We start a 4 game series against the White Sox tonight at Rogers Center, so I sent off some questions to Jim Margalus who runs SB Nation's Pale Hose site South Side Sox. Chicago is sitting at 23-28, 4th in the AL Central, 9 games back of the Indians.
How is our old friend Alex Rios making out there?
Considering Ozzie Guillen just called him out for not producing, things could be better. He had a nice bounce-back season last year, but his overall line seemed kinda flimsy since it was bolstered by an outrageous May. The other five months were unremarkable. He at least compensated by playing a smooth outfield, but he's been rough in all respects this season. Now that we know about his arthritic/turf toe, that's not helping any. He's been hitting the ball harder as of late, so maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel, but he's teased before.
He also possesses the ugliest stance in the league. So I'd say you guys were quite lucky to get out from under his contract.
More after the Jump
Who is your early season MVP?
Paul Konerko is a rock. He's been in a bit of a lull the past 10 games, but even then, he's driven in seven runs, so he manages to make his slumps somewhat productive. Carlos Quentin has better power numbers -- especially after a three-homer game on Tuesday -- but he can disappear for weeks at a time. Given the Sox's struggles overall, I'd say Konerko's consistent presence has helped more.
Can we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers the Jays will face this series?
Phil Humber: The surprise of the season. He was best known as a bust received by the Twins in the Johan Santana trade, but Don Cooper has helped him add a slider to his repertoire, and it's helped immensely. There still seems to be an adjustment in order, because his peripherals aren't great, and when you watch him, you're not quite sure how he does it. But hey -- he's getting guys out better than anybody on the White Sox staff this season, so much so that Guillen now has a six-man rotation. He's content to ride out Humber's hot streak until the league catches up.
Mark Buehrle: He's having a Mark Buehrle year.
Edwin Jackson: His slider comes and goes. When it's around, he's very hard to hit, lefties or righties. When it disappears, games turn into a real grind.
John Danks: He's 0-7. He's received little offensive support, and he hasn't been quite as sharp and in previous seasons. He tends to have problems in the sixth inning.
Who is closing? Do White Sox fans have confidence in him?
Sergio Santos. You may remember him from such roles as the shortstop for your Triple-A club. Officially, he hasn't been named the closer, but that just allows Guillen to deviate from the formula (using him in tie games, more than three outs, etc.). Santos has earned the pseudo-job, as 17 of his 18 outings have been scoreless. The other game happened to be a painful blown save, but he bounced back in fine form.
What do White Sox fans think of Ozzie Guillen?
Most people are used to him, especially now that his family isn't a factor. When his sons became involved, he was on the losing end of the popularity battle for the first time. His ideas about the offense are stuck in the 1980s, but he's good at managing pitchers, which I think is more important. The second straight really sluggish start makes people wonder about what the hell he's doing for the first two months, though.
Is there a feeling in Chicago that the Indians will fall back to the pack? Or is the Wild Card a more likely target?
I'd say most people view Detroit as the bigger threat. Not just because of what the teams look like on paper, but in person, too. The Tigers have dominated the Sox recently, but the Sox are 4-1 against the Indians this year. That said, the Indians are the first-place team until they aren't.
Adam Dunn is having a slow start, is there something wrong with him, or was our former GM right in saying that he just 'doesn't like baseball'?
Well, he had an appendectomy early in the season, which killed his momentum early on. But that hasn't been an excuse for weeks. He's just off, and being 0-for-32 against lefties hasn't helped. It's not a conflict or anything of that nature, because when Guillen doesn't like a player, it soon becomes clear. It's a not personality thing or a work ethic thing. It's just the damndest thing.
Is there anything else that Jays fans should know about the White Sox?
The Sox have been hitting into a buttload of double plays. Juan Pierre is 7-for-15 stealing bases. The pitching staff is pitching like it should on paper, so it's up to the offense.