It just doesn’t seem to catch. The White Sox have a good series, then lay an egg. It’s like trying to light a fire and never getting a good flame going. The Sox went into an important road trip, all against the AL Central, two of the three series against the teams ahead of them in the standings. So what do the Sox do? take two from the Tigers, take two from the Indians, and drop two of three to the Royals, for a decent trip total of 5-3, but not enough to really make a push. They remain under .500 and still hovering around 4 games off the pace.
It is kind of sad statement to the condition of the AL Central that a team that can’t maintain a break even record is still legitimately in the race. I’m sure that just grinds the teeth of some AL East fans, but seeing how baseball is loathe to change and have upper and lower divisions, or a rotating division system then things aren’t going to change. The idea of a single table format is interesting, but with 15 teams per league it does become a little burdensome. Also, unlike other sports that use that system, there really isn’t much for teams to play for in the proposal I saw for MLB, other than a top five finish. Specifically, what makes the single table work in other countries is that it is competitive on both ends; teams compete for the championship, and the rewards of finishing high, but there is the added “incentive” of not finishing in the bottom, namely the specter of relegation. I won’t say that I felt the sting of being dropped quite like the native Newcastle fans, but it did suck a couple of years ago when the boys went down. I would love to see a system worked out where the teams that finished the worst, actually got penalized somehow, but that will never happen. The other problem with the single table is the same as it was when divisions were introduced, pennant races being decided too early, and interest in the game going down.
Well, enough about a re-alignment that probably won’t happen and when something does happen, I’m sure most folks will bitch and moan. Speaking of bitching and moaning, back to the White Sox. Basically their record against the bottom feeders of the division basically will doom them once again, oh and Sox ineptitude against the Twins, regardless of where they are in the standings. Case in point, this road trip; a great opportunity to gain some ground, and the Sox blow it. The fault has to lie at the feet of the offense. During this stretch the Sox have only given up four runs twice, the defense only committed two errors and yet the offense scored more than 5 runs twice, not exactly a recipe for winning baseball. Also it kind of debunks the idea that pitching and defense win championships, someone needs to score at some point.
My last thoughts on this trip, disorganized as they are, revolve around Ozzie Gullien and his coaching staff. I’ m still not sure what a hitting coach does, and I not convinced that Greg Walker is a good or bad one. I can’t imagine a different one doing any worse than Walker is doing. Don Cooper is a great pitching coach, but after hearing him on the radio, during the scheduled appearance he has every week, he’s kind of came off like a jerk, especially hanging up. Look, if the radio station is paying you to appear every week, call in, say your usual nonsense and leave. If a person can’t handle the “hard hitting” question about a minor leaguer coming up, then stop doing media. And finally, Ozzie. I’m sick of his rants and I can’t believe the players aren’t sick of them either. If I’m tuning out pretty much anything he says, I wonder what the players are doing at this point. I still think he’s a good manager, but even some of the best managers need a change of scenery to stay sharp and be effective. I think Ozzie’s style and approach have been very successful, especially by Chicago standards, but I think a new voice, one that gets along with Kenny Williams, might be what this team needs going forward.