Chicago White Sox: Recap
THE GOOD: Dylan Axelrod showed that he is intent on earning a roster spot as he opened spring play with three scoreless innings. Alex Rios had a double in each of his first two at-bats, while Tyler Flowers crushed a line-drive home run to right field. The offensive show started in the first two innings against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The White Sox scored in each of the first four innings.
THE BAD: There isn’t much to complain about in a thoroughly dominating victory. Brian Omogrosso did walk three batters during his one inning of work, but managed to work out of the jam without allowing a run. Newcomer Conor Gillaspie could have made the last out of the game by getting a runner straying off third base, but couldn’t handle the throw across the diamond.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: Each of the White Sox starters got just two at-bats and amazingly every one of them reached base except for Adam Dunn. On the pitching side, Axelrod was so solid that he needed just 18 pitches to get through his three innings. Even more amazing was that all 18 of his pitches were for strikes.
UP NEXT: In the second Cactus League game, the White Sox will send right-hander Erik Johnson to the mound, as the non-roster invitee gets a chance to impress the coaching staff. He will face off against Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke in the 2 p.m. CST start from Camelback Ranch.
The modest activity is exactly what was expected, though, so it wasn't as if the club failed to achieve its goals.
And in adding Jeff Keppinger via free agency, the White Sox are poised to turn one of those utility guys into a player that can pick up a majority of the action at third base.
Other goals remain like adding a left-handed bat and bringing in some bullpen help, both of which could be achieved in the coming weeks.
"I would love to go downstairs and have a press conference and announce a deal that we all felt made us better," general manager Rick Hahn said this week. "We are not going to rush anything to get down there just so we can say, 'Hey look what we did in Nashville.'
Hughes pitched eight efficient innings, Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking two-run homer after wasting a chance with the bases loaded his first time up and the New York Yankees again rode the long ball to a 4-2 win Sunday over the Chicago White Sox for a series split between division leaders.
"He was throwing strikes, working quick," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "It was good for us because it was hot out there. He was in control the entire game."
Eric Chavez connected for a two-run drive off Gavin Floyd in the second inning, helping New York raise its major league-leading total to 124 home runs. The power surge helped make Hughes a winner on the Yankees' 66th Old-Timers' Day.
Coming off eight scoreless innings in his previous start, Hughes (9-6) gave up two runs in the first inning. He then settled in nicely to limit the hard-hitting White Sox to just three more hits over his final seven innings.
Hughes followed Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova in giving the Yankees three quality starts from a rotation that took a couple of big hits Wednesday -- CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte went on the disabled list on the same day.
"It was great to see Phil pitch well today," Sabathia said.
Freddy Garcia returns to the rotation Monday, starting for Pettitte. The lefty is out for at least two months with a broken leg.
Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances this season.
Cano, elected an All-Star starter by the fans, has homered in nine of his last 14 games and entered Sunday hitting .367 in 13 games since June 17. But when he came up with the bases loaded and none out in the first inning he hit a tapper back to Floyd that was turned into a slick 1-2-3 double play. Cano has only one hit in 14 at-bats (.071) with the bases full this season.
"I don't think about that," Cano said of his struggles with the bases loaded. "It's hard to do it all."
Cano homered in the third off Floyd (6-8) and the Yankees won the final two games of the four-game series.
"This was a long, hot week, a lot of energy spent here," Paul Konerko said. "When you win the first two games of a four-game set, you'd like to get that third game, but they're a good club, obviously."
Teammates Curtis Granderson and Jeter will join Cano as starters for New York in the All-Star game July 10 in Kansas City. Sabathia was voted onto the team by his peers but a groin strain will keep him sidelined. He said he would attend the game with his family, though.
Jeter went 1 for 5, dropping his batting average below .300 for the first time since April 8. He's hitting .299 after being at .340 on June 1st and above .400 in May.
The AL Central-leading White Sox landed Adam Dunn, Konerko and Chris Sale on the AL squad. Right-hander Jake Peavy is among the five candidates for the final roster spot.
Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a sharp double and scored on Kevin Youkilis' single, standing up and eluding the reach of catcher Russell Martin, who tried to make a swipe tag. There was reason De Aza was out of range: replays clearly showed he never stepped on home plate.
After two outs, Alex Rios singled home another run for a 2-0 lead.
Wiping his brow with his sleeve and tugging at his uniform after nearly every pitch in the 95-degree heat, Floyd pitched from behind in the count for much of his 5 1-3 innings.
He was also in trouble the moment his toe touched the rubber, giving up consecutive singles and a walk to start. But Cano grounded into a double play and Nick Swisher struck out to extend Floyd's scoreless streak to 14 1-3 innings.
That would end in the second. Raul Ibanez led off with a single and Chavez connected for his sixth homer.
"Even though they got him a couple of times, he still pitched well," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He battled, got out of some tough spots, even in the first. We just couldn't mount anything after that first inning."
Cano lined a shot deep into the seats in the third, a batter after Mark Teixeira drew one of Floyd's season-high five walks.
"Just take advantage when they throw a pitch over the plate," Cano said.
Sale struck out a career-high 15, Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer and Chicago extended its winning streak to six games with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.
"A special day ... it was awesome," said Sale, who is from nearby Lakeland. "It's nice, especially growing up and being kind of a Tampa Bay Rays fan. My uncle brought me here to the first game. It was the day after my birthday."
"I didn't know what the record was," Sale said. "That's something I'm not really worried about. I knew I had quite a few there late in the game, but it's the same thing just like any other day. You go out there and you try not to focus on all the external stuff that might get in the way of you doing your job."
Sale struck out his 15th batter, Jose Molina, with a runner on third and two outs in the seventh. He retired his final batter, Rich Thompson, on a grounder to lead off the eighth.
"You know what, that guy could have punched out a lot of teams 15 times," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "His stuff was that good. The entire package, what he did, was good. A lot of awareness out there."
The 23-year-old left-hander pitched effectively into the sixth inning and the White Sox capitalized on some shoddy defense by the Los Angeles Angels for a 6-1 victory Thursday.
After a three-game stretch in which starters John Danks, Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd gave up a combined 18 earned runs over 14 1-3 innings, Sale (4-2) restored order in his sixth major league start. He struck out seven and was working on a three-hit shutout in the sixth when he gave up a one-out homer to Albert Pujols and a double to Mark Trumbo and was replaced by Nate Jones.
Sale joined lefty Steve Rosenberg (1989) as the only White Sox pitchers to give up three runs or less in each of their first six big league starts since divisional play began in 1969.
"I guess that's a cool stat, but it's obviously something I don't pay attention to at all," Sale said. "I have a job to do, and that's to go out and keep my team in the game, keep the other team to fewer runs on the board than the other starter and pitch deep into the game. That's my main focus."
A first-round draft pick in 2010, Sale was used exclusively in relief by the White Sox during his two previous seasons in the big leagues. Two of those relief outings were against the Angels, who got to see him again during spring training.
"He did a good job today and was pretty sharp, for the most part," Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick said. "He got outs and put up zeros, and that's what you want your starter to do. He's got a good two-seam fastball, he threw strikes and was able to get guys out with his breaking ball."
C.J. Wilson (4-4) threw 88 pitches in 3 2-3 innings and tied a career high with six walks. The left-hander was charged with four runs -- one earned -- and four hits. He also walked six Marlins batters on June 15, 2010, at Miami while pitching for the Texas Rangers.
"I had a little stomach virus today, so I couldn't really get anything going," Wilson said. "It was just weird. I almost passed out after the first inning. I didn't set a good tone, and that's pretty much my fault. I put the defense to sleep out there -- and the bats, too, I guess."
A.J. Pierzynski delivered a two-out RBI single in the third to open the scoring, after flying out with the bases loaded to end the White Sox first. He was 3 for 5 with two RBI singles, and is 29 for 70 in his last 19 games at Angel Stadium.
Chicago tacked on three unearned runs in the fourth with the help of two balls that should have been caught and weren't. Angels center fielder Mike Trout started in right for the first time this season due to the absence of nine-time Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter because of his son's arrest in Texas, and dropped a routine flyball by Dyan Viciedo with one out.
Viciedo ended up at second base on the error, and Wilson walked the next two batters before Adam Dunn chased the left-hander with a two-run single. David Carpenter came in and Konerko hit a popup to short right field, but the ball fell in front of Kendrick after he called off Trout. It was scored as an RBI single.
"It was right in the sun," Kendrick said. "I made a mistake and had my sunglasses on my hat, and I should have had them on there. But I still have to make that play, regardless. We can't allow that to happen. We've got to make plays and give the team the best opportunity to win. Today we missed some flyballs, and we've got to work on that."
In the fifth, Alexei Ramirez's blooper fell between Trout and Kendrick for a hit after a leadoff single by Pierzynski. Viciedo followed with a flyball to short center, where Peter Bourjos converged with Trout and Kendrick before making the catch -- resulting in a derisive cheer from the crowd of 30,786. Carpenter then fielded Brent Morel's comebacker and started a double play.
Viciedo led off the eighth with his sixth homer and third in a four-game span. Three batters later, three-time Gold Glove winner Vernon Wells scaled the fence in front of the left field bullpen and pulled back Gordon Beckham's bid for a two-run homer.
He got it anyway.
Rios tripled home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 Tuesday night.
On May 3, Perez retired Rios for the final out of a 7-5 win in Chicago and the excitable closer started pumping his fist and yelling. Rios took exception to it, thinking it was directed at him.
After delivering to help Chicago win for only the second time in eight games, Rios said it was no big deal.
"It was just part of baseball," Rios said. "I was just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere and it worked out pretty good."
Perez (0-1) was peeved at losing. Asked if he was surprised by his outing, the normally genial reliever shot back,
Dunn hit a two-run shot deep into the right-field seats off Jose Valverde in the ninth Saturday and Chicago went on to beat the Tigers 3-2.
Detroit defeated the White Sox 5-4 on Friday night when Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run shot with one out in the ninth. There was also one out when Dunn hit his 422-foot drive off Valverde (2-1).
"We needed to win this game today," Dunn said. "I definitely didn't want to chase anything -- just got a pitch that I could get in the air and it happened to go out."
Detroit's Delmon Young went hitless in his first game back from a seven-day suspension following his April 27 arrest in New York.
It was Valverde's second blown save of the season. He was perfect in 49 chances in 2011.
"Last year is over," Valverde said. "The closer, everybody knows, it's not easy. One pitch can be the game, like it was today. Adam Dunn got it."
Dunn endured a horrendous 2011 season, his first with the White Sox. After hitting at least 38 homers for seven straight years, he managed only 11 last season to go along with a .159 batting average.
He's back to his productive self so far in 2012, hitting .250 with eight homers.
"It's good," Dunn said. "This is kind of what I expect to do."
Paul Konerko also went deep for Chicago.
The Tigers scratched out their two runs in the second on RBI singles by Andy Dirks and Jackson.
The White Sox trailed 2-0 before Konerko's solo shot in the seventh. Alejandro De Aza started the ninth with a single and a stolen base. He was sacrificed to third and Dunn -- always a strikeout risk -- made solid contact to put Chicago ahead.
Jones had pitched the bottom of the eighth, and Hector Santiago came on to try to close it out, but a walk and a double put Chicago's slim lead in jeopardy. Reed, who hasn't allowed a run this season, got the best of Jackson to preserve the win.
Gavin Floyd allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings for the White Sox.
Floyd was unlucky in the second, allowing an RBI single to Dirks on a slow grounder that slipped between third baseman Brent Morel and shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
Jackson's run-scoring hit actually deflected off Morel and past Ramirez, who looked as though he might have been in position to keep the ball at least in the infield and prevent the runner on second from scoring.
"You just kind of stay positive and continue to try to make pitches," Floyd said. "Got the ball on the ground, and it seemed like they were just missing guys."
