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White Sox: 2008 AL Central Champs
2008-09-30 19:31
by Scott Long

I haven't discussed baseball much here because I have been too emotional. My White Sox commentary during this past week, was like an R-rated version of Hawk Harrelson.  This is why I didn't think it was the best idea to post anything.

The Sox haven't been the same since the injuries to Carlos Quentin and Joe Crede, but they will have a slugger's chance against the playoff-novice roster of the Tampa Rays. The past 3 days have featured elimination games for the White Sox.  It was starting pitching which pushed them through, so that is what I will focus on here.

It seems like an annual tradition here that I heap praise on Mark Buerhle.  He isn't the best pitcher in baseball, but he's been the most consistent over his 8 full seasons in the Majors.  All 8 years he has pitched over 200 innings and has achieved double figures in wins.  Besides his one below average year (2006), Buerhle has put up ERA's between 3.29 to 4.14.  He has 6 seasons with an ERA under 3.90.  At the age of 29, he has a lifetime record of 122-87. He is one of the best fielders at his position, with one of the best pickoff moves in the game.  No pitcher works faster and I would argue that no pitcher has more fun in the dugout on his days off.  I wouldn't be shocked if Buerhle ends up being the Jaime Moyer of his generation, pitching well into his mid-40's.  Considering that Moyer was just 34-54 at the age of 29, Buerhle has a good chance of having the highest win-total of any pitcher who began his career this decade. 

When the White Sox traded Freddy Garcia, the main player in the deal was getting prospect Gio Gonzalez back from the Phillies.  Some said Gavin Floyd was a throw-in part of the deal, but from day 1 as a White Sox, the front office confidently stated they thought he would be a quality starter.  At the age of 25, Floyd has put together a huge year, with a 17-8 record and a 3.84 ERA.   In a year where Kenny Williams has been lauded by the non-haters for stealing away 2 potential superstars in Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez, let's not forget about the great deal which brought Floyd to Chicago...

...Oh and also the trade for John Danks.  During the 2007 off-season, Williams traded 2 of his starting pitchers (Garcia and Brandon McCarthy) for 4 young hurlers. (Floyd, Gonzalez, Danks, and Nick Massett) Hopefully Danks' lights-out performance tonight will introduce him to a national audience, as he has been the Sox best starting pitcher for 2008.  His 3.32 ERA was 5th best in the AL and it was done in the second highest scoring park in Majors. (Only the Ranger's Ameriquest Field put up more crooked numbers on their scoreboard.) 

So if you didn't guess, I'm ecstatic right now.  I'm not expecting to advance past the first round, but the playoffs are a new season and the Rays don't have a starting player or pitcher with any real post-season experience.  October baseball started on September 28 for the White Sox.  The best part of the season is ahead of me, as I'm guaranteed not to have to watch another game at the Metrodome.  It doesn't feel like 2005, but hey, who knows. 

2008-09-30 21:12:00
1.   Mattpat11
Funny enough, that description of Buerhle kind of reminded me of Mike Mussina.
2008-10-01 09:37:48
2.   Scott Long
Mussina is good comparison. A poor man's Tom Glavine is another one. Andy Pettitte is the best one==great pickoff move, lefty, consistent. If Buerhle was a Yankee, he would be revered.

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