White Sox

Streaking White Sox win sixth straight game

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Streaking White Sox win sixth straight game

Friday, July 9, 2010
Updated 11:31 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CHICAGO On the night the Chicago White Sox learned that ace hurler Jake Peavy would indeed be lost for the season, they found themselves facing a herky-jerky lefthander who pitches as if hes detaching his latissimus dorsi with every toss.

Kansas City Royal Bruce Chen indeed lofted up a fair share of hittable Wiffleballs to the plate on Friday, falling down deep into the rabbit hole that the U.S. Cellular Field pitchers mound has become for opposing pitchers and losing to the white-hot White Sox, 8-2.

Chen had more luck pitching to first base, with two pickoffs, than he did to home plate, and was rewarded for his soft tosses with a shower after just 65 pitches.

Meanwhile the Chicago 9 played a pedestrian game, again striking early and once more finding themselves the beneficiaries of a stellar starters effort, this one coming from old hand Mark Buehrle.

But oh, how quiet and passive much of this game was. The men in black are clearly bored with all the winning, what with six in a row, 19 of 23, 23 of 28, and who knows how many other Sudoku puzzle combinations theyve amassed this summer.

And after the game, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen cheekily acknowledged the doldrums of winning, chastising assembled media for a lack of engaging questions: You guys are shocked were winning. When were losing, you guys have 30 questions for me!

Ah, Ozzie, living la dolce vita comes at a cost. Even the scribes must guard against the delicious malaise of a limitless winning streak.

Sure, there was a home run, from A.J. Pierzynski in the fourth, to run Chen. And then another, in the eighth, a three-run blast for the catchers first multi-homer game since 2008. The Campbells Soup Kid left shortly after games end, but his skipper knew just how much the clouts meant.

A.J. was really struggling, Guillen said. He really needed this game.

There was even a near-homer from Andruw Jones to plate two in the second, a screaming double that dented the outfield wall some six feet short, leaving the Curacaoian still one round tripper shy of 400.

I thought I got it, but it was a changeup and the topspin knocked it down, Jones said.

There was spiffy defense, including Gordon Beckham playing mini-Willie Mays to dash out to gather a short pop from Scrabble master Yuniesky Betancourt and a couple of afterburner flies snagged by turfeater centerfielder Alex Rios.

And pitching, yes, there was some of that. Buehrle celebrated his first start with 10 Chisox seasons under his belt by earning his eighth win of the season to get back above sea level. It was an unmasterfully exasperating, anesthetically efficient seven-plus inningstypical Buehrle, 114 pitches that insomniatic Royals hitters will ViewMaster through while staring up at the ceiling tonight.

Buehrle nearly didnt last long enough to see the win. In eerie reminiscence of three days earlier, when Peavy snapped a muscle and walked off the mound and into muscle rehab, K.C. leadoff man Scott Podsednik drilled the starter with a line drive for the first hit of the game. After a lengthy powwow on the mound with Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper, while 25,572 fans turned blue holding breath, Buehrle ignored his rapidly numbing fingers to finish out the inning with little other negative fanfare.

I told him not to hit is so hard next time, is how Buehrle recounted scolding Podsednik, a teammate over two separate White Sox stints. Then hes on first, dancing back and forth for 20 pitches. I told him, Just go, steal, so I can stop throwing over to first.

Wunderkind fireballer Sergio Santos came on relieve Buehrle in the eighth. One guesses that with the ease the southpaw put on display for the first seven, he simply got tired of the baseball game and retired to the clubhouse for some Twittering, or Super Mario Bros.

Nevertheless, it was frying pan to the fire for the City of Fountains, as Santos dismissed the Royals in the eighth with a mere eight tosses.

In the bottom half, Paul Konerko golfed a gapper to the wall in right-center to plate Rios, Chicago momentarily believing they were paid by the hour in an attempt to extend the game. Two batters later, Pierzynski launched his bomb to right to put the White Sox up by a hard eight and qualifying the game as an official laffer.

