With the Sox starting the second half tomorrow, it’s an opportune time to take a quick look in the rearview mirror. Scream. Then look forward. It can’t look any worse.
What went wrong? Everything. No one could hit the ball or run. No one could catch the ball. No one could pitch in relief. Tough to win games with that mighty trifecta. Buehrle tossed a no-no, which was undoubtedly the high water mark of the first half. Never has there been a more dominating performance on the mound at 35th and Shields in my lifetime. Injuries plagued the White Sox. Most were foreseeable: Pods, Erstad, Thome, Hall, MacDougal, and Crede were all big injury risks before the first pitch on April 2nd. Not surprisingly, in a season where everything that could go wrong has, all 6 missed significant time (Note: MacDoodie went to AAA before the DL just before the break). Super-utility spark-plug Pablo Ozuna was lost for the season, too. It’s also clear that Contreras and Dye are toughing out something. If it weren’t for bad luck…
So, what needs to happen in the second half? Well, the biggest priority was figuring out what to do with #56. The Maestro and Buehrle got together and worked it out. Nothing could make me happier–because now we have a foundation for next season. And that’s what we need to do. I’m not saying we pack it in, but if there are moves to be made to make us better next year, we have to seize them. A front-four of Buehrle, Gar, Vazquez, and Danks works for me. Our outfield needs a complete overhaul and we need to solidify our strength up-the-middle–both in the batter’s box and with the leather. The bullpen? Boy, is there anyone worth keeping? Jenks? That’s the only close one. And the other kids (Owens, Sweeney, Anderson, Gonzalez, Massett, Logan, etc.)? I’ve seen little to be optimistic about.
There are signs of hope. For one: we’re not mathematically eliminated. Not being much of a math-guy, this gives me little comfort. It’s tough to watch strong seasons by Buehrle, Garland, and Vazquez washed down the tubes. Paulie has been wrecking the ball for the last few weeks after an abysmal start. Fields and Danks have grabbed their opportunities by the ears and are progressing. And that’s promising. Maybe one of the other kids will earn a roster spot for ’08. That’s worth watching. I guess.