White Sox

White Sox morning roundup

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White Sox morning roundup

From the weekend:

Frank Thomas will make his 2012 debut as part of Comcast SportsNet's White Sox coverage team tonight, appearing on Chicago Tribune Live at 5:30 and White Sox Postgame Live following Monday's game with the Indians. He'll join Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton for select games as well as provide content for CSNChicago.com, including the revival of Big Hurt TV. Needless to say, we're all extremely excited to have Thomas around again.

Opening Day saw the White Sox lose 3-2 to Texas, with Colby Lewis hampering offensive efforts thanks to good command of a wide strike zone. But hey, at least Adam Dunn tied a major-league record.

Saturday's game went much better, with Alex Rios belting a game-winning home run off Joe Nathan to secure Robin Ventura's first career victory as a manager. Sunday was much worse, as the Sox went 0-8 with runners in scoring position in a 5-0 loss.

The closer situation was the hot topic of the weekend, though, with Hector Santiago appearing to nail down that role -- the rookie lefty earned the save in Saturday's win. Chuck Garfien penned an outstanding piece on Santiago's screwball, while I don't think it actually matters who gets the bulk of the save opportunities for he Sox and Chris Kamka reviews the results of bullpens-by-committees.

And the most random news of all: Kip Wells is back with the White Sox.

Jim looked at how Robin Ventura's early returns have been similar to the managing style of Ozzie Guillen, James has a few trends that should carry over from Opening Daythe first weekend, and Alejandro De Aza's baserunning miscues have already drawn comparisons to Juan Pierre (not unfair -- De Aza has to dial things back).

Around the division

Detroit: Scored 23 runs in two games, including a frightening comeback that included a game-tying three-run bomb by Miguel Cabrera and a walk-off homer by Alex Avila. Tigers blog Walkoff Woodward pretty much sums up the message sent from Comerica Park this weekend: "We will kill all of your pitchers." But the news wasn't all good for the Tigs, as No. 2 starter Doug Fister hit the disabled list with a costochondral strain.

Cleveland: Ubaldo Jimenez took a no-hitter into the seventh against Toronto, but it went for naught as Toronto downed Cleveland in another marathon affair. Sergio Santos blew a save for the Jays, by the way.

Kansas City: Ned Yost has succumbed to the "okay with not having a good hitter batting second" epidemic, although it didn't hurt the Royals' offense that helped take two of three games from Los Angeles in California. And in the game Kansas City lost, Bruce Chen -- whose selection to start Opening Day was widely panned -- held the Angels scoreless through six innings of four-hit ball.

Minnesota: Scored five runs in three games against baseball's worst pitching staff from a year ago. Jason Hammel carried a no-hitter into the eighth on Sunday, while Jake Arrieta (5.05 ERA in 2011) threw seven shutout innings Friday and Tommy Hunter (5.06 ERA in 2011) allowed two unearned runs Saturday in seven innings of work. And to top things off, Carl Pavano's velocity is down, which Twins Daily's Parker Hageman is concerned about.

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

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USA TODAY

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming. 

Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts. 

Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it. 

Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.

So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control. 

White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: