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10 interesting stats about the White Sox first half

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10 interesting stats about the White Sox first half

One more day of idleness before the season resumes tomorrow night in Kansas City, so given the fact that some of these points might no longer be valid when play resumes, why not roll out a list of 10 things about the first half you may not know? Enjoy.

1. Alejandro De Aza: Doubles...but not doubled up

Our leadoff man has had a solid season. He has 16 doubles at the break; excellent when considering that Juan Pierre's totals in 2010 and 2011 were 18 and 17, respectively. Furthermore, De Aza has had the most plate appearances in the American League without hitting into a double play.

PA
De Aza 367
Johnny Damon 179
Jonny Gomes 176
Quintin Berry 168
Alex Liddi 114
Aaron Cunningham 100

If the season were to end now, he'd have the second most PA in a season without a GIDP by a White Sox player (GIDP data available 1939-current).

PA Year
Kenny Lofton 406 2002
De Aza 367 2012
Thurman Tucker 293 1947
Dan Pasqua 277 1989
Ron Karkovice 248 1994
Karkovice again 203 1989

2.) Gavin Floyd: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Floyd leads the White Sox in starts with 5 runs allowed (seven).

However...Floyd also leads the White Sox in starts with 6 IP and 0 runs (five). In fact, Floyd has as many 6 inning scoreless starts as Sale (3) and Peavy (2) COMBINED.

3.) Sweet Seventeen

Kevin Youkilis (55 PA) and Orlando Hudson (109 PA) both have exactly 17 hits.

In White Sox franchise history, Youkilis (and Hudson) has (have) already surpassed the likes of George Foster (11) and Ruben Sierra (16) on the White Sox career hit list. Hit No. 18 will tie them with Manny Ramirez and Chris Sabo. I love making lists of memorable names who played briefly for teams, thinking that somehow they all once represented the same franchise.

4.) Tripling your pleasure

The White Sox have 18 triples at the break. They had 16 all last season. And that 16 was really odd, given that they had both a 48-game triple-less streak AND a 5-triple game last season.

Also, there are four Sox players with 3 triples. They haven't had four players with 3 triples in an entire season since 2002 (Kenny Lofton 6, Jose Valentin 4, Tony Graffanino 4, D'Angelo Jimenez 3). One of the four Sox players with 3 triples is A.J. Pierzynski, the first White Sox catcher to reach this mark since Pudge Fisk had 4 in 1983.

5.) Ranting Robin

The difference in demeanor between Ozzie Guillen and Robin Ventura has been highlighted constantly. But know this: Robin has been getting ejected at a faster pace than Ozzie.

1st Career Ejection 2nd Career Ejection
Date Game No. Date Game No.
Ozzie Guillen 61204 58th 8904 109th
Robin Ventura 53012 51st 7812 85th

And Guillen was only ejected twice in his first season as manager in 2004, so the next time Robin gets tossed, he will have surpassed Guillen in rookie ejections.

6.) First impressions
Both Nate Jones (Josh Hamilton - April 8 in Texas) and Leyson Septimo (Alex Rodriguez - June 29 in New York) recorded their first ML strikeouts against former MVPs. Septimo struck out Robinson Cano with his second career whiff (future MVP?)

7.) Lefty Numerology

The White Sox have had 33 starts by lefties in the first half of 2012. The 2005 White Sox had 33 starts by lefties all season, all by Mark Buehrle.

None of the 2012 lefty starts were by Mark Buehrle, who wore 56.

They came from:

49 Chris Sale (15)
50 John Danks (9)
52 Eric Stults (1)
62 Jose Quintana (8)

Chris Sale is the only White Sox lefty starting pitcher to wear a jersey number under 50 (excluding Jackie Robinson 42 days) since 48 Josh Stewart toed the rubber August 26, 2004. In between that start and Chris Sale's first start 492012, the Sox had 406 straight starts by lefties who wore jersey number 50 or higher (again excluding Jackie Robinson 42 days; in any event, I believe Sale is the only Sox lefty starter to wear 42 on Jackie Robinson Day).

Also, Jose Quintana is the Sox pitcher with the highest jersey number to start a game since Dan Wright, also 62, started 12 games in 2001.

8.) Pinch running out of town

With the arrival of Kevin Youkilis came the departure of Brent Lillibridge, who had a memorable 2011 and had made several highlight reel catches in the field while with the Sox. He also pinch-ran 66 times in his White Sox career.

That's sixth all-time in White Sox history during the "Baseball-Reference Play Index Era"

Pinch Running appearances by White Sox players (1918-current)

Al Weis 123
Sammy Esposito 107
Jim Rivera 82
Tommy McCraw 72
Mike Squires 69
Brent Lillibridge 66

Here's the breakdown of who Lillibridge ran for (including 6 players with 300 HR):

Paul Konerko - 18 Alejandro De Aza - 1
Carlos Quentin - 17 Ramon Castro - 1
Adam Dunn - 8 Gordon Beckham - 1
Mark Kotsay - 5 Omar Vizquel - 1
Dayan Viciedo - 3 Chris Getz - 1
Manny Ramirez - 3 Wilson Betemit - 1
A.J. Pierzynski - 2 Jermaine Dye - 1
Andruw Jones - 2 Jim Thome - 1
9.) Zach Attack(ed)

The Cubs hit 72 first half home runs. Six of them (or 8.33 percent) have come off Zach Stewart. No other pitcher has allowed more than four (Johan Santana is only other with four) to the Northsiders this season.

