AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Say what you want about Ozzie Guillen and how his mouth continues to get him attention on and off the field, but his latest tirade seems to have worked. Despite being in first place a week ago, the White Sox were floundering, generally on offense, and Guillen went off on his lineup, his general manager, maybe even the fabric softener used on the uniforms, who knows? The White Sox haven't lost since, and fantasy owners are certainly pleased.
On Monday the White Sox finished off a four-game sweep of the beleaguered Twins and took all seven games on the home stand. Chicago's pitching has been strong all season, with Gavin Floyd and John Danks emerging, joining ace Javier Vazquez and a rejuvenated Jose Contreras, while the bullpen is a major strength. The offense, however, had basically been Carlos Quentin and not much else.
Nick Swisher entered Monday hitting .221 with six home runs before swatting home runs from each side of the plate against the Twins, while also taking a few walks. Swisher began the day owned in 37.9 percent of ESPN standard mixed leagues, a far cry from his draft position in round 13, but he's hitting .387 during his eight-game hitting streak and is bound to become more popular again. Paul Konerko registered two hits in each of the first three games against the Twins, then capped things Monday with a key seventh-inning home run. Joe Crede was named co-AL Player of the Week (with Milton Bradley) after hitting .611 for the week with 12 RBIs, and twice over the weekend he delivered a multi-home run game. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera got four hits to raise his batting average 12 points, and while Alexei Ramirez went just 1-for-5, he raised his batting average nearly 80 points in a week.
Whether Guillen had anything to do with all this offensive lunacy or not is problematic, but the signs of an offensive turnaround are clearly evident. The White Sox scored 61 runs on the homestand, nearly nine per game, and batted .347 in that span, slugging 19 home runs. Incredibly, only one White Sox regular failed to hit better than .200 over the past week. It was Quentin. He gets a pass though, as he's on pace for 42 home runs and 142 RBIs. Now he's got some teammates helping him out.
And it all started with a tirade.
Evan Longoria, Rays
Longoria enjoyed the first multi-home-run game of his career, with shots off Joe Saunders and Darren Oliver, both lefties. Entering the game, Longoria had struggled against southpaws, hitting .149 with no home runs in 47 at-bats.
Mark Hendrickson, Marlins
Besides getting historically posterized by Griffey's home run, Hendrickson suffered his fourth consecutive poor outing. His ERA has shot up from the 3.72 it was on May 20 to 5.76 after Monday night.
"The Rangers' front office pays a great deal of attention to the numbers. So I'm sure they realized that Ponson was unlikely to continue pitching well enough to maintain a 3.88 ERA. In his good years, [Sidney] Ponson was a power pitcher. This year he's struck out 25 hitters in 56 innings. His 1.56 WHIP is higher than his career average."
-- Rob Neyer Full Story
• Rickie Weeks landed on the DL with a sprained knee, opening the door for a Joe Dillon-Craig Counsell platoon at second base. The Brewers weren't getting much from Weeks at the plate, though he was on pace for 115 runs scored, 19 home runs and 27 steals. That .210 batting average and .325 on-base percentage isn't helpful, though. Dillon hits lefties, though the Brewers aren't scheduled to face a southpaw until Saturday. The benched Bill Hall could also figure in at second base. Hernan Iribarren was called up from Triple-A Nashville.
• After suffering a concussion nearly three weeks ago and batting 19 times since, with four hits, Ryan Church was finally placed on the DL, retroactive to Friday. The reeling Mets will likely activate Moises Alou from the DL and hope he can play regularly.
• Tyler Clippard was called up from Triple-A Columbus and lost Monday's game for Washington against Matt Cain and the Giants. The fella who started Sunday's game for the Nationals, Garrett Mock, also lost, and he was sent back to the minors. Clippard might be next, after allowing five hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
• Clay Buchholz started the game for Pawtucket, allowing six hits and two runs over three innings. Buchholz has made four starts in the minors since coming off the DL with a broken fingernail. The Red Sox don't seem in any hurry to get him back, and Justin Masterson might be joining Buchholz at Pawtucket as soon as Daisuke Matsuzaka comes off the DL.
• The Mets might want to take a look at Chris Aguila in the outfield after he hit his 17th home run for Triple-A New Orleans Monday, knocking in five runs with a 5-for-5 night. Aguila has eight home runs and 20 RBIs in his past 10 games. Yes, this is the same singles hitter who did very little in the Marlins outfield as a part-timer from 2004-06, but he's playing well and hitting for power now.