White Sox

Ozzie unloads on Ohman; Quentin keeps it cool

Ozzie unloads on Ohman; Quentin keeps it cool

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Posted 8:07 p.m. Updated 8:42 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen remained supportive of beleaguered reliever Will Ohman, who packed a 27.00 ERA with him from Cleveland to Kansas City. But that doesnt mean he was unwilling to give the crafty lefty a kick in the hiney.

Hes hereI have to use him. Weve got only 11 pitchers, Guillen said before the White Sox faced the Royals on Tuesday. I dont have the luxury to matchup Ohman to lefties. Maybe later on I will. But hes got to get his head out of his a.

Guillen was speaking soberly, but with a smile, knowing full well that the White Soxs 2-1 start has been somewhat shadowed by the troubles his bullpen has encountered. The poster boy for those troubles so far has been Ohman, a nine-year veteran signed this offseason to a two-year, 4 million deal.

I dont want to punish the kid, Guillen continued. He had what, two bad games? He knows that, we all know that. Im not going to change anything. I dont care what the fans think or what the media says. Its my problem He needs to pitch.

Ohman, while clearly scuffling in Cleveland, pronounced himself fully healthy and ready for more relief work, ASAP. His usual wry manner accompanied his diagnosis of the Wahoos series: When you throw the ball over the middle of the plate, guys hit it, and thats what it was. When I left the ball up, they hit it, and when I left the ball over the middle, they hit it.

Especially considering his team broke camp with just 11 pitchers, Guillen knows how important a productive Ohman is.

We need him pitching, he said. If hes not going to help us, well put people in his place that will I want to show this kid I still have confidence in him and that he can get people out. I still believe he can help us.

To that end, Guillen ran Ohman right back out on Sunday after a poor season debut on Opening Day.

The reason I put him back in on Sunday was to let him regroup, Guillen said. We were already losing; giving him another inning gives us a chance to rest the other relievers, but he couldnt do it.

Guillen was aware that he was catching criticism for his use of Ohman in the opening series, and predictably, the confident manager could care less.

I will take the blame every time the kids on the mound, Guillen said. I will take all the heat. Its my problem, however good or bad hes going to pitch.

Carlos Quentin, one day after being named the first AL Player of the Week for his offensive outburst vs. the Cleveland Indians during opening weekend, called the award a nice surprise but couched it in the context of how nice it was, with two wins in Cleveland.

Quentin went 6-for-11 in three starts over the weekend, getting on base at a .583 clip and slugging 1.091 for an outrageous 1.674 OPS. While the White Sox mostly pummeled Wahoos pitching, slugging at a .459 clip, only Adam Dunns eight total bases approached Quentins tidy dozen in Cleveland.

Through three games, Quentin led the AL in batting average (.545) and is tied for the lead in doubles (three) and RBI (seven).

The occasionally-manic right fielder credited an improved mental and emotional approach to the game for his early success.

What I was looking for was a chance to build on things, develop good habits on and off the field, and set a routine I feel comfortable with, day-in and day-out, Quentin said. Thats what I'm going to do, come in here and, for lack of better way to say it, do my work, play the game. Either way it turns out Ill hope for the victory, go home at night and know everything I did was said and done, turn in my card, punch it and come back the next day.

Quentin also credited his veteran teammates for contributing to a more mature and mentally strong approach so far this season. His willingness to learn from them could contribute to more than one Player of the Week honor this season, as Quentin is the consummate strap-Sox-on-his-back slugger.

There are great mentors on this team, professionals playing longer than I have, Quentin said. Im always watching and always want to treat every day the same, whether it be good or bad. I want to learn and pay attention to people who are successfultry to pay attention to and copy them.

Quentin's new approach

Carlos Quentin, one day after being named the first AL Player of the Week for his offensive outburst vs. the Cleveland Indians during opening weekend, called the award a nice surprise but couched it in the context of how nice it was, with two wins in Cleveland.

