April 2011

Lillibridge creates new statistical category

In this day and age where all sorts of statistical rankings and ratings have replaced the tried and true “eye test,” I would like to suggest a new category.

It’s called WASLC, for short. In long form, the title would be Wins After Spectacular Lillibridge Catches. Unless the talented utility player gets traded, this category pretty much is White Sox specific.

Let me explain how it works.

On Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, before a crowd of more than 40,000, Brent Lillibridge made two spectacular catches to save the White Sox 3-2 victory, after entering in the eighth as a pinch-runner. Lillibridge put forth these efforts as the second and third outs of the ninth inning, stranding the tying run on second and the winning run on first.

So, you mark this date on the calendar, which would be April 26, and then see how many wins the White Sox rip off after Lillibridge made these catches. Sometimes all a talented team needs is one spark of momentum or one win they shouldn’t have had or almost didn’t record to turn things around and move in the opposite direction.

Lillibridge seemed to understand this point when talking to the large group of media stationed around his locker late Tuesday night.

“We needed a break like that,” said Lillibridge, who pounded his fist on the grass after making a diving catch on Robinson Cano’s line drive to right to end the game. “That’s why I was so excited. That’s the biggest thing. I’m glad I could contribute, but in the end we won.

“Making plays like that, how can you not be excited? More importantly, we got Gavin a win because of what I did and more importantly what we did to manufacture a couple of runs and Paulie’s home run was huge. We have to win these games and hopefully it gets a little easier.”

Of course, Lillibridge was speaking of Gavin Floyd’s tremendous pitching performance over eight-plus innings and Paul Konerko’s game-winning, one-out blast in the eighth off of Yankees set-up man Rafael Soriano. Lillibridge is about the team first, and his individual showing second.

Now, I know what some skeptics are thinking. The White Sox SSFROSITN, better known as Somehow Scoring Four Runs Off Soria In The Ninth, has not been at a high level after April 6, and nothing says momentum swing like putting together that kind of rally with two outs and nobody on base against one of the game’s best closers in Kansas City’s Joakim Soria.

Trust me, though. Their WASLC will be a more accurate depiction of the direction in which this previously disappointing 2011 season is moving.