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.

Let's compare birthday boy Dan Pasqua to Daniel Palka

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GOOGLE IMAGES

Let's compare birthday boy Dan Pasqua to Daniel Palka

Daniel Palka was a phenomenon in 2018. But before there was Daniel Palka, there was Dan Pasqua. You might have heard the Palka/Pasqua comparisons on White Sox game broadcasts or within White Sox fan circles. Both are lefty sluggers with a similar build: Palka listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Pasqua at 6-foot-0 and 203 ppounds. Both led the White Sox in home runs in their age-26 seasons: Pasqua with 20 in 1988, Palka with 27 in 2018. And hey, they have the same first name and last initial!

Pasqua, nicknamed “The Hammer,” turned 57 years old Wednesday. Let’s learn a few more things about him.

— He was a teammate of John Elway (for four games with Oneonta of the New York-Pennsylvania League in 1982), Bo Jackson (with the White Sox from 1991 to 1993) and Michael Jordan (for four games with Birmingham of the Southern League in 1994).

— He was the 1985 International League MVP with the Columbus Clippers.

— He homered in his MLB debut on May 30, 1985, with the Yankees

— He was Sports Illustrated’s 1987 preseason pick to lead the American League in home runs. He finished with 17, only 32 behind Mark McGwire.

— He hit a Comiskey Park roof shot on May 30, 1989.

— He hit the last triple (and had the last RBI) in Comiskey Park history on Sept. 30, 1990.

— He hit a 484-foot home run, the third-longest by a White Sox player in Guaranteed Rate Field history, on April 27, 1991.

— He finished his MLB career with 117 home runs, tied with all-time great outfielders Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Ichiro Suzuki.

And finally, let’s compare Pasqua to Palka statistically. Since Palka had 449 career plate appearances through the end of the 2018 season, here's the duo's numbers through their first 449 career MLB plate appearances.

Could Manny Machado's NLCS shenanigans impact White Sox potential free-agent pursuit?

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USA TODAY

Could Manny Machado's NLCS shenanigans impact White Sox potential free-agent pursuit?

"It's a dirty play by a dirty player."

That was Christian Yelich, the all-but-sure-to-be NL MVP, describing Manny Machado, who's about to become one of the best-paid players in baseball history, after Game 4 of the NLCS, a game in which Machado once again grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Machado's Los Angeles Dodgers and Yelich's Milwaukee Brewers have played four games in this NLCS, and after three of them, the focus has been on Machado. Not because of his bat or his glove but because of lack of hustle and certain methods on the base paths that weren't exactly on the up and up.

After Game 2, he was criticized for not hustling on a ground ball to shortstop. In something straight out of a public-relations person's nightmare, he defended himself by saying that hustling really isn't his cup of tea. During Game 3, he twice attempted to break up double plays by interfering at second base and was, upon review, busted for it the second time. In extra innings in Game 4, he appeared to intentionally drag his leg across Jesus Aguilar's at first base. That play cleared the benches, got Machado called "dirty" in the Brewers' clubhouse and earned him the reputation of postseason villain.

And so Machado's impending free agency gets to be discussed in a brand new light. There's now more baggage attached to the 26-year-old superstar with a fantastic bat and a stellar glove.

The question is: Will the White Sox, one of many teams that could be mulling a contract offer worth hundreds of millions of dollars, care?

As much as it’s talked about building a perennial contender of the future by developing the on-field skills of their fleet of highly touted prospects, the White Sox brain trust has discussed developing a culture, a way of doing things, to go along with all that talent and all that skill. Unsurprisingly that conversation has focused on the oft-used phrase of “doing things the right way.”

Does what Machado has been doing count as “doing things the right way”? It seems easy to assess that it doesn't. It's far more difficult to determine whether it will end up making a difference or not.

Not hustling is one of Rick Renteria's biggest bugaboos. He sat down multiple players on multiple occasions throughout the 2018 season — starting with Avisail Garcia in a spring training game and including a veteran like Welington Castillo as well as a young star like Tim Anderson — for not running to first base on pop ups and line outs and ground outs. Would Renteria's tune suddenly change if Machado and his preference for not hustling arrived on the South Side in what would surely be the biggest free-agent deal in club history?

Renteria got fired up over the issue at the end of July, when he benched Anderson for not hustling on what the shortstop believed was a line out.

“We tell these guys, don’t assume anything. ... It’s as simple as that, and he understands it. He knows it. We’ve talked about it. He comes out of the box, he doesn’t stand there. But we just reiterated to make sure that you allow the umpires to make the calls and you allow the other clubs to go ahead and ask for reviews. We run.”

But asked about not running out his ground ball in Game 2, Machado shared pretty much the opposite philosophy.

"Obviously I'm not going to change, I'm not the type of player that's going to be 'Johnny Hustle,' and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen," Machado told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. "That's just not my personality, that's not my cup of tea, that's not who I am."

What about Machado's interferences at second base? It was that exact play that sent Anderson into an on-field tiff with umpire Joe West during the second Crosstown series of the season just last month. Javy Baez slid into second base, and Anderson thought Baez did something he shouldn't have, raising his arm to interfere with a double-play turn, that sequence of events ending with Anderson screaming at West on the field. Would Anderson be cool with playing alongside — and potentially vacating his position at shortstop for — an infamous interferer?

And what about being a "dirty player," a villain? The White Sox always seemed fine — heck, they loved it — having one of baseball's greatest irritants in A.J. Pierzynski on the roster. Perhaps no player wore the "villain" title as a badge of honor more than the catcher on the 2005 World Series team. But remember that Pierzynski took the punch, he didn't throw it. Being baseball's version of a "villain" and being a guy who makes dangerous plays that could hurt somebody are two different things.

The point being: Do Machado's actions in this postseason series make him anathema to the "Ricky's boys don't quit" mantra? If the White Sox were to turn a blind eye to the events of this NLCS, would it qualify as a betrayal of their quest to establish a high-effort, high-character culture?

Or do they value that culture so much that they stay away from Machado this offseason?

Here's Rick Hahn from September of last year.

"It’s the culture that Ricky and his coaching staff have been able to create in that clubhouse. I cannot tell you how many various fans have stopped me, or emailed me or mentioned to me that they’ve never been this excited over a 60-win team. Or they’ve never been excited about a team that isn’t going to the playoffs. And I think so much of that is based on how Ricky and the coaches have them playing day in and day out. You see them fighting for 27 outs, you see them prepared every night. Sure, we’re going to get out-manned at portions during this process, but the fight and competitiveness and the style of play is the kind of thing that is going to endure year in and year out. And that is extremely important for us to establish at the big league level for all of us."

Machado's talent would make any team he's a part of more competitive. But for the White Sox, who talk an awful lot about hustling and refusing to quit, perhaps all these postseason shenanigans make it so Machado just isn't their cup of tea.