Mark, thanks for keeping me up to date on my beloved Sox in jolly Old England. I see people in your columns ripping on Brian Anderson a lot. What they forget, and what I've seen (I get mlb.com over my computer) is that Rob Mackowiak and Pablo Ozuna are not good outfielders. I remember earlier in the season, when Brian was in his slump, several games where if he had been in center field, the games would have gone the other way. We always say pitching and defense, but forget it when we don't get the whole package. Anderson and Uribe are worth their weight in the lineup because their gloves balance things out a lot. Keep Anderson out there. He's going to be a good ball player overall in my opinion. --Jim Hecimovich, Oxford, England
Jim, thanks for your interest across the Atlantic. I agree with your observations on Anderson. But Uribe better start improving, as Alex Cintron is a capable replacement.
Paul Konerko and Joe Crede hitting the ball to all fields, and why doesn't Jim Thome slap the ball to left field when the shift is on and why isn't Pods attempting to bunt more when it is unexpected? --Dan Bowman, Marlette, Mich.
A veteran AL scout pointed out to me in June that Konerko and Jermaine Dye do a great job of hitting to right center, and Joe Crede has shown signs of settling for a single to right. In the case of Thome, he's a dead pull hitter who doesn't go away from his strength. Podsednik needs to bunt more, but I don't see him beating out as many close plays as last year.
Thanks for including me in your last emails. Can you explain why you believe it's too late to stretch McCarthy for starter innings? I believe Ozzie has to try B-Mac as a starter to try everything possible to get the starters on track. Or have B-mac give each starter a break by allowing them to skip a start or two and see if that recharges some of the starters mentally and or physically. --Tom Pappalardo, Chicago
McCarthy needed 83 pitches to throw four-plus innings in mid-May. Brandon will be a nice piece of the rotation next year but it's too late to get him stretched out for this year.
Many organizations have difficulties throughout the year and when the
camaraderie diminishes it must be restored quickly or the ship sinks. Have you noticed any loss of camaraderie on the Sox? What are your suggestions to change this, if necessary? --James Poulsen, Viera, Fla.
The mood has been fine, but this 24-game stretch will test everyone's patience.
Any idea why Kyle McCulloch has pitched so few innings at rookie ball? He has started five games and has only 22 innings -- with a team-best 1.61 ERA. --Andrew, St. Louis
Andrew, thanks for your interest with the prospects. In the case of high-drafted college pitchers, it's common for organizations to keep their initial workloads low. Kyle had more than 100 innings this season before he signed with the Sox. It's wise to slowly break him in, since they didn't have supervision over his work at Texas. This is not meant as a slap at the Longhorns program or head coach Augie Garrido, who should have been considered for the USC job after Mike Gillespie was unfairly let go last June. I think Kyle has a chance to move up quickly, and ensuring his health is a good start.
Why is Ozzie so patient with Javier Vazquez? This is a guy with one of the worst ERAs in the AL. For all his so-called potential, he's failed to produce in NYC, AZ and now with the Sox. The guy seems capable of pitching a couple of good innings. Why not put him in the pen and let McCarthy start? If Vazquez doesn't like that, trade him. --Rick Schwartz, Tucson, Ariz.
The conventional wisdom in national media circles is that the White Sox did little to help themselves at the trade deadline: "On the South Side, the sinking White Sox missed out on an opportunity to boost their pitching staff, which is gassed from all the innings it logged last season." If this is true, and it makes sense, why not get McCarthy more starts and maybe bring some fresh arms up from the farm in September to ease the starter workload? --Paul Nelson, Auburn, Wash.
How about using Vazquez for five innings and McCarthy for the final four? The Sox need to trade a starter this off-season. If Vazquez has a strong finish, it will help their trade options, with Freddy Garcia being the other candidate. Neal Cotts as a starter might be an option the Sox might want to revisit this off-season, since Boone Logan is starting to pitch well at Triple-A Charlotte.
Although he seems to coming out of it now, Jermaine Dye had a hitting slump coming out of the All Star Game. Is this possibly related to the dreaded Home Run Derby that seems to screw up some hitter's strokes? --Ted Schenk, Austin, Texas
Yes, but Jermaine has put the Home Run Derby out of his mind. I think he was very tired at the start of the second half but has rebounded nicely.
What happened to the Hawaiian shirt in your picture? --Erik, St. Charles, Ill.
They didn't tell me about the change, but I have another (more conservative looking) tropical shirt.
Am I alone in thinking that if Juan Uribe could be coached into using his lower body, both at bat and at shortstop, he would be much more effective, strike out, pop-out and overthrow first base less? It seems to be such an obvious adjustment and one that could easily improve his ability to go to the opposite field. --Sam Marotta, Plainfield, Ill.
Sam, I think it's safe to say that Uribe is a work in progress. The Sox just hope his hot streaks can offset any slumps in the batting order. There is no excuse for his defensive lapses.
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