White Sox

Ozzie's grade for 2011 letdown: 'Z, for zero'

537699.jpg

Ozzie's grade for 2011 letdown: 'Z, for zero'

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 7:14 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didnt hesitate for a second when I asked him what his grade for the season was.

My grade? Z, as in zero, Guillen smiled. I dont think I did a good job. I told you that in spring training, when you asked, Are you worried about your job if you lose, and I said no.

After joking and amending his grade to XXXthats the best rating Guillen made an admission.

I dont rate myself, he said. I let a lot of people down, including myself. I let myself down and I let my players down. I had a lot of confidence and I expected a lot better things from myself than I did. I expected my ballclub to play better, and it not doing so hurts.

Guillen again reiterated that there is no job in baseball for him that is equal to the White Sox.

I feel for the White Sox, he said. Maybe if I go someplace else, I just have a job and I will just do my job. But with the White Sox, its different. I grew up in this organization. If I managed somewhere else, I would have the responsibility to go in with the best intentions, and Ill still win. But this is a different thing, a different feeling. Sometimes I stop and say Nah, I wont talk about managing elsewhere because I might kill Jerry Reinsdorfs heart. I say a lot of things, but I love this organization. Its always going to be in my heart. Will it always be on my mind? Well see.

As long as he was handing out grades, Guillen mentioned that there could only be a few players hed give an A or A to this season: Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos and Chris Sale. He found fault with the starting rotation (nobody even made it to 15 wins?), bullpen (early) and, of course, the offense (how about men on second and third base with less than two outs and we dont score?).

Rather curiously and in roundabout fashion, Guillen defended big-money disappointments like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios by clumping virtually the entire roster together as one big letdown.

I don't think we executed well when we had to, the jefe said. We never had a big, big inning. We'd have bases loaded with one out and have an infield groundball and score onethats it. We dont have those types of games like, Wow. A lot of people talk about we pitched well. Yeah, we pitched goodbecause our offense was so bad, our pitching looked very good. It's difficult to point fingers here. I want people to point them at me.

I'm not going to blame anybody because a lot of times Brent Morel or the Missile Alexei Ramirez, have come up with people on base and they didn't do it either. It's just not Dunn and Rios. If Dunn was making 200,000, nobody would care. If Rios was making 400,000, they don't care. That's the way it is.
Return of Ramon

After weeks of shuttling back and forth between his Florida home for doctors appointments and rehab, Ramon Castro has settled in for his last two weeks with the White Sox.

Castro is still regaining strength in his broken right finger, which is still bentthe catcher believes it will remain bent permanentlybut is unlikely to play for the rest of the season.

Guillen was happyit seemsto see his old pal back with the club.

Hes not helping mehe comes to eat our food and our sunflower seeds. Thats all he does here, the manager said. Its nice to see him alive. Ramon was having a good year for us. People dont appreciate what they have until they lose it. We had Ramon keeping everybody loose in the dugout, no matter how tough the game was. Ramon was keeping everybody loose, joking around and trying to keep everybody in a good mood. We lost that.

Castro realizes that with A.J. Pierzynski and apparently Tyler Flowers ahead of him on the depth chart, his return to Chicagowhere he loves to playis unlikely. But at a .763 OPS40 points higher than Pierzynskiwith a strong glove, arm and power, the 13-year vet will surely catch on somewhere.

Whoever is willing to pay me, Ill play for, Castro laughed, trying to ignore both Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo laughing and teasing him over his bent index finger. I love baseball.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease picked up a win in his first start, but his second did not go as well.

Cease pitched six innings Tuesday at the Royals and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk. He struck out seven, but took the loss in an ugly game for the White Sox.

The game got off to an ominous start with Eloy Jimenez getting injured on the first batter Cease faced. The White Sox defense didn’t help Cease much either with three errors (Cease had one of those on an errant pickoff throw).

After giving up six runs in the first four innings, Cease settled down to retire the final eight batters he faced. He finished with seven strikeouts against just one walk and threw 67 of his 108 pitches for strikes.

Cease struck out six in his first start and is the first pitcher in White Sox history to strike out six or more in each of his first two career appearances.

A deeper look at Cease’s numbers show his swing and miss stuff hasn’t quite caught on as expected so far. Cease got 13 swinging strikes in 101 pitches in his major league debut. He got 12 whiffs on 108 pitches on Tuesday. His slider did get five swinging strikes on 25 pitches against the Royals.

Fastball command remains a key part to Cease’s success. He only threw 26 out of 54 fastballs for strikes in his debut. Cease improved upon that with 31 strikes on 50 fastballs against the Royals.

Most of the Royals’ damage came against Cease’s fastball as well. Six of the Royals’ eight hits off Cease, including all three extra base hits, were off heaters. Cease also gave up four hits with two strikes.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding Cease since he joined the White Sox, but he hasn’t hit the ground running in the majors just yet. Having 13 days between the first two starts of his career due to the all-star break and the White Sox giving him some extra rest also isn’t the ideal scenario for a young pitcher.

Cease’s ERA is now at 5.73, which isn’t going to set the world on fire. Still, there have been enough positives in his first two starts to see where reasonable improvement could lead to Cease becoming the pitcher the White Sox expect him to be.

 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Next steps for the White Sox rebuild

dylan_cease.jpg
USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Next steps for the White Sox rebuild

David Haugh, Sam Panayotovich and Chris Bleck join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Cubs deal World Series hero Mike Montgomery to the Royals for catcher Martin Maldonado. So what does that mean for Willson Contreras' injury? And who will get the majority of the playing time behind the plate?

10:30 - The guys look ahead to Dylan Cease's second Major League start and discuss what players should be dealt at the deadline to continue the White Sox rebuild.

16:00 - The Blackhawks deal Artem Anisimov to the Senators. Could this mean Kirby Dach can make the team on opening night?

18:30 - Robbie Gould won't be a Bear next season. Is the Bears Week 1 kicker currently on their roster?

20:00 - Did EA Sports diss Mitch Trubisky? DARN NATIONAL MEDIA!!!!

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: