Stock Watch: Has a closer been found?
July, 7, 2014
By Doug Padilla
Jake Petricka, relief pitcher: The right-hander has made eight consecutive scoreless appearances spanning 11 innings. The most impressive of the bunch was Sunday when he recorded a six-out save against the Seattle Mariners. Manager Robin Ventura won't commit to naming Petricka the exclusive closer just yet, but expect him to be on the mound the next time a save situation arises.
Jose Abreu, first base: The rookie's hitting streak might have ended at 18 games over the weekend, but his stock remains perpetually on the rise. Abreu is hitting .316 with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs over his last 25 games, not to mention the 1.022 OPS he has posted over that time. And oh yeah, he was named as a reserve on the American League All-Star team.
Jose Quintana, starting pitcher: As good as Chris Sale has been of late, Quintana has been slightly better. Over his past four starts, all quality, he has posted a 0.94 ERA with 31 strikeouts. He had 10 strikeouts Saturday against the Seattle Mariners, but if there is one thing you can count on with the left-hander it's no-decisions. He got one Saturday despite his lights-out outing and of the eight times he has worked at least seven scoreless innings, he has just one victory and seven no-decisions.
Tyler Flowers, catcher: The White Sox's everyday backstop keeps slip sliding away after his hot start. Flowers is hitless over his past four games (0-for-11) and has just one hit over his 19 at-bats. Going back a month (28 games) he is only slightly better with 10 hits in his last 97 at-bats (.103). One thing going against Flowers is a heavy workload. Because backup catcher Adrian Nieto has very little experience, Flowers as played in 72 games with only four catchers in baseball playing more.
Gordon Beckham, second base: Coming off the disabled list in late April, Beckham needed about a week and a half worth of games before he was off and running with his production. That has waned considerably over the past 24 games. Since Beckham raised his batting average to .298 on June 9, he has batted .156 with a .243 on-base percentage.
Alexei Ramirez, shortstop: Perhaps Ramirez's spot on his first All-Star team is just the elixir he needs to get back on track. After two months of the season, he was batting .329 with a .361 on-base percentage, but hasn't looked the same since. And the struggles have only intensified of late with Ramirez going 3-for-24 (.125) and posting a .192 on-base percentage since the calendar turned to July. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Ramirez take off again now that he has been named to his first All-Star team.