The Chicago White Sox 2011 campaign is 12 games deep after the first two weeks of baseball. The team’s slogan this year is “All In”, referring to the organization’s decision to bring back key players, such as Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski while adding offensive power Adam Dunn. If the Sox are playing poker with us right now, let’s just hope the bullpen is bluffing.
We all know Ozzie Guillen has his own way of doing things and this year is no different. No sooner than a day after telling the media he would stick with Thornton after numerous blown saves, he backtracks. He folded on Thornton, leaving the table wide open for someone in the bullpen to take the chips and hit the jackpot. Thus far, the cards aren’t favorable for any relievers on the South side as another opportunity was missed yesterday afternoon.
The Sox offense was dealt a wildcard when Adam Dunn underwent an emergency operation that left him sidelined for a few days. They responded well, with Lillibridge and Alexei Ramirez belting homers out of U.S. Cellular Field. If any facet of this year’s White Sox needs to raise the bet, it sure isn’t the offense. They’ve been dealt a pretty fair hand and know what to do with it.
The starting pitching was labeled by many as the strength of this club heading into the season and who can blame them? With Buerhle’s consistency throughout his career, the rise of John Danks and Gavin Floyd and the addition of youngster Edwin Jackson and Cy Young winner Jake Peavy, that’s a solid rotation. Danks has been the most consistent this year, with Buerhle behind him. Floyd’s K count is up there, but hasn’t been up to par with his efforts the past few years. Peavy continues to rehab as he hopes to return to ace form. The starting pitchers were dealt a Joker with Peavy’s injury last season, but they’ll attempt to turn it into an ace when all are healthy.
The bullpen has had numerous struggles in the first two weeks. From blowing saves to making Sox fans sweat out Ws, they’ve failed to do their part thus far. Matt Thornton, an All-Star selection from last year has looked shaky at best this year, blowing several saves and leading to the obvious task of replacing him. The door has opened for someone to step up and stop the bleeding. In 12 games, the Sox have led in every game. In 4 of their 5 losses, they’ve held a lead into the later innings that was wiped away by the bullpen’s troubles. The good news is the season is still young and AL Central contenders Detroit and Minnesota are struggling to compete. The bad news is nobody has stepped up to close the door in the 9th when the Sox need it. If the Sox and their bullpen are truly “All In” this year, the time to ante up is now!