My last day on this spring adventure brought a cooler day than what I’ve experienced throughout the week. A “crisp” 70 or so degrees. Nature’s way of preparing me for a return to Chicago, where I can only hope the reasonable weather holds steady long enough to allow us all to enjoy the home opener as well as the sensation in the tips of our fingers. Jake Peavy took the mound for a final spring go and he didn’t look great. Officially he only allowed 4 runs on 7 hits but there were a ton of solidly hit balls. However if there is one pitcher I put even less stock into the spring numbers of it’s Jake. He is regularly working on pieces of his game, not overly concerned with the results, though his emotions coming off the mound seem to betray that. His arguing with an imaginary opponent after finishing off innings is in mid-season form.
Paul Konerko stayed hot, going 3 for 3 before coming out of the game but he wasn’t the only one productive at the plate. Once the team started putting runs on the board the starters made room for some players ticketed for Charlotte and Birmingham to get some playing time. Among them, Conor Jackson made his White Sox Cactus League debut and came through with a hit and Jared Mitchell laced a pair of singles in his 2 at-bats. In the end the Sox put up a lucky 13 to defeat the Reds by 3.
Plus: Dayan Viciedo hit a homerun to dead left field with a swing that didn’t get much help from anything beyond his wrists. It was an AZ type homerun that carried well but to see the strength in action was a sight to behold.
Minus: Dayan Viciedo is going to be constantly providing ammunition to both sides of the argument regarding his fielding being worth his bat. Left field is going to be an absolute adventure. He had yet another day in which he misread balls, took odd routes and had temporary lapses in balance.
Over the course of the week a few things grabbed my attention more than most. First is how locked in Paul Konerko is. That isn’t really surprising to much of anybody and I hope he can keep his stroke into the season. Second, I’m fully prepared to drink the Adam Dunn Kool-Aid. He didn’t have an out of control amazing week but his approach is better, he looks leaner, and though he struck out a handful of times he is making regular contact. More than anything, he looks comfortable up there. Third, and if it continues it’s something I will be complaining about constantly throughout the season, is that the Sox cannot seem to keep from shooting themselves in the foot on the basepaths. The success rate for stolen bases in my 7 games was 0. An unacceptable number. There are certain players that are going to need to have a red light barring special circumstances. Watching players get gunned down time after time because there is some sort of thought process that stealing bases is “how the game is played” regardless of effectiveness gets old fast.
I’m sad to leave AZ, it’s very easy to get into the habit of getting up every day to go watch baseball but the good news is baseball that counts is right around the corner.