White Sox

After 2005 White Sox get slighted again, A.J. Pierzynski weighs in: 'I think it's a joke'


After 2005 White Sox get slighted again, A.J. Pierzynski weighs in: 'I think it's a joke'

Fired up about how the 2005 White Sox have been slighted the past two postseasons?

You’re not alone.

Longtime catcher and current Fox Sports broadcaster A.J. Pierzynski noticed earlier this week when ESPN overlooked the 2005 White Sox title run for a second straight year. In a since deleted tweet, ESPN noted on Tuesday that the Los Angeles Dodgers potentially could join the 1998 New York Yankees as the only clubs in the Wild Card Era to win the World Series with two or fewer postseason losses. The omission excludes the starting pitching-dominant 11-1 mark of the 2005 White Sox. Pierzynski — who is speaking in Joliet on Nov. 8 at the Brown & Gold dinner in support of the University of Saint Francis Fighting Saints — admits the most recent oversight of the 2005 team is bothersome.

“I saw it,” Pierzynski said. “I did. I think it’s a joke. I know it came from ESPN, and obviously I work for one of their rivals. Now that I’m in the media and get how it works — basically whoever did that is not doing their job. They didn’t do their job right and that’s it. ... I’m not saying they should be fired, but at least something. You can’t make mistakes like that.

“The White Sox in 2005 had one of the greatest playoff runs of all time and everyone just forgets that the White Sox were in the playoffs or even won the World Series. I get it. I understand the way it works in Chicago and around the country. The Cubs are more popular. But it’s just amazing the way people forget and so quickly.”

The astounding part to Pierzynski and a few other teammates who have spoken out this week is how dominant the White Sox were en route to their first championship in 88 years. The 2005 White Sox swept reigning champion Boston in three games in the American League Division Series. Their five-game victory in the AL Championship Series over the Angels featured complete-game wins from Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras. The same quartet produced 28 more sharp innings in the four-game sweep of the Houston Astros in the World Series.

The sharp contrast in how the White Sox utilized their starting pitchers compared to baseball’s current Bullpenning Era only makes the error more ironic to Pierzynski. The mistake also comes one year after both ESPN and CBS overlooked the team’s accomplishments prior to the Cubs’ storied title run.

Two consecutive years of overlooking the 2005 group’s accomplishment has led to numerous jokes on social media and also stirred up anger among the team’s fan base, an emotion Pierzynski understands.

“It’ll never happen again where you have four guys in the ALCS throw complete games and get wins,” Pierzynski said. “It’ll never happen because managers now can’t wait to get to the bullpen. Back then we had a great bullpen ... but we just wanted to ride our starters. Did we pay for it the next year and down the road? Probably a little bit. But at that moment, they were our best four pitchers and we rode them into the ground and they got it done for us.

“I know the 1998 Yankees are considered one of the greatest teams of all-time and one of the reasons is they went 11-1 in the playoffs. We matched them and everyone just discards us because I guess we didn’t have the sexy names or the big names. But we had a team that was really good.

“I get it from a media standpoint and I know I work for Fox. There are sexier teams, I get it. But it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

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.