Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Kenny Caught the Katy

April is over, which is bad news for Esteban Loaiza.

"2005 was a fluke. The Sox got lucky with their pitching staff. Kenny Williams gave up too much by trading Chris Young for Javier Vazquez. Thome won't be a good fit in Chicago. Paulie ain't comin' back. The Indians are gonna run away with the division."

During the offseason, we heard these types of things when people spoke of the White Sox. Everyone quickly credited last season's success to a temporary case of pitching dominance and team chemistry. "No way it could happen again," they all said. It was really, really easy to bash the defending champs.

But here we are, in May, with the Sox leading the division. We had some spare time, so we decided to crunch some numbers to see if we could get a better idea of how the 2006 team is shaping up.

First, we compared the team's performance to other MLB powerhouses during the first month of the season, and here is what we found.

The Sox lineup is batting .285 (4th best in baseball), has scored 149 runs (also 4th), has hit 34 taters (11th), is slugging .460 (7th), and has an OBP of .362 (5th).

Those are solid offensive numbers. Near the top in most of the major categories.

As for pitching, the Sox are in the top 10 in ERA, WHIP, and Saves, even though they aren't striking out very many batters. But the staff, as a whole, is getting the job done. It seems like for every pitching bad, there is a pitching good: Buehrle has a few rough outings; but Contreras is still unhittable. Garland struggles; but the bullpen shows improvement. "First Inning" Freddy tests positive for marijuana; but Vazquez is lights out.

Kenny dealt away a top prospect, but he left the Sox a mule to ride.

We hope everyone out there realizes just how good Javier Vazquez has been this year. He is looking a lot like 2003 Javier Vazquez, which means that he could be a force to be reckoned with, considering the additional run support that the Sox lineup can provide him. His peripherals are pretty similar to that '03 campaign, and apart from that 5th inning against Toronto back in April, his season line looks like this:
3 W, 0 L, 1.97 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 6.47 K/9, 2.88 K/BB.
In other words, lights out.

The Cuban can also deal.

Jose Contreras has been getting the job done as well. Sure, he probably is a little older than he says he is, but when you're pitching the way he has been for the past, say, 20 starts, it doesn't really matter how old you are. Which also makes us wonder about Albert Pujols. Offcially, he is 26 years old. But when you look at him, he has the old-man-strength of a healthy 45-year-old, which makes us wonder if Albert didn't do a little tinkering with the old DR birth certificate.

Too much pie, that's his problem.

Splish-Splash looks bigger every time we see him. He's listed at 6-7 and 290 pounds, which is nose-tackle size. Supposedly, he's the "biggest" pitcher in the majors. In comparison, Sir Sidney Ponson is a featherweight at 6-1 250, and even perennial donut Bartolo Colon doesn't come close.

This ain't normal. It might not even be legal...

Some 33 year old guy in Malaysia married some 104 year old woman. While the marriage is his first, it's her 21st time tying the knot. Apparently, the happy new bride has been on a life-long quest to have sex with more people than legendary pervert Wilt Chamberlain, ever since she found out that Wilt was the only player in NBA history to block one of Lew Alcindor's famous "Sky Hook" shots. After that fateful moment, she vowed to have sex with as many men as she could, in hopes of surpassing Will's staggering "20,000 women claim."

We wish her all the best.


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