Monday, August 28, 2006

A Winning Formula

I don't often listen to Mike North. I'm more of an NPR guy in the morning (stupid pledge drive). But I was driving to the game Sunday (stupid triathlon -- I know I'm an idiot, but the Red Line sucks on weekends, and the season tix come with a parking coupon) and listening to the pre-game on WSCR, when they played a bit of a segment North did with Steve Stone earlier this week. North, who is either a moron or just says moronic things to be controversial, argued that losing Thome might be a good thing for the White Sox because it would force the team to revert to doing the little things that helped them win it all last season. Stone, as ever a voice of reason, pointed out that the Sox actually won it all last year by combining lights out pitching and a ton of home runs. Small ball, or smart ball, or pissing runs away, or whatever you want to call it, had nothing to do with it. The problem this year isn't the lack of small ball execution; it isn't the offense at all. The White Sox are the second highest scoring team in baseball. The problem is the pitching, where the Sox are ranked 15th in runs allowed; the Tigers are first, and the Twins are third.

But Sunday the Sox executed their winning formula perfectly. Mark Buehrle pitched 7.3 innings of one-run baseball en route to a 6-1 win. And the offense did its part as well. Yes, the Sox scored twice in the third with something approximating small ball (though even here, sacrifices and stolen bases were not part of the equation), but most of the Sox damage came by way of three homeruns. It's also worth mentioning that Scott Podsednik reached base in 4 of his 5 plate appearances, including a walk and a nifty bunt-single. Though he only factored in one run today, having the lead-off man on-base, be it Pods or Roblo Mackozuna, will lead to a lot more runs when Konerko, Dye, Thome, Crede and company go deep. What do I know; I'm just a Hebrew science minor. But it seems like a winning formula to me.


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