Tag:White Sox
Posted on: June 25, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2010 6:26 pm

Zambrano blows up again

Carlos Zambrano The Cubs were able to unload Milton Bradley this offseason, but they may have a bigger, more expensive problem on their hands in Carlos Zambrano, and it's beyond his ineffectiveness on the mound.

Friday, Zambrano blew up once again after allowing four runs in the first inning. Zambrano got A.J. Pierzynski to ground out to first to end the inning, and after Derrek Lee tossed the ball to a covering Zambrano, Big Z stomped on the bag.

Zambrano, a known head-case, began a temper-tantrum when he got into the dugout. At some point Lou Piniella said something to Zambrano and then so did Lee. At that point, Zambrano started coming at Lee and yelling at him. Lee could be seen telling Zambrano his actions were "B.S." but he didn't use initials. After Zambrano threw down a water cooler, Lou Piniella got involved again and Zambrano went to the clubhouse. As Tom Gorzelanny warmed up in the bullpen, Zambrano came back into the dugout.

Whether the conflict was between the two players or just Lee sticking up for the other 23 men on the team was unclear. Juan Pierre did lead off the game with a grounder down the line by Lee, but it appeared to be a tough play as Lee was playing in to defend against the bunt. Zambrano was lifted after one inning, four hits and the four runs -- three off a home run by Carlos Quentin. Gorzelanny threw 3 1/3 innings, not allowing a hit until Gordon Beckham's solo homer in the fifth.

Lee was the first batter of the inning and struck out. After coming back to the dugout, he sat near Zambrano. In the several TV shots of the dugout, the two were not looking at each other.

Cubs announcer Bob Brenly unexplainably said it was "good to see some emotion" and that the Cubs have been a "dead-ass team."

The difference was who was showing emotion and what that emotion was. Zambrano has had several of these types of blow-ups in the past -- plunking White Sox players a year ago on the Southside, a fight in the dugout with Michael Barrett, a destroyed Gatorade machine and too many tantrums to count. Brenly's partner rightfully called him on it, as Len Casper noted emotion can be good, but with Zambrano it's a tired act.

It's no secret that opposing clubs like to get to Zambrano early because they all know he can be rattled and taken out of his game, leading to big innings and ineffectiveness. He's got a reputation in opposing clubhouses as a big, immature baby.

What's worse for the Cubs, who have already demoted Zambrano to the bullpen once this season, is that they're stuck with him. He signed a five-year, $91.5 million extension with the Cubs in August of 2007. Zambrano makes $17.875 million this season and next, $18 million in 2012 and there is a vesting player option for 2013, but he must finish first or second in the Cy Young vote in 2011 or in the top four in 2012 for that option to take effect.

The Cubs can't afford to release him and nobody will touch him on waivers, so they're stuck with him, cursing the team more than any goat.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

UPDATE: According to a Chicago Tribune tweet, Zambrano was filmed screaming obscenities at local cameramen on his way out of the ballpark. The Cubs are going to love seeing that on TV ad nauseum.

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Posted on: June 25, 2010 4:32 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2010 5:48 pm

Piniella, Stone make nice

Unfortunately for those of us who were enjoying the feud, Cubs manager Lou Piniella and White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone are back on friendly terms.

On June 11, Piniella went ballistic after hearing that Stone had criticized his handling of rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin (never mind that a few days later, Piniella would end up doing exactly what Stone had suggested and making Colvin an everyday player). Stone replied with a few barbs of his own, but the men apparently managed to avoid each other during the first Cubs-White Sox series.

Friday the teams began another series, and Stone went to the Cubs' clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field and sought out Piniella to hash out their issues.

"I felt because this is our ballpark, I should go down into his locker room," Stone told radio station WSCR, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. "He facetiously said, 'Do you think we should fight?' I said, "Nah, I think we're too old to do that.' And he said, 'Look, it was over when I was done with it,' and I said I felt the same way.

"We shook hands a number of different times. He wound up actually thanking me for coming down and putting this thing to bed, which it where it belongs."

