Detroit Tigers

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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With the NBA Finals now finished, medicine all eyes are now on baseball. This is the time of year when many people simply tune-out and wait for the Bears preseason to begin (only 80 days remain until the start of the 2014 NFL season).

The Chicago White Sox can’t make up their mind whether to contend or not.  At times they look like a playoff contending team, sovaldi but two games later they look like the same old losers from last season. As I say every week, there’s plenty of time in the season to make a push if they play like they did in the lastTigers series, but if the bad defensive and offensive team that played the Royals shows up time will run out steam and quickly.

The Sox are a three games under .500 at 34-37 and 4.5 games out of first place behind the surprising Kansas City Royals.

Adam Eaton Triple

Adam Eaton Triple

Quick Review:  John Danks continues to put together a nice bounce back season beating the team with the best winning percentage in the league, the San Francisco Giants 8-2. The south siders were swept by the Kansas City Royals and outscored 22-6 in the three games.  The Royals used big innings to win the games and were helped by poor defense and the pitcher’s inability to get out of the inning.  The Sox took two out of three games from the first place Detroit Tigers.  The offense was able to get to the very beatable Justin Verlander, but they weren’t able to solve the Tigers’ Ace Max Scherzer.

News:  The White Sox have been swept twice in their last three series.  While Adam Eaton has been hot others like Tyler Flowers and Dayan Viciedo have been struggling at the plate.  There were 32 White Sox runners left on base during the Royals series.

Old  friend Buehrle's perfect game

Old friend Buehrle’s perfect game

What’s Next:  The Sox finish up the brief Giants series this afternoon.  Next, the south siders hit the road for 11 games featuring the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and they’ll see their old friend Mark Buehrle and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Special Events:  While the Sox are out of town they will host two great events for you and your family on June 21st.  Family Field Day provides families a chance to play catch in the outfield, warm-up in the bullpen, visit the dugouts and take photos around the field.  Tickets are $30 for adults and $12 for kids.  Visit Whitesox.com to purchase tickets.  You can also get in some shopping if you prefer that over the field day.  The White Sox Garage Sale is free and doesn’t require a Field Day ticket to enter.  From 9am-2pm you can purchase game-used equipment, game-worn jerseys, autographed memorabilia and collectibles.  For more information go to Whitesox.com.  Proceeds from both events will benefit White Sox Charities, so go out and have a good time while supporting a great cause.

Family Field Day

Family Field Day

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There are less than 90 days until the Bears kickoff the 2014 season and the Bulls still haven’t picked up that elusive star, viagra so baseball is still center stage in Chicago.  While the north siders’ struggle to build a new Wrigley and the rumors of a possible Jeff Samardzija trade steal the headlines, the south siders are quietly remaining in the playoff picture.  I think it’s time to shift the focus to the south side boys of summer.

The White Sox sit in 4th place at 32-33 only 3.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

Sale against Trout

Sale against Trout

Quick Review:  Here’s all you need to know about what happened last week…it was bad.  The Sox finished off their west coast trip by being swept by the LA Angels.  The series included Chris Sale blowing a 5-0 lead (with the help of an error) and Mike Trout hitting a grand slam off Sale.  Jose Abreu struggled on the trip but hopefully all he needed was to return to the Cell as he hit a two run home run to help the Sox win the first game of the series against the Tigers and move to within 3.5 games of first place.

News:  With the third pick in the draft the Sox picked LHP Carlos Rondon from North Carolina State.  Rondon was considered by some to be the best pitcher in the draft and there are thoughts that we may see him sooner rather than later in the big leagues.

LHP Carlos Rondon

LHP Carlos Rondon

What’s Next:  The Sox will finish their four game series versus the Tigers and then welcome in the Royals for three games starting June 13th.  They will finish the home stand with 2 games versus the Major League Leading San Francisco Giants starting June 17th.  The upcoming promotions are going to be fun so get out there, especially this weekend with nice weather on the way.  June 12-K-Zone cards, June 13-Mullet Night and fireworks, June 14-White Sox Cap and Father Daughter Day and June 14-Father’s Day

My Thoughts:  Every week I write about the surprising White Sox who have overcome injuries, a bad start by the bullpen and spotty defense to be right in the thick of things.  I guess at this point the surprise will be if they don’t remain in the playoff race for the remainder of the season.  The only thing that can stop them is a catastrophic injury to a major player.  With the American League being so unpredictable; there’s plenty of opportunity for the Sox to make a move and sneak into the playoffs.  So with many games remaining in the season all I can suggest is that we enjoy the ride wherever it may take us.

Two Keys To The Surprising Sox, Eaton and Ramirez

Two Keys To The Surprising Sox, Eaton and Ramirez

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Most Chicagoans will agree that it is a little early in the season for the Crosstown Series, thumb but many of us will still attempt to watch two less than stellar teams battle it out for the sake of their fans.  It’s Sox vs Cubs, here South side vs North side, ’05 Champs vs Loveable Losers, etc. and our let’s be honest, the annual Chicago subway series isn’t what it used to be.

Gone are the days of punching A.J., Ozzie talking about rats and Carlos Zambrano threatening to hit anyone and everyone.  Now the teams are counting on their young stars to bring the excitement back to the series.  In a very classy move the Chicago Cubs honored Paul Konerko before playing his final game at Wrigley Field.  If there’s one thing Sox and Cubs fans can agree on is that Paulie has been great for Chicago baseball.

Konerko honored at Wrigley Field

Konerko honored at Wrigley Field

The Sox (17-17) are in 2nd place, five games behind the Detroit Tigers.  They can continue to chip away in the division this weekend against sub-500 teams..

