White Sox sticking with rookie Hector Santiago as closer

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Robin Ventura gave Hector Santiago a public vote of confidence following his first blown save of the season and the manager made it clear last night that he’s sticking with the rookie after a second blown save.

“I think stuff happens, but we’re still going with him,” Ventura told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. “He’s going to be fine.”

Maybe, but it seemed pretty clear when Ventura named Santiago the closer and seems even more obvious now that he’s no better than the White Sox’s fourth-best reliever behind Matt Thornton, Addison Reed, and Jesse Crain.

And now Santiago has two blown saves with an 8.53 ERA in seven appearances, canceling out an excellent 10/1 K/BB ratio by serving up four homers in just 6.1 innings. Meanwhile, the trio of Reed, Thornton, and Crain have combined for a 1.13 ERA and 28/3 K/BB ratio in 24 innings with only Crain serving up a homer.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.