White Sox

White Sox show their spirit but fall short

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White Sox show their spirit but fall short

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011Posted: 10:30 p.m. Updated: 11:59 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
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WATCH: Humber on being hit by line drives
READ: 'X' marks a tough spot for Guillen, White SoxREAD: Six-man saving sputter out

KANSAS CITY On a night when Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen launched into a long dissertation over the hidden meaning of apparently meaningless baseball, his White Sox bowed their necks and refused to go quietly into the drizzly, chilled night.

But two comebacks werent enough to stave off a 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals, as Eric Hosmer drove a double over Juan Pierres head with one out in the bottom of the ninth off of Matt Thornton to earn K.C. the win. The White Sox have now dropped six straight, just one defeat short of their season high.

We got back in the game and had good at-bats there and a couple of big hits, Guillen said. Unfortunately, Matt couldnt shut it down. I think hes fighting through it with lefties, and both lefties Alex Gordon and Hosmer got him. Matt couldnt get it done today.

For Kansas City, it was Mike Moustakas who was the offensive star, with three straight hits (including a home run) after starting his career 0-for-35 against the White Sox. For good measure, third sacker chipped in his first career steal in the eighth.

Phil Humber started for the White Sox and did not find the same fortune as his previous two starts after returning from the DL (1-0, 1.40 ERA, 64 game score).

Besides the home run by Moustakas, he threw the ball pretty good, Guillen said. He went through a tough time late in the game and I left him in there to resolve his problem, and he did it pretty good.

If you want to put a positive spin on it, yeah, Humber agreed in discussing working out of trouble in the sixth, his last frame. It was definitely a battle. If our guys put up six runs, I expect to win the game, so Im disappointed with my performance. Obviously that was a game we should have won. Same time, tip your hat to those guys, Nos. 1-5 they have a solid lineup over there and hopefully next time I face them Ill make a few better pitches.

The righty was rocked for five runs in six innings and took a ball off his right hip leading off the sixth, as Jeff Francoeur drilled him with a single that bounded off Humber and into right field.

Its more frustrating than anything, Humber said. Paulie made the comment that Im probably due to not have a ball hit me for the rest of my career. I dont know if thats true, but its getting pretty old, to be honest with you. But I got the ball over the plate, and Francoeur did what hes supposed to do with it.

Guillen was more direct: I think we should put a screen up when hes pitching. Its scary every time he goes out there. Balls are close to him.

On the Chicago side, it was Brent Morel with yet another September home run his sixth of the month in the eighth that knotted the game up at six. Morel now has 12 RBI over his past 17 games compared to 22 RBI over his first 97.

Maybe more confidence or more at-bats, Guillen said of Morels success. He knows the pitchers better Hopefully he will finish strong and start next year and have a better season. Having confidence and knowing what youre doing; those two things together give him a lot of pop.

Alexei Ramirez was 3-for-4 and Gordon Beckham scored three runs.

On the mound, the one clear bright spot was a fourth straight scoreless appearance by Addison Reed.

Weve tried different situations, and hes handled them well, Guillen said. But I dont want to overuse somebody who is our future just to see him out there. He did a good job. Every time he goes out there, this kid impresses me more. This kid has a bright future.

WATCH: Reed's main focus is throwing strikes

With every outing I go out there, I feel a little more comfortable, other than my first inning in Detroit, Reed said. I felt pretty good, comfortable kind of realize its the same game, the plate is just as far away as it was in the minor leagues. Once I realized that, and as long as I throw my game, Ill be fine.

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

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

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USA TODAY

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.