Results tagged ‘ Omar Vizquel ’

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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Somebody Up There Likes Us, CQ and the Sox Continue to Roll

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Count me as one of those who felt changes needed to be made with these 2010 White Sox after their dismal April, May and beginning of June. And I was part of a pretty large legion, which eventually included Sox GM Kenny Williams.
Of course my sentiments were centered on the winning and losing. But the fact that the Sox seemed out of the race in May with no hope of improving was even more disturbing. I, like most fans, certainly didn’t want to spend their summer without any meaningful baseball.
Then we went on the roll that continued last night with the 4-2 win over the Braves, which clinched the series victory. Here are the happy totals: We’re now two games over .500, 3 1/2 games behind the first place Twins and only two games behind the Tigers. We’ve won eight in a row and 11 of 12. 
How did all of this happen? The starting pitching has been superb, we’re finally getting clutch hits, the defense is better (Omar Vizquel at third has been a real plus) and something that many of us said before the season is finally coming to fruition.
That preseason observation was that Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin have to produce if the Sox want to be contenders. We all know Rios has more than lived up to his end of the bargain, but Quentin seemed lost at the plate for the first two months. Now, he’s turning it on and the Sox are back in the hunt. His two homers last night, for example, were the difference in the game.
Whatever the reasons, baseball season is fun again on the South Side of Chicago.
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Sox Win 7th Straight and Hurdle .500 Mark–I Could Get Used to This

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When the Braves took an early 3-0 tonight against the White Sox at the Cell, I flashed back to April and May and had that sinking feeling that we were doomed.
But this is a different Sox team. One that can rebound from an early deficit because of renewed starting pitching, clutch hitting and defense that has improved their record to 35-34. You don’t have to look further than tonight’s result against the red-hot Braves to see that. Down 3-0 after one and a half innings, the South Siders scored five runs in the bottom of the second, added one in the third and three in the fourth en route to the 9-6 victory. And after his early woes, John Danks settled down and blanked Atlanta for the next five innings before being relieved by Tony Pena in the eighth.
Here we are one game above .500, 4 1/2 games behind the division-leading Twins and only three in back of the Tigers.
Many heroes surfaced last night. Danks, A.J. Pierzynski (three hits, two RBI), Alexei Ramirez (three hits and an RBI), Paul Konerko (three hits to raise his BA to .304), Alex Rios (two hits and an RBI) and Carlos Quentin, who slammed a three-run homer for the team’s first roundtripper in eight games. We had 16 hits in all. The only negatives happened in the ninth with Scott Linebrink giving up two runs before being relieved by Bobby Jenks (who got the save) and Ramirez leaving the game with a finger injury. Too early to tell how serious the injury is.
No, I didn’t forget Omar Vizquel, who has been outstanding as the main replacement for the disabled Mark Teahen (remember him?). Omar delivered a clutch two-out, two RBI single in the Sox five-run second, which prolonged the rally (pictured above).
How important has Vizquel been to the Sox recent resurgence? The Sox are 13-6 when the future Hall of Fame starts at third base.
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Sox Win Second in a Row, Those North Side Media Darlings Are Up Next

Wrigley_sign_Congratulations_White_Sox717.jpgJohn Danks (seven scoreless innings), Omar Vizquel (a home run and two RBI), A.J. Pierzynski (a homer) and Sergio Santos‘ clutch K of Miguel Cabrera led the way today as the White Sox shut out the Tigers, 3-0, to win the three-game series against Detroit after dropping the opener.

