Results tagged ‘ Adam Dunn ’

A New Hitting Coach and a Medicine Ball Rejuvenate a Beleaguered Dunn

Poor Adam Dunn.

It now comes to light that he may not have had to endure his historically-awful 2011 season if Jeff Manto was the hitting coach.

You see, Dunn spoke yesterday of Manto’s unconventional method of having the slugger swinging a bat with a medicine ball–yes, a medicine ball–between his legs to help keep him from lunging which preserves his overall balance.

So far, at least, the results are clear. Dunn’s been a different hitter as of late, coming up with clutch hits and going the other way to boot. Last night, he drove in five runs in the 7-3 Sox victory over the Mariners with an opposite field, run-scoring double and a pair of homers, one a towering three-run shot.

After the first 13 games of the season he’s now got three homers, 12 RBIs, a .265 batting average (more than 100 points higher than he finished last year), a .368 on-base percentage and .940 OPS.

The strikeouts (22) are still there and, let’s face it, they always wil be for a hitter of this ilk. But I think that you’ll agree that we can live with that, if we get those home runs and run-scoring doubles.

Up and Down Sox are .500 After First Dozen Games

As the White Sox head out to Seattle and Oakland for three games each with the Mariners and A’s, we’re a .500 team. Not so horrible, I guess, but losing three of four at home to the Orioles makes it feel much worse. Especially since we were in every game and raised everyone’s expectations by  taking two of three from the Tigers to open the homestand.

There were certainly positive signs in the Baltimore series as Adam Dunn and Alex Rios both had clutch hits (something rare a year ago), Paulie is Paulie and Jake Peavy is heading into 2007 territory when he won the Cy Young with the Padres. That said, Gavin Floyd (above) left a lot to be desired on the mound, the offense is striking out way too much and either not getting on base enough or leaving too many aboard. In yesterday’s game, the South Siders struck out 16 times and left the bases loaded three times. Certainly not something to build on.

The good news is that we’re only 12 games into the season. The next 150 will determine whether or not we’re more than a .500 team.

Two to Forget

I couldn’t bear to post my blog yesterday after the Sox meltdown Monday night against the Orioles. A 4-2 lead in the ninth should be enough, but we all know that there are always going to be a bunch of these heartbreakers during the course of the season. We just don’t want to admit it–and I couldn’t face writing about it, especially the 10-4 final score.

I had good feelings about the South Siders bouncing back last night with John Danks on the mound, but very few teams are going to win games with two, maybe three hitters, doing what they’re supposed to do. The result? a 3-2 loss.

To state the obvious, we are struggling offensively. Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham are among the culprits along with Brent Morel. And the few who are on their game,  like Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, haven’t provided enough firepower to overcome the slackers.

The new skipper is still showing confidence in the non-producers. It’ll be interesting to see how long he waits before a makes an adjustment or two.

Pessimistic About Your White Sox? Listen to None Other Than Tigers Manager Jim Leyland

By Fred Mitchell of The Chicago Tribune:

Tigers manager Jim Leyland can get pretty riled up, even after his team has won a game.

Following Sunday’s 5-2 victory over the White Sox that prevented a series sweep, Leyland adamantly dismissed the many preseason predictions that the Tigers would run away with the American League Central, and that the White Sox would struggle mightily.

“People who made those picks, they know nothing about baseball,” Leyland said.“Trust me. If they think the Chicago White Sox are not going to be in the thick of this, they’re crazy. They don’t know anything about baseball, people who make picks like that … they know nothing about baseball. Nothing!”

Sports Illustrated predicted the White Sox would lose 95 games this season.

“Since 2006 when I got here, this has been one of the best teams in the league every year. And they will be right there,” Leyland said. “They picked us fourth last year and we won 95 games. So don’t pay attention to those people. They pick and they talk, but they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

The White Sox are off to an early 5-3 record, a half-game behind the Tigers (6-3).

“Look at their pitching staff. Look at the arms they throw out there,” Leyland said of the Sox. “Look at some of the arms they bring out of the bullpen. You know, Paul Konerko is one of the best hitters in baseball. You know Adam Dunn is going to do a lot better than he did last year. He got a couple of (doubles) today. I mean, this is a good team. (Alexei) Ramirez is one of the best shortstops in the league. This is a real good team. (A.J.) Pierzynski is one of the best catchers, gets a lot of big hits. I don’t know why anybody would not pick these guys as a solid, solid contender.”

The Tigers are the defending AL Central champs and have added free-agent slugger Prince Fielder to their lineup.

