Dempster wont point any fingers

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Dempster wont point any fingers

CINCINNATI Ryan Dempster understands what its like to walk off the mound alone, knowing that you cost your team the game.

Dempster did this job before, so he wasnt going to point fingers at Cubs closer Carlos Marmol after Thursdays 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in 10 innings.

Dempsters eight scoreless at Great American Ball Park were ruined by Marmols meltdown in the ninth.

I know hes really struggling to find the strike zone and get where he needs to be, Dempster said. Hell get there. You just got to keep working hard and you got to push through it.

You got one of two ways to go: You can either back down and be afraid of the challenge, or you can take the challenge head-on. Hopefully, he does that.

On his 35th birthday, Dempster came off the disabled list and showed no signs of a quad injury and reminded everyone that he still has something left.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time in major-league history that two starting pitchers faced off on their birthday (Homer Bailey turned 26).

Dempster refuses to think in these terms, at least publicly. One of the most accessible players on the team doesnt want to hear about his age or contract status.

Dempster has tunnel vision, never looking beyond his next start. His timeline is always five days out.

Its fun, man, Dempster said. I feel really good out there. I just want to keep trying to do my job the best I can and give us a chance to win. Ill hopefully have more games like today. Thats all Im trying to do.

Dempster is making 14 million, has no-trade rights and can become a free agent at seasons end. He has a 0.95 ERA through four starts, and zero wins.

Itll come, he said.

Dempster has a kids enthusiasm for games, watching his friend Danny Briere and the Philadelphia Flyers practice last weekend in the middle of the NHL playoffs.

Dempster is generous with time and information, inviting younger pitchers to train with him in Arizona during the offseason. They say hes difficult to keep up with, showing them what it takes to stick at this level.

But Dempster said he had no plans to approach Marmol once the team got back to Chicago. He did offer another vote of confidence for the embattled closer.

I know how that goes, Dempster said. If he wants advice, Ill give him the best (advice) I can.

You just got to keep working hard. You cant give up. You cant try and will it to happen. You got to make it happen. That comes through hard work and hell do that. You just got to tackle it head-on and try to find a way to get it done.

The Cubs (9-16) will have to come up with something quick. Two of the best teams in the National League the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves are coming into Wrigley Field for a six-game stand that begins Friday.

We can either hang our heads and sulk, Dempster said, or we can accept what happened today and learn from it and move on and win a game tomorrow.

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.”