Having lost their last four, and six of their last ten, the second best thing possible happened to the Sox tonight, they were rained out.
There is no positive way to spin it, the Sox have been ugly on this trip. The pitching got shelled by the Rangers, and then they got swept by Greinke and the Royals.
Two positives came out of this trip, I think Ozzie and Coop have finally concluded that Contreras is not ready for the rotation. Not exactly a headline you want to print in the media guide, but at least now they can move on and give Richard or one of the kids in Charlotte a run. Marquez has been terrible to start the AAA season, but two kids Wes Whisler (5 GS, 1.95 ERA, 27 innings, 10 W, 17 K) and Carlos Torres (5 GS, 0.96 ERA, 28 innings, 10 W, 28 K) have put together reasonably strong starts (although neither has pitched a substantial number of innings in their starts), so we will see if Kenny Williams gives them a run.
The other troubling thing has been the errors. Guys are booting the ball all over the place, and even when he’s not commiting errors, Fields is making it clear that he cannot go to his left, and please, please don’t get me started on Wilson Betemit. WHAT A HACK!
In the midst of the injuries and the mayhem, Jayson Nix has made a nice showing for himself. Also, Scottie Pods has returned, and while he will remind no one of Rickey Henderson, he has done reasonably well in the place of the injured Anderson and Wise and the waived Jerry Owens. How bad must Jerry Owens feel, the two guys he competed with in the spring go down with injury, but rather than give him a shot to take the spot back, they waive him, and call in a fella sitting at home watching the games on TV with you and me.
As bad as the last ten have been, it is a long season, and we are only 3.5 back, but we need to start putting together wins, or we will be watching the pennant race from the cheap seats in August.
Yesterday’s injury to DeWayne Wise necessitated some fancy dancing by Kenny Williams in the past 24 hours.
Wise was placed on the 15 day DL with a grade three shoulder separation.
Jerry Owens contract was purchased from AAA Charlotte, and he is now with the big club in Detroit.
Scott Podsednik was signed to a minor league deal.
It’s not that we don’t think you can do the job BA, it’s just that we don’t think that you can do the job.
In other news, today’s game against the Tigers is rained out. No makeup has been rescheduled.
Apparently Dewayne Wise did the best job of impersonating John Fogarty, as Dewayne has been tapped as the starting centerfielder and lead off hitter heading into the regular season.
Brian Anderson will start the season as the fourth outfielder. Jerry Owens has been waived.
Coming into spring training there was no expectation that any one of these three guys was going to remind anyone of former southside hitman Oscar Gamble, and frankly none did. These guys didn’t make us remember Chet Lemon, or Rudy Law for that matter!
So with any one of these three, at best, you’ve got a mediocre stick in center, IMO, if you’re not going to get offense from the position, you have to put a strong glove in the field (especially centerfield, especially with Dye and TCQ in the corners). Anderson was and is that guy. IMO he should be the one starting.
WIth his waiver, the Jerry Owens experiment is for all intents and purposes over. Jerry was a nice kid with some decent tools, and very good speed. Unfortunately he could not translate that speed into strong defensive coverage of center, and since he was unable to steal first base, he could not translate taht speed into offensive production.
Thanks for the memories, Jerry. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.
Strong performance by Buehrle, in three innings of work, no runs, two hits, four strikeouts, and one walk.
On the other hand, neither Owens or Betemit are able to bat their weight!
On-field preparations for the 2009 season begin in earnest tomorrow for the Sox.
Three major position battles are tee’d up to take place this spring in center, at second, and at the end of the pitching rotation.
At second the battle will between Sox farmhand Chris Getz, and offseason acquisitions Brent Lillibridge and Jayson Nix. I expect that the slot will go to the guy who shows the greatest aptitude at the plate, as that man may, by default, end up as our leadoff hitter. I am betting on Lillibridge here.
At the end of the rotation Sox farmhands Clay Richard, and Aaron Poreda will compete with new acquisition, Jeff Marquez. Richard has the most experience at the big league lever. Poreda, by all accounts has the best stuff (although he probably needs to improve his second and third pitches to have success as a major league starter), and Marquez has a good sinker (which KW loves). I suspect that the spot will go to Richard with Poreda in the pen, and Marquez down in Charlotte (although options could alter that decision).
Finally, the black hole at center will be filled by Brian Anderson, Jerry Owens, or Dewayne Wise. The relative deficiencies of these players are well documented. Anderson is a defensive standout, who struggles mightily at the plate. Owens has extraordinary speed, but does little else very well. Wise, is a gritty veteran who stand out in no particular area.
If Lillibridge grabs hold of the leadoff spot, I am hopeful that center will be filled by Anderson. If none of the second basemen seize the lead off spot, we could see Owens in center. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t have to happen.
All of that said, the most exciting thing that will occur in Glendale, Az. this spring is the arrival of Dayan Viciedo. He is a big, 19 year old third basemen who comes to the Sox from Cuba. As with A.Ram. last year, reports regarding Dayan’s talent are amazing, but overall he is something of a mystery to Sox fans. But we do hope that KW has caught lightning in a bottle for the second year in a row.