White Sox

Viciedo the hero in White Sox walk-off win


Viciedo the hero in White Sox walk-off win

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010
Updated 1:23 AM

By Brett Ballantini

As table fan gives way to space heater, the Chicago White Sox season segues from 2010 competition to 2011 audition.

One problem: No one seems to have informed the Pale Hose, who have now won five of six after a thrilling, bottom of the ninth, 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. Rookie Dayan Viciedo, pinch-hitting for veteran Mark Kotsay, was the hero, stroking the game-winning single with one out.

I had to take a risk, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Kotsay struggles vs. left-handed pitchers, and Dayan was the only guy left who could play first base.

Juan Pierre had initiated the final-frame rally by roadrunning a one-out single to short and then stealing second and third on successive pitches by Dustin Richardson. Omar Vizquel jumped on the first pitch he saw after four pickoff attempts on Pierre and a pitchout, riding the ball deep to right but not out of the reach of right fielder J.D. Drew.

I was frustrated that I didnt get a chance to steal during Omars at-bat, Pierre said. Richardson showed me his move, and once I got second, I knew I could be aggressive right away and get third.

Pinch-hitter Mark Teahen fiddled as Pierre burned, walking on four pitches and knocking Richardson off the mound in favor of Matt Fox.

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek knows, one little mistake with me on third and the game is over, Pierre said. He made two great blocks as it was, both of them saved the game. After two in the dirt in the first three pitches, they knew they couldnt throw a pitch with too much bite.

The result was Fox throwing his flattest pitch of the at-bat with the count at 2-2, a slider that slid right into Viciedos bat. The rookies liner snuck past a diving Daniel Nava, unleashing a wild celebration on the field.

Dont give me an assist, Pierre said, smiling. Give all the credit to Viciedo.

Chris Sale got the win, with two innings of scoreless, two-hit, three-K effort in relief of White Sox starter Edwin Jackson.

You always want to come out and get a win like that, said Jackson, who spread seven hits and three earned runs over seven innings. That was a good, old-fashioned battle. Thats what makes the win exciting.

Were always excited to win, especially in a walk-off, Pierre said. Were professionals, so we have an obligation to play hard, but thats what were about. Were still fighting, and thats the most important thing.

The Red Sox struck early, with Jed Lowrie opening the scoring in the second with an RBI double that plated Adrian Beltre. In the next frame, Drew clouted an opposite-field home run, and one out later, Beltre belted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Victor Martinez.

Faced with a 3-0 deficit, the Chisox came back, courtesy first of a predictable round-tripper from Carlos Quentin, a two-run clout off Red Sox starter John Lackey. Now, predictable may seem a displaced modifier for a home run, but consider that Q now sits at 8-for-13 with four homers in his career off the righty after a 1-for-2 performance against him on Tuesday.

David Ortiz pushed the Carmines lead back to two runs with a solo clout in the sixth, and the White Sox took back that run when Brent Morel singled in Quentin (on third after a hard single to third off Lackey, what new). But with runners on first and second with one out, Pierre barely beat out his double-play grounder and Vizquel tapped out to third, extinguishing the threat.

But in the very next frame, Manny Ramirez tapped out an interminable number of fouls before drawing a walk, earning praise afterward for a great at-bat from Guillen, who had called Ramirez awesome before the game.

Brent Lillibridge pinch-ran and stole second base, scoring the tying run on Paul Konerkos double into the right-field corner.

That was the biggest hit of the night, Guillen said.

But after A.J. Pierzynski advanced Lillibridge to third on a grounder to second, Quentin popped out (O Lackey, John Lackey, wherefore art thou?). Alexei Ramirez walked, and Andruw Jones stepped up on his bobblehead night and looked at a called third strike, ending the threat.

Lackey battled hard enough for a win, gutting out six innings and stifling the White Sox on two runs off three hits. For a couple of innings, he was in a position to get it.

We did a great job vs. Lackey, Guillen said. We made him throw what, 100 pitches in five innings actually 98?

Jackson had a similar effort, pitching efficiently and striking out six against just one walk.

Another great outing for him, Guillen said.

Sales second career win was no cherry-pick, as he threw 33 pitches and whiffed three over two innings. All three of Sales Ks were on swinging strikes, first on an 82 mph slider erasing Darnell McDonald and last on an 85 mph slider to Nava to end the ninth. In between was a phenomenal, ninth-inning punchout of the veteran Varitek, who worked the count to 3-0 before Sale annihilated him with four straight, choice-cut fastballs, topping out at 97.

Sale once again did a tremendous job, Guillen said. Hes unbelievable.

On a night where young stars like Sale and Viciedo stole the spotlight from the veterans, the senior Chisox were proud to see the future playing out a little early. Jackson cited the value of the young White Sox getting a taste of pressure situations, while Pierre made specific mention of Viciedos work ethic before games and how satisfying it was to see that hard work translate into game success.

But it was the manager who was most proud of his charges, whether young or old. A week ago, he met with his club in Oakland to praise it for the run it made at the playoffs this season and to warn his charges against letting up at the finish line. Tuesday night, again, those players supported their skipper.

Im very lucky to have guys who will keep fighting, Guillen said. Theyre not going to give up. Theyre not going to give in. And when I have stood up and supported them, theyve backed me up.

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

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again?

He was the guy who helped bring a World Series championship to the South Side in 2005 hasn't been a big league skipper since 2012, in his one ill-fated season managing the Miami Marlins. But his name has come up as a social-media suggestion for open jobs for years, including just two winters ago when the White Sox needed to replace Robin Ventura.

But Guillen, who spent eight seasons as the White Sox manager, said on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast that he hasn't interviewed for any jobs since leaving the Marlins and discussed the trend of hiring young managers who just recently finished their playing careers.

"A couple tried, not to interview me but say, 'Can we talk to you about it?' And I knew I'm not going to be the manager of that team," Guillen told NBC Sports Chicago's Chuck Garfien. "When you look at the manager list, you're going to interview me and you have kid, kid, kid, kid, kid, Ozzie. What's the chance I'm going to manage that team? None. 'Thank you for thinking about me,' and it's cool.

"I've known I'm not going to be the guy because the list. Before, they interview you for a managing job, it's two or three or four guys. Now they've got 30. Nowadays, it's harder to become a manager than win the World Series. Because there are so many interviews.

But does that mean he'll never manage again?

"I think my time's going to come up, maybe," Guillen said. "I always think about (former Florida Marlins manager) Jack McKeon. Jack McKeon was out of baseball for 30 years and all of a sudden came out and won the World Series (in 2003). ... I hope I don't die before that. Jack was 70-plus when he was managing. But we'll see."

Guillen talked about his hopes to be more involved in the White Sox organization after the way his tenure ended back in 2011, saying he hopes to be at spring training with the team one day.

"I'd like to go to spring training with them, that's the first time I'm going to say that, just because I see everybody in baseball, they're bringing former players to the field," he said. "But the problem is, I go there, here we go. 'Why is it ... you're coming here?'

"I don't (want to be a distraction), and I never will be."

Hear more of Garfien's interview with Guillen on the White Sox Talk Podcast.

Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?


Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?

White Sox fans might have their eyes on the future, but the 2018 season has plenty of intrigue all its own. As Opening Day nears, let's take a look at the 18 most pressing questions for the 2018 edition of the South Side baseball team.

Avisail Garcia was great last year for the White Sox.

But does that mean he's a long-term part of this rebuilding team or a potential trade piece?

How Garcia follows things up in 2018 will go a long way in determining the answer to that question, as well as a perhaps more pressing one: Will Garcia still be on the White Sox when the 2018 campaign comes to a close?

Whatever your scouting-eye impressions might have been, statistically, Garcia was one of baseball's best hitters last season. He ranked second in the American League with a .346 batting average. Only league MVP Jose Altuve ranked above Garcia. The White Sox right fielder also ranked sixth in the AL with a .380 on-base percentage. His .885 OPS ranked in the top 10 in the Junior Circuit.

It was the much-anticipated breakout for a guy who's had big expectations ever since he hit the bigs as a 21-year-old in 2012, when he carried a pressure-packed comparison to Detroit Tigers teammate and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. After coming to the South Side in a mid-2013 trade, his first three seasons were impacted by injuries and featured an unimpressive .250/.308/.380 slash line with only 32 homers in 314 games.

But last season, that all changed. He had a career year, slashing .330/.380/.506 with 18 homers, 80 RBIs, 27 doubles and 171 hits. Garcia was named to the AL All-Star team and established himself as the second best hitter on a team where the best hitter, Jose Abreu, is one of baseball's most productive and most consistent.

So can he do it again? That remains to be seen, of course. The scale of the improvements in so many statistical categories make one think that Garcia being able to do it two years in a row would almost be as surprising or more surprising than him doing it just once.

But if Garcia can repeat his performance, at least in the season's first few months, he could potentially draw the eyes of numerous contending teams looking for a bat to add to their lineups. One season of production perhaps wasn't enough to demand the kind of return package Rick Hahn's front office got in return for Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana. But a few good months at the outset of 2018 could draw plenty of interest, making the question of whether Garcia will stay in a White Sox uniform for the entirety of the season a valid one.

All that being said, Garcia's situation — he's under team control for two more seasons — allows the White Sox to be flexible. Garcia's still young, entering his age-27 season. The White Sox could opt to keep a talented hitter, extend him and make him a part of the rebuilding effort, penciling him into the lineup of the future alongside younger hitters like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. Or they could wait to move him, perhaps next offseason or at the 2019 trade deadline.

But Garcia's performance will dictate how viable each of those options ends up being. He finally put it all together in 2017. In 2018, he'll have to keep it all together.