Many positives and a few negatives from White Soxs first week
S.C. Zuba, Sports Columnis
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Opening week in Major League Baseball has come and gone for the Chicago White Sox, and there are many positives, as well as a few negatives, that can be taken from this first week.
The White Sox finished opening week with a record of 3-3, winning their series against the Minnesota Twins, but losing their series against the new-and-improved Kansas City Royals.
If you watched the White Sox in 2008, you might notice this years team looks almost nothing like it did last season. The Sox have new players at center field, third base, second base, shortstop and even a new fifth starter. Many of these newly-acquired players are somewhat of a question mark, and their success will ultimately determine the success of the entire team.
Second baseman Chris Getz, third baseman Josh Fields and centerfielder Dewayne Wise all started the first opening day of their careers last Monday, April 6, and that is why some critics have projected the White Sox to finish last in the A.L. Central Division.
The first week of baseball is usually a little rocky as players often take time to find their groove, but here are a few positives and some negatives fans may have noticed.
Starting pitching: In 35 1/3 innings pitched, the starting rotation threw 27 strikeouts, registered an ERA of 2.43 and only gave up three home runs. In four of the six games, the White Soxs starting rotation pitched what MLB calls quality starts (six or more innings pitched, fewer than six hits and fewer than three earned runs).
Bullpen: With the exception of two games, the bullpen was able to come in and either hold the lead, or get quick outs.
Chris Getz: Offensively, Getz struggled a little bit, but he proved he has speed on the bases and range in the infield. Getz made a number of great plays at second base this week, and will only get better as the season progresses.
Veteran hitting: Well, the White Sox can still hit the long ball. Thats no surprise to anyone. Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin all homered this week, and once the weather warms up and the ball starts carrying a little better at U.S. Cellular Field, many, many more will come.
Bartolo Colon: Bartolo Colon was a major issue in spring training. Many wondered whether he would even make the roster. However, Colon pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. Time will tell if he will continue to pitch that well, but it is a great start.
Hitting with runners in scoring position: The White Sox had many opportunities to knock in runs this week, but simply did not get the timely hitting. It seems as though they are still relying on the long ball to win games, and that is something that needs to change.
Bunting: Dewayne Wise failed three times in two games to bunt the runner at first over to second, and the never-ending quest for a leadoff man continues.
Mike MacDougal: I dont like to harp on guys too much, but MacDougal is just plain bad. Im not quite sure how he made the team, but he needs to improve or be shipped to AAA Charlotte. In 2 1/3 innings pitched, he registered an ERA of 7.71.
Center field: Center field is an interesting dilemma because Brian Anderson is by far the best centerfielder on the team, but he simply cannot hit. Wise seems like a temporary solution, but he also has his struggles at the plate. My suggestion is to move Alexei Ramirez to center field, which is a real natural position for him. Once Ramirez is ready at center, bring up Gordon Beckham from the minors to play shortstop and leadoff. Until Beckham is ready, put Brent Lillibridge at shortstop and leadoff.
Those are some positives and negatives that can be taken from this first week of baseball. The season is still very young, and so much can change in a week, but I would say that, all in all, it was a good week for the White Sox, who finished the week second in the A.L. Central behind the Detroit Tigers.
from the April 15-21, 2009, issue
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