Wow, what an All-Star game. It is really surprising that the rating were down by almost 13% from last year–not!. The yawnfest was won by the NL for the 2nd straight year, but who really cares?
Did you see how happy Carlos Quentin was in the introductions? It was nice to see. I wonder when Paul Konerko showed up? Living minutes away in Scottsdale, Konerko probably did what most of us do, getting to work just minutes before we have to. I am joking, by god, he at least arrived by 4. And how nice, while other players are flying home, Konerko just drives down the street.
A walk and a ground out for the Captain, who by the way, did make the last out of the game. Quentin didn’t fare much better, popping out and reaching on an error. By the way, Quentin was on 3rd when Konerko grounded out in the 9th. Did that capture the Sox season, or what?
It’s now time to get back to the season. The Sox trail the first place Tigers by 5 games in the AL Central.
First, lets give out some 1st half awards.
MVP: Konerko. Without him, the Sox would be trailing the Tigers by 15 games, and the fans would be chanting Dayan Viciedo’s name. Konerko’s .332 average is the best in the AL since last seasons ASG. Amazing!
Sox Cy Young: Phil Humber. He should have 10 wins easily, and should have been an All-Star. He has the best stats on the Sox.
Rookie of the year: Brent Morel. They expected him to field big time, while hitting occasionally. He has hit better than they thought, and fielded worse than they expected. He has turned it around though. He will win a Gold Glove some day.
Biggest Disappointment: AJ Pierzynski…Fooled ya. No one on the Sox has disappointed. Well, except maybe Adam Dunn. OK you got me, he has disappointed big time. Who would have predicted a .160 BA, with 9 bombs and 34 RBI for the big man? He will finish at .210, with 25 and 70. He also has 117 strikeouts. he’ll finish with 205.
Biggest 2nd half turnaround: John Danks. Danks will be near the team lead in wins at the end of September. He will finish with 14 wins.
Most likely to get traded: Carlos Quentin. With Viciedo ready to play, and also being a cheaper right fielder, the time may be right for the Sox to jettison Quentin. I don’t want to see him go, but GM Ken Williams wants Viciedo on the team sooner, rather than later. It is possible that Pierre could be sent packing, but Quentin’s value is greater because he isn’t a free agent until after next season, while Pierre can walk after this season.
Gavin Floyd may follow him out the door, especially if the Sox fall out of the race completely. The question I have is, if he continues to slump, would the Sox try to trade Dunn back to the NL, and what is his value?
Most unsung: Alexei Ramirez. He now makes the routine plays, while still making the spectacular ones. His bat is also lethal.
Last guy you want to lose award: AJ Pierzynski. His fire and brimstone attitude, along with his clutch hitting and game calling are what makes him a special player. He will irritate guys in to mistakes. That’s a great quality on the baseball field. If he could just throw out 24% of base runners, he would be top 10 in baseball.
I still think the Sox will win the Central, but they do have some concerns.
Bullpen: No, the individuals are fine, but they are all throwing a ton of innings. Can they survive deep in to the season. Can Sergio Santos handle the pressure of a Pennant race?
Mark Buehrle: He is a stud, but will the free agency questions start affecting his performance?
Juan Pierre: He doesn’t steal as much as in the past, and when he does, he gets caught more than usual. Can he surge in the 2nd half? If he does, the Sox will win going away.
Alex Rios: Which guy will we get? If we get last years Rios, Sox roll. If they get this years Rios, all bets are off.
To me, there are really no weak spots on the team. There is inexperience, but not actual weak spots.
70 games left for the South Siders. Here’s how it breaks down.
Indians: 13 games H (6) R (6)
Royals: 13 games H (7) R (6)
Tigers: 12 games H (3) R (6)
Twins: 9 games H (7) R (6)
Angels: 2 games H (0) R (2)
Rangers: 3 games H (3) R (0)
Mariners: 3 games H (0) R (3)
Red Sox: 3 games H (3) R (0)
Yankees: 4 games H (4) R (0)
Orioles: 4 games H (0) R (4)
Blue Jays: 3 games H (3) R (0)
TOTAL 69 games H (36) R (33)
That’s 37 games against teams that have a record above .500. That is some tough sledding, but the Sox have the horses to make a run. Only if, and a big if, the guys play up to their capabilities.
I said the Sox have 70 games remaining, but I only counted 69. I believe they need to make a game up against the Twins, that has yet to be scheduled.
The Sox will finish 90-72, so that means they have to go 46-24 in the 2nd half. Possible, absolutely, but only time will tell.
Sox start the 2nd half by playing their next 12 games against division rivals, including 9 straight on the road. This could be make or break time, especially with the trade deadline lurking. So far the Sox are 8-16 vs. their division rivals, that’s bad. The time to change that is now.