White Sox

All-or-nothing: Diving Rays drive Sox downward

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All-or-nothing: Diving Rays drive Sox downward

Monday, April 18, 2011
Posted: 8:11 p.m. Updated: 10:40 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.David Price was hammered in the Chicago home opener, a game featuring every element of the purported All-In baseball the White Sox have signed up for this season.

Those heady times of just 10 days ago have dissipated, as Price held the Pale Hose completely in check with a three-run first to put the sleeper hold on a speedy, 5-0 win. Chicago failed to mount any real offensive threat, tapping out just four safeties and one of them a Carlos Quentin broken-bat bloop.
WATCH: Pierre says Sox need to battle

Oh yeah, Price was a bulldog tonight, said left fielder Juan Pierre, who saw his OPS dip to .648 with an 0-3 night. That was the best I have ever seen him pitch. The equalizer tonight was he changed speeds on us. I don't recall him changing speeds like that before. We have to battle through this stretch and continue to try and have good at-bats, but he was pretty good tonight.

Price was a different Price today than he was in Chicago, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. In Chicago, he was changeup and breaking ball, and today he was fastball first That was a different pitcher than we saw in Chicago.

The cherry on top of Mondays loss was a booming homer off of Matt Thornton to lead off the eighth by Felipe Lopez, who felt so guilty about piling on the embattled White Sox closer he bothered to neither toss his bat at the lefty and nor front and show up the Chisox.

Edwin Jackson, who polished a gem in that White Sox home opener on April 7, struggled through 98 pitches in a second straight start failing to find his feel and fell to 2-1 on the season. Overall, he kept the White Sox the game, surrendering four earned runs, but his offense couldnt rally on his behalf.

Jackson threw pretty good, maybe one mistake, on the first-inning Ben Zobrist home run, Guillen offered. But he was throwing very well. We just didnt score many runs.

WATCH: Jackson says the Rays had him ducking

It was a good, old-fashioned battle, said Jackson, who suffered his first career loss vs. Tampa and allowed more hits (11) and runs (four) in his seven innings than he had in his prior three career starts vs. the Rays. They put the ball in play and Price pitched a hell of a game. What can I say?

A mere 12,016 escaped 81-degree heat to bask in the Juice Box climate control, stuck fastidiously at 72, so its tempting for the Chicago 9 to pretend that this series opener didnt actually happen, or registers in a gymnasium intramural category of the standings.

But count it did. The White Sox started the season with two thumpings of the Cleveland Indians, who now lead the AL Central. The Rays started a franchise-worst 0-6. After tonight, the two clubs now stand at 7-9, and the team that looks more apt to taste playoff champagne this fall isnt the visitors.
Pizza posing

Before the game, Guillen recalled his past diatribes regarding a Rays pizza promotion that finds ticketholders earning a free pizza if Tampa hurlers K 10 or more opponents.

Little did he know it was a premonition, as Price (nine in eight innings) and Joel Peralta (two in one) combined to earn the scattered and bipartisan crowd a free pie (for the record, Rays fans, pen Paul Konerko a thank-you as the 10th victim).
WATCH: Ozzie shares his thoughts on pizza

It seems like every time we come to Tampa Bay there are going to be a lot of people eating pizza, Guillen said. Every time we come here, its pizza for everyone. I never remember leaving here without giving away some pizza. We should be on the payroll for the restaurant; it must be great marketing when the White Sox comes to town.

Hitless wonders

The White Sox managed just four hits in the series opener and have tumbled down to a .263 team batting average and .734 team OPS. Still, Guillen isnt too concerned.

When asked about Gordon Beckham, mired in a slump that was aggravated by an 0-4 outing with two Ks on Monday, Guillen was similarly cool.

Well try to figure it out, he said. He took early hitting. He has slumped before. I will try to protect him, but its all about him. Hes my second baseman. He will be there until he kills me, but hes my second baseman and will be in the lineup.

Guillen sees Bacons struggle as endemic of those of his entire offense.

Right now, I cannot point to whos struggling. As a group, we all struggle. Then when we hit, they make a good defensive play vs. us. Thats part of the game. All you can do is when you wake up in the morning, be ready to fight again.

Its the way it is. Its a long season, and hopefully were hitting the wall offensively now and not later. I have confidence in this lineup.

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

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

Eloy Jimenez is wasting no time endearing himself to the South Side. His game-winning, broken bat homer against the team that traded him away, in his first time back, is the stuff of legend. The Quintana-Eloy trade still probably has 10-15 years of barguments ahead of it, but it's quickly becoming one of the more fascinating storylines in recent memory. 

There's apparently baseball going on outside of Chicago, though, and as it turns out, the teams that were still really good last week are still really good this week. The Astros and Yankees are actually probably getting better. The Orioles are not. 

To the rankings! 

YOU CAN SEE THE ENTIRE MLB POWER RANKINGS RIGHT HERE

Seven walks last year, now Lucas Giolito goes back to Wrigley as one of baseball's best

Seven walks last year, now Lucas Giolito goes back to Wrigley as one of baseball's best

Looking for another example of how far Lucas Giolito has come this season? Look back to last year’s Crosstown series.

Giolito pitched in games on both sides of town, but the start he made against the Cubs at Wrigley Field was emblematic of his woeful 2018 season. He actually earned the win in that game, but he walked seven batters and threw three wild pitches. By the time he exited, his season ERA was nearly 7.00.

White Sox fans know that 2019 has been the complete opposite for Giolito, and he rides into his Wednesday-night start on the North Side as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Just like Eloy Jimenez’s game-winning home run Tuesday was the best snapshot of the White Sox rebuilding progress to date, putting last year’s start at Wrigley next to where Giolito is heading into this year’s start at Wrigley is the best snapshot of his amazing transformation.

“It was survival mode,” Giolito said Tuesday. “Now I feel like I’m on the attack. When I take the ball, I have full confidence in myself that I will come after you with really good stuff, changes in velocity and movement. Last year I went out not knowing what I had that day.

“I don’t want to walk seven, like I did last year here. I got the win somehow. The offense and defense bailed me out a ton. This year I’m much different. I’m all about filling up the zone, attacking hitters. That’s pretty much the M.O.”

The difference has been obvious to anyone who watched Giolito struggle last season to the tune of a 6.13 ERA (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), a 1.48 WHIP (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), 118 earned runs (the most in baseball) and 90 walks (the most in the American League). This season, he’s been dominant, on an incredible run that’s made him as good a Cy Young candidate as you’ll find. He’s got a 2.22 ERA right now, best in the AL, with 95 strikeouts in 81 innings.

Over his last eight starts, Giolito has a 0.94 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. Opposing hitters are batting just .149 against him during that span.

The dude’s on fire, a near lock to be an All Star, and perhaps most importantly, he’s totally changed his long-term perception in the minds of White Sox fans. They groaned during the walks and the runs and the wild pitches last year and cast him out of their projected future rotations. Now they’re cheering a guy who looks capable of leading that rotation of the future.

What a difference a year makes.

If those White Sox fans are anything in number and volume like they were Tuesday night, when they made Wrigley Field sound like Guaranteed Rate Field after Jimenez’s homer in the ninth, then Giolito can expect a rocking atmosphere as he looks to keep the good times rolling — and make a Crosstown moment worth remembering this time.

“I want to give the fans a show as much as I can,” Giolito said. “I like to see we’re filling up our ballpark with more White Sox fans, more people starting to pay attention. Just want to continue on that train. Our team is playing really hard and we’re happy to be here.

“My goal every time I pitch is to win, so not too much changes. But it's going to be a lot of fun, I'll say that. I'm looking forward to it.”

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