Know Your Enemy: White Sox Questions for Jim Margalus of South Side Sox

U.S. Cellular Field - Jonathan Daniel

The Jays start a four game series today against the White Sox. Jim Margalus was nice enough to answer some questions for us.

The White Sox are 4th in the AL Central, with a 5-7 record, nicely matching our mark to this point.

I sent off some questions to Jim Margalus, who manages SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog South Side Sox. For more on the Pale Hose, check out his site.

Tyler Flowers took over for the universally loved A.J. Pierzynski, how is he doing?

He's ... extreme.

First five games: 5-for-12, one double, two homers, two walks, one HBP.
Last six games: 1-for-21, zero walks, 10 strikeouts.

His defense has been fine, but the superiority to Pierzynski in that regard isn't going to reveal its value this soon, so it's been a rough transition so far. I think he's going to run hot and cold as a hitter, but it'd probably help if he could shake this slump before he gets back to Chicago, because the fans might ride him if he's still scuffling.

Who are the closer and setup men? How much confidence do White Sox fans have in them?

The back end of the bullpen should be a strength. Addison Reed looks like he has a better idea of what he's doing with his slider this year -- he turned into a one-pitch pitcher for long stretches of 2012, and his habits bit him in September. This year, he's getting hitters to swing at breaking balls in fastball counts, so he's off to a good start.

Robin Ventura has a lot of options with Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom, Nate Jones and Matt Thornton. All of them throw hard, as bullpens do these days.

How's our old friend Alex Rios doing?

The needle has bounced back and forth between "Toronto was lucky to ditch him" and "Toronto lost him for nothing?", but it's more toward the latter these days. He's been a joy to watch since the start of last season, ever since he found a stance that works for him. He's really balanced, his swing's finish is quite handsome, and he's playing a good right field. Worth the money.

With Gordon Beckham on the DL, who's playing second?

Jeff Keppinger shifted from third to second, and Conor Gillaspie is playing third. The Sox freed Gillaspie from an unfavorable out-of-options/depth-chart situation in San Francisco, and he's shown a nice quick line-drive swing. He might be a flash in the pan, but the Sox will ride out his hot streak and reevaluate if they sense the league building a book on him.

Who has been the most pleasant surprise of the young season? Biggest disappointment?

Gillaspie emerged from obscurity for 12 hits in his first 27 at-bats, so he's an easy choice. Dayan Viciedo is probably the most disappointing of the struggling hitters. Outside of a walk-off homer against Seattle, he's been swinging under or late on pretty much everything.

What else should Blue Jay fans know about the White Sox?

They've drawn 16 walks in 12 games and are hitting .137 with runners in scoring position, so if your starters can't keep the White Sox offense in check, then it might be time to start worrying.

Thanks Jim.

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