"We closed the door and threw a few jabs ... verbally," Piniella told reporters.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 24, 2010 7:07 pm

Minor leaguer Lindsay getting around

Shane Lindsay At this rate, Shane Lindsay may get a complex.

On Thursday, the Indians designated Lindsay for assignment to make room for infielder Jayson Nix, claimed off of waivers from the White Sox.

Lindsay, a 25-year old right-hander from Australia hasn't spent a day in the big leagues, but he would have spent his fair share of time in the transactions section of the sports page if those things still existed.

Lindsay had pitched in four games for Double-A Erie since the Indians claimed off of waivers from the Yankees on June 1. He was with the Yankees for just two weeks after he was claimed off of waivers by the Rockies. He appeared in 14 games for the Rockies' Triple-A squad in Colorado Springs, allowing 10 runs in 13 2/3 innings  (6.59 ERA) with 17 walks and 19 strikeouts.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 24, 2010 2:04 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2010 2:15 pm

Guillen believes Beckham whiffing too much

Gordon Beckham Gordon Beckham had a rapid ascension to the major leagues after being the eighth overall pick in 2008. He made his debut June 4, 2009 and went on to post a strong .270/.347/.460 line in 102 games as a 22-year old.

In the offseason, Beckham was shifted to second base and expected to be a significant offensive contributor, starting the season batting second. However, he has now been moved to ninth and may be on his way to the bench in a platoon situation after suffering a debilitating sophomore slump.

Beckham is batting a scant .199./270/.251, one of the worst offensive performers in the game. Yet, he still gets in the lineup every day and has amassed 231 at-bats on the year and whiffed 48 times which puts him on pace for 113 whiffs.

Manager Ozzie Guillen is now contemplating putting Beckham in a platoon situation with Omar Vizquel as a way to get 21-year-old Dayan Viciedo more playing time. Even though Beckham is struggling in every facet of the offensive game, the manager chose to focus on the strikeouts as Beckham's negative.

"If you strike out like that, you got to hit 40 home runs and hit .250," Guillen told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

"When you're batting ninth, [you're] the one guy has to put the ball in play," Guillen continued. "A lot of swings and misses, and only one home run. When you swing and miss and strike out that much, you got to be Jim Thome. You got to be that type of guy. But I'm really concerned about the strikeout situation."

Guillen seems to be overstating things a bit as strikeouts have been on the rise in recent years. In Guillen's playing career, 48 whiffs through 64 games would absolutely be cause for concern, but Beckham is tied for 82nd with five other players in 2010 strikeouts.

Yes, Beckham is certainly whiffing too much for someone that is batting .199, but anyone batting .199 strikes out too much. The problem is an overall offensive approach, not strikeouts. Other people are striking just as much as Beckham and producing.

Of Beckham's compatriots with 48 whiffs, Russell Branyan has 10 home runs, Jason Kubel is an important part of the Twins offense, Stephen Drew is a starting shortstop with a secure job, and Sean Rodriguez and Cliff Pennington both play part-time for the Rays and Athletics, respectively -- meaning their strikeout rate is actually higher than Beckham's.

It seems as if Guillen is looking at things from when he played, not how things are now. You definitely don't have to be Jim Thome to register 113 whiffs a year. In 2009, Bobby Abreu was 54th in the league with 113 whiffs, and Chone Figgins had 114. This is a completely new game, and these comments by Guillen should make one question if he understands the game as it is today to properly manage it.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: June 23, 2010 2:40 am

White Sox disconnect?

Very strange comments coming out of Chicago, which, if everyone is telling the truth, seem to indicate a communication problem for the White Sox.

Less than two weeks ago, general manager Kenny Williams said "some changes are coming," setting off a panic that the White Sox were considering blowing things up in light of a disappointing start. At the time, Chicago was 9 1/2 games behind the Twins in the American League Central.

