Chicago White Sox: 2012 season

Ventura third in AL Manager of Year vote

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
8:00
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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If you told Chicago White Sox chairman of the board Jerry Reinsdorf last fall that the manager with zero coaching experience he just hired would finish third in the 2012 AL Manager of the Year voting, he would not have been shocked.

“We always knew what a great baseball man Robin (Ventura) was,” Reinsdorf said in September. “We just didn’t know if he wanted to manage or not.”

Ventura finished third in the BBWA voting, in which the Athletics' Bob Melvin won the award in a close vote over the Orioles' Buck Showalter.

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Players give Dunn Comeback Player honor

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
9:11
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Chicago White Sox first baseman/designated hitter Adam Dunn was named the Players Choice American League Comeback Player of the Year on Monday.

The Players Choice Awards are presented by the Major League Baseball Players Association and voted on by players.

Dunn was also named the American League Comeback Player of the Year by The Sporting News on Oct. 23.

Dunn, an All-Star selection, batted .204 with 41 home runs, 96 RBIs, 105 walks and 87 runs in 151 games in 2012. He led the majors in walks and strikeouts and finished tied for fifth in home runs. His 41 homers tied for sixth most in franchise history and were the second most by a left-handed hitter behind Jim Thome's 42 in 1996. Dunn also hit his 400th career home run and recorded his 1,000th career RBI during the season.

Dunn increased his totals in every category last season after hitting .159 with 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, 75 walks and 36 runs in 122 games in 2011.

Dunn would trade award to still be playing

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
5:20
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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While most people might consider winning a comeback player of the year award a cap on an excellent season, Chicago White Sox first baseman/designated hitter Adam Dunn might not.

[+] EnlargeAdam Dunn
Jesse Johnson/US PRESSWIREAdam Dunn improved his numbers across the board in 2012.
Dunn, who was injured toward the end of the season (oblique strain), was displeased with the team’s poor finish as well as his own inability to do much about the Sox’s late season collapse. Watching the Detroit Tigers advance to the World Series hasn’t helped matters.

“I knew that was going to happen,” Dunn said. “My brothers and I were talking about it (after the Sox were eliminated). I knew it was going to be them pouring more salt on the wounds. Now... sure enough.”

The 32-year-old Texas native matched his usual career numbers in home runs (41) and RBIs (96), but was frustrated by his lack of consistent contact. That aside, rebounding from his 2011 disaster, which could be argued was the worst batting performance in baseball history, had its satisfying moments during 2012, including the comeback award.

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Dunn wins 'Sporting News' comeback award

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
4:56
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Chicago White Sox first baseman/designated hitter Adam Dunn was named "The Sporting News" American League Comeback Player of the Year on Tuesday.

Dunn, an All-Star selection, batted .204 with 41 home runs, 96 RBIs, 105 walks and 87 runs in 151 games in 2012. He led the majors in walks and strikeouts and finished fifth in home runs. His 41 homers tied for sixth most in franchise history and were the second most by a left-handed hitter behind Jim Thome's 42 in 1996. Dunn also hit his 400th career home run and recorded his 1,000th career RBI during the season.

Dunn increased his totals in every category after hitting .159 with 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, 75 walks and 36 runs in 122 games in 2011.

“We had a number of guys mentioned throughout the season as candidates for this award, which is gratifying for us as a coaching staff,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said in a statement. “Adam is one of the best clubhouse guys I have been around, and it’s nice to see that his hard work paid off. He is deserving of the honor.”

Dunn is the fifth White Sox player to receive the award since its inception in 1965. He joined Thome (2006), Paul Konerko (2004), Frank Thomas (2000) and Bo Jackson (1993).

Winning doesn't add up for Sox

October, 19, 2012
10/19/12
7:45
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Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- For years, the White Sox's company line has been: Fans will come when we win.

Players have said it; former manager Ozzie Guillen said it, perhaps with a four-letter word included; general manager Kenny Williams has said it with more conviction; and Brooks Boyer, the team's vice president of sales and marketing, practically had to put it on his business card when talking to reporters.

But that piece of conventional wisdom was tested this season as the White Sox drew fewer than 2 million fans for the first time since 2004, despite leading the A.L. Central for most of the season.

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2012 White Sox report card

October, 7, 2012
10/07/12
7:42
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Check out our 2012 grades, then share yours for each player on the team.

Grade the Sox.

