Ask Mark Gonzales, part I
When will our hitters start to use a more line drive approach with men in scoring position? Watching our hitters strike out, pop up, or weakly ground out on sub 90s low and away pitches is getting to be old hat. I know they like their homers, but isn't the first rule of grinder baseball getting the runner in, instead of posing for your home run cut? Lift and pull against pitchers like Paul Byrd become shutouts. A nice line drive does more with the game on the line than our hitters taking huge cuts and striking out. --Tom, Downers Grove
With Scott Podsednik out for more than two weeks, the need for quality at-bats becomes greater. I think Scott was making great strides in working counts before his injury. I noticed several hitters taking early batting practice before Tuesday's game, but a return to situational hitting drills might be more effective, for now.
Biggest problem for the Sox to date is the lack of situational hitting, such as advancing runners with bunts and executing tactics like the Baltimore chop with a runner on third base and less than two outs. Much more playing time must be given to Ozuna and any other speedster available at Charlotte or Birmingham, even if it means sending down a relief pitcher. Speed wins and the Sox need it. --Sid, Los Angeles
Although Mark Buehrle's no-hitter overshadowed the offensive outbreak, I noticed Ozzie was managing more aggressively with the stolen bases by Mackowiak and Iguchi. Expect to see more of thatprovided they get on base.
Why didn't the Sox keep Eduardo Perez as a right handed hitter off the bench rather than keeping Brian Anderson who can't hit a lick? Also, why do you think Guillen left Jenks in the game during the second Oakland game? Everyone saw that Jenks was ineffective that night with only a high eighties fast ball, but Guillen seemed set on leaving him in even though lights-out MacDougal was available. Also, when do you think Guillen will start demanding more from his starters? If they can't hit Byrd, Sabathia, and Sanatana, why even play the game. Finally, we should give our pitching staff a raise. They collectively pitched their (tails) off with no run support from the high priced regulars. --Ed Lasak, Riverside, Calif.
Ed, there are some who believe they could still use an Eduardo Perez. There wasn't a roster spot open for Perez, and the Sox actually need a defensive outfield specialist. Some think that Anderson might be better served in the minors, but the Sox don't have a steady dependable right-handed hitting backup center fielder. A Rob Mackowiak-for-Brady Clark trade would have given the Sox some outfield stability, but Clark doesn't have the pinch-hitting capabilities that Mackowiak has.
As for Jenks, I would anticipate a change within a month if his velocity doesn't improve. But MacDougal didn't help himself by throwing an 0-2 fastball down the middle to Sosa.
The last thing a manager wants to do is panic when his veterans slump. I know fans want to see more production and deserve that. But the Sox aren't five games out of first place.
The pitching staff has jelled well, so far. But they might need some help, perhaps internally, later this season.
Why do players make such stupid statements like "it is still early" when last year had we won 5 more games we would have made the playoffs. Each game is important each play demands your best effort. --Jim, Viera, Fla.
They make those comments knowing they still have plenty of games left vs. Cleveland, Minnesota, Detroit, etc. But the games you win now are the ones you don't have to worry about later. Just look at 2005.
In what year did the Chicago White Sox begin to play in the American League? --Bailee Ricci, Logansport, Ind.
The White Sox, as we know them, started play in the American League in 1901.
How was it determined who would have the opportunity to wear #42 on Jackie Robinson day? I can't imagine why any player would not be happy to honor the man. -- Kurt Livingston, Marion, Iowa
Every uniformed player, manager or coach had the option of wearing the number. I can't speak for those players who elected not to wear No. 42, but I'm sure they had their reasons.
Hey mark, first, when does the Hawaiian shirt come back? Second, rules question. With the designated hitter scheduled later this year, I was curious how it would work to bring up Floyd (or anybody) to pitch one of the games? Could we "send down" somebody with options for just that game to clear the roster spot? If Thornton throws 2 innings in the first game, can you option him for the 2nd and bring up Boone Logan? --Mark Rokos, Geneva
It's still a little cold to wear those Tommy Bahama shirts. Matt Thornton is out of options, but you can send a player down after the first game and recall another player for the second game. But a player who is optioned cannot be recalled for 10 days unless he replaces a player who plays his position due to injury.
What's the word on some of our top minor league prospects (Russell, Floyd, Sweeney, Owens and Fields)? Are they starting off well in the minors? Also, is Fields playing any left field right now, or do they still have him pretty much sticking to 3rd base? If he's not playing any LF, I have to imagine the writing is on the wall concerning Crede's future with the Sox. --Drew, Chicago