Results tagged ‘ Sergio Santos ’

This One Really Hurts

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All you have to do is look at their last two road games against the Twins, including last night’s heartbreak, to know that playing in Minnesota is still a nightmare for the White Sox. It happened at the Metrodome, it’s happening at Target Field and it probably would happen at a Little League field in suburban Wayzata.

You can also make a very good case that those two games represent the worst Sox defeats of the season thus far. And, eerily, both were 7-6 walkoff losses.
Before last night, that Sunday, July 18 disaster was the one that stung the most. The South Siders enjoyed a three-run lead going into the ninth only to see Bobby Jenks cough up four runs, blow the save and prevent the Sox from splitting their first series after the All-Star break.
For me, that loss was not as bad as last night. Down 4-0 in the first, the Sox battled back to tie the game at 4-4, tied it again at 5-5 on an Alexei Ramirez homer in the ninth and went ahead 6-5 in the top of the 10th. Then “Minnesota” happened. All-Star Matt Thornton gave up a leadoff single to Delmon Young and ex-Sox Jim Thome, he of the “should we keep him, should we let him go” controversy in the offseason, drilled a two-run homer to end the game. Try to get a good night’s sleep after that one.
If that scenario weren’t bad enough, the once strong White Sox bullpen is going through a significant meltdown. Jenks, who appears to be healthy enough to pitch tonight if needed, has not been reliable. J.J. Putz blew two saves over the weekend and now, for the third straight game, a Sox reliever can’t get the job done with a late-inning lead. A pen that once had three possible closers (four if you include Sergio Santos) now has no one they can really count on.
With 43 games to go, all is not lost. But two things trouble me: the fact that the Twins don’t seem to lose anymore, even without Justin Morneau, and the Sox are making a habit of losing close games late. Unless things turn around quickly, I’m afraid we’ll have plenty of time on our hands in October.
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Kotsay, Santos Lift Our Spirits After Yet Another Bobby Jenks Meltdown

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There was no scarcity of storylines in today’s dramatic 6-4, 11-inning White Sox win over the Tigers.
Pick one: There’s the validation of Mark Kotsay (above) or the sad-but-true Bobby Jenks chronicles or the continuing transformation of infielder-turned-relief ace Sergio Santos or last, but not least, yet another example of the South Siders’ impressive resiliency.
Kotsay: Just a couple of days after Ozzie defended Kotsay’s role with the club, the versatile first baseman/outfielder/DH went 3 for 5 with a key two-run homer in the ninth and the game-winning two-RBI triple in the 11th. It was a sight for sore eyes as the popular Kotsay has been in a season long slump, which even resulted in him burning his bats in a recent ceremony.
Jenks: Kotsay’s heroics made Jenks’ latest meltdown a bit more palatable, but the reliever’s woes are still a big cause for concern. Even Ozzie seemed flummoxed after the Sox closer coughed up a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth to the immortal Ryan Raburn, which tied the score and cost Freddy Garcia his 11th victory of the season.
“You know what?” Guillen said to reporters after the game. “Ask Bobby what he wants to do. I don’t know. I don’t say we’ve lost confidence, but when your closer gives up one run (it’s OK). The last three times he blew the game, he gave up three or four runs…I keep saying, when Bobby’s the closer, our bullpen is better. But right now, I’ve got to wait and see what I’m going to do for the next couple of days.”
If Jenks’ blown opportunities aren’t bad enough, he has a tendency to minimize his failures, which drives fans nuts. It’s one thing to fail, it’s another not to be accountable. I understand that closers need to have short memories, but admitting that he has stunk up the place (i.e., Minnesota, Seattle and Detroit) wouldn’t hurt his relationship with the faithful.
Santos: What a godsend Sergio has been. His two scoreless innings today, in the 10th and 11th innings, were obviously instrumental in the team’s ability to come back after the dreadful ninth.
Never Say Die White Sox: These Sox continue to amaze with the ability to bounce back. After the stunning Rayburn homer, the Hose could have laid down and died and wound up dropping the game to Detroit as well as losing ground to the victorious Twins. But they didn’t–and never do.
I’m happy to say that I’ll be meeting up with the first-place Sox in Baltimore for the weekend series. To echo a now all-too-familiar phrase: “Don’t stop now, boys.”
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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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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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What a Difference a “Q” Makes

54758086.jpgLast night’s 9-2 White Sox victory over the Angels was pretty close to perfection. Solid pitching, great defense, four homers, clutch hitting and holiday fireworks to top it all off. The only blemish was a scary top of the eighth as Bobby Jenks, obviously rusty from a week’s absence, and newcomer Erick Threets loaded the bases before Sergio Santos slammed the door on the Halos.
Many heroes emerged: Gavin Floyd and his outstanding seven innings, Dayan Viciedo and his first major league home run and a pair of RBI, red-hot Alexei Ramirez and his homer and two RBI were among them.
But the revitalized Carlos Quentin stole the show. Q hit a pair of homers with three RBI. Overcoming a horrendous start, he now has 15 homers and 53 RBI with a week to go before the All-Star Game.  And then there was the first inning catch off the bat of Sox nemesis Torii Hunter in right field, which saved a run, set the tone for the night and is certain to be an ESPN “Web Gem.” Here it is, though the photo doesn’t do it justice.
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Pauliewood

