Crosstown Showdown: Round 2
The White Sox lineup should be extremely small-ball focused in Friday night’s series opener against the Reds.
Jim Thome once again will be out of action, as the White Sox move on to their third and final three-game Interleague set without a designated hitter at a National League ballpark. This run will end up covering just eight games, due to Tuesday’s postponement.
Carlos Quentin continues to be sidelined during his recovery from plantar fasciitis in his left foot, and now it looks as if Jermaine Dye will rest on Friday as he battles through an ongoing left calf strain.
“I might not play him tomorrow, give him some rest [for his left calf], see how that feels,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of Dye. “Hopefully, with a day off he’ll feel better, but we’re going by ear. We gave him back-to-back days off and that didn’t help him. I have to be careful with him. If Dye goes down, Quentin is already down, it will be tough on us.”
–Without productiviy from Gavin Floyd and Alexei Ramirez that somewhat resembles last year’s breakout performances, the White Sox probably won’t be playoff contenders. So, despite Thursday’s tough loss, the team has to be encouraged with the signs of resurgence from both.
Ramirez homered for the second straight game and had two hits, after going 4-for-25 in his last six games.
“We’re looking for that,” said Guillen of Ramirez’s effort. “He’s had a tough year this year, a really tough year. Hopefully little by little, he’s getting some big hits for us.”
Floyd lost his chance for a second straight victory due to a rare late-inning bullpen malfunction, as Curtis Granderson’s two-run, ninth-inning home run off of Bobby Jenks cost Floyd last Thursday. Floyd has given up three runs or less in each of his last six starts, working at least seven innings in all but one.
He would trade in Thursday’s stellar mound work for a victory.
“To not win as a team, I think that’s the most disappointing thing,” Floyd said. “I want those (bullpen) guys in there every single time. It just didn’t work out for them. We’re going to bounce back.”
–With all the talk over the past week concerning the Cubs hitting woes, don’t lose sight of back-to-back great efforts from Floyd and John Danks. As has been said many times before, ultimately this team goes as far as it’s pitching and defense.
– Josh Fields pinch-hit for Floyd in the eighth inning of Thursday’s loss and drew a walk off of Sean Marshall. Since June 9, Fields has just 11 plate appearances and once again could find himself as the odd-man out when Quentin gets healthy. Guillen addressed that issue prior to Thursday’s contest.
“I don’t think we’re going to make a move yet,” Guillen said. “We still got to wait for (Bartolo) Colon and see how he is, how he feels.
“That’s the tough move we’re going to make. Josh Fields is still with us. Unfortunately, I could not give him enough playing time. I got to wait to see if I can give Paul a rest at first base and if he can help a little bit by DHing, but I try to do the best I can to accommodate his situation, but it’s tough right now.”
When asked if Fields needed to play full-time somewhere at this stage of his career, even in the Minors, Guillen provided the following response.
“We don’t have that conversation yet,” Guillen said. “Fields never brought it up. Kenny never brought it up to me. Right now, we’re playing well. When you’re playing well, you don’t want to make any moves. You want to leave the team the way it is. Right now it’s not in our plans.”
–White Sox fans have to be smiling over the development of young players such as Chris Getz and Gordon Beckham, not to mention the next step up being taken by Brian Anderson in center. The team appears to have formed a youthful core to keep it strong in the present and for years to come.
–Check out Guillen’s take on the wholesale lineup changes Cubs manager Lou Piniella suggested were coming after Wednesday’s loss.
“”He made one, he put (Anders) Blanco in,” said Guillen with a laugh