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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago White Sox’

2011 American League Central Preview

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Royals Joakim SoriaKansas City Royals
Strengths: Having an all-star closer like Joakim Soria is a great luxury, but getting the ball to him with a lead will be tough for the Royals. OF Jeff Francoeur is a nice addition in the outfield, and 2B Mike Aviles is a solid all-around player.

Weaknesses: The loss of SP Zack Greinke just adds to the woes of a very depleted pitching staff, and the outfield lacks a slugger after losing Jose Guillen last season. Pick a position, and the Royals have many questions to answer about it.

Analysis: It’s been 26 years since the Royals have made the postseason, and 2011 does not look to be the year that the streak ends. Second-year manager Ned Yost is going to have his hands full with this bunch.

Prediction: 5th in AL Central

Cleveland Indians
Strengths: OF Shin-Soo Choo showed that he can put together back-to-back successful seasons and lead the team far and away in all-around offense with 22 HR, 90 RBIs, and 22 SB. Closer Chris Perez returns after posting a sub 2.00 ERA and 23 saves in 2010.

Weaknesses: OF Grady Sizemore needs to stay healthy if the Tribe wants to have any chance of contending in the AL Central. The pitching staff, which wasn’t very good in 2010, returns many familiar faces, but they have another year of experience. They aren’t going to look much better in 2011 unless the young guys in the field like 1B Matt LaPorta can hit better than the .221 AVG he put up last season.

Analysis: The Indians are in a rebuilding phase and will need to add some veterans. They did not do much in the off-season, so the pickings could be slim when they realize what they have isn’t worth very much.

Prediction: 4th in AL Central

More 2011 AL Central Predictions after the jump >>

Zack Greinke Laughs At Your SI Jinx

Zack Greinke

Last week, I did a post discussing Zack Greinke’s appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and how that designation could jinx what is looking like a promising season for the Kansas City Royals. The thought was either Greinke or the Royals as a team would experience some kind of fall off now that the sporting world knows about them. Fortunately for the Royals, Zack Greinke — who is living up to that “best pitcher in baseball” hype — is laughing at such a suggestion.

More on Greinke’s torrid start after the jump >>

When 162 Games Aren’t Enough

Twins and White Sox

What do you do if 162 games aren’t enough to decide which team from the AL Central gets to go to the playoffs? Why, you have yourself a one-game playoff, and that’s just what we have tonight when the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox meet in the Windy City to see who gets the golden ticket. After playing the allotted amount of regular season games, the Twins and White Sox have the same record at 88-74.

Hence the need for the extra game, which takes place in Chicago with the first pitch scheduled for 7:30/6:30 Central. For the White Sox, Ozzie Guillen is sending John Danks and his 11-9/3.47 ERA to mound. Ron Gardenhire counters with Nick Blackburn, he of the 11-10/4.14 ERA record.

Based on that and the fact the White Sox have the home-field advantage, it’s hard not to like Chicago’s chances. They are also 7-2 versus the Twins at home. However, the last time these two teams met — admittedly in Minnesota — the Sox were swept. This should give the Twins a boost of confidence; although, their record at U.S. Cellular Field looms large.

The winner, as indicated, gets a trip the playoffs and will be facing the Tampa Bay Rays, a devil of a team.

Meaningful Baseball – Are The Yankees Done?

Yankees

After last night’s 11-3 beatdown courtesy of all-time Yankee fan favorites, the Boston Red Sox. Because of the loss, the Yankees are now seven games behind the Red Sox for the AL Wild Card berth, and it looks like the Bronx Bombers will miss the postseason for the first time since 1993.

Is this why Joe Torre was removed parted with on mutually agreeable terms?

For the Red Sox, last night’s win gave them a 2.5 game lead over the Minnesota Twins, who are hot on the heels of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Since the Yankees started their last Yankee Stadium series with the beloved Red Sox, they’ve been outscored 18-6. I doubt this is the way Hank Steinbrenner wanted Boston’s last visit to the historic stadium to go. His team is in danger of being swept today, which would add insult to the injury that is realizing the Yanks — barring a Major League-like miracle — are done when it comes to postseason play this year.

The majority of the Red Sox damage was provided by second baseman, Dustin Pedoria, who hit a game-sealing grand slam in the eighth. According to ESPN, Pedoria is the first Red Sox second baseman to hit a grand slam against the Yankees in 50 years.

The third game of this particular Sox/Yankees series is already in progress.

Ken Griffey, Jr To The White Sox?

Ken Griffey JrGood thing Junior looks good in black because his current team, the Cincinnati Reds, agreed to trade their outfielder to the Chicago White Sox. The only thing holding it up is Griffey’s approval, something he considered doing when Tampa Bay was being discussed.

According to reports, Griffey has some questions for the White Sox organization — apparently not contract-related — before he gives the green light. Provided he does so, what does this do for the White Sox who find themselves in a neck-and-neck race for the AL Central with Minnesota?

Is Griffey’s sometimes explosive bat enough to put Ozzie Guillen’s team over the hump?

Because Griffey hasn’t been in the postseason as often as his talent would suggest, if you are White Sox fan, you have to like your chances of Griffey approving the trade. However, looking at the White Sox depth chart, one wonders where he’d fit in with the team. The outfield has two players putting up MVP-like numbers in Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye.

Would Guillen consider replacing center fielder Nick Swisher with Griffey?

They both have similar numbers (Griffey – .245/15/53 — Swisher – .230/15/50) but Swisher’s eight years younger and durable enough to handle the potential pounding a center fielder takes. Is Griffey? Currently, no other players besides Griffey have been mentioned so it’s hard to speculate further about where he’d fit in the White Sox roster.

More on this as it breaks.

Update – 11:51: Griffey approved the trade which will see the Reds and White Sox swap the outfielder for pitcher Nick Masset and infielder Danny Richar. As you can see, these players do not answer the question about where Griffey will fit in the White Sox line-up. Provided the MLB approves the trade, is he going to replace Paul Konerko at first base or will he replace Nick Swisher in center field?

Update 2: Trade’s been approved. Expect to see Griffey in his White Sox debut this weekend against the Kansas City Royals.