I can’t say enough about Mark Buehrle. His pitching accomplishments, his leadership, his sense of humor and the fact he still runs out to catch ceremonial first pitches except on days he’s on the mound all contribute to him being special.
And not everybody boasting his credentials would be the leading spokesperson for the election of a teammate for an All-Star berth–especially when said spokesperson didn’t make it himself. But then again, Buehrle isn’t everybody. Here he is, t-shirt and all, at the Cell last night encouraging fans to vote for Paul Konerko, who by the way should already be on the American League roster.
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Sox Split with Rays; Jayson Delivers in Nix of Time

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A week ago, when the White Sox embarked on their seven-game road trip to Cleveland and Tampa Bay, it’s safe to say that we would have been happy with what now has happened–a series win over the Tribe and a split with the Rays. 
Of course more would have been better, but the way this season is going a 4-3 mark is satisfactory–with the hope that June will be the time for the turnaround.
The finale in Tampa Bay yesterday, an 8-5 triumph over baseball’s best team, had a lot of heroes. Jayson Nix, who replaced Mark Teahen (injury to right middle finger) at third in the middle of the game, gave the Sox the lead for good in the sixth with a grand slam (pictured above). Alex Rios went 3 for 5 with his 11th homer and a pair of RBI and Juan Pierre made two spectacular catches. 
On the pitching side Jake Peavy was nothing special, but got the win. Sergio Santos lowered his ERA to 0.48, Matt Thornton pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Tony Pena finished the game by retiring Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena.
Now it’s back to Chicago to face the Rangers, Indians and Tigers. No time to waste.
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We Can’t Blame it on Rios…or Freddy…or Santos…or Thornton

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With the White Sox having the dubious distinction of a league-low team batting average of .235 and a comparable mark with runners in scoring position, their 21-27 won-loss mark is no surprise. In fact, you could make the argument that it should be worse.
Amid the underperforming hitters is Alex Rios, whose .309 batting average is about 60 points more than the next regular, Juan Pierre (.251), and 108 points higher than last year’s rookie sensation, Gordon Beckham. Paul Konerko, whose average has dwindled to under .250, has come through on the power side, but Rios has been the man overall adding 10 homers and 25 RBI. He did it again last night with the key two-run homer off of David Price in the 4-2 victory over the first-place Rays. He’s been a godsend.
That goes for Freddy Garcia as well, who bounced back from his horrendous outing against the Marlins to dominate Tampa Bay last night. He’s been pretty darn good for a fifth starter especially since his fellow starters, for the most part, have underperformed. While we’re at it, we have to add Sergio Santos, he of the 0.50 ERA, and Matt Thornton (1.77) to the mix of stalwarts.
The common denominator here is that all of the above have been significant contributors for the first two months of the season and each had a hand in the win last night.
I don’t know where we’d be without them.
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Infielder-Turned-Reliever Santos is the Sox Feel Good Story of the Young Season

Amid the disappointment of the Sox season, we haven’t gotten as excited as we probably should be about the positives. And make no mistake, there have been some things to cheer about–Alex Rios‘ bat and glove, Paul Konerko‘s home run prowess, the starting pitching at times and Matt Thornton in the pen to name a few.
The most pleasant surprise in the early going, though, has been the stunning conversion of Sergio Santos from a minor league infielder who never made the leap to the big leagues to an almost unhittable reliever.
Including his one-inning scoreless stint in the White Sox’ efficient 7-2 victory over the Indians tonight in Cleveland, Santos has made 18 appearances. He has given up only one run, 10 hits, seven walks and has struck out an impressive 21 batters. His ERA is a miniscule 0.52.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself–it’s only May–but from what I’ve seen Santos certainly gives the vibe that he’s tough-minded. If his mastery of A.L. hitters continues, I wouldn’t be surprised that if at some point down the road (not necessarily this year) he will be the successor to Bobby Jenks as the Sox closer.
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Santos before…

Santos after…
















Sox Make It Two Straight, Fans Rejoice


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There’s no truth to the rumor that Major League Baseball is going to move the White Sox to the National League. We can only hope.
Boasting one of the best records since interleague play began, the Sox continued their dominance over the senior circuit by besting the Florida Marlins, 4-1. It was the first time that the South Siders have won two in a row since they swept the Mariners in late April.
Alex Rios, The club’s most consistent offensive performer all season, collected three RBIs, including a two-run homer while Carlos Quentin had two hits and an RBI. Gavin Floyd was much better this time out, going 6 1/3 while allowing a run and six hits with seven strikeouts. J.J. Putz, Sergio Santos and Bobby Jenks, who got the save, were stellar in relief.
It’ll be Freddy Garcia, aiming to continue his outstanding start, facing Marlins’ ace Josh Johnson as the Sox go for the sweep tomorrow.
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