Detroit brought a scorching offense to Chicago for this weekend's three-game series with the White Sox. Through two games, though, the Sox have kept the powerful Tigers offense at bay, following Friday's 5-2 win with a 5-1 victory Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.Gavin Floyd threw six shutout innings, although it wasn't all smooth sailing. While he allowed just three hits -- all to Austin Jackson -- Floyd issued three walks and hit three batters, leading to difficult spots in the second and sixth innings. In the second, a Jhonny Peralta walk was sandwiched by a pair of beanballs, loading the bases for Ryan Raburn with two outs. Floyd got Raburn to line out to center, ending the first Detroit threat. And in the sixth, Floyd issued back-to-back walks to Prince Fielder and Delmon Young with two out to load the bases before striking out Alex Avila to quash the rally. "I thought he pitched great," manager Robin Ventura said after the game. "He got into a couple of jams there, but for me, he battled and made pitches when he had to. He has been a guy throughout spring that Ive seen make the tough pitch. Hes able to do that and hes very talented. We just let him go today and he made all the pitches."Floyd did an excellent job neutralizing Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, only allowing the fearsome duo to reach base once -- with that being the sixth-inning walk to Fielder. With Jackson setting the table for the pair, Floyd's success against them was even more important. "Like they werent there," said Floyd of his plan of attack against Cabrera and Fielder. "I just tried to focus on the mitt and make pitches.""He pitched great, pounding the zone aggressive early," summed up catcher Tyler Flowers. "More importantly the pitches he missed, he missed in good spots in that they were effective as far as setting up the next pitch. "Against a lineup like that, you can't make mistakes over the heart of the plate and he did that very few times."Floyd was supported by solo home runs off the bats of Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers, whose fifth-inning shot was estimated at 423 feet. The Sox added runs in the sixth on an Adam Dunn RBI double and in the seventh on an Alejandro De Aza RBI triple. Paul Konerko smacked career home run No. 397 in the eighth, a solo blast that plated the fifth run for the Sox. It put the captain into a tie with Joe Carter for 51st on the all-time career home run list. But nearing the 400-homer marker isn't really on Konerko's radar. "I'm sure it will mean something when I'm done playing, but any time you put those milestones numbers -- it's just another homer, hopefully it comes sooner," Konerko said. "I just want to approach every day and prepare every day the same way as long as I'm playing. And when you're done playing and the dust settles, you can look back and probably enjoy some things. But any time I spend doing that, I'm not being a good teammate if I do that because I'm not getting ready for what's next. That's what I want to be doing." The Tigers' lone run came on an eighth-inning solo homer by Brennan Boesch off Jesse Crain. The same team that averaged nearly seven runs per game coming into the weekend has only scored three times in 18 innings, as a lack of timely hitting and a mini-slump from Miguel Cabrera has hampered the team's offensive efforts.Detroit's Adam Wilk, making his first career major-league start, was the recipient of some bad luck when Fielder lined a foul ball into the visitors' dugout, striking the lefty in his pitching shoulder. He departed the game with what was ruled a left shoulder contusion after throwing just 62 pitches over five fairly effective innings. The win vaulted the Sox to the top of the AL Central standings, albeit just over a week into the season. Given the Sox rough schedule to begin the season, that's at least a mildly impressive feat.
Luis Robert has been a big story in the Arizona Fall League. He recently had a 14-game hitting streak and was named the AFL Player of the Week. Chuck Garfien went to Arizona for a firsthand look at one of the White Sox top prospects. On the podcast, Garfien first speaks with Robert’s minor league hitting coach Charlie Poe. Then he talks with Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio about Robert as well as the White Sox reported pursuit of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
03:24 - Poe on Robert’s 14-game hitting streak
04:30 - Robert’s new favorite English word to say
07:25 - Why Poe compares Winston-Salem manager Omar Vizquel to Prince
09:10 - Why other top prospects stop what they’re doing whenever Robert comes to the plate.
11:00 - Mike Ferrin talks about his impressions of Robert
18:00 - Can the White Sox sign Harper or Machado?
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
White Sox Talk Podcast
This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.
The White Sox need starting pitching. So why not take a cue from the fine folks at Jewel and think local?
J.A. Happ is an Illinois native and attended Northwestern, and he’s a free-agent starting pitcher coming off a mighty fine season in 2018. Following a midseason trade to the New York Yankees, he posted a 2.59 ERA in 11 starts. While his numbers vastly improved after he left the Toronto Blue Jays, he finished the 2018 campaign with a career-high 193 strikeouts. In addition to last year’s success in the Bronx, he had an ERA under 4.00 in each of the three seasons prior, playing in Toronto in 2016 and 2017 and splitting time between the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015.
What Happ doesn’t seem to be, however, is a long-term option. He just turned 36 years old, meaning he likely doesn’t align with the White Sox rebuilding timeline and the planned opening of the team’s contention window.
What Happ could do, however, is serve as a bridge (however long) to that future, a future where Michael Kopech is recovered from his Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease has reached the major leagues. You could certainly do much worse than Happ when it comes to finding a one- or two-year fill-in, and the White Sox were reportedly "working to sign" Happ during last week's GM Meetings in Southern California.
Happ would also serve as a veteran presence and potential mentor for the team’s young pitchers, the kind of role James Shields filled last season. Rick Hahn discussed the importance of that role last week.
“Having someone in there who provides a level of stability for the rotation and dependability every fifth day has some appeal that you would allow young players to go through some of the growing pains that are inevitable in their development,” Hahn said. “Having someone who can play that veteran, mentor role who can help teach guys whether it's from a game prep standpoint ... or any level of alteration with certain pitches, which is where James had the biggest impact in the minors.
“Having a guy who can play that role has appeal. It's not just what a guy can do between the white lines, it's what a guy can do for you in the clubhouse, is part of this equation.”
Happ might not stoke fans’ imaginations in the same way fellow free agents like Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel might. But he’s a more realistic option that would allow the White Sox to continue to develop a homegrown rotation of the future.