Posts Tagged ‘Chicago White Sox’

Pretty  much since the 2016 season the talk has been that the Chicago White Sox had to trade Chris Sale and start there rebuilding process. Now just about every team had been rumored to be in on Sale and you can’t blame them. It was looking like the Washington nationals where the front runner to land Sale, but they weren’t willing to give the White Sox two top prospects. In the end the Nationals where left holding the bag as the Boston Red Sox stepped up and gave the White Sox four of their Top 30 prospects for Sale. The Red Sox sent #1 minor league prospect Yoan Moncada, right handed pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz plus outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe to Chicago for Sale.

Sale was the 13th pick of the 1st round in 2010 by the White Sox. He made his debut that same year. Sale didn’t become a starter until 2012, but has finished in the Top 6 of the Cy Young voting since then. Sale is 70-47 as a starter. Sale has had over 200 strikeouts the last four seasons and led the A.L. in 2015 with 274 strikeouts. Sale led the A.L. in complete games last season with 6. It’s tough to give up a pitcher like Sale as he is a true ace. It will be a few seasons before we know how this trade will be evaluated. Moncada did play in 8 games and got 20 at bats at the major league level last season, but spent most the year in Double-A where he hit .277 with 11 home runs. It appears as though Moncada will play 3rd base, but he spent the majority of his time at 2nd base in the minors. Kopech finished last season at high Class-A where he made 11 starts going 4-1 with an E.R.A. of 2.25. Kopech throws 100 m.p.h. but is still a few seasons away from being a factor in the White Sox rotation. Diaz spent all of last season at Class-A. He pitched in 37 games all in relief and had 10 saves. Diaz record was 2-5 and his E.R.A. was 3.88. Basabe spent most of last season on the same team as Diaz before being moved up to high Class-A for 5 games. Basabe hit .264 combined with 12 home runs and 53 RBI’s. Basabe did steal 25 bases. Moncada is 20, Kopech is 20, Diaz is 22 and Basabe is 20; so while we may see Moncada in a White Sox uniform it will be a while before the other players acquired in this reach the major league level.

Sale will be added to a Red Sox rotation that features 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, David Price and it looks like the other two rotation spots are to be decided between Clay Buchholz, Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz  or Eduardo Rodriquez. Right now it doesn’t look as though the Red Sox other top pitching prospect Henry Owens will be in this battle.

While Sale was the biggest move the Red Sox made it wasn’t the only move they made on Tuesday. Earlier in the day they sent 3rd baseman Travis Shaw and minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington to the Milwaukee Brewers for set up man Tyler Thornburg. Shaw can play 3rd and 1st base hit .242 with 16 home runs with 71 RBI’s last season. Dubon is a shortstop who finished the year at Double-A where he hit .339 in 62 games. Pennington made 13 starts in low Class-A last season going 5-3 with a 2.86 E.R.A. Thornburg appeared in 67 games for Milwaukee last season gong 8-5 with an E.R.A. of 2.15. Thornburg did save 13 games, but blew 8 saves last season. Thornburg should serve as the Red Sox main set up guy and he did have 20 holds last season.

The other move the Red Sox made on Tuesday was the signing of Mitch Moreland to a 1-year deal worth $5.5 million. Moreland had spent his entire 7-year career with the Texas Rangers. Moreland had a down year average wise hitting just .233, but did have 22 home runs and drove in 60 runs. Moreland is a left handed hitter who has played mostly 1st base in his career, but he has played 45 games in rightfield. Moreland has a career .996 fielding percentage at 1st base; so it looks as though he may take over in the field and Hanley Ramirez will move into the DH role.

Not to be out done the other Chicago baseball team that just happened to win the World Series appears to have found their closer. With the prices for Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman get up around $20 million a season the Cubs turned to the trade market to get a closer. While it hasn’t been officially announced it’s being reported that the Cubs have agreed to send outfielder Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals for Wade Davis. Davis did miss some time last season with a forearm injury, but still converted 27 of 30 save opportunities and had an E.R.A. of 1.87. Soler appeared to be the odd man out in the Cubs outfield; so moving him makes sense. Soler also had some injury issues last season. He played in 86 games, hitting .238 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI’s. While Davis is in the final year of his contract Soler still has 3 years left on a 9-year $30 million dollar deal.

There where a couple of other signings yesterday. Carlos Gomez agreed to return to the Texas Rangers in a 1-year $11.5 million dollar deal. The Rangers acquired Gomez as a free agent on Aug. 20 after he had been released by the Astros. He played in 33 games for the Rangers and hit .284 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. He had a .362 on-base percentage and a .543 slugging percentage. The other signing saw the Tampa Bay Rays ink catcher Wilson Ramos to a 2-year $12.5 million dollar deal, but the deal includes playing time incentives to make up to $18.25 million over the two years. Ramos is recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered last September; so he has to pass a physical for the deal to be completed.

Here’s how are NFL picks went for Week 13. Mr. Fantasy won another week going 12-3. Schaumburg Stu and I both had 10-5 records for the week while Dan the Man struggled going 8-7. Overall Schaumburg Stu still has the lead at 123-69. It’s looking like Schaumburg Stu is going to be tough to catch. Mr. Fantasy has moved into 2nd place by  a game as he is 118-74 overall with Dan the Man right behind him at 117-75. That of course means I am still in last place. My overall record is 110-82. I guess we’ll see how Week 14 goes for us.

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Back at the baseball trade deadline the Chicago White Sox some how managed to ignore the advice of the baseball pundits and experts that said they just had to trade Chris Sale. Sale is 27 years old and is signed through 2017 with team options for 2018 and 2019.  Now if the White Sox could have recieved five or six major league ready or close to ready young players then maybe they would’ve dealt Sale. I fully supported the White Sox hanging on to Sale and there’s no way I’m moving a pitcher of this quality. What I am wondering though; is Chris Sale out of gas? Sale was 14-3 going into the All-Star break. He’s made 5 starts since the All-Star break and he is 0-3 and the White Sox have won just 1 of his 5 starts. Sale has pitched 35 2/3rd innings since the All-Star break. He’s giving up 12 earned run for a post All-Star break ERA of 3.03. Sale game log  Of course maybe Sale’s not the problem and it’s the White Sox offense that’s just not doing the job. If you consider this a struggle for Sale; do you think the White Sox will trade him in the off season? Looking at the stats it seems as though it’s a White Sox offensive thing more than it is a Sale pitching thing. It would be difficult to see the White Sox deal a perennial Cy Young award contender, but I guess stranger things have happen. Ask our friend Schaumburg Stu about the Chicago Cubs trading Lou Brock to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Are we watching the San Francisco Giants fade out of the playoffs? The Giants lost their 3rd straight last night; 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. That loss with the Los Angeles Dodgers 15-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies gives the Dodgers the lead in the NL West by a 1/2 game. The Giants are 9-20 since July 15th and haven’t been able to win more than 2 games in a row during that stretch. Even with the struggles the Giants have had and even with the Dodgers moving into 1st place San Francisco is still the top wild card team. The Giants hold a 3 game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals who hold the second wild card spot. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins are 4 games behind San Francisco. With the troubles the Giants have had is it possible we see them slide all the way out of the wild card game. I’m sure you’ve heard the it’s an even year theory and maybe that’s what you’re holding onto if you’re rooting for San Francisco, but you have to wonder why this team has been tanking and not in the NBA way. You would’ve thought the return of Hunter Pence would be enough to get the Giants back on track. Pence was looking like an MVP candidate before he got injured. Pence has played in 16 games since returning from injury. He’s hitting just .203 with 1 home run and 4 RBI’s. As Pence gets more and more at bats and should return to form; will that be enough to get the San Francisco ship righted?

Everyone including myself thought the pick up of Eduardo Nunez was a great get for the Giants. In 17 games for San Francisco Nunez is hitting .214 with 1 home run and 3 RBI’s; on the plus side he does have 2 triples. Is it possible that coming from the last place Minnesota Twins and joining a 1st place team has mounted pressure on Nunez and he’s struggling to deal with it. Nunez isn’t the only Giants trade acquisition that hasn’t really worked out. Matt Moore is 0-2 in 3 starts with an ERA of 4.50 over 18 innings. Left handed set up guy Will Smith was brought in to help settled down a bullpen that’s been missing the retired Jeremy Affeldt. Smith has appeared in 7 games covering 3 2/3rd innings. Smith is 0-1 with an ERA of 12.27 and has blown a save chance. These looked like three very good moves by the Giants and as of right now they just haven;t worked out. Now there’s no reason at all that Nunez, Smith and Moore can’t return to the form they had when they where traded for. If they could rectify their issues since coming to San Francisco there’s no reason the Giants can’t get into the playoffs as either a wild card team or even the NL West winner. Of course once your in the playoffs anything can happen.

