Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

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

Confidence is key for Sox

Posted by scotgreg on Sun, 09/28/2008 - 18:10
The White Sox aren’t looking at this like they’ve lost five of their last six and are a woeful 10-15 in September. Understandably, the Sox are looking at this like they’ve got a one-game winning streak. After beating the Indians Sunday, the White Sox’ confidence level was sky high, which is again understandable. They think they can beat the Tigers at home Monday, the Twins at home Tuesday and then go to Tampa Bay and deal with the Rays in the playoffs. We’ll see about that, but confidence is just as important as talent in major-league baseball. The Sox lost it for much of the month. They think they’ve found it again at just the right time.

Hey, it's a somewhat regular lineup

Posted by Bruce on Sun, 09/28/2008 - 12:56
With the Cubs facing CC Sabathia today, Lou trots out some of the regulars: Soriano, LF Theriot, SS Lee, 1B Ramirez, 3B Johnson, CF Hoffpauir, RF Cedeno, 2B Blanco, C Guzman, P Lou says DeRosa will try running tomorrow at Wrigley Field. When Lou was asked whether DeRo would be ready for Wednesday's Game 1 of the NLDS, he first said, "He'll be ready Wednesday." Then, he added, "We think he'll be ready Wednesday." Fukudome isn't playing. Lou says he wanted to leave Fukudome with a positive feeling after yesterday's homer. It's gotten to that with a $48 million player? Big Z is still boycotting us. Oh, well. He's supposed to throw tomorrow after not wanting to pitch today.

Sox catching some breaks

Posted by scotgreg on Sat, 09/27/2008 - 18:47
There are no curses to curse on the South Side. If anything, it looks like the White Sox have harnessed some weird kind of karma. How else can you explain the Twins losing their second straight game to the Royals on Saturday at the Metrodome? Bizarre. And even if the White Sox lose to the Indians Saturday night (the score is 1-1 in the fourth inning), they don't have to worry about Cliff Lee on Sunday. Lee, who leads the American League in wins (22) and ERA (2.54), was scratched from his start with a stiff neck. Instead, the Sox get to face Bryan Bullington, who is 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in 2 appearances for Cleveland. The White Sox sure are getting breaks. It’s up to them to exploit them.

Samardzija in; Gaudin out

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 09/27/2008 - 14:57
Lou told us today that Jeff Samardzija has made the roster for the NLDS. With the Cubs keeping only 11 pitchers, including lefties Neal Cotts and Sean Marshall in the pen, the odd-man out is Chad Gaudin, who was ineffective Friday night and who doesn't seem to have confidence in his breaking ball. Of course things could change for the second round, if the Cubs advance. Lou says he'll have word today on the final position-player spots, even if the Cubs don't have to announce it until later in the week. They'll work out Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Lou says Big Z will start Sunday's season finale and pitch 1 or 2 innings. He joked that he might have to hit him fourth in the lineup to get him an AB. Today's lineup: Fukudome, RF Cedeno, SS Hoffpauir, 1B Ward, LF

Wanted: Complete games for Sox

Posted by scotgreg on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 23:19
You thought the White Sox’ bullpen was bad last year? Didn’t think it could get any worse than Ryan Bukvich, Andrew Sisco, David Aardsma, Dewon Day, Nick Masset and Mike Myers? Maybe you missed Friday night’s game against the Indians. D.J. Carrasco, Mike MacDougal, Ehren Wasserman and Horacio Ramirez made last year’s shaky crew look like all-stars while melting down in a game the Sox desperately needed. Hopefully, GM Kenny Williams was looking in all of their eyes Friday, and he’ll act accordingly. Mining bullpen talent is the greatest challenge for any GM. For the second year in a row, Williams has failed miserably in his search for relief pitchers, and it’s probably going to cost the White Sox a playoff berth.

Lou makes his point

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 18:49
As you've probably read here, Lou set the rest of his rotation for the NLDS. Following Ryan Dempster will be Big Z, Rich Harden and Ted Lilly. It's interesting to note, as Vin Scully might say, that Lou announced Dempster yesterday and saved news of the rest of the rotation for today. To me, he was saying that Dempster is the ace of this staff and that he's earned the nod for Game 1 of the playoffs, which open next Wednesday at Wrigley Field.