White Sox

Floyd hurls another gem as Sox rally late for win


Floyd hurls another gem as Sox rally late for win

Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010
Updated 10:44 PM

By Brett Ballantini
BALTIMORE He jogged right into this joke, so no scolds for low blows: Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski definitively answered the question of whether he could clap his hands and run the bases at the same time on his game-tying liner to the right-field corner on Saturday night.

Cheering his hit as he eased into an advance to third base after a game-tying double, Pierzynski suffered one of his less dignified moments on a baseball diamond, caught off-guard by a quick relay throw, failing to slide and turning his ankle while slipping on the slick sack. (The official postgame diagnosis from trainer Herm Schneider was a tweaked left ankle, something Pierzynski is confident he could have finished the game with and would be able to play on tomorrow.) Ramon Castro came on to pinch-run and replace the feisty backstop behind the plate.

No, said manager Ozzie Guillen when asked whether Pierzynskis move was something the catcher learned during Ozzieball drills in spring training. Thats why I took awhile to come out of the dugout. I was like, What was that?

It happened, but we won the game, and its good, said Pierzynski, who was walking freely around the clubhouse and had shed the ice bag to reduce swelling by games end.

But Pierzynski didnt just provide the blooper-reel technicians fodder into the fall, but a lift that Chicagos struggling offense desperately needed, as his wild romp around the bases spurred a come-from-behind, 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Ironically, the hit came immediately after a missed ball-four call that had the Chicago bench up in arms.

That was the break we needed, said Juan Pierre, who would single and score the eventual winning run in the next inning. Weve ran into some good pitching, and once we saw A.J. get his hit, there was some relief that we could come back and win this game.

Pierzynski also provided Gavin Floyd with some rare run support, and instead of throwing just long enough to earn a no-decision or hard-luck loss, the scintillating righty took home the win in front of a home crowd that included 20 family members and friends with seven innings of six-hit, two-run, five-strikeout ball. The start marked just the second time since June 2 that Floyd had been flogged for as many as two earned runs.

At first, I thought maybe it was going to be a short one, Floyd said after allowing two runs in the first three innings, uncharacteristic in a two-month stretch (12 starts) thats now seen him sport a 6-2 record with a 1.19 ERA and .205 batting average against. But its nice to come out on top in a close one, whether Im getting the W or not.

I was kind of worried early, Guillen agreed. We werent swinging the bat good and theyve been throwing the ball very good against us, but Im glad we scored some runs for Gavin. Every time he throws the ball well, we dont score any runs for him. Today we did, and he should be very happy.

The winning rally started after Pierzynskis game-tying shot, Pierre going the other way with a leadoff single in the eighth that extended his season-high hitting streak to 14 games. After a pantomime sacrifice bunt by Omar Vizquel, Alex Rios tapped a single to center, scoring Pierre, who luckily for the Sox sprints a tad faster and significantly more steadfast than Pierzynski while running the bases and clapping.

When Alexanybodytries to pull the ball, he tries to do too much, Guillen said of Rios, who has suffered a slump that has seen his average fall below .299 for the first time since May 23. I dont want Alex to try to hit another 20 or 30 home runs, just get the big RBIs. We dont need anybody to try to hit the ball out of the ballpark. If they do, good. But we can score different ways.

After an Adam Jones blastthe first homer off of Floyd in more than 77 inningsand an RBI single by Ty Wigginton that put the Os up a deuce, Carlos Quentin cut the Baltimore lead with a massive blow to dead center in the fourth.

Gordon Beckham supplied an insurance run in the top of the ninth, driving home Alexei Ramirez.

J.J. Putz subbed for Bobby Jenkswho is fighting a slump and some back soreness, and has been a victim of some horrible stumbles in the past vs. Baltimoreto earn his third save in four tries.

It was another great game, just like last night, Putz said. Thats kind of the luxury we have out there, whenever Bobby needs a blow, we can kind of mix and match the way we want to.

It was another all-in rally with a multitude of heroes, but this game did turn out unique in that the games main hero was also the butt of the joke.

I was joking, I finally did something to help around here and I get hurt, Pierzynski said.

Such baserunning isnt recommended, but clutch hitting to snap the White Sox out of an offensive funk? The team will take that, any time.

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