Now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had last weekend off, but the X-Finity Series ran the Mid-Ohio Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday. Now we Don’t talk about the X-Finity Series at all, but I wanted to bring this race up because if you didn’t see it they kept the race going even after it started to rain. The race started out under sunny conditions, but that only lasted two laps as the rain started and the drivers ended up coming to pit road to put there rain radial tires. Now the rain made for a different style of racing that we’re not use to seeing in the Sprint Cup Series. It made for an entertaining race as the cars where sliding into and around every corner and sometimes even in the straight-aways. When it was all said and done Justin Marks got his 1st career X-Finity victory. Sam Hornish Jr. finished 2nd about 4 seconds behind Marks. Ryan Blaney was 3rd, Ty Dillon was 4th and Justin Allgaier round out the Top 5 in 5th place.

The Sprint Cup drivers return to the track for the Bass Pro Shop NRA Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The Bristol Motor Speedway is a concrete shirt track as it’s just a little over a half mile. It’s 0.53 miles around to be exact. Carl Edwards won the April race at Bristol. Will Edwards get another Bristol win? Will we see someone who already has a win get to victory lane? Or will we manage to get a driver looking for his first win this season and a way into The Chase. Including Saturday nights race there are only 4 races left before The Chase starts. So drivers looking for a win to get into The Chase are quickly running out of time.

The Big Jack

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The series finale of the Crosstown Cup has Chris Sale getting his first start since the “scissor” incident last Sunday.  Would he be rejuvenated enough to get another win against the Cubs and John Lackey who is looking for his eighth win of the year. 

Lackey would get the first out of the game but gives up a single to Tim Anderson.  He would then round the bases when Melky Cabrera sends a line drive to right fielder Ben Zobrist for the first run of the game.  Chris Sale’s start would more or less go the same way but he leads off his start of his side of the game with a walk to Dexter Fowler and he would round the bases as Kris Bryant sends a deep fly ball that just misses leaving the park  for the Cubs first run of the game.  

Both pitchers would put a runner on in the second but only Lackey would see just three batters as he would in the top of third.  Sale would put Fowler on first again but this time he would hit him.  Then Kris Bryant reaches on a walk also.  Anthony Rizzo gets the first out of the inning.  Zo sends a sharp ground ball to center driving in Fowler for the second run of the game.  

Lackey and Sale would retire all six batters but it would be Lackey continuing to retire the inning in the top of the 5th.  Sale would give up two singles to Fowler and Rizzo but neither would score.  Lackey would have his ruffest inning yet by giving up a lead off single to his counter part, Chris Sale.  With two outs, Melky Cabrera would single but Sale would not score.  Addison Russell would get a one out double and as Sale would intentionally walks Matt Szczur but it would be David Ross who would strike out to end the inning.  

Pedro Strop would replace Lackey in the top of the 7th and would walk former Cub, Dioneer Navarro but gets his second strike out of the inning to end the inning.  Robin Ventura would counter by bringing in Nate Jones who retires all three batters.  

Hector Rondon comes out for the top of the 8th giving up a leadoff double to Tyler Saladino.  He gets the next two batters out but Joel Maddon decides to bring Aroldis Chapman into the game.  With Saladino at third, Melky steps in to challenge the Heat and goes down swinging.  

Jones still in the game for the Sox and gives up double to Zo who on a fielding error reaches third.  Wilson Contreras sends a sharp ground ball to Todd Frazier who almost tags out Zo, who reaches the first but Wilson wouldn’t.  Russell steps in the box and grounds out to short but Zo is able to score adding that insurance run for the Cubs and Chapman.  

Tommy Kahnle replaces Jones to take on Javier Baez and after 10 pitches Baez walks.  Ventura decides to bring in lefty Dan Jennings to pitch to Tommy La Stella who flys out to center.  

Chapman back out for the top of the 9th with the heart of the Sox order, starting with Jose Abreu who lines one to a sliding Russell for the first out of the inning.  Chapman then strikes out Todd Frazier and now it’s Avisail Garcia’s turn.  Garcia bounces out to Baez and Chapman gets his first save as a Cub!

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

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Game 3 of the Crosstown Cup, this time on the Northside at Wrigley Field.  Jason Hammel is seeking  his 10th win of the season and third in a row.  He’s taking on Anthony Ranaudo in his first start for the White Sox since coming over from the Rangers in May.

Hammel would put a base runner per inning for the first three innings.  Ranaudo in turn would walk Fowler and Rizzo in the 1st inning but wouldn’t allow another base runner through three.

Hammel would give up the first extra base hit of the game with a double to Todd Frazier in the 4th.  But it would be the 5th inning when Anthony Ranaudo would get his first base hit of the year launching a line drive to right center for his first home run of the year.

Hammel would make it through a full seven innings, striking out seven while only walking two and giving up the one run on five hits.

Ranaudo makes it all the way to the top of the 6th be for giving up a one out solo home run to Kris Bryant tieing the game at 1.  Ranaudo gets the first two outs in the top of the 7th.  He would then walk Jason Heyward prompting a visit to the mound.  Javier Baez would knock his 11th home run of the season driving in Heyward and putting the Cubs up by two runs.  Robin Ventura decides to bring in Zach Duke who walks Tommy La Stella only to be removed for Carson Fulmer.

Hector Rondon enters the game in the top of the 8th retiring all three batters.

With Fulmer still in, he starts the 8th by hitting Bryant, then gives up  single to Rizzo.  Ben Zobrist smacks his 18th double if the season driving in Bryant with Rizzo ending up at third.  Miguel Montero walks and that is all for Fulmer as Jacob Turner enters the game.  With the bases loaded Addison Russel would launch a grand slam to left center for his 12th home run of the year.  Jason Heyward gets a single but Jacob Turner would get out of the inning.  Cubs up 8-1.

Tonights the night that we’ll get to see Aroldis Chapman in a Cubs uniform.  He starts off by striking out Jose Abreu.  He gets Todd Frazier into a full count and gets him to ground out to Russell.  Avisail Garcia would get called out on strike three, which homer Hawk Harrelson would immediately say “that was not a strike.”  While Chapman didn’t get the save, he looked great and the Cubs won!

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

The Podcast now on Tunein.com, Download the app today and follow us or Apple users can download us in the Podcast app today!

Game two of the Crosstown Cup.  First I have to add, I can’t stand the name the series, it means nothing, I wish they didn’t play each other just because of the Crosstown Cup.  But it doesn’t matter because it’s on and Kyle Hendricks takes to the mound at the Cell and other the end looking to save himself in the eyes of the White Sox fans, James Shields and his third W with the Sox.

Shields would prove to have his best outing this season and as a White Sox.  He’s lost the last three starts so this is a huge start for him against the first place Cubs.  The Cubs would get five base runners through three innings.  Shields then retires six straight batters in the 4th and 5th.

Hendricks starts his game by walking Adam Eaton, then a single to Tim Anderson.  He gets the first out by popping out Melky Cabrera.  Jose Abreu sends a line drive to center scoring Eaton for the first run in the first inning.  Kyle redeems himself by striking out the sideman the second.  He gives up two singles in the third but doesn’t allow a run.

He seems to catch a grove making the 4th a 1-2-3 inning.  The 5th inning is almost as quick for Kyle but he gives up a one out home run to Adam Eaton for the second run of the game.

The top of the 6th would Addison Russell would reach on a single and moves to second on Jason Heyward’s single to right but Javier Baez pops out to end the inning.  Shields gives up his fourth and last hit of the game to Tommy La Stella but the 7th inning ends on a double play.  He makes it all the way until the top of the 8th getting the first two outs but gives up his fourth walk of the game to be replace by Nate Jones to end the 8th.

Kyle gets the first two outs in the bottom of the 6th but after a single to Todd Frazier, Joel Maddon brings in Travis Wood who walks the bases loaded.  After a visit to the mound, he gives Tyler Saladino an RBI with another walk but gets Adam Eaton to ground out.

Joe Nathan enters the bottom of the 7th doing what he is supposed to, making it a quick 1-2-3 inning.  Pedro Strop enters the bottom of the 8th getting all three batters to ground out being the perfect setup man.

David Robertson enters the top of the 9th getting Heyward to pop out.  Javier Baez goes down swinging.  Miguel Montero is the last hope but grounds out to shortstop making no need for an Aroldis Chapman appearance.  Southsiders 2, Northsiders 0.

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

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Jake Arrieta enters the season series against the White Sox looking for win lucky number 13.  He takes on Miguel Gonzalez who is looking for win three of the year.

Miguel would open up the game getting the first two batters to flyout but walks Anthony Rizzo.  Ben Zobrist ends the inning with a ground out.  Javier Baez would be the next base runner getting a single but an error by right fielder Adam Eaton would allow him to make it to second.  Baez try’s to score on Kris Bryant’s single to left field, but Melky Cabrera guns Baez down at home.  The 4th inning sees Zo walking and Wilson Contreras reaching on an error but no one would score.

Jake has been not so great lately but gets through the first two innings with just a walk to Melky Cabrera. He would get the first out in the 3rd inning but gives up a double to Tyker Saladino and scores the first run of the game on Adam Eaton’s single to right field.

Miguel Montero would leadoff the 5th with a single but no one scores.  With two outs in the 6th, Contreras singles and makes it to third on Jason Heyward’s double to right field.  Addison Russell steps into the box and gets called out on strikes.   Montero leads off with a double and reaches on Javier Baez’s line drive home run to left field.  Gonzalez gets the next two outs but Robin Ventura decides to bring in Zach Duke to close out the inning.