White Sox reliever Jeff Marquez came on for his major league debut in the ninth and coughed up a two-run homer to Betancourt, but thankfully for the rookie, the Royals had already long retired from this game.

The Triple Play

Saturdays Pitching Probables (6:10 p.m., WGN)

White Sox RHP Gavin Floyd (4-7, 4.43 ERA)

Royals RHP Brian Bannister (7-6, 5.54 ERA)

Super Sox

A.J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with two homers and four RBI, snapping an extended slump and raising his average to .243. Funny, you wonder whether when things are going well and the backstops characteristically crucial feistiness is less necessary, Pierzynski flags a bit. Come dog days, as the Chisox need some help digging deep, the Campbells Soup Kid is sure to stand up and be counted.

White Sox Notable Numbers

The White Sox have won six straight, 12 of 13, 19 of 23, and 23 of 28 Their five losses over the last 28 games have been by a total of eight runs, and none of the five losses were by more than two runs They are 12-1 in their last 13 at U.S. Cellular Field The starters are 18-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 26 quality starts in their last 29 games and a 1.77 ERA in the eight games since July 2 Pitchers allowed their first run in 18 innings and first earned run in 31 innings Buehrle is 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last six starts, and is now 21-11 with a 3.56 ERA in his career vs. K.C. Konerko is hitting .359 with six homers and 30 RBI in his last 35 games Carlos Quentin is batting .341 with seven homers and 14 RBI in his past 14 games.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Jermaine Dye's slow start yielded to World Series MVP season

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AP

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Jermaine Dye's slow start yielded to World Series MVP season

Generally, while the temperatures take their time to rise across the American League Central, the pitchers are said to have the advantage.

So perhaps it should be no surprise that at least one hitter on the 2005 White Sox got off to a bit of a slow start before eventually being named the World Series MVP.

Jermaine Dye was one of four new starting position players for the White Sox as they turned the page from 2004 to 2005, but he was no stranger to the AL Central. Though he arrived on the South Side after three and a half seasons with the Oakland Athletics, he spent the four and a half years before that with the Kansas City Royals.

In this lineup, he didn’t need to stand out as one of the most dangerous bats in the league, though by the time the White Sox were hoisting the trophy at the end of October, that’s what he’d become. In 2006, he was even better and finished fifth in the AL MVP vote.

But things didn’t start so hot for Dye. In April, he slashed a nasty .175/.205/.313.

The game against the Detroit Tigers on April 20, our latest edition of #SoxRewind, was an outlier, with Dye besting his RBI total to that point (three) in a single evening. He drove in four runs with a two-run homer in the first inning and a two-run single in the fifth inning.

The 9-1 White Sox romp was perhaps more notable for another sterling performance from Jon Garland, who tossed eight one-run innings. But it had to be a welcome reprieve for Dye, who was still settling into his new digs in the middle of the White Sox lineup.

Things obviously improved dramatically for Dye once the calendar turned to May, and he slashed an eye-popping .292/.355/.548 with 28 home runs in the other five months of the regular season. He hit .311/.415/.444 during the postseason. Come 2006, he slashed .315/.385/.622 with a career-high 44 home runs and 120 RBIs.

It’s safe to say Dye found his footing.

But for White Sox fans getting their first exposure to Dye in the home dugout, as opposed to him suiting up for the division-rival Royals, a big night like the one he had April 20 was more an exception than the rule in that early stage. Even if it was a sign of what was to come.

What else?

— Base-running gaffes hardly matter when your team wins by eight runs, but Dye made a pair of them in this game, twice getting caught in a rundown between first and second. He was picked off of first base to end the third inning. And after singling in a pair of runs in the fifth, he was again trapped between first and second, caught, thankfully for the White Sox, after those two runs had crossed home plate.

— As mentioned, Garland was again fantastic, following up his seven innings of two-run ball against the Seattle Mariners by holding these Tigers to just one run in eight innings. He ended up going at least eight innings seven times in 2005, including a trio of complete-game shutouts. The White Sox won the World Series because of their starting pitching, and nights like this one showed just how dominant it was.

— Joe Crede joined Dye in having a big night, driving in three runs of his own and extending his hit streak to 11 games. Crede homered in the sixth inning, capitalizing when gifted an extra swing by Tigers shortstop Carlos Guillen. Guillen tracked a pop up into foul territory but completely whiffed on the attempt. “Make him pay, Joe,” Hawk Harrelson said. That’s exactly what happened. Crede hit the next pitch for a three-run homer.

— Speaking of The Hawkeroo, he took the viewers on an emotional roller-coaster ride in the fifth inning. With one out and Tadahito Iguchi on first base, Paul Konerko drove a ball to deep right field, not far out of the reach of the right fielder. Hawk cheered the thing on the whole time, but his mood changed when the ball bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. “Get down! Get down! Get down! It will! Dagummit!” Did I mention the White Sox were up three at the time?

— Scott Podsednik, another one of those new position players, kept making his presence felt by making things happen at the top of the order. He scored the game’s first run after stealing third base and coming home on a wild pitch. Sure, he would have scored anyway on Dye’s ensuing home run. But seeing how much difference that elite speed element made on a nightly basis makes you long for more of it in today’s game.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Wednesday, when you can catch the April 23, 2005, game against the Royals, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Some phenomenal work by the White Sox bullpen and extra-inning heroics from Aaron Rowand.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

Lucas Giolito: Playing games in empty stadiums 'not the most enjoyable experience'

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USA TODAY

Lucas Giolito: Playing games in empty stadiums 'not the most enjoyable experience'

One of the many possibilities being discussed as baseball tries to figure out what the 2020 season could end up looking like? Playing games without fans present.

Obviously, no one would consider that the ideal scenario. But as uncertainty reigns during the global COVID-19 pandemic, any baseball might be preferable to no baseball at all, and if playing games in empty stadiums makes that a possibility, it’s under consideration as a potential outcome.

Chalk up Lucas Giolito as someone who wouldn’t find that scenario all that appealing. But also count him as someone who’d stomach it if it meant getting back on the field.

"That's definitely not the most enjoyable experience for a player,” Giolito said during a Tuesday conference call. “For me, personally, I really love to feed off the crowd's energy, whether that's at home and everyone's rooting for me or if we're on the road and I want to shut all the other fans up.

“I like that part of the game. I think it's a big part of the game. The more fans that are packed into a stadium, the more exciting a game can be, the more it adds to it.

“But at the same time, we're all used to playing those back-field games, chain link fence league games. We've done it coming up through the minor leagues. We even do it in spring training, at times.

“If things matter, if games matter, I think we'd be able to go and get it done with or without fans in the stadium. But I'd definitely prefer to have fans. We'll see what we'll be able to make happen.”

Like everything surrounding the game and American life in general, this is hardly a certainty. Baseball is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, which entail banning gatherings of at least 50 people until mid May. Any major league game, with two 26-man rosters going up against one another, is a gathering of 50 or more people, fans or no fans.

The recent agreement between the league and the union established certain criteria for returning to action, among them that no governmental edicts exist that make it impossible for teams to play at their home stadiums. Though there is a caveat that special arrangements could be made if there’s no better solution. Different local governments across the country could have different restrictions at different times, complicating things as baseball tries to figure out if it’s safe to play.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman wrote Tuesday that the season is perhaps likely to start with no fans present as the league and the players aim to play as many games as possible in a short amount of time. But there are obvious reasons why all stakeholders would want that to be a last resort: The more fans in the stands, the more revenue the league can generate. But having any kinds of games to put on TV would provide revenue, as well, even if fans can’t attend.

Throughout his conversation Tuesday, Giolito repeatedly mentioned his realization that baseball needs to take a backseat at the moment. But even baseball fans who share that understanding of the national and global situation are curious about when — and where and how — they will be able to watch their favorite team.

Playing in empty stadiums would be weird for the players and weird for the fans who would be forced to watch on TV. But weird would be better than non-existent.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.