White Sox

Bottom of order propels White Sox to Seattle sweep

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Bottom of order propels White Sox to Seattle sweep

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Updated: 11:23 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

From day one, the Chicago White Sox have been a team-first outfit, preaching the importance of player one through player 25 on the roster. But the club is starting to spread the wealth so thin it may stitch a hammer and sickle on its jersey sleeves.

In an eventual 9-5 win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday-Chicagos 11th straight home win and ninth in 10 tries vs. the Ms-it was the pesky bottom of the order that pulled the White Sox back into the game. Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro and Gordon Beckham loaded the bases to start the third inning and all eventually scored to give the Chisox a lead they would not relinquish. Castro and Beckham combined to go 5-for-7 with five runs scored.

Now we play a different ballgame, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said, contrasting his current club from those of the recent past. Were pushing guys to run the bases and be aggressive.

Castro, in particular had a remarkable game, with a double in the third and solo blasts in the fourth and sixth. While to this point hes been Freddy Garcias designated catcher, Castro will be seeing increased playing time, as at age 34 hes having a career year just as incumbent backstop A.J. Pierzynski is slumping.

Castro is making it harder for me, Guillen said. I may give A.J. another day off. Castro takes care of himself. Hes always had good potential. We should take advantage of what hes doing right now.

As soon as I hit the homers, I knew they were gone, Castro said, recounting with exacting detail his prior two-homer game (off Jason Marquis on April 14, 2002). Hopefully, Ill hit two homers again.

Garcia got down early, Ichiro Suzuki menacing him for doubles and runs in the first and third to put Seattle up, 2-0. But the veteran hung in for six innings, scattering seven hits and striking out three en route to his 10th win of the season.

I got off to a hard start, but I put in my six innings, Garcia said with typical economy. A lot of people are surprised I have 10 wins, but I said from the start I would try to win 15 games, at least. I know how to pitch and get guys out.

There was little surprise or doubt in the Chicago dugout that the team would rally for another come-from-behind victory, its 27th of the season.

Were believing that we can win every game, no matter who were playing, designated hitter Paul Konerko said. We just had a tough road trip, and its good to see us starting right back up winning and not worrying that the party is over.

Were always battling back, said Beckham, who doubled to left and singled to right for his two hits on the night, which he noted as a sure sign hes swinging the bat well. Guys who are supposed to hit are doing it, and the guys who are supposed to get on base are doing it.

If there was one bummer in the win, it was the snapping of J.J. Putzs team-record scoreless appearance streak of 27 in the seventh. Putz surrendered two runs, the first tallies hes allowed since May 7.

I dont know what wed do without him, Guillen said of Putz, acknowledging he could say the same of virtually his entire bullpen.

As if to extend the party, Konerko and Carlos Quentin smashed towering blasts in the seventh to get those runs right back and provide the final markers in the game.

No matter how we score some of our runs, home runs will always come in this park, Guillen said.

I was just trying to scrape by tonight, Konerko said. But I didnt panic.

It seems that these days, the 1-25 deep White Sox are doing a lot more sharing than panicking.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

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USA TODAY

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

Chris Volstad and Hector Santiago combined for one of the best outings by a White Sox starting pitcher this season.

These weren’t the names anyone expected to fit that description when the season began. But with struggles all around from James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, here the White Sox sit as they approach the one-month mark of the 2018 campaign.

Reynaldo Lopez has been excellent, no doubt about it, and Fulmer has turned in a couple nice outings, including in Monday’s win over the visiting Seattle Mariners. But against that same M’s lineup Tuesday afternoon, Volstad — who lasted 4.1 innings in a 1-0 loss — became the first White Sox starter this season not to issue a walk.

It was an important outing for Volstad, as well as for Santiago, who followed him up with 3.1 shutout innings of his own. The duo showed they’re both capable of serving as reliable fill-ins in a White Sox rotation that got a hole punched in it Monday, when Gonzalez went to the disabled list.

Shields, Giolito, Lopez, Fulmer. Those guys aren’t going anywhere. But should Gonzalez remain on the DL for an extended period of time, it doesn’t seem as if the White Sox need to be searching for options.

“Volstad and Hector both did a nice job. I thought they gave us plenty of outs, they gave us plenty of opportunity,” manager Rick Renteria said after Tuesday’s game.

But that doesn’t mean the South Siders are out of the starting-pitching woods for the remainder of this week. Shields will go in Wednesday’s finale with the Mariners. Giolito and Lopez are set to pitch in the first two games of a five-game road series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

But Saturday presents a mystery, one that doesn’t seem to have an easy answer.

Thanks to that opening-weekend snow-out, there’s a doubleheader Saturday, and while Fulmer is in line to start one of those games, who will start the other? The White Sox will get a 26th man for that day, and that spot is typically given to a spot starter brought up from Triple-A. But given the White Sox current situation on the 40-man roster, there aren’t many options, meaning a player might need to be outrighted in order to make room for a spot starter.

Let’s get this out of the way first: It seems unlikely that Michael Kopech will make his major league debut in a spot start during an April doubleheader in Kansas City. Yes, Kopech has been good in his three starts with Charlotte, sporting a 2.40 ERA with 21 strikeouts. But he’s got just six total starts at the Triple-A level, and the White Sox have made it abundantly clear throughout the last several months that the necessities of the big league team during this rebuilding season and Kopech’s readiness for the majors are independent of one another.

It makes no sense to potentially cut short Kopech’s development at the Triple-A level because the big league rotation needs a spot starter.

The options, however, are limited.

Of the seven players who have started games for the Knights this season, two are on the big league roster right now (Volstad and Chris Beck), one is Kopech and one has a 9.75 ERA (T.J. House). One is on the 40-man roster, Ricardo Pinto, who made his first start at Charlotte on Tuesday. Pinto, though, would be on short rest Saturday.

The other two are Dylan Covey, who turned in a 7.71 ERA with the White Sox last season, and Donn Roach, who has made two career major league starts, most recently giving up four runs in 3.1 innings in a spot start for the Cubs in 2015. Covey and Roach have 2.95 and 1.88 ERAs at Charlotte, respectively. But the White Sox would need to make room on the 40-man roster to bring either up, even just for a day.

While it would be on “short rest,” perhaps the most logical option is just to start Volstad or Santiago on Saturday and start the other on Sunday. Tuesday, Volstad threw 66 pitches and Santiago threw 59 pitches, neither total approaching the qualification of a heavy workload, especially considering both veterans have plenty of starting experience under their belts.

Renteria talked about how well it worked using both guys in tandem Tuesday, but he might have to split them up to staff his rotation this weekend. It would also eliminate the need to remove someone from the 40-man roster. The White Sox could just bring up another bullpen arm as the 26th man, someone like Juan Minaya, who was on the Opening Day roster.

Renteria has already shown willingness to use his pitchers outside of the traditional “every fifth day” strategy. Shields and Fulmer both pitched in back-to-back games just last week. And Fulmer’s turn was moved up when Gonzalez went on the DL, pressing him into his third appearance in six days Monday.

The mystery likely won’t be solved, at least publicly, anytime soon. We’ll likely have to wait a few days to know for sure. Until then, it’s a guessing game.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

Drafted by the White Sox in 2009, Trayce Thompson never wanted to play for another team but the White Sox. 

All that changed in 2015 when he was dealt to the Dodgers in the Todd Frazier trade. Now back with the White Sox, Thompson talks with Chuck Garfien about the trials and tribulations of the last few years, the whirlwind of being on 4 teams in the last 4 weeks, how the White Sox threw him a lifeline bringing him back, how he wants to make the best of this new opportunity and more. 

Take a listen here or in the embedded player below.