10.) Big-time power

Adam Dunn had a pair of notable home runs off A.L. West starters this season: Bartolo Colon Apr. 23rd and Felix Hernandez June 1st.

Dunn has now homered off no fewer than 16 former Cy Young Award winners:

Chris Carpenter, Colon, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Roy Halladay, Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Jake Peavy, Johan Santana, John Smoltz, Justin Verlander, Brandon Webb and Barry Zito

By comparison, Paul Konerko has homered off twelve.

Roger Clemens, Colon, David Cone, Zack Greinke, Hernandez, Randy Johnson, Lee, CC Sabathia, Bret Saberhagen, Santana, Verlander, and Zito.

Can't beat baseball trivia. Enjoy the second half.

Instant reaction: Blackhawks squander late lead, fall to Golden Knights in shootout

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USA Today

Instant reaction: Blackhawks squander late lead, fall to Golden Knights in shootout

FINAL SCORE:

Golden Knights 2, Blackhawks 1 (SO)

Snap judgments:

— The Blackhawks played a Golden Knights team that was on the second of a back-to-back and coming off an ugly 6-2 loss in Philadelphia on Monday. They knew the visiting team would come in desperate and it was an even battle, except in the third period when the Golden Knights took control and tied it up at 1-1 with 1:33 left in regulation.

— It took just two games for Kirby Dach to score his first career NHL goal, which will be the first of many. Olli Maatta's pass went off Dach's leg and in, to which Dach said on NBC Sports Chicago during first intermission: "It wasn't the prettiest goal, but I'll take it."

— This was a straight goaltending battle between two of the league's best in Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Fleury was coming off a 29-save shutout against Pittsburgh on Saturday and he followed that up by stopping 31 of 32 shots for a save percentage of .969 against the Blackhawks. Lehner was just as good, if not better, turning aside 33 of 34 shots for a save percentage of .971. He's now 1-0-2 on the season .

Three stars:

1. Golden Knights G Marc-Andre Fleury — Stopped 31 of 32 shots for .969 save percentage

2. Blackhawks C Kirby Dach — First career NHL goal

3. Blackhawks G Robin Lehner — Stopped 33 of 34 shots for .971 save percentage

Must-see highlights:

— Dach's first career NHL goal

— Lehner's desperation save in overtime

What's next:

The Blackhawks host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Thomas Jones tweets plan to fix Bears' struggling offense

Thomas Jones tweets plan to fix Bears' struggling offense

It didn't take Thomas Jones long to become a fan-favorite during his tenure with the Bears, which spanned three seasons from 2004-2006.  Jones, who was the seventh overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft, resurrected his career in Chicago with back-to-back seasons over 1,200 rushing yards in 2005 and 2006.

So, when he speaks about how to improve the offense through the running game, coach Matt Nagy and the rest of Chicago's offensive staff should at least give it a listen.

Technically, Jones tweeted his plan to repair the Bears' struggling offense. But, the point remains.

"Nagy should learn the history of the Bears," Jones tweeted. "When they've won in the past it's because they ran the ball 1st! The fans & the makeup of the Bears is blue-collar. Hard-nosed, physical fundamental football. Limit turnovers, chew up the clock & let the defense get you the ball back.

"And where is their fullback? How can you run the ball in Chicago without a fullback in the game? When u have a fullback in the game the linebackers know they have to strap up their helmets. It's going to be a physical game & some of them don't want that. Can't make it easy for them."

To be fair, fullback is a nearly extinct position in the NFL. But Jones' suggestion runs deeper than that; the Bears need to at least appear like they want to run the ball in order to make the defense respect the threat of a running game.

"They NEVER try to establish the run which puts all of the pressure on a young QB who is still learning & trying to figure out who he's going to be in this league," Jones said. "The O line won't get into any rhythm if they don't run block enough & the defense can only hold up for so long."

According to Jones, Mitch Trubisky isn't ready to be the centerpiece of Chicago's offense just yet.

"Mitch is too young to have all of that pressure on him at once. He's talented but he's not ready yet. You have talented backs & an incredible defense. The O Line just needs to gain confidence run blocking in real-time. They have to establish a running game or things won't change."

Jones drew on some experience from the 2005 season when the Bears kept things pretty basic for then-rookie quarterback Kyle Orton, who enjoyed some moderate success that year. He also chimed in on the Trubisky vs. Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson debate.

"Everyone matures at different times in the NFL. He's not those other guys so comparing him to them isn't going to help them win games right now. Establish a run game & take pressure off of him. Simplify the offense by giving him basic pass plays like we did with Orton in 05."

So how do the Bears get their offense back on a winning track? You guessed it: run the ball!

"It's not a old times sake thing. It's football. Every winning team establishes some sort of running game. Even if it's running back by committee or a running QB. The more tired a defense is from having to chase & tackle the more mental mistakes they're going to make.

"Which gives you a higher chance to win the game. When you run the ball you can take more chances throwing the ball downfield, running specialty plays such as screens and reverses. The defense can't just lay their ears back because they know they can get gashed at any time."

Head over to Jones' Twitter page to follow along with his complete Bears breakdown. It's pretty epic and is a great reminder of just how passionate he is about this team, this city, and winning.