White Sox

Santos a hero back home; speed kills Angels

Santos a hero back home; speed kills Angels

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010
1:33 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Sergio Santos enjoyed the best of both worlds on Friday night, pitching in front of an estimated 160 friends and family at Angel Stadiumand he didnt have to spring for many of the ducats, if any.

People had bought their tickets back at the beginning of April, so they all bought them in a bunch and wanted to go the cheapest way, Santos said of his upper-deck cheering section. They wanted to sit together, so they all just bought in that one section.

Even better for the rookie, playing his first game in Southern California, was that he made an appearance in the game, which he began by surrendering leadoff hits to Peter Bourjos and Howie Kendrick in the eighth.

That was probably the most nervous Ive been the entire year, even my first overall inning in April, Santos said. You want to do so well and want everybody to have that good moment. But after the first pitch it kind of went away and I went back to normal.

Normal was punching out Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter with swinging strikes, before giving way to eventual winning pitcher Matt Thornton. Although Santos hit 98 on the gun with his fastball in the inning, he retired Abreu with a changeup and Hunter with a biting curve.

Santos smile was a mile wide postgame, after getting his first appearance in front of his La Puente, Calif. compadres out of the way.

To be able to get into the first game was good, everybody can relax and know that theyve seen me, said Santos, who is now 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA and more than two strikeouts per walk in 2010. Hopefully, I can get in one more game.

Speed Kills

The White Sox again were aggressive on the basepaths, stealing two bags in the game to raise their season total to 147, second in the American League. But the steals themselves arent as important as the disruption the threat of running creates.

The winning run in the ninth was keyed by speed. Juan Pierre, who leads the team in snagged bags with 60 (the second most in a single season in White Sox history), walked with one out. The left fielder had second base stolen on a hit-and-run attempt that Omar Vizquel fouled off, then advanced to second on Vizquels safety flare to right field. With Pierre dancing on second and Vizquel also a speed threat on first, Angels closer Fernando Rodney delivered two juicy fastballs on the plate for Alex Rios, the second of which Rios sent back to centerfield, knocking in Pierre with the eventual game-winning run.

I would think so, Pierre said, laughing over the notion of his speed disrupting the hurler. Youve got to ask Rodney or the Angels, but from the looks of it Rios got a good pitch to hit. I got on and was trying to steal, and Omar got a big hit. With speed on the bases, Rodney definitely cant take his time going to the plate; he has to split his attention, and we came up with a big run.

Whats more, Rios was aggressive despite just giving the White Sox the lead, getting a preposterous jump on Rodney to steal second and move to third on a throwing error by catcher Hank Conger.

Thats the way we play, Pierre said. We have speed and power. Definitely with Rios, hes a 20-20 guy 34 steals, 21 homers, so for him to take the bag right there puts pressure on the Angels and hopefully sets the tone where they might be thinking of steal attempts tomorrow and Sunday.

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

A deeper look at why Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start this season

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USA TODAY

A deeper look at why Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start this season

Yoan Moncada continued his hot start to the season with a leadoff home run in Detroit on Friday.

He finished with two hits and a bases-loaded walk in a 7-3 White Sox win.

Moncada’s base numbers are all up this season. He is hitting .325 with a 1.002 OPS and a team-leading six home runs. Beyond that, a deeper look at the numbers show why Moncada’s production is up.

Moncada didn’t show much, if any, improvement in 2018 from 2017. Most of his numbers across the board were similar or slightly worse.

Moncada was patient at the plate, but maybe too patient in his first two seasons with the White Sox. He led the majors with 217 strikeouts last season and 85 of those were strikeouts looking. So far this season, Moncada is yet to strikeout looking.

This season, Moncada is swinging at more pitches both in the strike zone and overall, which is leading to a lower strikeout rate. A look at the advanced stats from FanGraphs shows Moncada swung at 63.9 percent of pitches in the zone in both 2017 and 2018 (these numbers are before Friday's game). That number is up to 69.1 percent this season. On top of that, Moncada is making more contact on those swings on pitches in the zone (up to 86.5 percent this season after 77.5 percent in 2017 and 79.8 percent in 2018).

His strikeout rate (32 percent in 2017, 33.4 percent in 2018) is way down at 24.1 percent. Strikeouts were the biggest red flag for Moncada last year. By being more aggressive this season, Moncada has been able to cut way down on that number.

His power has gone way up as well. He already has 12 extra base hits (in 82 plate appearances) and his home run on Friday was an absolute bomb. Moncada took it deep for 458 feet. That’s the longest White Sox home run of the season and is tied for the eighth longest home run in the majors this season.


He later showed that despite being more aggressive, he still has that plate discipline that was such a big part of what made him a coveted prospect in the first place. He drew a five-pitch bases loaded walk in which he did not swing the bat.

No matter how it's happening, Moncada’s turnaround has been one of the most important things in the young White Sox season.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson proud of Jason Benetti for "jumping all over Joe West's ass"

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson proud of Jason Benetti for "jumping all over Joe West's ass"

Chuck Garfien speaks with Hawk Harrelson about Tim Anderson's bat flip and Joe West kicking Anderson out of the game (3:40), Anderson taking his game to a new level (08:50), the passing of legendary sportscaster Chet Coppock (14:30), Hawk praises Jason Benetti for criticizing Joe West on the air (17:35), how Harrelson is adapting to not calling baseball games (19:50), why he teared up watching Tiger Woods win the Masters (23:40) and more.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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