Results tagged ‘ Alex Rios ’

Sox in Bizarro World

Bizarro World is when up is down, left is right and all things are opposite of the norm. Consider the Friday and Saturday White Sox-Twins games at Target Field as a case in point.

After years of being dominated by the Twinkies and entering this series 1-7 against them this season, the tables turned. It was the Sox, not the Twinkies, who had the outstanding pitching, clutch hitting, sound defense and daring play on the basepaths in the two games. And it was Minnesota which took the role of past Sox teams with less-than-stellar play. Most importantly, the South Siders came out on the winning side of the ledger, 5-3 and 6-1, and already have chalked up a rare series win against their division rivals.

The big story of last night was righty Zach Stewart, who was acquired by the Sox from Toronto in the Edwin Jackson trade. He was aggressive all night and credited with career victory No. 1 in his first Sox appearance as he pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball. Also up to the challenge were Chris Sale, Jason Frasor and Sergio Santos who shut the door after Stewart’s exit.

In the eighth, with Michael Cuddyer on third and no outs, Sale retired Jason Kubel and Jim Thome before Frasor struck out Danny Valencia to end the inning with the tying run on third. Santos pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Sox Notes of Note:  No one example can back up the Bizarro World scenario more than this: Joe Nathan, for years a closer the Sox couldn’t touch, gave up a two-run homer to Brent Lillibridge in the four-run Sox ninth…Alex Rios collected three hits while his buddy Adam Dunn struck out three more times…Despite the two victories the Sox remained at 6 1/2 games behind the Tigers, who have beaten the Royals on back-to-back nights.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt as White Sox Lose Series to Bosox; No Last Minute Deals This Year

For anyone who wants to understand the White Sox struggles through the club’s first 106 games just has to look at the last three innings of today’s disappointing 5-3 loss to the Red Sox. It serves as a microcosm of the team’s failure to be better than their 52-54 record.

7th Inning: The Sox lost their 3-2 lead (wasting another Mark Buehrle effort) , largely due to a deflected infield hit and a Tyler Flowers passed ball that moved the tying and winning runs into second and third. The two runners scored on a Dustin Pedroia base hit.

8th Inning: With two outs and Alexei Ramirez on second with his 22nd double, Juan Pierre failed to drive in the tying run. It is important to note that Pierre was hitting in the third spot only because he replaced Paul Konerko, removed from the game after being hit by a pitch.

9th Inning: Now down 5-3, the Sox had three of their supposed big bats in position to give it a shot. But they went down with a whimper as Carlos Quentin, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios all went down swinging. The problem, as we all know, is that Dunn and Rios are far from being big bats, despite the preseason expectations and the back of their baseball cards. They haven’t done it in the first four months and there’s no reason to believe things are going to change.

If Dunn and Rios continue their woeful offense and continue to fail when it counts, there’s no reason to believe the Sox are any better than a .500 team let alone a division contender.

Bad Timing?:  With two losses in a row, the Sox find themselves in a tough situation with the Yankees coming in for four games. To make matters worse, C.C. Sabathia is on the mound in Game 1 tomorrow night.

The Frank Thomas Statue Was Unveiled Before Today’s Game

As SoxWorld Turns…

Rejoice White Sox fans, we’re back at .500 and seemingly on a roll after a nice, efficient 3-1 victory last night against the Red Sox.

Suddenly, things seem a lot bright brighter than they did a few days ago. Whether it’s the series victory over the Tigers, the emotional impact of the Edwin Jackson trade, the continued outstanding pitching, the callup of Alejandro De Aza and benching of Alex Rios or all the above, much more optimism is evident throughout White Sox Nation.

Certainly one of the biggest recent boosts has been the resurgence of Gavin Floyd, who lately has been lights out. In seven innings of work against Boston last evening he gave up a lone run (a homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia) on three hits with five strikeouts and in the process evened his record to 9-9.  The offense, which is still not where it should be, provided just enough, highlighted by A.J. Pierzynski‘s two-run, seventh inning home run.

Three games back of Detroit and just a half-game behind second place Cleveland, it seems the Sox are going to make a serious run. But before I get too crazy, we still have two more games against the Red Sox, four vs. the Yankees and three in Minnesota. And who knows what trades are going to be made in the next two days that will impact the club.

I guess all that will take care itself. But, for now, like the Sox I’m back in the game.

One Fine Day

Quite a day on the South Side. Here are some of the highlights:

–The 2-1 victory over the Tigers, giving the Sox their second straight series win over Detroit and enabling them to move within 3 1/2 games of the division leaders.

Alejandro De Aza (above), just up from Charlotte, hit his first major league home run, which proved to be the difference in today’s triumph.

–De Aza’s promotion has moved Alex Rios to the bench, a smart move considering the latter’s disastrous season both at the plate and in the field.

John Danks was outstanding today, giving up only a run and six hits in six innings along with 10 strikeouts. Most impressive was the fact he got out of jam after jam against the tough Tiger lineup.

–The Trade: Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Jays for reliever Jason Frasor and minor league pitcher Zach Stewart. The fact that Jackson will be a free agent at the end of the season made his departure an obvious move. Teahen is addition by subtraction. And Frasor, a Chicagoan who has always been tough on his hometown/new team, will be a big help in the pen.

For the record, Jackson was quickly dealt  from the Jays to the Cardinals for centerfielder Colby Rasmus, who was rumored to coveted by the Sox. Counting Toronto, who Jackson never played for, St. Louis is Jackson’s seventh team–Dodgers, Rays, Tigers, Diamondbacks, White Sox, Blue Jays, Cardinals–in his nine big league campaigns.

–Extra! Extra! Adam Dunn didn’t strike out today and had a hit and three walks. A cause for celebration.

–The bullpen has been extraordinary most of the season. This afternoon was no exception as Chris Sale and Sergio Santos (21st save) preserved the Danks win, coming in for three frames of perfect relief. Sale did most of the heavy lifting in his 2 2/3 innings of work as Santos retired one batter–Brennan Boesch, who made the final out.

Sox Note of Note: Apart from the Jackson deal, rumors are flying that other moves are on the way as the Sox try to cut some payroll. Could Matt ThorntonJuan PierreCarlos Quentin or even Danks and Gavin Floyd be next?

Don’t Count on Adam and Alex

One thing is becoming pretty clear to all of us, despite our hopes to the contrary. If the White Sox are to win the A.L. Central and make their first postseason appearance since 2008, they are going to have to do it without major contributions from Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.

We have been thinking things will change, but it’s July 19 and nada.

The disappointing duo, once counted on to be at the heart of the Sox offense, show no signs of significant improvement. If you think about it, it’s pretty impressive that we’re only two games under .500 and 4 1/2 from the division lead without these two being major factors.

As well-chronicled here and elsewhere, Dunn has been and continues to be an absolute failure. He’s on his way to setting the all-time single-season strikeout mark and is threatening to record the lowest qualifying batting average in the last 91 years. He’s now at .158.

Rios is simply lost. It’s apparent he’s confused at the plate and his nonchalant attitude gives the impression he’s not trying. It’s painful to watch his struggles. He’s now at .208 and headed for Dunn territory.

Last night, as has been the case so many times before, the Sox were victorious despite Dunn and Rios. Between them they were 0 for 7 with four strikeouts (two apiece).

Things certainly can change, but right now the conventional wisdom is that any hope of October baseball is going to be accomplished with Nos. 32 and 51.

Break Up the White Sox

While rumors are swirling that he may once again be on the trading block, Edwin Jackson today pitched his finest game since joining the Sox nearly a year ago with a 5-0 complete game shutout of the Tigers. It was his first CG since pitching his no-hitter with the Diamondbacks last June.

Jackson’s usual bugaboo is his inconsistency and lack of control, resulting in high pitch counts. But that wasn’t the case this afternoon in Detroit as he sailed through nine innings on just 101 pitches. He’s now 6-7 and lowered his ERA to under 4.00 (3.97).

If Jackson remains with the Sox, the hope is that he can repeat what he did today on a more consistent basis. If the Sox plan to trade him, which would mean the righthander would be shipped to his sixth team (Dodgers, Rays, Tigers, D-backs, Sox), Edwin did Kenny Williams a favor by showcasing himself in the best possible light.

In addition to Jackson’s gem, two of the Sox first-half whipping boys were keys to the offense. Juan Pierre went 4 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI while Gordon Beckham had his second consecutive two-hit game and also scored a run and drove one in. Pierre has elevated his BA to .275 and Beckham is now at .252. Carlos Quentin had his second straight three-hit game, including his 18th homer.

Even though Adam Dunn delivered a clutch hit in last night’s victory he went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts today. His non-producing buddy, Alex Rios, was also 0 for 4 with two K’s. Dunn is now at a season low .159 and Rios, now at .207, keeps tumbling as well.

Sox Note of Note: If the uniform Jackson is wearing in the above photo threw you off a bit, it’s a throwback uniform the South Siders wore today in tribute to the Chicago American Giants of the Negro Leagues.

Trouble in the Mile High City

Notes and quotes on the White Sox’s  3-2 extra inning loss last night to the Rockies:

* The winning run scored from first base on a single in the 13th inning (pictured above) when centerfielder Brent Lillibridge seemed to nonchalant the play.

Lillibridge explains:

“We’re playing no doubles in one of the biggest ballparks in this league. (Ty Wigginton) bloops it right there behind second base, and the first thing I’m doing is sprinting in there. Once it stops, I have to make sure. I can’t go in on a bare-hand sprint and miss the ball. I’m not going to make a mistake there. I’m going to make sure I get it.

“Right when I looked to see where the runner (Troy Tulowitzki) was, I saw him rounding third base so I gathered myself, made a one-hop throw to home plate and take a chance and he was able to beat it. It was close, but it was a good call by the third base coach. It was just one of those weird things that you never think a guy would send him, but he knew what he was doing and they got the win out of it.”

* Lillibridge was in center because Ozzie pulled Alex Rios from the game for not hustling.

Ozzie on Rios, who was hitless and committed an error in the fifth:

“(He) don’t run the bases. That’s why I got him out of the game. It’s not (the first time) it’s happened. If you don’t play the game right, you’re out of the game.”

* In a much-too-familiar scenario, the White Sox hit into a pair of double plays in the first five innings that halted ralllies.

Ozzie on the loss:

“I don’t think we should feel bad because we earned it to lose this game. We deserved to lose. I think the way we played from the first inning, I don’t think we should have won this game at all. We had opportunities. The only thing about this game, we pitched well. Everything else was pretty bad.

After last night and the recent hitting woes of Adam Dunn and all the rest the five games in which we trail the Tigers seems like 20.

Nice Win, But We Live in a Real World

Twenty-four hours ago, my Sox posse and I were lamenting the 6-3 loss to the Cubs in the opener of the Crosstown Series.

One day later, we have claimed an impressive 3-2 rain-delayed win over the North Siders, gained a full game on the first place Indians, to move within 4 1/2 games of first place, and have inched closer to the elusive .500 mark (36-39).

While all of us are feeling better this morning, we can’t ignore three dark clouds that need to clear out before we seriously think postseason:

  • Adam Dunn
  • Alex Rios
  • Gordon Beckham
Dunn — As documented here and everywhere, Dunn has been a failure of monumental proportion. Here we are on June 21 and the slugger who consistently has hit in the 40 homer and 100 RBI range, has smashed just seven HR and driven in 29. Most alarming, of course are his 91 strikeouts in 64 games and his .175 batting average.  It won’t happen for a variety of reasons, but how about recalling Dayan Viciedo to share DH duties and play a little right field? We can’t endure Dunn much longer if he doesn’t snap out of it.
Rios — If it weren’t for Dunn’s woes, Rios would be the main whipping boy. After last season we thought he figured it out, but apparently not. Hitting .212 with six homers and 20 RBIs, he’s looked lost at the plate for the most part and  it seems his offense has affected his defense. He doesn’t seem to be the same “money” centerfielder as he was last season. The good news is that he’s come alive a bit lately.
Beckham — Although it hasn’t gotten the notice–or the blame–of the others, you can make a case that Beckham is the biggest disappointment of all. In his first season (2009), when he was named Rookie of the Year by two peer groups, he was as close to a sure thing as we’ve had since the days of Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura and Jack McDowell. But he began his sophomore season in a horrific slump, came on during the summer and ended the season injured. This year, he looks like another average major league infielder, not the perennial All-Star we thought he would be. There is still time for him to get back to his “glory days,” but if it doesn’t happen it’ll be a colossal disappointment to the organization and its fan base.
On a more positive note, how about that Konerko? He’s absolutely on fire with his 21 homers, 59 RBIs, 331 BA and 1.010 OPS. Not to mention having hit HR in five consecutive games.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Many of the most cherished moments with my now 88-year-old Dad, Seymour Berke, have been following the White Sox and going to countless games at old Comiskey and the Cell. In 1959, my Dad was able to get two tickets to Game 1 of the World Series, which the South Siders won 11-0. The bad news is that he had to work and didn’t go with me. For the next 46 years I regretted that I never got to go to a Sox World Series game with him. Then, in 2005, my disappointment ended. There we were at Game 1 of the ’05 Series witnessing the 5-3 win over the Astros.

It was a priceless moment that neither of us will ever forget. Sometimes I look back and think it was too good to be true, but I see that picture of the two of us in our Sox jackets and I know it really happened. And his comment after our heroes had finally won the World Series in Houston, was just as memorable. He said,  ”All those games, all those years, we finally did it.”

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, and thanks.

Sox Notes of Note:  Last night’s much-needed 6-2 win over the D-backs was a combination of surprise–Alex Rios‘ homer and four RBIs–and same old, same old, with Paul Konerko‘s 18th homer of the season. And it is comforting to know that John Danks is on the way back with his third consective win…We all breathed a sigh of relief when Danks was able to recover from being hit on the back of the head off the bat of Stephen Drew (He’s pictured below showing off the subsequent bump). It resulted in two Arizona runs, but that was the least of our worries at the time. …It apparently was a night danger as a Brent Lillibridge foul ball hit Konerko’s brother (thumb) and Paulie’s father (chin). Both were sitting right behind the Sox dugout…Sox try to end the road trip at 2-3 this afternoon with Phil Humber on the mound before heading back to the Cell to face the Cubs.

Sox Escape with “W” Despite Underachieving Stars

The White Sox escaped with a 3-1 victory tonight on the strength of Phil Humber‘s masterful mound performance and the weakness of Toronto reliever Marc Rzepczynski (yes, it’s spelled correctly), who failed to cover first base in the top of the ninth as the Sox scored two unearned runs to grab the “W.”

The much-needed victory masked the South Siders’ low voltage offense, which time and time again has failed to get the clutch hit. Cue Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.

Dunn is helpless these days at the plate, especially against lefties who he hasn’t touched for a hit all season, and tonight earned the dubious distinction of recording the golden sombrero (four strikeouts) for the second time in a week. As far as Rios is concerned, he reached base on an error in the ninth and scored the winning run later in the inning on another miscue, but he’s looked almost as bad as Dunn.

Ozzie was right on target when he said the Sox would have a tough time competing with Dunn and Rios contributing as little as they are now. We keep waiting for one or the other to show some signs of life, hoping it will happen sooner than later.

Thanks to outstanding Sox pitching, including the standout relief stints by Jesse Crain and Sergio Santos, and some bad defense by the Blue Jays, we came out a winner tonight. The Dunn/Rios watch continues tomorrow.

                              Two Golden Sombreros, in honor of Adam Dunn

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