Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Sox shoot for historic sweep; Leesman gets the call

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 08/07/2013 - 18:57

We're getting ready for the White Sox and Yankees to complete a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.
If the Sox win, they will have swept New York in back-to-back series of at least three games for the first time in 100 years.
The White Sox won three straight vs. the Yankees last August at the Cell, the last time the two teams met before this week.
Tonight is the last time Mariano Rivera will be in a N.Y. uniform at the Cell. The 43-year-old closer is retiring at the end of the season, and he didn't pitch in the first two games of the series, which the Sox won 8-1 and 3-2.
Rivera won't pitch tonight, either, unless the Yankees are leading in the ninth inning.
Five years down the road, Rivera is a lock for Hall of Fame induction. He is baseball's all-time leader with 643 saves.

A-Rod circus now playing at the Cell

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 08/05/2013 - 18:06

As Alex Rodriguez was talking about how much he loves the game of baseball and all of his fans late Monday afternoon inside U.S. Cellular Field, the tarp was going down on the field outside.
How fitting.
In many respects, it's a miserable all-around day for baseball.
I have talked to Rodriguez various times over the years when he was with the Mariners, Rangers and Yankees, but I really don't know him that well.
The impression I took away from his 12-minute Q&A in the Cell's ground-floor conference center is this: A-Rod doesn't really think he deserves to be suspended through next season for is involvement with PEDs and Biogenesis, the Florida anti-aging clinic.
On the other hand, he is denying nothing.

Sunday brunch blog: A day of rest (and another roster move)

Posted by Bruce on Sun, 08/04/2013 - 12:51

It’s an old-fashioned “Sunday lineup” today for the Cubs, who try to avert a four-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers. Getting a rest today are Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo. The Cubs made another roster move today, putting platoon third baseman Luis Valbuena on the 15-day disabled list with a right-oblique strain. As I speculated on Twitter yesterday, @BruceMiles2112, the Cubs have recalled infielder Logan Watkins from Class AAA Iowa.

Watkins will start at second base today, teaming with former Iowa double-play partner Donnie Murphy, who gets the start at shortstop after he was called up Saturday. The Cubs will go like this:

DeJesus, CF
Lake, LF
Rizzo, 1B
Navarro, C
Schierholtz, RF
Ransom, 3B
Watkins, 2B
Murphy, SS
Villanueva, P

Cubs send a message; and are games too long?

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 08/03/2013 - 14:51

OK, we’ve got a couple of somewhat hot-button issues today. First, the Cubs selected the contract of infielder Donnie Murphy from Class AAA Iowa. He replaces Julio Borbon, who was designated for assignment almost immediately after Friday’s game for making an ill-advised baserunning play. Second, we talk with manager Dale Sveum about time-of-game issues and the long time it takes for the Cubs and other MLB teams to play.

Sveum was visibly upset yesterday after Borbon was thrown out at third after trying to advance on a ball in the dirt with nobody out in the ninth inning and the Cubs down 6-2 to the Dodgers. The Cubs were sending a message, they say, by getting rid of Borbon. Of course, he was the 25th man on the roster and hadn’t been contributing much anyway.

Jam-packed Friday blog: 'clutch,' Theo, awards, minors

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 08/02/2013 - 14:07

We’ll have so much good stuff on the blog today, online later and in the paper tomorrow that it should be termed illegal. I’m not sure what that even means, but we’ll have some fun with stats, commentary, some stuff from Cubs president Theo Epstein and game coverage in all of our forums. I keep things going all day, too, at Twitter, @BruceMiles2112. Be sure to follow.

We’ll flesh out Theo’s comments for our “take” in tomorrow’s paper (online later today). Theo termed July a “productive” month with the players the Cubs received in trades, their draft signings and their international signings. We also have news below on a couple of minor-league awards.

No deadline deals, plus Hoyer unfiltered

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 07/31/2013 - 18:01

The July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline passed quietly for the Cubs today, but let’s remember a couple of things: There is still the possibility of waiver deals during August, and the Cubs got on top of the market and made deals early. Looking back, it looks like they got a nice haul for Scott Feldman in Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Arrieta had a quality start last night in Game 2 of the doubleheader.

We’ll get to some stuff from GM Jed Hoyer here, including our “unfiltered” approach, where you get the full gist of what Jed had to say. I’ll also have a lot more for the paper tomorrow (online late tonight).

So let’s get to it. I asked Jed out of the chute if he was either surprised or disappointed the Cubs didn’t get a deal done today.

Deadline day: Can White Sox unload Rios?

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 07/31/2013 - 10:35

First thought ... I like the Jake Peavy trade late Tuesday night that sent the injury-prone starting pitcher to Boston and netted the White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia from Detroit in a three-way deal.
The Red Sox are also picking up the remaining $14.5 million Peavy is owed this season and $14.5 million next year. That is huge for the White Sox.
Only 22 years old, Garcia was able to crack the Tigers' formidable lineup last season and again this year, and his better days clearly lie ahead.
Second thought ... Detroit's former No. 2 prospect needs to play and right field is his best position, although center is another option.

Villanueva laments 'heartbreaking' loss

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 07/30/2013 - 18:34

Carlos Villanueva summed up this afternoon’s 6-5 loss to the Brewers this way:

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s a heartbreaking loss. It’s frustrating. It’s baseball. It happens. We go out there and try to do our jobs. Sometimes it doesn’t happen the way we want it to. When it happens more than once, more than twice, it’s obviously difficult on the day of.”

Fetching far with Samardzija trade talk

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 07/30/2013 - 13:06

We’re in it for the long haul today, with a day-night doubleheader between the Cubs and Brewers at Wrigley Field. The first game is a makeup of a rainout on April 10. The Cubs have recalled pitcher Jake Arrieta from Class AAA Iowa to serve as the 26th man in the doubleheader. He’ll start the second game. There is no open spot in the rotation, so Arrieta will head back to Iowa. The Cubs got him in the July 2 trade with Baltimore for Scott Feldman.

The nonwaiver trading deadline is tomorrow at 3 p.m. Questions come up every year at this time about how players handle the speculation.

Cubs come home feeling good

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 07/29/2013 - 18:12

We’re back at the ballpark just two days before the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline. The names of Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz are the two most bandied about in trade talks, and one or both could be gone within 48 hours.

“It’s not my first go-around with the trading deadline,” Gregg said this afternoon before the Cubs took the field for batting practice ahead of tonight’s game against the Brewers. “Rumors swirl, and front offices are running all kind of scenarios. We can’t get involved that stuff as players. We’ve got to worry about the job on the field and go from there.”