White Sox

Sox come alive in pummeling of O's

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Sox come alive in pummeling of O's

CHICAGO (AP) First-year manager Robin Ventura has preached patience when asked about slumping slugger Adam Dunn. Same for scuffling second baseman Gordon Beckham.That steady hand paid off Wednesday night.Dunn lined a three-run double, A.J. Pierzynski homered and the Chicago White Sox snapped a three-game slide with an 8-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles."Early in the season, it can change so quick," Dunn said. "I've started off slow before and everything, but it's a lot different than it was last year because I feel good."Dunn was jeered by the crowd of 13,818 when he swung and missed for his 19th strikeout in the first inning, dropping his average to .175. But the designated hitter walked and scored in the third, walked again in the fifth and put together one of his best plate appearances with the White Sox during Chicago's four-run sixth.Dunn, who signed a 56 million, four-year contract before the 2011 season, sent a full-count pitch from Troy Patton into the left-field corner with two out, driving in Alexei Ramirez, Beckham and Alejandro De Aza to make it 8-1."Really just trying not to pull the ball," said Dunn, who was 0 for 15 against left-handers this season before the opposite-field hit. "I think that's where I get myself in trouble a lot is I try to pull the ball more than I probably should.
"I had no clue what he was going to throw me. Just tried to throw the bat out there and it worked."Jake Peavy pitched seven sparkling innings and De Aza also went deep for the White Sox, who tied a season high with 11 hits. Dunn also walked in the ninth and Beckham hit an RBI single in the sixth to stop a 0-for-14 slump."Just a great team effort," Peavy said. "The boys swung the bats and we needed tonight after a few tough ones."Endy Chavez had a run-scoring double for the Orioles, who had won four of five. Tommy Hunter (1-1) matched a career high with eight strikeouts, but was charged with eight runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings."I felt good in the first inning and lost it," Hunter said. "I was up in the zone, ball didn't get down. I just didn't make an adjustment. I can honestly say that. I did not make an adjustment."Chavez snapped a 0-for-12 slide with his hit in the second, but that was it for Baltimore. Nolan Reimold went 1 for 4 with a single, ending a string of four consecutive games with a homer.Peavy (2-0) allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked none in his longest outing since he pitched eight shutout innings at Minnesota on August 7. Finally healthy again, the right-hander has pitched at least six innings in each of his three outings this year."Everything gets so magnified because of the way Peavy was pitching, you know runs are going to be at a real premium," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, "and you can't let them get too far away from you because he's not gonna give up a whole lot when he's commanding the changeup and doing the things he does with the baseball."Pierzynski connected in the second inning, sending a two-run shot to right that barely cleared the wall and was just inside the foul pole. He also singled in the third and is batting .481 (13 for 27) in his past seven games.Alex Rios drove in Dunn with a sacrifice fly in the third, making it 3-1, and De Aza added a solo drive to right-center in the fourth for his third homer.NOTES: Chicago's Kosuke Fukudome made his first start of the season in left field and his third start overall. "It's a good time to get him in there and get him some at-bats," Ventura said. Dayan Viciedo rested and Ventura said he would be back in the lineup Thursday afternoon. Ventura also said utilityman Brent Lillibridge could start the finale of the four-game series. ... Nick Markakis served as Baltimore's designated hitter and Chavez got the start in right field. Markakis went 1 for 4 and is stuck in a 4-for-39 rut. "Everybody here is gonna have periods where they're not as good as they're capable of being," Showalter said. "If that's our biggest issue this year, we're in real good shape." ... Orioles RHP Jason Hammel (1-0) is scheduled to face RHP Gavin Floyd (1-1) on Thursday afternoon. Floyd is 4-2 with a 3.56 ERA in seven career starts against Baltimore. Hammel is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in six career appearances against the White Sox.

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

Charlie Tilson plays in Detroit for first time since getting injured in his MLB debut

For over two years, Charlie Tilson was starting to look like his own version of "Moonlight" Graham, the player made famous in the movie "Field of Dreams" because he played in one major league game and never got to bat.

The White Sox traded for Tilson just before the trade deadline passed in 2016. Two days later he made his big league debut with the White Sox in Detroit. He got a single in his first at-bat, but left the game with an injury and missed the rest of the season. Tilson also missed all of the 2017 season and his MLB future was starting to come into question.

Back healthy, Tilson started this season in Triple-A Charlotte and hit .248 in 39 games when he got called up to replace Leury Garcia, who was placed on the disabled list. On Thursday, Tilson returned to a big league field for the first time in more than 20 months. He went 0-for-3 in a loss to Baltimore.

Friday marked a return to the site of Tilson's big league debut and the injury that made it such a brief stint. Tilson has now played three big league games, over the course of nearly 21 months, and two of them have been in Detroit.

Tilson went 1-for-4, meaning both his hits are in Comerica Park. The White Sox lost 5-4 after giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth.

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

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.