Breaking News Bar
updated: 8/26/2013 5:49 AM

Big weekend for Sox' Phegley as Flowers flounders

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • The White Sox' Josh Phegley celebrates his game-winning hit in the ninth inning against the Rangers on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.

      The White Sox' Josh Phegley celebrates his game-winning hit in the ninth inning against the Rangers on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

  • After his game-winning hit Saturday against the Rangers, the White Sox' Josh Phegley gets a Gatorade bath from Alexei Ramirez during a postgame interview at U.S. Cellular Field.

      After his game-winning hit Saturday against the Rangers, the White Sox' Josh Phegley gets a Gatorade bath from Alexei Ramirez during a postgame interview at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

During A.J. Pierzynski's first time back to U.S. Cellular Field since signing with the Texas Rangers as a free agent in the off-season, the crowd treated him appropriately with at least a few standing ovations.

He's still a fan favorite on the South Side -- with good reason. Pierzynski was a substantial piece of the first world championship team in Chicago in almost 90 years in 2005.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

But it was Josh Phegley who came up big in the series with a walk-off single to win Game 2 and a home run in the finale Sunday. And, yeah, he even walked for the second time this season.

While we're miles away from knowing just what sort of catcher Phegley will be over his career, we've seen enough to know that he's earned a further look, which probably means he'll begin next season as the starting catcher. At least, I think so.

In being asked to assess the current state of White Sox affairs, Pierzynski said over the weekend that Tyler Flowers might have better benefited from playing in front of a veteran catcher as opposed to Hector Gimenez, who had only appeared in 11 major-league games prior to this season.

And A.J. may have a point. Ideally, you'd like at least one of the two catchers on the staff have a decent amount of experience. Neither Flowers nor Gimenez did.

To what degree did the lack of veteran presence affect the catching situation this year? There's no way to measure. But it does provide an intriguing predicament next season. Should the Sox decide that Flowers is not in their plans for 2014 and they'd rather go with an established backstop, it likely means he'll end up elsewhere.

While the results from Flowers have not been good this season, I'm not convinced that after just over 500 regular-season at-bats that he's totally exhausted any chance he can be an everyday big-league catcher. But I'm wondering if he'll have to prove that with another club.

Coming home:

It wasn't just A.J. Pierzysnki, Alex Rios and Jason Frasor that made their returns at U.S. Cellular Field this weekend, but also one of the better comeback stories in baseball this season in Neal Cotts.

After a series of injuries and evaporating opportunities, Cotts made his first relief appearance in Chicago since 2009 when he pitched Saturday and struck out a pair for the Rangers in a perfect inning.

For a while, it looked like his playing days were behind him. That was until the Rangers gave him a shot at the end of May. Since then, Cotts has done as much as anyone could possibly do with a fourth chance: an ERA of 1.27, a 0.96 WHIP and an average of more than a strikeout per inning. This season, he just might be the best left-handed reliever in the American League.

Cotts is long removed from that brilliant 2005 championship season, but he won't be forgotten for his scoreless postseason work with the Sox, including back-to-back strikeouts of the Astros' Morgan Ensberg and Mike Lamb with the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the World Series.

Partly because of that, he already has one ring. Now with Texas, Cotts has a chance at earning another.

• Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here