MLB Power Rankings: Week 2

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 2

Every Monday throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 30 MLB teams -- take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comments or to us on twitter @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.

Previous rankings: Preseason Week 1

Tony
JJ Comments 1

Tony: Hot start overtakes Detroit for No. 1.
JJ: Despite rough start, Rangers are never gonna give Yu up.
2

Tony: Champs look great early.
JJ: Fast start Pujols struggling sounds perfect for Cards fans.
3

Tony: Rough weekend on South Side.
JJ: Delmon Young looks like a corncob in left, you guys.
4

Tony: MLB's best record, Kemp is in beast mode.
JJ: Minnesota the perfect cure for a blah start.
5

Tony: Nothin' doin just yet.
JJ: Bad early record not indicative of their talent.
6

Tony: Success depends on starters.
JJ: Chris Young's on pace for 60 homers. Sustainable!
7

Tony: Four straight losses drops them.
JJ: Runs allowed (57) concerning; still thing pitching is good.
8

Tony: Very solid team playing well.
JJ: gets indigestion thinking about StrasBurger
9

Tony: Need to get things meshed in Hollywood.
JJ: 8 runs Sunday bigger news than Flyers' 8 goals.
10

Tony: Baseball is back north of the border.
JJ: Greinke's like my first car: terrible on the road.
11

Tony: Team is really starting to look good.
JJ: MLB's best record, but haven't been tested. Kemp is a god.
12

Tony: Needs to right the ship.
JJ: 12 run differential is third-best in AL.
13

Tony: Been playing better after slow start.
JJ: Have rebounded nicely after putrid start.
14

Tony: Slow beginning to '12.
JJ: CainBumgarner locked up, not Lincecum. Interesting.
15

Tony: Looked great against Detroit.
JJ: Maybe some beer would loosen up the clubhouse.
16

Tony: Nothin' special right now.
JJ: Could gain some ground wBAL, SEA & OAK on tap.
17

Tony: Ellsbury injury a killer.
JJ: This may be harsh, but haven't done much yet.
18

Tony: Rotation is a bit scary.
JJ: The home run thing is awesome. LoMo's error? Not so much.
19

Tony: Team will struggle to stay at .500.
JJ: 52 runs third-highest output in baseball.
20

Tony: Overall good weekend against Philly.
JJ: Like the Angels, early play not indicative of talent level.
21

Tony: I'm just not sold on this team.
JJ: Giving up a ton of runs like the pre-2007 Rockies.
22

Tony: Neil Walker has had abysmal start.
JJ: Gets early-season over .500 bump.
23

Tony: Some positive signs despite bad record.
JJ: Also gets early-season over .500 bump.
24

Tony: Still need more pitching.
JJ: Averaging 2 runsgame through first 9.
25

Tony: Surprising start.
JJ: Pitching is still a ways off.
26

Tony: MLB-worst record.
JJ: Patience will be a virtue with Jackson, Rizzo.
27

Tony: Who woulda thought they'd be in first ever?
JJ: This is actually a brilliant strategy. 28

Tony: Just can't seem to beat Seattle.
JJ: Good to see someone other than Willingham hit.
29

Tony: Gonna be a rough year for Mauer and Co.
JJ: At least there's Dick Enberg.
30
Tony: Four wins already? That's gotta be a mirage.
JJ: Jordan Schafer looks good, but still Houston until further notice.

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

 

The White Sox take on the Twins on Friday, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 7 p.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: Jose Quintana (8-8, 2.97 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.40 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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Back with White Sox, Chris Sale ready to move on from 'fiasco'

Back with White Sox, Chris Sale ready to move on from 'fiasco'

Even though he felt isolated and experienced a five-day stretch he called “a fiasco,” Chris Sale was right where he wants to be Thursday, surrounded by White Sox teammates.

Shortly after a 3-1 loss to the Cubs, the pitcher echoed the sentiments of White Sox management in a 10-minute media session when he suggested he’d like to move on from a five-game suspension for insubordination and destruction of team property.

With the trade deadline only four days away, Sale wants to stay with the White Sox and hopes the current roster gets an opportunity to win. He also thought an incident in which he destroyed promotional throwback jerseys had been blown out of proportion.

While he didn’t apologize for his actions, the left-hander said he regretted letting down his teammates and fans who attended Saturday’s game. Sale, whose record fell to 14-4 after he allowed two runs in six innings, said he plans to address White Sox players and coaches soon and intends to let them know his level of appreciation.

“I want to let them know where my head is at, where my heart is at,” Sale said. “And let them know how much I appreciate them.

“I felt like I was out on an island, really. 7 o’clock rolls around and I usually know what’s going on. Sitting at the house sucks.

