Chicago White Sox: Chris Silva

Sox-Tigers series big, but all are now

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
6:03
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- As significant as the Chicago White Sox's upcoming four-game series against the Detroit Tigers is, Sox manager Robin Ventura said it’s just as important for players to not let their guard down once the Tigers leave town.

The Sox hold a two-game lead over the Tigers in the American League Central, and while the division title will be won by one of them, the Sox will still have 19 more games left in the season. Ventura doesn’t want his club to get swept up in the hype.

“Regardless of what happens in the series, one bad week after that and you're back in the same situation or worse,” Ventura said. “They're important, everybody knows that, but it's not the end of the season. You still have to play well for the end of the season. Those teams are just as dangerous as other teams. But it's fun. That's the part of it, it's an exciting series. I think in spring training, if we had the option, someone asked you if wanted to have meaningful games in September with Detroit you'd take it. That's part of it. Guys are playing for something. They're not just playing out the season.”

[+] EnlargeJose Quintana
David Banks/Getty ImagesSox rookie Jose Quintana will take the mound Monday to start a key series againt the Tigers.
Those other teams include another three-game series against the Kansas City Royals, who are 10-5 against the Sox this season.

The Tigers have fared well against the Sox this season, having won 10 of 14 games, but the early-season AL Central favorites have been inconsistent against other teams. They were swept by the Royals at the end of August, lost two of three against the Cleveland Indians earlier this month and enter the series against the Sox after being swept by the Los Angeles Angels. Still, Detroit has won seven straight against the Sox.

“Detroit has a great team,” Sox starter Jake Peavy said. “It’s the bottom line. They don’t have many holes at all. Great starting pitching. [Max] Scherzer and [Justin] Verlander are as good as anybody in the game. That lineup speaks for itself. It’s so dangerous all the way through. Then the back end of that bullpen is two of the best late-inning guys. Great team. It has been surprising that after they swept us, things haven’t went their way. But that’s just baseball.”


The Sox, who are hitting .227 and own a 5.02 ERA against Detroit this season, will look to rookie Jose Quintana to start the series off on the right note. The rookie has struggled through his past three starts, failing to get out of the second inning in his most recent start. Quintana has yet to face Detroit this season. He’ll be followed by Peavy on Tuesday with Francisco Liriano scheduled for Wednesday and Chris Sale slated to oppose Verlander on Thursday. Sox starters have made four quality starts in the past six games against the Tigers.

“We expect from our starters all the time -- no matter if you’re a rookie or a veteran -- we expect you to go out there and give us a chance to win,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “This is a pennant race and we’re in it and we’re trying to win it. We need those guys. They’re the first line of defense. That’s why they get the big bucks because they’re paid to go out there and take the bulk of the responsibility, which is six, seven and then more, hopefully, innings each game to give us a chance to win.”

Rapid Reaction: Royals 2, White Sox 1

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
4:58
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a look at the Chicago White Sox's 2-1 loss in 10 innings to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.

How it happened: Both the Sox and Royals were backed by impressive pitching performances, with the Sox receiving a combined eight shutout innings from three rookies. Hector Santiago led the way, striking out eight and allowing three hits over four-plus innings in his second career start. Brian Omogrosso and Nate Jones followed suit, with Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain keeping it scoreless heading into the ninth. But Brett Myers, the Sox’s seventh pitcher of the game, was done in by a few bad pitches. Myers entered the 10th with a runner on and proceeded to give up consecutive RBI singles to Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur to put the game’s first runs on the board. Meanwhile, Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie threw eight scoreless innings. The Sox eventually got to the Royals bullpen in the 10th, with Gordon Beckham's RBI single, but that’s where the rally ended. The Sox were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.

What it means: The Sox’s lead over the Tigers in the American League Central Division shrunk to 1.5 games with a crucial four-game series against their division foes starting on Monday. The Tigers were still in action Sunday in Los Angeles when the Sox ended. The Sox haven’t won consecutive games since the last week in August.

Outside the box: Jose Quintana has had three straight subpar outings heading into tomorrow’s start against Detroit. One thing the rookie left hander has worked on is coming out of the stretch. “I wouldn’t say it was anything I was doing wrong, it was more so that I was hurrying on top of I was opening up my shoulder more,” he said. “It’s something I picked up on and coach picked up on.”

