Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

A Cubs dynasty?

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 20:45
Whoa, there, they haven't won a World Series yet and none for 100 years. But Lou said he feels this team can become the Red Sox and Yankees of the National League in the coming years. In other words, a dominant team. "Chicago is a major city," Lou said. "I've said, and I told (GM) Jim Hendry this, and I've told (chairman) Crane Kenney this, 'This team here should dominate the National League Central the way the Yankees and Red Sox have dominated the American League,'" Lou and the champagne were talking tonight. "And that's not to take anythying away from the teams in our division, because they're all good, competitive teams, and they've got good ownership, and they're well managed.

World Series or bust? Not so, says Lou

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 14:26
Lou was on fire this morning. For some reason, it seems stuck in his craw that the public would like for the Cubs to win the World Series one of these years. Don't know why that would be. The guy that hired Lou, former team president John McDonough, made it the organization's singular goal when he took over after the disastrous 2006 season. The Cubs are spending about $125 million this year on top of it. But here's Lou's take:

Buehrle just keeps on rolling

Posted by scotgreg on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 23:11
When he's off his game, no pitcher in major-league baseball gets hit harder than Mark Buehrle. It was right here at Kauffman Stadium on Aug. 2 when the White Sox' lefty lasted just 4 1/3 innings while being pounded for 8 runs on 14 hits. It was also the only time in 15 years covering the Sox that I thought I could go down to the field and get a hit off a pitcher. Fortunately for the Sox, Buehrle's bad ones are typically few and far between. In his return to Kansas City Friday night, Buehrle went over 200 innings for the season while going 6 in a win over the Royals. Not only did Buehrle look sharp pitching on just three days’ rest, he became the only active pitcher to log at least 200 innings while making at least 30 starts and winning at least 10 games in eight straight season.

Soto out with hand injury (and other stuff)

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 11:44
Lou greeted us with the news this morning that catcher Geovany Soto is a late lineup scratch because of a hand injury. It apparently bothered Soto yesterday, but not enough to prevent his ninth-inning game-tying homer. He has had hand issues in the past, and we're still awaiting word from the trainer. The other big issue this morning was how the Cubs would celebrate if they clinch today. If they win, they'll have to wait to see if the Reds beat the Brewers tonight. It may be that the players gather on their own somewhere away from the ballpark. Last year, they clinched on a Friday night in Cincy, and a wild clubhouse celebration ensued. This year, it may be more businesslike, as the Cubs realize the NL Central is only the first step.

Sox' offense really missing Quentin

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 22:07
If Carlos Quentin is able to tolerate some pain in his fractured right wrist and rejoin the White Sox at some point next week, this is going to be a team that should probably be feared in the postseason. Without Quentin, though, the Sox don't figure to scare anyone, assuming they hold off the struggling Minnesota Twins and win the AL Central. As the White Sox again showed in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Yankees, they are very vulnerable when not hitting home runs. The Sox have scored nearly half of their runs this season on homers, the highest percentage in baseball, and Quentin is still leading the AL with 36 HR even though he's missed the last 15 games. Get him back, and the White Sox have a shot. If not, it's going to be a real struggle to make it out of the first round.

'I'm not using him right now' (Fukudome)

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 18:45
Kind of a mish-mosh of stuff with Lou before the game today. He started talking about the whole idea of clinching and then stopped himself. "I don't like all this talk of clinching until we clinch," said Yogi, er, Lou. Well, with a magic number of 4 heading in to tonight's game, they'll do it soon enough, and Lou will be able to get rest of guys who need it, like Ryan Theriot. The couple days off because of the hurricane did a world of good for Derrek Lee. Theriot, who wore down last year, is sure to benefit from a few days off in the final week.

Dye on the hot seat?

Posted by scotgreg on Tue, 09/16/2008 - 22:21
So, who is most likely to heat up as the White Sox head down the stretch? I'm going with Jermaine Dye. The Sox' veteran right fielder is having another big year _ 32 home runs and 88 RBI _ but Dye has been quiet lately. After bouncing back from a dreadful April, Dye hit 7 homers and had 14 RBI in May, 9 HR and 26 RBI in June, 7 HR and 18 RBI in July and 7 HR and 16 RBI in August. In September, Dye is batting a sturdy .278, but he has not hit a home run and is stuck on 5 RBI for the month. With Carlos Quentin and Joe Crede out with injuries and Paul Konerko just coming back from a knee scare, the Sox need to find some big production from one of their established hitters. Dye fits the profile.

Alphabet soup: WHIP, VORP and PAP

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 09/16/2008 - 15:28
Here are a few tidbits to hold you over until I get back with the lineup around dinner time: Keep an eye on Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija. His numbers in September aren't too hot. He's pitched 4 innings this month, giving up 5 hits and 4 walks. That translates to a WHIP (walks plus hits per 1 inning pitched) of 2.25, which is a little feverish. Samardzija's WHIP for the season is 1.24. He just got done doing some work in the bullpen, without a ball (base or foot, although he did throw a football to a teammate). No, he wasn't doing the towel drill.

So long, Yankee Stadium

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 09/15/2008 - 18:28
Yankee Stadium is located in the Bronx, which makes the White Sox' South Side home look like Lake Forest by comparison. There's always a lot of trash flying around in and outside the ballpark, and the blaring speakers stacked high out in center field are almost guaranteed to leave you with a headache before the third inning. The obvious reaction to Yankee Stadium's demise at the end of the season is: Good Riddance. I've been coming here for 15 years, and "The House that Ruth Built" has definitely seen its better days. Still, it's almost unbelievable to think that this is the last series the White Sox will play at the old place, and that Yankee Stadium will prepare for the wrecking ball after New York plays the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Clincher coming this week?

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 09/15/2008 - 12:55
Don't look now, but the Cubs' magic number for clinching the NL Central is 7, meaning they can clinch as early as this week. One of my regular readers cites a Bill James formula that says the Cubs have virtually clinched. Something about no team has ever come back to win when the square of the number of games behind they are exceeds four times the games remaining. I'll let others do that math, but suffice it to say, the Brewers are 7 1-2 out and 9 in the loss column.