“I mean, we have a good team. Don’t get me wrong. So do they. They’re proving that. The people who make those picks…I don’t pay any attention to that,” Leyland said.



A Successful Weekend, No. 42 and Those 1972 Red Pinstriped Unis

We sure wanted the brooms to come out this afternoon, signifying a three-game White Sox sweep over the tough Tigers. It wasn’t to be, however, as the Sox dropped the series finale, 5-2.

It’s certainly not the end of the world as the Sox are still 5-3 on the young season and are playing good baseball. It’s just a bit disappointing we didn’t sweep because the South Siders have been playing so competitively and even had the tying run at the plate when the game ended. All in all, I’ll take it.

Chris Sale pitched well this afternoon (as Gavin Floyd did Saturday and Jake Peavy on Friday), but threw a lot of pitches, left early and on this day couldn’t match the Tigers’ Rick Porcello. In the good news category, Adam Dunn cranked out a pair of doubles and Dayan Viciedo went deep for his second homer of the season.

I’m a glass-full guy, as you know, so take this for what it’s worth: Based on what I’ve seen so far  I’m convinced we’ve got an exciting season ahead of us–even though it’s only April 15.

Next up: Four at the Cell with the Orioles.

Day of Celebration: All the Sox and Tigers, along with players on the other 28 Major League clubs, wore No. 42 to commemorate the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier on April 15, 1947. The Sox players donned the their red pinstripe unis, as they will every Sunday home game, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the outstanding 1972 Pale Hose.

Viciedo Heads a Host of Heroes in Victorious White Sox Home Opener

Regardless of who you may have chosen as today’s White Sox “Pick to Click,” you could likely make a case for your choice as the Sox celebrated their home opener with a host of heroes in their 5-2 triumph over the powerful Tigers.

Conventional wisdom would seem to be on the side of Dayan Viciedo, who put the Sox ahead 1-0 in the fifth with a long homer over the centerfield fence (pictured above) and made a spectacular catch in left of the bat of Andy Dirks to prevent the tying and go-ahead from scoring with the Sox ahead 3-2. The catch was certainly a game changer.

But how about Alexei Ramirez, whose diving grab behind the second base bag started the key double play off the bat of the dangerous Miguel Cabrera with one out and men on first and third in the eighth inning. Another game changer.

Or how about Jake Peavy, who gave up just two runs in 6 2/3 while striking out eight.

Then there was Paul Konerko who singled in Alejandro De Aza in the sixth for the sec0nd Sox run and A.J. Pierzynski who tripled in Konerko  all the way from first for run No. 3.

And we can’t forget  three others–De Aza who tripled in the eighth and scored on a Brent Morel single to give the Sox a 4-2 advantage (the fifth run scored on a wild pitch) and Hector Santiago, who recorded his third save.

OK, let’s give it to Dayan with a bunch of honorable mentions.

Sox note of note: In the category of nothing’s perfect, it’s interesting to note that the three regulars in today’s lineup who weren’t very heroic were the same three hitters who had such poor seasons a year ago: Adam Dunn, who K’d four times, Gordon Beckham, who struck out on three occasions, and Alex Rios, who struck out twice. In all fairness, Rios did smack a double and was at the plate when the  final Sox run scored on the wild pitch.

A.J., De Aza Among Early Sox Contributors

I’m not planning on purchasing playoff tickets just yet, but we all should be happy at what we’ve seen of the Sox as they’ve concluded their initial road trip with a 3-2 record.

Offensively…

* A.J. Pierzynski is on fire with two homers, six RBIs and a .313 batting average.

* Alejandro De Aza also has a pair of homers (hit in the same games as A.J. hit his) and is hitting a respectable .273 from the leadoff spot.

* Paul Konerko is homerless, but has driven in five runs and has an OPS of 1.100.

* Adam Dunn is hitting only .222 with just one homer and two RBIs, but looks much, much better and has an on-base percentage of .364.

* Dayan Viciedo has zeroes in HR and RBIs, but is hitting a somewhat acceptable .267.

* And there  are always early-season stragglers looking to break out. In this case, Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham, Alex Rios and Brent Morel all need to get things going. I have to admit I’m concerned about Beckham and Rios while Alexei always gets off to a slow start.

Pitching-wise…

* Chris Sale has to be the top early story here with his terrific performance against the Tribe in his first ML start. The other Sox victories were credited to Matt Thornton in relief against Texas and John Danks, who was far from in command  yesterday in Cleveland, but gutted it out and benefitted from the 10 runs of support he got from his teammates.

