Robin Ventura says he's sticking with Hector Santiago as a closer, which is reasonable on one hand, and problematic on the other.
He's only thrown 6 1/3 innings, during which he has 10 strikeouts to one walk. That's great. But he's also given up 11 hits, including four homers. That's good for a .438 BABIP, and it's hard to argue he's particularly unlucky.
This has the White Sox wondering if something else is the case:
Coaches and players are wondering if Santiago is tipping his pitches. Cespedes hit a 2-2 changeup deep into the seats against Santiago, who has given up four home runs.
"I watched video to see if I was tipping anything,’’ Santiago said before the game Thursday. "The location was fine. Just seeing it out of my hand and where I threw it, he might have caught it right out of my hand.’’
So I went to watch the video, and I think I see something, but I'm going to save it for below the jump so I don't lead the witness. Before we get there, watch Santiago throw a fastball for the final out against Seattle:
And then watch him throw his changeup for the two-run homer against Cespedes:
Have you compared them a few times? OK, then continue.
That changeup's location isn't the problem, because it's at the bottom and outside edge of the strike zone. The sequence doesn't seem to be a problem, because he came at Cespedes with two fastballs prior.
But watching the video of that changeup against his previous fastballs, and it looks like there might be a drop in arm speed. I'm trying to filter out any urge to see something for the sake of seeing something, but it looks like it's slower releasing the ball on the changeup and screwball, and it doesn't seem to have the same kind of whipping, lash action on his follow-through.
(Update: And Duck99 noticed the same thing real-time in the gamethread.)
Cespedes certainly had no problem picking it up, whatever he saw. Even though he was late on a fastball two pitches prior, nothing compelled him to get out in front of the changeup.
John Danks will take the mound today in an attempt to both stop a three-game losing streak and preserve the White Sox's winning record. He's also in search of the first start he can feel great about. He only has one of the 11 best starts of the season according to game score, and it's only good for ninth.
Phil Rogers writes a laudatory column about the White Sox captain after his 400th homer, but what's most interesting is at the end. Back in 2003, 16 of the White Sox considered refusing to take a test for performance-enhancing drugs, in order to put a mandatory testing system into place. At the time, Frank Thomas received credit (and blame) for this faction, but Rogers is saying Konerko was one of the ringleaders. I don't think they were known for working together well at the time.
Speaking of Konerko, whitesox.com put together a video of his milestone homers. You might notice it edited out Hawk Harrelson's "Hell yes!"
Adam Dunn has struck out in 23 consecutive games, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia holds the record with 28. But it really doesn't mean anything, because Dunn is hitting, which is a trait he shares with most others who have struck out so steadily.