“I regret not being there for my guys. I’m a pitcher. I’m called upon every fifth day and when I can’t go out there for my guys and the fans, it gets to me.”

Similar to March when he pitched a day after ripping executive vice president Kenny Williams, Sale said his focus is back on the field. He declined to answer what he didn’t like about the throwback jerseys, calling it “counterproductive.” Even though the White Sox are on the outside looking in, Sale is hopeful he and his teammates can rally and make a strong postseason push over the final 60 games.

“I think everyone is making just a little bit bigger deal of this than it really is,” Sale said. “We are here to win games and from this point forward, I think that’s our main focus. We are going to come in every day and do our jobs and try to win ballgames, that’s at the forefront.

“I don’t like people filling in for me. I love what I do. I love pitching. I love competing. I love the guys that I’m surrounded by.”

“When I let them down, it hurts me more than it hurts them.”

Three days after he suggested manager Robin Ventura didn’t properly support him, Sale declined to discuss their future relationship and again diverted the conversation back to the field. When asked what was the biggest lesson he took from the ordeal, Sale said he wasn’t quite sure.

“I know you guys are trying to get in there and you guys have to write stories and stuff,” Sale said. “I understand. But they said their side. I said my side. I’m ready to talk about baseball and playing baseball and getting back to winning and getting the Chicago White Sox into the postseason. That’s my goal. That’s my focus. Anything else, that’s for you guys.”

While he admits that his competitive side may have fed into Saturday’s events, he also knows abandoning it would hurt him on the field. Sale said he was inundated by texts and calls from teammates past and present during his absence. That only strengthened his desire to win with the current group, Sale said.

“There’s no doubt my emotions have got me to this point,” he said. “I wouldn’t be the same person without them but stuff happens. Move on. We have an unbelievable group of guys in that clubhouse. We’ll just push forward.

“I’m here to win. I love exactly where I’m at. I have an unbelievable group of guys in that clubhouse. We’re pulling for each other, they are pulling for me and vice versa, through and through. I’d like to stay with this group of guys and make a push for the playoffs because I love those guys.”

White Sox find normalcy in Chris Sale's return from suspension

White Sox find normalcy in Chris Sale's return from suspension

The word of the day Thursday around the cramped confines of the visitor’s clubhouse at Wrigley Field was normal, as in getting things back to it with ace left-hander Chris Sale taking the mound after serving a five-game suspension for “insubordination and destruction of team property.”

A completely abnormal story — Sale cut up the 1976 throwback uniforms he didn’t want to wear last Saturday and was sent home for his actions — gave way to a relatively routine evening. Sale allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts over six innings, though the White Sox lineup was shut down by John Lackey and the Cubs’ new three-headed bullpen monster in a 3-1 Crosstown loss.

“Things were pretty normal,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Guys got here, not a different clubhouse or anything like that. I think everything went fairly normal as far as him going out there and pitching and it was about baseball.”

First baseman Jose Abreu said things felt like an ordinary Sale start, even though the American League’s All-Star starting pitcher hadn’t pitched since July 18. He didn’t have his best stuff and wasn’t his sharpest, either — those three walks were his highest total in over two months — as he wasn’t able to consistently paint the corners with his explosive arsenal of pitches.

But, as usual, Sale worked quickly and kept his team in the game against one of baseball’s best offenses.

“He pitched a very good game,” Abreu said through a translator.

The Cuban first baseman added: “I think that we already moved on.”

Catcher Dioner Navarro agreed.

“He gave us a great outing, we just weren’t able to score any runs for him,” Navarro said.

Before the game, third baseman Todd Frazier said he and his teammates rallied around Sale and hoped a solid outing from the 27-year-old left-hander would put the bizarre incident squarely in the rearview mirror. 

“Some mistakes are bigger than others but you gotta understand that we’re all not perfect,” Frazier said. “Things do happen in this game, different things that you think (you’ve) never seen before, and then it happens. It’s just one of those things, hopefully it goes away quick with the way he pitches."

Sale said he didn’t discuss the incident or his suspension with his teammates before the game to keep things as normal as possible. After he showed up a little after 4:40 p.m., he received hugs and handshakes from teammates welcoming him back following his five-day exile.

But after that, Navarro said things were business as usual. He and Sale went through the gameplan and got ready to face the Cubs' powerful lineup instead of dwelling on what happened last Saturday. Eventually, Sale will talk to his coaches and teammates on a personal level to “let them know where my head is at, where my heart is at, and let them know how much I appreciate them.”

With the White Sox playoff hopes flickering as the trade deadline approaches, though, Sale’s teammates are eager to keep the focus on trying to dig themselves out of a substantial, two-games-under-.500 hole.

“Everything’s in the past,” Navarro said. “He did a great job. Quality start, nothing else you can ask.”