White Sox

Jimmy Rollins on key tag-up: 'That's just playing winning baseball'

Jimmy Rollins on key tag-up: 'That's just playing winning baseball'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Gold Glover Kevin Kiermaier was out, Alex Colome was in and Todd Frazier’s fly ball was in just the right spot where Jimmy Rollins knew he had to advance at all costs.

The veteran White Sox shortstop impacted yet another game in the ninth inning on Friday night when he set up Melky Cabrera’s game-winning hit by tagging up and moving into scoring position. Cabrera’s two-out single to right off Colome gave the White Sox their first lead, and Chris Sale closed out a 1-0 complete-game, shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

“That’s just playing winning baseball,” said Rollins, the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 2007. “They aren’t little things. Paying attention. Playing smart baseball. Knowing what to do in situations.

“You do those things to win. Neither pitcher deserved to lose, and Sale was able to go all nine to get the win.”

Rollins had a lot more on his mind than whether or not replay officials would overturn his leadoff single in the ninth, a ball that just skipped in front of a diving Desmond Jennings in left.

He knew he had to get into scoring position at all costs. He knew that Colome is quick to the plate and impossible to run on. And he knew that Kiermaier was no longer patrolling center field as he and Logan Forsythe both exited after a fourth-inning collision.

As soon as he saw that Todd Frazier’s one-out fly ball to right center would force Tampa Bay outfielders Corey Dickerson and Brandon Guyer to converge, Rollins headed back, tagged up and easily sped into scoring position.

“To have instincts of how far it is, and both of those guys were getting really close to each other,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “So it wasn’t like one of them could back up and get some momentum going on the throw. That’s really where Jimmy took advantage of it.”

Dickerson’s a good outfielder, but he doesn’t possess a cannon like Kiermaier. Rollins had it in his mind he would force the Rays to make a play.

“I know how important it is to get to second base,” Rollins said. “(Colome is) just too quick to home to take a shot right there. The clock says you just can’t do it. Both guys were converging on the ball and neither was giving up ground, so I knew that would give me at least a step and a half. If it was going to be clean, you are going to have to throw me out. I know how important it is to get to second base in scoring position for a single.”

Cabrera immediately perked up in the on-deck circle realizing he’d have a chance to put his team ahead. Two pitches later, Cabrera ripped a fastball to right, and Dickerson’s throw home wasn’t in time to throw out Rollins.

“That was a very good play (by Rollins),” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “He played aggressive and found an opportunity to get a base and he did it. In the end it gave us the victory.”

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.

That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.

One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.

Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.

Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.

This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).

The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.

White Sox Talk Podcast: A.J. Pierzynski rips Manny Machado

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: A.J. Pierzynski rips Manny Machado

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski comes on the podcast and tells Chuck Garfien why he’d sign Nolan Arenado over Manny Machado (6:15).

Pierzynski criticizes Machado for saying that he doesn’t play hard everyday (7:08). Would he make Machado the face of the White Sox franchise? (12:30)

He also talks about how bullpenning cost the Milwaukee Brewers a spot in the World Series (14:45).

He reveals the former White Sox player who had a gift for recognizing players who tipped their pitches (21:00).  Pierzynski tells behind the scenes stories about former teammates Nick Swisher, Bartolo Colon, Gavin Floyd and more (28:00).

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

White Sox Talk Podcast

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