White Sox

New month, same result; Sox drop fifth straight

459395.jpg

New month, same result; Sox drop fifth straight

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Posted: 4:15 p.m. Updated: 6:18 p.m.

Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) Zach Britton didn't need his best stuff to beat the White Sox's dismal offense.Britton pitched six strong innings and Nick Markakis hit a three-run double to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-4 victory Sunday.Luke Scott and Mark Reynolds added solo home runs for Baltimore, which has won five of its last six. The Orioles will try to complete a four-game sweep Monday night.Britton (5-1) allowed one run on five hits, struck out one and had three walks. The 23-year-old rookie left-hander lowered his ERA to 2.63. Britton was lifted after the sixth inning because of a callus that developed on his left middle finger."It's not a huge deal," said Britton, who had the callus removed. "I know Buck (Showalter) just said he wanted to kill it now before anything happens. It is something I get from the way I throw my sinker. It's kind of unique grip and it kind of give me a callus every now and then and it kind of happened today. They did a good job of taking it out. It's not really an issue, it's more of the weather, my hands are dry and that kind of stuff happens."The White Sox did have opportunities, but they squandered 11 baserunners."They are waiting for something to happen to get them on the right track," Britton said. "I felt like I gave them some good chances to get back in the game, walking guys when we were ahead in the game and that is a big no-no and I did that today which is frustrating. I have some stuff I need to work on and hopefully I get that straighten out in my bullpen."White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was back in the dugout after being suspended two games for tweeting comments about an umpire earlier in the week. Before the game, Guillen said he agreed with the suspension."I think it was a very fair one," he said. "I think it was good for baseball and myself and the integrity of the game. I think if MLB made any good moves in the last 20 years, I think that is a good one because they don't make too many good moves, but they did this time."Gavin Floyd (3-2) took the loss for Chicago, which got a pinch-hit homer from Adam Dunn in the eighth inning against reliever Jim Johnson. It was Dunn's first pinch-homer since April 20, 2003, at Montreal. It cut the Orioles' lead to 6-4.Orioles closer Kevin Gregg allowed a leadoff walk to Alexei Ramirez and a single to Carlos Quentin. He rebounded when Paul Konerko took a 2-2 pitch for a strike. After Alex Rios took a third strike, he got into an argument with plate umpire Cory Blaser, who threw him out.A.J. Pierzynski then grounded out to second to seal Gregg's fifth save of the season."We didn't have the big hit today," Guillen said. "At least we had somebody on base. That's the good sign. We make it interesting. We haven't been doing that for the last week and a half."The White Sox (10-19) have lost 15 of 18 and have dropped five in a row overall, seven straight at home and finished April with a club-record 18 losses. Chicago also trails Cleveland by 10 games in the AL Central."Just because you go out and play hard doesn't mean you're going to win or get the hit," Konerko said. "But over the long haul, you've got to believe you will. I believe I will and I believe the team will."Floyd allowed six runs on seven hits. He struck out five and walked two, and struggled through a five-run fifth inning.After setting a Baltimore franchise rookie record for the most the wins in April, Britton didn't have many problems against the struggling White Sox offense. His only mistake came in the fifth inning when he gave up a solo homer to Brent Lillibridge.Scott put the Orioles ahead with two-out solo shot in the fourth inning. It was his fifth of the season. Scott has homered three times in the last five games.In the fifth inning, Reynolds tagged Floyd with a leadoff home run to left-center. Felix Pie followed with a triple off the center-field wall. Floyd then gave up back-to-back walks to load the bases and Markakis cleared them with a double to left-center. Markakis later scored on Scott's single to make it 6-0."We just felt he (Floyd) was in a pattern there," Markakis said. "He went away from his fastball, he threw a lot of cutters, slider and curveballs, you can almost go up there and sit on an offspeed pitch. The more pitches you can eliminate the easier to hit."In the second inning with a runner on first and two outs, Orioles shortstop Robert Andino made a diving stop on Brent Morel's ball and then got up to throw him out at first."It all comes back to having confidence in my defense," Britton said. "I didn't have my good stuff, but I just threw it over the plate and let them hit to the guys and let them make the plays." Johnson came on with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning. He got Quentin to pop out, then after walking Konerko to force in a run, got Rios to ground out to third to end the inning.Notes: SS J.J. Hardy, on the 15-day DL with a left oblique, is scheduled to take batting practice in the cages on Monday and Tuesday then on the field Wednesday. ... White Sox left-handed hitters Pierzynski and Dunn were not in the starting lineup against Britton. ... The White Sox left 11 on.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

0524-lucas-giolito.jpg
AP

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

Lucas Giolito is having a rough go of things in his second year with the White Sox.

He came into the season with some pretty high expectations after posting a 2.38 ERA in seven starts at the end of the 2017 campaign and then dominating during spring training. But he’s done anything but dominate since this season started, and after one of his worst outings in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he’s got a 7.53 ERA in 10 starts in 2018.

Giolito stuck around for only four outs Thursday, but he allowed the Orioles to do plenty of damage, giving up seven runs on six hits — two of which were back-to-back home runs to start the second inning — and three walks. He leads the American League with his 37 walks.

“I take what I do very seriously. I work as hard as I can at it,” Giolito said. “So when I experience failure like this, it’s kind of hard to deal with. All I can do is come back tomorrow, keep working on things and hopefully have a better one.”

All of Giolito’s struggles have fans wondering why the White Sox haven’t sent him down to Triple-A to work on his craft.

“I don’t foresee that at this particular time,” Rick Renteria said when asked if Giolito could be sent to Triple-A. “I think he’s just a young man who’s got to continue to minimize the emotional aspect of crossing from preparation into the game and staying focused, relaxed and hammer the zone with strikes. And truthfully it’s just first-pitch strike and get after the next one.”

The White Sox have already sent one young pitcher down in Carson Fulmer, who was having a nightmarish time at the big league level. Fulmer’s results were worse than Giolito’s on a regular basis. He got sent down after posting an 8.07 ERA in nine outings.

But hasn’t Giolito suffered through command issues enough to warrant some time away from the major league limelight? According to his manager, Giolito’s situation is vastly different than Fulmer’s.

“I don’t see them anywhere near each other,” Renteria said. “They’re two different competitors in terms of the outcomes that they’ve had. Lucas has at least had situations in which he might have struggled early and been able to gain some confidence through the middle rounds of his start and continue to propel himself to finish some ballgames, give us six or seven innings at times. So it’s two different guys.

“With Gio, I expect that we would have a nice clean start from the beginning, but when he doesn’t I still feel like if he gets through it he’ll settle down and continue to hammer away at what he needs to do in order to get deeper into a ballgame, and that was a little different with Carson. With Carson it was right from the get-go he was struggling, and he had a difficult time extending his outings after the third or fourth because it just kept getting too deep into his pitch count and not really hammering the strike zone as much.”

Renteria is not wrong. Giolito has had a knack to take a rough beginning to a start and turn it into five or six innings. Notably, he gave up a couple first-inning runs and walked seven hitters and still got the win against the Cubs a week and a half ago. And while his first-inning ERA is 10.80 and his second-inning ERA is 12.54, he’s pitched into at least the sixth inning in seven of his 10 starts.

Renteria’s point is that Giolito is learning how to shake off early damage and achieving the goal, most times out, of eating up innings and keeping his team in the game. Those are a couple valuable qualities to develop for a young pitcher. But are those the lone qualities that determine that Giolito is suited to continue his learning process at the major league level? His command remains a glaring problem, and both he and Renteria admitted that his problems are more mental than physical.

“The one thing everyone has to understand is we have to go beyond the physical and attack a little bit more of the mental and emotional and try to connect and slow that down,” Renteria said. “Those aspects are the ones that ultimately, at times, deal in the derailment of the physical action. So if we can kind of calm that down a little bit.

“He’s very focused. Giolito is high intensity. Nice kid but high-intensity young man when he gets on the mound. You might not believe it. He’s going 100 mph. So I think it goes to more just trusting himself, trusting the process, taking it truthfully one pitch at a time.”

Well, if a demotion to the minors isn’t likely, what about moving Giolito to the bullpen? Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale dipped their toes in bullpen waters before moving to the rotation. Could a reversal of that strategy help Giolito?

Well, the current state of the White Sox starting rotation — Fulmer in the minors, Miguel Gonzalez on the 60-day DL and pitchers like James Shields, Hector Santiago and Dylan Covey, who aren’t exactly long-term pieces, getting a lot of starts — doesn’t really allow for another piece to be removed.

“I know they have done it with Rodon and Sale,” Renteria said. “The difference is we don’t have the makeup of the starting rotation that those clubs had in order to put those guys in the ‘pen. We are in a different situation right now. Moving forward, is that something we can possibly do? Absolutely. It has been done with very good success.

“Right now we are in truly discovery mode and adjustment mode and adapting and trying to do everything we can to get these guys to develop their skill sets to be very usable and effective at the major league level and we are doing it to the best of our ability.”

There could be promise in the fact that Giolito has turned a season around as recently as last year. Before he was impressing on the South Side in August and September, he was struggling at Triple-A Charlotte. Even after he ironed things out, things had gotten off to a rocky enough start that he owned a 4.48 ERA and 10 losses when he was called up to the bigs.

It doesn’t seem Giolito will be going back to Charlotte, unless things continue to go in a dramatically poor direction. Right now, these are just more of the growing pains during this rebuilding process. “The hardest part of the rebuild” doesn’t just means wins and losses. It means watching some players struggle through speed bumps as they continue to develop into what the White Sox hope they’ll be when this team is ready to compete.

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

0421-danny-farquhar.jpg
AP

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

In another example of how amazing Danny Farquhar’s recovery has been, the pitcher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox game on June 1.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm during the sixth inning of the team’s April 20 game against the Houston Astros. But his recovery has been astounding, and he was discharged from the hospital on May 7. Farquhar’s neurosurgeon expects him to be able to pitch again in future seasons.

Farquhar has been back to visit his teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field a couple times since leaving the hospital. June 1 will mark his return to a big league mound, even if it’s only for a ceremonial first pitch with his wife and three children. Doctors, nurses and staff from RUSH University Medical Center will be on hand for Farquhar’s pitch on June 1.

The White Sox announced that in celebration of Farquhar’s recovery, they will donate proceeds from all fundraising efforts on June 1 to the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.