The Sox have won three straight games only once this season so another victory tomorrow will encouraging. And, of course, it takes on even more importance because it will be the first of three at Wrigley against their “we haven’t won a World Series in 102 years” crosstown rivals.
Both clubs have been disappointing this year so the two regular season series aren’t as attractive as in years past–but it’s still Sox vs. Cubs. And if both teams continue to struggle, how they fare against each other will be a high point in their respective seasons.
But always keep this in mind: No matter how bad the Sox play, the Cubs are always worse. The 102-year famine proves it.
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10 Reasons Why I’m Not a Happy Camper

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It’s days like these that make me cranky. A 12-3 drubbing by the Yankees will do that to a guy. To make matters worse, after the gritty comeback yesterday the Sox looked like they were more interested in heading back to Chicago than winning the series in New York.
I’ve been hearing from Sox friends and others today with various comments. Since I’m on board with many of their thoughts, I’ve incorporated them with mine in the following opinions and observations.
* I’m not happy that the Sox have won only one series so far this year as part of their miserable 10-15 start.
* I’m not happy that today’s lackluster performance has given holier-than-thou Yankee fans and others the fodder to rip us. By the way, how does Kenny Williams feel about his goal of a championship after the first 25 games?
* I’m not happy that Alexei Ramirez hasn’t taken a step forward. He’s always a slow starter at the plate, but how about his brain cramps at short? Wasn’t Omar Vizquel supposed to help?
* I’m not happy about Gordon Beckham‘s start, but I have confidence he’ll be fine before too long.
* I’m not happy with our farm system. So, where’s the help we need?
* I’m not happy about Mark Teahen. He doesn’t look like the answer. Granted, he’s not Robin Ventura or Joe Crede, but I thought he was better than this.
* I’m not happy that Juan Pierre has been demoted to the ninth spot in the order and Scott Podsednik is on fire for the Royals.
* I’m not happy that Clayton Richard is outpitching Jake Peavy.
* I’m not happy with our bullpen. Maybe it’s time for a couple of changes. No, Ramon Castro being reinstated from the DL and Donny Lucy being sent down doesn’t count
* I’m not happy that the Twins look unbeatable in the AL Central.
Yes, I’m really unhappy. 
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This team definitely needs a kick-start
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Ozzie: “I Didn’t Know They Had Music in This Clubhouse”

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Leave it to our Ozzie to sum up a situation with a perceptive twist.
Ozzie, of course, was referring to the fact that the White Sox have had little to cheer about recently at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, losing 10 games in a row through 2009. It joined the now defunct Twinkiedome and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as the Sox’s personal houses of horror.
All that changed last night, however, as the South Siders continued to snap out of their first week hitting doldrums by smashing the ball and showing some grit in the 8-7 thriller against the Blue Jays to break their Toronto losing streak. It was the third 11-inning marathon in their first seven games–and the first one in which the Sox emerged victorious.
It was comebacker Andruw Jones and the much-maligned Mark Teahen who provided the fireworks. Jones went 3 for 4, clouted two homers and drove in four. Teahen was 3 for 5 and it was also when he delivered. He sent the game into extra innings with a leadoff blast in the ninth and provided the winning run as he tripled in Omar Vizquel (pictured above). Vizquel was running for Mark Kotsay, who had a key single pinch-hitting for Alexei Ramirez in the 11th.
While Jake Peavy had his second straight poor performance, the bullpen came through. Aside from Randy Williams walking in the 7th and go-ahead run in the sixth, Sergio Santos, J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks hurled 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Jenks struggled after getting the first two outs (as he did Sunday) but got the save. Thornton was lights out as he struck out four in two innings of work.
Sox notes of note:  Did you see Ozzie’s reaction right before he yanked Williams after Randy walked in the go-ahead run? I’m not lip-reader, but the expletives were flying…Ozzie’s getting beat up a bit about counting on Jones and Kotsay. Maybe the critics will be quieted, at least for today…It was nice to see that the Sox have the comeback gene. To me, that’s the true sign of a winning ballclub.
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Sergio Santos is Living the Dream, Reaches the Majors as Sox Announce 25-Man Roster

After failing to get a sniff of the major leagues as an infielder with five organizations, Sergio Santos is finally a big-leaguer–as a relief pitcher. He earned that distinction with a fine spring and today the 2002 No. 1 draft pick of the Diamondbacks was named to the White Sox 25-man roster heading into Opening Day. And he’s only been pitching since last year.

The other roster question was also answered as Jayson Nix made the team as a utility infielder/outfielder.

The final cuts were infielder/outfielder Brent Lillibridge, outfielder Alejandro De Aza, pitcher Dan Hudson (Charlotte) and hurlers Greg Aquino, Erick Threets and Charlie Leesman plus catcher Donny Lucy (assigned to minor league camp).

The Sox will go into battle beginning next Monday with the following roster:

Pitchers (12): Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Freddy Garcia, Bobby Jenks, Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz, Scott Linebrink, Tony Pena, Randy Williams, Sergio Santos

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

Infielders (7):  Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, Mark Teahen, Mark Kotsay, Omar Vizquel, Jayson Nix

Outfielders (4): Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Andruw Jones

85521035.jpg                                    The dream comes true for Sergio Santos

Mark it Down: Teahen Breaks Out of Slump as Sox Hammer D-Backs, 10-3

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Will the real Mark Teahen please step forward? The new White Sox third baseman (pictured above) was acquired from the Royals during the off-season partially due to his dominance over Sox pitching–particularly Mark Buehrle. In other words, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Whether he has been trying too hard to impress his new teammates or simply is in a routine slump, Teahen has had a very disappointing spring. Going into yesterday’s game against the Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch, ultimately a 10-3 Sox victory, he was hitting .143. It got so bad that instead of staying with the varsity, Teahen was jettisoned to minor league camp in an effort to get him straightened out. Well, so far so good.
This afternoon, Teahen’s first appearance since his short stint in the outer fields, he went 2-4 with a single and a two-run homer–his first extra base hit this spring. While Teahen provided the best news of the day, there were other happy highlights:
* Omar Vizquel snapped out of a slump by going 2 for 4 with a double, two RBI, a walk with two runs scored.
* Carlos Quentin was 3 for 5 with two RBI.
* Juan Pierre went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and his fourth stolen base of the spring.
* Mark Kotsay was 2 for 4 along with two runs scored.
* Pitching-wise, John Danks hurled six good innings, allowing three runs and five hits. Greg AquinoBobby Jenks and Erick Threets each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the win.
The Sox are now 7-11-4 this spring. They travel to nearby Peoria tomorrow afternoon to face the Padres.

The White Sox From A to Z: Notes From Spring Training

After a week at Camelback Ranch, it’s back to reality. Here are my spring training thoughts from A to Z:

* A — A big plus for me was to see both Andruw Jones and Alex Rios off to great starts. Jones has hit two home runs, eight RBI and is hitting .385 with a .467 on base percentage. Rios has been nursing an injury, but is hitting .304 with a pair of homers, six RBI and a .346 OBP.

* B — The Natural, Gordon Beckham (pictured below), doesn’t look like he’s going to suffer from the sophomore jinx. So far in the spring, he’s hitting .333 with five doubles and a homer and is getting on base 43 percent of the time. He’s also been making every play at second base.

* C — is for the catching situation. A.J. Pierzynski is hitting at a .345 clip and shows no signs of slowing down. Ramon Castro is a capable backup. There was never any question that Tyler Flowers would begin the season at Charlotte, but it is a bit troubling he’s off to such a slow start.

* D — One of the highlights of Sox spring training has been the play of former Florida Marlin, outfielder Alejandro De Aza. Despite being destined to begin the year with Charlotte, he is hitting .333 with seven RBI. He’s an exciting player who very well might be up in Chicago at some time during the season.

* E is for errors, which I’m happy to say will hopefully occur much less in 2010. The Sox will be a more versatile and fundamentally sound team so there will likely be fewer miscues and brain cramps.

41231.jpg* F — is for the Twittergate “flap,” which looked for a while like it would be a major
distraction. Luckily Ozzie stopped it before it really impacted the team.

* G — Our old friend Freddy Garcia (pictured below) takes the hill this season as the fifth starter. He seems a lot older because he’s been around so long, but Freddy is just shy of 34 and should give us the necessary push at the No. 5 spot in an outstanding rotation.

