First Pitch: Buehrle seeks Opening Day redemption

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First Pitch: Buehrle seeks Opening Day redemption

Friday, April 1, 2011
9:03 a.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CLEVELAND The good news is that Mark Buehrle has been aces in his Opening Day starts. The bad news? The one exception came three seasons ago, here at Progressive Field.

The last time he started Opening Day in Cleveland, oh, it was an ugly one, Guillen said. Ill ask Mark: Please dont do that again.

Hopefully Ill do better than I did the last time we started in Cleveland, Buehrle smiled. Because that was 1 23 innings, and that was rough.

In that 2008 game, Buehrle gave up seven earned runs but escaped with a no-decision, as the White Sox drove Indians starter CC Sabathia out of the box early in an eventual 10-8 loss.

Buehrle is 3-1 lifetime with a 3.39 ERA in eight Opening Day starts. Remove 2008 from his opener resume, and the lefthanders Opening Day ERA falls to 2.08.

His Opening Day, 6-0 shutout of Cleveland a year ago both set a team record for most Opening Day starts and saw the two-time Gold Glove winner author the most spectacular fielding play of his career, a hockey kick-save, football-hike assist on a Lou Marson slap through the box.

Buehrle has had some big highlights vs. Cleveland in his career, but overall has scuffled some, going 13-15 with a 4.64 ERA, .804 OPS, 2.14 BB and 1.38 WHIP. Hes a touch better in his career at Progressive Field, Buehrle is 6-7 with a 4.13 ERA, .739 OPS, 2.29 KBB and 1.29 WHIP.

Heres how the Wahoos will line up vs. Buehrle:

1. Michael Brantley, center field (2-9, .444 OPS, two strikeouts career vs. Buehrle)
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, shortstop (6-29, .523 OPS, three walks, five GIDP)
3. Shin-Soo Choo, right field (10-26, 1.064 OPS)
4. Carlos Santana, catcher
5. Travis Hafner, designated hitter (14-60, .761 OPS, 15 Ks, six HBP)
6. Orlando Cabrera, second base (17-49, .866 OPS, home run)
7. Matt LaPorta, first base (3-16, .485 OPS)
8. Austin Kearns, left field (3-6, 1.167 OPS)
9. Jack Hannahan, third base (2-6, 1.095 OPS)

Pick to click? What's new, its Choo.

Fausto Carmona takes the bump vs. the White Sox, bringing a career record of 7-3 vs. the South Siders, with a 4.36 ERA, .729 OPS, 1.32 KBB and 1.39 WHIP. In his career at Progressive Field, Carmona is 24-28 with a 4.15 ERA, .720 OPS, 1.58 KBB and 1.40 WHIP.

Heres how the White Sox will attack the righthander:

1. Juan Pierre, left field (1-8, .347 OPS career vs. Carmona)
2. Gordon Beckham, second base (1-6, .611 OPS, three walks)
3. Adam Dunn, designated hitter (0-8, four Ks)
4. Paul Konerko, first base (4-11, two HR, six RBI, five walks, 1.465 OPS)
5. Alex Rios, center field (3-18, .417 OPS)
6. Carlos Quentin, right field (0-2, walk)
7. A.J. Pierzynski, catcher (6-21, .699 OPS, two GIDP)
8. Alexei Ramirez, shortstop (2-9, .522 OPS)
9. Brent Morel, third base (1-2, HR)

Outside of Konerko, the White Sox offense could scuffleunless Morel wants to spin some sophomore magic and take Carmona deep again.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

WATCH: Blackhawks play Blues in NHL 17 ahead of Winter Classic showdown

WATCH: Blackhawks play Blues in NHL 17 ahead of Winter Classic showdown

For the third time since the event was created, the Blackhawks will participate in the Winter Classic, facing the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 2, 2017.

To build some hype for the Central Division showdown, which will feature two teams that find themselves battling for the top seed in the Western Conference, Ryan Hartman and Trevor van Riemsdyk of the Blackhawks squared off with Joel Edmundson and Robby Fabbri of the Blues in EA Sports' NHL 17.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Edmunson and Fabbri jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but the finish would be determined in 3-on-3 overtime.

Check out who came out on top in the video below:

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

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AP

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces of the offseason puzzle as the Cubs try to defend their World Series title while still planning for the future.

The Cubs left this week’s winter meetings in Maryland still involved in the Ross talks, sources said, monitoring an intriguing pitcher they had targeted before the 2015 trade deadline.

The San Diego Padres didn’t really buy or sell during that pennant race and made another curious decision last week when they didn’t offer Ross a contract for 2017. MLB Trade Rumors projected Ross would have made $9.6 million during his final year in the arbitration system.

After issues involving his right shoulder wiped out almost his entire season, Ross underwent surgery in October to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

Ross was San Diego’s Opening Day starter during a 15-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but didn’t pitch again, clouding a future that once had him looking like a trade-deadline chip and one of the best pitchers in the free-agent class after the 2017 season.

That’s when Jake Arrieta will be looking for his megadeal and John Lackey might be in retirement and Jon Lester will be turning 34. That’s why the Cubs are so focused on pitching this winter and trying to balance out an organization tilted toward hitters.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your World Series champions gear right here]

Kyle Hendricks proved he will be a pitcher to build around – and the Cubs believe Mike Montgomery can evolve from a swingman into a fifth starter and maybe something far more valuable – but depth is a real issue.

Ross made 30-plus starts in 2014 and 2015, when he earned an All-Star selection and accounted for almost 400 innings combined. He will turn 30 in April and is seen as a positive force within the clubhouse. He has a 6-foot-6 frame, a second-round-pick pedigree and a Cal-Berkeley education.

Reports have already linked the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates to Ross and not completely ruled out a return to San Diego. During an offseason where the free-agent market is essentially devoid of reliable frontline starters, there could be sticker shock, even with a rehabbing pitcher.

Trading for Wade Davis meant the Cubs were out of the bidding for Greg Holland, another All-Star closer who helped turn the Kansas City Royals into World Series champions. Holland spent this year recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but he will still be in position to capitalize after Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and eventually Kenley Jansen reset the market for closers.

With Ross, the Cubs will have to get a better sense of the medical picture and the price for all that upside.

Beyond a winning culture, the Cubs can sell the pitching infrastructure that helped turn Arrieta into a Cy Young Award winner and transform Hendricks into an ERA leader and keep the rotation remarkably healthy.

“Those really talented pitchers are going to be in demand, even those that are coming off an injury,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said this week at National Harbor. “We’ll stay engaged on some of those guys, but they’ll have to be just the right talent.

“We’ll have to feel good about the medical and the return to play. And the fit on the club would have to be right, too. But the true elite guys have a real market, even if they’re coming off down seasons.”