Results tagged ‘ Matt Thornton ’

Late White Sox Comeback Hands Mr. Baseball First Oriole Loss; Markakis is the New Mattingly

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BALTIMORE–The White Sox scored a run in each of the 7th, 8th and 9th innings tonight to come from behind for the 4-2 victory. It gave Buck “Mr. Baseball” Showalter his first loss as the Oriole skipper and it was also the first game in the last three that the temporarily resurgent O’s didn’t win on a walk-off.
Tonight’s heroes were July’s A.L. Pitcher of the Month Gavin Floyd, who won his eighth game with another superb performance; Carlos Quentin, who broke the ice for the Hose with a fourth inning solo blast; Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz, who closed the door with an inning of scoreless relief apiece; and A.J. Pierzynski (double), Alex Rios (single) and Gordon Beckham (single), who drove in the Sox’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th runs in the last three frames, respectively. A.J.’s heroics may have been costly as he left the game with an apparent ankle injury after sliding hard into third. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.
Oh, that Markakis

Years ago, when the Yankees’ Don Mattinglywas battering American League pitchers, one of the Yankee announcers mentioned that he hit a little over .500 against the White Sox. My reaction was, when did he make the outs?

Having watched the Orioles’ Nick Markakis over the past few years, and the last two nights, in particular, I’m having Mattingly flashbacks.
For the record, he went 4 for 5 on last night and 1 for 3  with a walk tonight, but it seems like he’s on base every time up. There are certain guys who have killed the Sox over the years–Mattingly and Mike Sweeney for instance–and Markakis is certainly one of the them.
Bobby Who?

That’s right, Ozzie went to Putz tonight to close out the game. Frankly, it was a relief I didn’t have to sit in Section 44 at Camden Yards and chance another Bobby Jenks‘ meltdown. Now that the door is open and Putz breezed through the ninth, has Jenks lost his job? Stay tuned?
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The Pen Sparkles as Sox Top Mariners in Impressive Comeback Win

Credit Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko for their clutch home run prowess and Alex Rios‘s clutch single which drove in the winning run in the seventh. But the real heroes in the 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Seattle tonight came out of the bullpen in a game that saw Mark Buehrle struggle in only five innings of work as he missed the opportunity to win No. 10.

A scoreless inning and a third from Sergio Santos
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A scoreless 2/3 of an inning from Matt Thornton, who was credited with the win…
A scoreless eighth inning from J.J. Putz
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And a scoreless, three strikeout save from Bobby Jenks

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And the Sox remain one game up on the Twins in the A.L. Central pennant race as they won their 10th straight victory at home and made it 17 of 18.
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Ozzie: “Our Options are Open Now” After Jenks’ Latest Meltdown in the 11-inning Loss to Seattle

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It wasn’t the colossal disaster that occurred last Sunday in Minnesota, which caused normally sane White Sox fans to consider taking a plunge off of the closest ledge, but Bobby Jenks‘ second meltdown in four days is a cause for great concern.
So great, in fact, that Ozzie is on record is saying that he’s now weighing his options for the closer role: “I get paid to win games. That’s my job, win games,” Guillen said after last night’s heartbreaking 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Mariners where Jenks blew a save. “And I’m going to put the guys there with the best shot.”
This kind of decision involving a pitcher who has been a key cog in the Sox success since joining the club in 2005, can’t be easy for Ozzie. That said, unlike most managers, he does have bullpen depth and legitimate options in former standout closer J.J. Putz, who just set a club record for consecutive scoreless appearances, and All-Star Matt Thornton. You might want to throw Sergio Santos into the mix as well.

The closer decision aside, I’m personally concerned for my health, the health of my Sox posse and Pale Hose fans in general if we have many more of these games. I can intellectualize that it’s a long season, that I need to avoid the peaks and valleys and there is always a chance for redemption the next day–something that happened to the Sox in the two games following Sunday’s debacle. But I’m human and don’t react very well to these losses.
On the bright side, I look at the standings and see we’re still in first place, 2 1/2 games ahead. A whole lot better than in April and May when I thought our season was over.
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Sunday’s Heartbreak Now in the Rearview Mirror

55047840.jpgYou have to give it to these White Sox. After Sunday’s ninth-inning meltdown in Minnesota, the third Sox loss in a row, no one knew how the club would react as they headed to Seattle and Oakland. Rest easy Sox fans, at least for now.
There are still five more games remaining on the road trip, but the early signs on the West Coast are very promising. Behind a fine performance by 23-year-old Daniel Hudson and homers by Alex Rios and Andruw Jones, the Sox coasted to a 6-1 victory over the Mariners. In the process they increased their division lead to 2 1/2 games over the Tigers and Twins, who both lost–to the Rangers and Indians respectively.
Some highlights:
* The Pale Hose cranked out 12 hits. Omar Vizquel, Rios, Paul Konerko and Gordon Beckham led the way with two apiece.
* Vizquel has been a marvel, at the plate and especially in the field. He’s now batting .271.
* Rios had three RBIs, including the two-run homer, giving him 54  for the season in addition to 16 roundtrippers and a .307 BA.
• Paulie continues to sizzle. His two hits last night raised his average to .303.
* Beckham’s surge has been fun to watch. Once languishing on or near the Mendoza line, GBeck is hitting .571 during his current eight-game hitting streak. He’s now at .241 and 
rising. In other words, he’s back to being the Beckham of a year ago.
* Hudson went 6 2/3, giving up only a lone first inning run. Matt Thornton, Tony Pena and Scott Linebrink closed the door in relief, combining for 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
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                                                 Mr. Hudson to the rescue



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First-Place South Siders Continue to Roll

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All eyes were on the White Sox last night. Could they come out of the break with same fire that saw them go 25-5 in the last 30 games? How would they do against the rival Twins as they aimed for their ninth victory in a row–this coming on the heels of the 11-game winning streak?
Aside from a six-run Twins uprising in the second off of John Danks, which saw Minny take the lead after the Sox scored four in the first two frames, it was all good as the Sox held on in the 8-7 squeaker to increase their division lead to a full game over the Tigers.
There was no lack of positive signs. The gutty Danks bounced back to go six innings after giving up six runs in the second, Juan Pierre went 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored, four players (Omar Vizquel, Alex Rios, Mark Kotsay and Gordon Beckham) pounded out a pair of hits each with Beckham and Rios both going 2 for 3 with two RBIs apiece. And GBeck added a long second-inning homer.
Additionally, the pen did what they had to do with three clutch two-out strikeouts to end Twins rallies–Matt Thornton (Jason Kubel) in the seventh, Bobby Jenks (Orlando Hudson) and Jenks (Jim Thome) to end the game in the ninth.
With  a lot of heroes to choose from, the best part of last night for me was the continuing emergence of Beckham as the same guy we saw in 2009. His bat is perking up, his power is back, he’s been sparkling in the field and his average is up to .221 and climbing. That average might not seem like much, but it’s a big improvement from where it’s been in the early going.
Many folks agree that Beckham is the key to the Sox offense. I’m one of them. His presence in the lineup was enormous last year and adding a vintage GBeck to Rios, Paul KonerkoCarlos Quentin and the rest can only mean good things for The Good Guys.
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White Sox Bullpen a Sight to Behold

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Pena, Putz, Thornton and Jenks Seal Deal Against Angels

I don’t want to be the typical provincial fan who can’t see beyond his own team and, admittedly, I haven’t done the required research to make the case. But it’s hard for me to believe there’s a bullpen in baseball with as much quality and depth as the White Sox.

The pen was on display again last night against the Angels as it was put to the test when Jake Peavy left the game in the second inning with a back injury. Cause for concern? Not really.
Tony Pena, who has come through time and again as the long man, was outstanding in the relief of Peavy. He picked up the slack by pitching 4 1/3 innings, allowing a single run on only five hits. He was followed by J.J. Putz, All-Star Matt Thornton and closer Bobby Jenks, who each pitched a scoreless inning. It all added up to a 4-1 over the Halos and Jered Weaver, who in his previous five starts against the South Siders surrendered a total of two earned runs.
Stats don’t tell the entire story, but here are some bullpen highlights:
–Jenks has 18 saves and has improved as the season has gone on, despite missing a week on the bereavement list.

–Thornton has been good enough as a setup guy to be named to the A.L. All-Star team. He’s recorded a 2.78 ERA with five saves.

–Putz’s ERA is an impressive 1.69. He has also been credited with five wins and a pair of saves.

Sergio Santos, the converted infielder who is in his first season in the majors, has a terrific 2.03 ERA in 30 games and has rescued the Sox more than once with his clutch pitching. He’s exceeded everyone’s expectations.

–Pena, except for his recent slump, has been a godsend in his “long” role as he was last night. He also leads the Sox pen in innings pitched.
Notes of the day: Peavy will most likely head to the DL. We’ll know more today after his MRI, but it doesn’t seem as serious as it looked at the time…Dan Hudson, enjoying a fine season at Charlotte with an 11-4 record and a 3.47 ERA, is expected to replace Peavy on the roster…With last night’s victory, the Sox kept pace with the Tigers and Twins. We’re a game behind division-leading Detroit and a half-game behind second place Minnesota.
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The Unpredictable and Strange All-Star Voting: Thornton in, Rios Out, Konerko Still Has a Shot

52076645.jpgIt just shows how much I know. Thinking Paul Konerko was a cinch to make it as a reserve first baseman and Alex Rios had a shot at a backup outfield spot, I was dead wrong.
Instead it’s Matt Thornton as the lone White Sox All-Star rep (well-deserved, of course) and Rios is shut out completely. Paulie still has a shot in the Final Vote balloting, competing with the impressive quartet of former Sox Nick Swisher of the Yankees, Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox, Delmon Young of the Twins and Michael Young of the Rangers. Although all of his competitors have strong fan backing, Konerko can take heart that the Sox fans have sent two previous Final Vote candidates, Scott Podsednik and A.J. Pierzynski, to the Midsummer Classic thanks to strong marketing efforts.
In the best tradition of Chicago elections, vote early and often for Mr. Konerko. With 20 HR, in the league’s top five with 59 RBI and in the neighborhood of a .300 BA, he belongs.
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South Siders Win Pivotal Game, Rumors Say Adam Dunn is on the Radar

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I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that last night’s 4-3 squeaker over the Royals was one of the season’s most important wins. I say that because after two straight losses following the 11-game streak, the Sox could not afford a third defeat in a row with Zack Greinke on the mound tonight and three against the hot Rangers in Arlington on the horizon.
On this night it was the pitching, especially the bullpen, that was instrumental in eeking out the victory. The South Siders scored four early runs to take a commanding lead, but the Royals got to Gavin Floyd with three in the fifth to narrow the lead to one. Then Floyd calmed down, went 6 2/3 and benefited from 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief from Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz, who earned the save. With the Twins win over the Tigers, they move back into first, 1/2 game in front of Detroit and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Sox.
Rumor mill:  While the Sox are mum and Ozzie is on record saying we don’t need a big lefthanded bat right now, rumors have it that the club is exploring the possibility of bringing powerful first baseman/outfielder Adam Dunn of the Nationals (above) into the fold by the trading deadline. There’s no question the Sox could use some lefty pop, but they aren’t the only ones who covet Dunn. Whether it’s the D.C. slugger or someone else, I’m confident Kenny Williams will add a lefthanded bat before July 31.
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Happy Days on the South Side as Streak Hits 11

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Whether it was planned that way or not,  Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard in real life) was the perfect choice to throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight at the Cell. After all, for White Sox fans the last couple of weeks have certainly been Happy Days with the Sox now 1 1/2 behind first place Minnesota and tied with Detroit for second.
After the thrilling 3-2 victory over the North Side Media Darlings, the Sox winning streak is now at 11 while winning 15 of 16. Freddy Garcia, with a strong seven innings, continued his pitching excellence, J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless eighth for the win and Matt Thornton earned his third save. It was Paul Konerko’s 403-foot blast in the eighth that broke a 2-2 tie.
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In addition to the streak continuing, the Sox clinched the first Crosstown Cup with a game to go in the series with the Media Darlings–and celebrated afterwards. They’re also 15-2 against the National League in interleague play.
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The best part of tonight for me was being at the Cell. Electric and exciting. The Sox feel they can’t lose and the fans believe them. Nights like these are why we got hooked on this team in the first place.
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Loyal Prez Supports His Favorite Team, Sox Gain an Impressive Victory in the “Strasburg Game”

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In two and a half months of mostly disappointing play, the White Sox have come alive. And we may look back on last night’s game against the Nats in D.C. as a real turning point. Here are some of the headlines:
–We won the “Stephen Strasburg game” despite scoring only a single run and collecting four hits against him while striking out 10 times. And while President Obama wasn’t in the house when the Sox won 2-1 in the 11th, he was there for most of the game–in a Sox cap.
–We have now won four in a row, eight of nine, nine of 11, stand only two games under .500 and 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Twins.
Gavin Floyd more than rose to the occasion against Strasburg, allowing only a run and five hits while striking out a handful in eight innings. The starting pitching is really on a roll.
–The pen came through big time. Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz and Bobby Jenks combined for three scoreless frames.
Alex Rios (no surprise here) drove in both Sox runs including the deciding RBI–an infield single–in the 11th.
No reason to stop now. How nice would it be to head back to Chicago with an 8-1 road trip and a .500 record? Let’s do it.
Notes of the day: Today will mark the major league debut of Dayan Viciedo, the 21-year-old Cuban prospect who arrived in the spring of 2009 with great fanfare. He’ll be at third base, backing up Jake Peavy…Peavy’s mound opponent this afternoon will be a righthander named J.D. Martin. For those more mature Sox fans, it’s J.D., not J.C. Martin of 1960s Pale Hose fame.
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