White Sox

Peavy applauds Wood's ride into the sunset

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Peavy applauds Wood's ride into the sunset

Jake Peavy knows what it's like to go through grueling rehab sessions. He knows what it's like to be frustrated with not being healthy. And he knows what it's like to wonder if he's lost his ability to pitch in the majors.

Kerry Wood went through many of the same tribulations during his career, which began in 1998 and will come to a close this weekend at Wrigley Field. Through all the injuries, surgeries and simulated games, Wood amassed a 3.67 ERA and 1,581 strikeouts in 1,379 23 innings.

"At the end of the day, when you come back from those injuries and you go through what he had to go through, it not only takes a huge physical toll, there's a whole mental side of that where you say 'gosh, do I have it left in me to go through every bit of this rehab and push myself the way that I used to to get back,'" Peavy said prior to Friday's BP Crosstown Cup opener.

"And obviously, the older you get, the more your body slows down. Good for him to come to that conclusion -- it's sad, but at the same time it's a day that needs to be looked on as a happy day and look back at the wonderful career he did have."

Peavy's in his 11th season in the majors, but he's only had to battle injury issues for the last five or so years. Wood underwent Tommy John surgery in 1999 and has been locked in what seemed like a constant battle with his body ever since. So for him to push through and pitch nearly a decade and a half in the majors is something Peavy truly respects.

"I can promise you, as a guy who's been through some major injuries over the last few years, there's nothing easy about what he's done and the mental grind and toll that takes on you," Peavy said. "I can understand him getting to this point where he's saying you know what, it's been a good run but it's that time."

Peavy turns 31 at the end of May, and he's not nearing that time. He's pitching better than he ever has in a White Sox uniform, and he'll be a free agent at the end of the season if the Sox -- or, as he'll admit, whatever team may trade for him this summer -- decline his 22 million option for 2013. Peavy's been on teams that have won division championships in 2005 and 2006, and he's felt the heartbreak of narrowly missing the postseason in 2007. He won a Cy Young, has made two All-Star teams and was the first to tackle Philip Humber after his perfect game, so he knows a little about personal accomplishments, too.

But despite all that, he's still in awe of Wood's 20-strikeout game.

"When you watch that game and watch what he did to a big league lineup -- I'm not taking anything away from any of these games -- you can go watch Phil's perfect game and Mark Buehrle's perfect game and there's really, please don't take this the wrong way, not a comparison to what he did in terms of the domination and the sheer fact of 'I am so much better than you today,'" Peavy said. "That's incredible."

Peavy even admits he's gone back and watched Wood's 20-strikeout game three or four times, just to admire how dominant the then-rookie was that day against Houston.

"For big-league players to not be able to hit the baseball at all, it goes down as one of those games that has to be one of the best ever pitched in the major leagues," he opined.

While Peavy is seeing renewed success as a starting pitcher this season, he's previously intimated that a bullpen role could be in his future if he can't cut it in the rotation. That's a switch Wood made with a high level of success in 2005 before permanently moving to a relief role in 2007 -- the same year Peavy won his Cy Young.

Peavy admired Wood as a young pitcher with San Diego a decade ago. And while both pitchers are in their 30's, it sounds like Peavy still looks up to the now-retiring Cubs hurler.

"He was a guy you always looked up to and wanted to be like, because of how dominant he was as a starter and in the bullpen," Peavy said. "At the end of the day, when I think about him just persevering, being the last couple of years he's had a lot of years like I've had as far as battling back and trying to get back to a certain level of play. In my book, that is to be applauded, to come back time and time again and when he did come back, do well and be an integral part of the team."

So as Wood rides into the sunset, Peavy's going to be right there to send him off.

"I wish him all the best in retirement and applaud him on a wonderful career."

MLB The Show: White Sox take down Blue Jays behind Dallas Keuchel

MLB The Show: White Sox take down Blue Jays behind Dallas Keuchel

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: White Sox def. Blue Jays 7-1
Record: 51-36 this season, first in AL Central (3 games ahead of Twins)

W: Dallas Keuchel (5-5)
L: Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-4)

Game summary: The South Siders continued their three-game set vs the Blue Jays north of the border on Wednesday. And just like Canadian summers, their bats took a little longer than normal to warm up in this game.

Fortunately for the White Sox, they didn’t need a lot of runs early as Dallas Keuchel had his entire repertoire working. The veteran lefty, a frequent sore spot in the rotation this season, went eight innings while allowing just one run and striking out five batters. Sporting an ERA above 7 at times this year, Keuchel is now sitting at 5.90.

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After just scoring just two runs through the first seven frames, the White Sox offense broke out in the eighth. Tim Anderson emerged from his power slump in a big way, hitting a three-run bomb to left. Then, Nomar Mazara also went deep, slugging his 17th homer of the season.

The White Sox winning streak is now at three games, the same total they lead the AL Central by as All-Star weekend approaches.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-4 (.311 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, 2B (.251 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 1-5, HR (23), RBI, R (.278 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 1-3, 2 BB, R (.309 BA)
Jose Abreu: 3-5, 2 2B, 2 R (.311 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-5, HR (15), 3 RBI, R (.275 BA)
Luis Robert: 1-5, R (.256 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-3 (.283 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 2-4, HR (17), 2 RBI, R (.257 BA)

Scoring summary:

Top first

Yoan Moncada homered to left field. 1-0 CHW.

Top fourth

Nomar Mazara singled to left field, Luis Robert scored. 2-0 CHW.

Bottom fifth

Bo Bichette homered to left field. 2-1 CHW.

Top eighth

Tim Anderson homered to left field, Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu scored. 5-1 CHW.
Mazara homered to right field. 6-1 CHW.

Top ninth

Anderson reached on throwing error, Abreu scored. 7-1 CHW.

Notable performance: Mazara is the human embodiment of the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Despite being in the nine-hole, Mazara has hit 16 homers and is ninh in the AL with 63 RBIs. There's no reason to move him elsewhere in the lineup.

Next game: Thursday, July 2 - Game 88: White Sox at Blue Jays (Dylan Cease, 4-4, 5.40 ERA vs Ryan Borucki, 6-4, 5.11 ERA)

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Yoan Moncada: White Sox still on track for success in 2020, even after layoff

Yoan Moncada: White Sox still on track for success in 2020, even after layoff

It's been a bit of a deflating experience for White Sox fans over the past few months. They were ready for their team to finally ascend into the realm of baseball's contenders, only for the COVID-19 pandemic to put those plans on hold.

The most anticipated season of White Sox baseball in years wasn't happening.

Well, it's kind of happening now, albeit in a squeezed-down, 60-game version that has some fans already bemoaning the 2020 campaign's illegitimacy before it starts.

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But White Sox fans who had the wind taken out of their sails shouldn't be so down in the dumps. Even after a three-month layoff and staring at a two-month sprint to the postseason, the White Sox seem to be in as good a position as they were back in March to make their jump out of rebuilding mode and into contending mode.

Though so much has changed in baseball and around the world in the last few months, that one aspect of the White Sox outlook for the 2020 season has not, according to one of the team's best players.

"I think that each one of us has been working out, has been doing what they are supposed to be doing in order to get ready for the season," Yoan Moncada said through team interpreter Billy Russo on Wednesday. "If that's the case, and I truly believe that’s the case, we are going to be ready, when the season starts, to compete right away. I think there’s not going to be any major difference."

Indeed, there's reason to believe that the White Sox are positioned quite well to compete for an AL Central title and reach the postseason, much like there was back in March. The young core of Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez and Lucas Giolito were excellent in 2019, especially toward the end of the season. The front office added numerous impact veterans with winning experience during the offseason. And Luis Robert is a much-hyped prospect who could provide a huge boost to the lineup right away.

And the layoff has even allowed for some improvements to the roster, at least on paper, with a pitching staff deepened by the potential full-season additions of recovered arms Michael Kopech, Carlos Rodon and Dane Dunning.

While the White Sox have their fair share of questions — look to that same pitching staff, where it's unknown what kind of results the team will get from Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez — they could wind up the most balanced of the three non-rebuilding teams in the Central. The defending-champion Minnesota Twins have a powerful lineup that now includes perennial MVP candidate Josh Donaldson, but their pitching staff past ace Jose Berrios needs to prove its dependability. The Cleveland Indians, on the other hand, have arguably the best starting rotation in baseball, but their lineup is top heavy with major questions past Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.

Moncada is of the mindset that to be the champs, you've got to beat the champs.

"I see ourselves in a very good position to compete in this division," he said. "I think that the team to beat is the Minnesota Twins. But I think we have a very good team to compete against them."

RELATED: White Sox not adjusting high hopes for 2020: 'I'm still extremely optimistic'

The third baseman doesn't seem to be alone in his thinking that the White Sox are still in a good position to reach the high expectations they put on themselves during the spring, when everyone at Camelback Ranch was talking about snapping the franchise's more than decade-long playoff drought. Team brass was sticking to those high hopes last week.

“I’m still extremely optimistic,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We come in with the same mindset, to build on what we were building when we were cut off in the spring. And I continue to be optimistic about how positively we can roll forward.”

Obviously this is a season unlike any other, and no one truly knows what will happen when the games start being played — including how many of those games the COVID-19 pandemic will allow Major League Baseball to complete. A fast start will be important to the White Sox and every other team looking to sprint to the regular season's finish line.

Some more good news, at least for Moncada? This is a season in which he doesn't have to worry about battling Chicago's frigid April and May conditions.

"I don't like cold weather," he said. "I think starting the season in this kind of weather is going to be an advantage for all of us. I think we're going to feel much more comfortable, and for me, I think I'm going to feel like I'm playing in Cuba because this is the kind of weather we're used to in Cuba. It's going to be comfortable for us."

White Sox fans have reason to believe they could be very comfortable with their team's fortunes, even after a three-month layoff.


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