White Sox

White Sox: Matt Davidson making strong case for Opening Day roster


White Sox: Matt Davidson making strong case for Opening Day roster

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Baseball is a game of failure. A sport so tough it brings grown men to their knees.

For the last two years, that was where you could find Matt Davidson.

The former first round pick was once thought to be the White Sox third baseman of the future. But then he lost his swing, then his confidence, and then he almost lost his mind.

“These past two years have been such a mental grind. I’ve been in some dark places,” Davidson said Monday in an interview with Comcast SportsNet.

After the White Sox acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks, he arrived at spring training hoping to win the third base job. That didn’t happen. So he went to Triple-A hoping for a quick call-up to the big leagues. That didn’t happen either.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

He batted .199 with 164 strikeouts in 2014. Unfortunately, 2015 wasn’t any better. He ended last season batting .203 with 191 strikeouts.  

That bright future looked quite bleak.

But this offseason, Davidson went home to California hoping to find himself as well as that powerful swing that once made him one of the top prospects in baseball.

“For me it was all mechanical. My swing was breaking down,” he said. “I had really bad posture the last two years with my swing. Honestly, I fixed that this offseason. Now I’ve kind of had the spring I’ve had. The swing itself has been good, but as far as my body and posture throughout the swing, that was bad and so we fixed that. And then you see the results.”

We see them.

Monday, Davidson hit his fifth home run of the spring (which leads the White Sox), and he raised his batting average to .413.   

To save his baseball career, Davidson has had the help of White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson, not to mention former White Sox slugger Jim Thome, who has been with the team during spring training working with young hitters.

[MORE: Competition for White Sox 25th man stays hot]  

“He’s been amazing, just being there for moral support, especially after these past two years. That speaks volumes,” Davidson said about Thome. “We talk about a lot of mental stuff. The little things here and there. Nothing major. He’s really simple and very positive. I think that’s the biggest impact he has. He’s just so positive. He speaks positivity into you.”

With Todd Frazier now entrenched at third base, Davidson seemed to have zero chance of making the team out of spring training. But now with Adam LaRoche retired, and Davidson swinging such a hot bat, he is suddenly in the mix for the final roster spot.

What would it mean to him to make the club after all he’s been through?

“I’ll probably break down and cry to be honest,” Davidson said. “I’ve been through the ringer for two years. Just to see the results and then to even be in the conversation for that is awesome.”

For Davidson, the light has turned on. The White Sox are hoping it stays that way for a long time.

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season


It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.