Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Posted 5:27 p.m. Updated 6:29 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
GLENDALE, Ariz. A wins a win, and the Chicago White Sox improved to 3-6-1 on the spring with a 9-7 victory Tuesday over the Colorado Rockies, but it was a bit sloppier an outing for John Danks in his second start of the spring, throwing 55 pitches and just more than half for strikes.
More than anything, I just wasnt making my pitches, Danks said. Its good to go out there and throw the pitches I need to throw and whatnot, but walks are an issue. Theres no other way of putting it I feel good, I just need to be able to throw it where I want to now.
He only walked a few people, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen offered in Dankss defense. He threw the ball very well. Im happy where he is.
Guillen also characterized the 31-hit, 17-run affair, with a roll of the eyes and wipe of the brow, as a typical Arizona game.
Bounced from the fourth inning with just one out, Danks struggled with his control all game long, giving up three walks and five hits, including a two-run shot to Ty Wigginton that drove Danks from the game.
Its just part of the process in spring, Danks said. There are four more starts left. Theres time to get it right. Thats going to be my focus.
Chicago tapped out 17 hits against Colorado pitching, amassing eight early in the game against Rockies starter Felipe Paulino. Tyler Flowers and Eduardo Escobar knocked run-scoring singles in the second, while Gordon Beckham and Mark Teahen did the same in the third.
The White Sox picked up a fifth run courtesy of Flowers smoking hot bat, as the catcher upped his average to .625 with a line-smash home run to left.
After Colorado rallied off of aspiring closer Matt Thornton to tie the game at five in the seventh, the White Sox broke the game wide open with five hits in their first six at-bats in the bottom half, punctuated by a game-tying hit from Paul Konerko and a two-run double from Jordan Danks.
Colorado had another rally going in the eighth, but found it stanched in part by a second outfield assist from Dayan Viciedo, this time throwing Ben Paulsen out at the plate in the eighth.
After the game, Guillen offered his strongest endorsement of The Tanks play so far.
He looked good, Guillen said. I dont know if its hes more comfortable out there, or just natural. Hes better than we thought: Making the plays, hitting the cutoff man, having great at-bats Hes making it harder for a lot of people, no doubt.
Its early, too early
Guillen has consistently lamented the long spring schedule ahead of the White Sox, anguishing over the 31 games remaining.
We still have a long way to go, he said. I was checking the schedule this morning and I almost started crying when I saw how many games weve got left laughter. To be honest with you, this is a joke. We got 31 games and we have doubleheaders, B-games, we have day-night doubleheaders.
But its not just bus weariness that is slowing Guillens roll. The long spring means its much too early to make bold decisions on players, even to the extent of cutting players off of the spring roster.
Thats why I say its too early to make big decisions, Guillen said. Guys are swinging the bat well. The people were watching closely are doing good, the Gordons, the Chris Sales, the Sergio Santos, Viciedo, Brent Morel. Mark Teahen is swinging the bat very well Everything is fine, everybody is healthy, thats the most important thing.
Viciedos play was a natural topic postgame, and the long spring was one reason Guillen gives in not going overboard about his right fielders play.
Its too early, Guillen repeated. Viciedos had a pretty good spring training, but you never know. Were glad about how hes played, no doubt about it. Were excited about him. Hopefully this year we finally have got him in one position. Hes only had a couple years in baseball, and we moved him from third base to first base, first base to third base, its not easy. Hes handled it very well. I hope he continues to play like that.
Method to the madness
The tedium of spring is part of the reason Guillen tabbed all the action up until today as vacation for his players. Pacingthe six-month regular season hasnt yet begunis key for Ozzie.
With the big guys core players, I dont worry, Guillen said. They get ready for the games in their own way. Its not easy to put pressure on yourself, like, Oh God, I have to win games. Just pitch and play the games to get ready for the season. Obviously, when you win its nicer. But I dont worry about the core players. I dont even look at those guys. Adam Dunns already got a couple more hits this spring than he had all last year, we checked that his spring statistics out.
Ozzie on Ali
Guillen was still wowed by his teams meeting with Muhammad Ali before todays gamemore so for the discussion it fostered within his team than the audience with the champ.
It was a great experience, not just for me, but for everybody, Guillen said. To me, it was cool, but for the rest of the guys, it was inspirational. I took a lot of feedback from the players. I can learn from them. Brent Lillibridge said something. Lastings Milledge said something I never heard before. We have different opinions, not talking about black or white, were talking about everyones opinion. This was the best meeting Ive had in 30 years in spring training.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.