Beyond Frustration: The White Sox Have the Tigers’ Number

IMG00003-20100518-1351.jpgAdding insult to the injury of the Tigers’ loss yesterday to the White Sox, I attended an event at my son’s school and saw this new plaque next to the pre-school playground.

Paul Konerko is a Scottsdale native so it’s nice to see him giving back — and you should see this playground: awesome. It didn’t sting as much because for once Konerko didn’t homer in the game.

And so the Tigers lost again to the White Sox, the 54th time at Comerica Park since it opened 10 years ago, and, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index, since 2005 the Tigers are 34-59 against the White Sox … 25 games under .500. (FYI: Over that same span they’re 47-52 against the Twins.)

What is going on here? Why do the White Sox have the Tigers’ number? I wish I had an answer. I wish Jim Leyland had an answer. You just know Ozzie Guillen does.

Let’s face it: The Tigers cannot beat the White Sox when it counts (i.e., the final weekend of the 2009 season when they lost three of four in the most moribund series in memory) or when it doesn’t — like yesterday when the Tigers left nine men on base and Rick Porcello looked, at times, more like Rickety Porcello. Other points of utter frustration include:

  • The Tigers always seem to make pitchers like Freddy Garcia look 10 years younger.
  • On cold, damp days the Tigers’ offense stays in the cozy clubhouse while the Sox come out swinging as if it were 80 and sunny.
  • A single bone-headed move — like Brennan Boesch‘s failure to score on a ground ball to first — can turn the game in Chicago’s favor…and usually does.
  • The mere presence of Ozzie, A.J. Pierzynski and Bobby Jenks. Thankfully there’s now Jermaine Dye to torment us this year.

This year’s Tigers team is hanging around the top of the Central division through a savory mix of ingredients, not the least of which is luck. If they want to stay in the race into September they better figure out a way to gin up some of that luck against the lousy teams in their division — and right now that includes everyone except the Twins.

Or the White Sox, at least when they’re playing the Tigers.

The Non-Sequiturs return!

This morning I’m engaged in the highest form of multi-tasking: waiting for a conference call to begin, watching Jeremy Bonderman ease into and out of his standard first-inning high-wire act, and writing this post. Impressed? Thought not.Nevertheless, back from a long siesta here are the Non-Sequiturs:I called it. Sorta. During the pre-season podcast roundtable – the one that never “aired” due to technical issues – I asked my esteemed panel of guests to name their respective Tigers player to watch during 2007. My choice? Magglio Ordonez. I just had a gut feeling that he was poised to build off of his ALCS vibes. Has he ever. I think it’s safe to assume Ordonez will be an All Star this year whether or not he’s voted in or not. I’ll see if I can scare-up that sound bite…The Casey HR Watch. So here we are at Memorial Day weekend, an unofficial milestone in the major league baseball season, and Tigers’ first baseman Sean Casey has yet to go yard. Methinks we should start a pool for when he’ll first reach the seats. Anyone interested? Winner gets a Fungo T-shirt, a podcast T-shirt and another goodie from the Fungo bookshelf. To get things started, I say he goes yard on June 1 at Cleveland. My second guess, in case you’re wondering, Sept. 12 against Texas.Curious glove work. I just saw that Meijer is giving away Gary Sheffield gloves at Comerica Park one game this weekend. Why give away the glove of the full-time DH?Speaking of Sheff… Ernie Harwell, doing the TV call with Mario Impemba today, said that he read Sheffield’s autobiography and thinks it’s one of the best player-“written” books he’s ever read.Tigers punchless at first. We mentioned Casey’s power woes earlier. You have to believe that Dave Dombrowski has noticed the production the Tigers’ division rivals get from first base:

  • Tigers: Casey – .255 avg., 0 HR, 10 RBI, .312 OBP, .319 SLG
  • Indians: Ryan Garko – .325 avg., 6 HR, 15 RBI, .377 OBP, .516 SLG
  • Twins: Justin Morneau – .282 avg., 14 HR, 33 RBI, .358 OBP, .576 SLG
  • White Sox: Paul Konerko – .213 avg., 6 HR, 21 RBI, .308 OBP, .369 SLG
  • Royals: A platoonish arrangement of Ross Gload and Ryan Shealy (combined stats) – .254 avg., 4 HR, 28 RBI, .298 OBP, .394 SLG

Lynn Henning thinks the Tigers will target a first baseman at the trade deadline. They have to, don’t they?Feliz cumpleaños, Jose. Surely you sent warm birthday wishes to Jose Mesa on Wednesday, right? Hello? One thing’s for sure, he didn’t pitch any better at 41 than he did in the waning days of 40. Here’s the skinny on his last five outings: 12.46 ERA (4.1 IP/6 ER), 7 H, 3 BB, 2 SO. Stellar!By the by… Here’s the line for Jason Grilli over his last five appearances: 7.45 ERA (9.2 IP / 8 ER), 16 H, BB, 8 SO.That’s enough from me.What do you think?