Showing posts with label Xander Bogaerts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Xander Bogaerts. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

White Sox ace Chris Sale becomes first 12-game winner in majors

Chris Sale
White Sox ace Chris Sale became the major leagues' first 12-game winner Tuesday night, as he tossed seven innings of one-run ball to lift the South Siders to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

Sale (12-2) allowed just four hits and one walk. He equaled his season high in strikeouts with nine.

Rookie shortstop Tim Anderson staked Sale to an early lead by hitting the first pitch of the game from Boston starter Clay Buchholz over the Green Monster for his first career home run. The Sox added one more in the first inning when Adam Eaton doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Melky Cabrera.

The Sox remained ahead 2-0 until the third inning when Boston scored its lone run on two singles and a sacrifice fly by Mookie Betts. The Red Sox loaded the bases after that, as Dustin Pedroia singled and Xander Bogaerts walked. But Sale escaped any further trouble by striking out Hanley Ramirez on a nasty slider.

Boston never threatened against Sale the rest of the night.

Todd Frazier connected for his 20th home run of the season in the fourth inning to put the Sox ahead 3-1 and complete the scoring. Nate Jones and David Robertson combined for two innings of shutout relief, with Robertson earning a four-out save -- his 18th of the year.

The Sox (35-36) have won two games in a row for the just the second time in June, and with the team playing in Boston, ESPN is predictably starting the rumors about how the Sox need to trade Sale to the Red Sox.

Sale is probably the best pitcher in the American League, and he is signed to a team-friendly deal through the 2019 season. His production and his contract make him one of the most valuable players in baseball. I have no doubt the Red Sox would covet him for their rotation. What team wouldn't?

But here's the thing that really pisses me off about these "trade Sale" articles: The authors always make it sound as if Sale can be had for a package of prospects who are currently toiling at Double-A or Triple-A.

I don't think so, friends.

The White Sox should not trade the best pitcher in the league unless they are getting at least one major league position player in return. The ESPN author of this Red Sox article touts the three "young, inexpensive" stars on the Boston roster -- Bogaerts, Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr

My message to "Red Sox Nation" and ESPN is this: If you want the best pitcher in the American League on your roster, it's going to cost you one of either Betts or Bradley Jr. Highly regarded prospects aren't enough.

The White Sox are not anybody's farm team, and you're not acquiring a potential Cy Young winner for nothing more than a package of ifs and maybes, because after all, prospects are nothing more than ifs and maybes. There are plenty of teams out there that could use Sale, and I'll bet you one of them will be willing to send along a player or players who are already big-league caliber.

Any club that acquires Sale is getting three and a half years of an All-Star pitcher in his prime at cost-controlled price. I'm sorry, but that's worth more than Double-A players. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ill-timed walk costly for Carlos Rodon vs. Red Sox

Carlos Rodon
We know how the national media slobbers all over Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. No doubt, the ESPN guys were excited by the game-changing, two-run homer Ortiz hit off Carlos Rodon in the fifth inning of Wednesday's 5-2 Boston win over the White Sox.

The home run turned a 2-1 Chicago advantage into a 3-2 Boston lead. The Red Sox finished the game off from there.

But from a White Sox perspective, I'm not so concerned about the home run Ortiz hit. Rodon served up a fat fastball, and he knows it. But the real sin Rodon committed in that inning was allowing Ortiz to get to the plate in the first place.

Rodon retired the first two hitters easily in that fifth inning, but then he issued a four-pitch, two-out walk to Xander Bogaerts. That's inexcusable with Ortiz on deck. In a one-run game, you go right at Bogaerts. If he hits his way on -- and he might because he's a good hitter -- so be it. But you can't afford to just give him first base and allow Ortiz to hit with a man on. Rodon was asking for it, and Ortiz made him pay.

If Rodon retires Bogaerts, the inning is over. The 2-1 White Sox lead stays intact. Ortiz leads off the next inning, and even if he hits one to the moon, the best he can do is tie the game. That's what you want when you're playing Boston -- you want to keep yourself out of situations where Ortiz can beat you. Rodon failed to do that, and he got beat.

Just overall, Rodon needs to work on limiting his walks. He's averaging 3.8 walks per nine innings through his first six starts this year. He's issued a team-high 14 walks in 33 innings, and his 1.394 WHIP is too high for a pitcher with his talent. The Sox are 2-4 in Rodon's starts. He'll start winning games when he stops giving away so many free bases to the opponent.