Jake makes it through the 4th and 5th only allowing Justin Morneau to reach on a single.  He gets the first out in the bottom of the 6th but walks Melky.  Jose Abreu reaches on a single.  However, Jake strikes out Morneau for the second out of the inning.  With two outs and one strike, Todd Frazier takes Jake deep to center field for a three run dinger.  He gets out of the inning by getting  J.B. Shuck to ground out.
Justin Grimm enters the 7th and makes it quick with a ground out and two K’s.  Grimm gets the first out but gives up a double to Melky and that would be enough for him as Carl Edwards, Jr enters the game walking Jose Abreu but gets Morneau to line out.  Carl strikes out Frazier to end the 8th.

Duke opens the 8th walking Zo and that brings in Matt Albers. Wilson grounds into a force out, as he’s forced out by Heyward. Russell walks but Montero strikes out to end the 8th.  Albers stays in for the save opportunity with lead off man Baez who doubles to right.  Fowler steps in the box, and Baez steals third.  Fowler would send a line drive th first that deflects off of Abreu allowing Baez to score.  With no outs, Kris Bryant sends one to Melky driving Fowler to third but gets gunned down at second for the first out for the top of the 9th.  Lefty Dan Jennings enters the game to take on Rizzo.  Rizzo drops one into left with just enough on it to score Fowler and reach first.  He stays at first as Zo flys out to right.  Wilson Contreras knock one righting the hole between first and second for a single.  Jason Heyward gets himself into a full count and strikes out to end the inning.

We go into a tie game in the bottom of the 9th and Mike Montgomery enters the game with the possible win on the line.  He gives up a single to Shuck who makes it third on Navarro’s sac bunt right on the first base line.  Tyler Saladino steps into the box and sends one right back at Mike that bounces off the mound and takes off for center scoring Shuck for the walk off win by the White Sox.  

Jake Arreita seemingly has come back to earth but we’ll let the Southsiders have this one as they’ll be watching the Cubs from their couches in October!

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

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It’s just 1

Posted: April 7, 2015 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports
Tags: , , , ,

The baseball off season was very exciting in Chicago. The Cubs went out and signed the top starting pitcher on the market (Jon Lester) to a 6 year $155 million dollar deal. They also signed Jason Hammel to a 2 year $20 million dollar deal to round out the starting rotation. The Cubs also sent Dan Straily and Luis Valbuena to the Houston Astros to get centerfielder Dexter Fowler. Now not to be out done the White Sox added 3 players of their own. They signed left handed power hitter Adam LaRoche to a 2 year $25 million dollar deal. They also inked Melky Cabrera to a 3 year $42 million dollar free agent deal. Then the White Sox sent Rangel Ravelo, Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien to the Oakland A’s for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

Now after these signings and deals most if not all fans of Chicago baseball where looking forward to opening day. Well opening day was Sunday night for the Cubs and yesterday (Monday) for the White Sox. Both teams lost their opener. The Cubs 3-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals and the White Sox 10-1 to the Kansas City Royals. Now what surprised me was how after each of these losses was how quickly the excitement that was there in the off season quickly turned to negativity and dislike for each team.

We have two radio stations in Chicago that cover sports 24/7. There’s the one that offers national coverage with a couple of local shows added in; this is the one Dan the Man listens to. Then there’s the station that focuses on just Chicago teams and that’s the one I listen to. I was actually caught off guard with some of the callers to the overnight show I was listening to after both games. I heard everything from wait until next year to the Cubs wasted their money on Lester and the White Sox made a bad trade for Samardzija. It was just 1 game. There are 161 more games left this season.

The Cubs had some good scoring chances and just didn’t get that hit when they needed it. Do fans really think the Cubs will go 0-13 with runners in scoring position every game. They should also factor in that the pitcher they where facing was Adam Wainwright; who is a Top 10 or maybe even a Top 5 pitcher in baseball. Now Lester didn’t have a great outing, but he found a way to limit the damage when he had to. Remember that Lester had some dead arm issues towards the end of spring training and he has to work his way through that. There where 2 things that concerned me with the 1st Cubs game. Lester not being able to make pick off throws to the bases is one. Now he he doesn’t let any runners get on base this won’t be an issues, but you’d have to think that any team who gets a runner on against him would take a shot at stealing a base. The other one was the batting order. I’ve heard all of the reasoning for hitting the pitcher 8th and they always sound like excuses to me. It came back to bite the Cubs a little as Lester came up with a runner in scoring position and 2 outs. Now 1st base was open and they could’ve worked around a guy to get to Lester anyway, but there was no decision involved with Lester at the plate because he was in the 8th spot. I think this move was Joe Maddon trying to prove he’s a wacky guy and he’ll go against the grain. Or it was just a sad cry for attention.

With the White Sox it looks like it was a bad outing for your pitchers. Samardzija really struggled through 6 innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits while striking out just 1 batter. Samardzija had some control issues as well as he walked 3; hit 2 batters and uncorked a wild pitch. The fans will dump all of the blame on Samardzija since he was the big guy they picked up in the off season, but the 2 pitchers who followed him weren’t any better. The White Sox picked up Dan Jennings to help shore up the bullpen and get lefties out. Jennings struggled on opening day just like Samardzija did. Jennings pitched 2/3rds of an inning gave up 3 runs on just 1 hit while walking 2 (1 intentionally) and striking out 1. Kyle Drabek was the next White Sox pitcher out of the bullpen. Drabek pitched an 1 1/3rd giving up 2 runs on 6 hits with 1 strikeout. Call it opening day jitters or just a bad outing, but don’t forget that the Royals are the defending American League champions and while they haven’t gotten a lot of respect from the baseball experts this off season maybe they’re better than people thought. Maybe you could add in that Yordano Ventura was the Royals opening day starter and he’s an up and coming pitcher in the game of baseball. Ventura along with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Ryan Madson held the White Sox to 5 hits, but 1 of them was a Jose Abreu home run. If yoou noticed last season that’s the Royals formula for winning. 6 innings out of the starter and an inning each out of 3 relievers to wrap the game up. Hopefully White Sox fans can let this game go unless you think Samardzija is as bad as he was on opening day.

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We move to the mound to take a look at each teams five man rotation for the coming season. Every team except the Cubs have a starter who’s going to miss some time and in one case the entire season. Let’s start in New York with pitching.

The New York Mets have some of the best young pitching in baseball, but they’ll have to find a way to replace Zack Wheeler who has a torn UCL ligament and is going to have Tommy John surgery and miss the 2015 season. After missing all of the 2014 because he had Tommy John surgery Matt Harvey is back and has looked good in his spring training outings. Harvey is set to be the ace of this staff for a long time as long as he’s healthy. Bartolo Colon looks like he’ll fit in as the #2 starter for the Mets. As a 41-year-old Colon went 15-13 last season, but more importantly he’ll give you innings. Colon has pitched over 200 innings 8 times in his career. Jacob deGrom won the National League Rookie of the Year award last season going 9-6 with and ERA of 2.69 in 22 starts last season. Being slotted as the #3 starter will help deGrom not have to carry the load for the Mets. Jon Niese will fill one of the last two spots in the rotation. Niese was 9-11 in 30 starts last season with an ERA of 3.40 in 30 starts. Dillon Gee will be the other pitcher in the rotation to start the season. Gee made 22 starts last season going 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA You’d have to figure that either Gee or Niese will be headed to the bullpen once the Mets are ready to turnover a spot in the rotation to top prospect Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard is 31-19 in 84 career minor league starts with an ERA of 3.25. With Wheeler out for the season and the Mets looking like they might contend for a playoff spot in 2015 you have to wonder how long they’ll leave Syndergaard in the minors.

It was the New York Yankees who won the Masahiro Tanaka derby last season and you wonder if they’re second guessing themselves for that right now. Tanaka put up great numbers for the Yankees last season. He was 13-5 with an ERA of 2.77 with 3 complete games and 1 shutout, but that was all in just 20 starts. Tanaka had arm issues last season, but passed on surgery to rehab it instead. He’s reportedly healthy and ready to go, but the Yankees will need to monitor him as the problem could come back. The Yankees even talked about going to a 6 man rotation to help Tanaka. He is undoubtably there #1 starter and the Yankees need him to stay healthy. C.C. Sabathia is another Yankees starter trying to bounce back from injury. Sabathia made just 8 starts last season covering 46 innings. The Yankees will need a return close to form from Sabathia if they’re going to compete in the American League East. It seems like I’m saying this about every Yankees starter, but Michael Pineda is also coming back from a season where ha made just 13 starts covering 76 1/3rd innings. To be fair Pineda did miss some starts due to a suspension, but the Yankees could use a healthy 30 plus start season from him. Now the 4th and 5th spots in the Yankees rotation might be a little up in the air. It was thought that Chris Capuano would fill one of those spots, but he’s likely to start the season on the disabled list with a strained right quad. Ivan Nova will also start the season on the disabled list. Nova is still recovering from the Tommy John surgery he had last season. It looks like former Miami Marlin Nathan Eovaldi will find a spot in the Yankees rotation. Eovaldi made 33 starts last season going 6-14 with an ERA of 4.37. Eovaldi will have to figure out how to miss some bats as he gave up 223 hits in 199 2/3rd innings last season. Will Adam Warren be the guy to take the 5th starters spot until Capuano comes back from injury. Warren made 69 relief appearances last season picking up 3 saves and posting an ERA of 2.97.

This turned out to be a pretty easy choice for me. I’ll go with the Mets starting rotation over the Yankees. Even if the Yankees had all 5 of their starters healthy; I’d still take the Mets.

The Cubs went out and paid Jon Lester $155 million dollars over 6 years to be the ace of their pitching staff. Lester has made 31 or more starts ever season since 2008. He has a career ERA of 3.58, but he should post a better number now that he’s pitching in the N.L. The Cubs where the only team willing to offer Lester a 6th year; so will see if their gamble pays off. Jake Arrieta had the best season of his 5 years career going 10-5 with an ERA of 2.53 in 25 starts with 1 complete game and 1 shutout. I’m sure the Cubs would like to see Arrieta get into that 30 start area, but keep his ERA around where it was last season. What a split season Jason Hammel had in 2014. Hammel was good with the Cubs 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA but he was bad after being traded to the Oakland A’s 2-6 with a 4.26 ERA Hammel is back in the Cubs rotation and they’re hoping he’ll just pitch like he did when he was with them last season. You would think Kyle Hendricks has a spot in this rotation, but all the reports out of Chicago is that the front office doesn’t like him. Hendricks went 7-2 in 13 starts with an ERA of 2.46. Those look like good numbers to me, but since Hendricks doesn’t hit 90 mph on the radar gun he’s not a front office favorite. With the demotion of top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards to Triple A Iowa yesterday (Thursday) it looks like the last spot in the rotation will go to Travis Wood. Wood made 31 starts last season going 8-13 with an ERA of 5.03. The ERA will have to come down if Wood is to keep his spot in the rotation as the Cubs have a couple of other options.

Chris Sale is the best left-handed pitcher in the AL and the 2nd best left hander in baseball behind Clayton Kershaw. Sale has a foot injury and will miss opening day, but should be back right after that. Sale was a Cy Young contender last season going 12-4 in 26 starts with an ERA of 2.17. Look for Sale to be in the Cy Young conversation again. The White Sox sent four players; Rangel Ravelo, Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien to the Oakland A’s for Jeff Samardzja. Samardzija made 33 starts between the A’s and the Chicago Cubs posting an E.R.A. of 2.99 while going 7-13.  Samardzija lost a lot of close games with the Cubs last season; so if the White Sox can score fo him he might be able to turn his won-loss record around.  Jose Quintana is a very underrated starting pitcher. While his record was 9-11 his ERA was 3.32 in 32 starts last season. If the White Sox can get those numbers out of Quintana again with a better won-loss record they’ll be happy. John Danks should be #4 in this rotation. Danks was 11-11 with an ERA of 4.74 in 32 starts. Danks never turned into the starting pitcher a lot of experts thought he would, but he’s a solid guy to have in the 4th spot. It looks like Hector Noesi will start the season as the White Sox 5th starter. Noesi made 27 starts last season going 8-11 with an ERA of 4.39. Noesi will stay in the rotation until the White Sox decide if last season 1st round draft pick Carlos Rodon is ready for the majors. Rodon only has 9 games of minor league experience with 6 of those games being starts. He did make 3 starts at Triple A Charlotte last season and while he didn’t get a decision he did post an ERA of 3.00. He may be a factor in the White Sox rotation before the season is over.

These two rotations are close, but I’m going to go with the Cubs here. The 1 – 3 spots in the rotations are very, very close, but the 4th and 5th spots easily go the Cubs way and that was the deciding factor in me taking the Cubs here.

The Vs. series is off tomorrow for the regular How was your week blog to appear here. The Vs. Series comes back on Sunday with only one more comparison to do and that’s the bullpen.

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Three out of the four teams have questions about who will be their opening day 2nd baseman. The Mets appear to be the only team set at the position barring injury. Let’s take a look starting in Chicago with this position.

