Caveat: I have been told I am of the dour persuasion when it comes to my fandom. But the silver lining to, "Man, this team hasn't looked like a competitor this year," should not be, "Well, even if they were a competitor, Ventura would just sabotage them anyway."
1. David Robertson was signed for $46 million this past offseason, and the White Sox surrendered a draft pick for his services. Yet Ventura is dead set on only using him in save situations, meaning that yesterday Dan Jennings was left in to throw 3.2 innings while the team's best reliever sat in the bullpen doing nothing. Jennings did better than anyone could realistically have hoped, but "hope for the best possible outcome despite overwhelming odds against it" is a poor strategic approach. In related news, the White Sox lost 7-6 in 13 innings.
If someone has evidence to the contrary, please present it to me, but there is no real reason to give Ventura the benefit of the doubt given his zero experience and objectively horrid performance. Four years later it is unclear what - if anything - he brings to the table other than clearing the miserably low bar of, "Well, he doesn't seem like a jerk?"
2. The offense actually managed to score six runs! They still lost, but Eaton and Melky continue their long slogs to repair their season-long numbers, each with two hits, and Eaton with a walk.
3. Tyler Saladino has gotten off to a good start, hitting .304 (albeit empty) over a tiny sample while showing plus defense at 3B. Apparently this is finally the straw that broke the camel's back as Conor Gillaspie was DFA'd today to make room for Matt Albers who returns from the DL.
The staff here really wanted Gillaspie to succeed - and while arguments can be made that there are others more deserving of getting the axe, he just hasn't hit well enough to carry his horrid glove and that's really not a winning combination. I will say that I'm surprised they didn't use his plantar fasciitis as an excuse to DL him instead of exposing him to being claimed, but I suppose there isn't much reason for anyone to scoop him up.
Watch - St. Louis will pick him up, play him at 1B and have him mash for the second half. Either way, given how disastrous several positions have been this year, this is sadly one of the biggest roster moves all season. It's jarring how exciting it is to have someone - anyone - new and alive-looking out there, even if his ceiling is probably utility guy.
4. Avisail Garcia got the day off, and his surrogate J.B. Shuck would go 2/5 with a walk. Given how much better Shuck is defensively, it's troubling that he may just be a better all around player period. For a team that is desperate for offense and has struggled so mightily defensively, Shuck's .348 OBP and competent glove could probably stand to get more playing time. Unless you've already given up on the season you might as well keep exploring any possibility that Avisail is an asset moving forward - which is fine - but if you're still trying to compete, Shuck may be the superior option.
Avisail would wind up pinch hitting for Flowers - necessitating the deployment of Soto as well. This is another rather confusing move on Ventura's part, as the upgrade from Flowers to Avisail seems marginal at best at this point, and it torched half the bench in one go.
5. On a lighter note, Alexei Ramirez had a plus day on both sides of the ball, turning a slick double play in the first while going 2/4 at the plate with a walk and a sac fly thrown in for good measure. I will take this opportunity to once again predict he is the shortstop in 2016 and reiterate that I think that's probably the correct decision.
6. Matt Albers only threw 5.1 innings in a White Sox uniform before he broke a finger in the brawl with Kansas City, but he was pitching effectively up to that point. Not nearly as effectively as his ERA would indicate, but effectively in the sense that he would have been a godsend in 2014. This gives Ventura four right-handed relievers that he can plausibly use in medium-to-high leverage situations.
7. Looking around at the division, Cleveland has still failed to get into gear, joining the White Sox as a huge disappointment this year. Detroit is finally showing signs of its age and shallow roster as injuries and attrition are exposing their weaknesses. Minnesota essentially has a winning record and positive run differential solely as a gift from the White Sox in their head-to-head matchups where for some reason in those games Chicago still insists on playing like confused and uncoordinated children.
The AL was wide open this year. Damn.
8. #8 overall draft pick Carson Fulmer made his professional debut for the White Sox. Kim Contreras with Future Sox covered the event. It's worth reading the whole article, but to sum up it was a very successful day. One constant around Fulmer seems to be that he is a really likable guy. I don't imagine he winds up throwing many innings this year, as he pitched about as much as one can without being abused this college season, but Fulmer's development may have a large impact on a lot of the team's decisions moving forward.
9. Spencer Adams, last year's 2nd round pick and one of the White Sox' best prospects, has been promoted from Low A Kannapolis to High A Winstom-Salem. His strikeout rate has taken a step back this year, but he's only 19 and he still never walks anybody. He was three years younger than his peers at Kannapolis, and he moves up to an older league.
10. It's Chris Sale Day! Man, wouldn't it be nice if the White Sox actually just crushed a team? They have only won 6 games by 5+ runs all season - meanwhile, they have lost 15 games by 5 or more runs...2015 hasn't been much fun. Dan Duffy will take the ball for the Royals. He's not very good, but that doesn't seem to matter much.
The White Sox are 16-27 against the AL Central. With only 63 games remaining, if they want to have any prayer at all they need to stop getting smoked by the teams they play the most often.
Follow The Catbird Seat on Twitter @TheCatbird_Seat and Nick @Nick_TCS.