Results tagged ‘ Dailies ’

Today’s Special: “Q” on a Roll

57622769.jpgWhile the back and forth continues on whether or not the White Sox should have been more cautious with Jake Peavy‘s comeback attempt, there’s a much more positive development for us to discuss.
Just days ago, Carlos Quentin was deemed a major disappointment in Cactus League play as his batting average plummeted to .167. Since he broke out with a homer, four hits and four RBIs on March 18, Quentin has been a different player. He continued his recent surge last night with a double and two singles in the 8-5 Sox victory over the Padres. Believe it or not, he’s now sporting a .326 BA.
What makes this so significant is that Quentin is one of the most important pieces of the Sox offense. With him staying healthy and reverting back to his 2008 “close to MVP” form, the lineup is as good as there is in baseball. With him out of the lineup or subpar at the plate, the South Siders are less formidable.
Sox Notes of Note:  The Sox played last night in Peoria on a day that saw most of spring training action in Arizona washed out. The inclement weather, however, caused the club to replace Mark Buehrle as the starting pitcher in favor of Jeff Marquez. Marquez, a fifth starter possibility with Peavy sidelined for a while, gave up two earned runs, five hits and a walk in four innings of work…With two more scoreless innings under his belt, Sergio Santos‘s ERA remains at 0.00…Alex Rios slammed his fourth home run of the spring, a two-run blast in the first inning.

Sox are in Peoria again this afternoon to face the Mariners, who share the complex with Padres.

Peavy Shut Down, Sox Blow Late-Inning Lead

54579590.jpgWhite Sox fans have been holding their collective breath this spring during Jake Peavy‘s recovery from shoulder surgery. But, with each performance, he seemed to be getting stronger and it appeared he was right on schedule to start the season in Chicago.
Until today.
Before this afternoon’s game at Camelback Ranch against the Dodgers, Peavy and the Sox announced that the righthander was being shut down because of “rotator cuff tendinitis.” The next 48 hours will be key in evaluating the setback, but if Peavy misses Thursday’s scheduled start against the Cubs it’s a longshot he’ll be part of the Opening Day roster on April 1.
If Peavy’s 2011 regular season debut is delayed, Plan B will put into action. There is more than one candidate for the fifth starter role. Philip Humber and Tony Pena may be at the top of the list with perhaps Brian Bruney then making the club as the seventh reliever (an educated guess based on his outings this spring).
Another Frustrating Loss:  As noted previously in this blog, it’s become commonplace in  recent years for the Sox to be mediocre in spring training. It’s been a long time since they’ve even been .500 in Cactus League play. 
Today’s 9-7 loss to the Dodgers was an example of the trend. Jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first with RBI hits by Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin, the South Siders found themselves down 4-3, then tied it and went ahead 7-4 in the seventh on a solo homer by Quentin and a three-run blast by Gordon Beckham. But the roof fell in in the eighth as L.A. put up a five-spot–including two homers–against reliever Josh Kinney to give the Dodgers a 9-7 triumph.
Ozzie told Hawk and Steve Stone during today’s WGN telecast that no manager has ever gotten a raise for winning spring training games, espousing his philosophy that it’s more important for the players to get work and for the staff to see the kids play. I don’t disagree, but…
The Sox play the Padres tomorrow night in Peoria.

Ozzie Reveals “The Closer”


No, it’s obviously not Kyra Sedgwick of the popular TNT series, The Closer. And it’s not Chris Sale, Sergio Santos, Jesse Crain or, for that matter, Bobby Jenks, Shingo Takatsu or Keith Foulke.
Ozzie’s choice to close out games? It’s the guy who has been the favorite all along: Matt Thornton. The skipper implied there may be occasions where a Sale or a Crain would perform the role, but Thornton will be there “a good percent of the time.”
The hope is that Thornton can transfer his success as an All-Star setup man, where he recorded a 2.67 ERA and held opponents to a .191 batting average last year, to the finishing role.
The fact is that it has to be more than a hope. It’s a must if the Sox are going to meet the “All In” expectations.

Sox Lose to A’s, But Peavy Guts it Out; Milledge, Humber Favorites for Last Two Roster Spots

The A’s got even with the White Sox this afternoon in Phoenix.
After getting blown out of the ballpark at Camelback Ranch 18-1 on Friday night at the hands of the Pale Hose, Oakland won a convincing 8-3 decision today. One of the A’s heroes was former Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who cranked a two-run homer.
Let’s look at the bright side. Jake Peavy, who’s been battling the flu, not only made his regular start, but pitched 5 2/3 innings. He wasn’t at his best, giving up three runs and seven hits with three strikeouts, but the fact he pitched at all is a real positive. Sergio Santos pitched an inning and a third of scoreless/hitless ball. His ERA for the spring remains at 0.00. 
After scoring 18 runs Friday and 12 Thursday in one of the split squad games, the Sox came back down to earth scoring the three runs on only six hits. A.J. Pierzynski, Lastings Milledge and Dallas McPherson collected the Sox RBIs. With his RBI base hit, Milledge is now hitting .326 this spring.
Roster whispers:  Not that it’s the scoop of the decade, but as the days dwindle down the talk is that Milledge will win the last position player spot as the fourth outfielder and Philip Humber (pictured above) will secure the final spot in the pen. That assumes Peavy is in the rotation to start the season and the South Siders go with 12 pitchers. If the club goes with an 11-man pitching staff, Brent Lillibridge may still be in the picture.

Here’s how the Opening Day roster could look…

PITCHERS (12): Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Jake Peavy, Edwin Jackson, Gavin Floyd, Tony Pena, Philip Humber, Will Ohman, Sergio Santos, Jesse Crain, Chris Sale, Matt Thornton

CATCHERS (2): A.J. Pierzynski, Ramon Castro

INFIELDERS (7): Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, Brent Morel, Omar Vizquel, Mark Teahen (Inf/Of)
OUTFIELDERS (4): Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Lastings Milledge
It’s Sox vs. Dodgers at Camelback Ranch tomorrow.

18 Runs and 21 Hits? Really

18-1_giants_tshirt.jpgThe White Sox offense exploded yesterday at Camelback Ranch as the Pale Hose overwhelmed the Oakland A’s, 18-1. Maybe even more impressive is that the Sox scored 16 runs and pounded out 20 hits through the first five innings.
This one is not easy to summarize, but here goes:
HOMERS: Gordon Beckham ( 2 on), Tyler Flowers (one on), Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin
RBIs: Quentin (4), Beckham (3), Konerko (3), Alexei Ramirez (2), Alex Rios (2), Flowers (2), Ramon Castro, Alejandro De Aza
MULTIPLE HITS: Quentin (4), Ramirez (3), Beckham (3), Lastings Milledge (2), Rios (2), Konerko (2), Brent Morel (2)
MULTIPLE RUNS SCORED: Beckham (4), Quentin (3), Milledge (2), Rios (2), Konerko (2), Ramirez (2)
FUN FACTS: Every starter had at least one hit…While Milledge and Morel were the only starters who didn’t drive in a run, each had a pair of hits…Morel was the only starter who didn’t score a run…Beckham was a triple shy of the cycle…Quentin raised his batting average from .167 to .250…Beckham is now hitting .357 and Ramirez .325…Flowers has had a great spring. He’s now batting .471.
PITCHING: While the offense stole the show yesterday, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point to the exemplary pitching…John Danks was outstanding, giving up a lone first inning run on four hits in six innings of work…Philip Humber, a leading candidate for a bullpen spot, pitched three scoreless/hitless innings, walking only one with a pair of strikeouts.
The Sox, now 8-12-1, face the A’s again today in Phoenix.

12 Runs Here, a Goose Egg There


It was split squad Thursday for the Pale Hose today in Cactus League play. 

A lineup comprised of Juan Pierre, Gordon Beckham, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Brent Morel was shut out 4-0 by the Brewers in Maryvale on a mere five hits. And perhaps the most disappointing results of all were Quentin’s 0 for 4, which gives him a woeful .167 spring batting average, and another subpar effort by Edwin Jackson, who gave up all four runs on nine hits in five innings on the mound. Give credit where credit is due–he did strike out seven.
A lineup led by Lastings Milledge (3 for 5 with two homers and three RBIs), Ramon Castro (a hit and two RBIs), Jordan Danks (a double and two RBIs), Paul Konerko (three hits and an RBI) and Gookie Dawkins (a two-run homer in the ninth) pounded out 16 hits in a 12-6 victory over the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
When the lineups were revealed before the game, I don’t think there’s any question most would have thought the Maryvale lineup would have been the group most likely to score a dozen runs and the Talking Stick contingent would be the team more likely to get shut out. I guess that’s baseball.
The Sox are back at Camelback Ranch tomorrow vs. the A’s.

Buehrle Rebounds, But World Champs Prevail

Tampa+Bay+Rays+v+Chicago+White+Sox+ow5VehChej1l.jpgThe San Francisco Giants are not only the defending World Champions, they have baseball’s best record this spring as well.
They continued their winning ways today against the White Sox with a 5-3 triumph even though most of their regular players didn’t make the trip to Camelback Ranch. Despite the lack of top talent among position players, the Giants did have two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on the mound. In his five innings of work against the Sox, the “Freak” gave up just one run and three hits with seven strikeouts. The good news is that he’s in the National League and we don’t face the Giants this year in interleague play.
The Ups:
It’s true he wasn’t pitching to elite talent, but Mark Buehrle rebounded from his early struggles giving up a lone run in five innings…Brent Lillibridge‘s two-run homer in the seventh inning and Alex Rios‘s RBI triple in the second were the offensive highlights.
The Downs:
Once Buehrle left, the roof caved in….Jeff Gray gave up two runs and four hits in the sixth and Brian Bruney was touched up for two runs, two hits and a walk in the seventh.
St. Patrick’s Day finds the Sox playing a pair of split squad games against the Brewers in Maryvale and the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

