Why are the Sox falling apart? What is the atmosphere in the clubhouse as a result of the recent slide? -- Noam, Skokie
Lack of quality innings from the starters, and poor execution (failure to move runners over, lack of production with runners in scoring position) by the offense. The players are handling themselves very well. They know they're to blame and make no excuses.
Mark, Color me unimpressed by the re-re-acquisition of Sandy Alomar Jr. He's 1-for-32 throwing out baserunners in the last two years, and he hasn't hit a homer since he left Chicago. And then there's also the age thing. Can you tell us who else the Sox inquired about to replace Chris Widger? I was partial to Yorvit Torrealba, myself. Thanks for providing this forum. -- Jim, Albany, N.Y.
Do you think giving up a great young arm like LaMura for Sandy Alomar Jr who's near retirement was a wise move? I think this was a terrible move, even worse than what they did to bring in Riske, which was a bad move then. -- Jay Choi, Gleview
With the white sox getting a 40-year-old alomar, when does Ozzie become the player/manager? I actually remember last year when dye had to play 2b due to injuries. Was there any talk of Ozzie taking that spot for a game? -- Doug Marschke, San Francisco
A couple things on Widger: He would make a great coach some day. Yes, his performance in Detroit was bad. To steal an old line from Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chris looked like Robert DiNiro in "Bang the Drum Slowly." But in regards to preparation, wasn't it Widger who chucked Freddy Garcia's game plan after the first inning at Cincinnati that enabled Freddy to shut down the Reds?
The SF Giants were very high on Torrealba after the 2003 season until they suddenly got interested in a catcher named A.J. Pierzynski.
I wouldn't get too torn up about the loss of LaMura. I'm told by a scout that the Sox were wise to trade him while his stock was high. Alomar is a perfect fit at this time.
Dye played shortstop, not second, in that game at Oakland in 2005. Ozzie is wise enough to know his playing days are over.
Mark, Every time I see Javier Vasquez on a broadcasted game the commentary eludes to the same problem(s). Mostly they talk about his inability to get on top of the breaking ball - especially later in the game and with men on. Do you see a time when Brandon McCarthy (provided he's still on the roster and not traded) will take Vasquez' spot in the starting rotation, and Ozzie using Javier in long relief? At least then Vasquez can give us 3-4 solid innings before blowing up in the 6th. -- Al B., Lorton, Va.
It's too late for McCarthy to move into the rotation, where he can build up enough endurance to be a starter. As for Vazquez, if the Sox happen to make the playoffs, it's a virtual no-brainer that Vazquez goes to the bullpen. With the ensuing off-days, I don't see a six-man rotation.
I am now officially annoyed at / worried about Ozzie Guillen. It's one thing to berate an unknown rookie (Sean Tracey), but to go after your hottest pitcher (Jon Garland) in the middle of a shutout is INSANE. We all want to love Ozzie, but he makes it so hard. What are the chances he doesn't make it through this or next season as manager? -- Hank the Tank, Davis, Ca.
Just wondering, what is the Sox's record since the dressing down of Ozzie for his comments about Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti? Any relevance? -- Tony, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Sean Tracey responded well since being demoted, and Ozzie apologized to Garland after the dugout incident. Jon knows that Ozzie was in Garland's corner when times were tough for him, and Tracey came back with a great attitude.
The Sox are 15-17 since Ozzie made the insensitive remark to the columnist.
Please name five minor league pitchers the Sox have that can be major leaguers in the next 4 years? Or will Williams trade them all first? -- Dave Loucks, Rockford
Here's a guess: Sean Tracey, Lance Broadway, Charlie Haeger, Wes Whisler and Kyle McCulloch. Don't rule out Matthew Long, Clayton Richard and Boone Logan.
After the MacDougal trade, I read that a couple of pundits have exclaimed that the White Sox have paid dearly for this trade by getting rid of Lumsden. My question is if he is so good, why isn't he on the major league roster? I look at all of the "rookie pitchers" in the AL Central that have made an impact on Detroit's and Minnesota's seasons and think, why don't the Sox bring one of their hot-shots from the minors to fill the gap in stead of trading them? I don't buy this seasoning them in the minors excuse for ten years. What are your thoughts on this? -- Chuck Dzielawa, Allentown, Pa.
