White Sox

Hector Noesi wanted chance to pitch out of trouble

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Hector Noesi wanted chance to pitch out of trouble

MINNEAPOLIS — Hector Noesi doesn’t seem satisfied that he hasn’t been allowed to clean up his own messes.

Making just his third start of the season and first since April 21, the pitcher made note of the fact that he was removed from a tied game in the fifth inning Saturday despite a low pitch count. If he had his way, Noesi would have had the opportunity to pitch out of a runners-on-the-corners, one-out jam. Carlos Rodon entered and walked Joe Mauer ahead of Trevor Plouffe’s RBI single and a sac fly by Kurt Suzuki as the White Sox fell to the Minnesota Twins, 5-3.

“I think I just throw just 73 pitches,” Noesi said. “That’s not a lot. I thought I was going to stay there, but I don’t make the decisions.”

Noesi has been in a tough spot early this season.

[MORE WHITE SOX: White Sox fall five below .500 with loss to Twins]

He pitched poorly and lost the April 10 home opener and with two off days in a span of four, the White Sox skipped his turn in the second week of the season. Noesi started on April 21 but left with a pair of runners on in the fifth inning in lieu of Rodon, who struggled in his debut. Noesi lost that game as well.

Noesi was in line to pitch last Sunday, but that outing was pushed to Monday because of a Saturday rainout. Then came the cancellation of Monday’s game in Baltimore, at which point the White Sox reorganized the rotation again, pushing Noesi to Saturday in Minneapolis.

“It feels uncomfortable sometimes because you can’t keep the rhythm,” Noesi said. “Sometimes you want to push too hard to try to get the team to win games. It’s not always easy.”

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The White Sox knew a lack of rhythm might hurt Noesi, who issued a pair of walks and threw strikes on only 43 of 73 pitches. Noesi missed with a curveball to Plouffe in the second inning and a slider to Torii Hunter in the third, both going for home runs.

Noesi — who allowed five earned runs and five hits with two walks in 4 1/3 innings — pitched out of trouble in the fourth inning after he allowed the first two batters to reach. But he didn’t get the chance in the fifth after giving up a leadoff double to Danny Santana and a one-out single to Hunter. Rodon took over and Mauer held off on a pair of sliders to draw a walk ahead of Plouffe’s single and Suzuki’s sac fly.

“The homers, you have to be able to keep them in the yard and give them a chance,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They had some big homers there and got in some trouble. We were looking to get out of it with Carlos, and they put it in play. That’s the way it’s going right now.”

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

Major League Baseball released a second voting update for All-Star Game starters and three White Sox players are still in the mix.

The top three spots at each position (and top nine in the outfield) are all that matter for now, with those players advancing to MLB’s new Starters Election. James McCann is the only member of the White Sox to sit in one of those spots for now.

McCann is second at catcher behind Gary Sanchez of the Yankees. He is nearly 800,000 votes behind the Yankees backstop.

Jose Abreu was in third in the last update at first base, but has fallen behind Carlos Santana of the Indians. Luke Volt, another Yankee, leads with C.J. Cron of the Twins in second. Santana is just under 43,000 votes ahead of Abreu.

Tim Anderson is still in fourth at shortstop. Jorge Polanco of the Twins and Carlos Correa of the Astros are comfortably in the top two spots. Gleyber Torres, yet another Yankee, is just over 45,000 votes ahead of Anderson for third.

There aren’t any other White Sox within striking distance of the top three. Yoan Moncada remains in eighth among third basemen.

Polls close Friday at 3 p.m. CT.

 

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Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

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USA TODAY

Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

When Eloy Jiménez returned from the Injured List in late May and rejoined the White Sox lineup, he went on the road to Houston and Minnesota and he struggled to the tune of a .148 batting average and .148 on-base percentage, with four hits (three went over the fence), 11 strikeouts and no walks.

For the season, his slashline was .217/.259/.406 with five walks and 36 strikeouts. He was swinging at 49.8 percent of all the pitches he saw (a bit above the 46.7 percent league average); he was swinging at 38.8 percent of pitches outside the zone (quite a bit above the 30.9 percent league average).

He returned to the comfort of Guaranteed Rate Field on May 27 and took a pair of walks. From that point forward, things started to look a lot better… and the results were in line with that observation.

Eloy Jiménez this season:

  PA AVG OBP SLG BB K Swing % Outside zone swing %
Through May 26 112 ,217 .259 .406 5 36 49.8 38.8
Since May 27 71 .297 .366 .594 7 18 45.9 30.8

Not only has he improved quite a bit, but that 30.8 outside the zone swing percentage is second only to Yonder Alonso’s 29.9 percent mark among White Sox with at least 40 plate appearances since May 27. Jiménez hasn’t been chasing nearly as many bad pitches lately.

Those pitches he has been laying off of have for the most part been the low and away stuff, as indicated by his swing charts below. First, his swing rates before getting hurt and then since he came back from injury.

These charts are from the catcher’s perspective, and from what you can see, he has done a much better job of laying off the low and away pitches. Look at the three zones furthest low and away. There’s a big difference.

Start of the year through May 26:

Since May 27:

Through May 26 he swung at 33.8 percent of pitches (51 of 151)  low and away and out of the zone. Since May 27 he has swung at 14.5 percent of those pitches (10 of 69).

It’s only an 18-game sample, so there will certainly be more adjustments made to combat Jiménez, but I believe we’re watching Eloy begin to mature into the middle of the order force as he was advertised.

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