Up next: Quintana (5-4, 3.68 ERA) will take the mound against Detroit’s Rick Porcello (9-11, 5.48) on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field. Game time is 7:10 p.m.

Pain-free Floyd ready to rejoin rotation

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
1:48
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Gavin Floyd is ready to return to the Chicago White Sox rotation and now it’s just a matter of when.

Floyd threw his third sideline session on Sunday since being placed on the disabled list with a sore elbow on Aug. 28.

“A couple of times we stopped and it felt a little… abnormal,” said Floyd, who threw about 50 pitches. “But everything felt good.”

Floyd mixed in sliders, curveballs and changeups on Sunday and pitching coach Don Cooper said the right hander could return to the rotation as early as Wednesday, although the staff has yet to discuss it. The most important thing, Cooper said, was that Floyd is no longer experiencing pain in the elbow.

Whenever Floyd does return Cooper said all the staff is looking for is a quality start.

“We’re not looking for eight or nine [innings],” Cooper said. “To tell you the truth we want length from our starters. Eight and nine… right now, we’ll take six good because we’ve got a full bullpen. We’ve got guys out there who we have confidence in and we’re just looking for the starters to give us a chance to win the game and that’s all we’ve ever, for 11 or 12 years here, that’s what we’ve been looking for. Anything more than six or seven is a bonus. Give us that opportunity and it’s not a matter of length with any of our guys.”

And if Hector Santiago throws well on Sunday, Cooper said, “we’ll have to really wrap our minds around that before we take somebody out who’s throwing well. Again, we’re going to play it by ear....We have a lot of options right now and we’ll weigh them all.”

De Aza expects to return this week

August, 7, 2012
8/07/12
5:22
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Centerfielder Alejandro De Aza said he expects to return to the lineup by Wednesday or Friday after experiencing stiffness in his back for the last few days.

De Aza said he tweaked his back while colliding with Angels shortstop Maicer Izturis as he stretched a single into a double in the third inning of Saturday’s game.

“It’s stiff a little bit,” De Aza said. “Certain (movement) bothers me but I don’t think it’s nothing serious. It just bothers me for right now.”

Manager Robin Ventura said De Aza was available if needed on Monday. De Aza is hitting .444 with two doubles and four RBI in his last six games and has 10 RBI and 10 runs scored in his last 16 games.

De Aza sits with stiff back; Danks starts in CF

August, 6, 2012
8/06/12
5:06
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Center fielder Alejandro De Aza is out tonight with stiffness in his back, giving Jordan Danks the start. Chris Sale takes the mound on nine days rest; he has a 0.69 ERA over his last five home starts. Here's tonight's lineup against the Kansas City Royals:

1. Jordan Danks - CF
2. Kevin Youkilis - 3B
3. Adam Dunn - DH
4. Paul Konerko - 1B
5. Alex Rios - RF
6. A.J. Pierzynski - C
7. Dayan Viciedo - LF
8. Alexei Ramirez - SS
9. Gordon Beckham - 2B

Pierzynski attributes HR streak to luck

August, 5, 2012
8/05/12
5:57
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Sheer luck is the only explanation A.J. Pierzynski has for his recent power surge.

“That's why it's funny,” he said after the Chicago White Sox's 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.. “It's not like I’m trying to hit home runs. I'm trying to put the barrel on the ball and I'm lucky they're going out.”

[+] EnlargeA.J. Pierzynski
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesA.J. Pierzynski watches his two-run pinch-hit homer on Sunday.
Pierzynski tied a franchise record on Sunday by hitting a home run in his fifth straight game. What was special about this homer was that it came on his scheduled off day, which lasted seven innings before manager Robin Ventura used him as a pinch hitter with a runner on and the Sox trailing, 2-1.

“We were laughing and joking around,” Pierzynski said. “The guys that are supposed to do that, [Paul Konerko and [Adam Dunn], they were making fun of me and calling me a home run hitter. I'm not supposed to be doing this, so just ride it out as long as you can, enjoy it and have fun with it.”

