Robin Ventura hasn’t named a closer, although that may just be a formality — it looks like the White Sox manager will use multiple pitchers in the ninth inning based on matchups:
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Given the Sox don’t have anyone with extensive closer experience at the MLB level, this is a refreshing strategy. It’ll allow Ventura to ease Addison Reed into save situations by using him in low or medium-leverage save spots (like a two or three-run lead). And it’ll allow Ventura to pick and choose when to use Matt Thornton, hopefully in the highest-leverage situation (be it the seventh, eighth or ninth inning).
UPDATE: Scott Merkin:
On Thursday’s workout day, pitching coach Don Cooper said there would be no closer by committee. But before Friday’s setback, Ventura said that matchups could determine who actually pitches the ninth.
“At some point, it’s not going to be the same guy all the time,” Ventura said. “And not necessarily you think ahead as a bullpen committee, but a guy coming in the ninth, it will end up being different at some points of the season. Yeah, depending on how guys do versus certain teams and matchups. If we had Mariano Rivera, I’d be able to tell everyone I have a closer.”
That’s awesome! I love it!
|Chi White Sox
|Jones, N(H, 1)
Pitches-strikes: Sale 62-37, Jones, N 21-12, Reed 9-7, Crain 14-8, Thornton 13-7, Santiago, H 22-14.
Groundouts-flyouts: Sale 2-0, Jones, N 0-0, Reed 1-0, Crain 0-1, Thornton 2-1, Santiago, H 1-0.
Batters faced: Sale 14, Jones, N 4, Reed 3, Crain 3, Thornton 5, Santiago.
Pitch F/X for Chris Sale:
||Strikes / %
||Swinging Strikes / %
||Time to Plate
||1 / 100.00%
||1 / 100.00%
|FF (FourSeam Fastball)
||2 / 66.67%
||0 / 0.00%
||6 / 54.55%
||2 / 18.18%
||12 / 63.16%
||4 / 21.05%
|FT (TwoSeam Fastball)
||16 / 57.14%
||0 / 0.00%
|Pitch classifications provided by the Gameday Algorithm and may be inaccurate. Pitch Type LWTS correspond to how many runs were likely to score on a particular pitch based on average run expectancy when each pitch was thrown and what happened as a result. Negative scores indicate more effective pitches. Time to Plate is the time, in seconds, that it takes an average pitch of this type to reach the plate. This is strongly correlated with velocity, but also factors in movement.
|Inning-by-Inning Pitch Totals
||Pitches in Inning
||Strikes in Inning
||Strike% in Inning
||Cumulative Total Pitches
||Pitch LWTS in Inning
Graphs for Chris Sale:
Watch live on CSN-TV as Chris Sale gets the start in the first of two exhibition games vs. the Astros at Minute Maid Park today at 7:05 p.m. CT. Four closing candidates are also scheduled to pitch, including Addison Reed, Matt Thornton, Hector Santiago, and Jesse Crain, as well as rookie reliever Nate Jones. Boxscore | Gameday
The game is, also, carried live on MLB.TV’s free game of the day and Gameday Audio.
Watch live on CSN-TV as Jake Peavy takes the hill when the Sox are hosted by the Reds today at 3:05 p.m. CT. Look for the right-hander to throw fewer innings and fewer pitches in comparison to his Minor League start this past Tuesday (3 innings and/or 70 pitches), giving Zach Stewart ample time and opportunity to work two or three innings in relief, with Addison Reed, Matt Thornton and Hector Santiago also scheduled to throw. The White Sox are expected to throw out their everyday lineup, with the exception of Kosuke Fukudome in right instead of Alex Rios. Gameday | Boxscore
Watch live on CSN-TV as Chris Sale takes the hill as the Sox are hosted by the Dodgers today at 3:05 p.m. CT. Rookie closing candidates Addison Reed and Hector Santiago will be throwing their second game in back-to-back appearances, while Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain also are scheduled to pitch. Brent Lillibridge will be at 1st base. Gameday | Boxscore
UPDATE: It was the Chris Sale show baby! 7 striKeouts (3 of them were against Matt Kemp) and 0 walks in 6 innings. And Spring Training strikeouts and walks matter.
Watch live on CSN-TV as Philip Humber takes the hill vs. the Giants today at 3:05 p.m. CT. Addison Reed and Matt Thornton are also slated to pitch. Gameday | Boxscore
Watch exclusive webcast of White Sox in action
Watch an exclusive free video webcast as the White Sox host the Royals at 3:05 p.m. on Thursday. Zach Stewart starts. Addison Reed and Matt Thornton are scheduled to pitch. Watch webcast | Gameday | Boxscore
Or click the video below and wait 4-5 seconds (the video at the whitesox.com webcast can be expanded to full-screen):
From Matt Thornton’s SoxPhone transcript:
Fan 10: Are you working on any new pitches to add to the repertoire?
MT: Yeah, I’ve been trying to get a little bit more consistency in my big breaking ball. It’s kind of more of a curve ball I used towards the end of last year a lot. And then I’ve been trying to get my cutter slash slider we’re going to call it. That’s been my focus for the past couple of weeks.
UPDATE: Here’s the video.
