Friday, September 24, 2010

We've moved!

We are pleased to announce that Swings Both Ways is now part of Chicago's own The Beachwood Reporter and its parent Beachwood Media family. The Beachwood Reporter is also where you can find my weekly fantasy sports column, Fantasy Fix.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to keep an eye on SBW during the off-season for commentary on the latest Cubs and White Sox hot-stove moves. Follow the link below to be directly connected to our new home:

Swings Both Ways

Sunday, September 19, 2010

10 questions

(See my answers below)

1) Who's the better team right now--Sox or Cubs?

2) Who would you rather see at DH for the Sox right now--Manny Ramirez or Mark Kotsay?

3) Will the Sox finish in second place or third place?

4) Will the Cubs finish in fifth place for fourth place?

5) Will Mike Quade manage the Cubs next season?

6) Will Ozzie Guillen manage the Sox next season?

7) Should the Sox re-sign Paul Konerko?

8) Will Carlos Zambrano be in the starting rotation for the Cubs next year?

9) How likely is it that next year's Opening Day infield for the Cubs will be Xavier Nady at 1B, Darwin Barney at 2B, Starlin Castro at SS and Blake DeWitt at 3B?

10) Are you still watching Sox and Cubs games this season?


1) Cubs. The Sox have folded completely.

2) Logic says Many is still better for your line-up even when he isn't hitting--but it doesn't really matter anymore, does it?

3) The Sox don't look interested in beating anyone right now. I think a 3-11 finish for an 82-80 record will barely keep them in second place.

4) Despite the 17-7 run under Quade and the good vibes, the Cubs re pretty much stuck in fifth, which shows you just how far they fell under Lou Piniella.

5) Assuming Joe Girardi isn't available, I think Quade is the next manager. If not, why is GM Jim Hendry giving him a tryout?

6) Ozzie has fallen out of favor in my household. He spends too much time admiring the Twins and not enough figuring out how to beat them. If he wants to manage Florida, I'd say let him go. Then, maybe the Sox can hire Joey Cora before someone else finally does.

7) No... but they will. Letting the fan favorite go after a near MVP season would be a tough decision.

8) Yes... but with a nice finish to 2010 his trde value will never be higher.

9) Very likely. I don't believe the Cubs will make a strong play for someone like Adam Dunn to play 1B, and Nady is playing well enough. Castro is a lock at SS, and Barney is forcing the Cubs to play him now, which wil push DeWitt over the 3B in the long-run. The likelihood the Aramis Ramirez will return to the Cubs for another year seems strong, but I'll be he starts the year injured.

10) Not really.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Swept away

The Cubs swept the Cardinals this week in St. Louis, which normally would be a source of great joy and much discussion here, but another sweep, Minnesota's three-game domination of the White Sox at The Cell, extended a dark cloud over all of Chicago baseball. The Sox are officially unofficially out of the play-off race.

The Piranhas' total ownership of the Sox was something many of us thought might fade this year with the closing of the dreaded Metrodome. But, if anything, the Twins' ability to make the Sox look bad has evolved to a whole new level and is starting to look like one of those famous baseball curses. The Twins do everything right against the Sox--even more so than the findamentally precise team does against other foes, and they get all the calls. The Sox, meanwhile, can no longer muster an effective pitching performance or inning at the plate against the Twins to save their lives.

The Sox Tuesday through Thursday sumply looked beaten from the beginning, lacking the spark they all knew they would have to have. I'm not sure how to explain it or how it can be overcome, which basically puts me on the same level as Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams. Maybe some answers can be found between now and net spring--they are no other priorities left.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No black-out?

It might be a good time for the White Sox to order up a Black-Out for fans attending the series against the Twins opening tonight at The Cell. Granted, the Sox are only 1-1 in Black-Out games as far as I know, but the one win came in Game 163 of 2008 against the Twins (the loss came later in the 2008 play-offs in Tampa's NLDS clincher at The Cell, though the Black-Out effect was mitigated by the fact of daylight). Anyway, maybe I missed it, but I haven't seen a call for a Black-Out this week. Maybe most of us already stopped believin'. Well, don't stop.

At least not yet.

Other things I'm thinking about, both Sox-wise and Cubs-wise:

--Manny sure hasn't done much yet, not even an RBI since he came to Chicago. Though, he looked a bit better in the last two games, and now would be a good time for a breakthrough.

--The Sox looked really great in two comeback victories over the Royals last weekend. How did the team look so terrible in Saturday's loss to the lowly Baby Blues?

--Chris Sale is your new White Sox closer, and depending what happens, maybe your closer of 2011, unless a rotation spot unexpectedly opens up.

--Next year's Sox starting rotation: Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Edwin Jackson. Thanks for the memories, Freddy.

--One of the very few Cubs questions anyone still cares about apparently has been answered: Aramis Ramirez told the Sun-Times he is staying in Chicago, meaning he won't exercise his contract option to leave. I am trying to be happy about this, but all I can think of right now is that this should serve as notice to anyone being considered as the Cubs next manager that they will need to keep an extra infielder on the roster when camp breaks next spring for when A-Ram eventually lands on the DL.

--Maybe the only other nagging question is who will be the next manager? (OK, "Why is Jim Hendry still around?" might be another.) Mike Quade has done a nice job guiding the young Cubs to a winning record thus far under his watch, though he will be persona non grata if Joe Girardi becomes available. If Quade finishes the year in a winning mode and Girardi doesn't bite, I don't see how you can give the job to Ryne Sandberg (and I think Hendry secretly doesn't want Ryno to have it anyway because he hasn't paid his dues like Quade has).

--If the Cubs win all of their remaining games, they will finish 81-81. It's good to have goals.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The chase continues

I'm not ready to give the A.L. Central crown to the Twins. I think the White Sox, at 4.5 games out of first place still have a decent chance to catch up, assuming they beat the Twins at least two out of three when they come to town next week, and meanwhile beat up on just about everyone else.

I'll admit, it looks bleak, particularly when the Sox won seven in a row and couldn't get any closer than 3.5 games back. The Sox have won seven of their last 10, but guess what: Minnesota has won eight of 10. It's frustrating, but the Sox must by now they can expect nothing less from their chief rivals (no, not the Cubs).

True, injuries to Gordon Beckham and Paul Konerko could not have come at a worse time, so for the Sox to be fully prepared for the Piranha invasion next, the pitching staff needs to--forgive the Hawkism--strap it down.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Movin' on Manny

The White Sox reportedly are close to a deal to get Manny Ramirez after the former superstar cleared waivers. It could end up being an interesting move that improves the Sox' chance to reach the postseason, or it could be a high-profile mistake on par with the Ken Griffey, Jr., deal.

Some of that depends on what the Sox will have to give up. The farm system is starting to look pretty thin, the quick elevation of 2010 draft pick Chris Sale being evidence of that. The Sox already have shipped out Daniel Hudson, who has pitched very well for Arizona. I don't think I want to see them part with Dayan Viciedo, Stefan Gartrell, Tyler Flowers or Freddy Dolsi--how about Randy Williams?

Manny still is a great hitter, though hits homers less frequently than he used to and tends to land on the disabled list now and then. If he's healthy for a month or so, and hits even marginally better than Andruw Jones, this could be just what the Sox need to catch the Twins. The Manny-being-Manny crap doesn't scare me too much because there just isn't much time for anything too terrible to happen.

Still, it's wise not to expect too much. It would be better if we were talking about a deal for Adam Dunn, Johnny Damon or some other lefty hitter, but we'll take what we can get and hope a new bat occasionally brings another run per game.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Piniella retiring... right now

Lou Piniella said he is retiring following today's game against the Braves, rather than staying for the rest of the season, as originally planned. He reportedly changed his mind because of his mom's ailing health, so we wish for his sake the circumstances were far different, but this is probably also the best thing for the Cubs.

The team is in a nose-dive, having backed up the truck to unload big-contract vets and re-load with young guns from the minors. Best to get into the full wait 'til next year rebuilding mode, which includes trying out new management candidates and getting the young guys used to the fact that Lou will no longer be running the show.

Mike Quade is perhaps a surprise choice to take over as interim manager the rest of the season. I would have figure on Alan Trammell, who many of us though was a candidate to replace Piniella next year. But, it looks like GM Jim Hendry informed Trammell he will not be the next manager, so that makes things interesing for next year. If Quade does well, could he become manager full-time and perhaps include Ryne Sandberg on his coaching staff, or is Quade merely keep the seat warm for the next guy--whether he thinks so or not? And what will come of Trammell?