White Sox

Poetry in Pros: Buehrle picks, White Sox grin

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Poetry in Pros: Buehrle picks, White Sox grin

Sunday, July 18, 2010
1:31 PM
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

MINNEAPOLIS - Contrary to popular rumor, Mark Buehrle doesnt pick off every runner he allows to reach first. It just seems that way.

With depantsings of Denard Span and Delmon Young last night, Buehrle has picked off 72 runners since his first full season in 200127 more than the New York Yankees Andy Pettitte, who has the next-best total in that time span.

The White Sox mainstay has 76 career pickoffs, which trails all-time leader Steve Carlton (144) considerably. However, every other pickoffs leader is squarely in Buehrles sights: Pettitte (99), Kenny Rogers (94), Mark Langston (91), Jerry Koosman (82), Randy Johnson (81) and Greg Swindell (77).

Somebodys figured out my move, because I dont pick everybody off, said Buehrle with a smile, regarding his masterful move. I give credit to Joey Cora, who calls all our moves to first.

Clearly, the southpaw has a real gift for fooling opposing runners. Even runners without aggressive leads and who arent a major danger to steal (paging Young, who appeared to be leading off in molasses in the fourth inning last night) are frozen by Buehrles cagey play off the mound.

Hes good, real good, said Span, with 16 steals in 17 tries Minnesotas only true base-stealing threat. I thought I got back last night, but the move is tough. You want the best lead you can, but a great move can freeze you and sometimes you react too late.

Buehrle also gives credit to Paul Konerko for sneaky-quick tags at first. While that was evident in both picks last night, Konerko deflects any credit.

Buehrle is the one who does the dirty work fooling runners, Konerko says. The challenge of making sure you have the ball and get a quick tag down, that doesnt compare.

The lefty rather famously missed out on a perfect game en route to his first no-hitter vs. the Texas Rangers in 2007, walking Sammy Sosa. But Buehrle gets an unofficial, asterisked perfecto for immediately picking Sosa off of first and facing the minimum 27 batters.

Thats sort of how Buehrle looks at letting runners onhed rather not, but if theyre lollygagging over at first base, why not make em pay?

You cant lose focus on the hitter, but I do want to make a runner think, Buehrle said. An out is an out, and my goal is to get my 27 any way I can, as quickly as I can.
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.

 

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

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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: