OK, now I'm interested in stories about A.J. Pierzynski.
If you missed the end of Wednesday night's White Sox winner, Pierzynski came to the plate with nobody on, two outs, and the Sox leading 5-2. Addison Reed started him off with a fastball strike on the outside corner. For the second pitch, Tyler Flowers set up inside, giving a target in on Pierzynski's hands.
Reed missed up toward Pierzynski's shoulders, and, as he's done so many times before, began moving out of the way before making sure the pitch would find his elbow padding:
The reaction went as expected. After bunting the ball with his armor toward the third-base dugout, Pierzynski barked at Reed on the way to first, before having a conversation with Paul Konerko (Konerko covered his face with his mitt at one point).
"Absolutely not,'' [Reed] said. "I was trying to go in and went a little too far in. It's over with and we got out of here with a win. That's all that matters. I didn't really watch the replay but I was trying to go in and it happened to hit him.''
"You're not trying to put anybody on,'' manager Robin Ventura said. "I mean, you're not trying to send a message or anything like that. You don't want anyone on base because in about 30 seconds they had the tying run on base. There was no message being sent."
Said Sox catcher Tyler Flowers: "It's tough. You have to throw (Pierzynski) in. You have to show him in. I wanted it elevated and in. I didn't really want it that elevated or that far in. But it happens.''
"(It was) just Paul saying he didn’t think it was on purpose and I expect nothing less," Pierzynski said. "I have to believe (them). What else is am I supposed to believe? That’s not the way you’re supposed to play the game and it’s fine. It’s over."
My guess: Ventura didn't call it, and plunking Pierzynski wasn't the primary purpose. But if Reed was going to miss, it wasn't going to be over the plate.
Pierzynski missed the first two games with an oblique injury -- or maybe avoiding Chris Sale for the second one -- but he's expected to be in the lineup against Jake Peavy. Given the friction between them in the past, we might still have reason to talk about this.
As Hector Santiago goes back to an expanded arsenal in order to start, he has to iron out some communication issues with his catchers:
In a recent relief outing, catcher Hector Gimenez went through the entire series of signs twice while Santiago was waiting for him to call for a changeup, his go-to pitch for swings and misses or ground balls against right-handed hitters.
After the inning, Gimenez threw his hands up and told Santiago he has too many pitches.
Peavy has given these motivational speeches before, but this is the first time where he really has the right to talk the talk.
Nate Jones has been amped up in recent outings, at least with his reactions to run-scoring singles up the middle. He thinks he isn't containing his energy well enough, and Don Cooper agrees.
Hawk Harrelson joins Carmen and Jurko on ESPN Chicago around the 1 hour, 17 minute mark, and since the Sox went on a three-game losing streak shortly after he introduced "The Will To Win," he's asked the obvious question: Do the White Sox have it?
"I think so. I know Robin does. I know the coaching staff does. I know some of the players do. To a man, do they have it? I don't know. We haven't seen it, because we have a lot of new guys on the club."
Then he's asked about how he gauges it, and it kinda spirals into Potter Stewart territory with a new metric (The Will To Succeed!).
But as they rehash the sabermetrics debate, Harrelson sounds a lot more composed and sensible in his argument. His interpretation of sabermetrics is still stuck on the way it was introduced in Moneyball, and Harrelson thinks that model didn't value speed properly, especially with the way it factors into extra bases and defensive range. It's outdated, but it's understandable. It didn't make a favorable first impression on him and he has no interest in following up because he's supremely confident in what he already knows, and I don't see why anybody would expect anything else of him.