The White Sox will follow the Blackhawks to the Tampa Bay area this weekend, but they’ll do so without manager Robin Ventura.
Ventura is off for this weekend’s series against the Rays to attend the graduation of his daughter, Madison, from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The fourth-year White Sox skipper also missed a game last year to attend the graduation of his daughter, Rachel, from Oklahoma State, his alma mater.
Bench coach Mark Parent will manage this weekend’s series at Tropicana Field. Ventura will return to the dugout when the White Sox open a two-game series against the Pirates at PNC Park Monday.
Robertson back on track
David Robertson’s rough few days north of the border look like a small blip on his season’s radar.
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After blowing saves on Josh Donaldson home runs in back-to-back games in Toronto last month, Robertson has returned with five consecutive scoreless outings, including consecutive saves against Houston Tuesday and Wednesday.
While Robertson went a week between appearances (May 29 to June 5) in that stretch, he’s only allowed three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in it. His season ERA is down to 2.02 and only five relievers (Dellin Betances, Drew Storen, A.J. Ramos, Zach Britton and Andrew Miller) have been worth more WAR than him this year.
“He’s tough,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “I’ve faced him a few times and it’s not fun. It’s a heavy ball, it’s got that cut on it and it will disappear on you. He has a tremendous curveball. When he’s throwing his curveball for strikes, it’s a tough at-bat for anybody. He’s definitely been a nice weapon to have down there at the end of games.”
Ventura impressed by Correa’s debut
Twenty-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa, considered baseball’s top prospect after the Cubs called up Kris Bryant earlier this year, made his major league debut at U.S. Cellular Field this week and made a strong impression on Ventura even as the Astros were swept by the White Sox.
Correa went 4-for-12 with his first home run — a towering two-run blast off Zach Duke Tuesday — and stole a base. But what Ventura was most impressed by from watching Correa was his poise despite his young age.
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“Good luck to everybody (else),” Ventura said. “He’s very impressive. Even watching him on the field, you see a kid — usually you will see some jitters or something. He’s not rushed. Anybody that things he’s rushed, he’s not rushed to be up here. He’s a Major League player and he’s going to give people fits for a long time.”
Mixed bag for Semien
Statistically speaking, former White Sox infielder Marcus Semien is off to a better start in Oakland (0.9 WAR) than Alexei Ramirez (-0.6 WAR). But Semien committed his 20th error Wednesday night, and the 24-year-old could be on his way to a dubious achievement this season.
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Advanced defensive metrics are a little kinder to Semien, with defensive runs saved pegging him as being worth minus-five runs and ultimate zone rating minus-six. Offensively, though, Semien’s having a solid year: A .276/.327/.421 slash line with six home runs and seven stolen bases.