White Sox

LIVE: White Sox lose lead, trail 9-7 in 9th

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LIVE: White Sox lose lead, trail 9-7 in 9th

Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 11:26 a.m.

Associated Press

The winless Tampa Bay Rays can't seem to get anything going offensively. They might want to take a lesson from the Chicago White Sox.

James Shields takes the mound opposite White Sox starter John Danks hoping to help visiting Tampa Bay to its first victory as the teams continue their four-game series Friday night.

The Rays (0-6), who finished third in the majors with 802 runs scored last season, fell 5-1 to Chicago on Thursday and have totaled just eight during their season-opening six-game slide.

"It's absurd to think you can go into some slumps and not hit the ball like this," said manager Joe Maddon, whose team was held to one run for the fifth time. "One run all the time is just hard to cope with. There's not a whole lot we can do to be creative."

Losing three-time All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria to the disabled list on Saturday with a muscle strain certainly hasn't helped the Rays, who are batting .145.

"Of course, we never expected to start this way. We've had success and we anticipate success this season," Maddon said. "What happens in the beginning of the year is more magnified than if it occurs in the middle when you've built up a little cache of wins."

In contrast, the White Sox (4-2) lead the AL with 45 runs scored and are hitting .320 after collecting 12 hits Thursday.

"Right now we're hitting in the clutch and that's very important," said manager Ozzie Guillen. "We're mixing in one run here and there. ...I think every day it's not the same guy every time. Different guys are doing the damage."

Juan Pierre improved his average to .357 with three hits, Alex Rios had two doubles and two RBIs and Paul Konerko had at least one RBI for the sixth straight game.

Carlos Quentin entered Thursday batting .500 over a five-game hitting streak but went 0 for 2.

Quentin is 3 for 17 lifetime against Shields (0-1, 2.45 ERA), who allowed four hits and two runs and struck out seven over 7 1-3 innings of Saturday's 3-1 loss to Baltimore.

"Sometimes you can look good and you don't come out with the win," said Shields, who is 2-2 with a 5.05 ERA in seven starts against the White Sox.

The right-hander, though, has enjoyed some success of late at U.S. Cellular Field, where he has gone 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last two starts.

Danks (0-1, 3.00), too, suffered the loss in his season debut despite allowing six hits and two runs and recording eight strikeouts in six innings of Sunday's 7-1 defeat at Cleveland.

Danks had compiled a 2.35 ERA en route to winning five of six starts against the Rays before surrendering eight hits and a career worst-tying eight runs in four innings of an 8-5 loss May 29.

Rays outfielder B.J. Upton went 2 for 4 on Thursday and has recorded a hit in all six games. Upton, though, is 2 for 14 with six strikeouts lifetime against Danks.

Johnny Damon, Ben Zobrist and Dan Johnson, who hit 2-3-4 in Tampa Bay's lineup Thursday, have combined for just one hit in 16 at-bats versus the left-hander.

Manny Ramirez, who spent part of last season with Chicago, missed Thursday's game because of a family matter, but is expected to be available for this one. Ramirez is 1 for 17 in 2011.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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.