Results tagged ‘ John Danks ’

The White Sox in 2012: Nobody Knows for Sure

In a few weeks the White Sox will be firmly embedded in spring training mode trying to assemble a team that’s ready to contend in the A.L. Central.

Conventional wisdom says it’s going to be a difficult task with the Tigers showing no signs of fading and the Royals and Indians seemingly poised to reach the next level.

You really can’t blame the skeptics. As names like Pujols, Fielder, Buehrle, DarvishWilson and others have been the talk of the hot stove period, the White Sox made “headlines” with the acquisition of minor league pitchers Nestor Molina, Simon Castro, Pedro Hernandez, Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb while losing known quantities Sergio Santos, Carlos Quentin and Jason Frasor in the process. The only major news was the signing of John Danks, who we all thought was destined to be traded.

It’s really easy to look at all this and come to the conclusion that bad things are in store for the 2012 club. But we shouldn’t be so quick to judge.  With myriad questions, the truth is that we just don’t know how the season will manifest.

How will the Ozzie-less Sox be with Robin Ventura at the helm?

Will the Sox survive without Buehrle?

Will Danks pick up where Buehrle left off?

Will an effective closer be found to replace Santos?

Will Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham rebound?

Will Alejandro De Aza be a competent major league leadoff hitter?

Will Paul Konerko be Paul Konerko?

Will Jake Peavy be the Cy Young Peavy?

Will Dayan Viciedo live up to the hype and make us forget Quentin?

Will Chris Sale make a successful switch to the starting rotation?

Will Kenny Williams make any more significant deals to upgrade the big league roster?

More than any other year I can remember, it’s hard to predict what’s in store for all of us this season.  We’re just going to have to wait and see.

I Miss Him Already

I’m going to miss Our Ozzie.

I’ll miss his bewildering stream of conciousness, his fall-down-laughing humor, his solid managing and his debunking of the Cubs and Wrigley Field. Most of all, though, I’ll miss that we had “one of us” at the helm of the White Sox who no longer will be the face of the franchise.

Having said all that as a fan of Ozzie since he put on the Sox uniform in 1985 and one who saw him guide the Sox to a World Series title, it’s time for the skipper, and for us, to move on. Nothing lasts forever and it became obvious when Ozzie began campaigning for a contract extension. Sorry, Oz, but that was bad timing if you really wanted to stay in Chicago. A contract extension after presiding over one of the most disappointing seasons in the teams’s history? There was no way that was going to fly with the Chairman.

So, what now? I think it would be an exercise in futility to try and find someone as colorful and fits as perfectly as Ozzie did in the context of his Sox bloodline. That person doesn’t exist. That’s not to say we won’t hire an outstanding manager with the potential of getting better results–even someone with a high profile who will help bring the fans back into the fold. But there’s only one Ozzie and we shouldn’t look for a clone.

The names of candidates are out there, though Kenny Williams hasn’t tipped his hand. Tony LaRussa is a longshot at best. There’s Dave Martinez, Sandy Alomar, Jr., up and coming AAA manager Joe McEwing, former manager and Sox player development director Buddy Bell, among them. Williams has said that because of Ozzie’s “warning” the Sox already have been focusing on a possible replacement and the decision could come sooner than later.

Last offseason, the Sox were “All In” for 2011. This offseason there undoubtedly will be substantial changes. A new manager, certainly new coaches and a belt-tightening that might see more familiar names–like Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Matt Thornton  and Carlos  Quentin–leaving as well.

It’s a time of change on the South Side. While I’ll miss Ozzie and some of the others, an overhaul is the right thing to do. We need to move on.

 

The Rubber Meets the Road in Motown

 

It’s never a good thing when your starting pitcher gives up six runs–highlighted by two homers and three doubles–in the first inning. But the White Sox, despite Jake Peavy‘s early meltdown, gave it a shot this afternoon and came up one run short in the 7-6 loss to the Twins. Adam Dunn and Alex Rios both had their chances to be heroes in the ninth, but didn’t deliver. Sound familiar?

So, the five game winning streak is history and we sink to six games behind the Tigers, who staged a late-inning rally for a come-from-behind triumph over the Royals.

Now the fun begins as we head to Detroit for a three-game series after tomorrow’s off-day.  The pitching matchups:

Friday night: John Danks vs. Justin Verlander, he of the 20 wins–already.

Saturday afternoon: Gavin Floyd vs. Brad Penny

Sunday night: Mark Buehrle vs. Matt Scherzer

Look at the bright side, it’s the end of August and we’re still alive.

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?

Good News: Sox Win…Bad News: Danks Hurt

You have to give the Sox credit.

They found themselves facing the most unenviable of positions tonight after losing John Danks to an oblique strain after 1 2/3 innings. There they were needing to fill  the remaining 7 1/3 innings  a day after the entire bullpen was used in the 14-inning marathon defeat.

