The critics, Cubs-White Sox wont get under Sveums skin

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The critics, Cubs-White Sox wont get under Sveums skin

Almost two years ago, the Chicago media crowded around Lou Piniella as the Cubs manager sat down in the Wrigley Field dugout.

A crosstown game against the White Sox meant wall-to-wall coverage. One reporter asked a harmless question about how encouraged Piniella must be by the development of Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro.

That set off Piniella, who fired back at the critics questioning how he handled young players. He blasted White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone and the ridiculous way media personalities did their jobs.

Ive won over 1,800 games as a manager and Im not a damn dummy, Piniella said that day. There are only 13 others that have won more games than me, so I guess I think I know what the hell Im doing.

Dale Sveum has a much longer fuse, and we havent seen him explode yet. Theres almost no chance the Cubs manager will go viral when the White Sox come to the North Side for a three-game series that begins Friday.

Ozzie Guillen who was replaced by the low-key Robin Ventura and Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley wont be there to light a match.

Sveum has an answer for everything Castro bunting, using or not using Kerry Wood and he explains baseball mechanics in great detail. He understands that the second-guessing is part of the job.

Its gonna happen, Sveum said Wednesday. I dont read the papers. Im not a guy that Tweets, or whatever you call that thing. Im not a big computer guy. I dont read the news.

(During) my free time, I watch the NFL channel as much as I canto keep up on (things) for fantasy reasons.

Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer had managerial candidates meet with the media as part of the interview process last fall. They knew that Sveum took the heat as an aggressive third-base coach with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2005.

There was about a two-week period where I got about 10 guys thrown out at home, Sveum recalled. Thats the animal you deal with when youre in the big markets. If I got 10 guys thrown out in Milwaukee, I wouldnt have had press conferences. I was having press conferences as a third-base coach.

I understand how fans react when youre in a passionate place.

Sveum shows no signs of nervous energy. Reading his body language behind the desk, youd have no idea whether the Cubs won or lost when you walk into the managers office after the game.

Sveum thought back to Tuesdays walk-off loss in St. Louis, how the Cardinals won it when Yadier Molina hit a ball past diving second baseman Darwin Barney, who was shaded one way because thats where the data said he should be.

Theres nothing you can do about it, Sveum said. Sometimes it is a game of inches. As long as you know that your team is giving everything theyve got, and the preparation is there through the coaching staff, (you live with it).

You know somebodys got to lose that night. Put it that way. (When you do), you dwell on it for a little while. Maybe (its) should-a, would-a, could-a, but I dont take it home with me. That woulddrive you crazy.

Sveum has been disciplined and stayed on message. His quotes dont go out on Twitter the way it could when Mike Quade said things like Im not a lunatic.

Sveum has shown patience with young pitchers and trusted them in big situations. He has set the tone for a quiet, purpose-driven clubhouse. He has the hammer that comes with being a former big-leaguer, and being Epsteins guy.

The Cubs president hired Sveum so he could grow into the job and become the next Terry Francona (instead of bringing in the actual Terry Francona).

It helped having 16 games as Milwaukees interim manager in 2008. But its not easy when you have to tell Carlos Marmol that hes losing his job. Six weeks in, the manager is settling into the job. The White Sox shouldnt knock him off his game.

You can sit here and say youre prepared and want to manage and all that, Sveum said. There are still many things that are going to come up, (like) when you take somebody out of the closers role.

(Its not) the nine-inning strategies you go through or the double switches and all that. Sometimes, thats the easy part of managing the game. Its a lot of the other stuff behind the scenes.

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Pirates on CSN

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Pirates on CSN

The Cubs wrap up their three-game series with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage from the North Side starts at 7 p.m., and be sure to stick around following the final out for reaction and analysis on Cubs Postgame Live.

Starting pitching matchup: Jason Hammel (13-7, 3.21 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (3-3, 3.02 ERA)

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Preview: Chris Sale, White Sox close out series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: Chris Sale, White Sox close out series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox close out their series against the Detroit Tigers Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 11:30 a.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (15-7, 3.14 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.33 ERA)

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White Sox bullpen falters in loss to Tigers

White Sox bullpen falters in loss to Tigers

DETROIT — The 2016 White Sox expected an improved offense when they addressed two of last season’s biggest needs with trades for Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie.

While scoring is up a hair over the 2015 club, it hasn’t nearly been enough.

As they have for much of the season, the White Sox jumped out to an early three-run lead on Tuesday night but failed to put their opponents away. Their dormancy allowed the Detroit Tigers to rally back to send the White Sox to an 8-4 loss in front of 27,121 at Comerica Park. Frazier homered early before Detroit scored eight runs between the fifth and seventh innings. The Tigers look to complete a three-game sweep of the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon on CSN.

“That’s kind of been the story of our year,” leadoff man Adam Eaton said. “With runners in scoring position we haven’t been able to drive in and get the big hit. When we do that we win. When we get it done we win and when we don’t it bites us.”

The White Sox thought they added serious bite to an offense that finished at or near the bottom of the American League in 2015 in most of the major categories. Frazier was acquired in a three-team deal from the Cincinnati Reds and Lawrie came over from Oakland for two-minor leaguers. On top of the acquisitions of Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche a year earlier, Frazier and Lawrie were expected to bolster positions in which the White Sox finished last in OPS in the majors last season.

To an extent, the plan has worked. The White Sox entered Tuesday having increased their scoring average to 4.07 runs per game, up from 3.84. But even with that improvement, the White Sox started play 13th among 15 AL clubs in runs scored and 63 runs below the league average.

They also were 13th in home runs (131), slugging percentage (.402) and OPS (.717).

Part of their struggles can be attributed to injuries — Lawrie has been out since July 22 and Austin Jackson has been gone since early June. The unexpected retirement of LaRoche also left the White Sox short on left-handed power in the middle of the lineup and forced Cabrera from the second spot to fifth to provide balance. And some can be attributed to down years by several key veterans, including the performance with runners in scoring position by Jose Abreu and Frazier.

But even the White Sox thought they’d be a better run-scoring team than they have proven through 131 games.

“I think we did,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You lose Rochie at the beginning of the year, and that changed the left-handed dynamic of what our lineup would have been like. But you still expect guys to hit a little better and score more runs than we’ve done. We haven’t held up our end of the bargain.”

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Their end of the bargain left the White Sox vulnerable on Tuesday. Frazier’s two-run homer and an RBI groundout by Eaton in the second inning had the White Sox in command. But Daniel Norris struck out Tim Anderson to strand a runner at third.

Then in the fourth, Norris got Tyler Saladino to fly out to shallow right, which prevented the runner on third from tagging. After Eaton walked, Norris got Anderson to ground into a fielder’s choice.

Even though Norris’ pitch count was sky high, the White Sox failed to knock him out of the game. That allowed the Tigers to rally back against Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Albers and Jacob Turner.

“They seem to add on,” Ventura said. “They don’t stop adding on that extra run. A guy on third with less than two outs, they’re able to get it in. That’s been an Achilles heel for us.”

It’s also been a source of frustration, Eaton said. The White Sox look around the room and feel like they have a talented group, especially now with Justin Morneau solidifying the middle. But once again, that group didn’t keep their foot on the pedal and paid the price.

“They just continue to plug away,” Eaton said. “Their offense is good enough to come back from any deficit. Hats off to them, but we’ve got to keep adding on. We got on Norris early and got his pitch count up, but we’ve got to keep knocking on the door. We didn’t keep on it enough and knock him out real early.

“Top to bottom I think we have a pretty good lineup. It is frustrating when you don’t get that big hit and vice versa for the big pitch.”