Floyd retired 12 in a row starting in the third. In his last three starts, he's allowed four runs in 21 innings.
Detroit's Max Scherzer yielded a run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out nine without a walk. Showing none of the control trouble that plagued him in a seven-walk performance last weekend against the Yankees, Scherzer retired the first 11 White Sox before Dunn lined a single to right.
Chicago's second hit nearly ended Scherzer's outing. In the fifth, A.J. Pierzynski's line drive up the middle hit Scherzer's right foot during the pitcher's follow through. The right-hander picked up the ball and threw wildly to first, and the play went for an infield single and an error, with Pierzynski ending up on second.
Scherzer stayed in the game and got out of the inning on a flyout and two strikeouts. He allowed a single to De Aza in the sixth -- then promptly picked him off first. Konerko broke up the shutout an inning later with a homer to left.
Young was reinstated from the restricted list Friday after his suspension, but he didn't play that night. He received mostly cheers and a few scattered boos from the home crowd for his first plate appearance.
CHICAGO -- First there was the rain delay to start the game when no rain actually showed up.
When the game did start between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox nearly an hour late, it made the phantom rain delay seem more interesting, at least for White Sox fans.
The 6-0 loss to the Yankees in a game that lasted just 6½ innings showcased more bad offense for the White Sox, featured an opponent whose plate approach was in stark contrast to theirs and was also a rare night when the pitching wasn’t at its best. It also showcased the difficulty in reading a weather radar.
In a season when the White Sox have showed they don’t have what it takes to win any division, much less a weak American League Central, Wednesday’s defeat only magnified that belief.
The White Sox will continue to believe (what choice do they have really?), but they have hardly looked less competitive. Their fourth consecutive defeat came against a team far better than them and against a pitcher in Phil Hughes (2-3), who has dealt with injuries and struggles this year and was pitching for his spot in the rotation.
“Every time the game is over it’s over with and I have to come back here tomorrow and keep fighting,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I’m not going to give up, and I’m not going to give in. I think the players should know. When the manager gives up is when everything falls apart.
“Players will give up on themselves and players can give up on the team, but when the manager gives up that’s the worst think about it. I’m not going to give up.”
Guillen tried to say he wasn’t a loser, but then backtracked.
“Well, yes, I’m below .500 so I am a loser right now,” he said of his 52-56 squad.
The White Sox still have 39 games left against division teams so they think they have a chance and technically they do. Where they find the energy to do what it takes in those games is anybody’s guess.
With the game tied, A.J. Pierzynski led off the top of the ninth inning with a double to right-center field. Gordon Beckham was up next, but instead of being asked to bunt Pierzynski to third to get the winning run a fly ball away, Beckham swung away.
Beckham eventually flied out to shallow left field, not deep enough for Pierzynski to advance.
"When you saw the at-bat before, he hit a line drive to right field," Guillen said about Beckham. "I had two lefties coming up [behind Beckham]. I think the best shot I have, at least he can move the guy over, that’s why I let him swing. That's the biggest reason, I think he was swinging the bat good. And I think this kid's got the ability to hit to right field, to the right side of the field anytime he wants."
Mark Teahen and Juan Pierre were lined up behind Beckham with Twins left-hander Jose Mijares on the mound. As it turned out, Teahen flied out to center field and Pierre walked before Mijares was replaced by right-hander Alex Burnett.
Alexei Ramirez delivered his game-winning single with two outs off Burnett as the White Sox won 4-3 to snap their nine-game losing streak against the Twins.
Ramirez's home run in the first inning was topped by his game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth as the White Sox ended their nine-game losing streak against the Minnesota Twins with a 4-3 victory.
Manager Ozzie Guillen had been experimenting with Ramirez in the fifth spot in the order in hopes he could drive in runs, but that wasn't where the RBI chances were located.
"That's why we move him back to the second spot, because I think we left a lot of men on base in the top of the lineup," Guillen said. "Alexei, a lot of times, comes up with the big hit for us and I'm very happy for him."
