White Sox

Floyd exits early in White Sox seventh straight loss

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Floyd exits early in White Sox seventh straight loss

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010
Updated 1:21 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

OAKLAND It was a game that had all the marks of a Little League makeup game, a March high school game forced inside a gymnasium due to snow, or, well; any recent vintage Chicago White Sox tilt.

The Oakland Athletics were the latest ballclub drawn into the South Siders malaise, matching the visitors gaffe-for-gaffe before breaking through with a seventh-inning rally that erupted from ano kiddingsingle, sacrifice bunterror, bunt single and fielders choice.

Daric Barton was the author of the phantom game-winning RBI in that seventh, and the As would later fully anesthetize the Chisox by plating a couple of two-out runs on a Kurt Suzuki single in the frame. It put Oakland up by the eventual final score, 3-0.

For those fans at home who will be waiting for the Easter Bunny come April, Chicagos seventh straight loss coupled with another (what-new) Twins win drops Minnesotas magic number to clinch the A.L. Central to two.

From the White Sox standpoint, of utmost concern was an injury to starter Gavin Floyd that sidelined the starter just seven pitches into the game, as he battled Oakland leadoff hitter Rajai Davis.

We have to wait and see how he feels tomorrow, Guillen offered as an initial prognosis. Theres no reason to risk this kids year, or career. If we have to well keep fighting with the rest of the guys.

I went out there and let it go, spinning some curveballs, and it felt progressively inflamed, Floyd said. It felt like it wasnt getting better, and I felt it every pitch. I tried to fight through it, even through warm-ups, and felt like maybe it was going to get better, but it got progressively worse when I started throwing other pitches. When I get out there, and I get extension, thats when it bothers me.

Chicagos Tony Pena again delivered yeoman work on short notice, following his sterling start Aug. 21 vs. the Kansas City Royals with Monday nights six innings of six-hit, scoreless ball, striking out three and walking two.

I was surprised, said Pena, who earned the win vs. the Royals but took a no-decision on Monday. They told me I had to be ready because Floyd wasnt feeling good, get in the bullpen and youre going to have a chance to go in the game.

In Kansas City, I got a chance to start and threw seven innings for the win. Tonight, I felt good. My arm feels good. I feel like I can do this.

He was unbelievable, Guillen said. He might take Gavins spot. Im not going to pitch Gavin unless hes 200 percent. Im not taking the chance of further injury.

Oaklands pitching held the White Sox to just four hits and one extra-base knock, an Andruw Jones flyball that Chris Carter misplayed and Jones blasd into a double.

Chicago was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base in the game, courtesy of free passes from As hurlers. The assault was led by starter and ex-White Sox prospect Gio Gonzalez, who threw six innings of four-hit, shutout ball, striking out seven.

He threw a lot of strikes, Guillen said. He always had confidence in himself and wanted to be good, to be noticed. Hes matured, and he throws more strikes. Today every time he got in trouble, he could throw breaking balls for strikes.

Chisox catcher Ramon Castro had a game of limited distinction, leaving five men on base with two outs (and six total) in the game en route to an 0-for-4, career-high three-strikeout night.

Very bad, Guillen said of his teams offensive game. When we got something going with two out, we struck out. I dont know if it was a late night last night, but today was kind of flat. If we have to make an excuse, then thats the excuse for the way we played today. Hopefully, tomorrow we get our emotions back.

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

Lucas Giolito relieved to be able to shed No. 1 pitching prospect label

Lucas Giolito relieved to be able to shed No. 1 pitching prospect label

GLENDALE, AZ — You don’t need a scale to see that Lucas Giolito lost some weight in the offseason. As he walks around Camelback Ranch, he just seems lighter. These pounds were shedded thanks to a certain label that has been detached from his name and his being.

“Lucas Giolito, number-one pitching prospect in baseball” is no more.

“Definitely. Big time relief. I carried that title for a while,” Giolito told NBC Sports Chicago. “It was kind of up and down. I was (ranked) 1 at one point. I dropped. I always paid attention to it a little bit moving through the minor leagues.”

Which for any young hurler is risky business. The “best pitching prospect” designation can mess with a pitcher’s psyche and derail a promising career. Giolito was walking a mental tightrope reading those rankings, but after making it back to the majors last season with the White Sox and succeeding, the moniker that seemed to follow him wherever he went has now vanished.

“Looking back on it, that stuff is pretty cool," Giolito said. "It can pump you up and make you feel good about yourself, but in the end the question is, what are you going to do at the big league level? Can you contribute to a team? I’m glad that I finally have the opportunity to do that and all that other stuff is in the rear view."

This wasn’t the case when the White Sox acquired Giolito from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade in December 2016. When he arrived at spring training last year, he was carrying around tons of extra baggage in his brain that was weighing him down. Questions about his ability and makeup weren’t helping as he tried living up to such high expectations.

“Yeah, I’d say especially with the trade coming off 2016 where I didn’t perform well at all that year," Giolito said. "I got traded over to a new organization, I still have this label on me of being a top pitching prospect while I’m going to a new place, I’m trying to impress people but at the same time I had a lot of things off mechanically I was trying to fix. Mentally, I was not in the best place as far as pitching went. It definitely added some extra pressure that I didn’t deal with well for a while."

How bad was it for Giolito? Here are some of the thoughts that were scrambling his brain during spring training and beyond last season.

“I saw I wasn’t throwing as hard. I was like, ’Where did my velocity go?’ Oh, it’s my mechanics. My mechanics are bad. I need to fix those,” Giolito said. “Then I’m trying to make adjustments. Why can’t I make this adjustment? It compounds. It just builds and builds and builds and can weigh on you a ton. I was 22 turning 23 later in the year. I didn’t handle it very well. I put a lot of pressure on myself to fix all these different things about my performance, my pitching and trying to do it all in one go instead of just relaxing and remembering, ‘Hey, what am I here for? Why do I play the game?’”

Still, pitching coach Don Cooper wanted to see what he had in his young prospect. So last February, he scheduled him to make his White Sox debut against the Cubs in front of a packed house in Mesa.

“It was kind of like a challenge," Giolito said. "They fill the stadium over there. I’m like, ‘Alright here we go."

Giolito gave up one run, three hits, walked one and struck out two in two innings against the Cubs that day.

“I pitched OK," he said. "I think I gave up a home run to Addison Russell. At the same time, I remember that game like I was forcing things. I might have pitched okay, but I was forcing the ball over the plate instead of relaxing, trusting and letting it happen which is kind of my mantra now. I’m saying that all the time, just having confidence in yourself and letting it go.”

A conversation in midseason with Charlotte Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty, suggested by Cooper, helped turn Giolito’s season around. The lesson for Giolito: whatever you have on the day you take the mound is what you have. Don’t force what isn’t there.

Fortunately for Giolito he has extra pitches in his arsenal, so if the curveball isn’t working (which it rarely did when he came up to the majors last season) he can go to his change-up, fastball, slider, etc.

It’s all part of the learning process, both on the mound and off it. Setbacks are coming. Giolito has already had his share. More will be on the way.

“You want to set expectations for yourself. You want to try and achieve great goals,” he said. “At the same time, it is a game of failure. There’s so much that you have to learn through experience whether that be success or failure. Especially going through the minor leagues. There’s so much that you have to learn and a lot of it is about development. It’s a crazy ride for sure.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: