TCS Morning 10: How many canings can you take before they define you?

1. It's remarkable how effortlessly the White Sox pivoted from their first home sweep of the season, and possibly the most encouraging stretches of play of the year, and right into the losing streak that might finally huck this cursed season into the dungeon permanently. They're now stuck in a four-game skid, six games under .500, the proud owners once more of the worst run differential in the AL, and have three more games against the red-hot Pirates team that just thunderkicked them 11-0 Monday night, then three against the Rangers, whose main weakness is pitching and, well...

It's not hard to see how the Sox could find themselves in a great deal of permanent trouble by the end of the week. Which is totally besides the point that they too routinely look completely inept and incompetent for their proximity in the standings to matter. Three errors--one allowing for a Little League home run--a misplay that allowed Carlos Rodon's first inning to snowball, a complete surrender on offense....why would you bet on this team? Why would you leverage assets to bank on a recovery based on what you have seen?

2. Is it fair to wonder what Carlos Rodon's night would have been like if Gordon Beckham got the ball out of his glove, or some of the early grounders he let up found gloves before the inning reached the depths of "two-run Francisco Cervelli triple?" Probably not. Rodon sews his own doom with regularity and challenges himself to shove his way out of it. That he lacked the control to do so in the first inning probably means doom was coming at some point. 

But it would be shame for the spectacle of a first-inning flameout that raised Rodon's ERA over a whole run would draw away the headlines of a total team failure. Maybe that's his greatest sin of the night.

3. A lineup that had Melky Cabrera and his .219 OPS vs. lefties batting in the No. 5 hole against Francisco Liriano, and Carlos Sanchez's sub-.200 SLG batting in the No. 7 hole, probably only had so much potential to make noise, but the Sox still managed to distinguish themselves with a lifeless effort. They were no-hit until Melky of all people led off the fifth with a single, only to be erased by a double play, and Alexei Ramirez beat out an infield single in the seventh. That was it. Those were the hits. 

Things the Sox had more of than hits? Errors, strikeouts in the sixth inning, walks allowed, Hector Noesi innings pitched. All the bad things.

Liriano is a very good pitcher these days and great performances happen, but the Sox have long lost the benefit of the doubt. Their caps are permanently tipped.

4. Hector Noesi got the brakes beat off him for three innings, allowed four runs, three earned on seven booming hits, and really only got off the hook for one of those tallies because of the hockey save Gordon Beckham made on a relay throw to third as Starling Marte advanced on a double. There's nothing much left for Noesi to do on this roster than "take one for the team," but given the inevitability of his departure, the motivation to take a prolonged shelling is rather tortured.

Maybe they should just end the conflict and cut the cord already.

5. Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald identified five White Sox players who could be on the way out, and sadly only about two of them are actual trade targets: Jeff Samardzija and Alexei Ramirez. Both of these guys have been dreadful and have carved their trade value down to their core, but they have track record of being MLB regulars. Ramirez has at least upgraded to just being garden-variety below-average hitting since he was moved up in the batting order, but is now noticeably lagging behind his previous standards for range and being sad in ways besides his bat.

Gregor also identifies Tyler Flowers and Carlos Sanchez, who are more or less doomed to be junked for in-house replacements eventually (Micah Johnson is slap-hitting and slap-fielding in Triple-A again!), but his discussion of the third base position is more like a lament. They tried to use Conor Gillaspie as a platoon bat, but that was bad...Gordon Beckham replaced him, then got'd be nice to give Matt Davidson a chance...but he's bad.

And that's where that position is right now.

6. Avisail Garcia is hitting .113/.264/.333 this month and striking out in 34% of his plate appearances. It's only right that when he starts taking walks and hitting for power is when the approach of swinging at everything with a huge whiff rate starts to break down on him. It's a lot of batted ball noise, but uh, so was his hot start.

7. TCS is obviously very dubious on Robin Ventura's skills as an in-game tactician, and believe his track record shouldn't offer him much benefit of the doubt if the Sox are considering a change. But...the team is obviously not nearly as good as we thought. I certainly wouldn't contest a change in leadership for change's sake, but not to say that the mounting losses call for Ventura's job, or should particularly be warming his hot seat.

We're not learning anything new about Ventura, but perhaps it's just about how long it takes to wear the patience and nerve of those with built-in loyalty for him. 


Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials.


Law enforcement officials believe the hacking was executed by vengeful front-office employees for the Cardinals hoping to wreak havoc on the work of Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ general manager who had been a successful and polarizing executive with the Cardinals until 2011.

But we're not even to the best part!

The intrusion did not appear to be sophisticated, the law enforcement officials said. When Mr. Luhnow was with the Cardinals, the organization built a computer network, called Redbird, to house all of their baseball operations information — including scouting reports and player personnel information. After leaving to join the Astros, and bringing some front-office personnel with him from the Cardinals, Houston created a similar program known as Ground Control.

Here it is:

Investigators believe Cardinals officials, concerned that Mr. Luhnow had taken their idea and proprietary baseball information to the Astros, examined a master list of passwords used by Mr. Luhnow and the other officials who had joined the Astros when they worked for the Cardinals. The Cardinals officials are believed to have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros’ network, law enforcement officials said.

One organization rich in self-adoration for doing things "the right way" is being investigated by the FBI for stealing information, another organization rich in self-adoration for their own perceived brilliance got hacked because they didn't change their passwords.

This is perfection. Who cares what happens the rest of the season?

9. Some optimism for Tuesday night?

Now let's take it all back!

10. The Blackhawks have now won three Stanley Cups since the Sox last made the playoffs. Inviting them to parade around on the field is going to get awkward at some point.

"Hey and here's our 2005 World Series Trophy!"

"Hey, that was the year before Jonathan Toews was drafted!"