Frankie O's Blog: No Fooling

Frankie O's Blog: No Fooling

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted: 10:52 a.m.

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Given the date of this post, I was seriously considering writing about a Cubs-Sox World Series and then ending with the two words that would be appropriate. But having a child with said date as their birthday, Ive come to learn that the trick ending with the negative twist is not usually a crowd pleaser. Being a man of the people, Im nothing if not a pleaser! Ive found that indifference or outright denial, and then having something positive occur out of nowhere is much more fun. (Also making me a cool dad!)
While I cant claim indifference here, I have a vested interest, I can be honest in that I do not expect a Red-Line Series come October. That being said, this kinder, gentler Frankie O (Going third person never gets old!) can see a lot of positives happening here in Chicago on the local diamonds.

Of course, on the southside, there is a lot of expectation, since, as the team has reminded us in their advertising campaign, they are All in. What makes me optimistic is that this year they also have a D.H. (In fact my advertising campaign for them would be: The Chicago White Sox. Were putting the hitter back in the designated hitter! P.S. Good guys wear black!) I know that Mark Kotsay hit the hardest .239 that folks in these parts have ever seen, but enough is enough. The addition of Adam Dunn has Sox fans very excited. And with good reason, hes a run-producing machine. Something else I notice about him in this age of enhancement is the fact that he has averaged over 158 games played during the last 7 seasons. Thats not typical lately of large, power guys. Not saying, just saying. So it should be safe to pencil in the 38 homers and 100 RBI that he has averaged in that span. (2 choices here: Frankie O kiss of death! or, How you like your Kotsay now?!!)

Its hard to remember in the disappointment of how last season ended, that for most of the year this was a very good team, albeit a streaky one. After a 24-33 start, that left them almost double-digits out of first place, they finished the year on a torrid 64-41 stretch. Included in this was the 20-5 that put them back in the race and then the collapse down the stretch. Ill try not to remember September and focus on the beginning. Pennants arent won in April and May, but because of this teams performance during that time last year, the ability to win one was definitely lost. In fact the Sox have made a habit of getting out to slow starts recently. I do not think that will be the case this year. The increased payroll and advertising campaign are telling us thats not an option. The fact that the competition at the top of the division with the Tigers and Twins is expected to be microscopic close also behooves them to jump out early. The X-factor in all of this will be Jake Peavy.

His ability to come back from a detached muscle in his right (pitching) shoulder, I think will determine their fate. They are a good team without him, but they are a title contender with him. I have to admit, I dont really feel good about his situation so far. Its confusing to me about who is in charge. How does he get sick, then not touch a ball for over a week, then be allowed to throw over 80 pitches? Which then results in his being put on the DL since he now has shoulder tendinitis? This to me tells of the urgency to get off to a good start that is being felt by everyone in the organization. All in!!

On the northside, things are a little harder to figure. The realist in me wants to say 4th place in the central, but who saw the Padres 90 win season at this time a year ago? The Padres gagged the division and missed the playoffs by a game, but thats not the point. Every year there are one or two teams that come out of nowhere and are in the mix until the end. The way the Cubs finished last year under Mike Quade, pardon me Lou, left a lot of Cubs fans feeling all giddy about their chances this year. Not to burst bubbles, but did you notice that the Astros and Orioles finished with very similar 50 game records to end the season as the Cubs last year? How do you feel about the Astros or Orioles chances this year? I thought so.

Personally, I see this as a bridge year to the true vision of the new ownership regime. About 50 million will be coming off the books after this season. Increased revenue will be coming the Cubs way after their new facility is built in Mesa. Building a state-of-the-art training academy in the Dominican Republic should hopefully help mine that talent rich region for future stars. And we all know that every possible way to increase the revenue stream at Wrigley Field is being considered. These things are all related. The number one goal needs to be to put a winning product on the field. This will enable many of the things that ownership wants to accomplish, off the field, to happen. While you definitely need to spend to win in this game, true success is sustained if you can grow your own talent.

As much as I love my Phillies spending cash to acquire and retain top-notch talent, Im not very optimistic where they are going to be in a few years since they have pillaged their farm system in the process. Aside from my stated preference that they break the bank to get Albert Pujols, it would be very prudent if the Cubs were able hit the reset button, and grow a little slow. I know, theres the whole 103 year thing and all, and the urgency that it brings to the faithful, but the Marlins (or Yankees) way of just buying a title is not going to happen here. Just look at the Soriano and Zambrano contracts to understand why. Starlin Castro is the real deal and a good start.

I think Andrew Cashner and Tyler Colvin have bright futures. I cant wait to see Brett Jackson in the outfield later this summer. Having them learn their craft around such solid pros as Ryan Dempster and Marlon Byrd is a good thing. (And having them surround Pujols next year would be a great one! Not to mention having it buy more time. Sorry, cant help myself.) Dumping a malcontent such as Carlos Silva has earned a lot of respect. It seems as though the Cubs have been dealing with that issue in several different forms over the years.

I take this as a sign that the ownership wants to do it the right way. I have no problem with that, its their money. The issue is that you do not win with good intentions. You win with talent and motivated talent at that. This year I get the good vibe and the motivation that come with the new Quade era, how could you not? But in the end, for this year, it is going to take more than that alone. The times, they are a changing, but sometimes, its the same as it ever was.

So where does that leave us? Full of anticipation I hope. Why ruin the upcoming season with a lot of doom and gloom speculation? Baseball, more than any other sport, is a novel we cant put down. Its full of plot twists and surprises. Heroes and villains. Thats why we watch, well that and fantasy addictions. But its all about the ending. And as much as anyone wants to tell you they know, they dont. So feel free to dream a little dream. If you think that a Chicago World Series is possible, go ahead and think it. Reality will rear its pesky head soon enough. And remember this, If I was to tell you, with a straight face, on this day last year that the post-season (and subsequent off-season) was going to be dominated by a freakish black beard, you would have surely looked at me and replied, April Fools!

Avisail Garcia busts out of mini-slump in White Sox win

Avisail Garcia busts out of mini-slump in White Sox win

Avisail Garcia’s longest mini-slump of the season ended against his former team on Friday night.

Guessing nobody in Detroit is surprised.

The former player came back to haunt his old team yet again as Garcia’s three-run double put the White Sox ahead for good. Combined with five good innings from Mike Pelfrey against the team that cut him in March, the White Sox toppled the Detroit Tigers 8-2 in front of 17,842 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Pelfrey allowed two runs (one earned) and Matt Davidson and Melky Cabrera both homered in support as the White Sox snapped a three-game losing streak.

Prior to the third inning, Garcia had gone hitless in 13 at-bats dating back to his final plate appearance in Saturday night’s blowout win over Seattle. The four games without a hit (he was intentionally walked in his only plate appearance Tuesday) is the longest Garcia has gone without a knock in what has begun to look like a breakout season.

Despite still feeling the effects of a flu that sidelined him Tuesday, Garcia broke out of his slump in a big way. With the bases loaded and two outs in the third, Garcia ripped a 1-0 changeup from Detroit’s Tyler Boyd into the left-field corner to score all three runners and give the White Sox a 3-1 lead. Cabrera and Jose Abreu both singled with two outs and Todd Frazier walked ahead of the double, which exited Garcia’s bat at 114.5 mph, the 24th hardest-hit ball this season in the majors, according to BaseballSavant.com.

Garcia also bounced a pair of singles through the left side to finish 3-for-5. Acquired from the Tigers in July 2013 as part of the three-way deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox, Garcia is slashing .295/.338/.481 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs against his former team in 228 plate appearances.

While Garcia broke out of his mini-slumber, Abreu stayed hot with three singles, all of which were rockets off his bat. He finished 3-for-5.

Cabrera has also begun to heat up and finished 3-for-5. His two-out RBI single in the sixth and three-run homer in the eighth provided the White Sox with plenty of margin for error. Davidson’s homer in the sixth inning, his ninth, made it a 4-2 game. He finished with two hits for the White Sox, who had 14.

Pelfrey looked good in a second straight start. He followed up a six-inning effort at Seattle by limiting a Detroit lineup sans Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera to four hits. Pelfrey walked one and struck out seven in an 86-pitch performance.

It’s the first time Pelfrey faced the Tigers since they cut him near the end of spring training. Pelfrey went 4-10 with a 5.07 ERA in 24 games (22 starts) for Detroit in 2016 and was in the final season of a two-year, $16-million deal when they released him on March 30. The White Sox signed the veteran right-hander to a minor-league deal on April 5. He improved to 2-4 and lowered his ERA to 4.41.

Chris Beck, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle and Gregory Infante combined for four scoreless innings to close it out.

Preview: Charlotte Knights battle Buffalo Bisons tonight on CSN+

Preview: Charlotte Knights battle Buffalo Bisons tonight on CSN+

CSN's coverage of the Charlotte Knights continues on Saturday night as the Knights will host the Buffalo Bisons at 6 p.m. on CSN+.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

White Sox No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada, who landed on the 7-day DL on May 18, makes his return to the Knights lineup this weekend.

It's the fourth of eight games that CSN will televise over the next two months to give fans an opportunity to watch the future of the White Sox.

Check out the rest of the television schedule here.