June 15, 2010

Series Preview: Chicago White Sox

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / June 15, 2010

Ah, interleague play. A term that didn't seem at all gay until I chose this picture for the preview.

Excitement about the Pirates is at either a season high or an all time low. On one hand, they've promoted three-fourths of their top prospects with Pedro Alvarez days away. On the other hand, they've lost eight games in a row to drop their record to 23-40 - second worst in baseball to the Orioles.

The White Sox, who at 28-34 are now 7.5 games behind Minnesota and five behind Detroit, entered the season with high hopes but could become sellers at the trade deadline if they don't start winning.

Paul Konerko (.291/.394/.596, 17 home runs, 46 RBI) and Alexis Rios (.317/.378/.573, 42 runs, 13 home runs, 19 steals) would be having MVP caliber seasons if, you know, they didn't play for the White Sox. The rest of the lineup has been awful. Apparently when you lose Jim Thome and add Juan Pierre, your lineup gets worse. Four regulars have on base percentages under .300. Let me rephrase that to make it sound worse. Four regulars have on base percentages under .300!

The Pirates now feature five legitimate major league hitters at the top of their order. Maybe it's time to win one for Jose Tabata, who has been on base seven times in his first four games, with two steals.

Chicago White Sox - Tuesday 7:05, Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 7:05
Tonight, Freddy Garcia (6-3, 4.82) faces Brad Lincoln (0-0, 7.50) in Lincoln's PNC Park debut. Garcia got off to a good start this year but has been hit around in some recent starts. On the positive side, he's one of the top hitting pitchers in the American League and will make a bid for the coveted AL Silver Slugger award, Pitcher. Brad Lincoln made the mistake in his first start of allowing five runs, but you live and you learn. Unfortunately for the White Sox, there is no Silver Slugger for an AL pitcher. See how I teased it, then crushed Garcia's hopes? My pick is the Pirates.

Wednesday is John Danks (5-5, 3.27) against Zach Duke (3-7, 5.30). John Danks had an awful rookie year but since then has been one of the better starters in the American League. Unfortunately for him, he's not Zach Duke. Duke has been giving up a lot of runs and losing games lately, no doubt causing people to think he's not going to win this game. Have these people not seen The Hustler? It's a good movie. My pick is the Pirates.

Thursday the White Sox go with Jake Peavy (5-5, 5.62) against Ross Ohlendorf (0-4, 4.95). Peavy was signed to be the ace but has self-destructed. He told the Chicago Sun-Times that he would ask to be traded if the Sox went into rebuilding mode. The Chicago Sun-Times, what a great paper. I buy one every time I fly out of O'Hare Airport which is two times. A newspaper where the movie review is the most important article is sort of like a baseball team whose biggest star is the manager. Oh wait, Chicago has two of those. Anyway Jake, no one's going to trade for a pitcher with a 5.62 ERA who is owed another $46 million minimum between now and 2012. My pick is the Pirates.

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