Jesse Crain has not thrown a pitch since June 23, but that hasn't stopped him from climbing the ladder and turning into the White Sox's most important reliever.
A number of developments have conspired to elevate Crain's status -- Addison Reed's inability to throw a good slider, Matt Thornton's high-profile failures (#ThorntonLuck or not, six losses is a lot), and the fact that we have seen pretty much every Charlotte Knight.
At this point, Brian Omogrosso is getting press because he's thrown two consecutive 1-2-3 innings. On a personal level, that's great, because that's two more major-league innings than I thought he'd ever throw after all the injuries. But that's his entire résumé, and it's better than half the bullpen's, and that's a problem with a contending team. When Crain comes back, he'll be the only guy who brings confidence in multiple pitches, experience and fortitude to the mound.
The good news is that Crain is closer to returning than any of the other vaguely injured pitchers:
His two simulated games thrown this week were deemed by Crain and the team as good as a Minor League rehab assignment. [...]
And Crain feels confident that he is ready to help. Manager Robin Ventura wants to see the Friday and Saturday health response from the right-hander with a 2.38 ERA and .190 opponents average against in 23 games.
"It could be Saturday or Sunday," said Ventura. "Probably Sunday though."
It's one thing for Crain to come off the DL. But he's had problems staying off the DL this year, so it's really hard to imagine Kenny Williams letting the deadline pass without acquiring another reliever, if not two of them.
During the South Side Sox meetup, I left our section for an inning to talk to Yolanda Perdomo about Minnie Minoso for a radio report centering on his legacy and Hall of Fame hopes. Here's the finished product, and it turns out she was sitting behind us the whole time!
The best part of Jon Greenberg's column was also the most frustrating. It's the paragraph that alerted me to the presence of hard-boiled analysis that seriously contemplated whether Mark Buehrle or Kerry Wood had the better career. I missed it the first time, and the torment this supposedly agonizing decision creates is delightful.
But I could be wrong -- I'm only pretty sure that's the material in question. It could be another one for all I know, because Greenberg only will hint that it came from "a local website." That narrows it down. Was it a FanPost here that I missed? The Sun-Times? Bleed Cubbie Blue? A random Livejournal? It looks like CSNChicago.com, and something from any Comcast entity would certainly be fair game for a transparent, adverse reaction. Alas, the "local website" will remain but an unofficial best guess! Feel free to sleuth away and hazard your own!
ESPNChicago isn't alone. Far from it. Somehow, 670 The Score is the only Chicago media outlet that regularly attributes original news/analysis/thought to sources outside of its own company, even if they're making fun of it.
(If I were to use such parlance for this: "A writer for a local online bureau of a larger communications company mentions a paper-thin comparison of two athletes who used to ply their trade locally by a local broadcaster for the local online arm of local affiliate of a larger communications company." And no link. Maybe I'll do that next time, because there will be many next times.)
For instance, Dan McNeil immediately dismissed my suggestion that Charles Johnson was the greatest White Sox midseason addition in franchise history when Matt Spiegel brought it up on air, and that's great. I laughed when he laughed. If it's worth bringing up to make a point (even if it's a point for ridicule), it's worth identifying.
So, here's McNeil's defense of Hawk. I have no real objections to his perspective, and I stand by Charles Johnson.
To his credit, Alex Rios doesn't pin his problems from 2011 on playing center field, though it certainly added to the all-encompassing misery that resulted.
Scott Merkin wrote this as Rios wrapped up a 2-for-14 performance in the Boston series. Hopefully this isn't another example of the Jared Mitchell Media Effect in action.
- Humber to start Sunday at Detroit, Axelrod in bullpen - chicagotribune.com
- So, you've punted a game... - White Sox Observer
Philip Humber recovered from start as expected, which means that he officially bumped Dylan Axelrod out of the rotation (assuming Gavin Floyd returns -- hefty assumption!). Robin Ventura says Axelrod will be primed to deliver a spot start whenever the rotation needs rest, and James wonders why they couldn't wait a few days to see if that setup was possible, rather than putting Pedro Hernandez in a position to fail.
I liked Merkin's summary of Ventura's plan: "4 starters, 7 relievers and Axelrod." He eats lunch at his own table.
Rob Warmowski, aka @Whitesoxski on Twitter, aka IceColdFalstaff around these parts, started his own blog, which is good news.
- If Sox are looking for a starter, Richard makes plenty of sense - CSNChicago.com
- League-Leading Shockers! (N.L. Edition) - Baseball Nation
- League-Leading Shockers! (A.L. Edition) - Baseball Nation
J.J. thinks through the Clayton Richard rumor, which reminded me of Rob Neyer's post on Baseball Nation, which informed me that Richard leads the National League in innings pitched. That seems rather remarkable.
And that led me to the AL edition, which means Rob says nice things about Chris Sale. And all these Baseball Nation posts reminded me that...
... Nate Jones won by inducing the worst swing of last week. Jeff Sullivan has the details, and here's the .gif: