White Sox

Sox not concerned with standings yet

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Sox not concerned with standings yet

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

They arent the first-place White Sox yet, but they got a step closer Sunday after completing a sweep of American League Central-leading Cleveland.

Chicago extended its winning streak to five games and has won nine of its last 10 to pull within a half-game of the Indians just as Memorial Day approaches to signal the unofficial start to summer.

That might seem like it would be a big deal for a team that was five games back on May 7, right? Not so much.

To be honest, weve got well over 100 games left, so we dont think about it, Gordon Beckham said of the standings prior to tying a career high with four hits in the Soxs 12-6 victory. We dont really care. We just have to go out and play our game and not worry about that stuff. Were playing well, and thats what were focused on right now.

Though the three-game sweep of the Indians looks good, the Sox were well aware the team they just faced was seriously depleted. The heart of their order -- Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis Hafner -- all missed the series with injuries.

We caught them at the right time, apparently, but thats a good team over there, Adam Dunn said. Were playing pretty good right now, so Ill take our chances.

Expectations for a division title were placed on Detroit and Cleveland, but not many figured the Sox could challenge like they have in May. After Sunday, the Sox have as many wins as Cleveland, and are 2 12 games ahead of the third-place Tigers.

So would the Sox at least say its surprising they are in this position right now?

I dont know if Im surprised or not, manager Robin Ventura said. Again, were just focused on what were doing and the results come after that. But I think guys, you pay attention enough to where youre at and I dont think guys are surprised or disappointed. Its more of just playing.

And as Beckham advised, its too early to get too excited about any AL Central title talk, anyway.

Yeah, were in it. As of two months into the season, were in it, he said. Weve still got four more months.

Eloy Jimenez is starting to show off his big power

Eloy Jimenez is starting to show off his big power

It appears Eloy Jimenez is heating up.

The White Sox rookie outfielder didn’t get off to a great start this season, but he showed flashes of his potential. Then, he went down with injury and missed more than three weeks.

After going 0-for-7 in his first two games back from injury, Jimenez broke out with two home runs on Wednesday. He followed that up with another bomb on Thursday in a 4-0 win in Houston.


The fact that Jimenez stringing home runs together wasn't the big story of the game is a testament to Lucas Giolito's impressive outing on the mound.

Jimenez now has as many home runs in the four games since coming back from injury (3) as he had in his first 21 games before going down. That’s far too small of a sample size to say the time off did anything productive for Jimenez, but the 22-year-old is showing the power he was known for in the minors.

Overall, Jimenez is hitting .234/.280/.447. The average and on-base percentage are lower than expected considering he was a career .311 hitter in the minors. However, eight of his 22 hits in the majors have gone for extra bases, with six of those being home runs.

Thursday’s home run went 414 feet after he blasted shots of 419 and 417 feet the night before.

He also had some fun with the camera in the dugout and then had some fun in the field by celebrating a diving catch with a laugh.


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After rain-shortened complete game last time out, Lucas Giolito goes the distance for real against Astros

After rain-shortened complete game last time out, Lucas Giolito goes the distance for real against Astros

Lucas Giolito technically had a complete game in his last start, but it was a five-inning rain-shortened complete game.

Giolito himself said he didn’t count that as a complete game.

“I don't consider it a complete game until I get nine,” said after the May 18 win against the Blue Jays.

Giolito got his nine Thursday in Houston. The 24-year-old right-hander went the distance and shutout the Astros.

In a postgame interview on NBC Sports Chicago with broadcasters Jason Benetti and Steve Stone, Giolito laughed when talking about the five-inning complete game. He said he had a couple seven-inning complete games in the minor leagues, but had never gone this deep into a game in his professional career.

“Never got to the ninth inning in my career so it’s a special moment for me,” Giolito said.

When Yuli Gurriel popped out to third base for the last out of the game, Giolito immediately started emphatically clapping his hand into his glove with excitement. He then gave catcher James McCann a high five and a hug.

He limited the Astros to four hits and one walk and used 107 pitches for the complete game. Giolito added nine strikeouts.

Entering the ninth inning, Giolito said there was no discussion from manager Rick Renteria or anyone else about having the bullpen close out the 4-0 win.

“I knew my pitch count was low enough to go out there so there was no need to talk about it,” Giolito said.

This is the third time the Astros, which are tied for the MLB lead in wins at 33, have been shutout this season. They hadn’t been shutout in Houston since Sept. 19 of last season.

Entering Thursday, the Astros led all of baseball in team batting average, on-base percentage and OPS so there’s nothing cheap about this Giolito performance.

“I just felt good today,” Giolito said. “I had a lot of first-pitch strikes. I kept it efficient. I was taking a look at the pitch counts around the seventh and I was like ‘OK, I think if we stay on the same page I think we’re going to get this.’”

Immediately after he said that he got the postgame ice bucket shower from Jose Rondon.

Giolito has been on a heck of a run lately and his season ERA dropped below 3 with this outing. He now has a 2.77 ERA on the season, which is 15th best in baseball.


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