TCS Morning 10: A Smardj shall lead them

1.  With all his early struggles, it's hard to conceive of Jeff Samardzija being the model of relative stability in the White Sox rotation, since he comes off as someone just kinda crossfire flinging the ball in the general direction of the plate on his best days, but seven innings of one-run ball in Toronto Wednesday was his fourth start of the month where he went at least that deep into the game, and all of those outings were quality. As much as we joke about his shaky command and release point, he does find the zone: 13 walks in 68 innings for him on the season. Let's be clear that the state of the White Sox is the offense's fault, and our pessimism about them going forward is the offense's fault, but Samardzija being the only member of the starting rotation with an ERA under 4.00 (3.84) shows that they have some windfall in the form of consistent pitching production coming their way eventually.

2.  David Robertson second blown save via Josh Donaldson home run means:

  • He's human, which we always speculated might be the case.
  • His numbers are now actually approaching his sublime career averages, instead of exceeding him.
  • Josh Donaldson is terrifying and it's good that he's gone for now.
  • Robertson can't pitch during Thursday's doubleheader, which could be a non-issue if Chris Sale pitches a complete game and Chris Beck gets so immediately throttled that it doesn't matter.

3.  Jose Abreu's 10th inning triple was funny, and a very important step in him reclaiming the hallowed ownership of the ironic #wheelz hashtag from Paul Konerko, but more importantly was his fourth extra-base hit in as many games (one was a bloop double, though). In the previous 20 games in this blessed month of May, he had three extra-base hits and slugged .338. A quick run of booming dingers could restore Abreu very close to last year's number, since his contact rate has remained steady.

4.  A fun game: look at the numbers that got Alejandro De Aza DFA'd from the Baltimore Orioles (.214/.277/.359, but .244/.306/.411 vs. righties) and compare them to White Sox outfielders not named "Avisail Garcia." I lied. This is not a fun game. Remembering De Aza's defense, looking sideways at his booming strikeout rate and realizing he wouldn't really be any significant upgrade over J.B. Shuck (.347 OBP at the moment) is the only way this game resolves itself without tears.

5. Daniel Webb has been called up to be the 26th man for the Sox doubleheader with the Orioles, which will make up the games canceled because of riots in Baltimore. This is a confusing move because Webb is still by all accounts a highly ineffective pitcher (WHAT HELP WOULD HE PROVIDE), and...

6.  They had already announced Chris Beck as the starter for the second game, and now need to clear another roster spot for Beck, almost surely so they can send him right back down again after his likely miserable start, for Beck is also an ineffective pitcher. Prospects gotta graduate and all, but Beck never showing an out-pitch or missing bats in the minors surely should have slowed down his progression sometime before "first minor leaguer in the system handed a spot start," but here we are. 

7.  Avisail Garcia is missing both games of the doubleheader because of course he is, did you see him Monday night? Good grief.

8.  While his .217/.260/.348 slash line for the month is some degrees batted ball misfortune, the disturbing, creeping notion that Gordon Beckham is not actually the savior of the franchise is beginning to settle in. Between his reverse splits — a consistent pattern throughout his entire career until JUST last season — mysteriously returning and Conor Gillaspie, White Sox third basemen have a .585 OPS vs. lefties this season.

9.  Emilio Bonifacio played a big role in adding an insurance run in the 10th inning Wednesday by wisely tagging up and grabbing second base on an Alexei Ramirez fly to the wall. His salary is robust for a reserve, his signing was so ballyhooed, and we're almost to June and it's still rather fascinating to see where they manage to fit him in at all.

10.  J.B. Shuck stole a base, while Jose Abreu was caught napping and picked off Wednesday. With that, the Sox have stolen 11 bases (lowest total in baseball) and been caught stealing 12 times. Only the Dodgers (12 steals, 15 caught) have a worse rate of success.

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