Peavy, Pierzynski named Gold Glove finalists


Peavy, Pierzynski named Gold Glove finalists

A.J. Pierzynski and Jake Peavy were tabbed as Gold Glove finalists in advance of Tuesday, when the award winners are revealed. Gold Glove awards are voted on by each major-league manager and up to six of his coaches, so Pierzynski's play behind the plate and Peavy's on the mound impressed more than a few staffs around the league.

Mark Buehrle, who won the last three AL Gold Gloves for starting pitchers while with the White Sox, is a finalist in the National League. Before Buehrle, the last White Sox player to garner a Gold Glove was Robin Ventura, who won his fifth and final honor in 1998.

No other White Sox players made the final cut, but here's how the Gold Glove finalists stack up against the top defensive performers in the AL, as rated by UZR.

First base (Gold Glove): Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Teixeira
First base (UZR): Adrian Gonzalez (14.5), Mark Teixeira (10.5), Albert Pujols (5.9)

Second base (Gold Glove): Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
Second base (UZR): Dustin Pedroia (10.0), Robinson Cano (9.7), Dustin Ackley (6.7)

Third base (Gold Glove): Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, Mike Moustakas
Third base (UZR): Mike Moustakas (16.8), Brandon Inge (11.1), Adrian Beltre (10.7)

Shortstop (Gold Glove): Elvis Andrus, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Ryan
Shortstop (UZR): Brendan Ryan (14.7), J.J. Hardy (11.3), Jhonny Peralta (9.9)

Left field (Gold Glove): Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, David Murphy
Left field (UZR): Alex Gordon (14.1), Desmond Jennings (10.7), David Murphy (9.4)

Center field (Gold Glove): Austin Jackson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout
Center field (UZR): Mike Trout (10.6), Denard Span (8.5), Austin Jackson (4.1)

Right field (Gold Glove): Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francouer, Josh Reddick
Right field (UZR): Josh Reddick (17.7), Ben Revere (15.8), Ichiro (12.7)

UZR doesn't do catcher defense, but there are some fairly decent catcher rankings done yearly by Matt Klaassen. The Gold Glove top four, against his top four (excluding sparingly-used backups)

Gold Glove: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters
Klaassen: Matt Wieters (12.5), Bobby Wilson (4.9), Alex Avila (3.5), Jeff Mathis (3.5)

Pierzynski rates near the bottom at -3.6 runs, although Tyler Flowers was rated to have saved 2.9 runs with his play behind the plate.

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

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Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

College teammates Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder made plans to go to dinner after Thursday’s game in Chicago but for a few short moments they weren’t just competitors but unexpected combatants, getting tangled up in the second quarter.

There looked to be some harsh words exchanged after Butler took a charge on an unsuspecting Crowder near three-quarter court, with Crowder putting the basketball in Butler’s chest while Butler was still on the floor, causing players on both teams to convene for some tense moments.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas got involved and then before Butler could blink, Bulls guard Rajon Rondo joined the proceedings, as pushing and shoving ensued before technical fouls were assessed to both teams after an officials’ review.

If one wondered whether these Bulls—a team that touts itself as young with so many players having three years or less professional experience—could play with some bark and bite, perhaps the season opener provided a bit of a positive preview for the next 81 games.

Nearby, an unbothered Dwyane Wade took a practice 3-point shot, much to the delight of the United Center crowd, as observers witnessed the first sign of tangible proof the Bulls have intentions on regaining a bit of an edge on the floor.

Wade joked and took it as a sign of respect between the two teams.

“It looked like it, right? Yeah. It was a little something out there,” said Wade when asked if there was some chippy play. “Every time we play them it’s gonna be like that. Two teams finding their way in the Eastern Conference. We know we gotta see each other a lot. They never give up. They can be down 30 with 15 seconds left and they’re still gonna fight.”

The Bulls have externally preached toughness from the start of camp. Although Wade didn’t participate in that meeting of the minds, he isn’t exactly running away from such matters.
And Rajon Rondo is competitively ornery enough to have his voice hard no matter the setting.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It’s been a big theme of practice,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We want to play with physicality and toughness. I think it was evident on the glass tonight.”

Yes, the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 19, but that could’ve been a by-product of the Bulls’ crashing the offensive glass on a porous shooting night. And yes, the slightly tense moment between Butler and Crowder probably won’t be an expected occurrence.

But when’s the last time one had multiple examples to dissect to discern this team’s level of toughness—or lack thereof.

“That’s something to show that the guys are out there fighting for each other,” Hoiberg said. “That they were playing with an edge. It happens with this game. You have to be competitive.”

Competition boiled over slightly, but considering the NBA isn’t exactly UFC, one doesn’t have to do much to display a little physical resolve.

“The fact that nothing escalated was good,” Hoiberg said. “The fact that those guys are out there and playing for each other and have each other’s back, that’s a huge thing right now.”

Too many times last season, it seemed the Bulls would submit in situations like those. Not that they were particularly soft, but it didn’t appear they had the collective will to fight for one another if an altercation arose.

Half the time, they looked like they could barely stand to be in the room with each other.

“It’s people’s will to win. Not saying a bad thing about anybody from last year,” Butler said. “To tell you the truth, I study the game and put in a lot of work but Rondo studies the game a lot. Every time I’m in the gym, he’s in the gym. That lets me know, these (dudes) are going to war with you. Every day. When I hit that deck, Rondo was right there. I wanna play with guys that’s gonna play hard, that’s gonna fight.”

And it didn’t take long for Butler to realize he has at least a couple teammates willing to jump in the foxhole with him.