White Sox

For the Red Sox, is this rock bottom?

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For the Red Sox, is this rock bottom?

From Comcast SportsNetBOSTON (AP) -- Josh Hamilton started trotting around the bases rather than trying to catch a glimpse of where his home run landed in the right field seats at Fenway Park.It may have been too far for him to really see.Hamilton's three-run shot in the eighth was one of six homers the Texas Rangers hit in an 18-3 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.Mike Napoli hit a pair of two-run shots to lead the home run derby for the Rangers, who increased their winning streak to five straight."The ball was carrying pretty good tonight," Hamilton said.Only for the visiting club.For the Red Sox and fans hoping to get an early start on Fenway Park's 100th birthday, all celebrating ceased in the top of the second when the Rangers batted around and were well on their way to chasing starter Jon Lester in the third.The Rangers topped their four-run second and three more in the third by scoring eight in the eighth. Hamilton started it with a blast that landed about a third of the way up the seats in right. It wasn't quite as far as the red chair commemorating Ted Williams' 502-foot shots, but it was a lot closer than most others."Obviously I don't stand and watch it so I don't exactly where it hit," Hamilton said. "It felt good when it came off the bat."Hamilton matched his career high with five RBIs and finished with three hits. He was coming off a three RBI game at Minnesota, which included the winning homer in the eighth."He's a talented baseball player. That's how you describe him. He's a very talented baseball player," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Nothing he does out there surprises me, at no time, because he's capable of doing it. It's not like that's something (where) he just gets hot and that's going to happen."Adrian Beltre followed him with a solo homer in the eighth Nelson Cruz added another later in the inning, all off of Boston reliever Mark Melancon.Michael Young was the other Texas player to homer."We're really good all the way up and down," said leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, who had two hits and walked twice. "One through nine, we're capable of scoring runs. Tonight we were able to put all together and string a bunch of quality at-bats back-to-back."Texas finished with a season-high 21 hits, tagging Lester for eight of them before the Boston ace was pulled in the third inning."It was one of those nights where I flat out stunk," Lester said. "When I did make the adjustment and try and get back into the zone, it wasn't good enough. It wasn't a good night for me."Lester had pitched well in his first two starts, but didn't have much run support.The Rangers provided more than offense for Colby Lewis (2-0), who settled down after a shaky start and finished pitched seven solid innings.It was the most home runs for the Rangers in a game since they hit six against Detroit in August 2008."I can't describe this one," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said, adding to what has already been a difficult week.Boston star Kevin Youkilis struck out in all four of his at-bats. He did not play Monday because of a minor groin injury on a tense day at Fenway Park -- Valentine had apologized for remarks that criticized Youkilis.The Rangers scored four times in the second and added three more in the third for a 7-2 lead.They broke it open with an eight-run eighth that included a three-run homer by Hamilton and shots by Beltre and Cruz. The big inning came to an end when Beltre flied out and Boston fans gave the Red Sox a series of mock cheers.Texas chased Lester (0-2) in the third after his control struggles left the bases loaded and nobody out. Lester threw 49 pitches in the second and allowed seven runs on eight hits and walked four. His ERA more than doubled, going from 2.40 to 5.82 by the time the Rangers were done with him.The night had a promising start for Boston when the first three Red Sox got hits off Lewis. Mike Aviles led off with a single, then Dustin Pedroia homered.It was a short-lived lead.Cruz doubled with one out in the second and Napoli homered over the Green Monster. The Rangers added two more before Young, who led off the inning by striking out, ended it with a grounder to first. Young was the only Texas player not to reach base in the inning.Lewis was starting in place of rookie Yu Darvish, who was pushed back a spot in the rotation in so he could have four days of rest between starts. He allowed just the two runs on Pedroia's homer, struck out seven and didn't walk anybody."He started keeping the ball down and changing speeds and really kept them off balance," Washington said. "To recover from that first inning the way it went just goes to show you the type of pitcher that Colby Lewis is."Adrian Gonzalez added a solo homer for Boston in the eighth.NOTES:Texas 1B Mitch Moreland returned to the club after having surgery on an infected abscessed tooth, causing him to miss two games. ... Darvish (1-0) is scheduled to start Wednesday against Boston RHP Josh Beckett (1-1). ... Boston OF Carl Crawford had four at-bats Tuesday in an extended spring training game in Florida for his first playing time since having surgery on his left wrist. Valentine said Crawford walked once, made contact the other three times and felt good afterward. ... Valentine said there is no timetable for the return of CF Jacoby Ellsbury, who is out with a partially separated right shoulder. ... Valentine let it slip that the Red Sox will be wearing throwback uniforms on Friday night when they host the Yankees on the 100th anniversary of the first game major league game played at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have not announced anything about the uniforms. ... Hamilton hasn't walked in his 46 at-bats this season and Young hasn't walked yet in 45.

