White Sox

Buehrle bashed, September struggles continue

535754.jpg

Buehrle bashed, September struggles continue

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011
Posted: 10:21 p.m. Updated: 11:44 p.m.

Associated Press

Box score Photo gallery
VIDEO: Ozzie on Buehrle's recent struggles
VIDEO: De Aza describes amazing catch

If September is the time for a player to demonstrate his qualifications, Lonnie Chisenhall is building a solid case for next season.Chisenhall hit a pair of two-run homers and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 8-4 on Friday night.Chisenhall, Cleveland's rookie third baseman, set career highs with his two homers and four RBIs as the Indians snapped a four-game losing streak."Lonnie Chisenhall had a big day, especially considering the way he has struggled against lefties," Indians manager Manny Acta said.Ezequiel Carrera, Kosuke Fukudome, Shelley Duncan and Lou Marson had two hits apiece for the Indians. Carrera and Fukudome each drove in two runs.Jeanmar Gomez (3-2) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings and improved to 3-0 with a 0.52 ERA in three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 30."We have struggled as of late," Acta said. "Gomez stepped up and stopped our four-game losing streak. He threw the ball very well, with movement, good sink on his fastball."Gomez went 0-2 record with a 5.70 ERA in five outings before being sent down on July 18. The results since his return have been startling.What's been the biggest difference?"Fastball command," Acta said. "Also, he made some mechanical adjustments down there. He's gotten a little bit more velocity on his fastball."White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (11-8) had his second straight rough outing, allowing seven runs and eight hits over 5 23 innings."It was another one of those days," Buehrle said. "I know I made a bad pitch in the sixth inning, left an 0-2 curveball hanging. That was pretty much the game right there."After entering the game just 3 for 22 with two homers against lefties this season, Chisenhall homered twice against Buehrle, who has won more games than any other southpaw in baseball over the last decade except for the Yankees' CC Sabathia."He's done great things for the White Sox," Chisenhall said. "To hit a home run off him, he's a great pitcher, so I'm definitely going to remember it."Chisenhall got the Indians on the board first, launching a first-pitch drive over the picnic area in right field.The rookie third baseman went deep on an 0-2 pitch in the sixth to almost the same area in right, putting Cleveland ahead 4-2. That gave Chisenhall his first two-homer game and his first game with more than two RBIs."The more he sees (lefties), the better he's going to get," Acta said. "He's a guy that projects not to be a platoon guy."Before the game, Acta spoke of Cleveland's need for better production from its corner infield positions next season, whether it comes from within the organization or outside. Chisenhall, 22, has been one of the Indians' top prospects for a couple of seasons and may be the ready to solve half of that dilemma."He's going to get there," Acta said. "We have to think, this kid is only 22 years old. He only played three years of minor league baseball. It's going to take him some time."Chisenhall duplicated the feat of his White Sox counterpart, third baseman Brent Morel, who had his first multi-homer game in Chicago's 8-1 win on Thursday night. He's now hit three homers over his last three games, doubling his season total."Two home runs and winning is pretty fun," Chisenhall said.The Indians tacked on three more runs in the decisive five-run sixth. Carrera singled in a run, chasing Buehrle. Fukudome then singled in two runs off reliever Will Ohman, with both runs charged to Chicago's starter.Buehrle gave up seven earned runs for the second straight start after giving up four runs or fewer each of his 21 previous starts."I feel fine," Buehrle said. "I don't feel worn out. I feel like the first couple of innings, the velocity was down a little bit. I was taking time to get loose, but the last couple of innings I was throwing a little harder. I made a couple of mistakes and I made some good pitches and they were getting hits. That's baseball."In the third, Juan Pierre doubled home Gordon Beckham and scored on Paul Konerko's sacrifice fly, drawing the White Sox even at 2.Beckham had two hits and scored two runs for the White Sox, but struck out looking with two runners in scoring position to end the game, keeping the night's focus on Chisenhall, who is going to get plenty of playing time down the stretch."Chisenhall is playing," Acta said. "We're planning on playing Lonnie a lot."NOTES
The White Sox placed utility player Brent Lillibridge on the 15-day disabled list because of a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand, suffered when he was hit by a pitch on Thursday. Lillibridge is out for the season. ... Cleveland's Fausto Carmona (6-14) will take the hill on Saturday, looking to improve on the 10.47 ERA he's posted in three starts against Chicago this season. He'll oppose Phil Humber, who threw seven scoreless innings against Minnesota in his last start, his first after coming off the disabled list.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

James Shields is having a stellar May and making comeback wins possible for the White Sox

0522-james-shields.jpg
USA TODAY

James Shields is having a stellar May and making comeback wins possible for the White Sox

If you haven’t checked in with what James Shields is doing in a while, your opinion of the veteran pitcher’s performance might need some updating.

Shields didn’t exactly win the confidence of White Sox fans during his first two seasons on the South Side. After arriving in a midseason trade with the San Diego Padres in 2016, he posted a 6.77 ERA in 22 starts, during which he allowed 31 home runs. He followed that up with a 5.23 ERA and 27 home runs allowed in 2017.

And the 2018 season didn’t start out great, either, with a 6.17 ERA over his first five outings.

But the month of May has brought a dramatic turn in the vet’s production. In five May starts, he’s got a 3.27 ERA in five starts, all of which have seen him go at least six innings (he’s got six straight outings of at least six innings, dating back to his last start in April).

And his two most recent starts have probably been his two best ones of the season. After allowing just one run on three hits in 7.1 innings last Thursday against the Texas Rangers, he gave up just two runs on five hits Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

The White Sox, by the way, won both of those games in comeback fashion. They scored four runs in the eighth against Texas and three in the eighth against Baltimore for a pair of “Ricky’s boys don’t quit” victories made possible by Shields’ great work on the mound.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said after Tuesday’s game. “It’s our job as starters to keep us in the game as long as we possibly can, no matter how we are hitting in a game. At the end of the game, you can always score one or two runs and possibly win a ballgame like we did tonight.”

The White Sox offense was indeed having trouble much of Tuesday’s game, kept off the scoreboard by Orioles starter Kevin Gausman. Particularly upsetting for White Sox Twitter was the sixth inning, when the South Siders put two runners in scoring position with nobody out and then struck out three straight times to end the inning.

But Shields went out and pitched a shut-down seventh, keeping the score at 2-0. Bruce Rondon did much the same thing in the eighth, and the offense finally sparked to life in the bottom of the inning when coincidentally presented with a similar situation to the one in the sixth. This time, though, the inning stayed alive and resulted in scoring, with Welington Castillo, Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez driving in the three runs.

“I’m out there doing my job,” Shields said. “My job is to try to keep us in the game. And we had some good starters against us that have been throwing well. If I can keep them close, we are going to get some wins and get some wins throughout the rest of the year like that. That’s the name of the game.”

Shields’ value in this rebuilding effort has been discussed often. His veteran presence is of great value in the clubhouse, particularly when it comes to mentoring young pitchers like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, among others. Shields can act as an example of how to go about one’s business regardless of the outcomes of his starts. But when he can lead by example with strong outings, that’s even more valuable.

“I’m trying to eat as many innings as possible,” he said. “We kind of gave our bullpen — we taxed them a little bit the first month of the season. We are kind of getting back on track. Our goal as a starting staff is to go as deep as possible, and in order to do that, you’ve got to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

“Not too many playoff teams, a starting staff goes five and dive every single game. My whole career I’ve always wanted to go as deep as possible. I wanted to take the ball all the way to the end of the game. And we’ve done a pretty good job of it of late.”

It’s a long time between now and the trade deadline, and consistency has at times escaped even the brightest spots on this rebuilding White Sox roster. But Shields has strung together a nice bunch of starts here of late, and if that kind of performance can continue, the White Sox front office might find that it has a potential trade piece on its hands. That, too, is of value to this rebuild.

Until that possibility occurs, though, the team will take more solid outings that give these young players an opportunity to learn how to come back and learn how to win.

Ozzie Guillen offers his solution to PED use in baseball

Ozzie Guillen offers his solution to PED use in baseball

Ozzie Guillen is not one to shy away from having a strong opinion about something.

On NBC Sports Chicago’s Baseball Night in Chicago show on Tuesday, Guillen gave his view on how Major League Baseball can stop the usage of performance-enhancing drugs.

“Major League Baseball, you want to cut this thing down?” Guillen said on the show. “You cancel the contract to this kid. Then you’re going to see that. You get caught one time, you’re banned from baseball, then you’re going to stop with that. Because if you’re going to make $200 million and lose $11 million? I’m going to do it.”

Guillen is going off the idea that a player who used PEDs to get a big contract only loses part of it when he eventually gets caught and suspended. Canceling the rest of a contract takes away some of the financial incentive to use PEDs.

“If you get caught when you are young and you try to survive in the game, well, I don’t agree with them, but you can survive in this game that way,” Guillen said. “You know how hard it is right now. How Major League Baseball is on the top of this thing, day in and day out. They’re not going to play around with this thing.”

Marlon Byrd, who was twice suspended for PED use, was also on the show and talked about his PED suspensions.