This was Pierzynski’s third career pinch-hit home run and first since Sept. 8, 2007. The blast raised his home run total to 21 on the season, a career high and also the second most all-time by a White Sox catcher behind Carlton Fisk (37).

The 35-year-old catcher is having one of the best seasons of his career and his continued production at the plate has given backup Tyler Flowers fewer opportunities. The only setback Pierzynski has experienced was an oblique strain that sidelined him for five straight games in late July. In a way, Ventura said that time off probably has benefited Pierzynski.

“He's come back strong ever since that,” Ventura said. “That's part of the duties of catching; it just wears you down. So he has a little more zip in his bat. He's as strong as anybody, so when he hits it it's going to go.”

John Danks ready for surgery

August, 5, 2012
8/05/12
2:51
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- John Danks is ready to see what's wrong with his shoulder. The White Sox starting pitcher, who's out for the season, will undergo exploratory surgery on Monday.

"I'm not exactly excited about going in, but I'm ready for it to be fixed and healed and get moving on with just getting back to being healthy," Danks said on Sunday. "That's kind of the key. It's been so long since I've been truly healthy. I'm excited about getting everything fixed and kind of starting clean next year."

Read the entire story.

Sox lineup: Ready to take on Angels, Trout

August, 5, 2012
8/05/12
12:59
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- This won’t be the last the Chicago White Sox have seen of Los Angeles Angels' rookie sensation Mike Trout, who so far this series has gone 4-for-10 with a home run, two RBIs and one highlight-worthy catch at the wall that robbed Gordon Beckham of a home run.

The White Sox will play a three-game series at the Angels later next month. Sox manager Robin Ventura has been impressed, to say the least, with the all-around talent that Trout possesses. Ventura said he hasn’t seen a rookie provide such an impact since Ichiro Suzuki.

“[Ichiro] wasn’t young,” Ventura said. “But if you look at everything he can do, I’d say Trout has more power. But even watch him run the bases, he’s an aggressive base runner. You don’t see guys that big run that fast. Probably the last guy was Bo [Jackson] in his heyday.”

Recently acquired Francisco Liriano will try to keep Trout and the Angels at bay as the two teams wrap up a three-game series. Here’s the Sox’s lineup behind Liriano:

1. Alejandro De Aza - CF
2. Kevin Youkilis - 3B
3. Adam Dunn - 1B
4. Paul Konerko - DH
5. Alex Rios - RF
6. Alexei Ramirez - SS
7. Dayan Viciedo - LF
8. Tyler Flowers - C
9. Gordon Beckham - 2B

Sox glad to see Floyd hang in there

August, 4, 2012
8/04/12
11:50
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura has learned to live with the early outing struggles from Gavin Floyd. Right now, as the Sox take a six-man rotation into the final months of the regular season, quality starts are of the utmost importance in an effort to keep the bullpen fresh.

First innings have never really been Floyd’s strong suit throughout his nine-year career, and while he’s improved out of the gate this season, he’s still prone to rocky starts like Saturday against the Angels.

[+] EnlargeWhite Sox vs Angels
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhGavin Floyd had a rough first inning, but settled down and pitched into the seventh.
Floyd gave up three runs on two hits and three walks in the first inning before settling down for the most part and lasting into the seventh. It allowed the Sox a chance at victory and the bullpen no more work than it had the previous night.

“He battled through it and got us to a point where we could tie it back up,” manager Robin Ventura said after the Sox’s 6-5 10th-inning loss. “Just couldn't get that one more [run]. Those are tough games. We play a lot of close games. This is not anything new for us.”

Neither is it unfamiliar territory for Floyd, who allowed five runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. His 114th and final pitch of the night was one he’d probably like to have back, as slugger Albert Pujols crushed it over the left field wall in the seventh.

Look at Floyd’s career numbers by inning breakdown and in the 172 first innings he’s pitched throughout his career, he’s allowed a total of 168 hits, 93 runs and 70 walks -- the most hits and walks totals of any inning in his career. (He’s also allowed 93 runs in his fifth-inning appearances.) Floyd’s starts haven’t been as slow this season, though, as he’s allowed 19 hits and eight runs in first frames.

