White Sox

Ballantini: Six-man savings sputter out

Ballantini: Six-man savings sputter out

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011Posted: 8:48 p.m. Updated: 9:10 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
The Chicago White Sox ran out a six-man rotation as of Jake Peavys return on May 11 and have flirted with it for the balance of the season since then, most recently returning to it by choice (strong starts from Phil Humber and Zach Stewart) and necessity (two doubleheaders in the span of 15 days).

The wisdom of sticking with the unorthodox approach wasnt only driven by starters merit but the thought that few starts at midseason could pay off with stronger finishes in the dog days.

Coincidence, bad luck, or failed wisdom, the six-man rotation did not pay such stretch-run dividends.

For the season, White Sox starters have averaged a 51.5 game score, 4.12 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 19.0 outs per start. But if the season is cut off after games of Aug. 29, those marks improve to 52.7 game score, 3.88 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 19.2 outs per start.

In the stretch from August 30 to September 15, the rotation has averaged a 42.4 game score, 4.64 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 16.9 outs per start. Trim the recent slump more narrowly, to the last nine starts of the season (Sept. 7-15), and the other peripherals hover around the same but the game score average drops to a paltry 39.9.

We did everything for them, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said before Fridays game. We shuffled one to another to make sure those guys feeling strong. I dont think Coop, or myself can be blamed, that we didnt do the right thing for them to finish strong, because we did. We had many meetings about that situation because in the past Mark Buehrle kind of tended to lay down a little bit, Gavin Floyd struggled, Peavy was injured, Humber never threw that many innings in the big leagues. We did the right thing for them to finish strong. Right now theyre scuffling, but we put those guys in the best situation. We thought we were going to be in pennant race all the way to the end and thought it would help them.

Humber did not appear to be helping matters, with five runs (four earned) in the first four innings of Fridays game vs. the Kansas City Royals, lining up a game score of 32 to that point.

Ozzie twitterpates dangerously late

In eerie foreshadowing, Ozzie Guillen Jr., oldest son of Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, remarked to media gathering in the managers office before Thursday nights game: Dont tweet after 10 p.m.

The son cited an adage that is akin to not picking up the phone for make a call and drunk dialing, referring to the concept of having less clarity in what you write as day turns to night.

Jr.s warning came into play on Thursday night, when his father got back to the team hotel and saw New York Mets manager being attacked by Harold Reynolds on the MLB Network for postgame comments that were critical of his players.

Reacting to Reynolds calling for Collins to be fired, Guillen let loose on Twitter, saying Thas all job is easy to judge manager from the studio, and U dont know what happen. His third tweet on the subject, as Guillen Jr. tried to ease him away from his tweeting phone, said, I know I play the game.

I dont know Terry Collins, a great baseball man, but I dont know him personally, Guillen said before Fridays game, explaining his tweets. But when you hear those comments he should get fired because hes not a players manager and you ask for a guys head?

Guillen thought Collins comments were childs play compared to what he typically says after a disappointing loss.

I stayed up till 1 oclock in the morning to see what Collins said because I think it will be fun, like, Wow, I might learn something from this, Guillen said. I didnt see anything. He just said the players arent playing good. They got swept and left so many people on base. What does the manager have to say? Why cant we get mad? Why cant we say whats on our minds? Why do people say, Well, the players arent going to play hard for him. Theyre going to hate him. Well, at the end of the day, if the players dont play hard for you, youre going to get fired I see the comment Collins made, and thats in diapers compared to the comments that I make. I know analysts are getting paid to criticize people, but when you call for somebodys head, thats different.

Among Guillens final comments directed at the MLB Network was a gem and probably a truthful one at that, given how in demand his services are for postseason analysis is whenever the White Sox arent involved.

Is if my english was better I be doing what u doing lol but you guys cant do what I doing or terry lol lol.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the New York Yankees?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the New York Yankees?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the New York Yankees?

You know how everybody always (usually jokingly) refers to “stacked” lineups as the ‘27 Yankees? Well, it might be time to change that to the ‘18 Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers did their nickname justice this winter, adding reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and teaming him with Aaron Judge to form a power-hitting combo perhaps unseen since the Ruth-Gehrig glory days.

Now that’s not to suggest that Stanton and Judge are going to become two of the greatest baseball players in history. But it is to suggest that they’re going to strike fear into opposing pitchers, with plenty of prognosticators predicting a combined 100 homers for the duo. That’s not crazy, either, considering Stanton led baseball with 59 bombs a season ago, the highest single-season total in almost two decades, and in a runaway Rookie of the Year campaign, Judge crushed 52 homers to lead the American League.

So, you know, 59 plus 52. That’s more than 100.

And while Stanton and Judge take all the attention, the Yankees’ lineup is pretty darn good outside of those two guys, too. Gary Sanchez is one of baseball’s best offensive catchers and hit an only shabby-by-comparison 33 homers last season. Didi Gregorius has plenty of pop for a shortstop, and he smacked 25 homers last season. Brett Gardner had a strong 2017. And even two late-in-the-offseason additions to the infield, Neil Walker and Brandon Drury, form a better 8-9 combo than most teams in the AL.

There’s no need to start spreading the news, it’s already been spread: The Yankees have one of the best, most fearsome offenses in the game.

As for the pitching, well that ain’t half bad either. Luis Severino had a 2.98 ERA and 230 strikeouts last season. CC Sabathia had a 3.69 ERA in 27 starts. Midseason acquisition Sonny Gray had a 3.55 ERA on the year. Masahiro Tanaka almost hit the 200-strikeout plateau.

And that bullpen is outstanding. Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren formed as good a relief corps as you were likely to find in baseball last year.

Even with the division-rival Red Sox looking pretty good — and coming off a 93-win season — the Yanks will enter 2018 as the favorite in the always-competitive AL East. The question is how close they’ll come to being the favorite in the AL overall. The defending-champion Houston Astros still seem a hair ahead after besting the Yankees in last year’s ALCS. But the Bombers might have the preseason edge over the Cleveland Indians, especially after beating them in the playoffs last year.

Bottom line: The Yankees are really, really good. And don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of Billy Joel during the Fall Classic. "Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood ..."

2017 record: 91-71, second place in AL East, lost in ALCS

Offseason additions: Giancarlo Stanton, Neil Walker, Brandon Drury

Offseason departures: Todd Frazier, Jaime Garcia, Michael Pineda, Starlin Castro

X-factor: White Sox fans know how good Robertson and Kahnle were last season. Chapman and Betances are now household names as elite relief pitchers. But the best reliever of this whole group at the end of last season was Green, who finished the year with a 1.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 69 innings. Over his final 30 games, 47 innings, he had an even lower 1.53 ERA and 77 strikeouts. He allowed one run in September. And though he was roughed up a bit in his lone appearance against the Indians in the ALDS, he allowed just one unearned run in 6.1 innings against the Astros in the ALCS.

Projected lineup:

1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
4. Gary Sanchez, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Aaron Hicks, CF
7. Greg Bird, 1B
8. Neil Walker, 2B
9. Brandon Drury, 3B

Projected rotation:

1. Luis Severino
2. Masahiro Tanaka
3. CC Sabathia
4. Sonny Gray
5. Jordan Montgomery

Prediction: First place in AL East

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies

Ryan Cordell goes to Triple-A as White Sox seemingly figure out center field situation


Ryan Cordell goes to Triple-A as White Sox seemingly figure out center field situation

The White Sox center field situation seems to have a solution.

Ryan Cordell was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, the team announced Thursday, bringing his bid to make the Opening Day roster to an end.

Cordell had a nice spring in his first action since joining the White Sox organization in last summer's trade that sent reliever Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers. Cordell was injured after playing 68 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs last season, but he got some love from general manager Rick Hahn at this winter's SoxFest, with Hahn saying three teams had called the White Sox inquiring about the 25-year-old outfielder.

In 17 Cactus League games, Cordell slashed an impressive .317/.417/.512 with six extra-base hits, eight runs scored, eight RBIs, seven walks and only six strikeouts. That performance brought on the idea that Cordell could not only make the team out of camp but perhaps be the Opening Day center fielder, potentially beating out an improved Adam Engel for the job after Engel hit just .166 last season.

But Engel's spring numbers are even better than Cordell's. He's got a .364/.429/.682 slash line with four homers, 11 runs scored, eight RBIs and four walks. Plus, he's already well known as a strong defender in center after last season's impressive glove work. Spring stats don't mean much, but it's a good sign considering how ineffective Engel was at the plate last season.

With Thursday's news and Engel's impressive spring, it seems the White Sox have things figured out in center to start the season. Engel will likely be the starting center fielder, with utility man Leury Garcia an option there in a reserve role. Cordell and Charlie Tilson, who was sent to Charlotte earlier this spring, are sure get plenty of at-bats in the minors and could be called up should Engel struggle.

Both Engel and Cordell fall into the "see what you've got" category for the rebuilding White Sox. The future of the position figures to belong to highly touted prospect Luis Robert, who was reassigned to minor league camp along with pitchers Rob Scahill and Chris Volstad on Thursday, bringing the White Sox to 32 players in big league camp. But with the team not expected to contend in 2018, Engel has an extended opportunity to figure things out at the big league level. Should he struggle, someone like Cordell or Tilson could have a similar opportunity.