Even with their recent offensive woes, the Sox are ranked 8th in the Majors with a .269 team batting average and are in the Top 10 among Major League teams in seven offensive categories: 8th in HRs (66), 8th in hits (569), 5th in runs scored (335), 9th in OPS (.762), 7th in stolen bases (47), and 7th in slugging percentage (.432),. The Mets meanwhile are ranked 30th in slugging with a dismal .359 team slugging percentage.
As interleague continues, the Mets are in Chicago playing the White Sox for three games before hosting the Yankees. The Yankees/Mets series are always big events, and in this case, the White Sox series plays an important part. Where the Mets starters fall in this series effects who pitches against the Yankees. Pedro Astacio (6-2, 2.84 ERA) starts the first game for the Mets. He will then closer out the Yankees series. Jeff D'Amico (4-4, ERA) and Al Leiter (6-5, 3.30 ERA) will also be facing the White Sox, but will miss the Yankees series in doing so. That would leave the Mets worst two starters, Steve Trachsel and Shawn Estes, to start the first two games against the Yankees.
This series is also important for the White Sox as they prepare to play the Cubs. They send Gary Glover (2-1, 4.71 ERA), Todd Ritchie (3-8, 4.44 ERA), and Dan Wright (5-7, 5.92 ERA) to the mound against the Mets. It works out better for the White Sox, as they then get to send their best two pitchers, Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland, to face the Cubs.
A Closer Look
Just this past Saturday, on June eighth, something happened that sent us here at A Closer Look running to the stat books. The Indians were ahead of the Mets 3-2 in the top of the seventh. Jay Payton was on third and Roger Cedeno was on second with two outs in the inning. Jeromy Burnitz came in to hit for Joe McEwing. The Indians responded by intentionally walking Burnitz to get to load the bases for Roberto Alomar. With the knowledge that Burnitz is hitting only slightly better than Rey Ordonez (worse than Ordonez on the road), and that Alomar has started hitting like Roberto Alomar rather than his brother, why would anyone want to face Alomar with the bases loaded than Burnitz with men on second and third- especially with two outs???
Burnitz is batting a cool .199. He is 17 for his last 106 at bats. Over that time, his slugging percentage(.264) is lower than his on base percentage (.282). Meanwhile, over the past three years, Alomar is batting .441 (15 for 34) with the bases loaded with a 1.362 OPS in that time. We are still scratching our heads about that one.
3B Edgardo Alfonzo seems to have found a home in the #2 spot in the lineup. In his last 6 games, Fonzy is hitting .417 with 1 HR and 4 RBIs....C Mike Piazza has just 2 HRs in his last 17 games....Despite hitting .311 in his last 14 games, OF Jay Payton has just three runs scored...1B Mo Vaughn continues to struggle at the plate. Aside from his 22 strikeouts in his last 18 games, Vaughn's OBP during that span is just .266 and has a .246 slugging percentage in those 18 games to make matters worse....CF Kenny Lofton is listed as day-to-day after running to first base in Sunday's 13-2 win over the Expos....Despite being tied for 6th among Major Leaguers with 49 RBIs, 1B Paul Konerko is hitting just .191 with two RBI in his last 13 games....2B Ray Durham is just 2 for his last 18 (.111) and has just one extra-base hit in his last 12 games...While White Sox hitters have been in a funk the last week, OF Magglio Ordonez seems to be the only White Sox hitter doing well, hitting .381 in his last 6 games with 9 RBIs....In his 12-year career, DH Frank Thomas has hit below .300 for a season just once (he hit .265 in 1998). He is in jeopardy of having his second sub-.300 season this year. Thomas is hitting .219 in his last 19 games and is now hitting .255 for the season....