White Sox

For White Sox, retaliation a dish best unserved

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For White Sox, retaliation a dish best unserved

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011
Posted: 7:07 p.m. Updated: 7:29 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
CLEVELAND To a man, all the way up to manager Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox remain steadfastly against retaliation for four hit batsmen in Tuesdays doubleheader vs. the Cleveland Indiansthree in the final three innings.

When the question of what went through his head in the ninth after seeing Gordon Beckham drilled in the back and Alexei Ramirez nailed in the shoulder two batters later, knowing he would scale the mound to finish the game, reliever Chris Sale was unmoved.

Ive got a job to do, Sale said. Its a one-run ballgame. The last thing you need to do is be stupid. Obviously, we dont like our guys going down like that. I cannot afford to give them any free baserunners, especially in a game like that. You still want to win. At the end of the day, a win is most important.

Thats debatable enough, but the money quote comes as Sale got to perhaps what really went through his head when confronted with the notion of nailing a Wahoo.

I dont really do too well in situations like that, he admitted. I just go out there and give everything Ive got and try to do my job.

Beckham sends his regards, Chris.

As a hitter just four seasons ago, closer Sergio Santos might pack a little more nuance into his answer, and admittedly he struggled a bit with the notion of HBP impunity.

You have to look at the situation, the pitch, the count, and make a decision about whether someone is being thrown at intentionally, Santos said. Were not going to stand for that, but at the same time you cant go out and react emotionally. You take note of the count, the pitch, and make a determination from there.

Kudos to you, Sergio, says Alexei.

Paul Konerko was nursing a sore backhe was taking extended treatment after Tuesdays game and was not injured as a result of being plunked in the upper thigh in the seventh inningand was due for an off-day anyhow, which he enjoyed on Wednesday. But the Captain didnt seem too excited about the notion that numerous bruised batters wouldnt be avenged any time soon.

I was more upset about getting hit than actually getting hurt, Konerko said by way of explaining his outraged reaction to being hit by Indians reliever Zach Putnam. It didnt really hurt at all, just stung for a second. I dont want to get hit. Nobody wants to get hit I dont think any of them were intentional, but theres a cumulative thing that kind of adds up after awhile. So, well see how it goes.

You can hardly blame the White Sox pitching staff for mellowing down their ire when Konerko can hardly drum up outrage for being nailed.

Guillen maintained Clevelands innocence when asked again about his teams lack of retaliation on Tuesday.

If I knew 100 percent they were throwing at us, theres no doubt in my mind I would do something about it myself, Guillen said. I would let somebody know we have to control this, and thats it. But deep inside, I dont think they did it on purpose.

Guillen has calmed a bit over the years. When he came to the White Sox, he said his players should slide into second base hard enough to break bones. He infamously told former White Sox pitchers Sean Tracey and Jon Garland to hit batters, and both hurlers failed.

The jefes comments over the past two days would indicate hes gone soft, but not so, he insisted on Wednesday.

If players come to me to talk about retaliation, I will be more than happy to donate the money for any resulting fine and protect my players, he said. But Tuesday I didnt have anything telling me it was on purpose I played this game and Ive been in this game for a little while. You know when its on purpose.

Im not going to hit somebody just because. But if I have tohell, yeah.

Guillen ferreted out Josh Judys innocence despite hitting both Beckham and Ramirez in the space of three batters in the ninth due to his circumstantial sleuthing, such as seeing that Judy was unaware how many outs were in the inning.
"A beanball war would be fun.-- Ozzie Guillen.
However, when I posed more provocative proof of Judys guiltSouth Side Sox noting that Judy in fact had good control, hitting just one batter in 52 minor-league innings and none in nine for the Indians (and the unsaid facts that Judy has hit four White Sox in the past two weeks and that since the game where Frank Herrmann broke Beckhams hand last September, effectively ending his season, Cleveland has logged 15 White Sox HBPs while the White Sox plunked just six Indians)Guillen was nonplussed.

I dont think you are going to hit a guy up or down by one run, he said. It wasnt like we were kicking their butt. It was a close game.

The last time a White Sox pitcher defended a batter, it was Mark Buehrle last September, a game after Konerko was beaned in the face by Carl Pavano (also in that series, Delmon Young took a rather direct route toward A.J. Pierzynskis head while being tagged out at the plate). Would Buehrle wreak revenge for longtime teammate and friend Konerko on Wednesday night?

It would surprise me, yes, but I cannot read Buehrles mind, Guillen said. Some people have to protect themselves, but if I see something I dont like, I wont wait for the next game. I would have told Sale, The first guy in the ninth has to go down. If the players think differently, they are grown people and have their own ideas. I have to respect that.

In fact, after some soft talk after the doubleheader on Tuesday, Guillen seemed to get more and more excited at the prospect of future fisticuffs with the Wahoos.

Im not the kind of guy who says wait for tomorrow, especially if were out of the playoff race, Guillen smiled. A beanball war would be fun.

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

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

The White Sox need starting pitching, so why not bring in a guy with a Cy Young Award sitting on his mantle?

Dallas Keuchel is one of the two biggest names on the starting-pitching market this winter, along with Patrick Corbin, who will get more attention — and likely more dollars — because he's two years younger. But Keuchel's the guy with the track record, the AL Cy Young winner in 2015 (when he was also a top-five MVP finisher), a two-time All Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner and the owner of a 3.28 ERA over the past five seasons, during which he helped the Houston Astros transition from rebuilding to one of baseball's perennial contenders. You might have heard something about them winning the World Series in 2017.

It's true that things have been somewhat up and down for Keuchel since his Cy Young win. After posting a 2.48 ERA with a career-high 216 strikeouts in 33 starts during that 2015 season, he had a 4.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 26 starts in 2016, then a 2.90 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 23 starts in 2017 and a 3.74 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 34 starts last season. But three times in the last five years he's finished with an ERA under 3.00. In other words, he's pretty darn good.

How might he fit with the White Sox? Well, in terms of whether or not he lines up with their long-term plans. Keuchel's older than Corbin, but it's not like he's old. He'll be 31 on Opening Day 2019, and a long-term deal, which he's expected to fetch, would keep him around for another planned transition from rebuilding to contention. Keuchel — a veteran who's accomplished a lot already, including putting a World Series ring on his finger — could be viewed as a Jon Lester type for these rebuilding White Sox, a big name who buys into the front office's long-term plan and helps make those plans become reality.

And there's no doubt the White Sox are in the market for starting pitching this winter. Michael Kopech is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the White Sox decided not to pick up James Shields' option for 2019. That leaves two holes in the starting rotation. An addition like Keuchel would be a long-term one, which means the White Sox would opt to make him a safety net for their still-developing fleet of young pitchers and choose not to roll the dice on a homegrown starting staff for 2020. However, if they're confident in a quintet of Kopech, Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease, then maybe they opt for a couple one-year fill-ins in 2019. Keuchel would not be a one-year fill-in.

Keuchel could also fill the role vacated by Shields, a veteran who could help bring along the young guys in an off-the-field mentor role. His experience going through the dark days of a rebuild — he was a member of Astros teams that lost a combined 310 games from 2012 to 2014 — and coming out the other end a world champ would also figure to be of value.

Of course, the White Sox wouldn't be alone in a pursuit of Keuchel, if they were interested. Thanks to Clayton Kershaw signing a new contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he's one of the two biggest names on the market when it comes to starting pitchers. The White Sox would likely have to go through the same bidding war and pitch of planned future success they would with other big names like Corbin, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

But there's no doubt Keuchel would be an upgrade to this rotation in 2019 and could provide plenty of value for years beyond.

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it

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USA TODAY

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports has made a habit of failing to remember the South Siders in recent years, most notably forgetting (on multiple occasions) that the White Sox did in fact win the 2005 World Series.

It happened enough times that A.J. Pierzynski had some opinions about it.

This time, the omission came in an effort to illustrate how good Mike Trout is, with ESPN researcher Paul Hembekides listing baseball players who appeared in the top four in MVP voting three or more times. Trout, the Los Angeles Angels superstar, has already done it seven times, and boy that is terrific.

But Hembekides left someone out. And that someone let him hear about it.

You tell 'em, Frank.

Yes, the Big Hurt finished in the top four of the AL MVP vote on six separate occasions: 1991 (third), 1993 (first), 1994 (first), 1997 (third), 2000 (second) and 2006 (fourth, while playing for the Oakland Athletics).

ESPN's blind spot for the White Sox doesn't end up meaning much of anything, though it's amusing that they've now managed to leave out a relatively recent World Series champion and a relatively recent first-ballot Hall of Famer.

We all make mistakes. But it's a little funny that ESPN's are, repeatedly, White Sox related.