“He’s that guy who, [when] you see he’s pitching, all of a sudden your hamstring gets tight or something,” Minnesota’s Brian Dozier says of Sale. “You don’t know if you can make it that game.”
“I try to save up any sick days or off days I have, and use them when he’s starting,” says Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis. “I’ve timed it up perfectly, I think, since 2013. If I had an off day coming up, I’d push it back a week until we were playing the White Sox and use it on him. I play dodgeball with him. You know that old thing: ‘How’s your back?’ ‘Hmmm, it’s tight today—the weather must be getting to me.’ Or it’s the old Rodney Dangerfield thing: ‘Wait. My arm. Yeah, it’s my arm.’ That’s how I feel when I know he’s pitching.”
“Go ask every hitter who the top five pitchers in baseball are, and I guarantee every one of them will mention him,” Philadelphia’s Jeff Francoeur says of Sale. “If they don’t, it means they never faced him.”
Shortstop Erick Aybar struck out to lead off the ninth against Robertson. The ball was in the dirt, so White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers reached out to tag Aybar on the leg, with plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth making an out signal. Abyar kept on running to first base, though, with Flowers not making a throw after Culbreth made his out call.
Scioscia argued, ultimately challenging the ruling via replay. White Sox manager Robin Ventura questioned why there should even be a replay since an out signal was made.
Umpires reviewed the play and upheld their original call that Aybar was tagged out by Flowers. Scioscia, though, came back out to the home plate area to get an explanation. By rule, managers are not allowed to argue a replay decision, but Culbreth gave Scioscia the courtesy of explaining the decision.
Robertson, however, didn’t care for the delay as he waited on the mound to pitch.
“I felt that Scioscia was very bush league, coming out there and standing in front of home plate after the play had already been reviewed,” Robertson said. “I felt like once it has been reviewed, it has been reviewed on film and he’s called out, there’s no reason for you to come back out and argue the call. I guess that’s just the way he is. It kind of changed the whole momentum in the ninth.”
A human Chris Sale won’t get the White Sox into the Wild Card game.
So what’s wrong with Sale, the AL strikeout leader who was 6-3 with a 1.76 ERA over 12 starts before this recent run of three losses in four starts?
“I don’t know,’’ Flowers said. “For a couple innings there he was locked in — command, executing pitches, then the next inning a couple mistakes where they took advantage, walking guys, pretty uncharacteristic of him. I’m not entirely sure, I didn’t see anything different aside from just missing spots.
“We all just expect him being an ace and how talented he is to just dominate every time and the reality is he’s human.’’
Is Farmer’s goal to make Harrelson look sympathetic by comparison?
Years later, Cowens, as a member of the Tigers, would face Farmer, then with the White Sox. Cowens had not forgotten about what had happened. On a routine grounder, Cowens ran straight for the pitchers mound. Cowens landed a few punches, even ripping Farmer’s nostrils in a bench-clearing brawl. The brawl was so violent, it led to charges being filed, potentially preventing Cowens from returning to Chicago until Farmer agreed to drop the charges in exchange for an apology. But perhaps that is the kind of violence Farmer is looking for to enforce the “no fun” rules of baseball
“They just go out and pitch well,” Ventura said. “I don’t know what they’re expecting when they go out there, but they know their room for error might be a little (slim). But they’re continuing to battle. With what (Samardjiza) did (Thursday) and what the kid ( Rodon) did (Friday) … I think it’s great for him to come and pitch in this environment and do what he did.”
Sale has been so brilliant of late that allowing one run while striking out 10 on Saturday was almost expected. With Sox fans louder at Wrigley than they are at the Cell, Sale admitted he was more “hyped” than usual.
“Yeah, man, it’s a rivalry,” he said. “You’re talking about two teams in the same city. It’s hard not to have fun. You get up a little bit for it. It’s fun. Good atmosphere, sold-out crowd …”
Now the Sox can head into the All-Star break on a high note before a key four-game series against the Royals begins Friday. Hard to believe it was only two weeks ago that Williams went into Ventura’s office in Detroit and asked a simple question.
“I asked him ‘Do you still have faith in these guys?’ ” Williams said. “And he said ‘Yeah, I’ll let you know when they stop believing in themselves and playing hard.’ “
Poor Jim Leyritz was in left field. Leyritz is not, was not, and never would be, a leftfielder. Injuries and general incompetence had forced the Yankees to experiment, and they were in the Diet Coke and Mentos phase of the experiment. It was Leyritz’s fourth game in the outfield in the majors, and he had just 55 chances in the outfield in the minors. He was a 26-year-old rookie with the kind of athleticism you would expect from someone who wasn’t drafted. He would become a postseason hero for the Yankees, but in 1990, he was the wrong outfielder at the worst time.
Also, it feels like every paragraph here should start with, “Remembering that the wind was awful,” before each and every thought is presented. And to be fair to Leyritz, he made a sliding catch on the first play of the game, a tough play made tougher by the tornado above the stadium. If he had muffed it, no one would have been surprised or upset. He made that play, and his reward was that he set himself up as one of the goats later….
