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Tag:Chris Sale
Posted on: May 3, 2011 1:45 am

3 up, 3 down: Matsui says sayonara

Hideki Matsui

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Hideki Matsui, Athletics -- Matsui hit a sayonara home run (what the Japanese call the walk-off) off Texas' Darren Oliver to lead off the bottom of the 10th, giving Oakland a 5-4 victory and moving Oakland above .500 at 15-14. It was the 496th career homer for Matsui, combining his Japanese and American homers.

Mike Stanton, Marlins -- Stanton tied the game for the Marlins in the fifth inning with a solo shot and then scored the go-ahead run after leading off the eighth inning with a triple off Cardinals closer Mitchell Boggs.

Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals -- Madison Bumgarner didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning, but Gorzelanny didn't give up a run in his eight innings. He allowed just three hits in the 2-0 Nationals victory. He improved to 4-0 in his career against the Giants.


Brandon McCarthy, Athletics -- The A's starter didn't allow any earned runs -- but he did give up four unearned runs because of two errors. So why's he on this list? Because he committed both errors. McCarthy misplayed bunts in the second and fifth, allowing the Rangers to score twice in each inning.

Miguel Tejada, Giants -- The Nationals' only two runs of the game in their 2-0 victory over the Giants came thanks to Tejada's seventh-inning error. With two outs in the inning, he let Wilson Ramos' grounder hit off his glove. Ian Desmond followed with a single, then Michael Morse hit a bleeder that made it to center and Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled in the final run.

Chris Sale, White Sox -- With two outs in the ninth and a comfortable 6-0 lead, Sale hit Nick Markakis and gave up a two-run homer to Derrek Lee, he then gave up a single to Vladimir Guerrero and walked Luke Scott before being lifted for closer Sergio Santos. Santos was able to strike out Adam Jones to end the team's six-game losing streak, but the bullpen has been such a concern, they would have liked to not have to use Santos in that situation.

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Posted on: April 19, 2011 10:20 am

Pepper: Super Sam

Sam Fuld
By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the best parts of any new season is seeing players reach their potential -- or in Sam Fuld's case, exceed it.

With a 4-for-4 performance in Monday's win over the White Sox, Fuld is now the American League batting leader, hitting .396. And he made another fantastic catch, as you can see above.

Fuld was acquired in the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs this offseason and learned a little bit about playing at Tropicana Field with his diving catch in the third inning on Tuesday.

"It felt like someone took a blow torch to [his left hand], and then I look at it and then there's nothing to show for it, no blood," Fuld told reporters, including the Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney. "Now I know what turf burn is like."

Replays showed starter David Price screaming and clapping his hands after the play, which helped him win his first-ever victory over the White Sox.

The Rays are giving out a Sam Fuld cape later in the season, but it doesn't appear he needs one.

BASEBALL TODAY -- Lauren Shehadi and I talk about the Rockies pitching Cardinals offense.

FASTEST GUN IN THE MIDWEST -- There's little debate now, the gun at Great American Ball Park is juiced.

On Sunday, it had Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan throwing 102, while Pitch F/X had him hitting 98. On Monday, the scoreboard showed Aroldis Chapman hitting 106, when Pitch F/X showed his third pitch to Andrew McCutchen as "just" 102.4.

Last year I had scouts tell me the gun was pretty accurate, but apparently the excitement around Chapman got the Reds greedy, amping up the radar gun. If he does hit 105 mph again, will it say 110 on the scoreboard? Maybe the gun will make Bronson Arroyo feel better about his heater. []

GOOD SEATS -- Nate Schierholtz's brother was sitting 10 feet from where his mammoth shot landed in the third deck at Coors Field, and paid the guy who caught it $25 bucks to get the ball. [San Jose Mercury News]

STREET WATCH -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy is keeping a close eye on closer Huston Street, who hasn't pitched more than two days in a row this year, but has pitched in 10 of the team's first 15 games. []

AXFORD STRUGGLES -- Brewers closer John Axford had another bad outing on Monday, blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth of an eventual 12-inning Milwaukee victory. The issues has been control, but manager Ron Roenicke said he's not concerned or thinking about any kind of change. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

AND I WANT TO BE COMMISSIONER -- Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said he still wants to play first base. Manager Ned Yost's response? " You know what, I'd like to be an astronaut -- and for some reason they just won't let me." With Kila Ka'aihue is manning the spot until Eric Hosmer comes in to take it for good. [Kansas City Star]

