White Sox

Buehrle sharp, but Lincecum baffles Sox's bats

Buehrle sharp, but Lincecum baffles Sox's bats

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Posted 5:41 p.m. Updated 6:44 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini

GLENDALE, Ariz. Mark Buehrle tossed his longest and strongest outing of the spring on Wednesdaybut San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum was better.

Paced by an outstanding 5 13 innings (three hits, seven Ks) from the ace of the defending champions, the Giants defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-3 at Camelback Ranch.

Don't worry about Buehrle

Buehrle was touched for seven hits over five innings, punching out three and leaving the game tied 1-1.

Throwing to A.J. Pierzynski helped, Buehrle said. We work well together and get into a routine. This is the first time Ive thrown to him in spring training.

Im very happy for him, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. After his last performance he was a little upset. He threw the ball very good. Every time Buehrle goes out and pitches well, he creates a positive thing for him We know what he can do, but he needs an outing like this before we break camp.

The lefthander mentioned that while San Francisco didnt field its starting lineup in the game, there was a good mix of hitters to face: they were bunting and kind of mixed everything up, so it felt good.

I was taking it a little bit easier, not overthrowing and mostly working on location and movement than trying to throw the ball hard. Thats a strength of mine, location and movement, offspeed pitches and keeping them off-balance.

In short: Buehrles in midseason form.

The White Sox drew first blood when Alex Rios tripled in Paul Konerko in the second. San Francisco got that run back in the fourth, when Brad Eldred singled in Giants phenom Brandon Belt (the rookie first sacker went 3-for-4 with three runs scored on the game). The champs pushed ahead two innings later, pummeling White Sox reliever Jeff Gray for four hits and two earned runs, the first coming on a solo shot from Belt.

Brian Bruney came on to pitch in the seventh and gave up two runs as well, pushing the Giants lead to 5-1.

The White Sox halved that on a seventh-inning, two-run blast from Brent Lillibridge.

Lillibridge nearly tapped a second round-tripper with a massive blast to left-center with two on and one out in the ninth, but left fielder Tyler Graham chased the ball down on the warning track.

Hes swinging the bat goodthe battle for that 25th roster spot is getting fun, Guillen said Two-three days ago I said nobody was impressiveI guess they read the papers The battle from the guys in the back is pretty good right now. Milledge is playing well, De Aza playing good, and Lilli is swinging the bat well. Its going to be fun. Thats the fun thing about spring training. This ballclub is going till the end of spring training to be picked.

Infante en fuego

Gregory Infantes last three appearances have vaulted him to the front of the line for the 12th man in the bullpen, according to Guillen.

Infante is moving up, throwing the ball very well, he said. Im very surprised, personally. Were going to continue to give everybody looks, but right now Infante has been throwing the ball well and Im hearing a lot of good things from Coop.

Against San Francisco, Infante finished the game with a perfect inning and one strikeout, lowering his Cactus League ERA to 6.00.

Love from 2005

Buehrle buzzed former teammate Aaron Rowand when he faced the centerfielder twice in the game, retiring him both times, starting with a first-inning, inning-ending strikeout.

I threw all curveballs to him, Buehrle said with a smile. Its kind of hard to buzz him with a curveball. Im just glad A.J. didnt tell him what was coming, since theyre roommates for spring training. I figured something was going to slip out. And if A.J. did, keep on telling everybody whats coming because it worked. I got Rowand out.

See the World Champs

Guillen joked about the large crowd 10,074 that showed up on a Wednesday, Ozzie had a laugh at his own clubs expense.

I dont think people came to see the White Sox and Buehrle, he said, laughing. When youre the champs, people are going to follow you everywhere. When you win it all thats what you get, people follow you all over the place. People root for you. Its fun. Id rather play in front of 10,000 than the 1,000 weve had in the last two weeks. Its always fun to have people in the stands. I know bigger crowds are coming up, but its nice now.

Jake Flued

Jake Peavy remained at home today, stricken with flu. Nothing physical with him. He just doesnt feel good, Guillen said.

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

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

Perhaps a better question for White Sox fans: When’s Manny Machado coming to the South Side? (Better question from me, personally, is when Chicago might acquire Maryland's greatest creation: the crab pretzel. Had in College Park last summer. It's amazing.)

Whether that ends up happening or not is a question for next offseason, but that query is one that plenty of South Side baseball fans on social media have asked for years now. Machado, mentioned in trade rumors during the Winter Meetings in December, is most likely entering his final season as an Oriole. His contract is up at season’s end, and he’s expected to land a gargantuan deal next offseason.

The funny thing is that for all the hullabaloo over the 25-year-old infielder, he’s coming off his worst statistical campaign as a big leaguer. In 2017, he slashed .259/.310/.782, all three of those percentages seeing huge dropoffs after a sensational 2016 campaign a year prior. His power numbers stayed relatively consistent, but his run and hit totals plummeted as the O’s weren’t quite as a competitive as in years past.

Now, Machado is likely still cruising for a big contract regardless of what he does in 2018. He’s moving to shortstop, which will be interesting. But he’s young enough that even another season like last year won’t make too big a difference, considering how good he’s been throughout his career.

That’s who White Sox fans will be watching whenever their gaze falls on the Baltimore baseball club. (They won’t be alone, by the way, and some contending teams might even try to add him at the trade deadline.) But the O’s are making news for other reasons, recent reasons, in fact.

The biggest name left on the free-agent market finally signed this week, and now the Orioles have a big-time addition to their starting rotation. Unlike Jake Arrieta, it appears Alex Cobb’s waiting game paid off in the form of dollars, years and a no-trade clause. How nice for him. It’s also nice for the O’s, who get to add a guy to a low-key decent starting staff.

Cobb, who had a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season, might not be ready to rock for the start of the regular season considering he didn’t ink a deal until a week out from Opening Day — bet he’s good at staring contests, too — but the trio of Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner (another new addition) and Kevin Gausman will be ready, and all those guys are coming off a solid-enough 2017. Bundy had a couple good stretches, posting a 3.03 ERA over his first 13 starts and then a 2.00 ERA in the month of August. Gausman had a 3.31 ERA over his final 18 starts. Cashner, another free-agent signing, had a 3.40 ERA with the Texas Rangers.

So while the likes of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and the better-than-Machado-last-year Jonathan Schoop still make the O’s an offensive threat in a hard-to-win AL East, the starting pitching might be where the magic is this time around.

2017 record: 75-87, fifth place in AL East

Offseason additions: Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Colby Rasmus, Alex Presley, Pedro Araujo, Joely Rodriguez, Nestor Cortes Jr.

Offseason departures: Welington Castillo, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Seth Smith, Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley

X-factor: I said it just above, and I'll say it again: Jonathan Schoop was better than Manny Machado last season. Schoop made the All-Star team and finished with 32 homers, 105 RBIs and a .293/.338/.503 slash line. His .841 OPS was one of the best 50 in the game. Should we expect Schoop to be the best middle infielder on the O's in 2018, too? Maybe that's a little extreme, but hey, good to have this guy.

Projected lineup:

1. Tim Beckham, 3B
2. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
3. Manny Machado, SS
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Chris Davis, 1B
6. Trey Mancini, DH
7. Colby Rasmus, RF
8. Caleb Joseph, C
9. Alex Presley, LF

Projected rotation:

1. Dylan Bundy
2. Andrew Cashner
3. Kevin Gausman
4. Chris Tillman
5. Mike Wright Jr.

Prediction: Third place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers

Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season


Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season

Rick Renteria's starting rotation isn't exactly official for the start of the season, but it's about as close as it can be.

Maybe "unofficially official" is the best way to go?

The South Side skipper agreed with the assessment of reporters Wednesday in Arizona, saying that an order of James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer "sounds right."

Shields was already announced as the White Sox starter for the season opener next Thursday in Kansas City. That wasn't much of a surprise considering Shields' veteran status in this rotation.

Giolito, who made seven starts at the end of last season and looked mighty good doing it, might be the best starting pitcher on the team going into the season. He posted a 2.38 ERA in those games, with many fans hoping he would have been the one to take on the Royals in the opener. It sounds like he'll likely pitch two days later in Game 2 against the Crowns.

Lopez made eight starts at the end of last season, turning in a 4.72 ERA in those starts. He's another former highly touted prospect who will get a full season to continue his development at the major league level.

Gonzalez was brought back this winter after being traded away from the South Side last summer to bring another veteran mentor type to help along these young pitchers. He had a 4.31 ERA before the trade to the Texas Rangers after a 3.73 ERA in a full season with the White Sox in 2016.

Fulmer is another young arm who will be looking to earn a spot in the crowded rotation of the future this season. He's had a rough spring — though turned in his best start of the spring earlier this week — but he'll be given every opportunity to prove he can succeed as a big league starting pitcher after showing some promise at the end of last season.

Those first three guys will face off against the Royals on the season's opening weekend. Gonzalez and Fulmer are expected to make their first starts of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada.