Hottest Team in MLB? Your Chicago White Sox

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On June 8th, the Chicago White Sox were 24-33, a season low 9 games under .500 and 9.5 out of first place in the AL Central division. Few experts could have anticipated where the Sox would be on July 10th:

47-38, a half game back of the division leading Detroit Tigers, and certifiably the hottest team in Major League Baseball.

Fresh off an 8-2 win over division rival Kansas City, the Southsiders’ sizzling streak reads like this:

Six straight wins, 19-4 in their last 23, 23-5 in their last 28, 12-1 in their last 13 at U.S. Cellular Field.

And it all starts with the starting rotation. Pun intended.

“We’re pitching well, all five guys go out there and do a tremendous job giving us an opportunity and a chance to win,” Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen said.

By Paul M. Banks

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How are the White Sox this AWFUL?

SOXMAN AND BATBOY

By Soxman and Paul M. Banks

As we are now into week three of the 2010 MLB season, White Sox fans have to be asking at this point: “What the heck is going on?”

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Mark Buerhle Breaks MLB Record- Retires 45 Straight!

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By Paul M. Banks

Mark Buerhle is not done yet. Following a perfect game last Thursday afternoon over the Tampa Bay Rays, supplementing his no-hitter he threw two years ago against Texas no less, Buerhle pitched a “perfect game” for the first 5 2/3 innings of his next start. In doing so, he broke a Major League Baseball record by retiring 45 straight batters.

The old record of 41 consecutive batters retired was held by two men. One is a teammate: currently embattled closer Bobby Jenks in 2007; the second was Jim Parr of the 1972 San Francisco Giants. When Jenks tied the record in ’07, it was one of the most under-publicized records in baseball history. Only the seamheads and most die hard of Sox die-hards celebrated it. This was partially due to the fact that the Sox were practically eliminated from playoff contention by Memorial Day that season. This time, however the lights will shine brighter. Buerhle’s feat comes the night after he appeared on David Letterman to deliver a Top Ten list in his honor (in case you missed it, the vid is below).

This accomplishment comes in the thick of a pennant race, at the stadium of the Sox most hated rival, the Minnesota Twins, who are right there with them in the standings. Despite the Twins being to the Sox what the Giants are to the Dodgers, or what the Yankees are to the Red Sox, the Twins fans gave Buerhle a standing ovation twice: when he broke the record and also when upon exiting the game. Sure, the wheels came off after Buerhle’s re-Mark-able streak ended, as the Twins took the lead the next inning. And then the Sox bullpen pitched like a bunch of bushers making things even worse. However, the Twins fans appreciating Buerhle’s record as much as us Sox fans do was 1.) very classy 2.) shows they like baseball in general as much as they like their team.

Surging Sox Exchange

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By  Paul M. Banks and Soxman

Holy Above.500 record Soxman! Before the Southsiders recent winning streak was snapped, the Sox won seven in a row. When last we tuned into this Sox Channel at the same Sox time last week, I was wondering whether the Sox had a legitimate reason to consider themselves buyers at trading deadline. Now they’re just two little games out of first place, the starting pitching has been clicking and the hitting has been coming around. The White Sox runs scored to runs against differential is finally now in the black, 365-362. So what got into this team? Did it just take awhile for the lineup shakeups to take effect or is something else at work here?

(SM) Pitching!  The White Sox now have the second best team ERA in the American League (3.97), second only to Seattle.  Run production is starting to come around as well.  All-Star snub Jermaine Dye has hit .417 with 5 HR over the last 14 games and Scott Podsednik just continues to amaze leading the sox with a .417 batting average.  I think the true “x” factor though offensively has been Gordon Beckham, whose .341 BA in the same game stretch has brought production to the bottom of the Sox batting order.  Sometimes it only takes one guy to heat it up and it takes pressure off of everyone else. soxlogo

(PMB) As far into the season as late May, we had a lot of everyday regulars and subs with ABHORRENT batting averages, but check out how those previously unsightly batting averages shot up north in a hurry. Current BAs Alexei Ramirez (.273), Gordon Beckham (.263,) Chris Getz is actually flirting with the .250 mark and DeWayne Wise has even crossed the Mendoza line. To quote Pedro Cerrano in “Major League” “Must wake up bats!” well mission accomplished, but why? Perhaps hitting coach Greg Walker was feeling his seat getting very hot and he made some changes that are now paying off?

(SM) Remember, to a large extent, a hitting coach is really a non-factor at the major league level unless here is an obvious flaw an established hitter’s swing, or poor discipline the player has developed.  Walker has nothing to do with a player’s tendency to swing at bad pitches or even make contact.  In his short stint in the majors, Alexei has proven to be a streaky hitter.  Beckham and Getz are likely just making the adjustments needed to hit major league pitching.

There is a lot to the aphorism “hitting is contagious.”  As more players hit well, opposing pitchers tend to go at struggling hitters.  Translation: they see better pitches giving hem a greater opportunity to break out of their slump.  While Dye has been consistent all season, the surge by Scotty Pods was followed by Alexei’s breakout.  As Getz started to heat it up, Beckham followed.

(PMB) I’ve said since March this season will go as far Gavin Floyd and John Danks will take it. Last week we discussed Gavin finding himself, but how about John Danks? In his last 5 starts he’s surrendured just 6 ER, lowering his ERA from 5.10 on June 5th to 3.76 now. Your thoughts?

(SM) There may be nothing fancy in this analysis but Danks simply has had better control in this stretch.  When you reduce the number of walks through better control, you reduce the number of “get me over pitches” for hitters to drive.  He has a 0.81 WHIP in his last four starts vs. a 1.23 WHIP on the season.  I have not seen any statement from him indicating he has found a mechanical flaw in his delivery.  Sometimes, you hear pitchers say they just get a better feel for their pitches.  This is likely the case with Danks. danny

(PMB) In such a sports-crazy city like this and with such a team now in contention, why is attendance so poor this season? Kenny Williams stated that as attendance is down this season,, his hands are tied with trades in terms of taking on additional payroll.  I really begin to wonder if the PR and marketing departments have any clue what they’re doing. One story that was overlooked during inter-league was the visit by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in MLB at the time, playing at the Cell, and it was HALF-EMPTY!

How can this be? What will it mean as the trade deadline draws near?

(SM) As a diehard Sox fan I can say this: we can be fickle.  We will not spend our hard earned dollars on a poor product when we can support them from the comfort of our own home with free parking and concessions 1/25 the cost at the Cell.  We still love our team, but pinch our pennies doing it.

I think there could have been greater promotional work done for the Dodgers series in terms of promoting the 50th anniversary of the Go Go White Sox. That said, the team’s excellent play as of late, makes it hard to determine exactly what Kenny Williams will do as the trade deadline approaches.

The Sox are obviously counting on the return of a healthy Carlos Quentin to the line-up.  They will then move Scott Podsednik to CF, where he will stay providing he remains consistent and healthy.  Brian Anderson will likely be kept around as a fourth outfielder defensive replacement type.  This is the role he’s best suited for.

Remember, Pods can be no worse defensively than Ken Griffey Jr. was in 2008. After the past two weeks, this really only leaves 2B as our questionable position where a platoon of Chris Getz and Jayson Nix appears to be serviceable. The Sox acquired right-handed pitcher Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor-league infielder Brandon Allen yesterday as well which could have several implications.  You can read those here.soxman_w_hof


Let’s close with Maybe or Mirage, where we hit 5 quick points on the White Sox and offer our opinion whether it is a sign of things to come or something likely to fade quickly?  Remember, no answer can be longer than 20 words!  Let’s play ball…

Roy Halladay will be in a Sox uniform by the trade deadline.

(SM) Mirage.  Kenny would not mortgage the future for now.

(PMB) Maybe. But dealing Becks and more is too high a price tag. How ’bout getting a bat instead?

Dewayne Wise is the odd man out when Carlos Quentin returns

(SM) Maybe.  Anderson is the better defender despite having options remaining.

(PMB) Maybe. BA’s BA is also right back where it usually is, despite the “hot” start

Bartolo Colon will pitch again for the White Sox in 2009.

(SM) Mirage.  He’s MIA.  Check the Old Country Buffet in Glendale.

(PMB) Mirage. How can we not find a guy who’s so easy to see? He looks pregnant- probably on maternity leave!

Scott Podsednik will end up a bust.

(SM) Mirage.  He’s making the major league minimum.  He’s paid for himself already.

(PMB) Mirage. If he gets hurt or finishes hitting

Mark Buehrle will one day pitch in St. Louis

(SM) Maybe.  Actually definitely.  The 2009 All-star game is in St. Louis and he’s on the AL team.

(PMB) Mirage. I know what you mean, Buerhle took the hometown discount last time, he will again next time

Cubs-White Sox Exchange Part Deux: Weather Will Be Better!

By The Soxman and Paul Schmidt

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(Paul Schmidt) – It’s time for round two! The Red Line series shifts south to U.S. Cellular Field, where this Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Cubs and Sox will once again take each other on in a battle for city supremacy.

Now, that really sounds like I’m fired up about these games, doesn’t it? However I’ve always, as a Cub fan, felt like these games are nothing more than games against, say, the N. L. East in terms of importance – Sure, they are baseball games and they are obviously important to win, but nothing like games against your division-mates.

Just because we’re both in the same city doesn’t add any more drama to these games for me.

Is it the same for most White Sox fans, or am I barking up the wrong tree by bringing this up?

(Soxman) I think the rivalry means a great deal to most Sox fans because if it didn’t, the White Sox would not have a special Meeeemmmorieeees...sniff...ticket pricing bracket for this series only. Personally, I believe the depth of the energy and passion is relative to the season both teams are having. In 2006, the Cubs were playing with a chip on their shoulder. So I wonder why Michael Barrett threw that punch at AJ? This season the weather in Chicago has been about as extreme as both of our teams play, so I think fans are stoked, but not as stoked.

Honestly, neither team is exactly dominating in their division, so for me personally, I wish you guys would just do you your job and beat up the Tigers for us like we beat up the Brewers for you.

(PS)
– In all seriousness, we wish we could have beaten the Tigers a couple of times for you, too…

Let’s dish a little on your team. Jose Contreras is one of those guys that Sox fans love to hate. His relationship with the team and their fans reminds me a little of the Red Sox and Derek Lowe, a guy that Red Sox fans quit on roughly 250,000 times in his career there. Is everyone back on board the bandwagon of the Sox’s Friday starter, and can he keep up his absolutely torrid run since coming off the DL?

(SM) Jose came back to reality a little bit in his third start since being re-called from AAA, although it seems like he was on the disabled list or at least was limited to pitching batting practice for the first two months of the season. Despite a more human start last week, he still has posted a 1.23 ERA in three starts and appears to be throwing pitches with more confidence. While Sox fans are excited, I believe that he was never going to be counted on as more than a 4th or 5th starter this season anyway. More encouraging is Gavin Floyd’s 1.25 ERA over his last three starts.

Now it’s time for our hitting to come off the DL. We are hitting an appalling .217 at home this season, second worst in major league baseball only to the San Diego Padres. See, there was a reason Jake Peavy turned that trade down.

(PS) – Floyd is finally looking like the starter I envisioned him to be when I drafted him as an end-game starter in most of my fantasy leagues. Too bad I dropped him prior to the good run.

You also bring up something interesting – the White Sox’s struggles to hit the ball at US Cellular. Couple that with the Cubs’ road struggles (after being swept by the Tigers, they have one of MLB’s worst road records at 13-22), and we may have a series no one can win!

Moving on, since sometimes it’s difficult to diagnose problems with your own team without rose-colored glasses, I’d like to get your opinion on ’09 Cubs issues. If you were Jim Hendry, what’s the move you make at this point? Do you stand pat? Is this just a season where bad luck with injuries (after two extremely injury-free, division-title seasons) is going to derail things?

(SM) Jim Hendry really only has himself to blame for his team’s troubles. First, they have minimal payroll flexibility (the Cubs have the 3rd highest team payroll in MLB). They have large sums of money tied up in players with either minimal trade value (Fukudome, Bradley), or to players who are injury prone or attitude prone (Big Z, Soriano, Harden, etc.).

Soto has had a massive sophomore slump and Kevin Gregg was never the most stable closer in the game. He wanted a left-handed bat who could get on-base, which is why he brought in Bradley, and in essence took away a team sparkplug in Mark DeRosa. While he really has no choice but to stand pat, I’d dismantle and try again.

The fun thing about the Cubs has always been the heart they play with. While I truly like guys like Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot, who is the true leader on this team? Where is that heart and passion? Big Z water cooler episodes aside? You have more egos to manage than ball players. The only hope they really have is to not be passive. Play whoever performs and ignore the dollar signs next to their names. How about you, what would you do with the White Sox?

(PS) I agree with most of your assessments, although today we learned that Geovany Soto is so fat this season because he’s got the munchies and is getting high. Awesome. Have I mentioned how much I love this Cub team?
For the White Sox, get out your dynamite. There are a lot of pieces that could be valuable come trade-deadline time,

One Cub fan has a little "man-crush" on Becks...

One Cub fan has a little "man-crush" on Becks...

and the Sox could go a long way towards building for the future if they’d just eat some salaries. Send Thome and Konerko out to any teams needing a DH (Seattle, or perhaps even someplace like Kansas City). Send Jermaine Dye to, well, anyone needing a perennial, fringe-MVP candidate. Send Mark Buerhle (yeah, I said it) to the Cardinals. Last but not least…see what Carlos Quentin can get you, assuming he can return to the field 100 percent. I get that he was a revelation last season, but his trade value will NEVER be higher than it is now, and the more he gets hurt the less he’ll be worth to the rest of the league. Again, I’m not saying they will do it, but they should. The future of this team rests with Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham (who may have one of the strongest arms I have ever seen).

(SM) Ok let’s play Maybe or Mirage, where we hit 5 quick points on the White Sox (and Cubs) and offer our opinion whether it is a sign of things to come or something likely to fade quickly? Remember, no answer can be longer than 20 words! Let’s play ball…

The Cubs need this series more than the Sox.

(SM) Mirage, The White Sox are hiding their white socks in fear of a white flag.

(PS) Maybe. This answer was different prior to being swept by the Tigers.

The Cubs are in 1st place with Mark DeRosa on the team.

(SM) Maybe, a true sub for A-Ram, and a spark plug.

(PS) Mirage. I love DeRo, but he had an awful start to the season, only coming on of late.

Alfonso Soriano will turn it around in the 2nd half.

(SM) Mirage. Even if he boosts his numbers the 2006 player appears gone forever.

(PS) Mirage. Coughcough PEDs Coughcough

The Sox bats will come alive at the Cell this weekend.


(SM) Maybe.
They better or the only player who walks might be Greg Walker.

(PS) Mirage. The only thing the Cubs have going for them is their rotation right now.

Scott Podsednik patrols CF when Quentin returns.

(SM) Maybe. Unless Brian Anderson suddenly becomes the true reason we traded Aaron Rowand.

(PS) Mirage. Unless Ozzie wants to attempt to field one of the worst fielding outfields in history…

Hold the Cheese: A Sox-Brewers Exchange

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By Soxman and Melissa S. Wollering

You have to reach back to years of California’s rolling blackouts, Mad Cow disease media-hype and the release of the very first Apple’s IPod for the last time the Chicago White Sox played the Milwaukee Brewers.  2001 was remarkable.  Fast-forward to 2009, as Soxman and Melissa cheese it up about the latest meeting between the two teams, sure to be as memorable as the smell of limburger left in a vehicle at 90 degrees for 8 hours.

(SM)  Nope, I’m not going to do it.  There will be absolutely no gloating by this White Sox super fan regarding our series sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.  Why?  Well, I have two reasons.  One: our victories actually helped the Cubs in the standings.  Two: the Brewers are my second favorite team in the National League.  Yes, for Soxman, there are other teams in baseball beyond the boys who protect the diamond at 35th and Shields.

The Brewers franchise is the little engine that could.  The small market team, built from home-grown prospects and complemented, not defined by free agents. I love their park and their fans, so you will not hear me “drop a beat down” on this team.

That said, to quote the 70’s sensation Meatloaf, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”  Any thoughts you would like to share overall on the competitive series that took place at Miller Park this weekend?

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(MW)  First off, I count a sweep as taking three of three.  Brewers won on Friday 7-2, so let’s say you ‘won the series’.  Your pitchers got it done when ours didn’t, your hardwood performance made our players appear to be using toothpicks, Pierzynski was ‘one to watch’ even though Paul M. Banks thought I was nuts for saying so last week.  To top it all off, you robbed Trevor Hoffman of a perfect ERA.  Robbing Hoffy made me feel as though the Sox had cursed death upon my future first-born child.  It left me that empty.

(SM) Okay, let’s look at each game in a little more detail.  The first game to me was not a loss by the White Sox as much as it was a loss to Ozzie Guillen.  He pulled Clayton Richard after pitching five solid innings and only giving up one earned run.  It  was also the start of a great series (and hopefully a hot streak) for Corey Hart.  A double, a triple, and 3 RBIs.  Our bullpen, which had been pretty automatic, gave up six earned runs.  For a final thought, where in the heck did former Cub, Casey McGehee come from?

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(MW) He came from Cubbie purgatory where if you vow to contribute to the Milwaukee Brewers after a life with the Cubs, then you reach heaven after your career is finished. Amen, brother! He got the leadoff spot in Sunday’s lineup and contributed to that game, too, before it took a Turnbow nosedive.

I also love pitchers that can get it done on both offense and defense. On Friday, Suppan retired the side in just 7 pitches in the 2nd inning. Then he stepped up to the plate in the 3rd and advanced Kendall to second with a nice Sac.   Richard doubled for his first major-league hit in the 5th, too. Ozzie pulled him for that error in the following inning, which I agree, wasn’t completely necessary. Still, Suppan and Richard impressed overall.

(SM) Game II.  Let’s just say your premonition regarding Manny Parra in last weeks exchange with Paul M. Banks was spot on.  Six earned runs in an inning and two-thirds pitched.  What is wrong with this guy?  With an ERA over seven, perhaps he’ll follow his opponent’s lead and figure everything out in the minors?  Did I mention that Jose Contreras appears to be back?  Eight innings of two-hit ball.  Bottom line, that was the story of this game.  Care to offer your perspective?

(MW) If you care to sweep Manny Parra’s glove and uniform under Miller Park’s bleachers, douse them with lighter fluid and start tailgating around them with a couple of Usinger’s famous bratwursts, then by all means SWEEP away. Let’s just say I awoke Sunday extremely unsurprised that he was sent down to AAA Nashville. 

What cracked me up though is that Macha is so disgusted, he currently does not give a rat’s rear-end about trying to replace him. We brought up the reliever Chris Narveson and will use Seth McClung to start if need be.  However, the next 8 games include two off days, so a 4-man rotation works until June 27th. Attanasio is probably doing some Father’s Day shopping in the starting pitching department, aisle better than a 7.52 ERA? You had to know this was coming.  It’s not IF, it’s WHEN with the Milwaukee Brewers and their pitching woes.

Contreras impressed with the number of innings pitched, copious amounts of strikeouts and no signs of returning ailments. That is a trifecta to me because those Achilles can take some time. Hey, come to think of it you know, we could use a starting pitcher…

(SM) Well, if we are going to tailgate, I’d prefer Johnsonville beer brats.  The series finale was like bizarro baseball world in my opinion.  Jim Thome attempts to bunt, Mark Buehrle homers and Trevor Hoffman gives up his first run of the season.  Corey Hart brought us back to reality by belting two homers and Casey McGehee appeared to be playing with Cubs ire as he went 3 for 4, falling a triple short of the cycle.  Thoughts ?

(MW) Hart does well in June, it’s his month.  It is the month of the harvest, when his ‘International Harvester’ as a batting song actually makes sense for 30 days.  JJ Hardy looked absolutely dismal.  He got shoved down the batting order to eighth on Monday as a direct result. He is something like 1 for 32 right now in at-bats.

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Buehrle surprised with his bat and I enjoyed watching White Sox fans cheer in utter shock!  I cheered with them.  Heck, who cares?  It was exciting. Looper didn’t deserve any cheering whatsoever, so…. 

Also, let’s describe how Melissa watched the 0.00 ERA on the gigantic wrap scoreboard flicker at status quo for the last time in Brewers history for Hoffman.  Let’s pause 30 seconds for silence.  Now let’s never speak of it again. I heard he was .8 innings away from making club history.  I said let’s never speak of it again! This is me, writing to myself in my alter ego.

(SM)  I actually did a Sox Exchange once with my alter ego Bruce Wayne Parker, so I know how these things go.  It will get better.  Earlier this season, I scouted the Brewers farm system, taking in Nashville Sounds game.  All the buzz surrounded super-prospect Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar, yet most of the return on investment thus far seems to be coming from McGehee, who only hit .167 with the Cubs last year despite driving in 92 runs for AAA Iowa.  Former Brewer Scotty Podsednik has been that guy for us.  Left for dead by the Colorado Rockies, Pods was out of work until mid-April when the Sox took a chance on him.  The 2005 World Series hero has made the  most of his second chance with Sox, posting a .360 OBP, and hitting .311, 1 HR, 13 RBI, and 8 SB.  The Brewers and Sox both have a history of getting the most out of frugal signings.  Do you think its that Midwest mentality or dumb luck ?

(MW) It’s karma…we lose people like Richie Sexson and Geoff Jenkins who go on to semi-resurrect their careers with other organizations.  But we also give away people like Scott Linebrink to the White Sox and watch him implode on himself, like he did Saturday. 

You win some, you lose some.  So, somewhere smack in the middle of Midwest mentality and sheer dumb luck. That dances around your question like a circus performer on hot coals. Sorry, Soxman. But I agree, kudos to the Sox for picking up Scotty Po Po.  I cheered for him this weekend and I was in the vast majority!  You would have been proud of my Milwaukee Brethren.

(SM)  Finally, lets play Maybe or Mirage, where we hit 5 quick points on the White Sox (and Brewers) and offer our opinion whether it is a sign of things to come or something likely to fade quickly?  Remember, no answer can be longer than 20 words!  Let’s play ball… 

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White Sox pitching was good for Corey Hart.
 

(SM) Maybe, He was in a 2 for 23 slump on Wednesday, looks like Ryan Braun against the Sox. 

 

(MW) Mirage, it had nothing to do with the pitching. In June 2007, Hart batted .336 with nine home runs and 21 RBIs from the leadoff spot. June of ’08 was decent, too.

 Jose Contreras is back.
 

(SM) Maybe, 2 starts, 16 IP, zero ER, and three hits allowed.  Enough said. 

(MW) Maybe, watch his health, keep stretching that achilles and I don’t see why not.

The Brewers will be buyers at the trade deadline.

(SM) Maybe, they need another solid starting pitcher and perhaps a hitter hat can get on base. 

(MW)  Strong Maybe if not Definitely. For the first time in years, more MLB teams are looking to trade for bats. It may give us an advantage when seeking pitchers. Starting pitcher = happening for us.

 The Sox will be buyers at the trade deadline.

 (SM) Mirage, who are they going to give up on?  Sellers are a possibility. 

(MW:) Mirage, they’ll be selling to teams like the Brewers and salvaging the future. My sincere apologies, but…

The Brewers and the Sox will meet in the 2009 World Series.
 

(SM) Mirage.  Not unless we start scoring more runs. 

(MW)  I like your thinking!  But probably not, so mirage it is. Bless what we have in common until then–our hatred for the Cubs!

(SM) Great exchange Melissa!  Good luck to you guys down the stretch.

The Mark Buerhle Interview

Paul M. Banks highlights the remarks of the White Sox staff ace and Opening Day starter

We all know that coaches and athlete interviews are usually the most boring things to read/listen to imaginable, so (as always) I made sure to do the screening for you and leave in only the interesting and relevant things the player/coach had to say.

Mark Buerhle has been among the best and most consistent pitchers in baseball since 2001. In the past 8 years, he leads all of MLB pitchers in innings pitched, quality starts and opponents grounding into double plays. Over that span, he’s also 3rd in wins, 4th in starts and sixth in complete games.

On March 3rd, he saw the birth of his second child, a daughter named Brooklyn.

On Tuesday, Buehrle will tie Billy Pierce’s club record with his seventh career Opening Day start. Pierce will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game. -President Barack Obama was invited, but his job keeps him quite busy these days, and he will be in Turkey.- Pierce, who spent 13 seasons with the White Sox, was named to the White Sox “All-Century Team” in 2000, had his uniform #19 retired in 1987 and a sculpture of the lefty pitcher was unveiled at U.S. Cellular Field in 2007.

“The whole history thing hasn’t really sunk in, once I retire and get out of baseball, you look and think about what you did for the organization, the years you were here, everything you accomplished I think it will mean more and sink in more then.”

Getting the opening day start is quite an achievement, because it’s typically reserved for the staff ace…

“Especially with the years that {John} Danks and {Gavin} Floyd had last year, for them to name me it’s definitely an honor. The first day is a big day because it’s such a buildup of two months of spring training. First day is a big day because it’s kind of a big release for everybody.”

Regarding the longest Spring training ever…

“If I had my say so, I’d go down there for 3-4 starts maybe, it doesn’t take me long to get ready. I don’t throw much in the off-season, I take the off-season and I if I had to get ready and do no spring training, it wouldn’t take me long,”


On the importance of the Sox to answer questions about their defense this year…

“I don’t think we have many strikeout pitchers on this team, so especially for me to have the guys behind me field the ball- cuz they’re going to put the ball in play a majority of the outs, so for me it’s huge to have the confidence to throw the ball wherever I want to know the guys are gonna go get it”


Games that Buerhle pitches in notoriously take less time than usual, so fans braving the cold, wet elements on Tuesday will likely not be outside for the full length of a regular game. Seven of his career starts have taken less than two hours. The Sox ace spoke about Mother Nature impacting the opener…

“I like to pitch obviously when it’s warm, I like to break a sweat when I’m pitching out there. I don’t like when you go and throw 15-20 pitches and you’re not even breaking a sweat. Obviously it will be more difficult trying to stay loose. I don’t really know if it’s an advantage for me or them. I don’t like pitching in the cold weather and I’m sure they don’t like hitting in it, but both sides have to deal with it, and we can’t do anything about it., so go out there and do the best you can,

Having confidence in his changeup…

“I worked on it in between starts and playing catch in the bullpen, it’s one of those things in starts throughout the year: you’re going to have good pitches and not good pitches. It could be one of hose things my changeup wasn’t working a couple days and then I go out there and my changeup could be outstanding, but then my cutter isn’t working too well, it’s one of those things it’s just a work in progress for all your pitches”

His outlook on the AL Central…

“Injuries are going to be a big thing. You look at the Indians, and two of their top hitters went down and it’s hard to compete when that happens, so if everyone stays healthy in this division it’s gonna be one of the better divisions.”

Sox Opening Day to feature Records and Recordmakers

Paul M. Banks

Baseball and snow is like sobriety and Tara Reid- some things are just not meant to go together. A combination of snow, wind and cold changed the White Sox home opener versus the Kansas City Royals from Monday to Tuesday (weather permitting). Despite the atrocious weather, when Opening Day does finally commence, it will be quite ceremonious.

The National Anthem will be performed by Grammy-nominated recording artist and Chicago native Matthew Santos. Prior to the National Anthem, Santos will perform with Grammy-Award winning hip-hop artist and south suburban native Lupe Fiasco. The collaboration will perform their well-known song, “Superstar,” which is nominated for two Grammys.

This game will feature guys who sell lots of records and the tying of a White Sox club record. This year’s starting pitcher, Mark Buehrle, will tie Billy Pierce’s record with his seventh career Opening Day start. Pierce will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game. President Barack Obama was invited, but his job keeps him quite busy these days, and he will be in Turkey. Pierce, who spent 13 seasons with the White Sox, was named to the White Sox “All-Century Team” in 2000, had his uniform #19 retired in 1987 and a sculpture of the lefty pitcher was unveiled at U.S. Cellular Field in 2007.

Getting the opening day start is quite an achievement, because it’s typically reserved for the staff ace. “Especially with the years that {John} Danks and {Gavin} Floyd had last year, for them to name me it’s definitely an honor. The first day is a big day because it’s such a buildup of two months of spring training.”

Games that Buerhle pitches in notoriously take less time than usual, so fans braving the cold, wet elements on Tuesday will likely not be outside for the full length of a regular game. Seven of his career starts have taken less than two hours. The Sox ace spoke about Mother Nature impacting the opener.

“I don’t really know if it’s an advantage for me or them. I don’t like pitching in the cold weather and I’m sure they don’t like hitting in it, but both sides have to deal with it, so go out there and do the best you can,” Buerhle said.