We start our second last series before the All-Star break tonight. We have four games against the White Sox in Chicago.
The White Sox sit last in the AL Central, 10 games back of the Royals, with a 36-43 record, which would be about a game ahead of the A's for the worst record in the AL.
They are second worst in the AL in runs scored with 3.43 per game and they sit 5th worse in the AL in runs allowed, at 4.44 per game (just a tic better than our 4.45).
I sent off some White Sox questions to Jim Margalus, manager of South Side Sox, SB Nation's White Sox blog and Jim was kind enough to answer.
Why oh why did the White Sox push back Chris Sale just to face us? I'm sure he would have much preferred beating up on the Orioles. How should the Jays batters try to beat him?
Because Robin Ventura has a sense of great theater, and the prospect of a "student vs. teacher" matchup with Mark Buehrle was too awesome to ignore. That's my thought, anyway. The rule for Sale before was to beat him on his fastball, but he figured out how to sustain his velocity over the course of a game, so that exhaust port is closed off. That said, the White Sox defense is pretty bad, so putting the ball in play is the best strategy.
Do you see the White Sox as buyers or sellers at the deadline? You wouldn't have a spare starting pitcher you'd like to send to Toronto cheaply do you?
They're going to be mild sellers, I think. Jeff Samardzija could be available (although there's a case for the White Sox keep him), as could Adam LaRoche, as well as any spare part who actually has trade value, though those are few and far between. But they still have a stout rotation and Jose Abreu, so they'll keep trying to figure out a supporting cast, rather than tear it down.
How is David Robertson doing as closer? Do you feel confident when you see him coming into a game? Who are the main setup men?
He's good, and better than what they had last year. He was overpowering in April, but had a handful of blown saves/scares that made him look mortal, so now he's subject to the same fears we have over the entire 2015 White Sox (something's going to go wrong, because we can't have nice things).
Jake Petricka, who closed a lot of games last year, is now the chief setup guy, although Zach Putnam and Zach Duke take turns as well.
That was one amazing catch by Avisail Garcia the other day. Is he as that good an defensive outfield? He's earned my gratitude for making that catch against the O's. Offensively, his numbers don't look great, do you see him playing for the Sox the next few years, or will he be replaced soon?
No, he's actually been pretty rough out there, which is why he looked just as surprised and elated as everybody else after that catch. He's a tough guy to figure out. He's built like a defensive end with surprising speed, but he looks slow in the outfield, and he hasn't harnessed his strength to pull the ball in the air. Right now, his swing is more oriented to right field for whatever reason. If he ever figures that out, he could have a few devastating years. Basically, he seems like a guy the Blue Jays could shape up into one of their world-beaters.
What are Robin Ventura's strengths and weaknesses as a manager? Do White Sox fans like him?
By and large, White Sox fans do not like him. Mainly because of the record and his calm facade (they want him to look as angry as they are). Strengths: He doesn't bunt a lot and the players haven't turned on him or each other. Their record isn't for a lack of effort.
His chief weakness: He hasn't figured out a way to change way people talk about his team. He might have limited responsibility for their offensive production, defense, baserunning, etc., but these bad odors just kinda linger for weeks, months, even years, and he's reluctant to experiment with things. It took him weeks past the breaking point to try batting Jose Abreu second, even though there was nothing to lose.
What is it like being in a two MLB team city? Are White Sox fans also Cub fans? Do people change allegiances depending on which team is playing better? Or is there a rivalry that keeps the two fanbases apart?
There are some two-team/Chicago baseball fans, or some front-runners that side with whoever's winning, but the fan bases are pretty distinct, with their own identities (and stereotypes). The general idea is that White Sox fans are more blue-collar, serious and critical (or fickle, few and on the poor side of the tracks, per Cubs fans). On the other side, the Cubs are more popular and their fans point to the attendance numbers, but Sox fans say they're casual, inattentative, yuppies, etc.
In reality, the differences aren't that distinct, and I don't really care to partake in the war of words, but that's how it goes.
Who is your favorite White Sox to watch?
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