White Sox

The app that's redefining the way White Sox players work out

The app that's redefining the way White Sox players work out

Similar to many other aspects of sports, technology has invaded and improved the White Sox strength and conditioning program.

The White Sox have streamlined their program with the aide of the CoachMePlus application, which allows players to participate in offseason workouts wherever they are.

While the in-season benefits are extremely helpful in creating an electronic, real-time log of a player’s activities, the most significant benefit comes in October. As long as they have an internet connection, players can log in from anywhere to learn what strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas has designed. The app not only offers a detailed workout plan, it provides video examples of each exercise and a chance to comment and the ability to update the activities completed as they occur.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from -- if you have internet in the Dominican, it works there just as well,” Thomas said. “All they’ve got to do is pull their iPad up and it’s right there for them. A virtual coach, really.

“Just follow the offseason condition program and they’ll be fine. I’ve never in 20 years had a problem with any player that has followed the program.”

Thomas said the White Sox began to use CoachMePlus, which bills itself as “the leader in Strength and Conditioning and Applied Sports Science provides the most complete tool for safely preparing your athletes for competition” five seasons ago. According to its web site, the company has been in operation since 2007 and it’s many applications are used by other professional teams as well as universities.

One of its most practical uses for the White Sox -- aside from the hydration program they also employ -- is in the creation of an offseason program tailored to each athlete. One of a strength and conditioning coordinator’s biggest fears is that his player shows up to spring training over weight and out of shape.

But with a program individually tailored to each athlete in any language and real-time updates, Thomas knows if players have kept up. He said it has taken several years for players to get accustomed to the idea. But once they’re on board, it’s easy.

Jose Abreu had Thomas help him design a home gym customized to the way the first baseman likes to workout. If Abreu isn’t sure about how to perform an exercise, he can hit the play button on the right side of the screen and a video example pops up.

“It’s a very useful and helpful app because that gives you the regiment you have to do in the offseason and that helps you to be in the best shape possible when you go to spring training,” Abreu said through an interpreter.

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The applications have plenty of value for the White Sox during the season, too.

Paper records for each player’s physical regimen are no more. Weigh-ins, which occur every time a player walks into the clubhouse, are sent straight to the database as Thomas has the scale linked via blue tooth to the application.

“It saves quite a bit of time especially on bi-weekly and monthly reports,” Thomas said. “If I wanted to go look at Abreu’s weight, I can see every one since spring training and it’s charted, a pie chart and a line graph.”

The record-keeping also allows for cohesion between minor league affiliates and the major leagues when a player moves between different levels. When he was promoted in April to fill in for Melky Cabrera on his three-day paternity leave, Willy Garcia’s charts went with him electronically. Thomas then knew the rookie needed to perform a wall series when he joined the team in Minneapolis.

Double-A Birmingham strength coach Tim Rodmaker said the app makes life in the minors, where lengthy travel is the norm, much easier.

“The schedules are hectic,” said Rodmaker, in his 12th season with the organization and third with the Barons. “The travel, the game times, sometimes it’s hard enough just to get a hold of each other beyond text message or a voice mail. So it’s more of a real time, we can log in, especially when we have players changing affiliates, we can check previous workouts and get a sense where he’s going.”

The White Sox have learned what they like and don’t with the app over the past five years.

Similar to how workouts are tailored to individual players, Thomas said the club has worked with the app’s developers to fine tune it to the needs of the White Sox. Given the improved communication and record-keeping, Thomas couldn’t see the White Sox running the department any other way.

“It’s getting to where it’s just like anything --- it takes a little bit of tweaking here and there to getting it to what you want,” Thomas said. “We’ve worked with the developers and they’ve helped us tailor it to what we want. CoachMePlus has been great.”

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: Twins def. White Sox 10-4
Record: 28-31, 3rd in A.L. Central (4.0 GB of Twins)

W: Rich Hill (4-4)
L: Reynaldo Lopez (5-2)

Game summary: All good things must come to an end. In the case of the White Sox' winning streak, things have come to an abrupt end. A day after the Twins put up 11 runs in the first two innings, Minnesota jumped on Chicago early again.

Reynaldo Lopez failed to make it out of the fourth inning. The Twins harassed him with singles a plenty, including RBI base knocks from Alex Avila and Miguel Sano in the second and fourth innings. Then, the big blow came from Jorge Polanco, whose grand slam gave Minnesota a 7-1 lead before the final out of the fourth. Lopez' day came to an end. 

Yasmani Grandal hit a pair of solo home runs in the third and fifth. Yoan Moncada added a couple more runs on a late two-run blast but the White Sox dropped their second straight to the Twins to fall four games back of the division leaders.

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White Sox lineup

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-3 (.316 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, R (.269 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 2-4, HR (12), 2 RBI, R (.261 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-4 (.261 BA)
Jose Abreu: 2-4, 2B (.298 BA)
Tim Anderson: 0-4 (.298 BA)
Luis Robert: 0-4 (.232 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-4, 2 HR (21), 2 RBI, 2 R (.309 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 0-3 (.243 BA)

Scoring summary: 

Top first

Luis Arraez grounded into double play, Byron Buxton scored. 1-0 MIN.

Top second

Alex Avila singled to right field, Josh Donaldson scored. 2-0 MIN.

Bottom third

Yasmani Grandal homered to left field. 2-1 MIN.

Top fourth

Miguel Sano singled to left field, Eddie Rosario scored. 3-1 MIN.
Jorge Polanco homered to right field, Sano, Max Kepler and Avila scored. 7-1 MIN.
Nelson Cruz homered to center field, Arraez scored. 9-1 MIN.

Bottom fifth

Grandal homered to center field. 9-2 MIN.

Bottom sixth

Yoan Moncada homered to center field, Eloy Jimenez scored. 9-4 MIN.

Top eighth

Polanco homered to left field. 10-4 MIN.

Notable performance: With his two homers on Saturday, Grandal now has 21 on the season, which trails only teammate Eloy Jimenez for the team lead. Grandal is third in the AL in RBIs (49) and leads the league in WAR (4.5). Not too shabby for the eight-hole hitter.

Next game: Sunday, May 31 - Game 60: Twins vs White Sox (Devin Smeltzer, 6-2, 2.42 ERA vs Michael Kopech, 0-0, 3.78 ERA)

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: Controversies or not, dominant pitching won the ALCS

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Controversies or not, dominant pitching won the ALCS

“Realistically, I don't know if they could be pitching much better than they have.”

By the end of Game 4 of the ALCS, Joe Buck had a different way to summarize things.

“The dominance continues.”

Realistic or not, the White Sox starting rotation was just plain unhittable in the penultimate series of the 2005 season.

First it was Jose Contreras, setting the tone in a losing effort in Game 1 and coming two outs away from a complete game. Mark Buehrle followed with what he called — to that point, before the no-hitter and the perfect game — one of the best games of his career. Game 3 saw Jon Garland take the baton and stifle the Los Angeles Angels. And then it was Freddy Garcia, dealing as the White Sox cruised to a Game 4 win.

And so while the Fox broadcast spent an awful lot of time on supposed controversies, missed calls by the umpires and breaks for the White Sox, let’s face it: Those Angels weren’t hitting that pitching staff.

After the way Game 2 wrapped up, with A.J. Pierzynski swinging, missing and running to first base in a baffling display that for some reason worked, controversy was a storyline. And boy, did it get milked in Game 4.

Now, this isn’t to say that there weren’t missed calls or that the White Sox didn’t experience a couple breaks in this contest. There were. And they did.

After the Angels chopped the White Sox lead to 3-1 on an RBI hit in the second inning, they still had two men on with only one out. But instead of a rally, Steve Finley hit into an inning-ending double play. His bat, replay clearly showed, hit Pierzynski’s glove on the swing, meaning by rule he should have gone to first on catcher’s interference and loaded the bases. Instead, he turned around to argue while running out the ground ball, hence the double play.

He should have learned from Pierzynski and just busted it down to first base, leaving the details to be sorted out later. No call came, and Finley was out, the Angels’ rally stopped.

The White Sox lead back to three runs in the fifth inning, Scott Podsednik — who had a remarkable game, on base four times with two stolen bases and two runs scored — was seemingly picked off at first base. But the call was safe, and he scored later in the inning to extend a tight three-run game to a four-run game.

But did it really matter? Would any of it made a difference?

Garcia was on point, just like his three rotation-mates before him. He allowed just two runs on only six hits, walking one. He did that 2005 White Sox thing where he pitched fast, pitched to his defense and pitched the Angels into a whole bunch of outs.

You can point to the breaks all you want, attempt to stir up controversy. But the White Sox pitchers were so good that nothing was stopping them as they marched to a pennant.

The only thing that could, as we saw in Game 1 of the series, was an equally strong pitching performance on the other side. That’s exactly what Paul Byrd turned in against Contreras in that first game, and a White Sox lineup that slugged against the Red Sox in the ALDS was stymied. A sick Jarrod Washburn did his best in Game 2, with some help from a terrific crop of relievers, only for Pierzynski to flip the series on its head. In Games 3 and 4 in Anaheim, the Angels couldn’t match Garland and Garcia. An awakened group of White Sox bats hung a crooked number on John Lackey in Game 3 and had the same rude greeting for Ervin Santana — a future member of the South Side rotation, however briefly — in Game 4.

The old sports cliche goes that defense wins championships. In baseball, pitching wins championships. It did in 2005. And no amount of supposed controversy was going to change that.

Keep reliving the White Sox march to the 2005 World Series with #SoxRewind, which features Game 5 of the ALCS, airing at 7 p.m. Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago.

 

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