Juan and Gordon: Table setters at the top of the lineup
I feel as good about our 1-2 punch as I do the heart of our order -that’s saying a lot.
You could say Pierre and Beckham are the most impressive combo atop any 9-man swinging group in baseball. Paul Konerko understands the importance of the two. “They got it going right from the get-go in Cleveland and haven’t stopped yet,” Konerko said of Pierre and Beckham, the No. 1 and 2 hitters in the lineup. “They’ve been getting on base, having quality at-bats and they’ve been tough on the other team. That makes it easier for the guys in the middle.” What a way to start the season off strong for the “Southside Hitmen”. The dynamic duo are getting qualities at-bats and are making it hard for opposing tossers to retire them at the plate.
Awaiting the Good Guys hitters in the Windy City to start the week will be the fine, young hurlers of the Oakland Athletics. The A’s have given Ozzie’s club a tremendous deal of trouble for as long as I could remember. The hype surrounding the starting five of Oakland heading into the season has been backed up with solid performance through nine games. Whether it be Trevor Cahill (Tuesday’s starter), Brett Anderson (Wednesday), or even two former Southsiders; Gio Gonzalez and Brandon McCarthy, you can make a case for this starting rotation as the best staff in the American League. Top from bottom, they are as talented and aggressive as any five in the Majors. I would be extremely pleased to see the AL-leaders with runners in scoring position continue their rapid pace against such a rock-solid staff.
At 4-5, the A’s are two games worse than the White Sox, but don’t let that record fool you. I’m interested to see how well our guys perform in the box against their sensational starters. Dallas Braden is on the mound for tonight’s showing against Mark Buehrle; he was the starter I did not mention in the previous paragraph. He threw a perfect game last season -against the New York Yankees. Just goes to show you how loaded this team is with its rotation. I’m looking forward to the opportunity which presents itself this week at the Cell. I’m still a bit skeptical about our hot start.
The #1 ranked offense (about seven runs a game) in runs scored against the 5th best squad (around three surrendered per outing) in runs allowed. I’m quite anxious to see how our guys perform in the upcoming three-game set, because I believe this series could tell us about our team. Nothing like an early challenge to test how good our bats really are. I’m undecided on who comes out on top of this battle between a team centered around hitting and another powered by pitching. At the very least, I’m sure this series will give us a good indication of how well we manufacture runs, as opposed to relying on the long ball (A’s have yielded five HR’s). With that said, the success of this match-up against Oakland will come down to the way of Juan Pierre and Gordon Beckham approach the A’s starters early in the count. Hot bats vs. hot arms -who wins?
2 for 2: Paul Konerko, who batted .417 (10 for 24) with a double, three home runs and eight RBIs; won the AL Player of the Week, sharing it with Cleveland Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera. Konerko drove in a run in each of the White Sox’s first seven games of the season, setting a team record, and one day after that run ended Paulie smacked two bombs in Sunday’s game.