But survive they did as the combination of Brian Bruney (2 1/3), Jake Peavy (4) and Sergio Santos (1) had Danks’ back and shut out the red-hot Nationals, 3-0. Peavy improved his record to 4-1, allowing just one hit and striking out seven  For the record, it was his first major league relief appearance.

The run the Sox scored in the first on a Carlos Quentin sac fly was all the South Siders needed. But they tallied two insurance runs in the eighth on a Ramon Castro single to breathe a little easier.

The Sox were unsure of Danks’ status following the game. He will very likely have to go on the DL, in which case a reliever will be added with the club going with the conventional five-man rotation.

The White Sox go for their 18th consecutive interleague series win tomorrow with Phil Humber on the mound.

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.

Lilli, Danks Help Sox Forget Friday Meltdown

Thanks to tonight’s 3-2 win over the A’s, Sox fans can take comfort in the fact that last night’s devastating loss was just one isolated setback and not the start of a downward slide.

In fact, the South Siders were able to creep within three games of .500 and 4 1/2 games of both the Indians and Tigers, who are now in a virtual tie for the A.L. Central lead.

Tonight’s headliners were Brent Lillibridge, who robbed Coco Crisp of a two-run, potentially go-ahead homer (pictured above), and John Danks (below, getting a well-deserved ovation from the fans), who won his second consecutive game after eight straight losses. He gave up only two runs and four hits in 7 2/3 innings.

The Sox end their 10-game homestand tomorrow with Phil Humber on the mound, attempting to give the Pale Hose a 6-4 record since returning to the Cell a week ago last night. Then it’s off to Minnesota and Phoenix for three-game series vs. the Twins and Diamondbacks before coming home to face the Cubs.

Good News, Bad News and a Possible Solution

John Danks‘ first victory after eight losses, Paul Konerko‘s 13th homer and clutch RBI singles by Gordon Beckham and A.J. Pierzynski proved to be the difference tonight as the White Sox moved to within six games of the Indians with the 3-1 triumph over the Mariners and their impressive rookie hurler Michael Pineda.

That’s the good news. The bad news–again–was the performance of Adam Dunn. It was another empty effort with his 0-4, including two strikeouts, and an error that contributed to Seattle scoring its lone run. I don’t pretend to be a baseball genius, but I know this–I’ve seen enough.

Ozzie smartly decided to allow the slumping Alex Rios to take yesterday and today off in the hope it would help him relax and turn things around. The skipper has to do the same with Dunn or the Big Donkey may spiral totally out of control. It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to watch and the boo birds are there every step of the way.

My suggestion is for at least the next two games, Carlos Quentin should be the DH with Rios in center and Brent Lillibridge in right. It’s the correct thing to do in any case, but with Cy Award winner Felix Hernandez on the mound tomorrow night and lefty Jason Vargas on tap for Wednesday evening, why not spare Dunn the agony.

It can’t hurt and it just may help him get back to his National League form.

Danks Down, Peavy Up

59912119.jpgEntering this season, one of the questions I had was, “Can John Danks take another step forward to become a dominating, All-Star caliber pitcher?”
Although Danks has looked good at times (inconsistency has always been his Achilles Heel), he has now fallen to 0-6 as a result of his subpar performance last night in the 6-2 loss to the Halos. It’s especially disheartening in that the loss ended the Sox momentum at three straight wins.
Danks’ disappointing effort came on the heels of Ozzie‘s official announcement that for the next 20 games the Sox will go with a six-man rotation. It accomplishes at least three things: 
1. It makes room for Jake Peavy
2. It keeps the surprising Phil Humber in the rotation
3. It will give some extra rest to the other pitchers, especially Mark Buehrle
The “new look” pitching staff debuts tonight with Peavy making his first start of the year. It’s a key game, providing an early indication if the former Cy Young Award winner can have an impact as well as giving the opportunity for the Sox to win their second straight series on the West Coast.

One Big Happy Family

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Yesterday was the deadline for clubs and their arbitration eligible players to make a deal before having to confront each other in a formal hearing.
The White Sox were able to sign three key players to one-year pacts before going into what most times is a contentious process.
* John Danks agreed to a $6 million contract. He made $3.45 million last year.
* Carlos Quentin agreed to a $5.05 million deal. He made $3.2 million in 2010.
* Tony Pena agreed to a $1.6 million pact. He made $1.2 million in 2010.
The Sox payroll is now at $124 million, already a $20 million increase over last season. Maybe this will quiet Jerry Reinsdorf‘s critics, who have made it their mission to criticize the Chairman for being cheap.
Sox Note of Note: SoxFest is this weekend so there will undoubtedly be a great deal to report on Monday.
                                                                                                 

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