BRING AN UMBRELLA -- Weather has been bad all around baseball early this season, although attendance hasn't been hurt too much. [Associated Press]

GOOD JOBA -- Joba Chamberlain's velocity is down, but his results are up. His slider has become a good pitch, helping his results. [New York Daily News]

NICE SHOT -- Ryan Raburn's pop foul in the first inning on Monday was the first-ever ball to hit the roof at Safeco Field. []

PLENTY OF GOOD SEATS AVAILABLE -- The Mets' bad start is good if you're looking for bargain shopping on the highest-priced seats at Citi Field. [New York Times]

RIOS AILING -- Alex Rios will be getting a break in the White Sox's series with the Rays to try to help his sore left toe fully heal. Rios said the toe has been hurting him for the last five years, so it's doubtful a simple day off will cure him. [Chicago Tribune]

AARDSMA TAKING THE HILL -- Mariners closer David Aardsma is expected to pitching tonight in Triple-A, his firs tame action since his hip labrum surgery in January. The Mariners will likely wait for him to throw three or four games in the minors before taking him off the disabled list. []

MORE SURGERY FOR ZUMAYA? -- The Tigers put Joel Zumaya on the 60-day disabled list and another surgery is possible on his right elbow. [Detroit Free Press]

NICE CATCH -- David Wright played catch with some young fans at Turner Field the other day. Pretty cool stuff. [Big League Stew]

NEW DUCKS UNIFORM -- The Oregon Ducks have added an orange jersey? Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie models the newest Oregon uniform combo. []

VIN SCULLY ON 42 -- Dodger Gene Hermanski had the idea of everyone wearing No. 42 way back in 1948, Vin Scully said. [Sons of Steve Garvey]

TROP VETERAN -- White Sox rookie Chris Sale recalled going to the first-ever Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays game in 1998 when he was 9. [Chicago Tribune]

NOTHING BREWING IN MINORS -- According to the latest Baseball America, the Brewers have the worst minor-league system in baseball. After trading away Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi this offseason, their top-ranked prospect is right-hander Mark Rogers -- the team's first-round pick in 2004. On Monday, Rogers lost to former Brewer starter Jeff Suppan in a Triple-A game. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

MINOR LEAGUER HIT IN HEAD -- Eric Hurley, a right-hander with the Rangers' Triple-A team, was hit in the right side of the head in a game against New Orleans on Monday. Hurley, 25, didn't lose consciousness and was taken to a nearby hospital. He left the field over his own power. []

THROWBACK THURSDAY -- Not only will the Dodgers be breaking out their new throwback uniforms against the Braves on Thursday, Atlanta will throw in throwback duds. No word yet on which Braves throwbacks we'll see. The Dodgers are wearing 1940s-era blue satin-like unis. To announce the promotion the Dodgers sent out a press release on Brooklyn Dodgers letterhead (or maybe the ownership ran out of their regular letterhead and had to find some at the back of the closet instead of ordering new stock.) [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

TODAY IN GLUTTONY -- The Akron Aeros have introduced a helmet sundae. No, not a mini-helmet sundae, a full-sized helmet sundae. [Akron Aeros]

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Posted on: April 15, 2011 7:54 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 7:56 pm

White Sox have AL's best bullpen?

By Matt Snyder
It's no secret the White Sox have had issues closing out games this season. Matt Thornton entered the season as the closer, with Bobby Jenks out of the way, and has yet to record a save in four chances. Chris Sale has the team's lone save, though he's blown two. Tony Pena also checks in with a blown save. Now, the White Sox appear ready to use Sergio Santos as the closer.

Regardless, Ozzie Guillen is tired of talking about it and went a little too far in trying to make an emphatic point.

"Nobody in the American League has a better bullpen than the White Sox." (Chicago Tribune )

Taken as a stand-alone comment, it's pretty ridiculous, even while keeping in mind the small sample of what we've seen so far and that a few of them (specifically Thornton and Sale) haven't pitched nearly to their ability.

Still ... the White Sox have a 6.14 bullpen ERA. Only the Red Sox are worse in the AL. They've blown six saves and closed only one. No one has fewer saves and no other team has more than four blown saves. Opposing teams are hitting .310 off the White Sox relievers, which is the worst mark in the league. They relief corps has also allowed the highest on-base percentage and slugging percentage to opposing teams. They're tied for the most doubles and home runs allowed, while sporting a pretty big lead in most total bases allowed.

Basically, the numbers actually say the complete opposite of what Guillen. The White Sox have, to this point, had the worst bullpen in the AL.

But let's remember the context of what was going on here. Guillen was simply trying to say he had confidence in his guys and that the performance to this point isn't indicative of the potential they possess. I'd agree that they're far better than they've pitched and I'm not surprised one bit Ozzie went a bit overboard in his statement. He's Ozzie Guillen. That's what he does.

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Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:50 am

Guillen: 'I don't have any closer'

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I don't really root for or against teams, but there is some fun as a blogger in the White Sox losing, because it means the most entertaining manager in the game, Ozzie Guillen may have something fun to say.

After the White Sox blew another lead on Wednesday, he had didn't disappoint:

"I don't have any closer," Guillen said. "I don't. Then we will see. From this point on, you just scratch your head and second guess yourself what you're doing wrong, bringing people to the mound with a  three-run lead for the third time and we can't hold the lead. That's not a good sign. 

"I see the same [stuff] you guys see. Exactly same [stuff.]

You can see the video of Guillen here:


The White Sox bullpen has been a disaster, blowing a late lead three days in a row. The White Sox were able to bounce back to win in extra innings on Tuesday. In just 12 games this season, the White Sox have blown six saves, four of them were blown by Matt Thornton. Chris Sale, who has the team's only save, also has a blown save.

Guillen said he went into Wednesday's game ready to use all three of his potential closers -- Sale, Jesse Crain and Thornton -- and he did just that.

After John Danks allowed just one run in eight innings, Sale allowed three straight hits to start the ninth, before he was replaced by Crain, who walked a batter and struck out another. Thornton came in with bases loaded and one out, gave up a bloop single to Josh Willingham to tie it before getting out of the inning, only to give up the lead in the 10th.

Back-to-back walks in 10th and then a single by Coco Crisp, Daric Barton, another single to score two more, giving the A's a 7-4 victory.

The only one, it seemed, that was stepping up their game was Guillen's son Oney, who actually had a good tweet on the situation.

Oney Guillen

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Posted on: April 10, 2011 1:18 pm

Maddon to talk with Lopez about bat flip

By Matt Snyder

Early Saturday evening in Chicago, there was a heated exchange between Felipe Lopez and several members of the White Sox -- including manager Ozzie Guillen and catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

The issue started when White Sox pitcher Chris Sale threw an inside pitch to Lopez, who stared down Sale for apparently having the audacity to pitch inside -- seriously, it was not anywhere near his head, nor did Lopez have to dive out of the way. It was just an inside pitch. Lopez followed with a no-doubt home run. After the ball left his bat, he flipped his stick toward the mound. Yes, into the field of play. When Lopez arrived at home, Pierzynski greeted him with a simple question. You could read his lips, and the clean version is that he just wanted to know what that bat-flip was all about. Lopez and Pierzynski were separated by the umpire while several guys from the White Sox dugout, including Guillen, were screaming toward the field in anger as well. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and nothing further happened.

Sunday, Rays skipper Joe Maddon made it very clear that type of behavior will not be tolerated.

"That's not who we are. That's not how we play,'' Maddon said. "I'm not into the end zone demonstration that much. I think we've really morphed into this, I believe, very classy group over the last several years and I want to maintain that kind of thought about us. I don't even want to say image - you think about the Rays, you think these guys handle themselves in a certain way. So, we don't do that here.'' ( )

Good for Maddon, though it's hardly surprising. He's one of the most respected managers in the game for a reason.

To be fair to Lopez, he said he didn't flip the bat toward the mound on purpose and that he called Guillen to apologize. I definitely buy the apology, but you rarely, if ever, see a bat accidentally tossed that far into the field of play. And we know the staredown of Sale wasn't an accident. The smart money is on him realizing his error later and then calling Guillen, but all's well that ends well and the situation seems to have been put to bed.

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Posted on: April 9, 2011 2:14 pm

Despite blown save, Thornton's job secure

By Evan Brunell

ThorntonMatt Thornton blew his second save of the season in as many opportunities Friday night when the White Sox gave the Rays their first win of the season.

