White Sox

Sox Drawer: White Sox NCAA Bracket Battle

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Sox Drawer: White Sox NCAA Bracket Battle

Thursday, March 18, 2010
3:13 PM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com
I cant get a hit off a major league pitcher.

I cant throw a baseball 95 mph.

And I certainly cant throw a perfect game.

But hopefully what I can do is beat three White Sox stars you know and love in a test of skill, brains and blind luck.

Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gordon Beckham have given me their NCAA Tournament brackets, and over the next two-and-a-half weeks we will go head-to-head in a Sox Drawer bracket battle royal to determine who is the real baseball bracketologist!

By the way, the answer no matter who wins is none of us.

According to DePaul math professor Jeffrey Bergen, there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 different ways to fill out a bracket.

Thats all?

He says you are more likely to win the lottery on consecutive weekends than correctly predicting the perfect bracket (which of course, I have done).

As I wrote earlier this week, I chose a different strategy this year. Instead of studying up for three days, using charts, graphs, tape, glue, Crayons, a stapler, a compass and Doc Browns time machine in "Back to the Future" I just filled the thing out as fast as humanly possible, making sure not to waste any time using that thing called my brain.

When I finished, I had Kansas, Syracuse, Marquette, and Villanova in the Final Four with Kansas beating Nova for the title. I like it. At least right now. Talk to me on Thursday night after Lehigh shocks the world by beating the Jayhawks in the first round and I might have a different take on this.

As for my competition, I am encouraged to see that none of them took the safe route. There are some very daring picks (Buehrle has Purdue in the Final Four. Yes, Purdue).

But thats nothing compared to the monster homer pick coming from the mind of John Danks.

The Texas native and die-hard fan of the Longhorns has drowned himself in Texas Kool-Aid, calling for his free-falling squad that used to be ranked 1 in the country and is now an eight-seed in the East to somehow put it all together and win the whole tournament! Hes got the Horns beating Wake Forest, Kentucky, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Villanova, and Kansas.

Good luck with that.

Click here to see all of our brackets. What do you think? Whos got the edge?

Well, maybe not Danks after Texas gets knocked out in the first round. Or Buehrle after the Boilermakers get rocked by Siena. Or me, after Marquette implodes against Washington. That leaves Beckham, who after putting New Mexico State and Georgia Tech in the Sweet Sixteen, got very conservative. Hes lucky his Georgia Bulldogs arent in the tournament. It would have definitely clouded his judgment, ala Mr. Danks.

So the madness is here! Its Buehrle vs. Danks vs. Beckham vs. Garfien.

Who will get a degree in basketball bracketology? Well find out April 5 -- Championship Day and Opening Day.

And please, no wagering.

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

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USA TODAY

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson has in his mind an ideal number of times he’d strike out in a season.

“If I had it my way I’d probably strike out 20 times a year but I don’t know how you do that, really,” Davidson said before the Sox defeated the Royals 9-3 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It’s not realistic for an everyday player to go through the season with that few strikeouts, especially on a Sox team that entered Friday’s game with 1,163 of them, the second-highest total in the major-leagues behind the Rangers’ 1,168. The Sox were on pace to strike out 1,570 times, which would break the franchise record of 1,397 set last season.

Against the Royals, the Sox struck out seven times, but made more than enough contact—including three-run home runs from Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico—to win for the eighth time in their last 14 games.

With the Sox going through the trials and tribulations that come along with a radical rebuild, perhaps it’s not a surprise the team strikes out as much as it has the past two seasons. They are young, aggressive at the plate and still learning at the major-league level.

“It’s just some of the experience and learning your swing and trying to improve on it every single year,” said Davidson, who went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts Friday night. “I don’t think coming up (in the minors) everybody was striking out as much as we do here so that just shows that the competition is better and we’re just also trying to learn.

“The MLB (web site) has a section just showing how nasty pitches are,” Davidson added. “Guys are really good here. It’s just a part of learning. It’s about seeing the ball, learning the zone, learning counts and understanding when they’re going to throw stirkes and when they’re going to throw balls and also just putting the bat on the ball.”

The Sox were particularly susceptible to the strikeout when they fanned 10-plus times during an eight-game stretch from Aug. 5-13, a franchise record. They fell one game short of matching the dubious major-league record of nine consecutive games with 10-plus Ks set by the Brewers in 2017.

Sox manager Rick Renteria said the cause of all the strikeouts “depends on who you want to look at. You could look at it collectively (or) you can look at it individually. We have one of the young men (Yoan Moncada) who has quite a few under his belt, both looking and swinging (for a major-league leading 172 this season). Two-strike approach obviously is something we talk about a lot and still has to be implemented in practical terms so that it's useful. We don't want our guys swinging out of the zone. We do want them to be able to defend themselves and keep a ball in play possibly when need be.

“But I'm not thinking in regards of how (strikeouts) continue to mount and what that indicates or doesn't indicate,” Renteria added. “We look at all of our guys individually and figure out what it is we can help them with in terms of attacking that strike zone and being ready to hit.”

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

Rick Renteria proved once again that he won’t let his boys quit.

The White Sox manager pulled Avisail Garcia from Friday night’s 9-3 victory over the Royals after the outfielder failed to run hard out of the box during a first-inning flyout. It wasn’t the first time Renteria has made a point by pulling a player during a game. Garcia was yanked from a spring training contest for not running hard out of the box and Tim Anderson got the same treatment in July.

“I didn’t think (Garcia) had given me an effort on the Texas Leaguer,” Renteria said after Friday’s victory. “If the ball falls in, you have to possibly advance.”


Renteria was quick to point out that Garcia is playing with a right knee injury that the right fielder said would have to be addressed—likely with surgery—during the offseason.

“He does have a knee that’s bothering him a little bit,” Renteria said. “I told him, ‘you certainly looked like something was bothering you.’ He said, ‘I felt it click when I came out of the box.’ ‘I said you understand you can still give me a better effort out of the box (and) he said, ‘yes, I understand that. I’m feeling this.’ We addressed it a little bit. He’ll be back in there (Saturday night). He realizes he still feels he can give us a little better effort.”

Garcia, who has been on the disabled list twice this season due to hamstring injuries, said he understood Renteria’s decision. 

“I felt a click (in the knee) and I didn’t run,” Garcia said. “Even if I felt a click I can do a better effort if I want to play and I want to play. That’s why they take me out. I felt a click and I was a little bit scared about it but I’m OK.”

Renteria said it is important down the stretch to communicate with Garcia when it comes to managing his knee.

“That’s why we had the conversation,” Renteria said. “He doesn’t want to come out of the lineup. He says he can play every day, he says, ‘I can manage this, I can play through this, I’ll be fine.’ I said then give me a little more effort on some of those plays. I get it that you may feel it but if you feel it, just explain to me what’s going on and we can manage it that way. He really doesn’t want to come out. He wants to play.

“We’ve never had a problem with (Garcia),” Renteria added. “Despite a couple times here or there where we’ve taken him out, if you watch him he busts his rear end pretty much all the time. That was a rarity. At that particular point in time it was my decision to pull him out.”

Garcia said he will continue to play through the knee issue.

“I just have to keep going,” Garcia said. “But I was scared a little bit because I felt like a click. But at the same time, I didn’t run hard enough so I’m OK with it. I’m good to play.”

When asked if Garcia will get the knee taken care of following the season, he responded, “yeah, for sure. One-hundred percent.”