The White Sox announced their playoff roster today, with very few surprises. The pitching situations were all handled well. The team justifiably gave up on mid-August acquisition Horacio Ramirez, who posted some of the worst statistics for any relief pitcher in major league history during his couple of months in Chicago. Fellow lefty Clayton Richard will handle all LOOGY duties not taken by Matt Thornton. (Memo to Ramirez and Boone Logan: Have a good one. You gone.)
Mike Macdougal, more than likely, will never don a Sox uniform again as well. He complained in April when he was sent to the minors and reportedly requested a trade at the time. Now, six months later, he has been passed up by Adam Russell, who Ozzie used for a grand total of 2.2 innings over the entire month of September. Macdougal's a goner.
The early word is that Dewayne Wise will get the start in left field in Game One, drawing the irk of many fans. I supported Wise from his arrival in late May, at which point he was tearing up the minor leagues, through his major league hot streaks in early June and mid September.
People who are disappointed with Wise's overall performance in 2008 need to have their heads examined. He wasn't supposed to be a starter, he wasn't even supposed to be a reserve outfielder, he wasn't even supposed to be part of the future (which he still likely isn't). He was just minor league filler, and he's played his butt off to get to where he is today.
All that said, even I, a Wise supporter, would probably start Nick Swisher in LF tomorrow afternoon. Wise's hot streak at the plate has subsided (he's 2 for his last 25), not coincidentally at a point in which he seems to be swinging for the fences with far greater frequency. During his earlier competency, he was hitting line drives and happy to settle for singles, creating a higher batting average that, along with his speed and base stealing ability, were a welcome counter-balance to the homer happy slow Sox. But his 4 HRs in 5 games stretch from last month may have altered his approach at the plate.
More disturbingly, his defense in leftfield has looked startlingly Podsednik-esque lately. Besides his miscues when going back on balls, a Scotty Pods favorite, Wise has shown surprisingly limited lateral range, failing to cut off bouncers before they get to the wall. Even the disappointing Nick Swisher could play defense at least this well, while giving Ozzie a little more OBP to compensate for less speed.
In any case, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Wise contributes tomorrow afternoon. (He's very likely to sit out Game 2 against southpaw Scott Kazmir no matter what.) And even if he doesn't come through, we've gotten a whole heck of a lot more out of him than anybody could have ever expected.