White Sox

Buehrle sharp, but Lincecum baffles Sox's bats

Buehrle sharp, but Lincecum baffles Sox's bats

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Posted 5:41 p.m. Updated 6:44 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. Mark Buehrle tossed his longest and strongest outing of the spring on Wednesdaybut San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum was better.

Paced by an outstanding 5 13 innings (three hits, seven Ks) from the ace of the defending champions, the Giants defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-3 at Camelback Ranch.

Don't worry about Buehrle

Buehrle was touched for seven hits over five innings, punching out three and leaving the game tied 1-1.

Throwing to A.J. Pierzynski helped, Buehrle said. We work well together and get into a routine. This is the first time Ive thrown to him in spring training.

Im very happy for him, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. After his last performance he was a little upset. He threw the ball very good. Every time Buehrle goes out and pitches well, he creates a positive thing for him We know what he can do, but he needs an outing like this before we break camp.

The lefthander mentioned that while San Francisco didnt field its starting lineup in the game, there was a good mix of hitters to face: they were bunting and kind of mixed everything up, so it felt good.

I was taking it a little bit easier, not overthrowing and mostly working on location and movement than trying to throw the ball hard. Thats a strength of mine, location and movement, offspeed pitches and keeping them off-balance.

In short: Buehrles in midseason form.

The White Sox drew first blood when Alex Rios tripled in Paul Konerko in the second. San Francisco got that run back in the fourth, when Brad Eldred singled in Giants phenom Brandon Belt (the rookie first sacker went 3-for-4 with three runs scored on the game). The champs pushed ahead two innings later, pummeling White Sox reliever Jeff Gray for four hits and two earned runs, the first coming on a solo shot from Belt.

Brian Bruney came on to pitch in the seventh and gave up two runs as well, pushing the Giants lead to 5-1.

The White Sox halved that on a seventh-inning, two-run blast from Brent Lillibridge.

Lillibridge nearly tapped a second round-tripper with a massive blast to left-center with two on and one out in the ninth, but left fielder Tyler Graham chased the ball down on the warning track.

Hes swinging the bat goodthe battle for that 25th roster spot is getting fun, Guillen said Two-three days ago I said nobody was impressiveI guess they read the papers The battle from the guys in the back is pretty good right now. Milledge is playing well, De Aza playing good, and Lilli is swinging the bat well. Its going to be fun. Thats the fun thing about spring training. This ballclub is going till the end of spring training to be picked.

Infante en fuego

Gregory Infantes last three appearances have vaulted him to the front of the line for the 12th man in the bullpen, according to Guillen.

Infante is moving up, throwing the ball very well, he said. Im very surprised, personally. Were going to continue to give everybody looks, but right now Infante has been throwing the ball well and Im hearing a lot of good things from Coop.

Against San Francisco, Infante finished the game with a perfect inning and one strikeout, lowering his Cactus League ERA to 6.00.

Love from 2005

Buehrle buzzed former teammate Aaron Rowand when he faced the centerfielder twice in the game, retiring him both times, starting with a first-inning, inning-ending strikeout.

I threw all curveballs to him, Buehrle said with a smile. Its kind of hard to buzz him with a curveball. Im just glad A.J. didnt tell him what was coming, since theyre roommates for spring training. I figured something was going to slip out. And if A.J. did, keep on telling everybody whats coming because it worked. I got Rowand out.

See the World Champs

Guillen joked about the large crowd 10,074 that showed up on a Wednesday, Ozzie had a laugh at his own clubs expense.

I dont think people came to see the White Sox and Buehrle, he said, laughing. When youre the champs, people are going to follow you everywhere. When you win it all thats what you get, people follow you all over the place. People root for you. Its fun. Id rather play in front of 10,000 than the 1,000 weve had in the last two weeks. Its always fun to have people in the stands. I know bigger crowds are coming up, but its nice now.

Jake Flued

Jake Peavy remained at home today, stricken with flu. Nothing physical with him. He just doesnt feel good, Guillen said.

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

A deeper look at why Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start this season

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USA TODAY

A deeper look at why Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start this season

Yoan Moncada continued his hot start to the season with a leadoff home run in Detroit on Friday.

He finished with two hits and a bases-loaded walk in a 7-3 White Sox win.

Moncada’s base numbers are all up this season. He is hitting .325 with a 1.002 OPS and a team-leading six home runs. Beyond that, a deeper look at the numbers show why Moncada’s production is up.

Moncada didn’t show much, if any, improvement in 2018 from 2017. Most of his numbers across the board were similar or slightly worse.

Moncada was patient at the plate, but maybe too patient in his first two seasons with the White Sox. He led the majors with 217 strikeouts last season and 85 of those were strikeouts looking. So far this season, Moncada is yet to strikeout looking.

This season, Moncada is swinging at more pitches both in the strike zone and overall, which is leading to a lower strikeout rate. A look at the advanced stats from FanGraphs shows Moncada swung at 63.9 percent of pitches in the zone in both 2017 and 2018 (these numbers are before Friday's game). That number is up to 69.1 percent this season. On top of that, Moncada is making more contact on those swings on pitches in the zone (up to 86.5 percent this season after 77.5 percent in 2017 and 79.8 percent in 2018).

His strikeout rate (32 percent in 2017, 33.4 percent in 2018) is way down at 24.1 percent. Strikeouts were the biggest red flag for Moncada last year. By being more aggressive this season, Moncada has been able to cut way down on that number.

His power has gone way up as well. He already has 12 extra base hits (in 82 plate appearances) and his home run on Friday was an absolute bomb. Moncada took it deep for 458 feet. That’s the longest White Sox home run of the season and is tied for the eighth longest home run in the majors this season.


He later showed that despite being more aggressive, he still has that plate discipline that was such a big part of what made him a coveted prospect in the first place. He drew a five-pitch bases loaded walk in which he did not swing the bat.

No matter how it's happening, Moncada’s turnaround has been one of the most important things in the young White Sox season.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson proud of Jason Benetti for "jumping all over Joe West's ass"

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson proud of Jason Benetti for "jumping all over Joe West's ass"

Chuck Garfien speaks with Hawk Harrelson about Tim Anderson's bat flip and Joe West kicking Anderson out of the game (3:40), Anderson taking his game to a new level (08:50), the passing of legendary sportscaster Chet Coppock (14:30), Hawk praises Jason Benetti for criticizing Joe West on the air (17:35), how Harrelson is adapting to not calling baseball games (19:50), why he teared up watching Tiger Woods win the Masters (23:40) and more.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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