Dan Johnson provided the killing blow with a three-run blast in the ninth inning, all too fitting for Tampa Bay as Johnson was tabbed as Manny Ramirez's replacement in the DH spot. Johnson's home run capped five runs off the lefty, although all five were unearned thanks to a throwing error by Alexis Ramirez later followed by an error by Juan Pierre on a fly ball.

"Other than the homer, I thought I was throwing well," Thornton told the Chicago Sun-Times of the disastrous ninth inning.

Manager Ozzie Guillen, for his part, refused to create a closer controversy as he realizes that what happened was largely out of his control.

"That’s a game to save or lose, but obviously we didn’t help ourselves," he said. "[Thornton] gave up the runs, but we didn’t help him."

Thornton is in the first year of being a closer after replacing Bobby Jenks. Guillen never seemed to warm to Jenks and the two had a much-publicized war of the words over the season that Boston manager Terry Francona had to step in to quell. Guillen has at times had a quick trigger finger to replace his closer and with Chris Sale in the bullpen, has someone to turn to. But Thornton's role will not change.

"He’ll get most of the save situations," he noted. "[There were] a couple broken-bat hits, and the only ball hit hard was the home run. We made a couple mistakes, and that was the game. We played very bad baseball in the ninth."

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Posted on: March 17, 2011 12:26 pm

Thornton grabs closer's gig for White Sox

ThorntonBy Evan Brunell

It appears that Matt Thornton will be the White Sox's new closer, as Peter Gammons relays Ozzie Guillen's intention to give Thornton "first dibs."

This will be Thornton's first time closing, but he has quite the pedigree for it. The 34-year-old has been one of the game's best left-handed relievers over the last three seasons, posting a 2.70 ERA in 200 1/3 innings, punching out 245 and walking just 59. The stuff made of out closers is what Thornton is made out of: those who limit hits and strike out a ton of batters.

Thornton ranked second in WAR among all relief pitchers in the last three years with a 6.6 mark and only Mariano Rivera higher at 6.9. Coming in third, perhaps surprisingly, is Jonathan Broxton at 6.2 and then Jonathan Papelbon at 6.1, rounding out relievers who accumulated at least six WAR. In terms of xFIP, Thornton actually beats out Rivera, 2.71 to 2.77. (Broxton came second at 2.73.)

So yeah, Thornton should do fine.

The one drawback is that the lefty has marginal experience as closer, but did notch eight saves last season, totaling 17 for his career. The questions surrounding Thornton's adjustment to closing is enough Guillen wouldn't hesitate to remove Thornton from the gig if required, using a shorter hook than he admitted he deployed with ex-closer Bobby Jenks.

Should Thornton fail, the role would likely fall to Chris Sale, who was in college at this time last year. Sale was drafted in June, debuted in the majors by year's end and is now slated to be Thornton's setup man.

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:54 am

3 up, 3 down for 3/14: Pie's day

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse has been a weak, expensive link in the Cardinals' rotation the last two years, but is impressing this spring. On Monday, Lohse allowed just one hit over six innings against the Braves. This spring, he's allowed just two runs in 13 innings.

2. Matt Cain, Giants -- In his first start since the spring opener, Cain pitched three hitless innings against the Brewers on Monday. Cain hadn't pitched since Feb. 27 because of inflammation in his right elbow.

3. Felix Pie, Orioles -- The outfielder had a hit in four at-bats Wednesday, but he's here because it was his day, Pi Day (3.14). Sure, it's a stretch, but it's just spring training.


Andrew McCutchen

1. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- Not only did McCutchen lose his glove trying to catch a home run by Baltimore's Randy Winn, in the same inning he was thrown out at the plate and complained that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't avoid contact as much as he should in spring training (pictured).

2. Bruce Chen, Blake Wood, Jason Kendall, Royals -- One of the best days of spring is the one scheduled off day. For players (and reporters) the one day without a game in March is the prize of six weeks in Arizona and Florida, who go without a day to themselves from the middle of February until April. The Royals trio all had to show up to work on Monday, Chen and Wood worked in a minor-league intrasquad game, while Kendall continued his rehab from shoulder surgery.

3. Chris Sale, White Sox -- The 21-year-old lefty was good last season after being called up at the end of the year, but has struggled this spring. Chicago's first-round pick in the 2010 draft allowed three runs in the fifth inning of Monday's game against the Padres. He has a 7.36 ERA in five appearances this spring.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or