Lumsden was a 2004 draft pick who missed all of 2005 with reconstructive elbow surgery. Daniel Cortes was a 2005 pick out of high school who would have finished his freshman year at San Diego State had he not signed with the Sox. With the exception of Tracey, I don't think there's a pitching prospect who is ready now to help on the major league level. The last thing you want to do is rush a prospect and stunt his development.
The Sox traded away minor league pitchers with impressive stats to improve their playoff chances in 2006. How would you rate these pitchers? Are there any who caused you to wince when hearing they were traded? -- Dan Edelstein, Vancouver, Wash.
You have to give up talent to get quality in return, and the price of two pitchers was high to get MacDougal. The Royals did a great job of scouting the Sox's pitchers, although Lumsden must stay healthy and Cortes must keep developing.
Why did Ross Gload get the RF start over Mackowiak on Monday night? -- T.M. Ryan, Evanston
Gload played Sunday and did something that no one else had done in a whilelay down a sacrifice bunt. He deserved to play and get multiple at-bats in consecutive games.
What happened to smart ball? Is this the 2004 White Sox resurrected with a new cast of characters but the same tired results? -- Dan Bowman, Marlette, Mich.
It sure looks like 2004, according to those who were around then. But there are two months left, so there's time to steer the ship in the right direction.
What's the scuttlebutt on Dustin Hermanson's return to the lineup? I don't have the information Kenny Williams has, but did he just trade for a reliever coming of the DL? -- John Anzinger, Orlando
The Sox aren't counting on Dustin Hermanson's return but are giving him every chance at Triple-A Charlotte. The Sox are convinced that MacDougal's injuries are in the past, but you got to be concerned. The only factor that tells me the Sox might be OK is that MacDougal is in good hands with trainer Herm Schneider and his staff.
What are your impressions of the starting pitching? Will last year's work load and post season play cost the Sox the play-offs this year? Keep up the good work! -- David, Oak Park
David, you make great points with last year's workload. I think we're seeing the effects right now but there's enough bullpen depth to reduce the demands.
Living in New York, I don't get to see many televised White Sox games. However, I usually look at the play-by-play summaries provided on the internet. We know the White Sox pitching has struggled. However, what has struck me has been the inability of the staff to make big pitches with two outs. That is, the have a chance to get out of an inning without giving up a run, but can't get the crucial third out. Is this something you have noticed? -- Robert Rich, Ossining, N.Y
Yes, this has happened often with Buehrle. If you're not a power pitcher or don't have a dominant "out" pitch, you better be perfect with your location. We're not seeing that right now.
I firmly believe Pods has let down the whole of Soxdom by not trying to draw the infielders in starting in the first inning by bunting or faking a bunt, thus giving himself a chance to slap the ball thru the infield or get on with a bunt hit and getting the opposing pitcher distracted from the get-go. Now just imagine if the Sox leadoff man could start the game off with a HR as well as get on base and steal. For this reason I believe acquiring Soriano would be a brilliant move. -- Tom Pappalardo, Chicago
Yes, Podsednik needs to at least show the threat of bunting more. If the Sox acquire Soriano (extremely doubtful), then they become more of a power team that gets away from the art of moving runners over. I think the starting lineup just has to do their job.
Get Soriano! He's a special talent. He's worth the price to get and keep. He'd be the catalyst that Podsednik is no more. If Soriano goes to another AL team, we're done. Might as well get Kevorkian as team doctor. -- Carl Rollberg, Calumet Park.
I don't think the Sox have enough to get Soriano without giving up McCarthy. And that's not a bad thing. The Sox will need McCarthy in the rotation next year, at the very latest.
Yo Mark, why are many of your readers so fixated on Aaron Rowand and Tom Gordon? Neither is going to be the difference in this season and what the Phillies will get for such talent will have a real effect on future seasons. -- H. Balikov, Moorestown, N.J.
Thanks! Aaron was a great sparkplug who gave the Sox plenty of energy, but he also hit into his share of double plays, as Ozzie pointed out earlier this week. The Phillies asked for Josh Fields to get Gordon.
I see Thome striking out because he is trying to pull the ball when he facing left-handed pitching. Konerko and Dye are trying to hit home runs instead of hitting at the gaps. They don't run hard, they don't slide to avoid the tag. They don't disrupt the double play. Do you see the same thing I am seeing? Do you think Kenny Williams will go through other avenues by trading one of his starting pitchers by the trading deadline or before next season? -- Perry Morgan, Chicago
A respected scout told me during the first half that Konerko and Dye did a great job of hitting to right center. I don't see that as much. I don't think Paul is that fast to begin with, so I'd be careful about accusing him of not running hard.
