White Sox

Series notes: White Sox at Tigers

Series notes: White Sox at Tigers

Friday, April 22, 2011
Posted: 2 p.m.

White Sox (8-11) at Tigers (9-10)

Series schedule
Friday: 6:05 p.m. on CSN
Saturday: 3:10 p.m. on FOX
Sunday: 12:05 p.m. on WGN
Starting Pitchers
Friday: Mark Buehrle (1-1, 4.50) vs. Justin Verlander (1-2, 3.41)
Saturday: Edwin Jackson (2-1, 3.51) vs. Brad Penny (0-2, 8.44)
Sunday: John Danks (0-2, 3.00) vs. Max Scherzer (3-0, 4.30)

Previous games
The White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak Thursday with a 9-2 victory over the Rays. Omar Vizquel, Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski each drove in two runs, while Gavin Floyd allowed two runs in six innings. Chicago had managed just two runs in losing the first three games of its series vs. Tampa Bay.

Detroit won two of three vs. Seattle this week, capped by a 3-2 win on Wednesday. Rick Porcello gave up one run in 6 23 innings to earn the win, while Ryan Rayburn sparked the Tigers offense with a first-inning home run.

Head-to-head
This is the first meeting between the teams this season. Last season, Chicago won seven of the first nine meetings between the teams before losing eight of the last nine matchups, including a three-game sweep in September.

Whos hot?
Quentin is riding a six-game hitting streak, raising his average to .310 on the season. Reliever Sergio Santos hasn't allowed a run in seven outings, totaling 9 23 innings, this year. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera went 5-for-10 with three walks and three RBIs in the Seattle series. Brennan Boesch also had a good series for Detroit, going 6-for-10 with a pair of doubles.

StorylinesCan the Chisox string together back-to-back quality efforts following their seven-game losing streak? Keep an eye on the matchups between Buehrle and Victor Martinez, who is 22-for-66 (.300) lifetime against the veteran lefty, and Magglio Ordonez, who is even hotter (15-for-32, .469) against him. And of course the back end of the bullpen continues to be a major issue. Stay tuned on that one.
Sound off
Matt Thornton, Chris Sale or Santos which of these three relievers do you want to see as the White Soxs closer?

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

Major League Baseball released a second voting update for All-Star Game starters and three White Sox players are still in the mix.

The top three spots at each position (and top nine in the outfield) are all that matter for now, with those players advancing to MLB’s new Starters Election. James McCann is the only member of the White Sox to sit in one of those spots for now.

McCann is second at catcher behind Gary Sanchez of the Yankees. He is nearly 800,000 votes behind the Yankees backstop.

Jose Abreu was in third in the last update at first base, but has fallen behind Carlos Santana of the Indians. Luke Volt, another Yankee, leads with C.J. Cron of the Twins in second. Santana is just under 43,000 votes ahead of Abreu.

Tim Anderson is still in fourth at shortstop. Jorge Polanco of the Twins and Carlos Correa of the Astros are comfortably in the top two spots. Gleyber Torres, yet another Yankee, is just over 45,000 votes ahead of Anderson for third.

There aren’t any other White Sox within striking distance of the top three. Yoan Moncada remains in eighth among third basemen.

Polls close Friday at 3 p.m. CT.

 

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Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

eloy-617.jpg
USA TODAY

Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

When Eloy Jiménez returned from the Injured List in late May and rejoined the White Sox lineup, he went on the road to Houston and Minnesota and he struggled to the tune of a .148 batting average and .148 on-base percentage, with four hits (three went over the fence), 11 strikeouts and no walks.

For the season, his slashline was .217/.259/.406 with five walks and 36 strikeouts. He was swinging at 49.8 percent of all the pitches he saw (a bit above the 46.7 percent league average); he was swinging at 38.8 percent of pitches outside the zone (quite a bit above the 30.9 percent league average).

He returned to the comfort of Guaranteed Rate Field on May 27 and took a pair of walks. From that point forward, things started to look a lot better… and the results were in line with that observation.

Eloy Jiménez this season:

  PA AVG OBP SLG BB K Swing % Outside zone swing %
Through May 26 112 ,217 .259 .406 5 36 49.8 38.8
Since May 27 71 .297 .366 .594 7 18 45.9 30.8

Not only has he improved quite a bit, but that 30.8 outside the zone swing percentage is second only to Yonder Alonso’s 29.9 percent mark among White Sox with at least 40 plate appearances since May 27. Jiménez hasn’t been chasing nearly as many bad pitches lately.

Those pitches he has been laying off of have for the most part been the low and away stuff, as indicated by his swing charts below. First, his swing rates before getting hurt and then since he came back from injury.

These charts are from the catcher’s perspective, and from what you can see, he has done a much better job of laying off the low and away pitches. Look at the three zones furthest low and away. There’s a big difference.

Start of the year through May 26:

Since May 27:

Through May 26 he swung at 33.8 percent of pitches (51 of 151)  low and away and out of the zone. Since May 27 he has swung at 14.5 percent of those pitches (10 of 69).

It’s only an 18-game sample, so there will certainly be more adjustments made to combat Jiménez, but I believe we’re watching Eloy begin to mature into the middle of the order force as he was advertised.

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