Here are Matt Thornton 2011 pitch data from his player card at BrooksBaseball.com:
MPH data reflect a lengthened (y=55ft) trajectory to better
approximate a major league release point.
Vertical Movement includes the effect of gravity to make data more
Pitch F/X data from TexasLeaguers.com and JoeLefkowitz.com don’t identify any curveballs on 2011 either. Maybe their algorithms categorizes them as change-ups.
And another quote from the transcript:
Fan 5: I was just wondering if you do long tossing?
MT: I’m a big believer in long toss, actually. It’s one of those things where I started throwing back in December but I wasn’t getting much farther than 120 feet. And as January goes along about twice a week I would get extreme long tosses out, and I would be pushing tosses up to 300 feet. It’s something I think has helped me maintain velocity in my career. I’m a hard thrower and JJ is a big believer himself. I was more of a basketball player in my youth. I didn’t get into long toss until I was a pro baller. It was something that really helped me as a starter to really get the blood flow and stretch it out. It’s all about reading your body and how you feel and what you get out of it.
UPDATE: Here’s the video.
If you wonder what long tossing in baseball is, here are some videos on Google.
Michael Barr @ FanGraphs:
One guy that many fantasy owners, not to mention White Sox faithful, would like to see handed the job is Addison Reed. Reed, 22, tore through the minor leagues making mincemeat of hitters at every level, Rookie through AAA ball, finishing with a minor league career 1.41 ERA over 108 innings pitched, striking out 155 and walking just 20. He earned a late season call to the majors in September where he threw 7.1 innings, striking out 12 batters and walking one. Reports from his minor league appearances put his fastball in the 94-97 range and that fits with what batters saw in his brief major league stint, averaging 94.9 mph. He has fantastic command and a very good slider, and in terms of just overall stuff, he’s probably the closer of the future and perhaps even the best man for the job in 2012. But it could be that Robin Ventura and company would prefer someone more seasoned, not wanting to throw the kid into the proverbial fire just yet — not to mention the fact that Reed very well could start the season in the minors.
Doug Padilla says it may be Jesse Crain next year.
The White Sox have been looking to trade Matt Thornton since July and are still trying to move him, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (on Twitter). Before the 2011 season, the White Sox signed the left-hander to a two-year, $12MM extension that covers the 2012-13 seasons and includes a club option for 2014.
The 35-year-old posted a 3.32 ERA with 9.5 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.45 HR/9 and a 48.8% ground ball rate in 59 2/3 innings this past season. Armed with a fastball that averages 96 mph, Thornton figures to draw interest this offseason, as he did last summer, especially since the free agent market doesn’t feature lefty relievers of his caliber. The Yankees, Blue Jays and Rangers are among the teams that may seek left-handed relief this offseason.
Thornton commented on his brief and unsuccessful trial as a closer last spring:
“Was mine an interim thing? If I had success, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been,” said Thornton of his abbreviated run at closer. “Obviously everyone knows what happened in the games I was in. Things just didn’t go well for me in that role.
“Maybe it was a sign I wasn’t meant to be a closer here. Over the years, I’ve done a good job of filling in as closer, and I believe in myself in that role and think I can get the job done at any given time when they give me the ball in the ninth inning. But the surge of [Chris] Sale this past year, what he did, and how good Sergio was for most of the year, this is the way it worked out.
“It’s one of those things where things weren’t going good for us and I was part of that in the back end of the bullpen,” Thornton said. “They had to make changes at the time. Just the lack of performance was the most frustrating part for me, my inability to have success that I expect myself to have, prepare and dedicate myself to have all offseason long. It’s very frustrating when you let the team down.”
If Thornton is traded, with Chris Sale moving to the starting rotation, the only lefty in the bullpen will be Will Ohman.
UPDATE: Buster Olney in his video blog (1:52) says the Sox are trying to move Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Matt Thornton.
Other White Sox links:
Gonzales @ CT:
“They bring the right approach to the plate,” Guillen said after the Yankees collected 11 hits in seven innings and ran up John Danks’ pitch count to 114 after six innings. “They don’t swing at that many bad pitches. And they go with one plan and stick with it. It showed how good you can be.
“They fouled off a lot of pitches. They get you to work, they make you throw strikes and when they see a good pitch to hit, they’re hitting. Right now, the way they swing the bat as a team, you better be good to shut those guys down. It seems like they’re on every pitch. And they lay off tough pitches. Those guys lock in.”
If only the White Sox coach had the same opinion that Ozzie Guillen has…
Other White Sox links: James looks at ‘Why are the White Sox bad at the things they care about?’, J.J. looks at the Sox bullpen, FutureSox looks at July’s prospects of the month, Matt Thornton thinks he’s expandable unlike Chris Sale and Sergio Santos, and Dayan Viciedo made his return.
As we saw before:
But Atlanta isn’t the only team interested in Carlos Quentin:
Kenny must be requesting something good in return:
Chuck Garfien says Kenny wants starting pitching:
With the trade deadline coming at 3pm on Sunday, who knows if the current White Sox team will still be intact by then. The hot rumor right now has GM Ken Williams dangling Carlos Quentin to the Braves and Phillies in return for starting pitching.
Did you say Derek Holland Kenny?
John Danks? Kenny just hung up:
But there is another suitor:
You mean the Yankee$ aren’t among the suitors? Well: