Over the winter Ozzie and Kenny (yet again) made comments about changing the 'all or nothing' dynamic of this station-to-station offense. The first month has just ended and already the Sox have been beaten by pitchers like Kyle Davies, R.A. Dickey, Brad Bergesen, Brian Tallet and Matt Harrison and were almost beaten by Chris Jakubauskas. None of these guys are All Star caliber to put it mildly. So what exactly has changed? --Mark Liptak, Chubbuck, Idaho
A: It's a disturbing trend, although Harrison was clocked at 94 mph and Davies wasn't that bad until recently (when his walks increased and his strikeouts decreased). We're seeing too many strikeouts. Hitting coach Greg Walker works endlessly with the hitters, and some are able to work deep counts.
But the results are often too negative (a strikeout with runners in scoring position, or a batter being fooled badly). I'm not a hitting coach, but I've seen too many wild swings with two strikes.
Apparently the Sox still have not found a true leadoff hitter, not that I have given up completely on Brian Anderson. Anybody down on the farm that might help? How far away is a Beckham call-up? --Allman, Tempe, Ariz.
As of now, no. Paulo Orlando and Anderson Gomes had the speed but little else before they left the organization. Jordan Danks has been described as a Johnny Damon-type hitter, but he's about two years away.
I don't see Gordon Beckham being called up soon. His average dropped below .300, and the Sox need to find a spot for him before calling him up.
Why do the White Sox continue to use starting pitching prospects (Richard, Broadway, etc.) as middle relievers? I have a hard time thinking of another team that does that. It doesn't appear to help them develop nor does it appear to be effective in stopping the bleeding. Just look at Broadway's split stats for starting vs. relieving. If anything, they'd probably be better served near-term and long-term by starting him and moving Contreras to the pen. --James, San Diego
A: The Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 1970s-early 1980s did this effectively with the likes of Bobby Welch and Dave Stewart. In the case of Richard, they needed another left-hander in the bullpen because Aaron Poreda wasn't ready yet. In the case of Broadway, they needed another arm since Mike MacDougal and Jack Egbert weren't effective (although the Sox haven't given up on Egbert).
This could be a sign that a few people (myself included) overrated the performances of the final pitchers cut in spring training.
It might be time to see what Broadway can do for more than one start (as has been the case in each of the past two seasons). If anything, just to give Jose a break. This seemed to work well in August of 2007 when he pitched twice in relief, reutrned to the rotation and posted a 4-3 record and pitched at least six innings in eight of his final nine starts.
Do White Sox pitchers protect their hitters? Chris Getz, Jermaine Dye and now Josh Fields will have all missed games due to HBP injuries. Twelve White Sox batters have been hit so far, Sox pitchers only hit four. Just this weekend, we lost Dye and Fields, and had at least four batters hit. Also, how can Ozzie be a headhunter, when since he's managed 63 more Sox batters were hit than Sox opponents since he became manager? --Jeff, Chicago
A: Maybe you can e-mail Bob Watson at Major League Baseball with these statistics before he overreacts the next time the Sox are involved in an exchange with another team. I'm not advocating that the Sox throw at an opposing hitter's head, but I am alarmed that there isn't some kind of protection.
I read a book this spring by John Roseboro, published in 1979, that talks about how Don Drysdale protected his hitters. It was a pretty intimidating segment. I don't see any team running away with the division title, so it would be tough to lose a starting pitcher for at least one start.
Best pitcher I ever saw in brushing a hitter without the intent to viciously hurt him was Todd Stottlemyre in an exhibition game against San Francisco. Stottlemyre, who would make a good pitching coach if he wanted to, threw four straight pitches at the legs of Barry Bonds.
Bonds managed to get out of the way in each of the four pitches, but the message was sent.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times