Tag:White Sox
Posted on: September 2, 2011 4:41 pm
 

On Deck: Verlander chases 21, 'Zona 10 straight

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

DiamondbacksGiantsGone streaking: Arizona will chase its 10th straight victory Friday night as a series with the Giants open. San Francisco is flagging, six games behind the DBacks and with a tall task at hand. Matt Cain will get the ball with a 2.87 ERA and the task of opening the weekend series with a statement, while Joe Saunders will be the man to go for 'Zona, who has a 3.69 ERA. San Francisco cut ties with Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada on Thursday and are recalling a smattering of players to help for the stretch drive, which will be moot if they can't come away with a series win or sweep. To win though, the Giants have to start scoring some runs. Diamondbacks vs. Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

VerlanderVerlander time: Justin Verlander is appointment-viewing these days. The Tigers ace will take his blazing fastball up against the White Sox, who are 5 1/2 games behind division-leading Detroit. Friday is the first of seven remaining meetings both teams have, and Chicago needs to do well to stay in the race. "I feel like we have to win the series to be really optimistic for the rest of the year," Brent Lillibridge told the Associated Press. "We're ready. We've been playing good baseball." So has Verlander, whose won his last nine games and will tote a 20-5 record and slim 2.39 ERA up against John Danks, a lefty with a 3.63 ERA on the year. White Sox vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET

CuetoCarpenterBattle for second: The streaking Cardinals are winners of their last four, which has pulled them to 7 1/2 games, which is still a tough task.  The Reds, meanwhile, are on a skid having lost four straight to fall to 13 1/2 back. Cincinnati has a pretty good pitcher toeing the mound Friday night in an attempt to finish the year strong and in second place with MLB ERA leader Johnny Cueto going up against Chris Carpenter. Cueto, owner of a 2.05 mark, is coming off a game where he recorded a career-high 11 whiffs, but Carpenter is on a roll himself and has defeated the Reds the last two times out. Reds vs. Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:33 pm
 

September Storylines: What races?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

If I were a conspiracy type of guy (and I'm most certainly not), maybe I'd suggest Bud Selig rigged this whole thing to get people on board for expanding the playoffs. I don't believe that, or even believe Selig has dreamt about that, much less thought about it -- but the lack of a pennant chases this September may make adding another playoff team to the mix more desirable.

September Storylines

As September began, only two division leaders had a competitor within five games of them for the lead, and one of those -- the American League East -- has both teams pretty much as shoe-ins for the playoffs. Both wild card leaders are up by at least 7 1/2 games over their nearest competition. In short, it may be a boring September.

So, with that buildup, let's look at the race for the eight playoff spots as we enter the last month of the season:

AL East: While the revamped Rays gave it a nice run, Tampa starts the month nine games behind the Rd Sox and virtually out of the race, so we're down to the usual suspects -- the Yankees and Red Sox. The rivals finish their series on Wednesday with Boston leading New York by 1 1/2 games. A difference could be the two teams' schedules -- Boston doesn't leave the Eastern Time zone the rest of the season, while the Yankees not only have a swing out West, they also have 26 games in the last 27 days. Boston does as well, but a doubleheader on Sept. 19 against Baltimore gives them two off days in the game's last month. Boston is 35-20 against the five teams remaining on their schedule while the Yankees are 39-31 against the seven teams they have left on their slate. While many may say it doesn't matter which team wins the division, there's something to be said for home field advantage and opening against Detroit over opening at Texas.

AL Central: The Detroit Verlanders lead the division by 5 1/2 games over the Indians and are six games ahead of the White Sox. However, both the White Sox and Indians have six games left against Detroit, so it's hardly over -- but it could be by the middle of the month. Detroit and Justin Verlander welcome the White Sox to Comerica Park on Friday. Detroit follows that series with a trip to Cleveland. A nice run here by the Tigers could go a long way to letting them work their rotation so Verlander can get ready for Game 1 of the ALDS.

AL West: This is where it could get interesting -- Texas led the division by as many as seven games in August, but enter Thursday's game just 3 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles, which has won eight of its last 12 games and returns for Seattle for a nine-game home stand on Friday. The Angels are a .500 team on the road and 38-28 at home entering Thursday's game in Seattle. The two teams have just three games remaining against each other, but they come the last series of the season, Sept. 26-28 in Anaheim.

