To: Bruce Miles
Re: White Sox/BP Cup
There’s a TV on my desk in the U.S. Cellular Field press box, so you’re more than welcome to drop by Monday night and watch the Blackhawks-Red Wings in Game 6.
Let’s face it, the remote action on the ice is going to be much more entertaining than the live baseball on the field below.
But, like you said, at least the White Sox and the Cubs only go at it four times this season, a welcome reduction.
In fairness to the Sox (24-24), they are easily playing their best baseball of the season, and a weekend sweep of the Miami Marlins puts them back at .500 for the first time since April 10, when they were 4-4.
While they won’t come right out and admit it, the White Sox plan to fatten up even more on the North Siders this week.
“I want to win, I don’t care who it is, where they’re at,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Even (over the weekend), you see a team that’s had a tough start like Miami. It doesn’t matter. You still have to go out and try to win. You feel just as good winning those games as you do any other ones.”
If the Cubs are planning to end their seven-game losing streak this week, here are some things they should know about the White Sox:
ŸThe starters are tough, especially Chris Sale.
The ace left-hander was scratched from his last start against the Boston Red Sox last week, but Sale says his sore left shoulder is feeling much better and he will be ready to roll Tuesday night.
That’s bad news for the Cubs.
Over his last 2 starts — both against the Los Angeles Angels — Sale pitched 162⁄3 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits while striking out 19.
The 24-year-old pitcher is particularly tough at home, where he’s 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in 4 starts this year.
If the Cubs are going to get Sale, it has to be early. Once he calms down and gets on a roll, forget it.
ŸThe front end of the bullpen can be had.
Addison Reed added a nasty slider this year and has quickly developed into of the top closers in baseball with 17 saves in 18 attempts.
Jesse Crain is healthy and, like Reed, the veteran right-hander has earned serious all-star consideration while rattling off 20 straight scoreless appearances.
After that, the White Sox’ bullpen has been spotty at best, and control issues have plagued Nate Jones, Matt Thornton, Matt Lindstrom and Brian Omogrosso.
With John Danks back from a yearlong absence due to shoulder surgery, Hector Santiago is back in the ’pen, and he’s a positive addition.
ŸExpect close games.
The Sox might have swept the woeful Marlins, but the first 2 wins required walk-off hits from Jeff Keppinger and Conor Gillaspie, and they won Sunday 5-3.
Tight games have become the norm for the White Sox this season, and 39 of their 48 games (81 percent) have been decided by 3 runs or fewer.
“For us, close games, that’s just the way we play games,” Ventura said. “We’re confident in any situation just for one reason that you have a good bullpen and you feel you can hold them and give yourself a chance to score runs. But the playing of tight games is just natural in this league. It happens all the time.
“I can’t think of too many games where you go into the last inning where the team that’s hitting doesn’t come up with the winning run at the plate. It’s just the way it is, and we’re fine playing that way.”
Regards, and see you on the South Side.
Scot GregorCopyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.