White Sox

Beckham, Quentin lead Sox assault of A's

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Beckham, Quentin lead Sox assault of A's

Friday, March 18, 2011
Posted: 8:44 p.m. Updated: 10:06 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. A new Bad Bobby strode to the mound on Friday night, but he wasnt pitching for the Chicago White Sox, but against them.

This Bobby was the Oakland As Bobby Cramer, and the Chisox creamed him for eight runs in three innings, punctuated by titanic blows to left field by Gordon Beckham (three runs), Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin (both solo bombs).

Yesterday, we had four hits, and people were screaming about the offense, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Today, theyll be yelling about saving some for the regular season.

And the White Sox didnt stop with nine taps and eight runs off Cramer; the hit parade continued against Yadel Marti, who extinguished just two of the Chicago Nine while surrendering six runs on six hits in the fourth.

Next in front of the firing squad was Josh Outman, who was rocking an old-school gold-and-green sockstirrup ensemble that made him look like he was pulled off a nearby softball field with the As trailing 13-1. Outman hurled more like Craig Minetto than Rollie Fingers, at least to begin with, getting knocked for five quick hits and two runs.

Every White Sox starter had at least one hit, led by a 4-4 night (with nine total bases) from Quentin, who entered action batting .167. Beckham continued his smash-and-grab on the Cactus League with three hits, three RBI and four runs. Alexei Ramirez was 3-4 with two RBI. Tyler Flowers clubbed a two-run shot, the longest of the night, continuing his torrid spring, and in all these new Hit Men tapped out 21 hits in the game, allowing just four.

I hope this helped, not just because we won, but because well get the confidence back for a few guys, Guillen said, citing Quentin, Beckham, and Brent Morel (2-5) in particular. I dont know why, its just spring training, but they put a lot of pressure on themselves to get five or six hits. Theyre still kids. Sometimes you have to do what you can to make sure those guys are still having fun.

The offensive outburst almost overshadowed a sterling performance from John Danks, who might just yet snatch an Opening Day start away from Mark Buehrle. Danks spun six innings of four-hit, one-run ball and looked ready for the season to begin.

I feel like Im on the way, Danks said. Toward the end of the outing, I started to get a little gassed. By the time I get to the regular season Ill be ready to go. No doubt, this was the biggest step toward being ready, results-wise at least. I threw all four pitches for strikes and fastballs both sides of the plate. It was fun.

Guillen was also pleasednot that he was terribly worried about his star lefthander.

Johns been pitching very well, he didnt walk that many guys none, in fact, he said. One thing about spring training, when you take a comfortable lead, you start playing around and then you give up runs. He did what he was supposed to do, so Im very happy. His changeup was outstanding today.

Danks acknowledge some of the same things, with a broad smile.

During the regular season its a lot different pitching with a 15-run lead than spring training, he said. There were a couple of times where you almost wanted to get right back out there, but the guys just kept on scoring. Its good for them. We need them to get on just as big a roll as us pitchers, so its always a joy to see them go out there and have a night like tonight. Hopefully the way weve been throwing out there carries over into the regular season, and the offense carries over.
Peavy, if he doesnt puke

Jake Peavy is still in line to make his start at the Oakland As on Saturday. Guillen said he talked to the hurler and was talked into letting him pitch.

We will monitor him very closely, Guillen said.

If there is any question of Peavy being too weak to throw, Guillen will pull him from the start. Whats Plan B?

Plan B is whoever is wearing a White Sox uniform, the manager said with a smile.

On the same page?

Guillen didnt have any news on roster cuts or lineup decisions despite insinuating that he would after yesterdays games. But he did offer a glimpse into just how difficult the early discussions have been for the last two roster spots.

Not really, Guillen replied when asked whether the White Sox brain trust was on the same page regarding the roster, while allowing that we have a little idea of what were going to do.

Tomorrow will undoubtedly bring a few more cuts, and possibly the formal announcement of Morel as the starting third baseman. But as for final cuts, those are going down to spring trainings final day.

Guillen, in fact, hasnt decided whether the team will keep 11 or 12 pitchers. That decision is likely to come next week, the manager said.

When Phil Humbers name was mentioned as someone possibly mucking up the plan to break camp with just 11 pitchers, Guillen raised his eyebrow to acknowledge yes. Humber threw three scoreless innings, earning a rare save in a 17-run win.

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

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

For over two years, Charlie Tilson was starting to look like his own version of "Moonlight" Graham, the player made famous in the movie "Field of Dreams" because he played in one major league game and never got to bat.

The White Sox traded for Tilson just before the trade deadline passed in 2016. Two days later he made his big league debut with the White Sox in Detroit. He got a single in his first at-bat, but left the game with an injury and missed the rest of the season. Tilson also missed all of the 2017 season and his MLB future was starting to come into question.

Back healthy, Tilson started this season in Triple-A Charlotte and hit .248 in 39 games when he got called up to replace Leury Garcia, who was placed on the disabled list. On Thursday, Tilson returned to a big league field for the first time in more than 20 months. He went 0-for-3 in a loss to Baltimore.

Friday marked a return to the site of Tilson's big league debut and the injury that made it such a brief stint. Tilson has now played three big league games, over the course of nearly 21 months, and two of them have been in Detroit.

Tilson went 1-for-4, meaning both his hits are in Comerica Park. The White Sox lost 5-4 after giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth.

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

Lucas Giolito is having a rough go of things in his second year with the White Sox.

He came into the season with some pretty high expectations after posting a 2.38 ERA in seven starts at the end of the 2017 campaign and then dominating during spring training. But he’s done anything but dominate since this season started, and after one of his worst outings in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he’s got a 7.53 ERA in 10 starts in 2018.

Giolito stuck around for only four outs Thursday, but he allowed the Orioles to do plenty of damage, giving up seven runs on six hits — two of which were back-to-back home runs to start the second inning — and three walks. He leads the American League with his 37 walks.

“I take what I do very seriously. I work as hard as I can at it,” Giolito said. “So when I experience failure like this, it’s kind of hard to deal with. All I can do is come back tomorrow, keep working on things and hopefully have a better one.”

All of Giolito’s struggles have fans wondering why the White Sox haven’t sent him down to Triple-A to work on his craft.

“I don’t foresee that at this particular time,” Rick Renteria said when asked if Giolito could be sent to Triple-A. “I think he’s just a young man who’s got to continue to minimize the emotional aspect of crossing from preparation into the game and staying focused, relaxed and hammer the zone with strikes. And truthfully it’s just first-pitch strike and get after the next one.”

The White Sox have already sent one young pitcher down in Carson Fulmer, who was having a nightmarish time at the big league level. Fulmer’s results were worse than Giolito’s on a regular basis. He got sent down after posting an 8.07 ERA in nine outings.

But hasn’t Giolito suffered through command issues enough to warrant some time away from the major league limelight? According to his manager, Giolito’s situation is vastly different than Fulmer’s.

“I don’t see them anywhere near each other,” Renteria said. “They’re two different competitors in terms of the outcomes that they’ve had. Lucas has at least had situations in which he might have struggled early and been able to gain some confidence through the middle rounds of his start and continue to propel himself to finish some ballgames, give us six or seven innings at times. So it’s two different guys.

“With Gio, I expect that we would have a nice clean start from the beginning, but when he doesn’t I still feel like if he gets through it he’ll settle down and continue to hammer away at what he needs to do in order to get deeper into a ballgame, and that was a little different with Carson. With Carson it was right from the get-go he was struggling, and he had a difficult time extending his outings after the third or fourth because it just kept getting too deep into his pitch count and not really hammering the strike zone as much.”

Renteria is not wrong. Giolito has had a knack to take a rough beginning to a start and turn it into five or six innings. Notably, he gave up a couple first-inning runs and walked seven hitters and still got the win against the Cubs a week and a half ago. And while his first-inning ERA is 10.80 and his second-inning ERA is 12.54, he’s pitched into at least the sixth inning in seven of his 10 starts.

Renteria’s point is that Giolito is learning how to shake off early damage and achieving the goal, most times out, of eating up innings and keeping his team in the game. Those are a couple valuable qualities to develop for a young pitcher. But are those the lone qualities that determine that Giolito is suited to continue his learning process at the major league level? His command remains a glaring problem, and both he and Renteria admitted that his problems are more mental than physical.

“The one thing everyone has to understand is we have to go beyond the physical and attack a little bit more of the mental and emotional and try to connect and slow that down,” Renteria said. “Those aspects are the ones that ultimately, at times, deal in the derailment of the physical action. So if we can kind of calm that down a little bit.

“He’s very focused. Giolito is high intensity. Nice kid but high-intensity young man when he gets on the mound. You might not believe it. He’s going 100 mph. So I think it goes to more just trusting himself, trusting the process, taking it truthfully one pitch at a time.”

Well, if a demotion to the minors isn’t likely, what about moving Giolito to the bullpen? Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale dipped their toes in bullpen waters before moving to the rotation. Could a reversal of that strategy help Giolito?

Well, the current state of the White Sox starting rotation — Fulmer in the minors, Miguel Gonzalez on the 60-day DL and pitchers like James Shields, Hector Santiago and Dylan Covey, who aren’t exactly long-term pieces, getting a lot of starts — doesn’t really allow for another piece to be removed.

“I know they have done it with Rodon and Sale,” Renteria said. “The difference is we don’t have the makeup of the starting rotation that those clubs had in order to put those guys in the ‘pen. We are in a different situation right now. Moving forward, is that something we can possibly do? Absolutely. It has been done with very good success.

“Right now we are in truly discovery mode and adjustment mode and adapting and trying to do everything we can to get these guys to develop their skill sets to be very usable and effective at the major league level and we are doing it to the best of our ability.”

There could be promise in the fact that Giolito has turned a season around as recently as last year. Before he was impressing on the South Side in August and September, he was struggling at Triple-A Charlotte. Even after he ironed things out, things had gotten off to a rocky enough start that he owned a 4.48 ERA and 10 losses when he was called up to the bigs.

It doesn’t seem Giolito will be going back to Charlotte, unless things continue to go in a dramatically poor direction. Right now, these are just more of the growing pains during this rebuilding process. “The hardest part of the rebuild” doesn’t just means wins and losses. It means watching some players struggle through speed bumps as they continue to develop into what the White Sox hope they’ll be when this team is ready to compete.