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 9, Indians 0

October, 3, 2012
10/03/12
9:06
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CLEVELAND – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago White Sox’s 9-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday:

HOW IT HAPPENED: Dan Johnson hit three home runs, and Gavin Floyd won his 12th game in the White Sox’s finale. With a lineup of mostly bench players (other than Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo), the Sox get off to a quick lead when Johnson hit a two-run home run off of starter David Huff in the second inning. Catcher Hector Gimenez’s RBI single plated a run in the fourth. Konerko added a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his 26th of the season, and Dayan Viciedo hit his 25th homer in the ninth.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Sox finished the season at 85-77, good for second place in the American League Central. At 12-11, Floyd finished with an above-.500 record for the first time since 2008 when he went 17-8. With two hits, Konerko tied Frank Thomas for third place on the Sox’s all-time hit list with 2,136. The Sox set a franchise best .988 fielding average in 2012. Johnson is the 15th Sox player to have a three-homer game.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: GM Kenny Williams said he expects the entire coaching staff to return in 2013. Designated hitter Adam Dunn finished with 221 strikeouts, one shy of Mark Reynolds’ all-time high. Matt Thornton tied his career high for appearances (74).

UP NEXT: Sox Fest on Jan. 25-27.

Future uncertain, Youk enjoyed Sox run

October, 3, 2012
10/03/12
6:34
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CLEVELAND -- The bizarre twists and turns of the 2012 season left Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis a bit dizzy at times.

The veteran infielder was basically run out of town by Boston Red Sox management, which traded him to the White Sox late in the spring.

His return to Chicago next season is in doubt despite the fact he solidified a troubled spot for the White Sox at third base. The White Sox have an option on a contract for Youkilis for 2013 at $14 million, and it's assumed the team will not pick it up. And it is unclear if Youkilis wants to return to Chicago.

Read the entire story.

Peavy can't close out Indians in finale

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
11:01
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Jake PeavyAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhJake Peavy is hoping Tuesday's game will not be his last with the White Sox.
CLEVELAND -- Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy could only shake his head after picking up a no-decision in his last start of the season on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old veteran could not close out a game in which he had allowed one hit through 8 innings. Peavy entered the ninth inning with 104 pitches, and manager Robin Ventura allowed Peavy to start the 9th inning with a 3-1 lead. But pinch-hitter Mickey Brantley’s base hit set the stage for Travis Hafner’s pinch hit home run as the Indians went on to win 4-3 in 12.

Peavy finishes the season with an 11-12 record.

"He was pitching great," Ventura said. "He earned that and he wanted to go back out. He had only given up one hit. He looked great.“

The Sox starter was nonplused by yet another no decision in what has been a star-crossed season.

"You want to finish what you start," he said. “I felt good. There was no reason for me not to go back out there. I really did not have any stressful innings to ambush me there."

Peavy was able to throw more than two hundred innings and start over 30 games for the first time since 2007, due to an assortment of injuries.

"You like to have those stats so that people can understand beyond that," Peavy said. "I was physically and mentally ready to pitch 32 times and that is what I aimed to do."

The Sox hold an option on Peavy for 2013 at $22 million. They will without question buy out the option for $4 million, making him a free agent after the World Series ends.

"We will see what happens," Peavy said. "I could not thank my teammates, the Sox organization or the people of Chicago enough for staying with me and giving me the opportunity. If this was the end it has been a good ride and I hope this isn’t the end."

If this was the end for Peavy with the White Sox his record was 28-25 in just over three seasons.

Peavy likely making last start for Sox

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
4:07
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CLEVELAND -- Jake Peavy likely will make his last start for the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday as he approaches free agency after the season.

[+] EnlargePeavy
Rob Grabowski/US PresswireJake Peavy has held hitters to a .238 average against him and sports a 3.38 ERA but he has just 11 wins this season.
The Sox hold a $22 million option for 2013 or they must pay Peavy $4 million on the way out the door. The Sox will decline the option year, but that does not mean they won’t negotiate a new deal for less money and more years.

“I really have not thought about it,” he said. “I have just wanted to stay focused here. I don’t know it depends on if these guys want me back. It depends on what they value me as. I really have not had any (talks) with them.”

At 32, Peavy will look for his last long-term deal with market value likely fetching him $12 million to $15 million on a two- or three-year deal. The Sox may be looking to go younger in their rotation and use some of the Peavy cash for that purpose.

After two-plus injury-riddled seasons with the Sox, Peavy made 30 starts and pitched over 200 innings for the first time since 2007 when he won the NL Cy Young award with the San Diego Padres. He enters Tuesday’s game with just 11 wins, but likely would have had 16 or 17 wins with decent run support.

Peavy has enjoyed his Chicago experience.

“It has been a rollercoaster ride for me,” Peavy said. “I got over here hurt, helped out a bit late at the end of 2009 and 2010, began the season behind the eight-ball with a bad arm and then had a pretty major injury (a torn lat muscle) that caused me to miss the rest of 2010. It was a tough few first years, but to come back and be healthy and take the ball every turn like I had before I got here is gratifying.”

