8/19/2014 8:52 P.M. ET
Lindstrom looking for better feel with pitches
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Veteran right-hander Matt Lindstrom was out of Major League action from May 19 through Aug. 13 following surgery to repair a tendon sheath in his left ankle. And although he feels healthy and strong, he believes that the feel on his pitches has been missing during the struggles over his last two appearances.
"Just being out for a couple of months, the feel for putting hitters away is not quite there yet," Lindstrom said. "I need to get it there. I'm not really helping the team out right now.
"I'm pounding the zone. I don't have a problem with that. It's getting guys with two strikes and not really knowing how to finish them. That's something that I've got to get through and over, and I've got to make sure that I can do that, because this is the big leagues. That's what it requires, especially late in the game."
Lindstrom has allowed seven hits and one walk over his last two trips to the mound, covering one-plus innings. He was ahead of three of the four hitters he faced on Monday and five of seven on Saturday. He has been using two types of breaking balls, but he said on Tuesday that he might dial back his repertoire to the "harder slider/cutter thing."
"I really want to get it fixed," he said. "I want to feel like I'm contributing to the team and not being the crutch. I feel like I'm just making too many two-strike mistakes. I think when the feel gets there, you won't be seeing me making those mistakes."
Relievers say they need to pitch inside more
CHICAGO -- Zach Putnam certainly doesn't want to speak for the entire bullpen, but he agrees with Matt Lindstrom's assessment following Monday night's defeat that the White Sox relievers need to pitch inside a bit more to be effective.
"Throwing inside, it doesn't matter who you are facing, it's going to open up some other things you can do as far as throwing to the other side of the plate and keeping guys honest a little bit," Putnam said. "In a game like last night, those guys were taking some pretty good swings right from the get-go.
"In terms of how that affected the game last night, I mean that going inside and getting guys off the plate probably would have helped us out a lot. For me, whenever I see guys coming out and just taking huge swings and looking real comfortable in the box, that's always kind of alarming as a pitcher.
"Really, the only way to kind of counteract is just to throw inside and maybe knock a few guys down. Obviously not throw at anybody, nothing dangerous. But keeping them honest and getting them off that outside pitch and offspeed stuff away."
Manager Robin Ventura believes that the need for more inside pitches might be a bit of overanalysis following a night when the relievers simply were too much in the middle of the plate.
"If you have good hitters, you have to pitch inside and establish that and your offspeed stuff," Ventura said. "Again, being in the middle of the plate more often, you're going to get hit like that. Last night we definitely missed some spots. That's part of it, but to get people out, you have to establish your fastball inside.
"It's an unforgiving position. The bullpen is a glaring position. You come in, you get everybody out, it's great, and if you don't it's sitting there for everyone else to see. It's always going to be that kind of position. When it goes well, it's great, but when it doesn't it doesn't make you feel good."
White Sox supporting Jackie Robinson West
CHICAGO -- The White Sox have a direct connection to the Jackie Robinson West team from Chicago, currently taking part in the Little League World Series. Six of the players on that team also play for the White Sox Amateur City Elite baseball program -- Marquis Jackson, Ed Howard, Cameron Bufford, Brandon Green, Joshua Houston, and Trey Hondras.
But even without that tie-in, the White Sox would be supporting a young team that seemingly has galvanized the city.
"When we saw it happening, we know they would be a good team," said Kevin Coe, the White Sox director of youth baseball initiatives. "We didn't know they would be this good.
"We knew we would unite the community, but we've united the entire city."
Coe pointed out that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Pat Quinn and fans of all ages have been attending the packed viewing parties at Jackie Robinson Park for the contests involving Jackie Robinson West.
"Coming from such a violent community, for the community to unite in something positive is really awesome," Coe said.
Third to first
• Class A Winston-Salem right-hander Nick Blount and center fielder Adam Engel will join manager Tommy Thompson as part of the Melbourne Aces in the Australian Baseball League, which runs from Nov. 7, 2014, to Jan. 25, 2015. Joey DeMichele and Jacob May took part in this league last winter.
• Andy Wilkins continued feasting on International League pitching on Monday night with a double, a home run and five RBIs in Triple-A Charlotte's 17-4 victory over Gwinnett. Wilkins leads the league in home runs (29), RBIs (82), extra-base hits (65) and total bases (260), and ranks second in doubles (35), slugging percentage (.573) and OPS (.914).
• Carlos Rodon, the White Sox top pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and the third selection overall, made his debut for Charlotte on Tuesday. He is the only member of the 2014 Draft class to reach Triple-A this season.