It's a rare thing indeed to get moved to the No. 2 spot in the order earlier in the season, get switched to the No. 5 spot and then get moved back to No. 2 and have each change be considered a promotion.
"Ozzie has confidence in me, and I appreciate where I'm hitting and try to take advantage of it," Ramirez said through bullpen coach Juan Nieves, who was serving as interpreter. "I do concentrate more with men in scoring position. Every pitch that's a strike you try to make good contact."
The White Sox have three walk-off hits this season and Ramirez has two of them. His other came on a home run.
It hasn't been the type of dynamic season expected out of Ramirez. He is now batting .277 with nine home runs and 40 RBI, but he only needs to be slightly better in the second half to wind up with an extremely impressive season. Shaky on defense when the season began, Ramirez has been much improved there.
"This kid takes baseball very personally, he's very proud about what he's doing and when he fails I know he feels it a lot," Guillen said. "I'm very happy for him."
DENVER -- Excitable as baking soda and vinegar, Jeff Cox needed just a split second to clearly work all the scenarios in his mind and make the call that gave the White Sox a victory Wednesday.
Quentin scored the eventual game winner in a 3-2 victory even though he should have been thrown out by 30 feet. But the White Sox have been having trouble scoring runs and since Pierzynski’s pop up to right fielder Seth Smith was the second out, Cox took his chances.
Smith's throw was well ahead of Quentin but it was up the third-base line and short-hopped catcher Chris Iannetta. Quentin scored standing.
"I got to listen to Coxie," Quentin said. "I came off, it looked like it might flare in and drop. I was slowly going back to the bag and so I was near the bag. He told me late, but I was able to get back to the bag and go.”
Cox was asked if the decision to send the runner was a no-brainer.
“Believe me, there was a little question about it,” Cox said. “[Smith] was coming in, he was going to his left, he’s a left-handed thrower and he’s going to have to take a split second to get his feet right. Shoot, it’s the ninth inning and that makes the second out, so let’s make it happen and hopefully the throw is off-line a tad. And the more you practice, the luckier you get.”
Most people end their sentences with periods. Cox punctuates them with bits of wisdom. Sometimes they even make sense.
On this night he was a little bit mad genius.
“Well, I think you got to roll the dice,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “When you’re a third-base coach you think about what you should do, but my third base coach we have been supporting him. We said roll the dice every time we have a chance to score some runs. Take a chance you never know what will happen.”
And as if running all the scenarios through his head in the time it took Pierzynski’s fly ball to reach Smith wasn’t enough, Cox also thought back to Tuesday night when Rockies third-base coach Rich Dauer took a chance by sending Troy Tulowitzki home giving Colorado a victory. Cox wasn’t to be outdone by his Southern California counterpart.
“That one [by Dauer] was probably a little easier, to put it in a nutshell,” Cox said. “Yes, go, go. We lost in [13 innings] last night and we got two outs here. Let’s take a shot at it. … And A.J., could you hit a little deeper next time? But just another game winner by A.J. Pierzynski.”
Don Cooper anointed Cox the coach of the game. Sergio Santos went one further, albeit reluctantly, by calling Cox the player of the game.
Cox was having fun with it all. Typically third base coaches are only noticed, and asked to do interviews, when their decisions don’t turn out so well. And this could have easily been one of those occasions where he was the goat instead.
“As is often the case with third-base coaches, if it doesn’t work,” Cox said. “It’s a fearless job, to be honest with you. But, then again, somebody has to do it. And I love doing it!”
Danks continued to pitch despite taking a line drive off the back of his head in the fourth inning of his outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the whole scene might have been even more impressive than it sounds.
Danks recorded 12 more outs after the Stephen Drew liner conked him behind the left ear and bounced out of play at the end of the Diamondbacks dugout. Drew was given a ground-rule double that put runners on second and third with no outs.
Danks’ reaction? Knowing the ball bounced up in the air after hitting him in the head, he actually scanned the air as if he thought he could catch the ball for an out.
Both of those runners scored, but Danks would not give up another run, even when Arizona had runners on second and third with one out in the seventh inning while the Sox clung to a one-run lead.
The liner was definitely no glancing blow. When Danks came back to the dugout after the inning, he took off his cap to reveal a raised welt. Through it all, Danks had a sheepish grin on his face, except perhaps for the intense look he had after escaping trouble in the seventh.
During a season when Danks started 0-8, his determination has been impressive. Just the fact that he never quit on himself after his rough start is a credit in itself.
Unexpectedly, Danks might have been at his toughest while in the midst of his eighth defeat, a 13-4 loss to Toronto on May 29, which was also his worst start of the season.
During that outing, when he gave up nine runs in four innings, Danks took exception to home-run leader Jose Bautista slamming his bat to the ground in frustration after popping out. Danks barked at Bautista, not liking Bautista’s implied suggestion that he should have ripped the cover off Danks’ pitch.
Danks claimed afterward that it was his pride talking. Coincidentally or not, Danks has been impressive ever since. He beat the Seattle Mariners, he downed the Oakland A’s and on Saturday he got the best of the Diamondbacks while showing just how hard-headed he can be.
Once considered a weak link of the starting staff, facing a possible demotion to the bullpen, Danks has become another impressive White Sox starter.
That 3-8 record might not scare anybody, but when he faces the Washington Nationals at home on Friday he will take the mound on a roll, not to mention with the air of somebody that even physical punishment can't push around.
Hudson’s Diamondbacks came away with a 4-1 victory over Jackson and the White Sox in the first game of a three-game interleague series.
When the deal went down at last season’s trade deadline, it looked like the classic case of one team (the White Sox) giving up a player with a high upside (Hudson) for a veteran who could make a difference now (Jackson). It hasn’t worked out exactly as expected.
It’s hard to say that Hudson would be doing as well as he is in Arizona if he stayed on the South Side, but the only comparison available is what happens on the field.
After the deal went down at the trade deadline last season, Jackson was solid in his two months with the White Sox, going 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA over 11 starts. Hudson, though, went 7-1 in his 11 starts with Arizona, posting a 1.69 ERA.
Even adjusting for the difference between American League and National League offenses, Hudson still gets the best of this comparison.
Fast forward to this season. Jackson entered Friday’s outing with a 4-5 record and a 4.39 ERA over 13 starts. After a slow start, Hudson had recovered to post a 7-5 record with a 3.82 ERA over 14 starts.
When it comes to the trade comparison, Hudson has the edge all the way around, but there is one area where he is miles ahead. Hudson will make $419,000 this season. Jackson will make $8.75 million.
The real story Friday was probably the lack of production from the White Sox’s offense yet again. Jackson was just the latest to bear the burden of that struggle. Mark Buehrle gave up one run Thursday at Minnesota and took the loss. Gavin Floyd had just one bad inning Wednesday and it was enough to sink him.
Despite his slow start Friday, Jackson pitched well. He gave up two runs in the first inning on 29 pitches, but he did strike out the side. After a high pitch count in the second inning he settled down nicely, but the damage was done.
In the seventh inning, Hudson firmly planted the victory flag into the ground when he hit an RBI double to right field off Jackson. He merely rubbed it in when he finished the night with his first complete game.
“These are the little sardinas here; they are [expletive] sardines,” said Guillen, who named the 2006 Twins “Piranhas” for how they attacked. “You see a bunch of midgets out there. But they can play.
“That kid who is the leadoff guy [Ben Revere] … pretty good. When you’re missing [Justin] Morneau, [Joe] Mauer, [Jim] Thome and [Jason] Kubel and you’re still winning games, you have to give those guys credit.”
Those sardines teamed up to drown the White Sox yet again Thursday in a 1-0 victory. In a series that was abbreviated to two games because of Tuesday’s rain out, the White Sox managed to score just once.
The White Sox were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position during the series and in those situations they left 12 runners on base and hit into six double plays.
Gavin Floyd and Mark Buehrle both pitches well but in shades of April, they left with nothing to show for it as the offense sputtered.
