World Series preview

The 2014 MLB post-season has been a good one thus far. Two teams that many would have not predicted have made it to the World Series: The San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. I had the Royals just missing a wild card spot and I had the Giants making it as a wild card team but falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers whom I predicted would win it all. The World Series, which is set to begin on Tuesday will feature two teams that have played well during the regular season and caught fire during this post-season. It should be a really good matchup.

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The Kansas City Royals, who did make the post-season as a Wild Card have yet to lose. They stunned the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card game in 12 innings 9-8 with speed and grit. Then they went on to sweep the American League team with the best record the Los Angles Angeles in three games. They then dismantled the Baltimore Orioles in four games to move to the Fall Classic. 8 games. 8 wins.

The Royals have received contributions up and down their lineup. Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain have been tearing the cover off the ball hitting .448 and .353 respectively. Mike Moustakas who was doing terrible the last month of the season has 4 homers in the post-season thus far. The Royals also have 13 stolen bases as a team and their defense has been solid. The pitching has also been lights out.

Then there is the San Francisco Giants. They once again have made the World Series in an even year. They won it all in 2010 and 2012 and are back again in 2014. Can they do it again this year? Why not. This team is led by their pitching with Madison Bumgarner earning top billing. He is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA in four starts this post-season. My boy Jake Peavy has been good in his two starts as well. Unknown heroes like Michael Morse and Travis Ishikawa have had clutch hits, while 2010 Rookie of the year and 2012 MVP Buster Posey is just doing what he does best hitting .302 this postseason.

So who will win? Who am I rooting for? I am rooting for the Giants and Jake Peavy. I have always liked Jake Peavy and I cannot get myself to root for another AL Central rival as I am a White Sox fan. It seems hard to predict the Giants not to win at this point since it is an even numbered year as well. I think this will be a close series and Kansas City has a legit shot with the home field advantage. That said I am going to go with the Giants. Either way it should be a fun series.

Konerko plays final game as White Sox close out 2014 season

Well the 2014 season is over. As is the playing career of Paul Konerko. I cannot help but feel a mixture of joy and sadness today.

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(Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

I love baseball. I love Chicago White Sox baseball. I live and die with this team for 6-8 months of the year. I watch every game if I can. I have seen a ton of Paul Konerko’s games since 1999. I was a senior in high school when he played his first game for the White Sox and now I am 34 years old. A ton of my life has been spent watching and cheering on this man. I can’t help but feel a piece of me is missing today.

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In the game itself, the White Sox had a 4-2 lead after five innings but they surrendered three runs in the 6th and lost 6-4. The Sox collected 12 hits but were unable to hold on. Konerko went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and took his last walk off the field in the 6th to yet another ovation.

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(Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

After the game, Konerko did a lap around the stadium for the fans who did not want to leave. Konerko is a legend in Chicago. His #14 will be retired next season and he deserves all the praise he gets. He is a class act on and off the field.

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The numbers speak for themselves. More at-bats than any player in White Sox history, one of the top 20 best fielding first baseman of all-time (18th), a six-time All-Star, 2430 hits, 439 homers, 1412 RBI’s, an ALCS MVP and a World Series Champion.

All I can say is thanks. Thanks PK for all the memories.

Konerko honored

What can I say about Paul Konerko?

It has been 16 amazing years in the Chicago White Sox organization. I have seen numerous games with Paulie in a White Sox uniform. I am sure numerous memories will flood my memories over the coming days, however, right now my mind and heart are mostly filled with pure joy. The ceremony before the game was perfect. From Hawk Harrelson leading the fans in a chant of “Paulie,” to multiple tribute videos where shown and Konerko’s best trait, his loyalty, stood out. Many family, former teammates and friends were there to honor Konerko. It was awesome.

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(Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Numerous parting gifts were given including pictures, a seat made of bats, signed baseballs by all of his 2005 World Series teammates, two guitars, the baseball Konerko hit for a grand slam caught by a fan in the 2005 World Series, and a statue of Paulie was unveiled too. So cool.

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Then Konerko spoke and thanked his family, the front office, the Kansas City organization who the White Sox were playing against, former and current coaches, players and teammates who helped him in his career and the fans whom he called “friends” because they mean more to him than just fans.

The game was just as great too. Konerko went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, yet although Konerko did not get a hit, it was still awesome to watch the game. Everytime he came to the plate he received a standing ovation and loud cheers. In the 7th, replaced by Andy Wilkins, the fans roared.

