July 31st - D-Day Passes in Silence
Well, July 31st came and the trade deadline went, and the Sox will battle the final two months of the season with the team they had for the first four largely intact, minus a few tweaks.
Chris Widger & Cliff Politte out. Sandy Alomar, Jr. & Mike MacDougal in. I really like the MacDougal trade - he's as devestating as Jenks is when he has command of his fastball and allows David Riske to move into a more comfortable role as the sixth/seventh inning bridge man. Lots of Sox fan are moping about this being the second straight year in which Kenny Williams failed to land a big fish in the trade deadline.
Excuse me for asking, but why does a team which leads the majors in runs scored need Alfonso Soriano? Another popular topic of conversation among Sox fans is the plummeting skills of Scott Podsednik (supposedly), yet you trust Soriano in left field in a close game? Or Rob Mackowiak, God forbid?
The biggest problem this team had six weeks ago was its bullpen. That need has been addressed as Kenny picked up MacDougal, Riske, & Matt Thornton to plug the holes where once existed Dustin Hermanson, Politte, & Damaso Marte. This has the potential to once again be a shutdown 'pen with an undervalued starter in Brandon McCarthy available as the first line of defense in a slugfest.
Ah, slugfests. Seems the Sox are in a lot of those lately. Last year all four regular Sox starters had ERAs under 4.00. This year only one does (Jose Contreras), while Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia, and Mark Buehrle are all flirting with 5.00. Don't even get me started on Javier Vazquez, also known as the Puerto Rican Jim Parque. But if the Sox offense can power the team long enough for the rotation to emerge from its funk, the Sox could have something special cookin' once again in October.
That's all dependent on the rotation actually emerging from its funk. It's been kind of depressing over the past six weeks to see the Sox biggest asset get transformed into their biggest liability. Do Freddy, Mark, Jon, & Jose have enough in them for another go-round?
(Sorry Javy, no late season resurgence for you. Please begin consulting El Duque on how to be a a postseason bullpen savior.)
Labels: White Sox 2006