* The pen has been solid with relievers Jesse Crain, Nate Jones, Addison Reed and Thornton all possessing 0.00 ERAs. And aside from surrendering a leadoff ninth inning homer in the opener against Cleveland, closer Hector Santiago has been impressive with his two saves.

Now it’s time to go home and convince the Tigers that they’re human.

A Night of “Firsts”

Last night in Arlington proved to be a winner for the White Sox as their nail-biting 4-3 triumph over the Rangers was built on a series of “firsts.”

For starters, it was the first Sox win of the year as they rebounded from a 3-2 defeat the day before in the season opener. It was also Robin Ventura‘s first victory as a manager, an accomplishment that earned him a beer shower from the troops. And it was rookie Hector Santiago‘s first major league save.

Aside from the “W” itself, the most satisfying “first” of all had to be Alex Rios‘s game-winning homer–over the centerfield fence.  It’s too early to make any legitimate assessements, but Rios showed that maybe there’s some potential for a turnaround from his disastrous 2011 as he slugged his personal No. 1 round-tripper.

We’ve said all along that Adam Dunn and Rios could be the keys to a Sox surprise this season. So far, so good.

Sox Will Have to Bring Their “A” Game as Tough Foes Dot April Schedule

Happy Opening Day!  And now the flurry of questions about our 2012 White Sox will begin to be answered.

The April schedule won’t be a cakewalk. First it’s three against the Rangers, beginning this afternoon, then three vs. the Tribe–all on the road–then home for three against the mighty Tigers and four vs. the Orioles. The month concludes with a six-game road trip to Seattle and and Oakland and a four-game homestand against the Red Sox.

I hate to get ahead of myself because facing the two-time defending American League champs the next three days is imposing enough. But the facts are the facts. The Sox, in need of getting off to a good start to excite the South Side fandom, have their work cut out for them.

Today, we’ll see Robin Ventura‘s managerial debut and a new lineup that will look like this:

DeAza, CF

Morel, 3B

Dunn, DH

Konerko, 1B

Pierzynski, C

Rios, RF

Ramirez,SS

Viciedo, LF

Beckham , 2B

Danks, P

One mystery is the identity of the closer. Ventura has been mum on the subject, but it seems Matt Thornton, Hector Santiago and Addison Reed are the likely suspects, in no particular order.

One game won’t make or break the season, but it sure would be nice to get out of the box with a “W” against the league champs. And it would be even sweeter if Dunn is a big part of it so he can exorcise those 2011 demons sooner than later.

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Glendale, AZ—The uncertainty I’m feeling about the 2012 White Sox remains after having witnessed five spring training contests. As has been the pattern since the Sox left Sarasota for Arizona, the record is below .500–2-6 as of this morning. While that in itself is not serious cause for concern, all things considered a win is always better than a loss.

A few observations that contribute to the continuing uncertainty:

* Adam Dunn (knock on wood) looks much, much better. He’s making contact and looked his old powerful self with a three-run shot and a solid double against the Rangers last week.

* Alex Rios really hasn’t made an impression one way or another. A bit disappointing for those of us hoping for his revival.

* John Danks is struggling with his command. He doesn’t seem concerned since it’s happening so early in the spring, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

* Nestor Molina, who was acquired for Sergio Santos, got lit up in his first appearance, but seemed to be much more relaxed in a good outing the next time he took the mound. Simon Castro, who came to the Sox in the Carlos Quentin deal, had an appearance he’d like to forget. Entering the game in the top of the ninth with a 6-5 lead, he imploded with a walk, a wild pitch, a hit batsmen and then surrendered a grand slam home run, sending the Sox into defeat. Neither one will make the opening day roster, but much will be expected of both as early as this summer so it’s worth watching.

* I like what I’ve seen of Brent Morel. I think he’ll just get better and better. His infield mate Gordon Beckham, in somewhat of a do or die situation, has also been a positive. Defensively, they will combine with Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez to give the Sox a stellar infield presence.

* Matt Thornton is the leader in the clubhouse for the closer role, but youngster Addison Reed is lurking. Seems like the call won’t be made until the end of the spring.

* Tyler Flowers, the backup backstop, has struck out a lot, but has shown power. Those who have watched him see his potential at the plate, but he’s yet to show it on a consistent basis.

* One reserve position player will likely be selected from Eduardo Escobar, Ozzie Martinez, Dan JohnsonDallas McPherson and Jim Gallagher. I would say Johnson is the guy right now.

It’s just been that kind of a spring.

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