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In the game it was fitting that Jose Abreu, Konerko’s replacement had a big night. He went 2-for-2 with a homerun, two RBI’s and two walks. Abreu’s 2-run homer was his 36th on the season, a Chicago White Sox rookie record. The homer came in the 1st inning after Alexei Ramirez drove in Adam Eaton who walked and stole 2nd base to begin the game. The White Sox took a 4-0 lead on a solo blast by Josh Phegley in the 2nd inning.

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John Danks pitched well as he threw seven solid innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out three. When he left the game, the Sox had a 4-2 lead. Yet Josh Phegley, hit yet another homerun to put the Sox back ahead 5-2.

That homer would loom large because the Royals, a serious World Series contender, fought back but fell just short. They scored a run in the 8th off Ronald Bellisario. Bellisario allowed a walk and two straight singles and did not record an out as the Royals cut the lead to 5-3.

Eric Surkamp, who entered the game with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs was able to get Eric Hosmer to ground into a double play. Jake Petricka entered the game and was able to get Billy Butler to ground out to 3rd base to end the inning.

Petricka walked Alex Gordon to lead off the 9th before leaving the game due to an injury. Javy Guerra entered the game and would record the first two outs in the frame before an RBI single by Mike Moustakas to cut the Chicago lead to 5-4. Yet Alcides Escobar would ground out to short to end the game.

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(Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

A White Sox victory was the perfect way to honor Paul Konerko on this day.

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I guess there is only one more thing I could say.

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Thanks, PK

Early struggles lead to loss for White Sox as KC clinches postseason berth

Well, it was a fitting end.

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The Kansas City Royals defeated the Chicago White Sox last night by a final of 3-1 in dominant fashion. They took a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning collecting four hits and three runs in their first five batters. After that, the game became a pitchers duel.

Hector Noesi settled in to allow just those three early runs on six hits, walked two and struck out five over six innings. The Sox bullpen was solid, allowing just one hit over the final three innings.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Guthrie didn’t allow a run over seven innings. He surrendered just four hits and walked one while striking out six batters.

The White Sox did score one run in the game off Wade Davis as Adam Eaton collected his 10th triple on the season and then scored on an Alexei Ramirez single, but that was it.

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Seeing the Royals celebrate after the final out on our field gave me a sick feeling. Yes, I am happy for them a little bit, but I’d rather not see the celebration in Chicago. Hopefully the White Sox can stop any more celebrations. The Royals trail the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central crown by just one game with two to go.

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(Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Tonight is Paul Konerko day. It will be great to see Konerko honored and celebrated for his great career.

LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!

Quintana reaches milestone in loss

Jose Quintana deserves some praise.

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He did not win the game last night. He ended the season with a 9-11 record. Yet his ERA of 3.32 was the best it has been in his 3 years as a starter. Since 2012 in his 87 starts he has 39 no-decisions which leads all of baseball. For the 2nd straight season he has logged at least 32 starts and 200-plus innings. He has been one of the most depedable pitchers in all of baseball. The 25-year-old Quintana has a bright future ahead of him.

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(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In the game, Quintana pitched 7 1/3 innings allowing five runs on 11 hits, walking none and striking out seven. The game was actually tied at 3-3 when Quintana left the game in the 8th. However, he was responsible for two runners on base with one out in the frame. Both those runners would eventually score.

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Josh Phegley’s two-run shot in the 2nd gave the Sox a 2-1 lead. In the 5th, Jordan Danks gave the Sox a 3-1 lead with an RBI single. Paul Konerko did not play, but he is scheduled to do so over the next 3 days.

Tomorrow, Hector Noesi (8-10; 4.39 ERA) will face off against Jeremy Guthrie (12-11; 4.28 ERA) as the Royals need to just win one more game of their final three to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 1985.

LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!

Who says that even though a team is out of the post-season race like the Chicago White Sox are that they do not care about winning games? Playing their AL Central rival in the Detroit Tigers, the game was not without its heated moments. The 6-1 victory for the Tigers that clinched a post-season birth for them became a back story to moments in the game itself.

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White Sox ace Chris Sale allowed just one run on four hits over six innings and was given a no-decision in the effort. He recorded 10 strikeouts in the game, the 18th time in his career that he has had a double-digit strikeout game, which sets a franchise record. He also reached the 200-strikeout plateau which makes him the first White Sox pitcher to record back-to-back 200-K seasons since Javier Vazquez in 2007-2008.

Sale is also guaranteed the AL ERA title with a low of 2.17 on the season. He may not win the AL Cy Young, but he certainly deserves some praise for his great season.

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Despite all this the biggest moments in the game came in a battle between Sale, Victor Martinez and a Tigers fan. In the 3rd, facing Martinez with runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, Sale struck out Martinez to end the frame and tipped his cap to center field. At first it appeared as if Sale was showing up Martinez. Then he began pointing toward center as he walked off the mound. Sale claimed later to be acknowledging a fan who was giving him crap as he was warming up in the bullpen before the game.

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Then in the 6th, again facing Martinez, Sale hit him with a pitch. The two had some words for one another as Martinez walked to 1st and the benches and bullpens cleared. Sale again began pointing toward center, suggesting that someone was stealing signs and giving them to Martinez. Sale was later seen on television broadcast making what looked like binoculars with his hands. Interesting stuff to say the least.

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(Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

The Tigers obviously believed that Sale hit Martinez on purpose as the White Sox have denied that. Either way, the Tigers won 6-1 and are going to the post-season while the White Sox are going home. I guess we might have to wait till next season to see if anything comes of this. That is if Victor is still in a Tigers uniform.

Tomorrow the White Sox begin the final homestand of the season against the Kansas City Royals and will try to prevent them from clinching a post-season birth on their field in Chicago.

LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!

Rally in 9th is not enough for victory

Early on in last night’s game the Tigers were cruising. They had a 3-0 lead going into the 9th inning and David Price had pitched his best performance in a Tigers uniform up to that point as he had allowed no runs on three hits, issued no walks and had seven strikeouts on 95 pitches Then came the 9th…

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On a night where the Tigers honored Paul Konerko, the Sox began to rally for their captain.

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In the 9th, Adam Eaton led off with a single and then was moved to third on a double by Alexei Ramirez. Price then struck out Jose Abreu for his 8th strikeout before Avisail Garcia delivered a 2-run single to center to cut the lead to 3-2.

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A coaching visit to the mound allowed Price to calm himself and retire Dayan Viciedo. Then the Sox captain stepped to the plate and delivered a single to left that moved Garcia to third. The Tigers would choose to leave Price in the game and that was to the Sox advantage as Marcus Semien delivered the game tying single to center and moved pinch-runner Moises Sierra to 3rd.

Joe Nathan would enter the game and after walking Conor Gillaspie to load the bases, he would escape the jam and retire Carlos Sanchez on a fly-ball to center to end the frame. It was a “playoff atmosphere” type game at its peek.

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Jake Petricka would run into some trouble in the bottom of the 9th as Ian Kinsler would single and then move to 2nd after a Torii Hunter walk. The Tigers most feared hitter, Miguel Cabrera would step to the plate and deliver the RBI single to send the Tigers fans home happy in a deflating loss for Sox fans like myself.

The win put the Tigers just one game away from clinching a post-season birth. They desperately needed this win tonight if they have any hopes of a division title with KC close on their heels.

The Sox will close out the series in Detroit this afternoon with Chris Sale (12-4; 2.20 ERA) on the mound against Justin Verlander (14-12; 4.68 ERA). It should be a good one.

LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!

Bassitt pitches brilliantly in Motown

On Monday night the Chicago White Sox (72-84) received an absolutely brilliant performance from rookie pitcher Chris Bassitt. It was one of the better performances by a White Sox pitcher all season. Bassitt had the Tigers off balance all night. He allowed just six hits and walked only one in a shutout performance as he struck out three. He did hit a batter and the Sox committed two errors behind him, but he got the job done.

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Bassitt had was great when he had to be in front of his family and friends. He held the Tigers to an 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position as they stranded eight runners on base. It was the first career win for Bassitt who grew up in Curtice, Ohio, which is about 45 minutes from Detroit.

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(Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

The Sox are trying to stop the Tigers from clinching a playoff spot in Detroit while they are in town. Bassitt’s performance certainly helped that.

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The Sox offense did just enough as with 2 outs in the 2nd, Carlos Sanchez doubled and then was driven home by a 2-run blast by Tyler Flowers. That was all the Sox got on this night.

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Jake Petricka recorded the final four outs in order to record his 14th save on the season. The Sox have now won 8 out of their last 12 and are looking good as they are trying to play the role of spoiler over the last week of the season.

Tonight Scott Carroll (5-10; 5.01 ERA) will take on David Price (3-4; 4.09 ERA).

LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!

White Sox take two out of three over the Rays

Over the weekend the Chicago White Sox (71-84) took two out of three games from the Tampa Bay Rays.  What made this set of games even more special was the fact that Paul Konerko, who has been out with a hand injury since September 2nd, returned to play the final 10 games of his career.  It made for a good weekend for me, although, the one game they lost was on my Birthday which they just don’t seem to win on that day.  Nonetheless, the Sox are looking good at this point as they are winding down the season and evaluating their young talent for next season.

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On Friday, The White Sox won 4-3 behind a solid performance from Jose Quintana.  Quintana pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on nine hits, walking none and striking out six.

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The bullpen of Jake Petricka, Eric Surkamp, and Zach Putnam combined for 1 2/3 innings allowing no runs on just one hit, no walks and striking out three with the game on the line.

The offense although behind 3-0 early came up with 4 big runs in the 5th inning.  Avisail Garcia’s 2-run double put the White Sox ahead for good.

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On Saturday, my birthday, the Sox fell 3-1.  They were dominated by Chris Archer who allowed no runs on two hits, walking four and striking out three.

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The team tried to rally in the 9th as Jose Abreu who walked to open the frame, moved to 2nd on defensive indifference and then scored on a single by Marcus Semien.  After a walk to Avisail Garcia, the Sox had the tying runs on base with no outs but were unable to cash in.

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(Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

On Sunday, the Sox offense came to play as they beat Tampa 10-5.  They scored four runs in the 2nd inning and six more in the 6th to take a 10-0 lead and held on for the win.

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Avisail Garcia led the offense going 3-for-5 with two solo homers on the day.  Marcus Semien also had two hits and drove in three runs.

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Meanwhile, John Danks didn’t allow a hit until the 6th inning.  His six strong innings were good enough for all the offense the Sox scored.

Tonight, the Sox will begin  a series against the division leading Tigers and try to spoil their playoff hopes.

LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!

White Sox drop two out of three against Royals

Well, the Chicago White Sox (69-83) were unable to play the role of spoiler this week.  Although they came awfully close and probably should have done so.

Monday night’s game was rough.

Early on it was perhaps one of the more enjoyable games I have watched this season.  The Sox took an early 3-0 lead and John Danks pitched maybe his best game on the season against  a good Royals team.

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Avisail Garcia’s RBI single in the 1st gave Chicago the quick lead.  They then added to it in the 3rd thanks to a wild-pitch by James Shields with runners on 2nd and 3rd.  That was followed by a Conor Gillaspie RBI single to put the Sox ahead 3-0.

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John Danks meanwhile pitched six scoreless innings, allowing no runs on just two hits, walking four and striking out six while throwing 103 pitches.  Then it all went to crap.

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Javy Guerra and Zach Putnam each surrendered a run in the 7th and 8th respectively and the lead was cut to 3-2 going into the bottom of the 9th.  I could just feel it.  Jake Petricka, who has been very good, was due for a blown save.  It happened.  He blew his 4th save of the season surrendering two runs on three hits.

Jarrod Dyson who had replaced Mike Moustakas who doubled with one out was on 2nd with two outs.  Dyson, then stole 3rd base and scored on a wild pitch by Petricka to tie the game.  After a Nori Aoki double, he was replaced by Terrence Gore who would score the winning run on an infield single. It was just sick.

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On Tuesday, the Sox did bounce back with a 7-5 victory.  Conor Gillaspie was the hero with his 3-run triple in the 7th inning that put the Sox ahead.  This time they held on for the win.  Despite the Sox using six pitchers as starter Chris Bassitt struggled, they still got the win as the Royals were worse as they used nine pitchers in this game.

The 4 hour and 16 minute game was the longest 9-inning game in the history of the Royals home park.

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(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Last night, Chris Sale had by far his worst outing of the season as he allowed five runs on nine hits walking two and striking out six over just five innings.  That led to a 6-2 Sox loss.

They had the day off today before beginning a 3-game set in Tampa Bay against the Rays.  The game tomorrow night begins at 7:10pm ET.  Jose Quintana (8-10; 3.30 ERA) will take on Jeremy Hellickson (1-3; 3.63 ERA).  Hopefully,Paul Konerko will make his return from injury for the final 10 games of the season and of his career.

LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!

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