Toronto Blue Jays

As the regular season for Major League Baseball comes to a close this weekend, stuff (thank god for the White Sox faithful), cure the race to the playoffs is still on.  In the American League (AL) picture, the Kansas City Royals have clinched the Central division title, the Toronto Blue Jays secured their playoff spot with the division title in the East and the New York Yankees have solidified the first wild card spot.  What’s still up for grabs is the Western division title and the second wild card spot.

Currently in the West you have the Texas Rangers, who guaranteed themselves a spot in the postseason last night with a win over the Los Angeles Angels.  The Angels, with that loss, were eliminated from the division race, but they, along with the Minnesota Twins, still have an outside shot at the second AL Wild Card spot.  The Rangers have all but locked down the division with a three game lead over the Houston Astros with three games to play, meaning Texas would have to lose all three of their games while the Astros would have to win out just to force a one-game playoff for the division crown.  Maybe this isn’t the most probable scenario, but as a fan, being able to watch that exciting tie-breaker is something I’m rooting for.

To this day, nothing beats the Chicago White Sox “Blackout” game of 2008 for the AL Central division title against the Minnesota Twins.  Prior to the game, the White Sox and the Twins ended their regular season with equal 88-74 records.  I was lucky enough to score a ticket to this game and it was the greatest baseball game I had ever seen.  There was an excitement in the air at the ball park that was electrifying! The game had excellent pitching by John Danks, who pitched into the 7th inning and a rock-solid closing performance by Bobby Jenks.  The White Sox fielding was amazing including an outstanding defensive play by Ken Griffey Jr. and A. J. Pierzynski teaming up to throw out Michael Cuddyer at home plate.  The White Sox went on to win the game 1-0 on the strength of a solo home run by Jim Thome in the 7th inning.

The reason it was call the “blackout” game was because the nearly 40,000 fans in attendance were encouraged to wear all black during the game to show their support for the team.  I was also told that it was called the blackout game because it was the only game being played in the MLB that night and the outfield MLB scoreboard was blacked out.

What made the blackout game more memorable than any other game in recent history was that White Sox fans were able to celebrate an amazing victory with the team they all loved at home.  As you may remember, the White Sox clinched both the Central Division and World Series Championships on the road three years prior, so for fans this was a time to celebrate with the team and boy did we celebrate with “high-fives” dance-offs in the stands and a big salute from the players.

With a few more regular season scenarios to be play out this weekend, we can rest soundly knowing that October baseball is upon us and baseball fans are in for an exciting post-season.

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Oh, tadalafil the Chicago White Sox, the team you just can’t figure out.  Every time you think they’re going to take a step forward in the division, they blow it and take six steps back. The Sox are currently in last place and it’s the same consistent issues killing this team:  shaky bullpen and a lackluster defense.

What did I really expect as far as improved defense?  Adam Eaton is an improvement, but other than that, it’s about the same team as last year.  This team hasn’t had a good third baseman since Joe Crede, and that’s sad.  Sox fans, I preach not to compare your team to the Cubs, but I will in this instance.  The Sox have lost one less game than the Cubs and what really makes that sad is that at least you knew the Cubs would be horrendous, but did you really expect this with the south siders?  I didn’t expect playoffs, but never did I think last place.  I know I sound all gloom and doom, so I must remind myself that there’s still a lot of baseball left and this team features the best pitcher in baseball and a potential rookie of the year.

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

As we enter July it is time to wonder will this team be a seller or a buyer and the answer is, if they have more series like the last two they’ll try to sell everyone but Chris Sale and Jose Abreu.

Chris Sale congratulates Jose Abreu

Chris Sale congratulates Jose Abreu

The Sox are 7.5 games out of first place and 6 games under .500, not a good position, but since no one is running away in their division there’s still time to turn it around (which I say every week).

Quick Review:  The Sox snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win in Baltimore a night after blowing a ninth inning lead.  The White Sox were swept in four games by the Minnesota Twins.  One of the losses was to a pitcher, Yohan Pino who spent 10 years in the minors.  Although the team hasn’t played well, their rookie of the year candidate, Jose Abreu continues to tee off on major league pitching. He became the third youngest player to reach 20 home runs this quickly.   His 20th home run came a day after meeting with the coaches to discuss him not running on a dropped third strike.

All-Star? Alexi Ramirez

All-Star? Alexi Ramirez

News:  Scott Carroll will replace Andre Rienzo in the starting lineup after Rienzo lost his last five starts.  Minor leaguers Micah Johnson and Francellis Montas will participate in the All-Star Futures game.  Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez are in second place at their positions in All-Star voting.  They need your help Sox fans, go to mlb.com and vote.  You can submit 25 online ballots so do the Chicago thing-vote and vote often.

What’s Next:  Mark Buehrle awaits his former team as the Sox head to Toronto for four games against the Blue Jays.  They will return to US Cellular on June 30th to face the Angels.

ballot

 

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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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Frank Thomas, clinic HOF

Congratulations to former White Sox Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas who was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Thomas earned the prestigious award after receiving 83.7% first ballot votes and joins the other baseball greats in Cooperstown, NY, making many Chicago White Sox fans – and baseball fans – very, very happy.

Thomas joins other greats, former Cub Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.  He is the first DH to be elected to the Hall.  Frank is considered one the guys who played the game clean during the so-called “steroid era”.  He was outspoken about is desire to clean up the game and was the only active player to participate in the Mitchell Report. He even suggested that his production might have led players to use PEDs.