* H — If Freddy doesn’t come through the Sox are well-protected with Dan Hudson, who pitched at every level of baseball last season and did a creditable job with the Sox in September. He looks like the real deal.

* I — I predict that the Sox will win the AL Central with the Twins, Tigers, Royals and Indians finishing in that order.

* JBobby Jenks has been struggling with his calf, but he says he’ll be ready to go Opening Day. The Sox have some depth in the bullpen, but losing Jenks would definitely be a big blow.

t1_1206_garcia_getty.jpg* K — We need Paul Konerko to have a big year, especially with the departure of Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye. It could be Paulie’s last season in Chicago, but let’s hope it’s one of his best.

* LScott Linebrink has proven himself to be a capable reliever, but you wouldn’t know it from his performance a year ago. He’s been up and down this spring, but he needs to rebound to max out our pen.

* M — As THE lefty in the bullpen, Matt Thornton (pictured below) is indispensible. While I was in Arizona he was perfect. The other half of the main DH platoon with Jones, Mark Kotsay, is on fire this spring, hitting .433 with a .514 on base percentage and a .500 slugging mark.

* N — Will Jayson Nix, Brent Lillibridge or a perhaps a late spring pickup win the last remaining spot among position players?  Since it’s listed under “N,” my choice is naturally Nix.

* O — Brought to the Sox to back up and mentor Alexei Ramirez and Beckham, Omar Vizquel, who will be 43 in April, still looks perfectly capable of contributing.

43105659.jpg* P — Jake Peavy, entering his first Sox season, J.J. Putz and Juan Pierre (pictured below) all have key roles. From what I witnessed in Glendale, Peavy’s in mid-season form, Putz was up and down and it’s obvious what positives Pierre is going to give us from the leadoff spot. Another “P” is Tony Pena, a member of the relief corps who has compiled a 1.59 ERA in five appearances in Arizona.

* QCarlos Quentin looks ready to go, even though his spring stats aren’t gaudy. Health is the key here and CQ looks like he’s ready for the long haul.

* R — With the help of Vizquel, Ramirez will be better defensively and that may make him more relaxed at the plate.

* S — A converted infielder and former No. 1 draft choice of the Diamondbacks, Sergio Santos has been a revelation and a real candidate for the final spot in the bullpen. He’s been very impressive and brings a lot of heat. The fact he’s out of options may force the Sox to bring him North.

* T — If I have one major concern, it’s Mark Teahen. He’s been awful so far in spring training, presumably putting a lot pressure on himself. I don’t even want to think about what happens if he flops.

52656898.jpg* U — U stands for the Sox being underrated. Haven’t seen any of the so-called experts throwing compliments our way, let alone picking the Sox to win the AL Central. Hopefully I’m right and they’re wrong.

* V — I’ve thrown around the word versatile when writing and talking about the Sox. It was certainly apparent to me that they’ll be more running and bunting on this team–with players that can actually execute.

* WRandy Williams, the journeyman reliever who has pretty much locked up the role as the second lefty in the pen, has pitched eight scoreless innings this spring.

* X — Saw a few ex-Sox in Florida, including Orlando Cabrera, Nick Masset (Reds), Josh Fields, Chris Getz and Scott Podsednik (Royals) plus former farmhand Aaron Cunningham (Padres). I saw that Brian Anderson hit for the cyle for KC and went 5 for 5 in a game during that time, but I wasn’t there to witness it.

* Y — Why is Jordan Danks listed here? Because I had to find some place to give him his due, that’s Y. He’s big, strong, fast and will be a major element to the Sox fortunes for many years to come. We’ll likely see him in Chicago with his big bro some time this season.

* Z — Z stands for the many zeroes our starting staff will throw this season. The strength of the club is definitely our rotation with Peavy (pictured below, top), Garcia, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and last but not least Mr. Perfect, Mark Buehrle (pictured below, bottom).

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