Sunday, August 21, 2005

Junkees Take Two From Struggling Sox

I know Junkee fans are ready to get excited about beating the AL's best team two out of three. They ought to take a closer look at some of the factors in play here:

- It's no coincidence that the White Sox' biggest slide of the year came with Scott Podsednik on the shelf. No offense to Timo Perez, but their offense was shot without Podsednik. The guy is about as big a table-setter as there is in the majors today. This series reminded me of the '01 ALCS. The Yankees were able to keep Ichiro off base, and just like that the 116-win juggernaut called the Seattle Mariners became just another footnote in the oblivion of baseball history. This series, the Yanks had it better than back in '01: they didn't even have to face Podsednik, who helped win the rubber game of the last Yanks-White Sox series. And even John Flaherty (in a pre-game interview) admitted that it was a huge factor in the series. So the Yanks caught a break. They caught a tail-spinning White Sox team, and were able to take full advantage of that. And by hitting 4 HR off Johnson, the White Sox didn't quite win today's game the Ozzieball way.

With that in mind, Sunday's loss is a big embarrassment for the Junkees. Johnson stunk again, giving up home runs like they were going out of style. Randy Johnson is probably the biggest high-profile disappointment the Junkees have acquired in a long, long time.

- And here's hoping Shawn Chacon turns out to be another Javier Vazquez. Vazquez also started off hot when he switched leagues. Heck, most fans forget that Snorre put him on the '04 All-Star team. Then again, anyone in pinstripes has a chance to go when Snorre's manager. Anyway, once AL batters got used to Vazquez, he struggled, his mechanics got screwed up, and his Yankee career was over.

Most people facing Chacon have never seen the guy before. The guy has very good stuff. So of course people will struggle, having never seen him. Maybe Chacon can go till the end of the year baffling hitters like he currently is. But will it last in '06? There's a good chance it won't.

- One more point on Chacon: If Snorre were smart, he would put this guy in the pen. Sturtze and Gordon are tired, and Chacon has had lots of bullpen experience. Heck, he even saved 25 games for the Rockies a few years ago. Aaron Small has never had bullpen experience, and it cost the Yankees Wednesday night. If Snorre is so set on on keeping old man Al Leiter in the rotation, he may as well put Chacon's relief-experienced arm in the pen. But instead, he's letting Aaron Small turn into Sterling Hitchcock. A job well done, Snorre.

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