White Sox

Slim margin of victory not concerning Notre Dame

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Slim margin of victory not concerning Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Oklahoma is 5-1, having outscored opponents in those five wins by 181 points. That's good for an average margin of victory of over five touchdowns. It's also more than double the average margin of victory Notre Dame has compiled through seven games this year.

In those seven wins, the Irish have averaged a margin of victory of 16 points, with that number inflated by blowouts over Navy and Miami. Notre Dame has won four of its seven games by seven or fewer points, which certainly stands in stark contrast to the blowout wins the four teams ahead of the Irish have racked up.

Notre Dame's win over BYU on Saturday was its second by just a field goal. While blowout victories are sexy to pollsters, though, perhaps there's something to be said for the ability to grind out close games. It's a skill Notre Dame didn't possess last year, that's for sure.

"Any successful year for a team, they have games like this where they need to come back and battle back and find a way to win," quarterback Tommy Rees said Saturday, "and I think that separates some teams."

For what it's worth, Oklahoma has lost its only one-possession game in 2012 -- a 24-19 defeat in Norman to a Kansas State team that might end up running the table this year. With Landry Jones as its quarterback, Oklahoma is 6-7 in one-possession games -- although maybe it's no coincidence the Sooners went 5-0 in 2010, which was the only year Jones took OU to a BCS bowl.

Oklahoma frequently makes it easy on themselves, though, jumping out to early leads and cruising the rest of the way. Notre Dame has only blown the doors off two teams this year, and as a result, the Irish have had plenty of close finishes.

"I'd like it to be 30point wins, like everybody else," coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday. "But there's certainly a lot of components when you win close games against big competition, a lot can be gained from that."

But margin of victory isn't counted in any computer-based calculations in the BCS standings. It may count with voters in the coaches poll, but that's just one factor in the BCS. With that in mind, Kelly's mantra to his team sounds more like one coming from a college basketball coach in March.

"If you start thinking about big picture and you start thinking about all those other factors, it takes you away from the job at hand," Kelly explained. "And I think we've done a good job of focusing on each other, focusing on their jobs and I think doing their job has allowed them, regardless of the time in the game, how much was on the clock, winning, losing -- when they focus so much just on their job, they don't even pay attention to that stuff.

"(The players) don't even think about the scoreboard. We let the coaches do that."

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

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AP

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

Coming to you from Washington DC, we speak with Dylan Cease who competed in the MLB Futures Game along with his Birmingham Barons teammate Luis Basabe. 

Cease talks about the White Sox loaded farm system, what players have impressed him the most, where he gets his composure on the mound and more. 

Check out the entire podcast here:

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.