Epitaph

On Monday two of my favorite teams called it quits for the year.

The Chicago White Sox were eliminated when they got rocked by Cleveland 14-1. The collapse was firmly established well before the game started. What was extra disappointing was Jon Garland’s implosion. He was the only White Sox pitcher with consistent stuff during the second half. Giving up 12 runs (8 earned) in five innings is pretty rough.

What went wrong? Here are the 2005 and 2006 ERAs. Mark Buerhle: 3.12, 4.99; Jose Contreras: 3.61, 4.27; Jon Garland: 3.5, 4.61; Freddy Garcia: 3.87, 4.65; Javy Vazquez: 4.42, 4.77.

In the bullpen, Cliff Politte fell apart and Neil Cotts was far less effective. Bobby Jenks was fine as closer but leads all too often disappeared before he could appear.

On offense, Brian Anderson was Aaron Rowand’s equal defensively (and health-wisee) but needed a second-half surge to hit .230. Scott Podsednik proved that his only major-league tool, speed, means nothing if he can’t get on base. The Dye, Konerko, Thome, and Crede offensive combination was hard to beat. That’s 147 home runs. A.J. Pierzynski had a career offensive year, although he’s still a defensive liability. Juan Uribe went backward.

The team filled most of their holes through free agency this year, and the same might be true for 2007. Brandon McCarthy is ready for a rotation slot. Trading one of the excess starters for a leadoff hitter would be a good idea. Rookie Ryan Sweeney may get a shot in left field. He’s not a power hitter, but youth should be an upgrade from Pods. Thanks for the playoff dingers. Bye.

I’m not going to look for the exact numbers here. The Sox had a sizeable cushion over the Twins at the All-Star break and it all fell apart. They played slightly below .500 the rest of the year. The shine has come off Mr. Guillen a bit, but you can’t ignore the ring. Despite the fact that I can put the cheesy World Series DVD on whenever I want, this year reeks of missed opportunities.

The Titans are less than 1/5 through the season and they’re already done. Even if they pulled off the improbable victory against the Fins, they’d still be out of the race. In 2004 injuries decimated the team. In 2005 a salary cap purge and new offense forced the team to play shorthanded. If 2006 needs one goat, it’s Floyd Reese. Don’t blame Kerry Collins just like you shouldn’t blame Tim Allen for all his crappy Disney movies. You know what you’re getting from Collins. The right move would have been to sign Collins when the first rumors started percolating. That was around the start of the preseason. Bringing him in after the third preseason game was lunacy. I don’t care if you’re Tom Brady; you can’t pick up an NFL offense in a couple of weeks.

The key to NFL success is in the line play, and both have been terrible for the Titans. I’m not sure what’s going on with the running game, but it doesn’t matter.

I think that Vince Young shouldn’t start until after the bye week. The upcoming three games versus Dallas and at Indy and Washington are going to be tough.

After three weeks, my NFL fantasy teams are 6-6. Joy. I am 4-0 in my college league. Between that and the 4-0 Missouri start, maybe I should forsake the NFL. Honestly, at least 50 1-A teams would be 4-0 with Missouri’s schedule. A frisky 0-4 Colorado team will be tough if the Tigers make mistakes like in the New Mexico game.

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