I talked with Matt Adams, editor of FanSided’s Southside Showdown about the upcoming Royals/White Sox series to get a feel for their organization and to answer some questions I had before the games start. Obviously, they get much more in depth than this sampling, so to learn more about the Chicago White Sox, head over to Southside Showdown.
How big of an impact has the loss of Mark Buehrle had on the team and rotation?
I really wish I could have answered that a week or so ago so that I could say “none.” Unfortunately now that Chris Sale is no longer in the rotation I think it would be silly to say that there is no effect. Buehrle was a solid pitcher and an innings eater, however he gets romanticized a great deal due to some stand-out performances, the length of his tenure, and his presence for the 2005 run. The 5 guys that we have been running out for the first month of the season did a great job of making his departure a non-issue. As we sit now, a starter short, it’s up to someone like Eric Stults, or maybe in time even Nestor Molina to round out the rotation and not make us miss Mark Buehrle. In any event, I don’t think losing Buehrle is that big of a deal.
I consider him one of the best shortstops around but what’s eating Alexei Ramirez?
I’ll tell you what’s not eating Alexei Ramirez are any ground balls, which is what makes him one of the best shortstops out there and lets the team live with his plate struggles. Alexei is a notoriously slow starter, which we’ve all lazily attributed to him being a Cuban playing in a cold weather city. This season it hasn’t been so cold even though his start at the plate has been. I’m not sure what’s causing him to slump but my admittedly non-scout like eyes don’t notice anything in particular that leads me to believe that he will continue to struggle. He’s hit some balls very hard and has even been going the other way from time to time. He’s not going to get on via walk a whole lot and that will really put a spotlight on a player’s struggles since there is no on-base presence to offset all those slow walks back to the dugout.
I really wish he was…and still have a little hope. Brent is the first defensive third baseman the Sox have had since Crede, but his performance at the plate has been less than inspiring. Crede is another guy that has an extreme following not quite reflective of his on-field skill (I’m no exception to this), but at some point you have to lower your expectations for what a 3B is going to be able to do for you. Right now, I’m in the mindset of appreciating that it’s not Mark Teahen. My apologies to you Royals folks, I know he was well liked there but he brought much more frustration than joy here in Chicago.
The closer position has been rotating as well. Hector Santiago has struggled and Chris Sale has undergone an MRI. What are the results of that exam and is this going to turn back into Matt Thornton‘s role in the meantime?
Santiago was an odd choice to begin with, but I’m into watching things be approached differently and was glad not to hear the “proven closer” refrain. If Sale has to remain in the bullpen, I think the idea is to let him close. Should he have to get shelved for a bit or even be able to move back into the rotation it’s more likely that Addison Reed get a shot at closing. Matt Thornton doesn’t have the same velocity that he once did when he was sealing up 8th innings for the Sox and without any sort of pitch assortment it turns into sped up batting practice for the opposition pretty quickly when he’s on the mound. A situational assortment of closers is not beyond the realm of possibility. Without any high profile closing types with agents demanding their players get the saves that translate into dollars, Ventura has a little more freedom in that regard.