Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Labor Day blog: More Cubs call-ups coming

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 09/02/2013 - 12:39

Happy Labor Day. The Cubs and lefty Travis Wood take on the Miami Marlins and right-hander Henderson Alvarez this afternoon, and the wind is blowing in again during batting practice. Wood today looks to become the first Cubs lefty since 1970 to record at least 22 quality starts in a season. His 21 are tied for fourth most by a Cubs lefty in a single season (since 1921) with Ted Lilly (2008-09).

Since 1921, Dick Ellsworth’s 29 quality starts in 1963 pace Cubs left-handers. Ken Holtzman had 25 quality starts in 1970, and Larry French had 23 quality starts in 1935. Wood is tied for fourth in the majors with 21 quality starts, 2 off of Clayton Kershaw’s big-league lead.

Shoulder surgery for Flowers; Johnson headed to Sox

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 09/02/2013 - 11:20

In Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Tyler Flowers hit a solo home run with two outs in the eighth inning.
Looking back now, it could have been the catcher's last at-bat in a White Sox uniform.
Before today's game against New York at Yankee Stadium, the Sox announced Flowers is going to have exploratory surgery on his right shoulder. He's expected to be sidelined 3-6 months.
Manager Robin Ventura told reporters Flowers has been hampered by the injury for "at least a month or two," and the shoulder bothered the 27-year-old catcher more on throws than with hitting.
"He's at the point where he just feels like he needs to get something done," Ventura said. "You could notice when he couldn't get anything on a throw to second as much as he had earlier in the year."

Sunday brunch blog: Call-ups, Castro, the minors

Posted by Bruce on Sun, 09/01/2013 - 12:46

The Cubs opened their September call-up season by activating outfielder Ryan Sweeney off the 60-day disabled list and third baseman Luis Valbuena off the 15-day DL. They also recalled reliever Alberto Cabrera from Class AAA Iowa.

Sweeney was not on the 40-man roster, so the Cubs designated reliever Eduardo Sanchez for assignment. He has been at Iowa. Sweeney is in today’s starting lineup against the Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick, with Brian Bogusevic in left and Nate Schierholtz in right.

Manager Dale Sveum said he would go with matchups at third base. Valbuena and Donnie Murphy are likely to share the starts. Murphy is in today’s lineup. In the outfield, Sveum said Schierholtz would continue to start in right field against right-handed pitchers.

Rusin looks to keep progress going vs. Phils

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 08/31/2013 - 14:35

After a rainy Saturday morning, it looks like we’ll be OK for baseball at Wrigley Field and one of those not-so-great 3:05 p.m. starts. Nobody seems to like that starting time, but on some Saturdays, there’s not much that can be done about it. It’s a battle of lefties as the Cubs’ Chris Rusin takes on the Phillies’ Cliff Lee. Rusin is 2-3 with a 2.64 ERA.

In 8 starts, Rusin has given up 41 hits and 16 walks in 44.1 innings for a 1.29 WHIP. Last year, Rusin came up from Class AAA Iowa and went 2-3 with a 6.37 ERA and a WHIP of 1.65. Manager Dale Sveum thinks experience has played a big role in Rusin’s improvement over last year.

Ryne Sandberg: 'Living the dream all over again'

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 08/30/2013 - 12:25

It’s a special day here at Wrigley Field as Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg returns “home,” but as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

“It’s been living the dream all over again,” Sandberg said to a media gathering that was Chicago-heavy. “From working my way up through the minor leagues to getting to the major leagues as a coach and having a chance to manage, its full circle in a lot of ways. And it’s living the dream. I’m happy where I’m at.”

Ryno added it means a lot to come back here.

Ramirez rests; Wilder headed to prison

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 08/28/2013 - 18:02

And during the 132nd game of the season, Alexei Ramirez is finally resting.
The White Sox' shortstop is on the bench for tonight's game against the Astros, and Leury Garcia is taking Ramirez's spot.
Garcia, acquired from the Rangers in the Alex Rios trade, gives the Sox their first legitimate backup shortstop since Angel Sanchez, who went down with a lower back strain in early April before being outrighted in May.
Gordon Beckham was a shortstop in college, but he doesn't have the range to play the position at the major-league level.
Ventura was asked if Ramirez would have gotten a day off earlier in the season if the White Sox had a backup shortstop.

Exciting times for Cubs in Arizona Fall League

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 08/27/2013 - 15:15

The only thing better about the Arizona Fall League for the Cubs and their fans would be if the new spring-training facility would be ready to host the Mesa Solar Sox. The new place won’t be open yet, but many of the Cubs’ top prospects will be playing for Mesa beginning Oct. 8.

The team’s last three No. 1 draft picks – Kris Bryant, Albert Almora and Javier Baez -- will join the Solar Sox. Jorge Soler, last year’s big signing out of Cuba, also will head to Arizona. They’ll be joined by pitchers Dallas Beeler, Matt Loosen, Armando Rivero and Arodys Vizcaino.

Better late than never

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 08/26/2013 - 17:48

The hottest team in major-league baseball is going to be taking the field in about 90 minutes.
No, it's not the Houston Astros (43-86), who have the worst record in baseball.
It's the White Sox (54-75), who have the third-worst record in baseball.
But the Sox - finally - are starting to go in the right direction.
They'll shoot for their ninth win in 10 games tonight when they open a three-game series against the Astros. Hard to believe these are the same two teams that met up in the 2005 World Series.
On the one hand, the White Sox are hopelessly out of playoff contention, and the more games they win over the final five weeks of the season, the lower their first-round draft pick falls next year.

White Sox thrilled to be hosting Civil Rights Game

Posted by scotgreg on Sat, 08/24/2013 - 17:30

The White Sox and Rangers play tonight at U.S. Cellular Field, but it won’t be just another game on the marathon schedule.
Tonight, the Sox and Texas square off in the seventh annual Civil Rights Game.
The White Sox played in the Civil Rights Game in 2007 – when it was an exhibition – and in ’09, a regular season game at Cincinnati.
This year, the Sox are hosting the game for the first time.
Before arriving at the Cell Saturday afternoon for batting practice, the White Sox’ entire team attended Major-League Baseball’s Beacon Awards Luncheon, where Bo Jackson was the guest of honor.

Rangers loaded with Chicago expatriates

Posted by scotgreg on Fri, 08/23/2013 - 18:45

The White Sox are back in town tonight with a season-high six-game winning streak, and over 30,000 fans are expected at U.S. Cellular Field to watch the first of three games against Texas.
Unfortunately for the Sox, the big crowd is not coming to watch a potential playoff preview against the Rangers.
Most are probably heading to the South Side because it's Elvis Night, a popular annual event that includes a postgame concert and fireworks.
And many are likely heading to the Cell to welcome back A.J. Pierzynski, the polarizing catcher who played for the White Sox from 2005-12 before signing a one-year free-agent contract with Texas.
A.J. is happy to be back, and I suspect he'll get some big applause tonight, especially during his video tribute.