Of Floyd’s 41 pitches in the first inning, 21 were balls. He didn’t issue a walk after the first inning.

“I give him credit because he saved our bullpen by giving us 6 1/3,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “He should be proud because he was able to -- after a 40-pitch first inning -- to still almost give us seven innings. Although it wasn’t the best start in the world, he still kept us in the game. It got really ugly, but he battled and fought. Something I told him he should be proud of, because while it wasn’t his best start, he saved everyone else on the team by going as deep as he did and giving us the innings he gave us.”

For now, that’s good enough for the Sox.

Rapid Reaction: Angels 6, White Sox 5

August, 4, 2012
8/04/12
10:07
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a look at the Chicago White Sox's 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

How it happened: For the second straight game a White Sox starting pitcher struggled through the early innings, only this time the Sox’s bats couldn’t muster enough late-game heroics. Kevin Youkilis' second home run of the night tied the game in the seventh and set the table for what could have been another comeback win. Instead, Angels second baseman Howard Kendrick knocked in Alberto Callaspo, who reached home without a play at the plate in the 10th, for the go-ahead run. Meanwhile, first innings have been a career-long struggle for Floyd, who surrendered three runs in the first on Saturday. Manager Robin Ventura might have left Floyd in the game for one batter too many, as the right hander served up a seventh-inning home run to Albert Pujols on his 114th -- and final -- pitch of the night in the seventh. Youkilis homered in the first inning and Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski homered in the sixth. Angels rookie Mike Trout robbed Gordon Beckham of his 10th home run of the season when he made a leaping catch over the left field wall in the second inning.

What it means: The Sox had their four-game winning streak snapped but they still lead the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central by 1 1/2 games.

Outside the box: Pierzynski has now homered in four straight games, tying a career-best. His 20 home runs are also the most for a Sox catcher since Ron Karvkovice, who in 1993 also hit 20 homers. Meanwhile, Youkilis had his 10th career multi-home run game and first since Sept. 28, 2009 against Toronto.

Up next: Lefty Francisco Liriano (3-10) will make his home debut for the Sox, opposing right hander Dan Haren (8-8) to close out the series. Game time is 1:10 p.m.

Liriano preparing for U.S. Cellular debut

August, 4, 2012
8/04/12
6:02
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Right now, the Chicago White Sox are asking starting pitcher Francisco Liriano to make a few adjustments to his delivery that they think will help make him an impact pitcher down the stretch.

“[Pitching coach Don Cooper] wanted me to stay tall and not get too low,” Liriano said. “Another thing he wants me to work on later on. But he told me for now to go out there and try to do your job and make a good pitch and try to go deeper in the game and not do too much. Just be who I am. We'll see.”

On Sunday Liriano will make his home debut as a member of the Sox, who acquired him from Minnesota on July 28. Liriano threw the first no-hitter of last season in Chicago on May 3, and in 11 games at U.S. Cellular Field, including eight starts, Liriano has a 3-4 record with a 5.77 ERA.

Liriano is looking for his first win since the All-Star break, although he had an admirable debut for the Sox last Tuesday against his former team, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings. Liriano said he’s never been a part of a six-man rotation, which the Sox are experimenting with right now, and that he planned to talk to Cooper about how he will prepare in between starts if things remain the same. He'll pitch on a regular four days rest on Sunday.

Sox lineup: Floyd's hot hand at home

August, 4, 2012
8/04/12
5:20
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- While Phil Humber's struggles at home continued on Friday, today’s starting pitcher, Gavin Floyd, has won his last three starts at U.S. Cellular Field.

Floyd is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his last three starts at home, but he’s looking to bounce back from a loss he suffered in his last start against Texas on July 29. Floyd also lost his only start against the Angels this season back on May 16, when he allowed seven runs on 10 hits over six innings.

Here’s today’s starting lineup for the Sox:

1. Alejandro De Aza - CF
2. Kevin Youkilis - 3B
3. Adam Dunn - DH
4. Paul Konerko - 1B
5. Alex Rios - RF
6. A.J. Pierzynski - C
7. Dayan Viciedo - LF
8. Alexei Ramirez - SS
9. Gordon Beckham - 2B

Sale's next start will be on Monday

August, 3, 2012
8/03/12
5:41
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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Chris SaleGregory Shamus/Getty ImagesChris Sale's next start on Monday will be after nine days of rest.
CHICAGO -- Chris Sale will make his next start on Monday against Kansas City, a day ahead of schedule, while Jake Peavy will take the mound on Tuesday, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.

