White Sox

On the final pitch of Humber's perfecto

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On the final pitch of Humber's perfecto

Brendan Ryan swung. That's what the record books will indicate for as long as baseball is around. Brendan Ryan swung at Philip Humber's 3-2 slider, and when A.J. Pierzynski's throw hit Paul Konerko's mitt, Philip Humber had the 21st perfect game in MLB history.

But watch the pitch again. In fact, you probably don't have to do that -- even in the madness of the final out, it was clear Ryan attempted to check his swing on a pitch well out of the strike zone.

Had Ryan ran, he probably would've reached first base, thus breaking up the perfect game. Humber very well may have still thrown a no-hitter, which still would've been a fantastic accomplishment -- but one that would've had a damper put on it by losing a perfect game after 26 outs.

Instead, Ryan snapped at home plate umpire Brian Runge, allowing Pierzynski enough time to pounce on the ball that had trickled about halfway to the backstop and throw to Konerko at first.

So that was the first thing Ryan did wrong. He runs, we're talking about a no-hitter at best. But he didn't run.

And furthermore, what was Ryan even doing attempting a swing at that pitch? Yeah, it was about as nerve-wracking of a sequence as you can have in an otherwise-meaningless regular season game. But seriously, look where the seventh pitch was (via Brooks Baseball):

It wasn't like Humber's slider started near the outside corner and broke low and away. The pitch starter low and away and broke even further low and away. Ryan's plan on 3-2 was to swing at anything and 1) hope he made good contact or 2) check his swing. There was no way Ryan was taking a walk.

Ryan was in a position a miniscule percentage of major-league players have ever been in, though. Only 21 players in baseball history have ever made the final out of a perfect game. I'm not here to question Ryan's methods, because the fact he was still able to stand is, quite frankly, impressive.

But still, Ryan offered at it. Whether he swung may be a matter of debate. But regardless, Humber is in the record books, and nothing can take him out of it.

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

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USA TODAY

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

For the first time since new rules came into effect in 2005, the White Sox will reportedly see a major league player suspended for violating baseball’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Welington Castillo, the team’s biggest offseason addition, will be suspended for 80 games, according to a pair of reports.

Manager Rick Renteria said after Wednesday's win over the visiting Baltimore Orioles that he couldn't comment on the reports. Castillo played in Wednesday's game, during which the news broke.

"For me, those at this particular moment are rumors," Renteria said. "MLB is the one that is in charge of that type of stuff. Until they release anything officially I can’t really comment on that."

The veteran catcher, slashing .267/.309/.466 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 33 games this season, was brought in over the winter to help the rebuilding White Sox in both the short and long term. He had a career year offensively and defensively in 2017, and he was acquired to help develop a young pitching staff featuring big pieces of the future like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and also to swing a solid bat and help this young team learn how to win.

If Castillo proves productive over the course of his two-year deal, the White Sox have a team option that could keep Castillo on the South Side for the 2020 season. That could make him a piece of the puzzle for when the rebuild reaches its apex and the team is ready to start contending for championships. But this news has the potential to change that dramatically.

Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both having strong offensive seasons at Double-A Birmingham and figure to be the long-term answers behind the plate. But Castillo’s absence from any long-term picture could leave the White Sox without a veteran safety net in the years ahead, depending on how the team decides to react to this news now and in the coming seasons.

Castillo’s absence for the next 80 games could also have an impact on the development of aforementioned pitchers like Giolito and Lopez. Lopez, in particular, has been throwing really well this season, and Giolito has control issues to work through, as he leads the American League in walks. Without the veteran catcher brought in to help those guys transition to the major league level, how will the transition change for those two pitchers?

Omar Narvaez would be the logical choice to take over as the No. 1 catcher. As for who could take Castillo's place on the major league roster, the options are limited. Kevan Smith, who was edged out by Narvaez for the backup-catching job in spring training, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Charlotte, placed there Tuesday. The aforementioned Zavala is also injured at Double-A Birmingham, and it seems far too early to rush Collins to the big leagues. Alfredo Gonzalez is a catcher on the roster at Charlotte. A spot on the 40-man roster would need to be freed up to bring him to Chicago.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: