.  Fans were able to redeem their ticket stubs and will receive another ticket. This incredible act of kindness just demonstrates how wiling the White Sox are to make fans happy and just how well they treat their fans, so get out there and support them.

Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu

Fans are cautiously optimistic and with good reason. Luckily there is plenty of time to shore up the defense and get solid outings from the bullpen. I know I’m just happy that baseball is back and the weather is improving. Now that the pageantry of opening week is over we can all begin to really evaluate what is right and what is wrong with the White Sox. Sit back, relax and enjoy the long season.

 

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Sox fans can breathe a sigh of relief as things are slowly starting to improve for the South Siders. After a miserable April when the Sox went 10-15, sovaldi the South Siders have seen improvement over the first few weeks of May going 9-8 and digging themselves out of last place of the AL Central.  On their road trip that ended this weekend in LA, the Sox saw their longest win streak of the season winning 4 in a row and finishing their road trip 4-3.

Highlights from the Angels series included a rare feat from White Sox 3rd baseman Jeff Keppinger, who after 140 plate appearances without a walk finally coaxed one forcing in the go ahead run and the Sox won 5-4 on Thursday.  In game 2 the south siders’ pitcher Chris Sale struck out a season high 12 batters on his way to a 3-0 win over the Angels.

Game 3 of the series the White Sox scored 9 runs, which normally is enough, but the bullpen struggled giving up 12 runs and the Sox lost 12-9.  The finale of the series featured several walks by the Sox pitchers and timely hitting by the Angels’ hitters.  Our boys in black lost 6-2 and finished to road trip 4-3 and are 6 games behind the Indians in the AL Central.

The Sox now begin an 8-game home stand starting with the Boston Red Sox (BoSox) tonight at the Cell.

The BoSox come to Chicago winners of 4 of their last 5 games and coming off a weekend sweep of the Minnesota Twins.  They have a record of 26-17 and are a game back of their fierce rivals the New York Yankees.

Can the ChiSox keep up their recently gained momentum against a very good BoSox team that are on their own hot streak? This is a big series here in Chicago that will certainly revitalize conversations about what exactly is ailing the Sox this season. Here’s what you need to know heading into this 3-game highly anticipated series.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • During their 8-game home stand that begins tonight, the White Sox will face the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs who are a combined 27 games under .500.  This is the time for the boys from the South Side to make their move and get right versus the lesser teams.  The Sox are behind in the standings and while they face lesser teams the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians will face teams that are a combined 22 games over .500.  The time is now to make a move in the division.

    Adam Dunn

  • Adam Dunn left Saturday’s loss to the Angels with back spasms.  Although Dunn is downplaying the injury back problems are always a concern.  This is tough because in his last 5 games Dunn has 8 hits, 4 homeruns and 10 RBIs after a horrible start to the season.  This back issue is definitely something to keep an eye on because a healthy and productive Dunn is needed if the Sox will come back in the division.
  • The BoSox are dealing with some nagging injuries themselves.  Both Shortstop Stephen Drew and Right Fielder Shane Victorino are day to day with back issues.
  • The BoSox hope to continue their torrid offensive pace when they arrive at the Cell this week.  During their 4 game win streak they have scored 28 runs.

PLAYERS TO WATCH FROM THE BOSOX

  • John Lester – Starting Pitcher (LHP):

    Jon Lester

The starting lefty will take the mound on Monday night and will be looking to extend his win streak to 7-0 and the BoSox’ win streak on the road to 7 games. Lester is having an incredible start to the season posting a 2.72 ERA. If he wins tonight, he’ll be the first BoSox pitcher to go 7-0 on the season in over 40 years.

  • David Ortiz-Designated Hitter (DH): 

David Ortiz

Big Papi is rounding into shape hitting .474 (batting average) over his last 7 games.  The White Sox pitching staff will have to try to contain him by making quality pitches and keeping men off base in front of him this series.

  • Dustin Pedroia-2nd Base (2B): 

    Dustin Pedroia

A career 304 hitter, Dustin remains steady in the sometimes inconsistent Red Sox lineup.  Over his last 7 games he is hitting .375 with 4 doubles.  He is heating up and hitting for more power but will also take a walk.

  • Clay Buchholz-Starting Pitcher (SP):  With a 6-0 record and a 1.78 ERA he is the ace of the staff and the schedule is set up for a series finale clash of the aces.  He started strong and is continuing his winning ways holding his opponents to a .192 batting average.

THE GAME TO WATCH

The Clash of the Aces…The White Sox’s Chris Sale will face The Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz on Wednesday night.  If you are into offense you may be disappointed as hitters are only batting .192 against both men.  Tickets to the Wednesday night game are as low as $7.00.  Get the best deals HERE and get to the Cell on Wednesday night for this pitching show-down.

As Hawk Harrelson would say:  sit back, relax and strap it down; because it’s going to be a fun series.

SERIES SCHEDULE:

Monday, May 20th: 7:10PM on Comcast SportsNet

Tuesday, May 21st: 7:10PM on WCIU

Wednesday, May 22nd: 7:10PM on Comcast SportsNet

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