Quick Week In Review:  The south siders swept the 2-game series at Wrigley.  Winning game one in 12 innings after great pitching performances by Jose Quintana and Jeff Samardzia along with Marcus Semien driving in the winning run with a double in the 12th.  The star of game two was Gordon Beckham who had 4 hits including a home run in the 8th.  The series will shift to US Cellular and the fellas will go for four straight against the Cubbies.

Earlier last week, the Sox avoided being swept and snapped a 4-game losing streak against the Cleveland Indians thanks to a 9th inning Dayan Viciedo 3-run home run.  The series also featured Jose Abreu’s 12th home run and a nice defensive play by him.  He couldn’t get the ball out of his glove, so he threw it to Scott Carroll to get the out.  They were swept in the quick two game series against the Detroit Tigers.  This series had great pitching from Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer as well as a 9th inning RBI bunt.  Over this stretch of games the bullpen has greatly improved, which is a good sign for the team.

News:  Jose Abreu won American League Rookie and Player of the Month honors and is leading the major league in home runs with 12.  Cubs pitchers are very impressed with Jose Abreu; in fact Edwin Jackson repeatedly mentioned that he is a big dude.  Adam Eaton was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring.  There is still no timetable set for Chris Sale to return, but he felt good after throwing recently.  Conor Gillaspie could return Wednesday after hitting a home run during his rehab stint.  Pitcher Nate Jones was moved to the 60 day DL and will have surgery to remove lower back herniated disc material.

AL Rookie and Player of the Month, Jose Abreu

AL Rookie and Player of the Month, Jose Abreu

What’s Next:  The Cubs head over to the Cell for a 2-game series on May 7 & 8th.  Arizona Diamondbacks will come to town May 9-11th.  Promotions:  May 9th-Miller de Mayo and Fireworks, May 10th-Pink Out Night, Pink White Sox Scarf, Mother-Son Night and Fireworks, May 11th-Mother’s Day, Family Sunday

My Thoughts:  This crosstown series has lost its fire.  There aren’t any characters on either side of town.  The closest to a character would have been Adam Eaton but he is on the DL.  The managers and players are nice and complimentary, so no one will be punched or have a ball thrown at him.  Yes, all of that is a reason for the lack of interest in the classic, but in my opinion the problem is that the teams just aren’t good enough to get the fans fired up.  Sure you want bragging rights but so what if at the end of the year both teams have lost 90+ games.  This series should never mean as much as a series against the Tigers or Twins, but it should provide entertainment and a chance for fans to watch good baseball.  So, until each side of town has a product worthy of the series in the past they will remain ho-hum and played in May!

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While the Blackhawks continue their playoff run, prostate the Bulls begin setting tee times and making vacation plans after an early elimination in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. All while Chicago baseball is in full swing with the teams going about their business in different ways and going in different directions in the standings.  The weather isn’t completely cooperating, but it won’t dampen our sports spirit in Chicago and it definitely isn’t bothering our Chicago White Sox.

At 14-14, the Sox aren’t lighting up the league but they are staying in the tight Central Division conversation only two games behind the Detroit Tigers. They are already better than they were last year at this point in the season.

Injuries and Returns:  There is no clear timetable for the return of Chris Sale from the DL.  If he is unable to return this weekend he will take another week and pitch a rehab assignment in the minors. Conor Gillaspie is on the 15 day DL with a right hand contusion, which is a tough break for the kid who had been off to a hot start.  Felipe Paulino will begin a rehab assignment in hopes of returning soon.  Making his season debut will be Gordon Beckham who returns from the DL to reclaim second base.

Scott Carroll's major league debut

Scott Carroll’s major league debut

In the News:  Jose Abreu was named American League co-player of the week, leading the AL with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs.  He set a rookie record for RBIs in April.  Paul Konerko broke the franchise total bases record with 3,950 bases.  Current HAM of the Week Scott Carroll won his major league debut only allowing 1 earned run over 7 1/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. He capped off his great outing by celebrating with 30 family and friends courtesy of Adam Dunn who picked up the tab at Timothy O’Tooles.

Quick Week In Review:  The Sox split the Tigers series winning two of four games and won the Rays series winning three out of four.  Sox fans were treated to a grand time this week thanks to a walk off slam by Jose Abreu and in another game a go ahead slam by Marcus Semien. Paul Konerko made appearances showing improvement at the plate as he gets more comfortable with his part time role. Fans also watched strong pitching performances by Andre Rienzo and Scott Carroll.  The Sox continue their strong offensive output with their new approach.  Adam Eaton says they compete every at bat and when you compete good things happen and winning 5 of their last 8 is a good thing.

Crosstown Series

Crosstown Series

What’s Next:  The south siders have some quick series the next two weeks including against the Detroit Tigers who they trail in the standings.  Also on deck is the crosstown series against the Chicago Cubs (May 3-6), which has lost some excitement but this is a chance to take a look at some future and hopefully long-term stars in Chicago.

My Thoughts:  OK Sox fans, I know the weather has been iffy but as the weather turns I expect to see the attendance to take a turn for the better.  There is no way in the world that the Astros and Rays should outdraw the south siders.  I know they were terrible last year and maybe you thought it would be the same this year, but guess what this is not the same team so don’t be the same fans that don’t support.

White Sox Women's White/Navy 3/4 Raglan Burnout Tee with Distressed Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

White Sox Women’s White/Navy 3/4 Raglan Burnout Tee with Distressed Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

This Sox team has an attitude about them that will keep them in games all year. There are some exciting players and raw energy and talent that has not been seen for quite some time.  With cheap seats, great food and the drink at the Cell, consider bundling up for a cool night and head out out to support the guys early in the season.

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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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