TCS Morning 10: The Sox dress up in funny clothes and still beat the Mariners

Those 1976 uniforms sure were fun to look at. Coupled with CSN's compilation of file video from the late-70's Sox and full commitment with disco segue music and cheesy graphics, the Sox mixed a fun callback to rather ridiculous uniforms with a genuine examination of their own history. Let's do something like this every year

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TCS Morning 10: Chris Sale's worst is still really, really good

Nate Jones is mortal. I don't particularly agree with the way he announced it--allowing an eighth-inning two-run bomb to Boston first baseman Travis Shaw by placing a fastball in the lefty down-and-in dinger Bermuda Triangle--but sometimes you really have to grab people's attention for them to really take in your message.

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TCS Morning 10: It's nice to have a bullpen

We rag on the heavy handed emphasis on the importance of the bullpen that Hawk Harrelson trots out, especially in the light of the Royals 2014 success model, but it's hard to think of a game more clearly poisoned against the Red Sox by their own previous failures than Tuesday night's 5-4 come-from-behind Chicago victory.

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TCS Morning 10: Will Jeff Samardzija have a lower ERA than John Danks?

I do not covet watching this man pitch anymore. The rippling thrills of watching Jeff Samardzija vaporize the first two hitters of an inning with electric stuff in the mid-90s that wiggles in every direction, and follow it up by drilling some dude in the ribs, then backing up a couple sliders and giving up three runs in a matter of minutes, well, it has dissipated over the last few months, I must say. All it takes is a few pitches to see the enormous potential sitting on Samardzija's broad shoulders. But it's the end of August, the team is bad, and he's 30. Who cares what he can do? How many more of these almost-good starts do I have to watch?

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TCS Morning 10: Playing out the string

This weekend offered some comforting return to White Sox normalcy--no, not just the part about playing pointless late-August baseball and lacking any real hopes of the playoffs--but the part where they get a series win against the Mariners, where Seattle routinely looks incompetent and the Sox just kinda stand there. In particular, they stood there while the Seattle bullpen walked 10 batters in 9.2 innings and nearly lost two games singlehandedly, rather than just one.

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TCS Morning 10: Next week this game will be played in pajamas

After a rough weekend against the Cubs and four runs in three games to start this awful West Coast swing, the Sox had their periodic and overdue "the offense is breaking out!" game to avoid a sweep in Anaheim with an 8-2 victory Thursday night. Given an opportunity against rookie spot starter Nick Tropeano (pitching because the Sox off capped Matt Shoemaker's downward spiral last week) and bullpen filler Cam Bedrosian, the Sox teed off, finally hitting their 100th home run of the season at a fairly embarrassingly late date in the year and smacking four doubles.

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TCS Morning 10: The man said "REDDICKDUDNMOO"

Covering the developments of John Danks' stuff doesn't feel like the most purposeful beat in the world. He tools around with different things. Some days his changeup flashes dominant, the rest of the time it is merely good and over-relied upon. One time he had his old velocity back. Then it went away again. Through it all, he is kinda bad, but remarkably healthy! This is like blogging about Sisyphus. "He showed really good knee bend and drive today." "Today he just whacked the boulder with the stick." "Today he just sat and wept." "The boulder is still at the bottom of the hill."

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TCS Morning 10: Rodon is brilliant, the Sox are not

 The White Sox lost 2-1 in Los Angeles Monday night because they put nine guys on base all night, hit one extra-base hit, hit into a double play, went 0-6 with runners in scoring position, and only scored because Johnny Giavotella is so bad at second that Ned Yost was probably right to play Chris Getz over him all those years. You never remember the command-change lefties your team crushes, but Andrew Heaney snaking his way around damage twice in a week tends to stick with you.

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TCS Morning 10: At least the White Sox employ a killer

This was not a good nor sharp weekend of White Sox baseball. Defensive and baserunning blunders marked two ugly losses to the Cubs and served as a stark counterbalance to how they out-executed a superior team in Wrigley last month. Avisail Garcia just keeps running into outs until someone takes him up on it, routine throws to first are somehow still an adventure even with Conor Gillaspie off the team and no starting pitchers seem particularly invested in backing up their catcher...but White Sox  still employ Chris Sale.

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TCS Morning 10: Another hanging breaking ball to Avisail Garcia

I had become concerned that some sort of moratorium on throwing Avisail Garcia hanging breaking balls, it was simply a matter of waiting until the 13th inning where he could loop a curve into a preposterously wide open left-center gap and score Jose Abreu from first. Abreu's sprint was the sort where you wouldn't be surprised if he took the day off Thursday if the Sox didn't already have it off anyway.

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TCS Morning 10: Rookies can occasionally be good

Carlos Rodon came into Tuesday having put together two sharp outings since the beginning of June, and was stacking up a performance record that would justify getting yanked from the rotation if the Sox were still deep in the race. For what it's worth, Rodon had been using the hot-hitting Geovany Soto as his personal catcher. Tuesday he switched to the revered platework of Tyler Flowers and the correlation with an incredibly sharp demolition of the Angels lineup is hard to miss. Blessed with a slider that is completely overwhelming when he's ahead of the count, Rodon was just far enough on the right side of the border between just enough command to dominate with pure stuff, and being a complete mess.

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TCS Morning 10: White Sox troubles were golfed into the left field bleachers for a night

Chris Sale wasn't at his peak wrath of God best Monday night, but that's such a lofty placement that it's an unfair comparison. He leaned on improved, but still far from steady fastball command while touching the upper 90's with regularity, and an all-purpose changeup that worked as his finishing option as his slider remained slurvy all night. After some early difficulties dragged out by a 13-pitch war with Mike Trout, he got brutally efficient and breezed through six innings at under 80 pitches before some hanging slurves lent themselves to a two-run double by Johnny Giavotella.

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TCS Afternoon 10: At least being this bad doesn't matter anymore

The White Sox got predictably kicked around by the Royals in Kansas City this week. Three one-run losses later, they're 3-10 vs. the division leaders on the season, and have yet to win in Kauffman Stadium in 2015. They're now 2-7 since the non-waiver trade deadline expired, as the absurdly great pitching that propped up their hot streak has fizzled to the point of allowing seven runs per game.  Jeff Samardzija in particular, ended his 10-game streak of seven innings or more, and has barely cover more than nine frames in his last two outings with a 15.43 ERA.

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State of the Offense: Reasons for Optimism and Despair

Since the All Star Break the White Sox offense has had its best stretch of the year. The pitching has taken a step back from unsustainable greatness, so despite a 7-game win streak in there, the team as a whole hasn’t made any progress.  They were 41-46 at the time of the All Star Game, and they are 51-57 now.  But, now 108 games in, we can take another look at where the offense is viable and where it is still irretrievably broken.

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TCS Afternoon 10: It's an off-day for all of us

Since my despair over Avisail Garcia crested, he's both homered and walked twice in as many games, driven in five, and walked off an otherwise sad and ugly game against the Rays. Both his home runs have been on hanging breaking balls, and he still has to convince the league he can cover the inside fastball, and the level of fear he is generating leaguewide is currently "Managers will load the bases by intentionally walking both Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera just to get to him."

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TCS Morning 10: No, no, no, no this time the Sox are really done

Ok, they're done this time, right? The Sox are five games under .500 in August, with an awful -71 run differential, fresh off an 11-3 thrashing at home to the Rays, who now own a sizable lead on them in the Wild Card race, despite being fringe contenders at best themselves. The Sox hopes are done. This is what happens when your wrath of God winning streak only zips you into the very back of the pack. 

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