White Sox

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Being Mark Buehrle was the best way to weather a storm

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Being Mark Buehrle was the best way to weather a storm

The best way for a starting pitcher to weather the storm and limit the damage?

Be Mark Buehrle.

The White Sox ace was so effective throughout his career because he was a master of his style. He filled up the strike zone, he let hitters hit his pitches, he relied on his defense and he got a lot of outs very quickly.

On May 13, 2005, Buehrle faced the minimum through the first three innings and retired 10 of the first 11 hitters he faced. Then came some uncustomary control issues for the fill-up-the-zone left-hander. Given his pitching style and how successful he was at sticking to it, three-ball counts were a rarity. Well, in the fourth inning against the Orioles, he went to three-ball counts on three different hitters. They all reached base, on a single, a walk and a double, and the O’s scored three runs in the inning.

Buehrle putting his team in a three-run hole because he kept missing his mark? It didn’t happen often.

But even in that rarest of times, Buehrle was able to weather that storm because, well, he was Buehrle. He got back to work doing what made him great. And after the Orioles scored three in the fourth, he threw four consecutive 1-2-3 innings, retiring the final 13 hitters he faced — with not a three-ball count to be had.

That allowed his offense to do its damage in the come-from-behind 5-3 win, clawing back on a couple RBI hits before the critical stretch of base runners in the seventh led to a go-ahead single by Paul Konerko. It wouldn’t have been possible had Buehrle not locked things up after giving up that crooked number in the fourth.

Buehrle’s eight-run performance on May 13 was already his fourth outing to last at least that long in 2005. He finished the regular season with 10 such starts and added one more in the ALCS.

Not only does effective starting pitching allow the offense to lurk and do its damage late. It also saves the bullpen, making the relief corps that much more effective.

Starting pitching was the key for those 2005 White Sox, and Buehrle was the best of the bunch.

What else?

— The White Sox made a habit of capitalizing on other teams’ mistakes, and this game was no exception. After Scott Podsednik led off the bottom of the seventh with a ground-rule double, Tadahito Iguchi reached when his bouncer bounced right off Rafael Palmeiro’s chest. Baltimore reliever Todd Williams walked the next hitter, setting up Konerko for a bases-loaded, go-ahead, two-run single that ended up being the game’s defining play. Even with Konerko in a prolonged early season slump, the Orioles dug themselves into a hole by loading the bases with nobody out. And the White Sox took advantage.

— Willie Harris, not a heavy hitter by any stretch, seemed an odd choice to get the start at DH in this one. But he came through, picking up one of the eight RBIs he had in 2005 with a sixth-inning base hit that brought the White Sox within a run. Like Pablo Ozuna, Timo Perez, Chris Widger and even Pedro Lopez, he was one of the White Sox bench players that kept coming through when called upon, a hallmark of this championship squad.

— Hawk’s back! It’s been a little bit since we got to hear from the Hawkeroo on #SoxRewind, as he was away from the booth for a stretch after having corrective eye surgery. He was obviously still in recovery mode on May 13.

— “And that is why you don’t want pitchers involved in pickle plays.” Podsednik picked up one of his three hits on this night via a bunt in the third inning, but he was caught leaning by Rodrigo Lopez and nearly got picked off. Pods got himself in a rundown and escaped the out when Lopez entered the pickle, dropping a throw from an infielder and allowing Podsednik to get back to first base safely. Harrelson pointed out maybe Lopez should’ve sat that one out and allowed his teammates to cycle through the play.

Since you been gone

While #SoxRewind is extensive, it doesn’t include all 162 regular-season contests, meaning we’re going to be skipping over some games. So what’d we miss since last time?

May 12, 2005: Jon Garland was awesome again, allowing just two runs over eight innings of work against the O’s. A.J. Pierzynski and Juan Uribe both homered off classic White Sox nemesis Bruce “Cy” Chen. White Sox win, 3-2, improve to 26-9.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Thursday, when you can catch the May 17, 2005, game against the Rangers, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Jon Garland turns in another terrific effort, and Pierzynski goes deep.

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Tim Anderson calls out MLB commish Rob Manfred with 2020 season up in the air

Tim Anderson calls out MLB commish Rob Manfred with 2020 season up in the air

Will there be baseball in 2020? It's a question that's still without an answer.

And folks are getting restless.

As mad as baseball fans might be over hearing the latest from the negotiations between Major League Baseball and the players' union, the guys sitting at home waiting to hear when they'll go back to work are irritated, too.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson vented Wednesday, following word that the league had rejected the players' latest proposal for a shortened season, taking aim at commissioner Rob Manfred on Twitter.

RELATED: MLB rejects players' 114-game proposal, making 50-game season look possible

As team owners continue to insist they'd be unable to pay players the full prorated salaries they agreed to in March, the players are adamant they haven't yet seen enough economic proof of that claim to warrant agreeing to another pay cut.

In the absence of an agreement with the players' union, the league could take the step of implementing a season of roughly 50 games, preventing players from earning more money on a per-game basis and robbing fans of a whole lot of baseball.

Even with some players expressing concerns over playing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many have stated how eager they are to get back to work.

While simultaneously saying that it's been tough to think about baseball during the nationwide protests over the police killings of Black people in the wake of George Floyd's murder in Minnesota, Anderson said Monday that he is itching to get back on the field.

"I think this problem is bigger than baseball at the moment," he said. "But can’t wait to get back out there when the time is right."

We'll have to wait and see if and when he'll have that chance.

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MLB rejects players' 114-game proposal, making 50-game season look possible

MLB rejects players' 114-game proposal, making 50-game season look possible

That 114-game season that the players’ union wanted?

Yeah, that’s not happening.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Major League Baseball rejected the union’s proposal for a 114-game schedule during which they would receive the full prorated salaries they agreed to in March.

Rosenthal also reported that the league does not plan to make a counter proposal, potentially lining things up for the 50-game season that was reported on earlier this week.

That same March agreement gave the league the authority to set a schedule for the 2020 season, a route the league could take if it cannot come to an agreement with the players.

And so the options for a shortened 2020 season, as presented by the owners, seem to be down to two, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman: an approximately 50-game season in which players receive their full prorated salaries, or an 82-game season in which players take another big pay cut, one the league has proposed will most dramatically impact its highest paid stars.

There might also be a third option, though it's not one any baseball fan wants to hear about.

RELATED: MLB could shrink season to 50 games if no deal reached with players

Team owners claim that the more games that are played without paying customers in the stands, the more money they lose, making it more difficult to pay the players the salaries they agreed to.

The players argue they haven’t seen sufficient reason to take another big pay cut and insist the owners, by refusing to open their books, have not shared enough proof of the losses they are forecasting.

It’s obvious that a season played without ticket sales and all the other sales that come from filling up stadiums with tens of thousands of people every day for six months would see a dramatic decline in revenue. But lucrative TV contracts would still mean revenue — and perhaps a lot of it, even if it pales in comparison to the record $10.7 billion Forbes reported the league took in last year.

The owners don't seem to think it would be anywhere close to enough to pay the players their full prorated salaries, though. They seem to have settled on the message that there is a certain amount of money they're capable of paying the players, and that if the players want it as part of full prorated salaries, they'll get it in only about 50 games, but if they want it over the course of 82 games, then it won't be a part of full prorated salaries.

While there are some health-related benefits to scattering 50 games over the course of three months, both pertaining to regular baseball stuff and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a 50-game schedule would rob fans of an awful lot of baseball. It could be argued that setting a playoff field — expected to expand from 10 teams to 14 — based off 50 games is an illegitimate way to crown a champion. It could be argued that the sprint of a shortened season would be a fascinating change of pace from baseball's typical marathon, which earns criticism for being, at times, glacially paced.

But the loss of roughly 110 games would be nothing compared to the loss of an entire season.

Any understanding over a season impeded by the coronavirus — not an impossibility, considering just one day after beginning exhibition play in Japan, two players tested positive — would be severely contrasted by the lack of sympathy stemming from a failed money fight.

So is it a league-mandated 50 games? A different, negotiated number of games? Or zero games?

Time will tell. But time is also of the essence if baseball wants to wrap up the postseason by the fall.


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