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