AL Wild Card: Red Sox or Yankees. Yankees or Red Sox.

NL East: Much like the American League East, the top two teams can smell the postseason. Philadelphia is rolling and nobody wants to face Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in the postseason. The Phillies improved to 87-56 with a win over Cincinnati on Thursday.

NL Central: The Cardinals have looked spunky by taking the first two games of the series in Milwaukee headed into Thursday afternoon's game, but it still leads by 8 1/2 games. The Cardinals welcome the Brewers at Busch Stadium next week after a weekend series with the Reds. The Brewers are still in control, so St. Louis needs to win the rest of its series remaining (including a trip to Philadelphia for four and three games against Atlanta) to make the Brewers sweat. St. Louis does follow that trip to Philly with series against the Mets, Cubs and Astros to finish the season, so the schedule helps them once they get back from Philadelphia.

NL West: Last year the Giants entered September four games back in the National League, this year it's six. But there's a lot different feeling than there was a year ago when people were wondering if the Padres could hold on to first (they couldn't), while this year the division-leading Diamondbacks enter the season's final month riding a nine-game winning streak. The two start a three-game series in San Francisco on Friday in what could turn out to be the knockout punch. However, the Giants miss Daniel Hudson, while they also put on the mound their three top starters in Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong. The two teams also have another series in the season's last weekend at Chase Field. Arizona plays all its remaining games in either the Pacific or Mountain time zones. The Diamondbacks are 30-23 against the teams remaining on their schedule, with a 4-8 record so far against the Giants. All of San Francisco's remaining games are against NL West teams, which helps because those teams are the Padres, Dodgers and Rockies.

NL Wild Card: The Braves will play, but a more interesting question is who they will play. This isn't exactly about the wild card, but more about which team dodges the Phillies in the first round of the playoffs.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:42 am
 

Pepper: Plenty of good seats available

Dodger Stadium

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke went to Wednesday afternoon's Dodgers-Padres game and talked to all six fans in section 314. Six. The announced crowd was 27,767 -- but there were actually fewer than 8,000, Plaschke estimated and may have been the smallest crowd in Dodger Stadium history. 

Every time I've been to Dodger Stadium it's been full and rocking -- this tells you as much as you need to know about how LA fans feel about Frank McCourt.

On the market: But the McCourts did sell one of their two homes near the Playboy Mansion, so there's that. It was the smaller of the two houses in Holmby Hills going for "just" $6.14 million. [Los Angeles Times]

Click here: Really nice work by the Detroit News illustrating just how quickly a Justin Verlander fastball gets on a batter. Check it out.

No sympathy: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is one of his closest friends in the game, but he's not exactly feeling sorry for him -- "No, because I've seen him celebrating a lot with a lot of champagne over his body when I've watch him [over the years]," he told reporters (MLB.com). "Get them next year, Gardy."

Jays scouting Darvish: Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos was in Japan on Wednesday scouting right-hander Yu Darvish. The Rangers and Yankees have also scouted him in person, while the Nationals, Orioles, Red Sox and Rays also have reportedly been interested in Darvish. [Toronto Sun]

Theo happy in Boston: Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein made his first remarks about his name being thrown around in talks about the open Cubs job -- he said he's "really happy to be with the Red Sox." He didn't elaborate much or deny any interest in the Cubs job, but why should he? Leverage is a good thing and there's no reason for Epstein to give that up. [WEEI.com]

Beane leading Cubs' wish list: Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was in San Francisco on Wednesday, while A's general manager Billy Beane was at home in the Bay Area and his team was in Cleveland -- coincidence? [Chicago Sun-Times

Rooftops expected: For the first time in a decade, all the Wrigley rooftops around the Cubs' home park have been inspected by city health officials. [Chicago Tribune]

Measuring power: An interesting article on FanGraphs.com asking the best way to measure power -- because what exactly are we talking about when we talk about power? It's more than just homers, but shouldn't homers count more? Anyway, the result is a stat called wXB -- or weighted extra bases. However, the problem with this is that are triples really a measure of power? You're not going to find anyone who says Dexter Fowler has more power than David Ortiz, but you wouldn't be surprised to learn Fowler has more triples than Ortiz.

Strasmas returns: Not that it's any surprise, but ticket prices have gone through the roof for the Stephen Strasburg's "Strasurrection" start on Sept. 6. [Washington Post]

Cards want to extend Berkman: The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice told a St. Louis radio station that the Cardinals approached Lance Berkman about a contract extension in July and the 35-year-old "very much wants to stay" in St. Louis. However, the fact he didn't sign an extension implies Berkman will at least test the free agent waters. [NBC Sports]

Phillies doomed: The Phillies are a favorite for the World Series this season, but enjoy it now, Phillies fans. Grantland.com's Rany Jazayerli writes that the team isn't built for the long haul, as the team is saddled with bloated contracts and aging players. A really interesting read.

Moose is loose: Royals rookie Mike Moustakas has found his groove. After starting his career hitting .182, he's raised his average to .232 with a 14-game hitting streak. [MLB.com]

Movie time for A's: Several A's say they're curious to see Moneyball when it premiers later this month. [Baseball Prospectus]

Bay to center? Could the Mets move Jason Bay to center field in 2012? That's one of the things the team is considering, even though it seems like it would certainly weaken the team's outfield defense. But hey, the guy is owed a ton of money, so he'd have to be put somewhere. The move would also allow Daniel Murphy's bat to get in the lineup in left, with Lucas Duda in right. Of course, Murphy wasn't able to play left in 2009, so I'm not exactly sure why he would be able to now. [New York Daily News]

Pujols teases fan: A good friend of mine can't stand Albert Pujols -- when 60 Minutes did the feature about all his charitable work, my friend wasn't impressed. He once had a to do a story on Pujols, who blew him off. He went back the next day, and Pujols was a jerk to him again. So I'm guessing he'll like this story about Pujols taunting a Brewer fan. [Big League Stew]

Quentin's return uncertain: White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but he said he's unsure if he'll be ready to play by then. He went on the disabled list for a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder Saturday, but hadn't played since Aug. 20. [Chicago Tribune]

Uehara's option vests: When Rangers reliever Koji Uehara appeared in his 55th game of the season on Wednesday, his $4 million option for 2012 vested. [MLBTradeRumors.com]

More Garfoose: Not to overload you with Dirk Hayhurst stuff, but some might find this interesting -- the recently released pitcher is auctioning off some of his game-used gear for charity. [DirkHayhurst.com]

40th anniversary: On Sept. 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first team in Major League history to field an all-minority lineup, with Dock Ellis taking the mound. [The Hardball Times]

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 1:18 am
Edited on: September 1, 2011 1:22 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Pitchers muscle up



By Matt Snyder

Derek Lowe, Braves/Jake Westbrook, Cardinals. Lowe worked six innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out six in the Braves' 3-1 win. He even helped set up rookie sensation Craig Kimbrel for his record-setting 41st save. But none of that is why Lowe is here. We don't put run-of-the-mill quality starts in the "up" section. Pitchers hitting bombs does get our attention, though, and Lowe hit his first career home run. Westbrook decided to outdo Lowe, however, as he also hit his first career homer -- it's just that Westbrook's was a grand slam, helping to propel his Cardinals to an 8-3 win over the division-leading Brewers.

Jack Hannahan, Indians. Hannahan hit two solo home runs to help get the Indians to extra innings knotted at 3-3 with the A's. He then came through with an RBI single to end the game in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 16th inning. The win moved the Indians back into second place and kept them within 5 1/2 games of the Tigers -- who came through with a win after an eighth-inning rally.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants. The Giants badly needed someone to step up. They had lost four of six games to the two worst teams in the National League and had fallen to six games behind the upstart Diamondbacks in the NL West. Bumgarner stepped up. His performance shouldn't be all that surprising, because when he's good, he's as good as anyone in the game. Still, he's been inconsistent this season, so you never know. But Wednesday's effort was a beauty. He tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in eight shutout innings as the Giants won 4-0 to keep pace with the D-Backs -- who won their ninth straight.



Alexi Ogando, Rangers. In July, Ogando's first-half performance got him to the All-Star Game in Phoenix. Come September, he may be out of the Rangers' rotation. Ogando couldn't even get through the third inning during Texas' 4-1 loss to the Rays Wednesday. He allowed five hits, two walks and three earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings, pushing his August ERA to over 7.00. And Scott Feldman is waiting in the wings in case manager Ron Washington wants to bump Ogando.