Peavy will be facing free agency without longtime friend and agent Barry Axelrod, who must give up his representation of baseball players to accept an offer to work in the front office of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Peavy is not sure if he will represent himself or hire a new agent.

But he is certain that he wants to play as long as possible.

“I am going to play for as long as they let me wear a uniform,” he said. “My boys are getting to an age where they understand and enjoy what daddy does. That is something that is special to me and to them. You miss a lot by being away, but if I play another five years I will only be 36 and be able to spend a lot of quality time with them.”

Sox's win not enough to avoid elimination

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
10:57
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CLEVELAND -- The Chicago White Sox watched a once-promising chance at postseason play end just after posting a convincing shutout victory on Monday evening.

Although Chicago defeated the Indians 11-0 on a seven-inning, one-hit gem by rookie Hector Santiago, the Detroit Tigers beat the Royals in Kansas City to clinch the American League Central title.

[+] EnlargeHector Santiago
AP Photo/Tony DejakSox rookie Hector Santiago threw seven innings of one-hit ball in Monday's win.
“We were on the same page as a team and as a staff all year long,” Alex Rios said. “It did not work out the way we wanted it to, but I can say the effort was always there for this team.”

Santiago will most likely get a chance to start next season with the likely departure of some veteran pitchers.

“Everything was working for me,” Santiago said. “I had all five pitches working from the first inning on. That was what tonight was all about -- let them know that I can get it done and be in the starting rotation next year.”

The White Sox picked a bad time to go through their worst slump of the season. They have lost 10 of their last 13 games, which includes Monday’s victory.

“It always is frustrating,” A.J. Pierzynski said. “I told the guys they should hold their head up high at the end of the season because nobody thought we would do anything this year. To be in it until Oct. 1 and have a chance (was great). At the end of the day we gave everything we could, it just did not work out.”

Chicago was in first place for 117 games during the 2012 season, including every day from July 24 through Sept. 25, before going 3-10 after taking a three-game lead in the division. Ventura, though disappointed with the final result, was proud of his players and organization.

“It is disappointing because you wish you had done better,” said the rookie manager. “I am not disappointed in these guys. You end up where you are supposed to end up. The effort was there -- we just came up short.”

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 11, Indians 0

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
9:17
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CLEVELAND -- A quick look at the Chicago White Sox's 11-0 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday at Progressive Field.

How it happened:The Sox were in a must-win situation entering the game, three games out of first place with three to play. Young Sox starter Hector Santiago was the star of the game, allowing just one hit through seven innings and striking out a career-high 10 batters. The Sox had men on first and second with nobody out in the second inning and failed to score. They continued the insidious trend of hitting in the .180s (last 25 games ) with men in scoring position before Adam Dunn snapped an 0-for-18 skid with an RBI single to score Dewayne Wise in the sixth. Wise did a few of the little things that have been missing in the Sox offense as of late, dropping a bunt single and stealing second. Alex Rios drove in Dunn with a single off of the left field wall. A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo followed with RBI singles to cap a four-run sixth. Pierzynski’s 77th RBI of the season tied his career high (2004 with the Giants). Alexei Ramirez tacked on an RBI single in the eighth. The Sox tacked on six runs in the ninth, highlighted by a grand slam by Vicido.

What it means: The Sox briefly kept their playoff hopes alive with their win. But the Tigers finished off a 6-3 win in Kansas City later in the evening to eliminate the Sox. The Sox were in first place 117 games during the 2012 season. They set an all-time record for strikeouts by their pitching staff with 1,221.

Outside the box: Jake Peavy will presumably become a free agent as it’s likely the Sox will pay him a $4 million dollar buyout on his 2013 contract option ($22 million club option). Peavy, who has been represented by veteran agent Barry Axelrod, will need a new agent for future negotiations as Axelrod has taken a job with the Diamondbacks and now is ineligible to represent players. Manager Robin Ventura said Peavy will start Tuesday regardless of the team’s playoff status.

Up next: Peavy (11-12, 3.37 ERA) pitches against Cleveland’s Justin Masterson (11-15, 5.03) in Game 2 of the series.

Sox plan: Win three, hope for three losses

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
6:09
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CLEVELAND -- It is a simple equation for the Chicago White Sox: Win or start growing your offseason beard.

Manager Robin Ventura and his club face elimination in Cleveland and Kansas City where the Detroit Tigers, who are up three games in the AL Central, can win the division outright with a victory over the Royals.

“You don’t stop until you’re officially done,” Ventura said. “The guys are going to come out and play. You just never know what will happen. Crazy stuff happens all the time. You realize it is not a great situation to be in, but we are here to win games, and that is what we will try to do.”

(Read full post)

Disappearance of clutch hitting led to fade

September, 30, 2012
9/30/12
6:43
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- When the Chicago White Sox look back upon on their collapse in the final weeks of the 2012 season, they’ll likely point to their lack of clutch hits as the main reason why.

On Sunday, it was more of the same story for the White Sox. They were able to put runners on against Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, but they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities and lost 6-2 at U.S. Cellular Field.

[+] EnlargeAJ Pierzynski
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhIt's been a frustrating stretch for A.J. Pierzynski and the White Sox.
Sunday’s low-scoring output marked the 12th time in 13 games that the White Sox scored less than five runs. Over that span, they have totaled 34 runs, were 12-for-90 with runners in scoring position, had a 3-10 record and saw their American League Central lead slip from a three-game advantage to a three-game deficit.

Prior to their offensive slump, the White Sox scored 31 runs and won four out of five games from Sept. 12-17.

“We haven’t hit at the right time,” White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham said. “The effort was there and unfortunately it didn’t go our way the last couple of weeks.”

For most of the White Sox’s hitters, September has been a frustrating month at the plate. Adam Dunn is hitting .204 with three home runs and six RBIs. Paul Konerko has hit .231 with four homers and 10 RBIs. Kevin Youkilis is hitting .218 with three homers and eight RBIs. Dayan Viciedo has a .227 average with three homers and 11 RBIs. A.J. Pierzynski is hitting .233 with three homers and five RBIs.

Alex Rios has been the one hitter to really excel this month and has hit .320 with five home runs and 14 RBIs.

“Scale 1-10? It’s obviously a 12,” Dunn said of his frustration level. “We played so well for so long and had ourselves in a great position. One of the things that got us here was doing the little things, hitting guys in, things like that. But when it came down to it late in the year, we couldn’t do it.

“This game isn’t easy first off. When you are putting added pressure on yourself more than you can probably have to, I think you saw the result.”

Price, a Cy Young candidate, didn’t give the White Sox many chances Sunday, but there were enough for them to feel they should have scored more runs.

In the fourth inning with the Rays leading 3-0, the White Sox loaded the bases with one out. Dayan Viciedo then flew out to deep center field to bring in one run, and Alexei Ramirez grounded out to end the inning. The White Sox were 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base.

“We had our chance obviously with the bases loaded there and one out,” Pierzynski said. “Viciedo hit the ball real hard, and we were hoping it would get over his head and might score three, but it didn't. We fell behind early again, it seems to be a common theme here. We tried to fight back, just not enough.

“We didn't play good enough. The effort was there, the work was there, everything was there. We just didn't get it done. It's one of those things, you can always look back and point at this or that. Like I said, I'm proud of this team the way they fought and the way they went about it every day. It's a sign of good things to come.”

Youkilis said, “It’s part of the game. It sucks. It sucks collectively that we didn’t play as well as we could have. It’s an unfortunate situation.”

Sox in tough spot as collapse continues

September, 30, 2012
9/30/12
6:15
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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The U.S. Cellular Field scoreboard flashed an ominous message in the ninth inning: Next home game -- Opening Day April 1, 2013, Sox vs. Royals.

Nothing could sum up the Chicago White Sox's complete fade in the American League Central Division better, as they’ve gone from three games ahead of the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 17 to three games behind in 13 days. With Sunday’s 6-2 loss to David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox are now one Tigers victory or one loss of their own away from playoff elimination.

Sunday was a familiar story for Chicago, as the offense failed again to show up. During their past 13 games the Sox have scored a total of 34 runs (2.5 per game).

“On a frustration level [of] 1 to 10, it’s a 12,” Sox slugger Adam Dunn said.


The Sox’s sudden collapse was compounded by a starting rotation that posted an ERA of 5.88 (22 earned runs in 33 .2 innings) in the last homestand of the season.

Although the premise seems remote at best, the team has no choice but to look for a sports miracle to extend their season. The Sox need to win their last three games in Cleveland while Detroit loses three in a row in Kansas City if they hope to force a one-game playoff in Detroit on Thursday for the division championship.

“We just did not play good enough,” said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who along with several veteran free agents-to-be may have played his last home game in a White Sox uniform. “The effort was there, the work was there, everything was there. We just did not get it done.”

Team captain Paul Konerko summed up the task that lies ahead in the last series of the regular season.

“Let’s just try to win out,” Konerko said. “If nothing else, everyone pledged at the beginning of the year we would give it our all for 162 [games]. I think we have done that through 159. It doesn’t look good as far as the division, because we can’t control the fact Detroit has to lose three. We can control winning our three games, and that was our goal to come out and play [hard] for 162.”

Hector Santiago has the dubious honor of trying to hold serve for Chicago on Monday evening, when they face the Indians and Corey Kluber in Cleveland.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.17 208 174
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .317
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208