Chris Sale

Floyd finds his stuff in win over Jays

July, 7, 2012
7/07/12
7:58
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
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Gavin FloydBrian Kersey/Getty ImagesWhite Sox starter Gavin Floyd went 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Saturday's win.


CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox's current five-game winning streak has been fueled by a mix of stellar defensive play, clutch hitting and durable starting pitching -- a little bit of everything that has kept them atop the AL Central standings with the first half of the season coming to a close on Sunday.

And it was all on display in Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, when another solid outing by starter Gavin Floyd, a bomb of a two-run homer by Kevin Youkilis and a redeeming defensive play in the ninth helped put the White Sox 10 games over .500 for the first time in two seasons.

It was Floyd’s 7 2/3 innings pitched, in which he allowed just four hits while striking out three, that stood out the most for the Sox, who have barely skipped a beat with starters Philip Humber and John Danks on the disabled list. It was the fourth time in the last five games a White Sox starting pitcher has gone at least seven innings.

“Everyone is trying to step up because of what has happened with John and Phil,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “We’ve had guys like [Jose] Quintana, [Dylan] Axelrod and even Gavin his last few starts have stepped up and taken that role and given us more innings, which is what we needed to protect some of the bullpen guys. It has been a fun go of it here and hopefully it will continue.”

Floyd didn’t feel as though he had his best stuff when he went to the mound to start Friday’s game, but he retired 11 straight batters from the first through fourth innings. He allowed a season-low in hits while matching his season-high in innings pitched and is now 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA over his last four starts. This after a 1-4 mark with a 10.38 ERA in his previous six starts. Floyd threw 61 of his 100 pitches for strikes against the Blue Jays.

“I try to have a good tempo,” he said. “That's my goal every time. I'm trying to get in sync, try to have a good tempo, try to make good pitches.”

As impressive as Floyd was on Saturday, manager Robin Ventura wouldn’t go as far as saying this was his most complete outing of the season. Floyd had his moments in last weekend’s loss at the New York Yankees, and before that start he struck out nine in seven scoreless innings at Minnesota. Saturday was Floyd’s first career win against Toronto.

“Gavin was outstanding today again,” reliever Matt Thornton said. “He’s most of the time the last three starts out been doing a great job. He battled out in New York, but the one previous to that one and the one today, he’s been outstanding. He’s getting on a run and looking good.”

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 2, Blue Jays 0

July, 7, 2012
7/07/12
5:58
PM CT
By Chris Silva
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- Here’s a look at the Chicago White Sox's 2-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

How it happened: Starter Gavin Floyd turned in an impressive outing, blanking the Blue Jays over 7 2/3 innings in which he allowed just four hits while striking out three. Floyd has now won three of his last four starts. He was backed by Kevin Youkilis' two-run home run in the fifth, a 423-foot shot to centerfield. Other than that, it was a relatively quiet day at the plate for both teams. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez scored a run and has now hit safely in five straight games. Youkilis has recorded a hit in six straight games. Right fielder Alex Rios saw his 11-game hitting streak come to an end.

What it means: The White Sox are 10 games over .500 and have now won five straight games and nine of their last 11. Another win could give the White Sox the longest winning streak at the All-Star break. (Oakland takes a five-game win streak into Saturday night’s game against Seattle.)

Outside the box: Manager Robin Ventura said he’s given thought to sitting Adam Dunn against left-handed pitchers, but that every time he approaches Dunn about the subject the White Sox slugger has responded with a big hit. Dunn entered Saturday’s game hitting just .158 against lefties. Dunn walked, had a line-drive single and lined out against lefty Ricky Romero on Saturday.

Up next: Rookie Dylan Axelrod (0-1) will make his fifth start of the season to close out the series. Lefty Brett Cecil (2-1) will take the mound for Toronto. Game time is 1:10 p.m.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

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