Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Sox' alarm about to ring

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 17:10
It's been quiet in White Sox land, real quiet. Since being eliminated by the upstart Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, manager Ozzie Guillen headed for his boat in Miami, Paul Konerko returned home to Phoenix for the birth of his second child, shell-shocked Nick Swisher headed for an island and the Sox' other players scattered near and far. GM Kenny Williams has been biding his time, waiting for the World Series to (finally) end, so he can get back to work. When the Fall Classic does wrap up, an interesting off-season is in store. Here are five things to watch with the White Sox: 1. Third base. This could have, should have, been Joe Crede's position for the next 5-6 years. But a bad back (and agent, Scott Boras) leaves the Sox no choice but to part ways with the classy Crede.

Hendry's task now: Just win, baby

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 10/20/2008 - 14:21
Cubs GM Jim Hendry got his contract extension today. It was neither the three years many thought it would be nor the five that some had reported. Chairman Crane Kenney and Tribune Co. chief Sam Zell settled on four years. In this day and age of short shelf lives for sports GMs, this is nothing short of extraordinary. If Hendry serves out the term of the deal, he will have been on the job for 10 and a half years. Andy MacPhail named Hendry to the post in July of 2002, when MacPhail fired field manager Don Baylor in the midst of a miserable season.

Hendry, Cubs appear close on deal

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 10/17/2008 - 13:08
'Tis the season to talk of lame ducks. Presidents. Nah, baseball general managers, particularly Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Sometime Sunday, Hendry will head to Mesa, Ariz., for the Cubs' annual organization meetings. The biggest worry Hendry might have is whether he'll be going as a lame-duck GM. The answer is probably not. It appears the Cubs and Hendry are close to finalizing a multiyear deal that could keep Trader Jim around for another three years. Hendry may have been feeling a little uneasy because of the seemingly endless process of the Tribune Co. unloading the Cubs. What happens if Hendry were to pick up his one-year option by Dec. 30, only to have the Cubs sold next spring and the new owners saying, "Thank you very much and good-bye?"

R.I.P. Kevin Foster

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 10/14/2008 - 14:54
I wish I'd have gotten to know Kevin Foster a little better. The former Cubs right-hander from the mid- and late-1990s died Saturday at 39 from renal cell carcinoma. In my first spring training on the Cubs beat, in 1998, I walked into the Fitch Park locker room on my first full day, and the first guy I saw was Foster. He was looking to come back from a shoulder ailment that shut him down for two months in 1997. I remember asking Kevin about the shoulder.

Help with Hendry's to-do list

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 12:48
First, a couple of things before we commence to helping Jim Hendry plan his off-season. (He didn't ask me for the help, by the way.) I fully expect the Cubs to pick up the $7 million option on pitcher Rich Harden today. Expect something this afternoon. The Cubs knew of Harden's health problems when they traded for him last July, and that's why he came relatively cheap in terms of what the Cubs had to give up. Second, can it get any sillier than raising a fuss over somebody busting up a water pipe at Dodger Stadium? From what I hear, this is the fourth time this year something like that has happened at Dodger Stadium. No big deal. The Cubs pay the bill, and everybody moves on. And who cares who did it, just like who busted up Sammy's boom box?

They gone

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 21:03
Well, that's it. The White Sox' season is over, but the mood was actually pretty jovial in the postgame clubhouse. The Sox didn't get out of the first round of the playoffs, but they had a better season that expected. And GM Kenny Williams had that look in his eye Monday night. Without getting into details, Williams said he's going to look for some speed at the top and bottom of the order. This year, Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, A.J. Pierzynski and Ken Griffey Jr. really clogged up the bases, and so did Juan Uribe and Joe Crede (when he was healthy). The White Sox stole just 67 bases, and only the Tigers (63) were worse. Is Williams preparing to pull the plug on all the power? I'd say no, but the White Sox clearly need more balance.

Ready for Game 4

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 15:52
It's football season in most parts of the country, but there is some great baseball weather on the South Side for Game 4 of the ALDS. It's do-or-die for Gavin Floyd and the White Sox today, so we'll see what happens. Here are the lineups for the game, which you can catch at 4:07 p.m. on WTBS: Tampa Bay Iwamura, 2B Upton, CF Pena, 1B Longoria, 3B Crawford, LF Floyd, DH Navarro, C Gross, RF Bartlett, SS Sox Cabrera, SS A.J., C Dye, RF Thome, DH Konerko, 1B Griffey Jr., CF Ramirez, 2B Wise, LF Uribe, 3B Note: Floyd is making his first-ever appearance vs. the Rays today. Only five Tampa Bay hitters faced Floyd when he was with the Phillies. DH Cliff Floyd (3-for-11) had the most success, hitting a home run off Gavin.

Sox look good for Game 4

Posted by scotgreg on Sun, 10/05/2008 - 21:16
I’m still sticking with the original prediction after Game 2 of the American League division series. The White Sox, after dropping the first two in Tampa Bay, win the next two at home before losing Game 5 back at Tropicana Field. The Sox have an obvious advantage in the Game 4 pitching matchup. Gavin Floyd has been a beast this season, and the big right-hander leads the staff with 17 wins. Floyd is 10-3 with a 3.55 ERA at home. Floyd’s mound opponent, right-hander Andy Sonnanstine, is a 13-game winner and 6-5 (4.35 ERA) on the road. Sonnanstine looked like a Cy Young candidate while pitching a complete-game, 3-hit shutout against the Sox at the Trop in April. As the season progressed, Sonnanstine faded. He hasn’t won a game since Aug. 18 and is 0-3 in his last seven starts.

Is it do-or-die yet?

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 10/04/2008 - 17:06
Oh, I think it is. They say it never rains in California, but we had some light showers today, and the tarp is still on the field. I think it's the first time in my 11 years of coming here that I've ever seen the tarp on the Dodger Stadium field. Lou gave us the lineup yesterday. I'll post it here and update it this evening if need be: Soriano, LF Fontenot, 2B Lee, 1B Ramirez, 3B Soto, C Edmonds, CF DeRosa, RF Theriot, SS Harden, P Fontenot's an interesting story. If you recall, he's one of three guys the Cubs got for Sammy Sosa. When he came up early last year and hit a double off the wall at Shea Stadium, it made a big impression with Lou. Now, we'll see what he does in a pressure situation.

Do Sox have a chance?

Posted by scotgreg on Fri, 10/03/2008 - 22:00
Think the White Sox’ goose is finally cooked? I think the Sox are going to win both games at the Cell to pull even with the Rays in the ALDS, but they’ll go down in Game 5 when the series moves back to Tropicana Field. The Sox have stunk it up in domes this season (4-18), specifically the offense. Even if Mark Buehrle comes back and pitch Game 5 _ which is highly likely _ he’d probably have to pitch a shutout to give the White Sox a chance to win.