Chicago White Sox Series Preview 8/28-8/30

Hitting:

.331 wOBA. 14th in MLB, 9th in the AL.

Chicago features a pretty pedestrian offensive team. Their main skill is the long ball, but they have hit eighty-five of their 154 home runs at home, so even that will be partially neutralized in the upcoming series. The lineup features a lot of similar offensive performers, hitters that have perfected the low average, medium to high slugging skill set. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is the only regular hitting over .300, and Scott Podsednik is the only other player on the team even close. Jim Thome (.258/.383/.509,) Paul Konerko (.281/.354/.493,) Jermaine Dye (.264/.347/.479,) Carlos Quentin (.234/.326/.456,) and rookie Gordon Beckham (.279/.357/.450) all exemplify the low average decent slugging kind of player. Alex Rios has not done anything since being aquired, though he fits into the mold of the five players above. Alexei Ramirez hits pretty well for a middle infielder; he has thirty-five home runs in a little under 1,000 major league plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

Joba plan tweaked again

From PA (LoHud):

Joba Chamberlain will be in the rotation moving forward, meaning he will pitch every five games. They decided he needed to pitch more regularly. The innings limit hasn’t changed. Some starts will be less than five innings.

So, if Abraham’s report is correct, Joba will remain on a regular schedule and will not be given extra rest (he’s already on track to start Sunday on regular rest). I wonder if this is due to his awful outing against the Rangers which came on 8 days of rest? Shorter outings mean a lot of extra work for the Yankee bullpen in the final month of the season. I understand the need to get Joba ready for both October and the future, however, I hope it doesn’t come at the expense of the relief corps.… Click here to read the rest

Do the Yankees Hit TOO MANY Home Runs??

With the frightening and awesome propensity the Yankees have shown for escorting baseballs off of the field of play this year, I can’t help but wonder if this could actually be construed as a BAD thing.  Home runs = runs scored = cheering fans = excitement and exultation, so how could they possibly be bad?  Am I just a miserable bastard who must always find a negative, even in an apparently unmitigated positive?  Well, yes, but that’s entirely beside the point (perhaps not entirely, but let’s not quibble about details, hmmm?).  My half-a$$ed theory is pretty simple and goes thusly: basically, there are two reasons that longballs could conceivably be construed as harmful to the ultimate success of the ballclub:

  1. You rarely want to go up to the plate looking to hit a home run.  It can screw up your swing, mess up your timing, make you become pull-happy, and mess up your overall approach, encouraging hitters to look for a certain pitch to jack out of the yard instead of staying back and hitting the ball where it’s pitched.
Click here to read the rest

Burnett’s future

Here’s Joel Sherman (NY Post) on A.J. Burnett:

He will be 33 in January and likely will be coming off the first time in his career that he has put consecutive 30-start seasons together. Maybe he will still hurl 95 mph heat and devastating curves for a while longer. But what happens when there is some diminishment in his stuff? This is not a pitcher who is going to make up for lost heat with savvy and he has never exhibited finesse. So once the elite stuff falls off a little what is he?

I’ve always thought that age will help Burnett. As his stuff declines, he’ll be forced out of this “throwing” mindset and will have no choice but to reconsider his pitching repertoire and overall style. He has never “exhibited finesse” because he’s never had to, really. In a few years, he’ll have to learn how to pitch intelligently. Sure, having lesser stuff isn’t a good thing—not at all—but it’s not like his talent will fade overnight.… Click here to read the rest

Get Murton

Matt Murton, of the Colorado Rockies, was DFA’d on Wednesday so that the Rox could make room for reliever Juan Rincon. Murton is an interesting player—he hit .321/.388/.489 in 86 minor-league games this season—and one that I’ve written about before.

Prior to joining the Rockies this year, Murton was with the Cubs and was perpetually blocked from joining the Chicago OF on a full-time basis (they had Soriano and had signed Fukudome). Murton was then shipped over to the A’s in the deal for Rich Harden. At that point, I thought there was hope for the skilled young outfielder and maybe, just maybe, he’d finally get to play on a regular basis. That was not the case, though, as Rockies then acquired Murton early this year in exchange for an IF prospect and have kept him in Triple-A for most of the year (he has been blocked by a number of other players).

Last July, I wrote that the Yankees should trade for Murton (from the Cubs) so that he may man right once Bobby Abreu exited New York.… Click here to read the rest

Minors Recap, 8/27

Scranton defeats Syracuse, 2-1

  • Romulo Sanchez started and pitched very well, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks in 7 shutout innings, and striking out 9.  For a guy who has spent the bulk of his career as a reliver, he has done admirably as a starter.
  • Zach Kroenke gave up an unearned run on 1 hit in 2/3 of an innings, with a strikeout.
  • Jon Albaladejo gave up 2 hits in 1 1/3 scoreless, fanning 1.
  • Kevin Russo was 2 for 4, and was caught stealing.
  • Ramiro Pena was 0 for 4.
  • Austin Jackson and Shelley Duncan were 1 for 3.
  • Juan Miranda was 1 for 3 with his 19th homer of the season, but made his 10th error, a lot for a 1st baseman.

Trenton falls to Altoona, 9-4

  • Lance Pendleton started, giving up 3 runs on 9 hits and a walk in 6 innings, with 4 strikeouts.
  • Eduardo Nunez was 2 for 5 with 2 doubles.
  • Chris Malec was 1 for 2 with a homer and 2 walks.
Click here to read the rest

Game 127: Rangers 7, Yankees 2

Bronx Cheers:

Coke: He was awful…just awful. In fact, I may spend the rest of the day swearing whenever a commercial for Coca-Cola comes on. In .2 innings pitched, Coke gave up three hits for three earned runs, and effectively taking the Yankees out of the game.

Cano and A-Rod: Both left five runners stranded on base. Alex did pick up a hit, but he struck out twice.

RISP: The Yankees were two for twelve with runners in scoring position. Perhaps they were trying to even out last night when they were perfect in this category? There were twelve bombers left on base today.

Curtain Calls:

AJ Burnett:Forgetting his one bad pitch to Ian Kinsler, Burnett had a phenomenal game going. His twelve strikeouts were a season high and he pitched four 1-2-3 innings. Burnett only gave up three walks and two hits during the outing, which was a big step in the right direction, even if the result wasn’t what he had hoped.… Click here to read the rest

Josh Willingham

Willingham’s season came out of the blue. Over his first three seasons, his wOBA has been an eerily consistent .364, .365, and .363. This year, he’s at .417. He’s enjoying a huge breakout, as he’s never hit .280, had an OBP of .365, or slugged over .500, yet he’s besting all three so far by wide margins. Now granted, those rates are probably going to fall over the season’s final month, and he’s only batted 367 times creating a minor small sample size issue. But there are indications that this new level hitting could be sustainable. For one thing, he’s smashing the ball. Nearly 25% of the balls he puts in play are line drives. Line drives fall for a hit over seventy percent of the time. Smack a lot of line drives, and you’re statistics will be pretty good. Willingham also has been a much better hitter on the road than at home in his career: .251/.352/.430 at home, .292 /.386/.549 on the road.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks interested in Penny?

George King (NY Post) notes that the Yankees are interested in the recently released Brad Penny and, according to Buster Olney (ESPN), the Yankees actually claimed Penny on waivers earlier this month, only to see the Sox pull him back. Penny can become a free agent on Monday and is looking to sign with a contender, so the Yankees could make sense. I don’t like him—he’s an NL guy—but he could be had for cheap and would probably put up a better line than Sergio Mitre.

(props to MLBTR)Click here to read the rest