With a heavy heart I bang out this call to move Ozzie Guillen out of the White Sox dugout. Ya, I have nothing but warm feelings for the skipper who brought the first pennant and World Series to Chicago's SouthSide in my lifetime, but the problems that the ball club has can only be attributed to the management.
Let's start with the pitchers. The Sox have about the best bullpen in the Major Leagues, yet Ozzie continues to keep the starter in for two or three extra batters. Tonight, Gavin Floyd has struggled all night, allowing baserunners in nearly every inning. Despite a single and a triple in the 7th and almost 90 pitches thrown already, Ozzie leaves Floyd in to face two more hitters with nobody even warming up in the pen. Not even warming up. Predictably, Butler singles in Podsednik from third, and the next guy homers. The score is now 6-1, and Santos finally comes in to relieve Floyd with the game out of reach.
And another thing. Freddie Garcia is not a starter. Either go with a 4-man rotation, or switch Matt Thornton for Freddie in the No. 5 spot.
And why is Pierzynski still catching? He's hitting .200 and never throws out anyone on the bases. The Sox sent Don Lucy, hitting .380, to the minors. Maybe he's no better than AJ, but he's certainly no worse defensively. And remember, it was Ramon Castro, now fresh off the DL, who caught the only perfect game in the majors last year. Okay, AJ just hit a home run, but this game has been lost already-- down 6-2 now-- and KC has a scrub reliever in there.
The infield. At some point the mis-reads on bunting plays and missed cut-off men, and booted double plays and general sloppiness has to have consequences for the manager. If Teahen cannot figure out that a bunt is coming when there are men on 1st and 2nd with nobody out, then doesn't the manager need to tell him? Or tell Joey Cora to tell him? Another example: Omar Vizquel, at age 50 or so, is batting lead-off with his impressive .088 average, when he has never led-off even in his prime.
Ozzie is fond of changing the line-up on a near daily basis, a practice that is rarely associated with a division leading team. Pick a line-up and stay with it, or maybe two, one for righty pitchers and another for lefties--- but constantly juggling guys around is pointless and cannot foster comfort for the team. In 2005, our success was accomplished with a fairly fixed line-up. Another stat is that the Sox won only one game last year after trailing in the 8th inning. One. At some point, this is the manager's inability to pinch hit, or pinch run, call for steals, or something.
Moving Ozzie now would send a message to the team that nobody is expendable. Send him to Wilmington to hone his skills as a manager. There must be some successful skipper in the system who can replace Ozzie. Bring in a whole new coaching staff for that matter. If the players feel responsible, then so be it. Let's face it, if the ship doesn't turn around in the next 8 weeks, Kenny Williams is going to dismantle the squad anyway. A new manager gives us a chance to change now.
Honestly, what else can be done at this point? Kenny Williams has traded to build the best team he can. We have the worst batting average, most errors and are mired near last place despite one of the highest payrolls and best bullpen in the league. It's not gonna get better on its own, and you can't fire the whole team.
Sorry, Oz. To paraphrase Tessio from the Godfather: Tell Ozzie I always liked him, but it's only business.