SaleGreinke: A pitcher's duel, or will Greinke's road struggles continue?

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SaleGreinke: A pitcher's duel, or will Greinke's road struggles continue?

A week ago, the buzz in baseball centered around a matchup between two dominant lefties. But the Chris Sale vs. Clayton Kershaw matchup didn't live up to its pitcher's duel billing -- that went to last Sunday's Jose QuintanaChris Capuano showdown.

Pitching aficionados will get another chance to see Sale participate in a pitcher's duel tonight, though, as Sale squares off against Zack Greinke in Milwaukee's first trip to the South Side since 2000. The White Sox swept Milwaukee en route to winning the AL Central with the best record in the league, scoring 29 runs in the three-game set.

That'll be tough to top this weekend given Greinke's presence on the mound Friday. The former Royal enters the game with a 3.10 ERA in 14 starts, although more impressive is his 2.01 FIP, which stands as the best in baseball.

Quick sidebar: Greinke's a fan of FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), which measures a pitcher's ability to succeed at the things he can directly control -- walks, strikeouts and home runs. Everything other result is at the mercy of a pitcher's fielders.

"Thats pretty much how I pitch, to try to keep my FIP as low as possible," Greinke told the New York Times during his Cy Young season of 2009.

He's doing a fantastic job of it this season, striking out 95 with only 20 walks and three home runs allowed. That may be what you can expect from Greinke tonight -- lots of strikeouts, few walks and even fewer home runs.

But Greinke has struggled on the road this season, allowing opponents to have a .796 OPS against him away from Miller Park. By FIP, he's still excellent, posting a 2.52 FIP on the road as opposed to a 1.44 one at home. But his ERA on the road is 4.96, and opposing hitters have basically been Alejandro De Aza against him.

He hasn't thrown enough road innings to make a solid determination about his struggles. Maybe it's luck, or maybe his command just isn't as good away from Miller Park, leading to more hittable pitches and, of course, more runs crossing the plate.

Sale is coming off statistically his worst start of the season, allowing more than three runs for the first time in a start this season last Friday in Los Angeles. He's pitching on, as Kenny Williams called it this week, a college schedule, on a full week of rest. If everything goes according to plan, Sale's pitch count could get up in the 115, 120 range.

He'll have a great chance to go deep into the game tonight. If Greinke holds up his end of the bargain and Sale bounces back, it could be one of the more exciting games of the 2012 season.

You can catch all the SaleGreinke action on Comcast SportsNet tonight at 7 pm.

CSN to provide alternative Spanish-language telecasts for upcoming White Sox & Cubs games on CSN+

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CSN to provide alternative Spanish-language telecasts for upcoming White Sox & Cubs games on CSN+

MONDAY, JULY 31 at 7:00 PM CT (White Sox vs. Toronto) – featuring game analyst OZZIE GUILLEN

TUESDAY, AUGUST 1 at 7:00 PM CT (Cubs vs. Arizona) – featuring game analyst CARLOS ZAMBRANO

Chicago, IL (July 25, 2017) For the first time in network history, CSN Chicago (CSN), the home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs, will be providing an alternative Spanish-language telecast for each team that will air exclusively on CSN+ (also streaming live on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app).  CSN’s upcoming pair of alternative Spanish-language telecasts will also feature game analysis provided by two Chicago baseball icons: 2005 White Sox World Series manager Ozzie Guillen (on Monday, July 31) and three-time Cubs All-Star starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano (on Tuesday, August 1).

On Monday, July 31, CSN will carry the first of its two Spanish-language telecasts as the White Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays at 7:00 PM CT (White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships begins at 6:30 PM).  Calling the game on CSN+ will be Noticiero Telemundo Chicago’s lead sports anchor/veteran play-by-play announcer Rodrigo Arana, who will be joined in the booth by the always-candid and entertaining Ozzie Guillen, who led the White Sox to their first World Series title in 88 years, earning the 2005 American League “Manager of the Year” honor.  CSN’s primary White Sox announcing team of Jason Benetti and Steve Stone will provide the call of the game on the main CSN channel location. 

Then, on Tuesday, August 1, CSN will head to the north side of town for its second alternative Spanish-language telecast when the Cubs host the Arizona Diamondbacks at 7:00 PM CT (Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group gets underway at 6:30 PM).  Arana will once again handle play-by-play duties on CSN+, but will be joined in the booth this time by former Cubs standout pitcher (and hitter) Carlos Zambrano. In his 11 seasons with the Cubs, Zambrano made the National League All-Star team three times, earned three Silver Slugger awards, and finished in the NL’s top ten in ERA four-straight years (2003-06).  The primary call of the game on the main CSN channel location will be handled by CSN’s Cubs announcing duo of Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies

“With a diverse and dedicated Chicago baseball fan base throughout the entire Chicago market, we are excited to provide these Spanish-language White Sox and Cubs telecasts, showcasing the standout play-by-play call from Rodrigo and the in-depth and entertaining analysis from both Ozzie and Carlos,” said Greg Bowman, VP of Programming for CSN Chicago.

The alternative Spanish-language White Sox & Cubs telecasts will be televised exclusively on CSN+, which is available in high-definition on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area/South Bend, IN & on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 285 in the Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets, along with being made available in DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, RCN, and WOW! homes among others; viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER for complete channel location details. 

In addition, the English and Spanish versions of the White Sox game on July 31 and the Cubs game on August 1 will BOTH be accessible live via CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated CSN Chicago subscribers.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  For a full list of carriers and more information about CSN Chicago’s live streaming service of White Sox games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: http://www.csnchicago.com/live-faq .  The live stream of CSN’s White Sox & Cubs telecasts is presented by State Farm

Throughout the season, fans are also urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s “WhiteSoxTalk” (CSNChicago.com/white-sox) and “CubsTalk” (CSNChicago.com/cubs) sections for complete game previews/recaps, the latest news & rumors, feature reports, videos, and much more.  Fans can also follow the network’s dedicated team-specific Twitter handles (@CSNWhiteSox and @CSNCubs) for the latest news and up-to-the-minute team/player reports 24/7.  In addition, fans can look forward to new editions of CSN’s popular White Sox & Cubs PODCASTS (presented by Wintrust) featuring the network’s roster of baseball experts, along with numerous special guests.  All of CSN’s podcasts can be downloaded at CSNChicago.com/podcasts and by simply subscribing to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

Jose Quintana: 'It would have been a little hard for me to face the White Sox'

Jose Quintana: 'It would have been a little hard for me to face the White Sox'

Jose Quintana sounds relieved he won’t have to face his former White Sox teammates this week.

The pitcher said Tuesday morning that he’s ecstatic for his new opportunity with the Cubs, who have made him feel very comfortable these first two weeks. After he earned his second win for the Cubs on Sunday night, Quintana spent part of pregame Monday with his former White Sox teammates in visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field. They caught up on small talk and Quintana said they spent as much time together as they could. That’s a luxury he wouldn’t have been afforded had he been preparing to face them on Monday instead. The Cubs decided last Friday that Quintana would pitch Sunday night against the St. Louis Cardinals and not again until this Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Though he wants to face them in the future and knows it will happen one day, Quintana doesn’t sound as if he objected to the decision made by the Cubs coaching staff.

“One day I’ll pitch against them, but that’s the decision of the pitching coach and the manager,” Quintana said. “They wanted me to face the Brewers the first game. But it would have been a little hard for me to face the White Sox, too, my old teammates. But one day for sure I want to face them.”

Quintana has already experienced a similar scenario earlier this season when he pitched against former White Sox pitcher Chris Sale at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 30. Facing Sale in his return with the Boston Red Sox wasn’t easy, Quintana said. Both pitchers struggled and instead of a pitching duel, the Red Sox outslugged the White Sox 13-7. Afterward, Quintana said he was embarrassed by his performance.

“It would be similar because when I faced Sailor it was a little weird, one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Quintana said. “You know, facing my old teammates, the lineup, would be a little weird.”

Third baseman Matt Davidson acknowledged how surreal the situations seems to see Quintana in a Cubs uniform. Though they only played together a little in the majors, Davidson has been around the veteran pitcher for several years every spring. To see him as part of the exodus of major league talent from the White Sox roster isn’t surprising, but it isn’t easy, either, Davidson said.

“He’s wearing blue now but that’s kind of part of the game you’re used to,” Davidson said. “It definitely kind of hurt a little bit to lose a guy who’s a cornerstone of the organization like that, him leaving. But it’s to be expected with the rebuild going on and we’re moving in the right direction.”

Jose Abreu agrees that seeing Quintana on the Cubs is different. But as awkward as the situation may be, Abreu would have loved to face Quintana. That should come as no surprise as Abreu was up for the challenge of facing Sale, producing a two-run, bases-loaded single against him in May.

“He was here with us a week ago, and now he’s gone,” Abreu said through an interpreter on Friday. “But those are the kind of things you like, to face the best in baseball. I wish him the best, but I would like to face him.”

Quintana said he wasn’t surprised by the news when manager Rick Renteria called July 13 to inform him he’d been traded. The landing spot may have come as a surprise, but Quintana heard the rumors and acknowledged to Rick Hahn they bothered him early in the season.

So far, Quintana has enjoyed the transition. He said Joe Maddon’s staff has made him feel very much at home.

As for facing his old ‘mates, Quintana looks forward to that opportunity, too.

“They’ve made it easy to be here, the coaches,” Quintana said. “I appreciate this organization for giving me the opportunity to be here. I enjoy it and I’m happy and excited to be here. I have a really good opportunity to make the playoffs.

“(Facing the White Sox) is part of being here so one day I’ll go face them.”