Baseball Trade Deadline Nearing!

15. Washington Nationals – The Nationals are a better team than they showed for much of the season, but don’t buy into the way they played in September, which featured a lot of games against their terrible division.

That’s not to say Twins’ starter Nick Blackburn didn’t have a good outing, either. The sale jerseys had fits against Blackburn’s sinker, driving the ball into the ground all day. However, a 2-2 high changeup to Thome in the seventh inning was the mistake that cost the Twins the division, as Thome nailed it over 460 feet to the centerfield concourse to give the sale jerseys a lead they would not relinquish.

Arizona is 6-4 in its last 10 games and just a half a game behind San francisco in the NL West. The Diamondbacks continue to be one of the biggest surprises this season with a record of 39-32. They are 17-17 on the road and 22-15 at home.

The question is where do the White Sox turn? What does the future hold? The truth is there really is no light at the end of the tunnel. Unless the team can collect talent via trades and clean house, the South Side struggles could be around for awhile.

Two encouraging offensive showings immediately carried over to Monday’s game. Gordon Beckham got going early with a two-run line drive homer, his third of the season, to left in the second inning off Angels starter Ervin Santana. Carlos Quentin continued the barrage with his second double of the night and fifteenth of the season in the fifth. This one would score Alexei Ramirez and make the score 4-0. Manager Mike Scioscia left Santana in for one too many batters as Ramirez would strike again planting one in the seats on a first pitch fastball making the score 5-0 in the seventh. The Angels call to the pen would only benefit the Sox as Quentin hit a three-run homer to dead center on a hanging breaker making the score 8-0, which is where it would stay.

Peavy claims to be at 60-70 percent heading into spring training, so his velocity is likely to be lower than usual as his arm & shoulder regain strength. If he’s throwing 94 mph on his fastball by the end of spring, maybe there’s a chance he returns sooner than early May. But if his fastball is barely scraping 90 mph or is losing velocity early into outings, it’ll be a longer road back.

National League Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies. Halladay’s competition may very well come from any one of his three teammates in the Phillies starting rotation. Not that I need to defend this pick, but Halladay has had a sub-3.00 ERA the last three years, while winning at least 20 games in two of those seasons. Other than his teammates (Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels), Giants’ Tim Lincecum will be Halladay’s only other threat for the award.

Choo, who reached the .300 mark in batting with a 1-for-3 game on Saturday, sat out the game on Sunday. He becomes the only Tribe hitter since 1901 to bat .300, hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in back-to-back seasons. The only other Indians to turn that feat but not in back-to-back seasons were Roberto Alomar in 1999 and 2001 and Joe Carter in 1986.

White Sox Ink Three Triple

The Tigers averaged 37.7 total chances per game, while the Cardinals averaged 39.1 and the Yankees averaged 36.5. The teams with the least number of total chances include the Diamondbacks, Rays, Giants, Marlins, Brewers, and Yankees.

I would keep instant replay away from judgment calls such as whether a runner is safe or out. I would also not use it for balls and strikes. This way, the human element remains in the game and replay is only used when it is absolutely necessary. A play will only come under review when the umpires feel it necessary to do so. Umpires will be evaluated in the same manner they are now. Those that make too many mistakes will not be available to work postseason games and thus will lose out on bigger paychecks.

The Tigers get their first look at Chicago’s Gavin Floyd Monday. The 26-year-old righty went 3-0 in five starts against Detroit in 2008. Chicago went on to win each of those five contests.

The batting order starts with center fielder and speedster Juan Pierre who scored 96 runs in 2010. White Sox fans hope that second baseman Gordon Beckham will improve on his first two years in the majors. The talent is certainly there for Beckham to improve on last years . 252 avg., 9 home runs, 49 RBI line. Right fielder Alex Rios had a solid year last season, hitting . 284 with 21 homeruns, 88 runs batted in and 34 stolen bases.

Last season was also the first for #Robin Ventura as manager. Ventura, a former player got all he could ask for out of his club in year one. He saw a rising star in sale jerseys have a strong season and a somewhat comeback year from Alex Rios. Ventura also received several votes for American League Manager of the Year, and arguably should have won the award.

He’s on the 40-man roster and is a slightly-lesser version of Lucas Harrell without the major-league experience. Marquez, touted as a groundball phenom when acquired from the Yankees in the Nick Swisher [REDACTED] trade, had a 46 percent ground ball rate in Charlotte-good, but not Harrell’s 52 percent grounder rate. He’ll have a shot at the rotation this spring, but it’s tough to see Marquez separating himself from the pack. Then again, that can be said for all these pitchers.

Jerry Blevins was even worse than Ziegler in that department: the lefty struck out his fair share of batters, but he gave up more hits than innings pitched. His 3.70 ERA still looks respectable, but Blevins was one of those players that every fan feared when he entered a tight spot.

McCray, 25, may not have been on the Sox radar at the beginning of the season, but he is off to a 4-1 start with a 2.30 ERA and 1.024 WHIP. He was originally drafted in the 34th round by the “Devil” Rays in 2006 out of high school, in the 50th a year later by the Cardinals and ultimately signed with Chicago when he was taken in the 16th in 2010 from the University of Tennessee.