Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’

How About These White Sox…and Tommy Lasorda’s Big Mistake

Jake Peavy did his best Philip Humber imitation, pitching a masterful three-hit, complete game shutout.  The back-to-normal Adam Dunn and red-hot Paul Konerko hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning, giving Peavy all the support he needed to offset the outstanding outing by the A’s Bartolo Colon. And, in the end, the Sox went on to win their fourth straight with a 4-0 victory last night in Oakland.

Furthermore, take a look at the standings this morning. The only American League team with a better record is Texas at 13-4.  Right behind are the Sox and Tigers tied for the A.L. Central lead at 10-6 and the Yankees and Blue Jays knotted up for the A.L. East lead with the same record. Everyone else is behind these five leaders.

I know it’s early, but this is a lot of fun and I’m going to enjoy it.

Konerko on verge of 400th homer

Konerko’s homer last night was the 399th of his career, tying him for 48th place in major league history with Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga. One more and he joins the “400″ club.

Paulie’s standing as one of the game’s Top 50 home run hitters brings to mind Tommy Lasorda‘s comment when the Dodgers traded Konerko to Cincinnati for reliever Jeff Shaw (the Sox acquired PK from the Reds for Mike Cameron). The Hall of Fame manager said, and I paraphrase, that he was comfortable making the deal because he didn’t see Konerko as a 20-homer guy in the major leagues.

As wrong as Lasorda was in judging Konerko’s home run prowess, he was right about one thing. Paulie isn’t a 20-homer slugger. From 1999-2011 in a White Sox uniform,  No. 14 averaged 30 homers.  He’s had 40 or more twice, 30 or more five times and 20 or more on five occasions.

So much for Lasorda as a talent evaluator.

Sox Will Have to Bring Their “A” Game as Tough Foes Dot April Schedule

Happy Opening Day!  And now the flurry of questions about our 2012 White Sox will begin to be answered.

The April schedule won’t be a cakewalk. First it’s three against the Rangers, beginning this afternoon, then three vs. the Tribe–all on the road–then home for three against the mighty Tigers and four vs. the Orioles. The month concludes with a six-game road trip to Seattle and and Oakland and a four-game homestand against the Red Sox.

I hate to get ahead of myself because facing the two-time defending American League champs the next three days is imposing enough. But the facts are the facts. The Sox, in need of getting off to a good start to excite the South Side fandom, have their work cut out for them.

Today, we’ll see Robin Ventura‘s managerial debut and a new lineup that will look like this:

DeAza, CF

Morel, 3B

Dunn, DH

Konerko, 1B

Pierzynski, C

Rios, RF

Ramirez,SS

Viciedo, LF

Beckham , 2B

Danks, P

One mystery is the identity of the closer. Ventura has been mum on the subject, but it seems Matt Thornton, Hector Santiago and Addison Reed are the likely suspects, in no particular order.

One game won’t make or break the season, but it sure would be nice to get out of the box with a “W” against the league champs. And it would be even sweeter if Dunn is a big part of it so he can exorcise those 2011 demons sooner than later.

“The More Wins We Get, The Better Off We Will Be”

Duh, yeah, Alex Rios, you’re right about that: “The more wins we get, the better off we will be.”

I guess the White Sox centerfielder could be excused for his Yogism after he had a lot to do with the White Sox’s rare laugher this afternoon as they blanked the defending American League champion Rangers, 10-0.  It was a banner day for the beleaguered Rios both at bat and in the field.

On a day like this when everything is clicking, it’s a pleasure to look at the box score:

–The South Siders scored 10 runs on 16 hits.

–Homers were cranked  by Rios and Brent Lillibridge.

–A three-hit day was enjoyed  by Lillibridge while Rios, Juan Pierre, Paul Konerko,Tyler Flowers, Alejandro De Aza and Gordon Beckham had two hits apiece. The only Sox player without a hit was Alexei Ramirez, but he scored a run after drawing a walk.

–Other offensive highlights included a three RBI day by De Aza, two apiece by Pierre, Lillibridge and Rios and Flowers’ three runs scored.

Gavin Floyd was outstanding as he won his 11th game. In seven innings, he gave up just three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Chris Sale pitched a scoreless eighth and Jason Frasor struck out the side in the ninth.

–The only blemishes were the two errors, one by Lilli and one by Alexei.

With the victory the Sox are back at .500. They remain five games in back of the Tigers and are now just a half-game behind the Indians.

Sox Note of Note:  It’s likely that Carlos Quentin won’t be back in the lineup until the end of the week at the earliest. The possibility of him being put on the DL is still there with Dayan Viciedo waiting in the wings.

Is Viciedo on the Way?

The important subtext from last night’s satisfying 3-2 victory over the Rangers is the shoulder injury to Carlos Quentin.

We’re told he won’t be in the lineup today and will be re-evaluated Tuesday in Anaheim after tomorrow’s day off. The 800-pound elephant in the room, of course, is that Dayan Viciedo (pictured below) is waiting in the wings if Quentin goes on the disabled list.

I think we all agree that losing Quentin is not a good thing. Aside from Paul Konerko, he has been the club’s most potent run producer. But if fate should have it that Quentin can’t play, the seemingly major league-ready Viciedo will be welcomed with open arms with the hope he can provide an offensive spark. Lord knows, we need it.

Sox Note of Note:  A bit ironic, don’t you think, that last night’s hero was Quentin’s outfield replacement–the much-maligned Alex Rios, who doubled in the winning run?

A Frustrating Exercise, A Daunting Task

I debated whether or not to even post this morning after last night’s demoralizing 7-4 loss to the defending American League champion Rangers, which saw Jake Peavy cough up three homers. There doesn’t seem to be much to say that I haven’t written before. You know, the struggles of Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham–yada, yada, yada.

So, we stand five games behind Detroit and three games under .500 in the midst of what is now a three-game losing streak. Just when you thought we might be making some headway, we crash. Certainly a familiar scenario in this season of South Side discontent.

It’s getting increasingly more difficult (if not impossible), even for a glass half-full fan like me, to visualize the Sox playing in October. Part of me wants to keep the faith, part of me wants to bag it and start focusing on how to fix things for 2012.

The former is a frustrating exercise, the latter a daunting task.

Great Trip, Now Let’s Win at Home

A 6-1 road trip, after the disastrous 3-7 home stand , is good for the soul–especially because it  featured a sweep against the Twins.

Now the hard work starts as the Sox try to turn things around at the Cell. After last night’s 6-3 win over the Orioles, they are 34-27 on the road and only 24-32 at home. Stating the obvious, that puzzling stat has to change if the South Siders have any chance of winning the division.

As we look ahead to get the job done on the upcoming homestand, where we’ll face the Royals, Indians and Rangers in consecutive three-game series, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the history that was made in Baltimore last evening by a pair of Sox pitchers:

* Mark Buehrle tied the club record by allowing three runs or less in 18 straight starts. He now shares the mark with Frank Smith, who accomplished the feat 102 years ago. Buehrle also added to his team standard by winning at least 10 games for the 11th year in a row.

* By chalking up his 25th save, Sergio Santos was perfect in the ninth and in the process broke the great Mariano Rivera’s mark with his 25 consecutive scoreless appearance on the road to start a season.

“The I’m Done with Dunn Watch”:  Unfortunately Ozzie either didn’t read yesterday’s blog or ignored my call for Adam Dunn to be benched. For the record, the sorry slugger went 0 for 3 last night with two walks–and, of course, a strikeout.

Sox Mojo to be Tested on 10-Game Trip

Ozzie‘s recent mantra has been to take one day at a time. For a team trying to come back from the dead, I agree that it’s the way to go. I just wish I could walk the walk.

As the White Sox were in the process this weekend of completing a 5-2 homestand on the heels of of an encouraging 6-3 road trip, all I could think of was the upcoming 10-game road swing to Texas, Toronto and Boston.

As the Sox move toward the .500 mark with a 22-26 record, they are about to face a huge challenge while trying to continue their winning ways.

* The defending A.L. champion Rangers are formidable enough, but to make matters more difficult, Texas gets both last year’s MVP Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz back from injury just in time for the Pale Hose.

* Toronto has always been a tough place for us to play and among the issues to deal with up North will be neutralizing the outstanding Blue Jay pitching and home run machine Jose Bautista. Bautista, by the way, is also hitting .353 in addition to his major league-leading 18 homers.

* We all know that the Red Sox are the Red Sox–always tough–and Boston has the major league RBI leader in newly-acquired Adrian Gonzalez (41) plus top-flight pitching.

Sox Notes of Note:  The Sox were able to win the rubber game of the Dodger series today on the strength of Alexei Ramirez‘s four hits, which included a two-run homer, and five RBI…Adam Dunn walked three times and had an RBI single while adding an eighth inning insurance run. WGN cameras caught him mouthing the words, “What was that?” after he got what amounted to his first hit of the series. At least he has a sense of humor…As a result of the Indians’ weekend sweep of the Reds, the South Siders remain nine games behind the Tribe.

Two Victories and Sunshine Highlight My First Day in Paradise

60031105.jpgPARADISE — The name in the dateline isn’t a real place. It’s simply my state of mind when I’m in spring training.
Yesterday was Day 1 on my annual pilgrimage to check out the fortunes of the Pale Hose. And it couldn’t have gone better, with the exception of an unfortunate injury which I’ll explain shortly.
My plane landed in Phoenix around 1030 a.m. local time, about an hour and a half before the Sox and the Rangers were about to get it going in the latter’s winter home of Surprise. I jumped into my rental car, checked into the motel and got to the game just moments before C.J. Wilson threw the first pitch to Lastings Milledge. And did I mention the weather was gorgeous?
The Sox jumped out to a three-run lead and fell behind 6-4 before rallying for three runs in the ninth and walking away with a 7-6 victory.
The Ups:
Mark Teahen has been embarrasing in the field so far this spring, but he’s on fire at the plate in his bid to win the third base job…He was 3 for 5 against the Rangers, including a two-run homer. He’s now batting .529…Minor leaguers Michael Restovich, the late-inning DH who once played for the Twins, and Drew Garcia delivered the key ninth inning hits to pave the way to the victory…Philip Humber started on the mound for the South Siders and pitched three scoreless innings, giving up a pair of hits and striking out two…Gregory Infante relieved Humber and pitched two perfect frames while Kyle Cofield was perfect in his one inning of work…Nate Jones got the win, despite giving up a run, two hits and two walks.
The Downs:
Without question, the biggest downer was the right thumb fracture suffered by Dayan Viciedo after he was hit by a David Bush pitch in the eighth inning. It’s especially frustrating since Viciedo came into camp in great shape and making a case, both offensively and in right field, that he should make the club. He’ll be out of action three to four weeks. Oh, by the way, yesterday was his 22nd brithday…Brandon Hynick got lit up after coming in at the start of the sixth trying to protect the three-run lead. He gave up five runs, four hits and two walks.
Riding high from the come-from-behind win, my next stop was dinner with Sox communications guru Scott Reifert and then it was on to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the brand new spring training home of the Diamondbacks and Rockies located on an Indian reservation in Scottsdale, for a game under the lights with the D-backs. As I mentioned to Scott, it’s Camelback Ranch on steroids–just a spectacular venue.
The Sox completed the Thursday sweep with a 5-3 win.
The Ups:
Gordon Beckham got things off right with a two-run homer in the first inning (pictured above) and went 3 for 4 on the night…Alexei Ramirez was 2 for 4 with an RBI and former Angel can’t-miss prospect Dallas McPherson went 2 for 3 with a run batted in…Gavin Floyd  gave up only a homer to Russell Branyan in 4 2/3 innings and Sergio Santos and Brian Bruney each pitched a scoreless/hitless inning with Bruney recording the save…I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that another “up” was seeing Scottsdale residents and Sox fans Jill and Lee Weiss in the house. I’m sure their good karma made a difference.
The Downs:
While Teahen is tearing it up at the plate, Brent Morel isn’t. After his 0 for 4 last night he’s now hitting .143. I still feel confident he’ll be the starter at third because of the wide gap defensively between the two…Carlos Quentin also took the collar in four at bats and is at .136 on the spring.
Sox host the Cubs today at Camelback Ranch

Lords of the Rings

Congratulations to Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand, both key members of the 2005 White Sox, for winning their second World Series rings last night as the San Francisco Giants gained MLB supremacy by defeating the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the Fall Classic.


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Eight Ex-White Sox on LCS Rosters

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While the current players on the White Sox roster are at home relaxing with their families and spending time on the golf course, there are eight former members of the Pale Hose who are on the AL and NL League Championship Series rosters. Four of these players were part of the 2005 World Champions.

American League

YankeesNick Swisher, Boone Logan
RangersNone
National League

Phillies – *Jose Contreras, *Ross Gload, Wilson Valdez
Giants — *Juan Uribe, *Aaron Rowand, +Javier Lopez

* Played for ’05 World Champion Sox (Gload played in just 28 games)
+Played in White Sox organization at AAA Charlotte, did not pitch for big league club
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