White Sox

Danks wild, White Sox slug way to victory

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Danks wild, White Sox slug way to victory

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Posted 5:27 p.m. Updated 6:29 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. A wins a win, and the Chicago White Sox improved to 3-6-1 on the spring with a 9-7 victory Tuesday over the Colorado Rockies, but it was a bit sloppier an outing for John Danks in his second start of the spring, throwing 55 pitches and just more than half for strikes.

More than anything, I just wasnt making my pitches, Danks said. Its good to go out there and throw the pitches I need to throw and whatnot, but walks are an issue. Theres no other way of putting it I feel good, I just need to be able to throw it where I want to now.

He only walked a few people, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen offered in Dankss defense. He threw the ball very well. Im happy where he is.

Guillen also characterized the 31-hit, 17-run affair, with a roll of the eyes and wipe of the brow, as a typical Arizona game.

Bounced from the fourth inning with just one out, Danks struggled with his control all game long, giving up three walks and five hits, including a two-run shot to Ty Wigginton that drove Danks from the game.

Its just part of the process in spring, Danks said. There are four more starts left. Theres time to get it right. Thats going to be my focus.

Chicago tapped out 17 hits against Colorado pitching, amassing eight early in the game against Rockies starter Felipe Paulino. Tyler Flowers and Eduardo Escobar knocked run-scoring singles in the second, while Gordon Beckham and Mark Teahen did the same in the third.

The White Sox picked up a fifth run courtesy of Flowers smoking hot bat, as the catcher upped his average to .625 with a line-smash home run to left.

After Colorado rallied off of aspiring closer Matt Thornton to tie the game at five in the seventh, the White Sox broke the game wide open with five hits in their first six at-bats in the bottom half, punctuated by a game-tying hit from Paul Konerko and a two-run double from Jordan Danks.

Colorado had another rally going in the eighth, but found it stanched in part by a second outfield assist from Dayan Viciedo, this time throwing Ben Paulsen out at the plate in the eighth.

After the game, Guillen offered his strongest endorsement of The Tanks play so far.

He looked good, Guillen said. I dont know if its hes more comfortable out there, or just natural. Hes better than we thought: Making the plays, hitting the cutoff man, having great at-bats Hes making it harder for a lot of people, no doubt.

Its early, too early

Guillen has consistently lamented the long spring schedule ahead of the White Sox, anguishing over the 31 games remaining.

We still have a long way to go, he said. I was checking the schedule this morning and I almost started crying when I saw how many games weve got left laughter. To be honest with you, this is a joke. We got 31 games and we have doubleheaders, B-games, we have day-night doubleheaders.

But its not just bus weariness that is slowing Guillens roll. The long spring means its much too early to make bold decisions on players, even to the extent of cutting players off of the spring roster.

Thats why I say its too early to make big decisions, Guillen said. Guys are swinging the bat well. The people were watching closely are doing good, the Gordons, the Chris Sales, the Sergio Santos, Viciedo, Brent Morel. Mark Teahen is swinging the bat very well Everything is fine, everybody is healthy, thats the most important thing.

Tank talk

Viciedos play was a natural topic postgame, and the long spring was one reason Guillen gives in not going overboard about his right fielders play.

Its too early, Guillen repeated. Viciedos had a pretty good spring training, but you never know. Were glad about how hes played, no doubt about it. Were excited about him. Hopefully this year we finally have got him in one position. Hes only had a couple years in baseball, and we moved him from third base to first base, first base to third base, its not easy. Hes handled it very well. I hope he continues to play like that.

Method to the madness

The tedium of spring is part of the reason Guillen tabbed all the action up until today as vacation for his players. Pacingthe six-month regular season hasnt yet begunis key for Ozzie.

With the big guys core players, I dont worry, Guillen said. They get ready for the games in their own way. Its not easy to put pressure on yourself, like, Oh God, I have to win games. Just pitch and play the games to get ready for the season. Obviously, when you win its nicer. But I dont worry about the core players. I dont even look at those guys. Adam Dunns already got a couple more hits this spring than he had all last year, we checked that his spring statistics out.

Ozzie on Ali

Guillen was still wowed by his teams meeting with Muhammad Ali before todays gamemore so for the discussion it fostered within his team than the audience with the champ.

It was a great experience, not just for me, but for everybody, Guillen said. To me, it was cool, but for the rest of the guys, it was inspirational. I took a lot of feedback from the players. I can learn from them. Brent Lillibridge said something. Lastings Milledge said something I never heard before. We have different opinions, not talking about black or white, were talking about everyones opinion. This was the best meeting Ive had in 30 years in spring training.

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

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.