Monday, May 17, 2010
By Chuck Garfien
Six weeks into the baseball season, the word being heard most around Minneapolis and its seemingly unstoppable Twins is believe.
In Detroit, where they lost Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco, and Edwin Jackson in the off-season, but have quickly found new life thanks to young phenoms like Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch, theres new-found hope.
But here in Chicago, where since Opening Day the White Sox have remained stuck in a tedious square dance (one step forward, two steps back), the word being uttered over and over again is that of frustration.
I think everybody is frustrated, said Sox reliever J.J. Putz, speaking by phone Monday from Comerica Park where the Sox have a quick two-game series with those hopeful Tigers, who just took 5 of 7 from the Yankees and Red Sox.
Putz signed a 1-year, 3 million dollar contract with the White Sox this past winter, thinking hed be a bullpen bridge to many victories in 2010. But so far, theyve been few and far between.
Whats the answer? J.J. wish he knew.
It just seems like we cant find a rhythm to get any kind of ball rolling. Its extremely frustrating but at the same time I dont think anyone has lost confidence in one another, so thats a positive. If we just win three or four in a row and just kind of get a little momentum going I think well be fine, but thats easier said than done.
The Sox have won back-to-back games just twice this season, and not since April 25th when they swept the Mariners in three games.
Since then, theyve gone 7-11, which sounds good if youre thirsty for a drink and looking for a convenience store, but not if youre Kenny Williams, a man who has become parched watching potential victories routinely dry up.
The biggest culprit has been the offense, which remains last in the American League in hitting (.238), and has gone four games with just one extra-base hit (a solo home run Sunday by Alex Rios).
Sunday, Gavin Floyd continued his season-long struggles, giving up five runs on 10 hits to the last-place Royals, who are now 7-and-1 against Floyd in his career.
Are guys too tight?
Putz joked that his hamstrings are, but acknowledged that the players know the clock is ticking.
I think people are a little more anxious to get going in the right direction. In the beginning we said, Its still early, its still early. But now were getting towards June here, so I think theres a little more sense of urgency to get things going in the right direction.
Does he see a winning streak coming?
It seems like its bound to. I dont think it can keep going like this for too much longer.
If it does, thats where Trader Kenny comes in. Putz, an experienced set-up man and closer could be a target for a playoff contender, which is what the White Sox are supposed to be. Who knows? They still might.
Life can throw you curve balls. Just ask J.J.
The Detroit-area native is back in his hometown, his team desperate for wins against the team he grew up idolizing.
His favorite player was former Tigers great Lance Parrish.
I grew up a catcher, and always had the Lance Parrish Tiger orange (leather) on the inside of my glove, Putz remembers.
He also recalls being 7-years-old, watching the Tigers win their last World Series at his grandparents house in 1984.
My parents were actually at the clinching game.
Were you jealous?
I am now. Back then, I didnt really understand. I think I was just happy the game was over so I could go to bed.
26 years later, Putz finds himself back in Detroit, with 23 tickets reserved for friends and family, pitching for a White Sox team that needs to wake upand fast.
Weve definitely lost our fair share of games, one-run games, two-run games where we just havent done that one little thing in that game. Hopefully good days are ahead.
Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.