Jake Peavy's 1st inning, White Sox. The White Sox are trying to chase down the Tigers in the AL Central and have a decent-sized gap, so every game is of vast importance at this point. Wednesday, Peavy coughed up six runs in the top of the first inning to the Twins and the White Sox lost 7-6. Meanwhile, the White Sox fell to third place and are six games out.

The Orioles. Maybe the "Man in White" traveled to Baltimore? The Blue Jays thoroughly dominated the Orioles in every facet of the game Wednesday in a 13-0 victory. The Jays pounded 20 hits -- 10 of which were of the extra-base variety -- including Jose Bautista's major-league leading 39th bomb. The Orioles didn't just limit their ineptitude to the mound, though, as they were equally futile in the batter's box. Henderson Alvarez threw eight shutout innings for the Blue Jays and Rommie Lewis closed the Orioles down in the ninth. They only managed five baserunners all game.

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Posted on: August 30, 2011 6:57 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 6:59 pm
 

Guillen won't manage ChiSox without extension

GuillenBy Evan Brunell

Earlier Tuesday, it was reported that manager Ozzie Guillen and White Sox GM Kenny Williams' relationship is "beyond repair."

Guillen had some strong statements, saying that while the decision lies with both owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Williams as to whether Guillen manages in 2012, he is the face of the franchise and can leave Chicago "with my head up" because "I'm the one with the balls around here."

Guillen has kept on motoring with comments that continue to dig him a deeper and deeper hole, telling Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com that "I don't think I'll be back here for one-year contract, and not know about the next year."

Guillen is under contract for the 2012 season after the team picked up his option in the offseason, as a way of silencing the discussion around the fued that has lasted for a couple years, but Guillen is now stoking the fire once more. Except here, Guillen is going about it all wrong, first by saying he's the face of the franchise, second by saying he's the only one with any gumption in town, and now by saying he will not manage without a contract extension.

Guillen may hold himself in high esteem, but he signed the contract that afforded Chicago a 2012 option, which is now guaranteed. Guillen is obligated to manage the team if Chicago asks him to. The fact that he believes he can walk away and not honor his contract if he doesn't get an extension is patently ridiculous. Even Guillen has to know how favorably Jim Riggleman walking away in Washington was received by those in the game. (Read: not well at all.)

It's likely that Guillen knows this, and he's only posturing to either get the extension or be fired, perhaps to take over the Marlins. (If he thinks it's tough working for Williams under Reinsdorf, wait until he sees what Jeffrey Loria has in store for him.) But that doesn't excuse his words. It's a tired threat by now, one people have made before. Guillen rants are always fun, but this particular storyline is getting old. Fortunately, it looks as if the situation will be resolved one way or another this winter.

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Posted on: August 30, 2011 5:43 pm
 

On Deck: Another round of Yankees-Red Sox

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

CC SabathiaJohn LackeyHere we go again: Yep, it's that time of year (again) -- Red Sox and Yankees. Boston starts the night  1.5 games ahead of their AL East rivals and 10-2 against them so far this season. Yankees starter CC Sabathia is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against the Red Sox this season, including a debacle on Aug. 6 that saw him surrender seven runs in six innings. John Lackey is 2-0 against the Yankees, but has benefitted from great run support in his two starts against New York. In those two games, he's allowed 13 hits and nine runs in 11 innings -- good for a 7.36 ERA. Lackey gave up six runs in five innings on April 8, but was better than Phil Hughes, who gave up that many runs in two innings. He allowed just three runs in six innings in this month's earlier matchup with Sabathia to earn the victory. Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Pulling away: A month or so ago this looked like it would be a big series, but instead the Brewers have a chance to spit on the Cardinals' grave with this three-game series in Milwaukee. The Brewers lead the Cardinals -- their nearest competition in the NL Central -- by 10 1/2 games. Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum is coming off his first loss in 10 starts and hasn't been great against the Cardinals this season, going 1-0 with a 5.68 ERA in three starts. Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson is 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA in six starts for the Cardinals. He's been good except for one start -- Aug. 3 at Milwaukee, where the Brewers scored 10 runs (eight earned) off of him in seven innings. He bounced back facing the Brewers in his next start and gave up just three runs (two earned) in six innings in a no-decision. Cardinals at Brewers, 8:10 p.m.