But you're right. The middle of the order must be held accountable since they got a lot of credit in the first half.
And I think the rotation stays intact through the rest of 2006.
Which MLB team did you root for while you were growing up? As a journalist, you spend an immense amount of time around the team that you are covering. Do you become a fan of that franchise and to what level? If the White Sox played your childhood favorite team in the playoffs, as a fan, which team would you be rooting for? -- Alex Bartkus, Coconut Creek, Fla.
Do the Sox's misfortunes of late create a sense of panic in you like in most fans, or do try to stay "professional" or separate from what happens on the field? -- Drew, Chicago
I grew up in the Bay Area and rooted for the San Francisco Giants as a kid, being just old enough to follow the likes of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal toward the end of the careers and seeing the all-around talents of Bobby Bonds (as well as covering his son Barry in high school). I'm a fan of the Tribune. They pay my salary, and I have no emotional attachment to the Giants or Sox although I have had the pleasure of covering both franchises and being treated very well by the organization and their followers.
Deja vu 1959-1960? Sox won pennant in '59 and added Roy Sievers, Minny Minoso and Gene Freese in the offseason in what was expected to be a romp in '60. Instead the pitchingled by Wynn, Shaw and Pierce and so good in the pennant year--faltered and the Sox tumbled to third. With the addition of Thome et al, is history in the process of repeating itself this year? -- Jerry Pruzan, Bethesda, Md.
Sorry, Jerry. I wasn't born then, but more long-time Sox observers are starting to make the same comparisons.
The Sox's nine man starting line-up: 145 HR and 478 RBI, first in the league in both categories. Then take this line-up. Frank-DH, Mags-RF, Rowand-CF, Carlos-LF, Graffanino-3B, Valentin-SS, Durham-2B, Cameron-1B, and Olivo-C. These guys numbers are (drum roll, please) 134 HR and 455 RBI. Isn't this hard to believe? These guys' teams' records are 471-429 and four of them are in first place. Do you think management has any regrets regarding trading, or letting go, any of these players? Dan Kascher, Elgin
Absolutely no regrets. Ray Durham is staying healthy and is in a contract year. The Giants were very frustrated by his injuries. I think they were torn by having to trade Rowand, but the addition of Thome has been overwhelming.
What do you think of this trade proposal? Freddy Garcia, Juan Uribe, Sean Tracey for Miguel Tejada and La Troy Hawkins. I think it would benefit both clubs and I like the fact Hawkins had his best years with A.J. behind the plate and it gives Brandon McCarthy a spot in the rotation. And Tejada to me is an upgrade from Uribe. -- Robert Reyes, Highland Park
I thought there might be interest in Hawkins, but MacDougal solves that.
Hey Mark, all I've been hearing recently from the sox minor league system is an unwillingness to trade Josh Fields. On one hand, this is very exciting to thing we have a legitimate big time prospect coming up. But on the other hand, I'm a huge fan of Joe Crede, who occupies the same position as Fields. How are the sox going to address this situation is future years? Also, why does Ozzie insist on putting either Ozuna or Cintron in one of the top two spots? Why not try hot-hitting Anderson up there instead on the days either Gooch or Pods gets a day off? -- Neeraj Chhabra, Dyer, Ind.
Look for Fields to get some work in the outfield. Crede is an All-Star caliber third baseman. Anderson has been showing signs of making more contact, but that experiment will have to wait until at least next spring. Cintron is a good contact batter who switch-hits and makes it tough for opposing managers late in games.
Is there a way to spark up the white sox again like last season? Who do you think needs to step up and find that spark for the team. Once it catches it should be a wild fire. -- Will Baum, St. Louis
I agree any Sox emergence will be like a wildfire, but it's going to take the entire lineup to produce this effect.
Just a note to respectfully disagree with the gent from Virginia who doesn't like Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson. Hawk and DJ sound less like broadcasters and more like buddies who are drinking beer with you and talkin' baseball. It feels like I get to sit and pick the brain of two good major leaguers. What could be better! Just wish I could pull in Ed Farmer's radio broadcasts down this way. A note to Hawk: Don't change a thing buddy -- we love you! -- Jim Stanley, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Hawk and Ed will appreciate the comments. Ed should have been considered for the Notre Dame football job. He's getting fired up over the Irish's prospects this fall.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times