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Phil Rogers jinxes Buehrle

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Mark Buehrle starts on Wednesday night. For the first time, White Sox fans are forced to ask: Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

 

That's how bad things are at U.S. Cellular Field.

 

There is genuine concern about the mental wellness of Buehrle, the cruise-control lefty who won 35 games the last two seasons.

 

It figures there would be, of course. He takes a six-game losing streak into Wednesday night's start against Toronto. His 2-7 record is perhaps the most shocking aspect to the White Sox's sorrowful start, which has manager Jerry Manuel on the endangered species list.

 

I've known Buehrle a little bit since he showed up in Arizona as a 20-year-old less than a year removed from junior college. I've followed his development closely.

 

My instincts say Sox fans should relax—that unlike the self-critical Paul Konerko, the unproven Joe Crede and the 2003 version of Frank Thomas, Buehrle will be all right. If he were the biggest thing the White Sox had to worry about, they would be all right. He's going to be fine. That's what I believe.

 

However, rather than pestering Buehrle himself, I asked around about him before Tuesday night's 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. It quickly became apparent that Buehrle's six winless weeks have turned unsettling for some around him. Now I'm not quite as sure that this is only a speed bump on his way to another solid season.

 

"He has given me a couple of reactions that you don't see, like disappointment," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "You're seeing some of the disappointment that you've never seen before, because something like this hasn't happened. I think he'll be fine because he's a competitor. I think you'll see it Wednesday night."

 

Sandy Alomar, who catches Buehrle, believes he has gotten caught up in the Sox's inability to score runs. He has received only 30 runs in his 10 starts, including two runs or less in half of them.

 

"I think sometimes he has tried to be perfect because we haven't supported him," Alomar said. "He thinks he has to shut the other team down rather than just trusting himself. Instead of staying aggressive, he starts to nibble. That's not the kind of pitcher he is."

 

Alomar has that right.

 

For 2½ seasons in the big leagues, nothing has worried Buehrle. Not even facing Jim Thome with the bases loaded.

 

Buehrle, a big-leaguer for about two months, did that in an early-September game in 2000. He struck Thome out with a 3-2 changeup. Kids are not supposed to throw 3-2 changeups, not with the bases loaded. Buehrle tried one because he knew he would throw it for a strike, which he did.

 

Buehrle's struggle is mental, not physical. He still was pitching reasonably well when he was 2-5 but one can't say that anymore, not after he walked six at Seattle and allowed 10 hits and 10 runs Friday at Minneapolis.

 

Something is bothering him. You don't have to be Alan Greenspan to guess what it is.

 

When Buehrle turned down a guaranteed $11.5 million in spring training, opting to take his chances on a year-to-year basis rather than accept the three-year deal (which could have extended to $27 million over five years if he reached vesting options), he said the decision would not affect the way he pitched. It might not have, either, if he and his team had gotten out of the gate fast.

 

But Buehrle wasn't playing on house money. He knows he's not looking real good right now on the biggest financial decision he is likely ever to face. So you know he's being weighed down by the magnitude of his gamble.

 

For their own good, the White Sox should give Buehrle a second chance at long-term security. There's still a deal to be done here.

 

It should be handled discreetly and not in a way that would embarrass Buehrle or his agent, Jeff Berry. It's amazing that the previous negotiations commanded so much attention considering it's Magglio Ordonez, not Buehrle, who is sneaking up on a franchise-rocking round of free agency.

 

Helped along by a diving catch from Carlos Lee, Bartolo Colon won his third start in a row Tuesday. The White Sox need Buehrle to follow suit.

 

It's because of Colon and Buehrle that this is such a vital season for the Sox. They have got a pitching staff that could do big things in October.

 

At the moment, of course, it's hard to imagine anybody on the Sox doing anything in the fall except trying to forget an endless summer. But general manager Ken Williams suggested again Tuesday it's still too early to consider anything drastic, like promoting Double-A manager Wally Backman to take over for Manuel.

 

Williams points out that with all the disappointment they have experienced, the Sox are only five games out of first place. If they were this close in August, he says, people would be saying they have a chance. So why before Memorial Day have so many people concluded they don't have a chance?

 

The answer, which Williams understands, is because they have looked so bad. They're 9-21 against teams that currently have winning records. In Buehrle's starts against the good teams, they're 0-7.

 

Something has to give. I'm still betting on Buehrle, but some of the people who are counting on him wish he had not bet so much on himself.

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I noticed that Buehrle's fastball has lost a little zip. If I am not mistaken, he was usually around 89-91. The last game he pitched his fastball was consistently 87. Does MB have Parqueitis?

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Don't be superstitious Sox fans. Rogers wrote a real nice article and what I am hoping is that this slump Buerhle is going through is a maturing process for a great young pitcher. He hasn't had a long stretch of ineffectiveness in his two plus years with the Sox and is suffering mentally. Heck half of this game is 90% mental. Watch for Mark to come through like an ace. Tonight will be interesting.

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Heck half of this game is 90% mental.

Of course there is only a 10 percent chance of that--The Naked Gun

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Guest hotsoxchick1

rogers is a moron.... the only reason he had to ask around about buehrle is because mark wouldnt give him the time of day....rogers probably asked the wsi board what they thought about buehrle to write this article instead of coop and alomar.... ;) as for quoting kw.. i wonder if he went to his house to get the quotes... he sure hasnt been at the ball park for the past couple of weeks......... :fyou rogers

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rogers is a moron.... the only reason he had to ask around about  buehrle is because mark wouldnt give him the time of day....rogers probably asked the wsi board what they thought about buehrle to write this article instead of coop and alomar.... ;)  as for quoting kw.. i wonder if he went to his house to get the quotes... he sure hasnt been at the ball park for the past couple of weeks......... :fyou  rogers

IF MB gets hammered tonight I do not want to here excuses :angry:

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IF MB gets hammered tonight I do not want to here excuses :angry:

He better not! I took a chance with him on my fantasy team.. although usually that is the kiss of death. :bang

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Guest hotsoxchick1

lol ill just blame it on rogers and the wsi crew for spewing bulls*** all around............ :D

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He better not! I took a chance with him on my fantasy team.. although usually that is the kiss of death.  :bang

I benched him to counteract the Phil Rogers jinx. :bang

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In my mind Rogers is one of the best baseball writers out there.

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Guest hotsoxchick1
In my mind Rogers is one of the best baseball writers out there.

well you also like kw too... what does that tell ya about your mind.........lmao........... :D

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well you also like kw too... what does that tell ya about your mind.........lmao........... :D

I like Phil Rogers too, yet can't stand KW, so where does that leave me, O Wise One? :)

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I benched him to counteract the Phil Rogers jinx. :bang

Same here! Maybe I should bench Konerko....

 

CWSOX45

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Konerko went 2-4 yesterday. A couple more games like that, and he might have turned it around. He got robbed too at one point. Web Gem last night I think. If MB doesn't pitch well tonight, maybe we should skip a start for him. ESPN Radio (The Network, not the Chicago station) was saying that he just looked fatigued out there... maybe he needs a week to rest and recharge? I know, I'm grasping at straws - but if he can right the ship, we'll be ok...

 

With all the just disappointment we've dealt with on this team already this year, it's hard to believe we have the potential of being just 3 1/2 out after a win tonight. Maybe things aren't quite so bad after all.

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IMO, Buehrle just needs to get his head back on straight. I don't think its a mechanical thing - just an adjustment thing for a good young pitcher going through his first slump.

 

As for Rogers, I used to have a lot of faith in him, but he's written some horrible articles. The first "what the f***???" article was last year's about how Cameron is better than Konerko (after Cameron torched the Sox). Not that Konerko has lived up to it this year (yet), but Cameron is a good defensive player who seems to only hit the ball against the Sox. Rogers' article earlier this season about trading for malcontent Carl Everett also infuriated me.... Carl the whiner joins Frank the excuse maker and Carlos the lazy... now that's great team chemistry! (don't even get me started on my growing hatred for Peter Gammons).

 

Any recommendations on intelligent baseball columnists? I read most of the ESPN.com guys but haven't though much of the SI crew.

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Guest hotsoxchick1
I like Phil Rogers too, yet can't stand KW, so where does that leave me, O Wise One?  :)

s.o.l.. s*** out of luck........lol :D

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Guest hotsoxchick1
IMO, Buehrle just needs to get his head back on straight.  I don't think its a mechanical thing - just an adjustment thing for a good young pitcher going through his first slump.

 

As for Rogers, I used to have a lot of faith in him, but he's written some horrible articles.  The first "what the f***???" article was last year's about how Cameron is better than Konerko (after Cameron torched the Sox).  Not that Konerko has lived up to it this year (yet), but Cameron is a good defensive player who seems to only hit the ball against the Sox.  Rogers' article earlier this season about trading for malcontent Carl Everett also infuriated me.... Carl the whiner joins Frank the excuse maker and Carlos the lazy... now that's great team chemistry!  (don't even get me started on my growing hatred for Peter Gammons).

 

Any recommendations on intelligent baseball columnists?  I read most of the ESPN.com guys but haven't though much of the SI crew.

i tend to not read alot of the writers cause i can find out stuff before they can from the people i talk with.... but if i had to choose one i would go with joe cowley from the southtown.. at least hes got balls enough to dig deep into the subjects no one wants to talk about.....and usually uncovers alot of stuff that everyone else is afraid to report about ........

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Michelle, your right I do like KW and I still like him :D

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Guest hotsoxchick1

yeah well your momma didnt raise you right jas lol... i cant help that one........lol........if you want to know the reason i lost all respect for rogers ill be glad to tell ya.. its a funny story actually........remember back with the botch for foulke thing? when i put it on wsi... daver emailed me ( i still have them saved as matter of fact) and asked me if i wanted to give the crack pot reporter who hung out at wsi...(rogers) the inside info whenever i found it out.. giving me full credit in the press if i reveal my sources......so i replied in my usual fashion... not only no, but HELL NO..... if that putz wants to find out something let him go out and get the story on his own.....im not going to tell my sources and get them in trouble or fired for his stupid ass.............i have no respect for anyone whos in that kind of position and not willing to dig deep a bit to do their jobs......... :fyou phil.. and he can take kw with him....... :headbang

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I like Phil Rogers too, yet can't stand KW, so where does that leave me, O Wise One?  :)

Half baked? :lol: Just kidding, Rex.

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IMO, Buehrle just needs to get his head back on straight.  I don't think its a mechanical thing - just an adjustment thing for a good young pitcher going through his first slump.

 

As for Rogers, I used to have a lot of faith in him, but he's written some horrible articles.  The first "what the f***???" article was last year's about how Cameron is better than Konerko (after Cameron torched the Sox).  Not that Konerko has lived up to it this year (yet), but Cameron is a good defensive player who seems to only hit the ball against the Sox.  Rogers' article earlier this season about trading for malcontent Carl Everett also infuriated me.... Carl the whiner joins Frank the excuse maker and Carlos the lazy... now that's great team chemistry!  (don't even get me started on my growing hatred for Peter Gammons).

 

Any recommendations on intelligent baseball columnists?  I read most of the ESPN.com guys but haven't though much of the SI crew.

Would you trade Konerko for Cameron today? I sure would.

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Guest hotsoxchick1
So, what's the other 45%?

no wonder this world is f***ed up .... where the hell did you guys take math class????????? lmao :D :D :D :D :D

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no  wonder this world is f***ed up .... where the hell did you guys take math class????????? lmao  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D

Go easy on us. 75% of the time we are at least half right.

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Guest hotsoxchick1
Go easy on us. 75% of the time we are at least half right.

lmao............gotta love the american school systems......... :D

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