Thomas was at a loss for words when he got the call that he had been elected.  He always felt he would get enough votes, but to actually hear the words was amazing and he says it’ll take a few days before he absorbs it all.

Thomas is one of the greatest hitters in White Sox history and one of the greatest right-handed hitters in the history of baseball.  There were ups and downs in his career that he has admitted he was the cause of some of those problems with teammates and the organization especially in his final year with the Sox.  He didn’t appreciate being replaced by Jim Thome, which caused then GM Kenny Williams to tell Frank to stay out of White Sox business.  All has been forgiven and Frank said he is so happy to be back with the organization as White Sox analyst for Comcast SportsNet Chicago and is proud to enter the Hall as a White Sox.

The Big Hurt

His career is full of achievements and highlights:

-played with Sox:  1990-2005; Oakland A’s:  2006 & 2008; Toronto Blue Jays:  2007-08

-first HR at Minnesota Twins versus Gary Wayne in August 1990

-stats:  301 AVG; 521 HR; 2,468 HITS; 1,704 RBIs, 1,667 BB, 419 OBP

-5 time All-Star:  1993-97

-4 time Silver Slugger:  1991, 1993-94, 2000

-2 time MVP:  1993-94

-MLB Comeback Player:  2000

-HR Derby Winner:  1995

-AL Batting Champ:  1997

-World Series Champion:  2005

-#35 Retired by White Sox

-Hall of Fame:  2014

So, please join SDI in congratulating #35, Frank Thomas.  You are a baseball legend.  Check him out on twitter:  @TheBigHurt_35

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hudson

Things weren’t looking good for the White Sox on Thursday night as they trailed the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 in the 6th inning and were coming off back-to-back losses from the Jays on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Alex Rios came through with a home run driving a run in and tied the game at 3-3 where the score remained until the bottom of the 9th inning. With 2 outs and a runner on third, drugstore newly acquired 3rd baseman Orlando Hudson sent a line drive to center field for a walk-off game-winning hit that drove in the runner on 3rd in for the win.  By winning this game, sick the White Sox were able to avoid a series sweep at the hands of Toronto and stay in 1st place!

What You Need To Know:

  • Orlando Hudson has only been with the White Sox for 15 games after being cut by the San Diego Padres. Hudson has been struggling mightily at the plate hitting just a shade over .200.

    Orlando Hudson

    Hopefully his two hits last night, click one being the game-winner, are a sign of things to come!  Hudson was signed to replace the injured Brent Morel.

  • Jake Peavy had another decent outing in his 6 innings of work. He gave up two runs on four hits.  Unfortunately, he was unable to earn the win (a pitcher must be in the game when his team takes the lead to gain a win). Last night’s win went to reliever, Addison Reed.
  • Paul Konerko returned to the line-up after missing a few games this week. He had a small procedure done to his sore wrist. How did his return go? Classic Paulie, 2 hits and a run!
  • Jordan Danks was called up from Triple-A to replace injured reserve player Koske Fukadome.  His big brother, pitcher John Danks, looks to rebound after coming off of the DL with elbow soreness soon.

Your Take Away Piece: “It’s good that the Sox kept their slight losing streak to a measly 2 games. The Sox usually save their best ball of the year for the month of June. Their dominance of NL teams is a major reason the Sox are hopeful they will be able to hold on to 1st place for an extended period. Also, with Cleveland’s loss to Detroit, the Sox 1st place lead grew to 1.5 games.

What’s Next: The White Sox will start more inter-league play when the Houston Astros come to town tonight. For a break-down of the Astros team, check back later today for the series preview.

 

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jays

A week that began with high expectations for the south-siders quickly turned sour as the Blue Jays took the first two games of the series at the Cell including a 4-0 shut out last night. Sox starting pitcher, viagra sale Jose Quintana had another solid outing only giving up 2 runs in his 6 innings of work. However, he was no match for Toronto’s Brandon Morrow who pitched his 3rd complete game shutout of the year (pitching 9 innings without allowing a run). The Sox could only muster 2 hits all night, both coming off the bat of AJ Pierzynski.

What You Need to Know:

  • The Sox are on the verge of being swept by the Jays! They will need a win tonight to avoid it. The Sox haven’t lost a series since May 13th when they were swept by the Kansas City Royals.
  • In recent years, the Sox have struggled against the Toronto Blue Jays going 11-28.  Although both lineups have changed, including Alex Rios being traded from the Jays to the Sox, Chicago just can’t seem to find an answer to this talented Canadian club.

  • This has been a good year for some Sox hitters. AJ Pierzynski is on pace to set career records in home runs and RBIs. He currentlys leads all catchers with 37 RBIs. Adam Dunn is also on pace for 53 homeruns, another possible career high!

You Take Away Piece: “Last night was an extremely dull game to watch. The Sox will need a win tonight to hold onto their first place standing in the division.  While the Sox have lost their last 2 games, the Cleveland Indians have won their last 2, leaving only a half a game separating them in the standings.”

What’s Next: Jake Peavy looks to right the ship for the White Sox as he goes up against Henderson Alvarez. Jake  only gave up 2 runs last week against Seattle and was able to earn a victory. Hopefully the Sox hitters will support his pitching efforts like they have for his last 4 games with an average of over 8.5 runs per game!

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