Look at everything that goes wrong before it almost goes right. Tentative steps in the wrong direction. A dangerous crossover step to change directions. Unsure dancing and backpedaling. Then, just as he almost squares up, someone hits the eject button on Leyritz’s ID, and he’s transported to a different dimension.
It’s the magical confluence of different forces: a fielder who understandably played the ball as if he had about three hours of experience in the outfield, a no-hitter that’s still going because of an error and two walks, a pitcher who was almost unemployed three weeks earlier and the wind. That damned wind.
Dave Cameron wants the White Sox to blow up the team.
Yes, trading the only good players the team has would likely be a huge blow to the team’s revenues, and if you take those guys off this team, you’re left with an unwatchable product in the short-term. But in each case, it’s likely that the White Sox stars are currently at their peak value, and it’s hard to imagine there will ever be another time where the team will have as much leverage as a seller as they would this July. And these are the kinds of pieces that you don’t just have to move for future prospects; if you’re trading Chris Sale or Jose Abreu, you can demand the kinds of young big league talent that the team is desperately lacking.
Sale was the third pitcher since data is available to strike out 12 in four consecutive starts. Martinez did it in 2001 (he had a streak of five in ’99) to go with a four-game streak in 1997. Randy Johnson strung together five straight of 12 or more in 1998. This was Sale’s 24th game with 10 or more, in 97 starts.
“The maturity of Chris Sale from this year to last year is going through the roof, just on and off the field,” Parent said. “It seems like he has really matured to that next level, almost superstar-type guys.”
Sale joined Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax as the only pitcher since 1900 to produce three consecutive starts of 12 or more strikeouts while yielding no more than one run. He also is the first pitcher in the modern era to record at least 10 strikeouts in four consecutive starts while increasing his total each time, striking out 14 in his last start Monday against the Houston Astros.
Of course, much of the talk with a last-place team centers around what it’ll do before the July 31 trade deadline. The Sox are no different, and even though Hahn said “let’s see what the next 30 days have to hold for us, because right now we feel guys are starting to come around” he also stressed “there’s no magic date” when they have to say whether they’re in or out.
“Obviously as you get closer to July 31 you have some priorities you have to put in order, whether it’s the current season and feeding what you’re doing right now versus reshaping for the future,” Hahn said. “As we sit here today our hope continues to be that we’re in a position to add and have reinforcements come in here to contribute in a championship run.”
John Grochowski is at least trying, so I will cut him some slack.
Balls a defender doesn’t reach that an average fielder would mean extra hits charged to the pitchers. You can see that in the early numbers for Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija and Jose Quintana. All have been inconsistent, but all have FIPs — fielding independent pitching — stronger than their ERAs when you filter out defense.
The solution to Samardzija’s problems may not be that simple. It’s easy to say that he should just go to pitches that worked for him in the past more often; but currently, those pitches—the sinker and the split—are getting hit and hit hard. He’s using his slider, but he’s missing with it badly and frequently. Those are pitches that helped lead him to his best season ever, and they don’t appear to be having the same effect as they once did.
There’s no easy fix here. Samardzija has to find his command and get his pitch usage and sequencing right. That’s certainly not out of the question—we already saw Samardzija emerge as a great starter despite every bit of evidence we had suggesting he wouldn’t. However, until that happens, the White Sox won’t be able to boast the devastating one-two punch at the top of their rotation that they expected to have when the season began.
The Ballpark Pass was a chance to watch weekday baseball during April and May this season for merely $2.64 per game.
The Sox, under an agreement with the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the public agency that owns The Cell, are required to pay a fee on each ticket sold beyond 1,930,000 in paid attendance. But that “ticket threshold,” according to the agreement, excludes tickets that are given to sponsors or sold for less than $3.
it wasn’t until 2008 the Sox even paid an annual fee to use the stadium
Several years ago, it [ISFA] covered the costs of building the restaurant and team store for the Sox outside the stadium, ceding all profits to the team at the request of Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
Earl Weaver believed the best place to start a young pitcher is long relief. I know long relievers are out of vogue but it seems to me having a young guy start his career there, especially when you want to limit innings, still is a good idea.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has said Rodon’s 2015 innings are scarce resource. The franchise has a tried and true program for keeping pitchers healthy and therefore isn’t going to run Rodon’s inning count up to 180. But Rodon could still move into the rotation sometime in the foreseeable future. The challenge is keeping him built up enough, something pitching coach Don Cooper has a plan for just like the White Sox employed with Hector Noesi last season.
“He’s going to be pitching regularly and there are things coming up that believe me, he’s way up in the front of our minds in keeping him ready,” Cooper said. “Not only to pitch in the role he’s in, but eventually hopefully if he does make a jump in the starting rotation. But again that doesn’t worry me because we did it last year with Noesi.”