Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Back in black

Posted by scotgreg on Fri, 10/03/2008 - 18:17
The White Sox are still talking about how impressive Tuesday night’s “blackout’’ crowd was at U.S. Cellular Field. Fans were asked to dress in black, and they were given black towels to wave. I’ve never been too big on crowd stunts, but hey, whatever. Anyway, the Sox gave the crowd a lot of credit after they beat the Twins 1-0 in the AL Central tiebreaker. Now that they’re in the playoffs, the White Sox want to do a “rolling blackout,” where fans continue dressing like Johnny Cash for all October home games. The first one is Sunday at 3:07 p.m., Game 3 of the ALDS vs. Tampa Bay.

'There's no curses here'

Posted by Bruce on Thu, 10/02/2008 - 19:45
Lou was nice and loose before tonight's game. Rightfully, he said "this isn't life and death," although he'd have a hard time selling that to a lot of Cubs fans. Anyway, all that silliness about a "curse" came up, and Lou was told a Greek Orthodox priest, apparently at the behest of Cubs chairman Crane Kenney, sprinkled holy water in the Cubs dugout yesterday. Final score in Game 1: Dodgers 7, Cubs 2. Lou reacted in typical fashion. "There's no curses here," Lou said. "I don't know how many times I have to answer about curses. Who did it? Crane graduated from Notre Dame. He might have had somebody from South Bend."

Fukudome back in there

Posted by Bruce on Thu, 10/02/2008 - 17:36
Lou has stuck with Fukudome, but he's batting him eighth and Theriot second: Soriano, LF Theriot, SS Lee, 1B Ramirez, 3B DeRosa, 2B Edmonds, CF Soto, C Fukudome, RF Zambrano, P As I've harped on all week, the Dodgers are game-planning the Cubs exactly the way the D'Backs did last year. And the Cubs are biting. Once Soriano figures it out to lay off the low-and-away sliders, the better off the Cubs will be.

Start Richard over Vazquez?

Posted by scotgreg on Thu, 10/02/2008 - 15:43
What’s the biggest difference between this year’s White Sox and the team that won the World Series in 2005? You saw it in Game 1 of the ALDS at Tampa Bay Thursday. In the first round of the 2005 playoffs against Boston, the White Sox went with starters Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle and Freddy Garcia. They swept the Red Sox in 3 games, so they didn’t even need Jon Garland, who was 18-10 during the regular season. And had the series vs. Boston gone longer, Garland was probably going to be skipped. That’s how good _ and fresh _ the White Sox’ starters were. Against the Rays Thursday, the Sox had no choice but to start Javier Vazquez, and the results were predictable.

Weary Sox get some rest

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 10/01/2008 - 19:35
The White Sox really needed a break in the schedule on Wednesday. Landing in Tampa Bay at 4 a.m. after gutting out a 1-0 win over the Twins in the AL Central tie-breaker Tuesday night, the Sox looked like zombies while going through an brief workout at Tropicana Field in preparation for Game 1 of the playoffs. “I got to bed around 5 (a.m.),” Jermaine Dye said. During batting practice, backup catcher Toby Hall brought out a cowbell, which have become crowd favorites at the Trop this season. It didn’t seem to wake any of the White Sox up much. With a good night’s rest, the Sox should be ready to go today. They’ll try building on a three-game winning streak.

Fukudome bats second

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 10/01/2008 - 17:17
Let's get the lineup out of the way first: Soriano, LF Fukudome, RF Lee, 1B Ramirez, 3B Soto, C Edmonds, CF DeRosa, 2B Theriot, SS Dempster, P "I'd like to stay just the way we are," Lou said. "Fukudome is very capable of having a nice postseason. With the wind blowing and everything else, we went with good defense in the outfield. The fact that DeRosa also had that little strain in the calf, second base is a little easier for him." Lou said they talked long and hard about the decision to keep Felix Pie over Micah Hoffpauir. The Cubs chose "versatilility, the defense, the speed," of Pie. Lou added that the Cubs weren't going to play Hoffpauir in the outfield anyway.

Williams salutes Sox fans

Posted by scotgreg on Tue, 09/30/2008 - 23:02
For the most part, Kenny Williams has been staying out of the spotlight during the heated stretch run. After the White Sox sealed a playoff berth Tuesday night in front of a raucous crowd that brought back memories of 2005, Williams took the microphone at U.S. Cellular Field and addressed the fans that remained from the standing-room only, black-clad crowd of 40,354. "We don't do it without you," said the champagne-soaked GM. "Even when we won the World Series, I don't think it was as electric as tonight. Thank you very much." Williams and the rest of the White Sox were stressed out after battling the Twins for 163 games before finally emerging as AL Central champions. It was a great race, right Kenny?

Lou here through 2010 (and other news)

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 09/30/2008 - 16:06
GM Jim Hendry said today he has picked up manager Lou Piniella's 2010 team option. It's worth $4 million, and to hear Hendry talk, it's worth every penny. "We've proven we're OK together," Hendry said. "We like each other, from a business end and personal point of view, so it's not a hard call for me at all." Lou actually is signed longer term than is Hendry, who has until Dec. 30 to exercise his own option for next year, something he'll no doubt do. Beyond that, he says he's not worried. He also thanked Trib tsar Sam Zell for allowing the Lou extension.

1,012-1,012: That's how even Cubs and Dodgers are

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 09/29/2008 - 16:12
Matchups. In baseball, position-by-position matchups don't tell as much of a story as they do in, say, basketball. It's the batter-pitcher matchups that count. But position-by-position matchups are fun, and they're a good way of comparing rosters. So let's see how the Cubs and Dodgers compare, position by position, as they get ready for the NLDS, which begins Wednesday at Wrigley Field. The two teams have never met in the postseason. Since 1890, they’ve each won 1,012 games against the other. That’s 1,012-1,012 over 119 years of Cubs-Dodgers baseball. Catcher The Dodgers have used Russell Martin as a leadoff hitter and just about everywhere else in the order. Martin's numbers have dropped a bit from last year, but he wound up with 13 homers and a .385 OBP.

Update from the Cell

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 09/29/2008 - 12:47
It’s just after noon, and it’s raining at the Cell. The White Sox and Tigers are going to play today, even if they have to wait until midnight. There’s a rumor the game won’t start until 5 p.m., but it looks like the rain is moving through at a pretty good pace. Obviously, the Sox have to win today if they want to stay alive. If they do beat Freddy Garcia and the Tigers, they host the Twins tomorrow to decide the AL Central title. That game would start at 6:35 p.m. and be broadcast on TBS. John Danks (11-9, 3.47) would start for the White Sox against Minnesota right-hander Nick Blackburn (11-10, 4.14 ERA). Here are the starting lineups for today: Tigers Granderson, CF Sheffield, DH Ordonez, RF Cabrera, 1B Thames, LF Raburn, 2B Inge, 3B Ryan, C Santiago, SS