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Buehrle bashed, September struggles continue

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Buehrle bashed, September struggles continue

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011
Posted: 10:21 p.m. Updated: 11:44 p.m.

Associated Press

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VIDEO: Ozzie on Buehrle's recent struggles
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If September is the time for a player to demonstrate his qualifications, Lonnie Chisenhall is building a solid case for next season.Chisenhall hit a pair of two-run homers and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 8-4 on Friday night.Chisenhall, Cleveland's rookie third baseman, set career highs with his two homers and four RBIs as the Indians snapped a four-game losing streak."Lonnie Chisenhall had a big day, especially considering the way he has struggled against lefties," Indians manager Manny Acta said.Ezequiel Carrera, Kosuke Fukudome, Shelley Duncan and Lou Marson had two hits apiece for the Indians. Carrera and Fukudome each drove in two runs.Jeanmar Gomez (3-2) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings and improved to 3-0 with a 0.52 ERA in three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 30."We have struggled as of late," Acta said. "Gomez stepped up and stopped our four-game losing streak. He threw the ball very well, with movement, good sink on his fastball."Gomez went 0-2 record with a 5.70 ERA in five outings before being sent down on July 18. The results since his return have been startling.What's been the biggest difference?"Fastball command," Acta said. "Also, he made some mechanical adjustments down there. He's gotten a little bit more velocity on his fastball."White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (11-8) had his second straight rough outing, allowing seven runs and eight hits over 5 23 innings."It was another one of those days," Buehrle said. "I know I made a bad pitch in the sixth inning, left an 0-2 curveball hanging. That was pretty much the game right there."After entering the game just 3 for 22 with two homers against lefties this season, Chisenhall homered twice against Buehrle, who has won more games than any other southpaw in baseball over the last decade except for the Yankees' CC Sabathia."He's done great things for the White Sox," Chisenhall said. "To hit a home run off him, he's a great pitcher, so I'm definitely going to remember it."Chisenhall got the Indians on the board first, launching a first-pitch drive over the picnic area in right field.The rookie third baseman went deep on an 0-2 pitch in the sixth to almost the same area in right, putting Cleveland ahead 4-2. That gave Chisenhall his first two-homer game and his first game with more than two RBIs."The more he sees (lefties), the better he's going to get," Acta said. "He's a guy that projects not to be a platoon guy."Before the game, Acta spoke of Cleveland's need for better production from its corner infield positions next season, whether it comes from within the organization or outside. Chisenhall, 22, has been one of the Indians' top prospects for a couple of seasons and may be the ready to solve half of that dilemma."He's going to get there," Acta said. "We have to think, this kid is only 22 years old. He only played three years of minor league baseball. It's going to take him some time."Chisenhall duplicated the feat of his White Sox counterpart, third baseman Brent Morel, who had his first multi-homer game in Chicago's 8-1 win on Thursday night. He's now hit three homers over his last three games, doubling his season total."Two home runs and winning is pretty fun," Chisenhall said.The Indians tacked on three more runs in the decisive five-run sixth. Carrera singled in a run, chasing Buehrle. Fukudome then singled in two runs off reliever Will Ohman, with both runs charged to Chicago's starter.Buehrle gave up seven earned runs for the second straight start after giving up four runs or fewer each of his 21 previous starts."I feel fine," Buehrle said. "I don't feel worn out. I feel like the first couple of innings, the velocity was down a little bit. I was taking time to get loose, but the last couple of innings I was throwing a little harder. I made a couple of mistakes and I made some good pitches and they were getting hits. That's baseball."In the third, Juan Pierre doubled home Gordon Beckham and scored on Paul Konerko's sacrifice fly, drawing the White Sox even at 2.Beckham had two hits and scored two runs for the White Sox, but struck out looking with two runners in scoring position to end the game, keeping the night's focus on Chisenhall, who is going to get plenty of playing time down the stretch."Chisenhall is playing," Acta said. "We're planning on playing Lonnie a lot."NOTES
The White Sox placed utility player Brent Lillibridge on the 15-day disabled list because of a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand, suffered when he was hit by a pitch on Thursday. Lillibridge is out for the season. ... Cleveland's Fausto Carmona (6-14) will take the hill on Saturday, looking to improve on the 10.47 ERA he's posted in three starts against Chicago this season. He'll oppose Phil Humber, who threw seven scoreless innings against Minnesota in his last start, his first after coming off the disabled list.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Frank Thomas

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Frank Thomas

White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas came on the podcast to talk with Chuck Garfien about his past, baseball's present and the future of the White Sox. He talks about his first major league hit (a stand-up triple!), how fame affected him when he was a player, his appearance on David Letterman in the 1990s and more. 

Plus, what was wrong with the baseball this past season? Thomas has some ideas and tells Garfien how many home runs he would have hit with that baseball in his prime. He talks about working with Alex Rodriguez at FOX and what it was like whenever girlfriend Jennifer Lopez came to visit in the studio.

Thomas praises the White Sox rebuild and reveals an idea he presented to GM Rick Hahn about where all the top prospects should play this upcoming season. He describes what it was like going to Roy Halladay's funeral, if he sees the White Sox signing Manny Machado in 2019 and much more.

Listen to the full White Sox Talk Podcast right here:

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

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Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

The Cubs made the Jose Quintana deal knowing it would have been more difficult to give up Dylan Cease if he was already performing at the Double-A level, and that the White Sox organization would be a good place to continue his education as a young pitcher.

While Eloy Jimenez keeps drawing ridiculous comparisons – the running total now includes Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz – Cease is more than just the other name prospect from the deal that shocked the baseball world during the All-Star break.

“We still project him as a starter,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during this week’s GM meetings in Florida. “He certainly has the stuff where it’s easy to envision him as a potential dominant reliever. But to this point – for the foreseeable future – we deal with the starting and continue to develop him as a potential front-end arm.”

The Theo Epstein regime still hasn’t developed an impact homegrown pitcher, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from winning 292 games, six playoff rounds and a World Series title across the last three seasons, while still being in a strong position to win the National League Central again in 2018.

Without Quintana and his affordable contract that can run through 2020, Epstein’s front office might have been looking at the daunting possibility of trying to acquire three starting pitchers this winter.

While surveying a farm system in the middle of a natural downturn, Baseball America ranked seven pitchers on its top-10 list of prospects from the Cubs organization: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Alex Lange, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Thomas Hatch and Jen-Ho Tseng.

So far, only Alzolay, an Arizona Fall League Fall Star with seven starts for Double-A Tennessee on his resume, and Tseng, who made his big-league debut in September, have pitched above the A-ball level.

Cease – who went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA for Class-A Kannapolis in his first nine starts in the White Sox system – has a 100-mph fastball and a big curveball and won’t turn 22 until next month. That stuff allowed Cease to pile up 126 strikeouts against 44 walks in 93.1 innings this year, putting him in the wave that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

“Ideally, we have a lot of guys we project to be part of the future, very good, championship-caliber rotation,” Hahn said. “In an ideal world, there’s not going to be room at the inn for all of them. You only have five in that rotation and some of these guys will wind up in the bullpen. In reality, as players develop, you’re going to see some attrition.”

One spot after the White Sox grabbed Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Cubs did Kyle Schwarber’s below-slot deal, using part of the savings to buy out Cease’s commitment to Vanderbilt University ($1.5 million bonus for a sixth-rounder) and supervise his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Cease was never going to be on the fast track to Wrigley Field, and now the White Sox hope he can be part of the foundation on the South Side, where it’s easier to sell a rebuild after watching the Cubs and Houston Astros become World Series champions.

“It doesn’t change really for us internally in terms of our commitment or focus or our plan or our timeline or anything along those lines,” Hahn said. “I do think, perhaps, it helps the fan base understand a little bit about what the process looks like, where other teams have been and how long the path they took to get to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series (was). In Chicago, many fans saw it firsthand with the Cubs.

“There are certainly more and more examples in the game over the last several years to help sort of show fans the path and justification for what we’re (doing).”