Now the White Sox have won 11 of 12, and at 4 1/2 games back, the approach has apparently changed. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told reporters Saturday that he would add to the payroll "'if [the Sox] keep playing this way."

So why did Williams claim to be unaware of that on Tuesday?

"Well, all I know is what I read in the paper the other day when you guys asked [Reinsdorf] about it," Williams told the Chicago Sun-Times . "I was glad to hear that was a possibility. That's the first I heard about it. I'm glad it's on record. It's on record, from what I understand."

First he heard about it? Is Wiliams really getting his payroll directives from news reports? Perhaps he was being coy, but if he really was operating without knowing Reinsdorf was willing to be a buyer, something is amiss in that organization.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Tags: White Sox
Posted on: June 22, 2010 8:31 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 12:25 am

Silva pushed back, won't face M's

Carlos Silva won't pitch against his former team after all. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter that Cubs right-hander Silva will not  make his scheduled start in Seattle on Thursday due to hamstring tenderness. Ted Lilly will pitch Thursday and Silva will be pushed to Saturday against the White Sox.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 21, 2010 12:23 pm

Garcia integral to White Sox's rise

Freddy Garcia In 2007, Freddy Garcia looked finished. After being acquired from the White Sox for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez, Garcia registered just one win for the Philadelphia Phillies while posting a 5.90 ERA in 11 starts. That one win cost the Phillies $10 million in salary as Garcia went on the disabled list after revealing he had hid a shoulder injury.

After recovering from surgery to fix his labrum and rotator cuff, Garcia joined the Tigers in August 2008, making just three starts. He then inked a minor-league deal with the Mets that saw him released without throwing a big-league pitch for New York. He rejoined the White Sox, his old stomping grounds when he won a World Series ring in 2005. A few months later, Garcia made his 2009 debut and went on to post a 4.34 ERA in nine starts.

Despite many feeling Garcia was finished, especially after whiffing just 5.9 batters per nine innings in 2009, he entered 2010 as part of the Pale Hose's rotation. Since then, he's enjoyed success, currently holding a 8-3 record and 4.85 ERA over 13 starts. On Sunday, he won his fifth straight start and eighth of nine, vanquishing the Nationals.

Now that Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd have finally gotten their performance under control and are pitching well, Garcia becomes a back-of-the-rotation option, but the fact the Venezuelan was able to keep Chicago in the hunt as the de facto No. 2 starter up until this point is far more a role anyone could have expected before the season started.

It's clear Garcia's never going to recapture the magic that made him one of the league's best workhorses, but has proven he still has plenty left in the tank. Garcia has been instrumental to Chicago's ascension to .500, which they reached Sunday on the heels of a six-game winning streak. At just 5 1/2 games behind first-place Minnesota, the White Sox's season that once looked over now seems to just be getting started.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 18, 2010 8:13 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2010 1:05 am

Strasburg sets obscure strikeout record

Stephen Strasburg So the latest installment in "they keep that record?" -- Stephen Strasburg has set the record for most starts in the first three starts of a career with 31, passing the previous record set by J.R. Richard. He picked up his eighth strikeout of the game (and 30th of his carer) in the fifth inning by getting Alexi Ramirez swinging. He finished the inning by striking out Gordon Beckham on a ball in the dirt. Eight of his nine strikeouts have been swinging strikeouts.

However, the Nationals are down 1-0 because Gavin Floyd has allowed just one hit through five innings.

Strasburg, on the other, has given up two hits, both in the first -- an infield single to Juan Pierre and a blooper by Omar Vizuel in the first. Since then, he's retired the next 15 batters.

As for those who note Strasburg's strikeout numbers have come against the likes of the Pirates and Indians, two last-place teams, the White Sox don't have a winning record, but did enter Friday's game with the fewest strikeouts in baseball.

UPDATE: Starsburg's done after seven innings, striking out 10, allowing one run on four hits with no walks. His ERA now stands at 1.86.

The Nationals scored a run on an Adam Dunn double in the seventh, so Strasburg will get a no-decision.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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