Robin Ventura took a step to normalize things for the forseeable future this weekend. Chris Sale will start tonight, ending a nine-day recess. Jake Peavy will follow him on Tuesday, and then it seems like the Sox will draw down to a five-man rotation, as Don Cooper told 670 The Score that Philip Humber is "kinda in the bullpen right now," apparently giving Nate Jones some support in the long-relief department.
As for Liriano, he didn't come back after the fifth inning because the muscle around the bruise began to cramp up, but Ventura doesn't anticipate him missing a start. Which doesn't mean as much this year as it did it seasons past, but it didn't look that bad.
*After the trade, we compared Liriano to Edwin Jackson and hoped that Cooper had a quick suggestion for the new Sox starter. Sure enough, Cooper said both pitchers are similar, in that "both wanted to collapse on their back leg."
*More on Liriano's mechanics:
He needs to stay a little bit taller. He's a 6'3" pitcher, so in the stretch or the full windup, as he's riding to the plate on his left leg, he needs to stay 6'3". The other thing is rhythm and tempo. I like it when in the stretch or full windup, he lifts his right leg up, doesn't pause at the top for balance, just kinda gets there and goes, gets there and goes. [...]
Once you have pretty good mechanics, rhythm and tempo is the only thing you need to make sure you have.
*Cooper says he's a fan of Liriano, although it may not mean anything for Liriano's future in Chicago beyond the season.
*This quote struck me as a good mission: "I believe that we have the ability to help a guy be more consistent."
*A noted crossword enthusiast, Cooper said he plays Words With Friends with Jackson on a daily basis. And Dan Haren kicked his ass.
*Cooper described the string of recent close games as "nut-cutting."
*Jose Quintana figured out the slider and cutter in a hurry -- Cooper said they were added in spring training.
*Cooper says he has the same responsibilities under Robin Ventura as he did with Ozzie Guillen when it comes to pitching changes. But he did say that there are some differences in the relationship between the manager and the pitchers. He only describes one side of it:
"In the past it was a little different, but right now, Robin is in tune with what's going on with the pitching staff. Robin has a relationship with each and every pitcher, and each and every player. It's amazing the influence he has on a lot of guys. When the players know you have the backing of the manager, most importantly, they want to go out there and do the job for that guy. Robin takes the time to communicate and has a little something for each guy every day."
That leaves a lot of room to wonder how the previous adminstration operated, but if we use Guillen's own words from the New Yorker article from April, it's quite possible he didn't have much to say to pitchers.
John Danks hits the surgery table to figure out exactly what's wrong with him, and he remains vaguely optimistic (emphasis mine):
In talking with the doctors, who will fix whatever problem they find, Danks remains confident that the injury won't be serious enough to cost him much or all of next season.
"They've looked at it; they're going to look at it tomorrow," said Danks. "I don't anticipate there being anything other than what they think there is. I don't have any other reason to believe otherwise. We won't really know until we get in there tomorrow."
Bold prediction: The surgery, whatever it is, will be declared "successful."
We've talked about Crain's importance to the bullpen, and he came back from the injury looking like a guy who struggled to string together a couple healthy months. His last five outings have been scoreless, and just as importantly, he's starting to attack the strike zone again. In his first three games back, he averaged 31 pitches per inning. The last three? Thirteen.
- Tigers Acquire Jeff Baker From Cubs - Baseball Nation
- Twins Trade Danny Valencia To Red Sox - Baseball Nation
- Royals designate Yuniesky Betancourt for assignment -- royals.com
One bench arrives to the AL Central, one bench player leaves. If you look at Danny Valencia's progression -- or lack thereof -- he's basically the Twins entire team in a player. And I'd make fun of Betancourt, but ... this game.
Brett takes a break from beat observations and turns back the clock -- first to the late 1960s for Hawk Harrelson's accidental free agency, and then even further to 1906.
Nick Carfardo says the White Sox are content with Kevin Youkilis as a rental at the moment, and considering his injury history, it makes sense to wait it out.
- 'AJP' stands for A.J. Power - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
- A.J. Pierzynski's baffling year continues undeterred - Southside Showdown
I like Christina Kahrl's assessment of A.J. Pierzynski: "All of those numbers are "supposed" to regress, to go down. Except that they haven’t, and at this point they’re numbers that have spun off in their own orbit, set loose from the purported magnet of his career norms."
This link has already been shared a number of times on the site, but if you haven't caught it in the comments, it's very much worth your time.