White Sox streaking: Chicago has been one of the game's most disappointing teams, but here we are on the next-to-last day of August and they've still got a chance at the American League Central flag. Chicago's won four in a row and are now in second place in the division, five games behind the Tigers and readying for a weekend series in Detroit. If the White Sox can take care of business in Minnesota, this weekend could be huge. Tuesday's starter for the White Sox, rookie right-hander Zach Stewart, has just one win so far for Chicago, but it was against the Twins. He allowed just one run on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings on Aug. 6 at Target Field. Twins at White Sox, 8:10 p.m.

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Posted on: August 30, 2011 12:35 pm
 

White Sox drama continues

Ozzie GuillenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Ozzie Guillen sure sounds like someone who wouldn't be surprised to be wearing a different uniform next season.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times cites a "major-league source" that the relationship between Guillen and general manager Kenny Williams is "beyond repair."

Just as damning seems to be Guillen's comments to Cowley. Not that Guillen is a stranger to strong statements, but these seem to have an edge.

From the article:

• "Like I keep saying, whatever they do, that's up to them. I have a contract, so my hands are tied. I want to stay here, but only if they want to keep me here. This is a business, so if they want to talk to other teams or talk to others about managing… I know it's not what I want."

• "To be honest, it's pretty good money for him to just let me go. If they don't think I'm doing my job and all this [stuff], they thing Ozzie [messed] this up, fine, let them think that."

• "Let's get this straight: I'm the face of the franchise. People can say what they want. There's a lot of blame going around out there, but I blame myself because I guess I'm the one with the balls around here. It's not because I'm cocky or an arrogant guy, but I can leave Chicago with my head up. That's what's important to me.

"Jerry [Reinsdorf] is the one that has to decide on if [Kenny and I] can make it work. We're doing it, getting by. We're not best friends, but we make do. We're professional. We do what's best for the ball club. Our job is more important than our friendship."

The entire column is worth reading. Cowley comes to the conclusion that one or both Guillen and Williams will be gone after the season, which may not be a stretch. 

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Posted on: August 29, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 4:55 pm
 

On Deck: Two big NL East returns

OD

By Matt Snyder

The Mets and Marlins kicked things off with an afternoon game, as it was the front end of a doubleheader. That still leaves us with 12 night games, a healthy slate for a Monday night. Follow all the action live on our CBSSports.com scoreboard.

Hamels on the hill/Over Yonder: Phillies starter Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62) will return from a quick stint on the disabled list Monday night. He was sidelined with inflammation to his left shoulder. Now the task will be making sure he's strong for the postseason, as there's little doubt the Phillies are headed to the best record in the NL. Monday's opponent is the Reds and Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44) will be on the mound. An interesting note here from the Reds' side of things is that Yonder Alonso is starting at third base. The 24-year-old slugger is a defensively liability pretty much everywhere except first -- and there's even some debate to that. Considering the Reds have a decent player already at first, they're trying to find a new spot for Alonso. He's hitting .467 with three home runs and a 1.422 OPS in 36 plate appearances since being recalled, so that's why the Reds are experimenting. The issue: He's never played third, not even in the minors. Should be interesting, to say the least. Phillies at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Jose, Jose Jose Jose! He didn't get back in time to start the first game of the double-dip, but Jose Reyes will return to the Mets' lineup for the nightcap. As I wrote Sunday, Reyes' return to the lineup is compelling due to his impending free agency. He's hitting .336/.377/.507 with 34 steals and 80 runs in 98 games and is still leading the majors with 16 triples, but health questions might mitigate how much money Reyes commands on the open market. Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 4.30) is the Marlins' starter while Dillon Gee (11-5, 4.37) gets the nod for the Mets. Marlins at Mets, 7:40 p.m. ET (if not later, as it's the second game of the doubleheader).

Hurly Buehrle: The White Sox have won three straight and trail the Tigers by six in the AL Central. They can't wait much longer to get on a serious run, or else they'll be too far back come mid-September, so the time is now to build a huge winning streak. Monday, Mark Buehrle (10-6, 3.19) will be the White Sox's starter against the Twins. If recent history is any indication, a win should be coming. Buehrle has a 0.39 ERA and 0.61 WHIP in three starts against the Twins this season. On the flip-side, the White Sox have owned Twins starter Kevin Slowey (0-2, 6.84) over the course of his career, as Slowey has a 6.39 ERA in 38 innings against the White Sox. Still, games aren't won on paper or past history. Twins at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET.

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