The window is closing on Garza

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The window is closing on Garza

PITTSBURGH Time is running out if the Cubs want to cash in Matt Garza for prospects before the trade deadline.

Garza always says he doesnt care about the rumors, and has downplayed a potential elbow issue. This was his immediate focus: Leaving Pittsburgh on Tuesday and returning to Chicago to be with his pregnant wife and await the birth of their child.

Garza will be re-evaluated on Friday, almost a week after exiting his last start in St. Louis with a cramping feeling in his right triceps. The Cubs have pretty much ruled out starting him this weekend against the Cardinals.

That would only leave July 30 against the Pirates as a possible showcase start. The trade deadline will come at 3 p.m. on July 31 in Chicago, where the Cubs will have a night game at Wrigley Field.

Assistant general manager Randy Bush said hes very optimistic that Garza wont have to go on the disabled list: Everythings looking good with him.

The feeling was that if the Cubs were going to trade Garza, it would be right near the deadline, when an aggressive or desperate executive finally decided to meet their demands.

Otherwise, Garza is still under club control through 2013. Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer could reopen talks this winter.

Even with the Garza question mark hanging over the rotation, and Ryan Dempster weighing where hed approve a trade, manager Dale Sveum minimized the risk of injury.

Dempster is still planning to start on Wednesday at PNC Park, in what could be his final game in a Cubs uniform.

Any time somebody steps on a field, I guess, somebody could get hurt, Sveum said. But theres nothing you can do about it. Right now, hes a Chicago Cub and hes pitching tomorrow and were gonna do everything we can to win tomorrows game. Thats whats going on now in the Chicago Cubs world.

Theres a lot more going on behind the scenes. The Cubs can only hope that Dempster who has already been on the disabled list twice this season makes it through without any issues.

You still dont just hold people out when nothings happening, Sveum said. If it was a position player, would you hold him out for a week, because his names mentioned and things are in the works? You just dont do those things.

You dont start taking people out of lineups and missing starts because of rumors or because their names mentioned.

The Dempster negotiations have clearly reached a more advanced stage. Check back Wednesday morning to see if the plans have changed.

You dont take him out of the rotation until it happens, Sveum said. Until Theo calls me and tells me that something happened, you dont change anything.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chris Sale returns to Chicago

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chris Sale returns to Chicago

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Mark Carman (WGN Radio), Chris Hine (Chicago Tribune) and Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report) join Mark Schanowski on the panel.

Chris Sale is back in town. Do the White Sox miss their old ace?

Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta’s agent defends his client’s velocity drop. Does he have a point?

Plus LeBron James talks about his legacy, Tiger Woods’ fall from grace continues and the panel remembers legendary sportswriter Frank Deford.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Is the White Sox run differential a sign of better things to come?

Is the White Sox run differential a sign of better things to come?

From a record standpoint, the White Sox are maybe slightly above where most expected them to be this season.

From a run differential standpoint, the White Sox are way above any expectation.

After Monday’s 5-4 win against the Red Sox, the White Sox improved to 24-26 on the season. Impressively, the Sox have a plus-28 run differential, which is good for third-best in the American League.

The two AL teams higher than the White Sox in the category are both first-place teams. Houston is 36-16 with a whopping plus-74 differential while the Yankees are 29-19 and come in at plus-57.

The White Sox have the best run differential in the AL Central. The division-leading Twins (26-21) actually have a negative run differential at minus-7. The Twins are one of two teams with a negative run differential and a winning record (Baltimore is 26-23 with a minus-6 differential).

There are 15 teams in Major League Baseball with positive run differentials and the White Sox are the only team in that group more than one game under .500.

So what does that mean? Well, for one it could be a positive sign that the White Sox are actually a better team than their record. More plainly, it means the White Sox are winning games by bigger margins than they are losing them.

Monday’s win improved the White Sox record in one-run games to 5-7. The Sox are also 2-4 in two-run games and 3-5 in three-run games. That's a 10-16 mark in games decided by three runs or less. Meanwhile, in games decided by four runs or more the White Sox are 14-10.

What’s even stranger about the lack of success in close games is that the White Sox have the fourth best ERA among relievers in MLB.

May isn’t quite over yet so things can still even out in one direction or another, but these are certainly some odd numbers.