Before I jump into my explanation for how I jinxed Carlos Quentin, let’s do a quick injury update.
The White Sox left fielder was scratched from yesterday’s game against the Indians (finally a White Sox winner!) after informing Ozzie Guillen that a sore left heel has been bothering him for a few days. With an off day on Thursday followed by an important series against the Blue Jays, Quentin will rest today while his teammates try to take the rubber match from the worst team in baseball.
And with the best left-hander in the AL Central (Mark Buehrle) going up against the most fraudulent, flash-in-the-pan Cy Young winner (Cliff Lee) since…well, probably ever, I am hoping that Quentin will not be missed this afternoon. With Jim Thome providing his usual pop when playing at Jacobs Field, the Sox should be okay, at least in theory.
Anyway, the Quentin injury touched off a bit of controversy in the White Sox clubhouse as Ozzie Guillen seemed none too pleased that Quentin kept the injury from him. We all know that Quentin is tough as nails and defines the term “gamer”, but we also know that he is injury prone and that the White Sox are not built to withstand any major time lost from their budding star.
Here is Guillen’s quite, courtesy of Joe Cowley’s article from the Sun-Times on the heel injury of Carlos Quentin:
”I wish he would have said he was sore or I wish my players would be a little more open and say how they feel. Just because you have pain, you can’t think, ‘Oh, I want to play. It’s a big series.’ No, I don’t want my players to take it that way. If they don’t think they can be on the field, I would appreciate it if they would let me know. ”
I agree wholeheartedly with Ozzie.
I know that players want to tough injuries out and not seem like complainers, but it’s May. If you want to be a little less forthright come September and October, I can understand it. But for a player as important to his team as Quentin is to the White Sox, it makes much more sense to get whatever rest and treatment is necessary early in the season to ensure that the injury doesn’t linger.
By keeping quiet, Quentin is certainly being tough, but more importantly he is being myopic. No one’s going to question TCQ’s toughness or commitment if he asks out to rest and injury; and while I know he is probably sick of sitting in the dugout injured, at this point in the season it is in his team’s best interest; and at a minimum he needs to have honest communication with his manager.
Hopefully this is a lesson learned, Carlos comes back healthy, and we move on and up the AL Central standings.
Which brings me to my next point.
A few weeks back, I wrote an article proclaiming Carlos Quentin as the 2009 AL MVP after 12 games. (For the record, typing that sentence just now made me feel silly.) The article actually gained a little bit of national attention for MSF as Rob Neyer wrote an entire article in his ESPN blog about Quentin and my thoughts on his budding greatness.
Well, at the time I wrote the article, Carlos Quentin was hitting .302, slugging .814, and had hit 7 homers with 13 RBIs and 11 runs, coming on the heels of his excellent though injury-shortened 2008. If you have been following the White Sox over the last month, you know the pathetic numbers I’m about to cite next. Carlos Quentin is now hitting .237, slugging .482, and has 8 homers, 18 RBIs, and 18 runs.
I can’t take full blame for jinxing Carlos, as other articles were published around the web at that time lauding Quentin as a current and future superstar. And I certainly don’t think he’s been as bad as his numbers suggest. There is no question he has not looked quite as locked in at the plate, but he’s also hit some tough luck line drives right at people and had some solid shots come down right around the warning track. Still though, his precipitous drop in production is a little concerning for White Sox fans, who understand Quentin’s importance to the team.
It is no coincidence that the White Sox began to look like a very ordinary, if not below average, team right about three weeks ago. Without Quentin in the 3-hole doing his best Frank Thomas impression, the White Sox have a very mediocre lineup.
Hopefully when he comes back from the sore heel, Carlos Quentin can resume his MVP-like ways and get the White Sox rolling again. If he does, the White Sox can compete in the AL Central. If he doesn’t, we’re bound to continue looking like the Indians, as we have over the past few weeks; and that’s never a good comparison to have to make.