What Went Wrong

After winning a Wild Card slot in 2020 and running away with the Central Division title in 2021, the White Sox looked like an easy lock to make a third straight post-season appearance this October.  Unfortunately, something (or somethings) went wrong along the way and after a long season where nothing ever seemed to click, the team was officially eliminated on Sunday after dropping six straight against the Guardians and the Tigers.  So where did things fall apart?  Let’s take a deeper look.

Injuries

After injuries rocked the White Sox in 2021, they revamped their strength and conditioning staff, hoping a new program would help stem the tide.  Unfortunately, the lockout prevented the new staff from working with the players, leaving them to their own devices.  GM Rick Hahn said in June that, between the lockout and the shortened spring training, the new program “got stymied a little bit this offseason” and that it would “be difficult in-season to perhaps change the results over the next few weeks and months in terms of health.”  Boy, was he not kidding.

Things started at the end of spring training, when lefty reliever Garrett Crochet went down for the year with an elbow injury requiring Tommy John surgery.  Two days later, starter Lance Lynn left his final spring tune-up with a bum knee, putting him on the shelf until the middle of June.  Finally, before the White Sox arrived in Detroit for their season opener, Yoan Moncada suffered an oblique strain that knocked him out for a month and may have sunk his entire season.  Relief pitcher Joe Kelly, signed during the offseason, also started the season on the IL rehabbing an injury from the year before and wasn’t activated until May.

Outfielder AJ Pollock left the second game of the year with a hamstring injury, missing over three weeks.  The same day, Lucas Giolito was placed on the IL with an abdominal strain, keeping him out for nearly two weeks.  The day he was activated, Eloy Jimenez was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring suffered that day against the Twins.  It would be two and a half months before he returned.  This was all before the calendar turned to May!

Things never let up.  Andrew Vaughn missed time in May after getting hit in the hand by a pitch.  Aaron Bummer suffered a right knee strain that kept him out for two weeks.  Lucas Giolito and Luis Robert both missed time in May thanks to bouts with COVID.  Joe Kelly went back on the IL with a hamstring strain.  Tim Anderson missed three weeks with a groin strain, the same injury that kept Vince Velasquez for two weeks.

Aaron Bummer suffered another injury in mid-June which kept him out until September.  Yasmani Grandal was felled with lower back spasms for six weeks.  A right forearm strain put Liam Hendriks on the shelf for nearly three weeks.  A strained hamstring took down Yoan Moncada for nearly three weeks.  Adam Engel fell victim to the same injury for two weeks.  On July 6th, Jake Burger went down with a bruised hand following a hit by pitch, Vince Velasquez was felled by a blister on his right index finger, and Danny Mendick was lost for the year with a torn ACL.  We just now are getting to the All-Star break.  Shall I keep going?

Luis Robert was shut down with blurred vision.  A lower back strain put Reynaldo Lopez on the shelf.  A torn finger ligament knocked out Tim Anderson for the remainder of the year on August 9th.  Another lower back strain took down Leury Garcia.  A bum knee sent Michael Kopech to the IL, while another hamstring strain stopped Yoan Moncada for the third time this year.  Kopech was felled again with a shoulder strain on September 7th.  Finally, after suffering with a wrist injury for nearly a month and a half, Luis Robert was shut down and placed on the IL on Saturday with the 2022 title all but wrapped up for the Guardians.

Aside from the sheer number of injuries, this meant that the White Sox were very rarely at anything approaching full strength.  Some piece of the puzzle was always missing, and usually two or three pieces.  The bullpen injuries led to some early overwork for guys like Kendall Graveman, which impacted his performance in the second half.  Because of this, the White Sox never seemed to gel or to be able to string wins together to pull ahead.

Lack of Power

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FB8 – Week 35

After the disappointment of last week, a late surge helped put me back above 30,000 steps for the week.  Things got off to a slow start on Sunday, where I finished with 3800 steps.  Monday fell off quite a bit, dropping to 2800 steps.  Tuesday saw a very slight increase as I ended the day 4 steps away from 2900.  Wednesday was the week’s low point, finishing with only 2200 steps.  Things started to improve on Thursday, where an after-work trip to the local grocery store helped push me over 5600 steps.  A trip to Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday left me with 5200 steps.  My best day of the week came on Saturday thanks to a trip down to West Lafayette for Homecoming, which left me with 9400 steps.

Total steps: 32.078

Daily average: 4582.6

FB8 – Week 34

After a week off of work, it was back to the grindstone for a horrible, horrible week.  Things got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, where I finished just 37 steps shy of 4500 thanks to some chores around the house.  Things began to go off the rails on Monday, as I missed 2800 steps by a single step.  Tuesday was somehow worse, finishing with just 2300 steps.  Wednesday saw a very slight improvement, rising up to 2400 steps.  Thursday saw another slight increase, finishing with 2500 steps.  Friday was the low point in a week full of low points, falling 32 steps shy of 2000.  The week wrapped up on Saturday with 4100 steps.

Total steps: 20,617

Daily average: 2945.3

Travelling The 50 States – Florida

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we start today with the 27th state to be added to the Union: Florida.

State: Florida
Joined the Union: 1845
Visits: 10 (at least)

At some point in the mid-1980s, my grandparents bought a condo in Clearwater, Florida, which has helped make the Sunshine State one of my most visited states.  I’m fairly certain my first trip there would have been in the summer of 1988 and my most recent was last year, with a number of visits in-between.

From what I can recall, my first trip to Florida came the summer of 1988, following my eighth-grade graduation.  I’m pretty sure a collection of seven family members got in the car the day after Mike Tyson’s 91 second knockout of Michael Spinks for the two-day drive to Clearwater.  I’m not clear on exactly how long we were there, but I know there was a one-day excursion to Disney World.  Aside from that, we saw all of the tourist attractions that my grandparents thought were interesting.  Which means nothing that was really all that interesting.

We made another trip two summers later.  I don’t remember much of this trip, aside from the trip home where we came up through southern Illinois and listened to the White Sox somehow beating the Yankees 4-0 despite being no-hit by Andy Hawkins.

My sister and I made a return trip over Christmas break in 1991, our first time on an airplane.  Again, I don’t have many vivid memories of the events of this trip.

My fourth trip to Florida came during March of 1997.  I had an interview with GTE Data Services and turned it into a mini-vacation during spring break, staying with my grandparents.  The highlight of the trip, aside from nailing the interview and getting a solid job offer, was a trip to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota to watch a spring training tilt between the White Sox and the Twins. Continue reading →

Book 41 (of 52) – The Thursday Murder Club

The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman

When murder finds its way to a retirement community, a group of four residents, who get together once a week to talk about and investigate cold cases, insert themselves into the investigations and help the police track down leads for the two current (and one older) dead bodies.

The Thursday Murder Club, the debut novel from UK television personality Richard Osman, became a smash hit and has become the first in a series of mystery novels about the group of old timers.  While the world awaits the film adaptation, I’m sure I will get around to the next two entries in the series.

2022 New Fall Season – Thursdays

Thursday night may once again be the busiest night of the week for my television viewing habits, due more to the drop-off across the board than the night’s offerings.  Here’s what’s on the slate for this season.

7:30

Ghosts – I never ended up watching any of the first season of this adaptation of a BBC show, but I remain interested.

8:00

Grey’s Anatomy – With Ellen Pompeo slated to appear in only eight episodes this season and a whole new crew of interns, it will be quite the shakeup for the medical drama’s 19th season.

9:00

Big Sky – I still haven’t watched the second story of season one, let alone any of season two, but I still do have a vague interest.

It’s Over

While last night’s loss to the Guardians did not officially eliminate the White Sox from postseason contention, it effectively did.  They are now four games behind the Guardians with fourteen games to play, and the Guardians now hold the tiebreaker since they have clinched the season series against the White Sox.  Assuming the Guardians split their remaining games, the White Sox would need to win thirteen of their remaining fourteen games.  After a five-game losing streak at the beginning of the month, the Guardians have gone 13-3, so even splitting those remaining games looks like a pipe dream.

2022 New Fall Season – Wednesdays

We have reached the halfway point of our look at the offerings for the new fall season and have finally found something that I might actually watch.  Here’s what Wednesdays have on tap for the fall.

7:00

The Conners – Another go-around with this reboot, which has somehow made it to five seasons.

8:30

Home Economics – Topher Grace and company return for their third season.