“They do a good job of keeping the ball in the park and not walking a lot of guys, making you hit it,” said A.J. Pierzynski, who was about the only White Sox player who swung the bat well in the two games. “They play great defense, and their pitchers know that. In this park, you keep the ball down and they will get a lot of ground ball double plays. They didn’t make any mistakes.”
So what can Guillen do moving forward? He swore off shifting the lineup around to get the hot hand up higher in the order, and even if he tried it now he might not have anybody to move up that could make a difference.
“Now we go to the National League, and I don’t know what we will do,” Guillen said about the three-game series that starts Friday night at Arizona. “I will think about it on the plane today to see if we will move somebody up there. In the meanwhile, if you start changing the lineups and stuff, people think you’re panicking or the players won’t have confidence in you. I try to put the best lineup out there every day and hopefully we will score some runs.”
Looking on the field Thursday it seemed to be contrasting styles. The young Twins have learned steady play. The veteran White Sox are fumbling around with a new identity each week and most of those reincarnations are not good.
“We’re just inconsistent,” Buehrle said. “Everything is not clicking: hitting, pitching and defense. It seems like something isn’t always there. So inconsistency is all I can think of. But it seems like we play well for a week straight, and looks like we’re getting things turned around, and all of a sudden we don’t play as well. But you run into good pitching and a good team like this, you got to tip your hat.”
MINNEAPOLIS -- Just blocks from Target Field there is a recreation league baseball field that stands behind a sculpture garden that would be yet another location for the Twins to find players they could use to beat the White Sox.
Heck, a couple of warm bodies visiting the sculpture garden could do the trick.
Nothing against the talents of guys like Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Brian Dinkleman, Matt Tolbert and Drew Butera but those were the players the Twins used Wednesday night to pin another defeat on the White Sox.
It hardly mattered that guys like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel and Denard Span were watching from the wings covered in air casts, ace bandages, gauze, ice packs and band aids. Those five are just a partial list of players the Twins have on the disabled list.
The White Sox’s latest defeat in Minnesota, this one by a 4-1 score, was simply more of the same. The Twins now have a six-game winning streak against the White Sox and have won nine of their last 10 against them. Since May 2009, the Twins have won 27 of the last 34 played between the teams.
“That’s the way they play; that’s the way they play since a long time ago, since I was playing,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “They know how to create runs, they play good defense, they make the pitch when they have to make the pitch. They take opportunities. They had a couple runs with two outs, opposite of what we did. We got men on third base twice with less than two out and don’t bring the guy in. That’s the way they play for a long time.”
All it took was one inning of offense and the pitching of Carl Pavano to subdue the White Sox on Wednesday. In scoring three runs off Gavin Floyd in the third inning, the Twins hit two doubles, a walk, two singles (one of which was a bunt) and had a double steal.
It was Twins manager Ron Gardenhire pulling a Mariano Rivera: Even though you know what’s coming you won’t be able to do anything about it.
The White Sox, meanwhile were up to their old tricks like the leadoff double from Adam Dunn in the third inning only to leave him stranded at third base. They hit into four double plays. And the Twins stole five bases. Minnesota added an insurance run in the eighth inning.
“They felt pretty comfortable up there it seemed like,” Floyd said. “You just have to make adjustments during the game and I’m thankful to get that late in the game and still keep us in the game. That one run in the eighth inning I think really hurt us. I could have made a better pitch, I think.”
Over the years the White Sox could have done a lot of things different, but it hasn’t happened. And it’s only getting worse as the Twins have thrown in a no-hitter this season for good measure.
The Twins might be in last place, but they don’t look like it against the White Sox.
“I never count those guys out,” Guillen said. “Those guys, for some reason, in the second half they come on fire. Those guys know how to play the game. They don’t make many mistakes. Even when there are a lot of kids out there, they don’t make many mistakes.
“I hear [Tigers manager] Jim Leyland say that a few weeks ago about them. I have the same opinion Jim Leyland has. You never know what those guys are going to do. They come out after you, no matter what. They know how to play. That’s the reason they’re in the pennant race every year.”