In a perfect Chicago Cubs world Javier Baez would’ve cut down on his strikeouts over the winter and would walk into spring training and claim the 2nd base job. Sadly it doesn’t work that way and the Cubs will have to make a big decision with Baez. Send down to Triple A Iowa to work on his swing or give him the starting job at 2nd base and hope he plays like the top prospect he was a couple of seasons ago. Baez played 52 games for the Cubs last seasons and struck out 95 times. If he would’ve played all 162 games his strikeout total would’ve been 296; yeah almost 300 strikeouts. In 2009 Mark Reynolds set the single season record for strikeouts by a batter with 223. If Baez hasn’t found a way to cut down on his strikeouts he’ll shatter that record in 2015.  The Cubs did go out this winter and make a deal with the Atlanta Braves for Tommy La Stella. La Stella played in 93 games for Atlanta and hit .251. La Stella doesn’t have a lot of power hitting just one home run last season, but he struck out just 40 times and did walk 36 times. If Baez needs more time in Triple A Iowa look for La Stella to handle 2nd base for the Cubs.

The White Sox starter at 2nd base sin;t any clearer. It’s looking like it’s going to come down to Carlos Sanchez, Gordon Beckham, Micah Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio. I’m thinking that Bonifacio is out as a starter as the talk is he’ll play the “super” utility position teams talk about and be used all over the field. Beckham was the White Sox 1st round draft pick, 8th overall in the 2008 amateur draft. Beckham never hit for the White Sox and was dealt last season to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Yency Almonte in August last season. Beckham was signed as a free agent this off-season and he’ll compete for the 2nd base job, but you have to wonder if anything has changed and he’ll hit. Sanchez played 28 games at the end of last season for the White Sox hitting .250. Sanchez like Beckham is a very good defender as he committed just 1 (one) error in his time at the big league level last season. Sanchez is 22 years old and did hit .293 for Triple A Charlotte in 2014. The White Sox will have to decide if he’s ready for the majors this spring. Micah Johnson is a bit of a wild card at this spring at 2nd base. Johnson has just 65 games of Triple A experience where he hit .275 but he does add a speed factor; stealing 12 bases at Charlotte in those 65 games. I think the White Sox would like to see Sanchez or Johnson break out and win the job in spring training. That would allow Beckham to be the back up infielder on the team and Bonifacio could fill in were ever the team needs him.

I think the Cubs are in a better spot at 2nd base right now going into the season. La Stella is a solid player and if Baez can actually become the player scouts have said he’d be the Cubs are set at the position for years to come. As for the White Sox; well if you have four guys competing foe a job you don’t have one. Gotta go Cubs here.

The New York Yankees situation at 2nd base isn’t a whole lot different from what the White Sox have. The Yankees did decide to bring Stephen Drew back after his horrible 2014 season. Let’s face it Drew and his agent over played their hand in free agency during the 2013 off-season and it cost him all of 2014. Drew combined to play 85 games for the Yankees and Boston Red Sox where he hit.162with 7 home runs. Not that Drew was ever going to hit for a high average, but .162 is terrible. He’ll have to adjust better on the defensive end as well. In 2014 Drew played 34 games at 2nd base for the Yankees and committed four errors.  Will the Yankees stick with Drew or will they look at a player like Jose Pirela. Pirela got 24 at bats with the Yankees last season hitting .333 with 1 double and 2 triples. Could Pirela do enough in spring training to unseat Drew at 2nd. The Yankees do have prospect Rob Refsnyder in big league camp, but he hasn’t played at the major league level and has just 77 games at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Refsnyder did hit .300 at Scranton/Wilkes Barre with 8 home runs in limited action there. It would be a big jump for Refsnyder to make the Yankees out of spring training, but you’d have to figure he’s only a year away. The Yankees do have veteran Brendan Ryan, but he hit .167 last season and has a career batting average of .234. This looks like it’s Drew’s job to lose; so the Yankees need him to bounce back and be the player he used to be. Now the question is; can he?

Believe it or not the New York Mets are the only team that are set at 2nd base going into the 2015 season with All-Star Daniel Murphy there. Murphy hit .289 with 9 homers and 57 RBI’s last season. While Murphy’s not a power hitter; his career high in home runs is 13 in 2013 I’m sure the Mets would like to see the RBI’s total go up. Murphy did add 13 stolen bases last season. Murphy committed 15 errors in 126 games at 2nd base last season. Those 15 errors where more than any other 2nd baseman made in 2014, but did turn the second most double plays as a 2nd baseman turning 88 of them.

With Drew coming off a terrible season in 2014 and it looks more and more like he’ll be the opening day 2nd baseman for them is there really any other options than to take Murphy as New York’s 2nd baseman.

The Vs. Series takes a day off tomorrow (Wednesday) as my weekly Let’s Call it Wednesday blog will go up as usual. The Vs. Series will return Thursday looking at the New York and Chicago shortstop positions.

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