White Sox

White Sox: Alexei Ramirez deems ninth-inning safe call incorrect

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White Sox: Alexei Ramirez deems ninth-inning safe call incorrect

DETROIT — The throw to second base was there. The shortstop was incensed by the safe call when he tagged the runner out. The umpire authoritatively ruled the runner had safely reached the bag.

Without what he believed was proper evidence from his dugout until it was too late, White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected not to challenge the definitive play in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday afternoon.

Two batters after Nick Castellanos was ruled safe at second base -- though the Detroit Fox Sports feed appeared to show Alexei Ramirez tagged him out -- Jose Iglesias singled through a drawn-in infield to give the Tigers a walkoff victory. The loss, their second straight, dropped the White Sox to 3-6.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Controversial play helps Tigers past White Sox]

“They said (Ramirez) missed him,” Ventura said of his video crew. “I wish I could actually watch it. You have to go with what your guys are going with. You could just go out and challenge it anyway, but when you get a ‘He missed him,’ you don’t challenge it.”
“You think about doing it anyway if you get a maybe. Yeah you think about doing it. I didn’t even get a maybe.”

There’s no uncertainty in the mind of Ramirez.

After Avisail Garcia -- who provided the White Sox only run with a fourth-inning solo homer -- overran the ball hit by Castellanos, he quickly picked it up and fired a strike to second. Ramirez cleanly fielded the ball and tagged the runner’s foot before swiping his glove out of the way.

While local broadcast feeds reportedly didn’t have the correct angle, Ramirez had no doubt second-base ump Brian O’Nora’s safe call was incorrect. 

[MORE WHITE SOX: Jake Petricka could be back in White Sox bullpen mix by Monday]

“He just missed the play,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I am sure that I tagged him, and I think he was in the wrong spot to see the play. For me it is clear, and I feel it. I tagged him.”

Not surprisingly, Castellanos believes O’Nora made the correct call.

“A lot of umpires, if the ball beats you there, they’ll take it for granted, and call you out,” Castellanos told local reporters. “The ball beat me there, but again, like I said, I didn’t feel a tag. So when he called me safe, I was really thrilled that he stuck with the play.”

Ventura stepped out of the dugout, waited for a sign on whether or not to challenge, and returned when he wasn’t given any indication to push for a replay. Seconds later, and apparently after pinch-runner Andrew Romine already had been announced, Ventura emerged from the dugout again. He headed to first base to speak with crew chief Jeff Kellogg and was informed the time to request a challenge had expired, that the play had been ruled over, a team official said.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans]

Even though he understood that the White Sox didn’t feel they had the proper evidence for an overturn, Ramirez was surprised the play wasn’t challenged.

“We were in the ninth inning -- you have to review the play,” Ramirez said. “I think that maybe they missed the play the first time on the video, but I am 100 percent I tagged him. If you are going to lose, you don’t want to lose in this way.”

Tigers catcher Alex Avila then bunted Romine to third on the first pitch from Duke to set up Igelsias’ heroics. Only one inning after the end of a pitching spectacle between Jeff Samardzija and David Price, the White Sox were handed another tough loss.

“You wish you can get those,” Ventura said. “But if we are only going to score a run, it’s going to be tough.”

Rick Renteria has a laugh at Cubs' expense in census PSA

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria has a laugh at Cubs' expense in census PSA

"Even that team up in Wrigleyville counts."

White Sox fans probably have some varying opinions on that statement, but it was an unexpected laugh-worthy line in Rick Renteria's public service announcement encouraging folks to participate in this year's U.S. census.

In an otherwise standard pep talk from the South Side skipper, he assured every Chicago resident and every White Sox fan that they deserve to be counted in the every-10-years tally of the national population.

But even the manager had to chuckle when he got to this line: "I mean, even that team up in Wrigleyville counts."

Renteria has repeatedly expressed his lack of ill will toward his former employer on the other side of town and his gratitude for the Cubs giving him his first big league managerial job.

But a little neighborly ribbing between the two Chicago squads is always welcome. And in this case, it's for an important cause.

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Remember That Guy: White Sox reliever Neal Cotts

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Remember That Guy: White Sox reliever Neal Cotts

Neal Cotts was one of the stars of the 2005 White Sox bullpen, the top lefty in Ozzie Guillen’s relief corps.

Remember that guy?

Neal James Cotts celebrated his 40th birthday a week ago; he was born March 25, 1980 in Lebanon, Illinois, not far from St. Louis. A Lebanon High School product, he attended Illinois State and as a second round pick by the Oakland A’s (69th overall). At the time, Cotts was the second highest drafted player in ISU history, after Dave Bergman (second round, 36th overall in 1974).

Cotts started his pro career in 2001, posting a 2.73 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 66 innings across Vancouver (low-A) and Visalia (high-A). The next year for Modesto (high-A), he was 12-6 with a 4.12 ERA but struck out well over a batter an inning (178 K in 137.2 IP). He looked promising, if only he could cut down his walk totals (5.7 BB/9).

On Dec. 3, 2002, the White Sox traded Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson, Joe Valentine and cash to the A’s for Billy Koch and a player to be named later – Cotts – whom Oakland sent to the Sox on Dec. 16.

Cotts was excellent for Birmingham (AA) in 2003 and even started for the U.S. (under manager Carlton Fisk) in the 2003 Futures Game at U.S. Cellular Field. He made his MLB debut Aug. 12, 2003 at the Angels as a starter, going 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits, two runs and six walks – including four in the third inning – and one strikeout (Shawn Wooten).

Cotts made four starts for an 8.10 ERA and was sent back down at the end of August. He had an encouraging minor league season, sporting a 2.16 ERA in 21 starts at Birmingham while striking out 133 in 108 1/3 innings, though the walk totals were still high. He made the transition to the bullpen in 2004, making only one start in 56 appearances. He struggled to adjust to his new role, finishing with a 5.65 ERA while striking out fewer than a batter an inning.

What happened in 2005, however, nobody would see coming.

Cotts walked a batter in each of his first four appearances of 2005 (five in three innings), but then walked only two over his next 13 games (10 2/3 innings). His positive roll continued, though he allowed three runs in his last appearance before the All-Star break to inflate his ERA to 2.86. He was nearly unhittable down the stretch, posting a 0.70 ERA in 35 games (25 2/3 innings) after the Midsummer Classic. He finished his season with a 1.94 ERA in 60 1/3 innings with 13 holds and a pair of saves, allowing just one home run.

Of 271 pitchers to toss at least 60 innings in 2005, Cotts’ home run rate (0.15 per nine innings) was the lowest. Here’s a fun fact: the highest home run rate (2.56) belonged to Ezequiel Astacio, with 23 in 81 innings. He was the pitcher who allowed Geoff Blum’s 14th inning blast in Game 3 of the World Series.

In the 2005 postseason, Cotts became the answer to a fun trivia question: who was the only White Sox reliever used in the ALCS? He retired two batters in relief of Jose Contreras in Game 1. Then the Sox cranked out four straight complete games. Cotts (1 1/3 innings, no runs) and Bobby Jenks (5 innings, two runs) were the two White Sox pitchers who saw work in all four games of the World Series sweep.

Like Cliff Politte, Cotts couldn’t find the same magic in 2006, as he posted a 5.17 ERA in 70 games. After the season, he was involved in what seemed like the rarest of trades – the crosstown swap between the White Sox and Cubs. The White Sox received pitchers David Aardsma and Carlos Vasquez in return.

The southpaw reliever from Southern Illinois shuffled between the Cubs and Triple-A Iowa over the next three seasons, though in 2008 he became the second hurler (after Bob Howry) to pitch for both the White Sox and Cubs in the postseason (Clayton Richard would later join them).

Cotts received the dreaded Tommy John diagnosis in mid-2009 and underwent elbow surgery in July. To make matters worse, the reliever had four hip surgeries starting in 2010. He tried to latch on with the Pirates in 2010 and the Yankees in 2011, but injuries wouldn’t allow him to throw a single pitch over a two-year span.

Cotts resurfaced in the Rangers organization in 2012 and finally worked his way back to the majors in 2013. On May 21, he threw his first major league pitch since May 25, 2009 in a remarkable story of perseverance. Not only did Cotts make it back, he turned in a career year, posting a remarkable 1.11 ERA in 58 games (57 innings). Of 330 pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched, only Koji Uehara (1.09) of the Red Sox was better.

Cotts struck out 65 batters that season and allowed fewer than a baserunner an inning (0.947 WHIP) for the only time in his MLB career. He regressed in 2014 (4.32 ERA in a career-high 73 games) and spent 2015 with the Brewers and, after an August trade, the Twins, posting a 3.41 ERA in 68 games.

The next two seasons saw Cotts sign with the Astros, Angels, Yankees, Rangers and Nationals, but he was unable to find his way back to the majors. He finished his MLB career with a 3.96 ERA in 483 games over 10 seasons. He had some ups and downs, but in 2005 Cotts was instrumental to the White Sox improbable World Series run.

You remember that guy.