By Daniel I. Dorfman–
CHICAGO (WSCR) You have to give some credit to the White Sox for creativity. At least they find different ways to lose to the Minnesota Twins.
The losses themselves are inevitable. Eight straight wins for Minnesota, the Twins winning 27 out of the last 33 including a 13-2 mark in their last 15 games at U.S. Cellular Field all speak for themselves. The Sox don’t appear capable of beating the Twins and both teams know that, so watching these games is similar to a horror movie. You know something bad is going to happen, you just don’t know when.
The latest example being Thursday night’s exercise in futility. Philip Humber, who has been terrific all season, tosses his worst game of the year surrendering six runs on 11 hits over 3.2 innings. On the day he gets the All-Star game nod, Paul Konerko goes 0-for-3 and costs his team a run on a strange play when he tries to catch Joe Mauer rounding first after a hit, and throws the ball away. Speaking of Mauer, in his career debut as a first basmeman, he proceeded to put on a clinic on how to play the position. Naturally, he does that against the Sox. Finally, the game ends with catcher Drew Butera making a nice catch going into the stands.
So there were new elements to last night’s loss, but it was pretty much the same formula that has been on display time and again in this “rivalry.” The Twins take advantage of opportunities and the Sox don’t. Wasn’t it amazing watching the Twins play get ’em on, get ’em over and get ’em in last night? It stood in stark contrast to the Sox who are hitting .239 collectively with runners in scoring position this year and have failed, repeatedly, to get even a fly ball when it was necessary to plate a run.
The larger point remains the Sox are destined to be a very expensive .500 team this year, giving no indication they can play steady winning baseball.
If Sox management wants to try and salvage this season, they should use the All-Star Break to shake up the roster a little bit. They are not going to be able to make massive changes, given the huge contracts on the team, but something needs to be done to shake up what seems to be a tired formula.
If that means bringing up Dayan Viciedo, do it. Yes, playing at Triple–A (where Viciedo is hitting .324 with 16 homers) is a lot different than hitting in the majors. But at this point what do the Sox have to lose? There is no reason why someone can’t be moved to get Viciedo some playing time. I recognize that might require swallowing some money, such as Mark Teahan’s contract, but the Sox have to placate a disappointed fan base in some shape or form.
The Los Angeles Angels are bringing up 19-year-old Mike Trout, labeled one of the top prospects in the game, to add some zest to their team. Isn’t it worth a try for the Sox to do something along those lines? There are no guarantees with Trout, Viciedo or anyone else, but standing still isn’t working either.
The Sox have these next games against the Twins and who knows what unpleasantness awaits? Then on to the All-Star Break. Sox management should take advantage of the days and make changes. They are needed.
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Daniel I. Dorfman is a local freelance writer who has written and reported for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe among many other nationally prominent broadcast, online and print media organizations. He is also a researcher for 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDorfman To read more of Daniel’s blogs click here.