Lucas Giolito goes to injured list, Sox bring Carson Fulmer and Ryan Cordell up from Triple-A

Lucas Giolito goes to injured list, Sox bring Carson Fulmer and Ryan Cordell up from Triple-A

Lucas Giolito will miss some time after straining his hamstring in Wednesday's game.

The White Sox placed the right-handed starting pitcher on the 10-day injured list ahead of Thursday's series-opener in Detroit. They also brought up relief pitcher Carson Fulmer and outfielder Ryan Cordell to take the roster spots of Giolito and outfielder Daniel Palka, who was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday night.

Giolito exited Wednesday's start after just 2.2 innings after tweaking his hamstring on a third-inning pitch. He was doing quite well in his second start of the season against the Kansas City Royals, with five strikeouts and no hits allowed before his early departure.

Giolito spoke with reporters Thursday morning in Detroit, saying the strain isn't too serious and that he expects to miss just one or two starts.

As for who will start in Giolito's stead, that remains to be seen. His turn in the rotation won't come until Monday's game that begins a series against the Baltimore Orioles. Fulmer arriving from Charlotte, however, points to Manny Banuelos being taken out of the major league bullpen to start in Giolito's place. Banuelos has had success as the White Sox long man so far this season, with a few effective multi-inning outings under his belt. Fulmer hasn't made a start since the White Sox moved him to the Charlotte bullpen last season but could serve as a replacement long man in the short term. This is Fulmer's second call-up this season, he was on the roster for one day earlier this month, pitching three innings of relief against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Meanwhile, Cordell arrives to take the place of Palka, who picked up his first hit of the season Wednesday after starting in a dreadful 0-for-32 slump. He was sent down after the game with the task of figuring things out at the Triple-A level. While the White Sox could have opted to slide Adam Engel into an everyday role in the big league outfield, it appears Cordell might get his shot at more frequent big league playing time. He was in the starting lineup for Thursday's game against the Tigers. Cordell made the Opening Day roster but only got six at-bats (homering in one and doubling in another) and was sent down to receive some more regular playing time, which he might now get in the majors.

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Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Coaching

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AP

Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Coaching

Jeremy Colliton had difficult shoes to fill. That's an understatement.

He replaced a three-time Stanley Cup winner and the second-winningest NHL coach of all-time in Joel Quenneville. And Colliton jumped in at the age of 33 just days after he and his wife welcomed their third child.

To make things even more complicated, Colliton took over as Blackhawks head coach just one month into the season and had to implement some new components of his system on the fly. That took a while for the veterans who had been playing one way for the last 10-plus years to adjust.

Colliton's No. 1 priority when he came to Chicago was to help fix a power-play unit that ranked third-worst during the 2017-18 campaign with a 16.0 percent success rate and 26th through the first 15 games of the 2018-19 season with a 14.0 percentage. It wasn't getting any better.

But from the day he got hired and on, the Blackhawks finished with the seventh-best power play (21.8 percent). It dried up down the stretch, but that was after a two-month span where it was converting at nearly a 40 percent clip. It was bound for regression.

The penalty kill, however, is something that stayed in the basement of the NHL all season long. They were 23rd under Quenneville through the first 15 games (76.6 percent) and finished last with a 71.7 percent kill rate under Colliton in the remaining 67 games. You can overcome a struggling power play, but it's almost impossible to overcome a bad penalty kill.

At 5-on-5 play under Quenneville this season, the Blackhawks had an expected goals for percentage of 45.8, a scoring chances for percentage of 49.2 and high-danger chances for percentage of 43.6, according to naturalstattrick.com. Under Colliton, they had an expected GF percentage of 45.8, SCF percentage of 46.9 and HDCF percentage of 42.6.

The sample sizes obviously aren't the same (15 games vs. 67) and, as we mentioned above, it took a couple of months for the Blackhawks to really get comfortable with Colliton's defensive structure. They certainly went through growing pains.

But with the Blackhawks expected to be active this summer in free agency and adding players that fit their new head coach's style, coupled with the fact that Colliton will have a full training camp to iron out the kinks and incorporate even more elements into his system, and the team could hit the ground running for the 2019-20 campaign rather than playing catch-up all season long. 

"I think as you go you get more comfortable, you gain confidence, you go through experiences and deal with situations that come up and they're challenging at times," Colliton said. "You get through it. And then the next time stuff comes up, you feel more confident, you feel better about what you're doing. I had confidence when I came in November that I had a plan and we as a staff could make some progress. It took longer than we all would have liked, but I think I'm a better coach now than when I walked in, and I'm going to use that going forward. 

"There's going to be challenging circumstances next year too where maybe doesn't come easy. But I think all the best coaches get better all the time. Every day they're bringing new ideas and new energy and looking outside for inspiration. That's what I expect to."

Coaching: B-

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