20 Things I Learned On My Spring Vacation

After watching seven games in five days during my yearly sojourn to White Sox spring training, I have come away with some opinions and observations (in no particular order):
1. Seems like  the calm has been restored with the Sox hierarchy. Combine that with great team chemistry and it’s got to have a positive impact going forward. 
2.  Adam Dunn‘s presence in the lineup will cause big trouble for opposing pitchers. He’s going to frustrate us, a la Jim Thome, with his strikeouts, but hopefully his mammoth swing at the Cell will produce a 40-50 home run season.
3. I have very high hopes that Gordon Beckham will put 2010 in the rear-view mirror and revert back to the Beckham of two seasons ago.
4. I’d prefer that the Sox stick with Brent Morel and the expected growing pains at third. Mark Teahen is having a great spring at the plate, but with all the firepower in the lineup we need Morel’s defense.
5. Top prospects Jordan Danks and Tyler Flowers, both coming off subpar seasons, have rebounded this spring. My feeling is that there’s a decent chance that both spend some time in Chicago this summer–even before the September callups.
6. Alexei Ramirez, coming off of his Silver Slugger season, will have a monster campaign and establish himself as one of the elite players in the league.
7. I think Lastings Milledge will make the team out of spring training and will make a significant impact as he finally turns the corner in his career.
8. He couldn’t have been much better after being called up last season, but Chris Sale may very well struggle a bit in his sophomore year. That said, he’ll still be a huge plus in our revamped pen.
9. Carlos Quentin is a big key. If he’s the CQ of 2008, the Sox offense will do enormous damage. If he’s the Quentin of last year and/or is injured, the lineup won’t nearly be as formidable.
10. I know what he brings to the party, but I’m not a Brent Lillibridge guy. He doesn’t play as smart as he should.
11. I’m really happy Omar Vizquel is back. He’s a marvel.
12. Ramon Castro could very well be the best backup catcher in the game.
13. I can’t wait for Dayan Viciedo to recover from his injury and join the club at some point this summer. He’s an exciting player to watch with an electric bat. And he’s only 22.
14. I have confidence that the bullpen will come together, I really like its makeup. My guess is that Matt Thornton will be the closer with Sale in a setup role, but there’s a great deal of flexibility so the roles may not be as cut and dried as they have been in the past.
15. Speaking of the pen, look for Sergio Santos in particular to have an outstanding season.
16. Hopefully Jake Peavy will be ready in early April. If not, I can see Philip Humber, once a  top pitching prospect with the Mets, stepping in until Peavy is ready or assuming the long man role in the bullpen. Thanks to Don Cooper, he’s made great progress this spring.
17. It’s time John Danks takes a huge step forward and joins the American League pitching elite.
18. Since joining the Sox, Tony Pena has been hot and cold. Here’s hoping he’s more the former than the latter.
19. Eduardo Escobar, who played so well in the Arizona Fall League and will start the season in Charlotte, isn’t yet a candidate for a major league roster spot, but I have a feeling he’ll be in Chicago before too long.
20. The Sox are strong. From the starting staff to the bullpen to the everyday lineup to the bench, I believe they have what it takes to outlast the Twins and Tigers.

Friends to the Rescue on My Last Day in Paradise

white-sox-spring-training.jpgGLENDALE, AZ — My annual spring training jaunt concludes tomorrow with my trip home, Counting Sunday’s “B” game against the Indians, I saw seven games in five days and leave with a 4-3 record. It was a fun-filled few days, despite the fact that today wasn’t exactly the best day of my life.
Aside from the 7-6 Sox loss to the Padres, my rental car broke down and I had to rely on three great friends to come to my aid. PR guru Paul Jensen picked me up on the side of the road so I could make the game on time and long-time friends Karen and Jeff Weiss did the yeoman work of driving me from Scottsdale to my hotel in Peoria. Forget the ballplayers, these three are the real heroes of the day.
Despite today’s defeat, the Sox had some bright spots. A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez hit two-run jacks while Lastings Milledge clubbed a solo job. Jake Peavy emerged healthy after a four-inning stint. He gave up three runs, six hits and a walk, but we need to keep our eyes on the big picture. On the down side, Chris Sale struggled, giving up three runs and four hits in just an inning of work.
Sox have an off-day tomorrow and host the Giants on Wednesday. Look for my Pale Hose spring training review, which will be posted upon my return home tomorrow night.

CQ, Omar and Danks to the Rescue

GLENDALE, AZ — It’s funny how a couple of homers and solid pitching can change your mood. After two lackluster performances, against the Cubs on Friday and the Rangers on Saturday, the White Sox rebounded today with an impressive 6-1 victory over the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.
The Ups:

Carlos Quentin hit a solo homer in the second inning and Omar Vizquel went deep with a two-run blast in a three-run fourth…Paul Konerko had a pair of doubles…Lastings Milledge collected a hit and RBI…Brent Morel had a pair of hits…On the mound, John Danks (pictured above) pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit…Sergio Santos, Brian Bruney and Matt Thornton each pitched a perfect inning.
The Downs:

It was a good day. The only real downer was the two errors by shortstop Eduardo Escobar and they weren’t damaging at all.
Tomorrow’s game is my last before heading home. The Sox host the Padres at Camelback Ranch with Jake Peavy on the hill.