White Sox

Sox Drawer: Let it snow


Sox Drawer: Let it snow

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Posted: 3:30 p.m. Updated: 4:56 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Indians head groundskeeper Brandon Koehnke knew he had quite a mess on his hands when he arrived at Progressive Field this morning at 6:30 a.m.

Two inches of snow had fallen in Cleveland, and the field hes responsible for, which just had brand new grass installed this past winter, suddenly looked ready for Christmas Day, certainly not Opening Day.

The White Sox were supposed to hold a workout here. Instead, the session began with Juan Pierre, Mark Buehrle, Ramon Castro, and 3rd base coach Jeff Cox building a snowman.
Buehrle, who will extend his White Sox record by making his 9th Opening Day start, loves the Midwest. Hes just not sure why the White Sox always start each season playing in it.

It makes no sense, Buehrle said. Why start on the East coast or the Midwest where theres snow and its 30 degrees? Theres no reason not to be in Anaheim where its 80 degrees right now.

For the record, it was 84 degrees today in Anaheim. It will be 80 there tomorrow. Where are the Angels beginning the season? Kansas City. Buehrles right. It makes no sense.

As for being in Cleveland for Opening Day, Ozzie Guillen your thoughts?

Very stupid to play in Cleveland right now, Guillen said. Nothing against Cleveland. We expect that. When you play in Cleveland on Opening Day...a couple years ago they canceled like 30 games here. But were here, and have to play through snow.

Speaking of which:

Hey, you ever been hit by a snowball? Matt Thornton said to Chris Sale as he walked out of the dugout. Sale proceeded to get pelted by a 97-mile-per-hour fastball.

Sale, a Florida native, was definitely at a disadvantage, which might be the same for hitters on Friday, even if the temps rise into the 40s, which has been forecasted.

The hitters are going to be cold up there, Thornton said. I honestly think its an advantage for the pitcher because youre out there and feeling warm and pretty much in constant motion. Hitters dont like hitting in the cold either."

Maybe so, but how about posing for a picture in the cold in shorts and no shirt? Thats what 43-year-old Omar Vizquel did on the field for a Cleveland newspaper. The former Indian is set to begin his 23rd season in the major leagues. Friday will be a memorable day for Vizquel, assuming hes not in the hospital suffering from frostbite and pneumonia.

This one in particular is really special because my best years were here in Cleveland and how special everything went when we had those teams, Vizquel said. Its going to be really, really great. An emotional moment for me.

By the afternoon, the snow had been removed from the Progressive Field tarp. Groundskeepers were blow drying the outfield grass. Yes, blow drying.

Thats April baseball. The White Sox are used to it. And even though hed rather be starting the season somewhere much more tropical, Guillen doesnt want to hear any excuses.

A lot of players this time of year have to prepare mentally to play in cold weather. Thats no excuse, the White Sox manager said. You want to play in nice weather, sign with the NBA. You play indoors and youre fine.

Last year the White Sox opened in Chicago. This year Cleveland.

As Thornton said, It is what it is.

Next year? On to Detroit!!

I'll be sure to bring my snowsuit.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

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 Baltimore Orioles?

Perhaps a better question for White Sox fans: When’s Manny Machado coming to the South Side? (Better question from me, personally, is when Chicago might acquire Maryland's greatest creation: the crab pretzel. Had in College Park last summer. It's amazing.)

Whether that ends up happening or not is a question for next offseason, but that query is one that plenty of South Side baseball fans on social media have asked for years now. Machado, mentioned in trade rumors during the Winter Meetings in December, is most likely entering his final season as an Oriole. His contract is up at season’s end, and he’s expected to land a gargantuan deal next offseason.

The funny thing is that for all the hullabaloo over the 25-year-old infielder, he’s coming off his worst statistical campaign as a big leaguer. In 2017, he slashed .259/.310/.782, all three of those percentages seeing huge dropoffs after a sensational 2016 campaign a year prior. His power numbers stayed relatively consistent, but his run and hit totals plummeted as the O’s weren’t quite as a competitive as in years past.

