White Sox

Man on a mission: Quentin leads Sox comeback

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Man on a mission: Quentin leads Sox comeback

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Posted 5:04 p.m. Updated 7:12 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Bad baserunning. Laissez faire defense. Runners forgetting the number of outs. Pitching to contact. Lazy tags. Impatient hitting. Poor jumps defensively. Indecisive base coaching. Optional defense by pitchers. Dropped fly balls.

READ: Who, What... How?

The Chicago White Soxs numerous gaffes in Wednesdays 12-inning, 10-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals were erased by, not one, but two dire comebacks late. The first put the White Sox ahead in the ninth after another mighty swat of the stick by Carlos Quentin, who struck a two-strike, two-out double to drive home the lead runs.

"Early in the game was very bad, second part was a little bit better," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen observed.

But after Matt Thornton was unable to hold the lead in his first save opportunity, it took a second clutch hitthis one by Brent Morel, driving home Quentin (who had four hits) and Alexei Ramirezto give the White Sox a 9-7 lead and the eventual win.

"An early season win like that - a back and forth game, us not giving up - that's good to have," said Quentin.

Until the Chisox struck for seven runs in the final three frames, much of the game seemed close only in the way a retired couple sidling up to Old Country Buffet at 2 p.m. is eating dinner, and featured an dizzying array of White Sox slips, bobbles, and miscues.

But with the late reversal, which turned a flatulent 2-3 road trip against Central Division also-rans into a 3-2 soul-stirrer, the 2011 White Sox most definitively showed they were all-Inand not only in the sense we have come to know them, bellying up to the plate and swinging big, with impunity.

This was the first time in a decade that the White Sox overcame a three-run deficit in the ninth to win.

"Never thought it would happen, four runs vs. Royals closer Joakim Soria with two outs," said Guillen. "Crazy game - very crazy game - for both sides. It seems like every time we come here it's a crazy game. We did the little things to win.

"Thank God we won. Huge game for us."

High Five!

With his RBI single in Chicago's four-run ninth inning rally, Paul Konerko became only the second White Sox player ever with at least one RBI in his first five games.

Carlos Lee accomplished the feat in 2000.

Home opener

Edwin Jackson toes the rubber as the White Sox make their U.S. Cellular Field debut on Thursday. He'll be opposed by big Rays southpaw David Price (0-1, 5.14 ERA). Jackson is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his career against his former employers.

Last time Jackson faced Tampa Bay, he hurled a no-hitter back on June 25, 2010.

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

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

The White Sox need starting pitching, so why not bring in a guy with a Cy Young Award sitting on his mantle?

Dallas Keuchel is one of the two biggest names on the starting-pitching market this winter, along with Patrick Corbin, who will get more attention — and likely more dollars — because he's two years younger. But Keuchel's the guy with the track record, the AL Cy Young winner in 2015 (when he was also a top-five MVP finisher), a two-time All Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner and the owner of a 3.28 ERA over the past five seasons, during which he helped the Houston Astros transition from rebuilding to one of baseball's perennial contenders. You might have heard something about them winning the World Series in 2017.

It's true that things have been somewhat up and down for Keuchel since his Cy Young win. After posting a 2.48 ERA with a career-high 216 strikeouts in 33 starts during that 2015 season, he had a 4.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 26 starts in 2016, then a 2.90 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 23 starts in 2017 and a 3.74 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 34 starts last season. But three times in the last five years he's finished with an ERA under 3.00. In other words, he's pretty darn good.

How might he fit with the White Sox? Well, in terms of whether or not he lines up with their long-term plans. Keuchel's older than Corbin, but it's not like he's old. He'll be 31 on Opening Day 2019, and a long-term deal, which he's expected to fetch, would keep him around for another planned transition from rebuilding to contention. Keuchel — a veteran who's accomplished a lot already, including putting a World Series ring on his finger — could be viewed as a Jon Lester type for these rebuilding White Sox, a big name who buys into the front office's long-term plan and helps make those plans become reality.

And there's no doubt the White Sox are in the market for starting pitching this winter. Michael Kopech is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the White Sox decided not to pick up James Shields' option for 2019. That leaves two holes in the starting rotation. An addition like Keuchel would be a long-term one, which means the White Sox would opt to make him a safety net for their still-developing fleet of young pitchers and choose not to roll the dice on a homegrown starting staff for 2020. However, if they're confident in a quintet of Kopech, Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease, then maybe they opt for a couple one-year fill-ins in 2019. Keuchel would not be a one-year fill-in.

Keuchel could also fill the role vacated by Shields, a veteran who could help bring along the young guys in an off-the-field mentor role. His experience going through the dark days of a rebuild — he was a member of Astros teams that lost a combined 310 games from 2012 to 2014 — and coming out the other end a world champ would also figure to be of value.

Of course, the White Sox wouldn't be alone in a pursuit of Keuchel, if they were interested. Thanks to Clayton Kershaw signing a new contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he's one of the two biggest names on the market when it comes to starting pitchers. The White Sox would likely have to go through the same bidding war and pitch of planned future success they would with other big names like Corbin, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

But there's no doubt Keuchel would be an upgrade to this rotation in 2019 and could provide plenty of value for years beyond.

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it

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USA TODAY

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports has made a habit of failing to remember the South Siders in recent years, most notably forgetting (on multiple occasions) that the White Sox did in fact win the 2005 World Series.

It happened enough times that A.J. Pierzynski had some opinions about it.

This time, the omission came in an effort to illustrate how good Mike Trout is, with ESPN researcher Paul Hembekides listing baseball players who appeared in the top four in MVP voting three or more times. Trout, the Los Angeles Angels superstar, has already done it seven times, and boy that is terrific.

But Hembekides left someone out. And that someone let him hear about it.

You tell 'em, Frank.

Yes, the Big Hurt finished in the top four of the AL MVP vote on six separate occasions: 1991 (third), 1993 (first), 1994 (first), 1997 (third), 2000 (second) and 2006 (fourth, while playing for the Oakland Athletics).

ESPN's blind spot for the White Sox doesn't end up meaning much of anything, though it's amusing that they've now managed to leave out a relatively recent World Series champion and a relatively recent first-ballot Hall of Famer.

We all make mistakes. But it's a little funny that ESPN's are, repeatedly, White Sox related.