White Sox

Floyd gives up eight in split-squad action

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Floyd gives up eight in split-squad action

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Jamie Moyer threw 92 pitches over four innings, the latest step in his comeback bid, and Dexter Fowler hit a two-run homer to help the Colorado Rockies beat a Chicago White Sox split squad 8-5 on Wednesday.The 49-year-old Moyer, who sat out last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, gave up three runs and seven hits. He walked three and struck out four, facing 22 batters in all.The soft-tossing lefty, who is 267-204 in 24 major league seasons, has a 2.77 ERA this spring and appears to be a strong candidate for the fifth spot in Colorado's rotation. The Rockies are his eighth big league club and he is slated to start again next week in one of their final spring training games.Fowler's homer in the third inning was all the Rockies managed against Gavin Floyd until they scored six times in the sixth. Floyd, penciled in as Chicago's No. 3 starter, gave up eight runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks.Colorado sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth. Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton each hit an RBI double before Michael Cuddyer delivered a two-run single. Jordan Pacheco's run-scoring double chased Floyd, who has a 6.32 ERA this spring.Wilin Rosario, who was 3 for 3, had a leadoff double and an RBI single in the inning.
Complete Recap Box ScoreAxelrod struggles in loss to Padres
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Once Edinson Volquez settled down, he sure looked ready for the regular season.Volquez pitched seven solid innings to help the San Diego Padres beat a Chicago White Sox split-squad 13-2 on Wednesday.The right-hander, who will be the Padres' No. 3 starter, allowed two runs and two hits in the first inning, but held the White Sox to no runs and three hits for the rest of his outing."I was way better (after the first inning)," said Volquez, who struggled in the first last year, when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. "I made better pitches the rest of the way."Volquez struck out two and walked three in the longest outing of the spring for the Padres."It was a great outing after the first 20 pitches," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The next 73 were outstanding. It took him a little while to settle in. But once he did, it was a delivery he repeated, repeated his arm slot, repeated his finish. All three pitches were working. The (changeup) really got better as the game went on."Yonder Alonso, Chase Headley and Andy Parrino homered for San Diego, which had 18 hits.Headley hit a two-run drive for his third homer of the spring. He also had a two-run double.Parrino's two-run shot was his fourth homer, and Alonso's solo drive was his first of the spring.White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.Axelrod, who posted a 2.89 ERA in 18 2-3 innings with the White Sox last season, is competing with four pitchers for two bullpen spots."I've had some really good outings and a couple poor ones," said Axelrod, whose ERA is 5.95. "My ERA isn't good, but I feel like a couple innings have gotten away from me, kind of blew up my ERA a little bit. I'm not happy with it, but I'm not terribly disappointed either."Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski had a run-scoring triple and is batting .268 this spring. He likely will be the No. 2 hitter in the lineup."That's all I've been trying to do all spring, not do too much and put the barrel on the ball and let it go where it goes," Pierzynski said. "I've been squaring some balls up, and they've been hitting the gaps and a couple of balls have got out."NOTES: The Padres optioned C Yasmani Grandal to Triple-A Tucson and reassigned pitcher Alex Hinshaw to minor league camp. . Padres 2B Orlando Hudson (groin strain) is expected to play Thursday. He sat out Wednesday's game and has played in one of the team's last 15 games. ... Padres OF Kyle Blanks (left shoulder impingement) took batting practice. He hasn't played since March 18. ... Padres RHP Luke Gregerson (sore back) threw on the side after missing the previous two games and reported feeling good. . White Sox CF Brent Lillibridge exited after four innings but was OK after RF Alex Rios stepped on his foot during a play in the outfield, bench coach Mark Parent said. The White Sox traded minor league OF Christian Marrerro to Atlanta for future cash considerations.

One plate appearance was all it took for Zack Collins to show White Sox fans what he's all about

One plate appearance was all it took for Zack Collins to show White Sox fans what he's all about

Though only four runs separated the White Sox from the Cubs in the ninth inning Wednesday night, it felt like a blowout when Zack Collins made his first trip to the plate as a big leaguer.

The No. 11 prospect in the organization was called up to the majors ahead of Tuesday's game, though he didn't see any action then, and he wasn't in the starting lineup for Wednesday night's Crosstown contest on the North Side, either.

But manager Rick Renteria called on Collins to pinch hit — an appearance perhaps only made possible by National League rules in a National League park — with two outs to go in the top of the ninth inning.

"It was huge for me. It was a dream come true," he said after the game. "Just stepping up to the plate, looking to the outfield, seeing the crowd. We were down four in the top of the ninth and obviously trying to get on base, trying to keep the train moving. I thought I put a good at-bat together and it was a lot of fun.

"Rizzo said a couple things to me, said congratulations and stuff like that. That was pretty cool. Other than that I was kind of in a daze out there looking around. Like you said, soaking it all in, enjoying the moment."

It only took one plate appearance for Collins to show White Sox fans what he's all about. He worked the count full and took a walk. Get used to that.

Collins made quite a habit of that kind of thing in the minor leagues, posting huge on-base percentages over the last few years. In 122 games at Double-A Birmingham last season, he had a .382 on-base percentage, and he wasn't far off that mark in his 50 games at Triple-A Charlotte this season, reaching base at a .374 clip. Last season, he walked 101 times for a 19 percent walk rate. This season, he walked 36 times for a 17.5 percent walk rate.

His walk rate in the majors is a cool 100 percent at the moment. The 1.000 on-base percentage looks even better.

"That's pretty good, right?" he joked.

Patience at the plate might end up being Collins' most valuable attribute at the major league level. His offensive skills have been lauded since the White Sox took him with a top-10 pick in the 2016 draft, and he hit 49 homers in his four minor league seasons, also showing off that power by winning the Home Run Derby at the Southern League All-Star Game last year. His defensive skills have remained a question, though, and while he'll most likely serve as the White Sox No. 2 catcher behind James McCann, who's in the midst of an All-Star campaign, he can also be utilized at designated hitter and perhaps even first base.

But it's that good eye that the White Sox are hoping to see from the get-go. They saw it Wednesday night, and it's something Collins said has always been a part of his game.

"I've never really worked on that, so I would guess it kind of came naturally. It's a good thing to have," he said. "Guys at this level have some pretty good stuff. I'm looking to be aggressive but also swing at strikes."

You only get one chance to make a first impression, they say. Collins' first impression was pretty emblematic of the kind of hitter he hopes to be in the bigs.

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Lucas Giolito’s streak comes to an end, and now comes true test of his transformation

Lucas Giolito’s streak comes to an end, and now comes true test of his transformation

Mama said there’d be days like this.

I’m not entirely sure whether Lucas Giolito’s mama told him that or not. But you don’t need a baseball-lovin’ mama to know that even the best pitchers in the game can get lit up sometimes.

If Giolito is truly that now, one of the best pitchers in the game, he’ll prove it with what follows, not with what happened Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

A year after struggling to the tune of seven walks and three wild pitches in a Crosstown game he still won, Giolito entered the second of the two North Side rivalry games as a surefire All Star, a completely transformed pitcher who currently sits as one of the best Cy Young candidates in the American League. But you might not have known that watching him give up three homers worth a combined six runs in his 4.1 innings Wednesday.

This wasn’t exactly shades of the 2018 version of Giolito, who gave up more runs than any pitcher in baseball, had the highest ERA and WHIP of any qualified starting pitcher in baseball and walked more batters than any pitcher in the AL. No, Wednesday he still managed to strike out nine Cubs hitters and walked only three. But the Cubs hit him hard, with three balls leaving the yard, the back-breaker of which was a first-inning grand slam off the bat of White Sox killer Willson Contreras.

"I got hit hard," Giolito said after the game. "That was the hardest I've been hit in a long time. Just hanging some sliders, changeup was probably the worst it's been this year. It is what it is. You're not going to go out there and have a great outing every single time."

It doesn’t compare to some of the worst outings Giolito had last season, but it was shocking to see considering the incredible run he came in on. Entering Wednesday night’s contest, Giolito had won eight straight starts, with a 0.94 ERA during that stretch. He had given up as many runs after facing five batters Wednesday as he had in his previous five starts combined.

That stretch is now over, and it’s up to Giolito to make this a blip rather than a turning point.

"It’s just a blip in the season. It’s a little bump in the road," catcher James McCann said after the game. "You are not going to go eight-inning shutout every time. It’s how do you bounce back from this one and learn from tonight and move forward."

What he’s done so far this season would lead you to believe that’s very possible. One of the biggest talking points for Giolito, as well as McCann, when it comes to describing the difference between the 2018 and 2019 versions has been Giolito’s ability to turn the page. That’s typically been discussed as something that happens within games: A bad first inning hasn’t led to a complete meltdown like it did too often last season.

“The physical stuff has always been there,” McCann said before Wednesday’s game. “There's a few tune-ups he did, shortened his arm, all that stuff. But obviously, it's the mental approach.

“I can point to multiple occasions this season where he's had a rough first inning. In Toronto, he gave up three base hits to the first four hitters, and then the next thing you know he's hasn't given up another base hit and we're in the eighth inning. He gave up a three-run homer to the Royals in the first inning, and all of a sudden it's the eighth inning and those are the only three runs he's given up.

“So that's kind of been the most impressive thing to me. His last outing, he gave up the solo homer in the first and really didn't have his best stuff, and next thing you know it's the sixth, seventh inning and that's the only run he's given up. Last year, some of those outings turn into bad outings where he gets chased in the fourth inning. This year his mental approach, his determination, his grit is a little different.”

Now he’ll have to do something he’s rarely had to in 2019, and that’s flush a bad start. Wednesday night’s outing was Giolito’s shortest of the season, matching the 4.1 innings he threw against the Seattle Mariners on April 6 and not including the 2.2 innings he logged before being removed with an injury against the Kansas City Royals on April 17. Wednesday marked the first time Giolito gave up multiple home runs in a start this season.

The bottom line is that Giolito has been so good in 2019 that he hasn’t had to deal with the fallout of a bad outing. Giolito has credited his turnaround to the improvement in his routine. That will be tested now, and it’s no surprise that he’s confident enough in it to be ready for anything.

“I'd say now I'm just on the same mental routine, the same physical routine day in and day out. Nothing changes,” Giolito said Tuesday. “It's just like my last start or future starts, I'm going to go out there with the same good, positive outlook going into the game. Whereas last year, I think I was searching for things a lot, so it was a little more up and down. Now it's much better.”

One rough start won’t change Giolito’s status as an All Star or put a damper on what’s been a season worth celebrating. But how he responds will be the true test of whether the transformed Giolito is here to stay.

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