Chris Rongey–perennially a rock sitting stoically in the middle of whitewater rapids of radio-caller panic–wrote a column for the Daily Herald at the beginning of the week that had a title he probably has at least thought of using a dozen times before: “Patience a key factor in every baseball season.”
Rather than a larger lecture about not worrying about the White Sox slow starts, Rongey actually gives far less controversial reminders like errors being freak occurrences that should normalize in rate and that we’re still in small sample size territory with Adam Dunn, who has too much money committed to him still for anyone to even be able to make panicky decisions regarding his roster status anyway.
Indeed, it is too soon to make firm, declarative statements like “Adam Dunn is bad,” “the White Sox defense is bad,” or even “The White Sox are bad,” on much more than feeling, rather than rock-solid data. Playoff teams having a bad month is relatively commonplace, yet one at the start of the year is a good sign there’ll be a few others.
While portending of doom for the Toronto Blue Jays, Sports Illustrated’s Jay Jaffe trotted out this little factoid:
"“Since 1995, the first year that the postseason included wild card entrants, only six teams have gone 11-15 or worse through their first 26 games and still made the playoffs. That’s six out of 146 (4.0 percent) who either won the division or a wild card spot.”"
[Ed. Note: The White Sox are 11-15 at post time]
Not the best odds in the world, but at least there’s an extra spot in the wild card nowadays that didn’t factor into most of this study. Of course, no team that started out as bad as 11-15 made the playoffs last year.
But the Sox have been here before. The 2010 club was sitting at a fairly brutal 14-21 in the middle of May before using the time-tested technique of winning 11 games in a row to recover to an 88-win season. Such a recovery didn’t factor into Jaffe’s study, but that mark would have been at least good enough to force a one-game playoff in the AL Central three of the last five years.
It’s not the expiration date to give up on the White Sox playoff hopes–certainly not right after a stirring performance by the young staff ace–but those openly skeptical about their chances should be allowed to breath comfortably and walk among us without beatings. The next month should reveal how this team and its front office should spend its summer.
Texas’ radar guns had Sale hitting 96 mph on multiple occasions Wednesday night and closer to an 93 mph average for the game. Everything’s bigger in Texas and I’d sooner believe a hot gun at a single stadium than Sale kicking things up a notch in May, but this fits in the “big, if true,” designation.
Addison Reed plunked A.J. Pierzynski on the second pitch of his first regular season plate appearance against his old team, prompting an extremely angry bat flip and waves of Twitter giggles. The hysterical mixture of the most absurdist and emotionally confusing action to take against Pierzynski, A.J.’s firm commitment to looking and acting pissed off during and after the game and Paul Konerko laughing throughout is a good one that should be repeated.
Matt talked about it a bit in Wednesday’s game preview, we talked about his struggles in the podcast, but Donnie Veal was sent down to Triple-A Charlotte before the game and replaced by Brian Omogrosso. It’s not immediately clear what role Omogrosso would slide into other than the back of the right-handed reliever line, but presumably he’ll also need to throw his fastball for strikes to stick around.
Veal was notably, extremely classy in response to fairly rough news, making for this Go Team! social media interaction.
Gonzo’s late-night bomb
"Mark Gonzales:“Sale’s second consecutive victory boosts Sox hopes in the wake of Floyd’s right elbow strain. According to a source, Floyd is seeking multiple opinions.The biggest fear is that further diagnosis could reveal an ulnar collateral ligament tear that may require lengthy rest, or surgery that would end his year and his association with the Sox after seven seasons.”"
Say what you will about Gavin Floyd, but it doesn’t even take a glance at Simon Castro’s ERA at Triple-A Charlotte to conceive of how Tommy John surgery would shoot a harpoon into the White Sox starter depth and be a hard way for his tenure with the Sox to end.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan