April 15, 2011
Who is the White Sox’ closer? Ozzie gave a very vague answer before Friday night’s White Sox-Angels game, which is supposed to start on time despite all of the rain in the area.
“Don’t ask me about the bullpen,” he said. “Whoever is in the bullpen, in the last game, in the last inning, will be (the closer). Period. Period. You see (Mark) Buehrle in the ninth, that’s our closer. I don’t have any more answers on the bullpen.
“We’re going to make a soap opera out of this (bleep), just let me know. If the fans want to know, I don’t know. If the media want to know, I don’t know. The pitchers over there want to know, I don’t know. Then whoever’s there in the ninth is the one I decided to be the guy to close the ninth. Next question. I’m tired of soap operas.”
I stumbled onto Chicago Tribune Live and my brain nearly exploded. They were discussing trading Gordon Beckham and Chris Sale for Carlos Marmol. WTF? This is the dumbest baseball trade proposal I’ve heard of. If someone tells this to Kenny, Kenny shouldn’t speak to him ever again. And one of the “experts” was in favor of it! Clearly, a Cubs fan.
There should be a law against putting things like this on TV.
April 14, 2011
While some of Matt Thornton’s early-season struggles have been due to bad luck, command issues have plagued him as well. …
Terrific article. James pointed to Thornton’s command too.:
His control hasn’t been up to his usual standard, his fastball maxing out at 95.6 mph isn’t up to his usual standard, has struck out on 2 batters in 3.1 innings, and he gave a go-ahead 3-run HR to Rays 1st basemen Dan Johnson, who was perhaps the only player having a worst start to the season than Rays RF Matt Joyce.
Despite his early troubles, Thornton has gotten consistent support from his manager. Guillen also likely realizes that Thornton is his best pitcher, and that he should be able to rebound rather quickly. For now, the frustration with the pen is at a high point and Guillen is likely to ride the hot hand. Could that include Tony Pena? Maybe, but it’s not likely. Once Thornton returns to form, he should return to the closer role.
Kannapolis Intimidators Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Buch, R (W, 1-1) 6.0 5 2 1 1 8 0 1.50 Reed 2.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 Negus 1.0 2 1 1 0 1 0 3.00
Groundouts-flyouts: Buch, R 8-1, Reed 0-2.
Batters faced: Buch, R 24, Reed 6.
Buch has good stuff, including a hammer curve that acts as his out pitch, but has struggled with his control, and that will be the key to his development as a prospect. If he can learn to master the strike zone better, he could be in for a big breakout year.
Charlotte Knights Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Peavy (L, 0-1) 6.0 8 2 2 0 4 1 3.00 Harrell 3.0 4 3 3 2 2 0 5.63
Pitches-strikes: Peavy 72-55.
Groundouts-flyouts: Peavy 5-3.
Batters faced: Peavy 24.
Merkin say Peavy could be back before May:
Peavy will start on the 18th and 23rd. If he hits 100 pitches both times, he could be back for that Baltimore home game April 29—
Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) April 14, 2011
April 12, 2011
… Trackman measures not just the speed of the pitch, but also the key variable: the distance between the pitcher’s release point and the plate. With those measurements, Trackman defines not only the time component of a fastball — “flight time,” if you will — but also defines in irrefutable data why scouts might describe a pitcher as “sneaky fast” or throwing a ball with “hop.”… Imagine if Robertson moves the pitching rubber 14 inches closer to home plate every time he pitches. That’s the kind of advantage he gains over the average pitcher by releasing his fastball with so much extension. The radar gun (and Trackman) clocks Robertson’s fastball at an average of 93 mph. But because Robertson shortens the distance between his release point and home plate, his “effective velocity” is 95 mph. It looks like 93 but gets on a hitter like 95 — thus the illusion of “hop.”
When it comes to “stealing” distance — and distance equals time for a pitcher – here are the top 10 pitchers from one AL park last year, ranked by fastball extension in feet and inches:
|Pitcher, Team||Extension||MPH||FT*||Effective MPH|
|Sergio Santos, White Sox||6-10||96||.386||98|
|Gavin Floyd, White Sox||6-8||92||.407||93|
Matt Holiday: returns 9 days after appendectomy
Adam Dunn: returns 6 days after appendectomy
Adam Dunn = Chicago Tough!
Lastings Milledge cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Charlotte, according to the team—
Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) April 12, 2011
I thought someone would claim him. Good for the Sox.
April 11, 2011
“To be honest with you, we haven’t tinkered a lot,” said Walker. “He had a little lay off with the bat. When he put the foot down, he got the bat more horizontal and kind of got loopy with it a little bit. That was a minor thing. Short of that, the kid is really talented and he’s really good and he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.
April 10, 2011
Kannapolis Intimidators Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Petricka 6.0 0 0 0 1 9 0 0.00 Reed 2.0 1 0 0 1 4 0 0.00 Wilson, J 2.0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0.00 Negus 2.0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0.00 Cooney, C 2.2 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 Upchurch (W, 1-0) 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Groundouts-flyouts: Petricka 5-4, Reed 2-0, Wilson, J 0-1, Negus 2-1, Cooney, C 5-2, Upchurch 0-1.
Batters faced: Petricka 20, Reed 8, Wilson, J 9, Negus 8, Cooney, C 10, Upchurch 4.
Mike Blanke’s 2-run HR in the 16th inning provided the only runs of the game.
The White Sox improved to 6-1 in day games and picked up their sixth win two weeks ahead of last season ([the 6th win last year was on] April 23).
* to the tune of:
Gordon Beckham started 2011 well, hitting .308 through the first six games of the season, up from .260 during the first two years of his career. In those first 234 games, Beckham established a pattern of hot hitting in the upper outside corner and the lower inside corner: …
Pitcher are working low and away, but not up and in. So why is Gordon hitting better? He’s going after those low, outside pitches. …
UPDATE: Today’s HR was on a pitch on the lower outside corner too:
Keep going there guys!
“This is what you’re going to see,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I’m going to go with my gut feeling. If you’re throwing the ball better … Obviously Thornton is going to get most opportunities, but I’m going to put the best guys out there, the ones I think are going to do the job.
“The way (Sergio) Santos is throwing, Sale is throwing, if Thornton needs a break, we’ll give it to him.”
“Santos is very aggressive. Don’t be surprised if you see Santos in the ninth,” Guillen said. “All the people out there, they see ‘closer’ — that’s a title. I don’t know who gets that title. I’m going to go by my gut.
Sounds good. I don’t want Thornton to be a ‘9th inning only’ pitcher.
UPDATE: Merkin @ CWS:
From the beginning of Spring Training, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper stressed one word where his bullpen was concerned: flexibility.Matt Thornton was anointed as closer at the start of the 2011 campaign. But with Chris Sale, Sergio Santos and Jesse Crain also able to effectively pitch the ninth, even before Thornton’s two blown saves, the hard-throwing left-hander wasn’t considered an automatic ninth-inning option like New York’s Mariano Rivera or Kansas City’s Joakim Soria, as examples.
“We didn’t have the quote, unquote closer name,” said Cooper of his bullpen. “We have more than a few guys who can handle the last three outs.
Speaking of pitchers, James takes a look at Edwin Jackson’s Opening Day masterpiece:
Jackson didn’t have spot-perfect control (64.7% strikes), but his slider was so unhittable (26.5% whiff rate) and confusing that he worked ahead in the count frequently while racking up a jaw-dropping 13 strikeouts. …
Man, Jackson is going to get a pretty big contract after this year.