Quentin went 6-for-11 in three starts over the weekend, getting on base at a .583 clip and slugging 1.091 for an outrageous 1.674 OPS. While the White Sox mostly pummeled Wahoos pitching, slugging at a .459 clip, only Adam Dunns eight total bases approached Quentins tidy dozen in Cleveland.

Through three games, Quentin led the AL in batting average (.545) and is tied for the lead in doubles (three) and RBI (seven).

The occasionally-manic right fielder credited an improved mental and emotional approach to the game for his early success.

What I was looking for was a chance to build on things, develop good habits on and off the field, and set a routine I feel comfortable with, day-in and day-out, Quentin said. Thats what I'm going to do, come in here and, for lack of better way to say it, do my work, play the game. Either way it turns out Ill hope for the victory, go home at night and know everything I did was said and done, turn in my card, punch it and come back the next day.

Quentin also credited his veteran teammates for contributing to a more mature and mentally strong approach so far this season. His willingness to learn from them could contribute to more than one Player of the Week honor this season, as Quentin is the consummate strap-Sox-on-his-back slugger.

There are great mentors on this team, professionals playing longer than I have, Quentin said. Im always watching and always want to treat every day the same, whether it be good or bad. I want to learn and pay attention to people who are successfultry to pay attention to and copy them.

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

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.

Avisail Garcia is back from his lengthy DL stay just in time to prove he's a part of White Sox long-term future

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USA TODAY

Avisail Garcia is back from his lengthy DL stay just in time to prove he's a part of White Sox long-term future

For the first time in two months, Avisail Garcia is back in the White Sox lineup.

Garcia’s return from his lengthy stay on the disabled list was a refreshing sight for a team that came into the season believing he’d be one of its biggest bats. After all, Garcia was excellent in 2017, an All-Star campaign for him that saw him with some of the best hitting statistics in the American League.

But even with those good numbers, there were plenty of questions about where Garcia stood in the rebuilding White Sox long-term future. After a long wait for that breakout season, was it going to be the new normal or a one-hit wonder? He’s got just two more seasons of team control left, and there are a ton of outfield prospects developing behind him in the minor leagues.

His admittedly slow start this year didn’t help clarify anything: He returned to action with a .233/.250/.315 slash line, a far cry from the .330/.380/.506 line he finished with last season.

So now he’s back, and the “prove it” season resumes. He’s got time left to show the White Sox he can fend off challenges from the likes of Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, Luis Alexander Basabe, Micker Adolfo and all the rest. Getting back on the field is the first step in doing that.

“Be healthy and play hard like I’ve been playing all my career,” Garcia said Friday. “Just trying stay healthy, do my routine and do my best to help my team win.

“My knee is good. My hamstring is good. I have no pain in my body right now. I feel great, great and focused and trying to compete every single day.”

The injury — injuries, it turns out — certainly didn’t help. After the hamstring strain he suffered turned out to be a tad more significant than originally believed, he suffered a separate knee injury during his recovery that kept him on the shelf a while longer.

But Garcia showed that maybe his bat is ready to come back to life during his rehab at Triple-A Charlotte. He slashed an eye-popping .360/.429/.840 with three home runs, three doubles and nine RBIs in just seven games.

No one’s expecting that kind of production now that he’s back at the major league level. But plenty of fans and observers are expecting a lot who is still young enough to warrant consideration for a spot on the White Sox next contending team. He’s got the advantage of already playing at the big league level to show off for all the decision makers.

But there’s no doubt that it’s a stacked group behind him. Jimenez, the third-ranked prospect in baseball, was just promoted to Triple-A. A trio of high-performing outfielders — Basabe, Alex Call and Joel Booker — just got bumped up to Double-A. And perhaps the most exciting group of all — Robert, Rutherford, Adolfo and Luis Gonzalez — are all playing together at Class A Winston-Salem.

That’s an awful lot of young, inexpensive depth to contend with in the discussion for how the White Sox should align their outfield of the future. But Garcia can still stay in that discussion by doing one thing: hitting. His quest to turn his season around starts now.