Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Catching up: Misc. Sox notes

After being away a few days, just trying to catch up with a throw-away entry.

With Jose Valentin hitting .183/.255/.366 against left-handers this year, it was surprising to see him batting second in the lineup against one of the better left-handers in the league right now -– Johan Santana.

Valentin didn’t light it up or anything. He went 0-for-4 in Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to the Twins. But that he only struck out once against Minnesota’s power lefty was a surprise. After all, the Royals’ Brian Anderson did sit him down three times on opening day. Anderson isn’t the same pitcher as Santana.

For the second straight night, the Sox disappointed a sellout crowd, but the fact that so many fans were out at the Cell, even on the two half-priced days, is pretty encouraging.

What’s more, the Sox averaged well over 30,000 fans over the weekend when the Tigers came to town. The Cell might not be sold out tonight with the tickets being sold for full price, but I still expect more than 30,000 to show up as the Sox try to hold off the sweep.

Neal Cotts has been terrible lately. Actually he’s been terrible most of the year. He’s walking a lot of guys, giving up home runs and generally getting smacked around. He’s not even pitching very often, which makes you wonder if Chicago has him in its plans, and if those plans include him going back to the rotation ever.

If the Sox need a token lefty in the bullpen to get knocked around, surely Kelly Wunsch can handle that task. Chicago would be better off either having Cotts pitch every fifth day at Charlotte to help prepare him to step into a real major-league role, or using him as a piece of trade bait to land another bat of its weakened lineup.

 Carlos Lee, always a streaky hitter, cranked out two bombs tonight –- one against Santana in the seventh inning and another against Joe Roa in the ninth. The Sox will have to hope this current hot streak, where Lee is hitting .381/.438/.881 since the All-Star break, can last until the offense can sort itself out.

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