Now, Machado is likely still cruising for a big contract regardless of what he does in 2018. He’s moving to shortstop, which will be interesting. But he’s young enough that even another season like last year won’t make too big a difference, considering how good he’s been throughout his career.

That’s who White Sox fans will be watching whenever their gaze falls on the Baltimore baseball club. (They won’t be alone, by the way, and some contending teams might even try to add him at the trade deadline.) But the O’s are making news for other reasons, recent reasons, in fact.

The biggest name left on the free-agent market finally signed this week, and now the Orioles have a big-time addition to their starting rotation. Unlike Jake Arrieta, it appears Alex Cobb’s waiting game paid off in the form of dollars, years and a no-trade clause. How nice for him. It’s also nice for the O’s, who get to add a guy to a low-key decent starting staff.

Cobb, who had a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season, might not be ready to rock for the start of the regular season considering he didn’t ink a deal until a week out from Opening Day — bet he’s good at staring contests, too — but the trio of Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner (another new addition) and Kevin Gausman will be ready, and all those guys are coming off a solid-enough 2017. Bundy had a couple good stretches, posting a 3.03 ERA over his first 13 starts and then a 2.00 ERA in the month of August. Gausman had a 3.31 ERA over his final 18 starts. Cashner, another free-agent signing, had a 3.40 ERA with the Texas Rangers.

So while the likes of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and the better-than-Machado-last-year Jonathan Schoop still make the O’s an offensive threat in a hard-to-win AL East, the starting pitching might be where the magic is this time around.

2017 record: 75-87, fifth place in AL East

Offseason additions: Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Colby Rasmus, Alex Presley, Pedro Araujo, Joely Rodriguez, Nestor Cortes Jr.

Offseason departures: Welington Castillo, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Seth Smith, Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley

X-factor: I said it just above, and I'll say it again: Jonathan Schoop was better than Manny Machado last season. Schoop made the All-Star team and finished with 32 homers, 105 RBIs and a .293/.338/.503 slash line. His .841 OPS was one of the best 50 in the game. Should we expect Schoop to be the best middle infielder on the O's in 2018, too? Maybe that's a little extreme, but hey, good to have this guy.

Projected lineup:

1. Tim Beckham, 3B
2. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
3. Manny Machado, SS
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Chris Davis, 1B
6. Trey Mancini, DH
7. Colby Rasmus, RF
8. Caleb Joseph, C
9. Alex Presley, LF

Projected rotation:

1. Dylan Bundy
2. Andrew Cashner
3. Kevin Gausman
4. Chris Tillman
5. Mike Wright Jr.

Prediction: Third place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers

Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season


Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season

Rick Renteria's starting rotation isn't exactly official for the start of the season, but it's about as close as it can be.

Maybe "unofficially official" is the best way to go?

The South Side skipper agreed with the assessment of reporters Wednesday in Arizona, saying that an order of James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer "sounds right."

Shields was already announced as the White Sox starter for the season opener next Thursday in Kansas City. That wasn't much of a surprise considering Shields' veteran status in this rotation.

Giolito, who made seven starts at the end of last season and looked mighty good doing it, might be the best starting pitcher on the team going into the season. He posted a 2.38 ERA in those games, with many fans hoping he would have been the one to take on the Royals in the opener. It sounds like he'll likely pitch two days later in Game 2 against the Crowns.

Lopez made eight starts at the end of last season, turning in a 4.72 ERA in those starts. He's another former highly touted prospect who will get a full season to continue his development at the major league level.

Gonzalez was brought back this winter after being traded away from the South Side last summer to bring another veteran mentor type to help along these young pitchers. He had a 4.31 ERA before the trade to the Texas Rangers after a 3.73 ERA in a full season with the White Sox in 2016.

Fulmer is another young arm who will be looking to earn a spot in the crowded rotation of the future this season. He's had a rough spring — though turned in his best start of the spring earlier this week — but he'll be given every opportunity to prove he can succeed as a big league starting pitcher after showing some promise at the end of last season.

Those first three guys will face off against the Royals on the season's opening weekend. Gonzalez and Fulmer are expected to make their first starts of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada.