White Sox

Do the Sox have an easy early schedule?

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Do the Sox have an easy early schedule?

On Tuesday, White Sox senior VP of marketing Brooks Boyer discussed the importance of a fast start for ticket sales.

"Our reality is that how we play in March typically determines how we draw in April. How we play in April determines how we draw in May and so on," explained Boyer. "Weather obviously has been a factor the past couple of years. The slow starts have been frustrating for our fans and us, because getting off to a good start means a lot to our fanbase and they want to be shown that this team is going to compete and give them a reason to come out and support the team and the style of baseball that Robin wants to play and I think that's going to play out in our ad campaign as well."

And now for the good news: the White Sox have one of the easier early-season schedules in the American League.

Of the first 35 games for the White Sox, 17 will be played at U.S. Cellular Field and only 13 come against teams with a 2011 record above .500. The Sox get four games at home against Boston and three against Detroit while playing three-game away sets at Detroit and Texas.

But the Sox also play 10 games against Baltimore, Seattle and Oakland in the season's first month, as well as the Indians nine times through mid-May. If the Sox are looking to build some early-season momentum, those 19 games could be their best shot.

Tim Anderson calls out Brad Keller's 'excuses,' reminds him 'I'm on yo ass'

Tim Anderson calls out Brad Keller's 'excuses,' reminds him 'I'm on yo ass'

Tim Anderson has seen what Brad Keller has to say. And he’s not having it.

Keller recently made an appearance on The Charity Stripe podcast and was asked all about his intentional plunking of Anderson following the White Sox star shortstop’s bat flip heard ‘round the baseball world last year.

Keller, as was made clear when he threw at Anderson as apparent punishment for breaking the unwritten rule of “no celebrating allowed,” was not a fan.

“How he acted after (hitting the home run), to me and my whole team, was just over the top,” Keller said. “It's like, 'Bro, you hit a homer. Congrats.' This wasn't a Game 7 homer. This wasn't a playoff homer. This wasn't even a homer to win the game. Ultimately, we won the game, 3-2, in the long run, but that gets kind of lost in the whole transaction of everything.

“It just seemed like, at the time, it was an April home run. 'Why are you throwing your bat to the dugout or whatever?' We had beefs in the past, as far as our teams, and that was just like fuel on the fire, basically, is what it seemed like.

“I was upset because I was grinding that day and I was already pissed off at myself, and then you pull some s**t like that? It was like, 'All right, this is bulls**t.' ... I come in, and I'm pissed, I'm hot. And I had other guys on the team like, 'Screw this guy,' basically. Like I said, we (the Royals) had beefs (with Anderson) in the past.”

RELATED: Tim Anderson and the Royals stir up baseball's never-ending debate: 'You want him to not do that? Get him out'

Well, Anderson — on a quest to break what he called baseball’s “have fun barrier” — isn’t about to apologize. In fact, he let Keller know that he isn’t going anywhere.


Major League Baseball and the players’ union seem to have a big divide to bridge on economic and health-and-safety issues if there’s going to be a 2020 season. But if baseball returns this year, Anderson will likely have another chance to swing against Keller.

To be fair, he had a few more after getting plunked April 17. Keller faced the White Sox three more times after that game, which was already his second start of the season against the South Siders. Anderson played in just one of those games and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout.

Should the league’s proposed altered schedule for a shortened 2020 season become a reality, the White Sox and Royals would square off 13 times during the regular season, plenty of opportunity for the reigning big league batting champ to test out a few new flips.

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MLB rumors: Marcus Stroman a potential White Sox target come free agency?

MLB rumors: Marcus Stroman a potential White Sox target come free agency?

In this jumbled-up baseball calendar, it shouldn’t be surprising that free-agent rumors are starting to fly before the 2020 season has even started. In May.

Free agency could be one of the many things that looks way different than we’re used to due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With teams expected to see a steep decline in revenue without paying customers in the stands this year, free-agent spending could take a hit.

But there are certain to be free agents, nonetheless, and after a busy round of free agency last offseason, could the White Sox be active again? That will depend a great deal on how a 2020 season plays out and whether it exposes any needs as the team attempts to make its leap into contention mode.

Already, though, they’re being speculated as a team that could jump into the bidding for free-agent-to-be Marcus Stroman, starting pitcher for the New York Mets.

Jim Bowden, the former general manager now working for The Athletic and CBS Sports, said he "wouldn't be surprised" if the White Sox ended up as one of the teams, along with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels, with interest in Stroman when he hits the market after the 2020 campaign.

Now, the White Sox just inked Dallas Keuchel to a big free-agent contract last winter and hope they can fill out the rest of their rotation with some of the high-ceiling arms at both the major league and minor league levels.

Lucas Giolito figures to have a rotation spot on lockdown for the foreseeable future after emerging as an All Star and the ace of the staff in 2019. The team has high hopes for Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech, who have made only a combined 18 big league starts. Reynaldo Lopez remains an option if he can solve his issues with consistency, and Carlos Rodon, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert are all on the mend from Tommy John surgery and could factor into those starting-pitching plans.

RELATED: Top 20 MLB Draft prospects: Who will White Sox pick at No. 11?

The 29-year-old Stroman, though, could offer some more security — and certainly some more big league experience — should those unknowns stay unknowns once the White Sox get to the offseason. His results have fluctuated somewhat from season to season. He was excellent for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017, with a 3.09 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 33 starts, winning a Gold Glove and finishing in the top 10 of the AL Cy Young vote. The following season, in just 19 starts, his ERA was up over 5.50.

But last season, he bounced back again, making the All-Star team thanks to a sub-3.00 ERA in 21 starts with the Blue Jays before being dealt to the Mets, where he posted a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts.

Bowden pointed out that the Mets likely wouldn’t being willing to pay Stroman, much like they let Zack Wheeler walk last offseason. The White Sox attempted to bring Wheeler aboard on a big-money free-agent deal, but he turned down their richer offer to pitch closer to home with the Philadelphia Phillies.

If the White Sox were interested in Stroman, they might be smart to run it by star shortstop Tim Anderson. The two had a tiff of sorts during a 2017 game, with Anderson stepping out of the batter’s box during an at-bat, ruffling Stroman’s feathers and leading to some on-field jawing that caused the benches to clear on the South Side.

“Just the way he carried himself, I felt like I felt disrespected,” Anderson said. “I had to do what I had to do. Just, when I stepped out when he was going slowly, he said a few words. I kind of let it go, and then after he struck me out, he mumbled something else.

“He’s going to try to throw me off, so why not step out and try to throw him off? It was one of those things, I stepped out and he just complains and cries like he always does. That’s what it led to.”

But winning has a way of dissolving any bad blood, and if the two ended up teammates on a team with the ability to win a division and compete for a World Series, it seems something like that could be easily forgotten.

Depending on how things shake out this year, and what state the starting rotation is in come winter, maybe Stroman could be a consideration for Rick Hahn’s front office.

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