Chicago White Sox: Adam Eaton

Conor Gillaspie hitting his stride

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
6:49
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Even without the kind of power he flashed Sunday, Conor Gillaspie has managed to show this season that he has long-term potential at third base for the Chicago White Sox.

As recently as the start of the season, that didn't seem a likely scenario. Gillaspie had a tendency to overthink things and failed to show consistency at the plate last year (his first with the White Sox), and his defense raised some red flags.

The White Sox even went out and traded closer Addison Reed to get power-hitting third baseman Matt Davidson into the system. If Gillaspie was prone to having his mind moving too fast, the presence of Davidson would surely spin him off his axis.

Instead, the Wichita State product has managed to lock in, mentally. He beat Davidson for the third-base spot this spring and has not looked back. After posting a batting average that reached as high as .353, on June 9, Gillaspie entered Sunday seventh in the American League with a .311 mark.

[+] EnlargeConor Gillaspie
David Banks/USA TODAY SportsThe White Sox gave up major league talent to get Gillaspie, who is in the AL's top 10 in batting average after a forgettable 2013 season.
"He's getting better at third base, so I think the way he swings the bat, he's definitely a piece that you like, and he's a good player," manager Robin Ventura said when asked if Gillaspie has developed into a core player. "I think on winning teams he's going to be a good player."

If there was an area Gillaspie seemed to sacrifice to get more base hits, it was the power department, but he showed Sunday that he hasn't given up on taking pitchers deep. His first-inning grand slam started the White Sox on their way to a 7-5 victory and a series win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gillaspie is far from power obsessed, though. Instead of trying to add the power element now that he is settling into an everyday, big league role, he seems just fine being a contact guy who takes the home runs when they come.

"Like I've been [saying] all year, I try not to give away at-bats," Gillaspie said. "It's a bad feeling when you go up there and, for whatever reason, you don't compete or you take an at-bat off. No matter what the results are, that's a bad feeling. I went through it a lot last year, and I've been through it at times this year, so I always try to do my best to do the right thing when I'm up there, and I try to think ahead.

"The home runs are great, but at the end of the day, regardless of what happens hit-wise, if I'm not giving away at-bats, I at least know I'm putting in the effort and I didn't take at-bats off."

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Series preview: White Sox at Mariners

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
1:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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As the dog days of August have arrived, the Chicago White Sox might actually be favoring hotel beds and restaurant meals over all the comforts of home.

A just-completed six-game homestand saw the White Sox's pitching staff implode twice by giving up 16 runs in single games to both the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. The White Sox won just twice in the six games, managing one victory despite giving up eight runs and another that was called after seven innings because of rain.

The way manager Robin Ventura see it, with how the White Sox performed at home, their level of play can only get better.

"Either way we're going to play better whether it's (home) or on the road," Ventura said after Wednesday's 3-1 defeat to the Rangers. "Put this behind you and start focusing on playing better baseball. You get that hit to fall in, but we need to be able to play a little bit better."

The White Sox are six games under .500 on the road this season at 26-32, but away games have been better of late. The White Sox won two of three games at Detroit in their last road series, having success despite the distraction of the pending trade deadline.

In fact, the White Sox went 5-2 on their seven game tour through Minnesota and Detroit.

The West Coast hasn't always been kind to the White Sox, of course. They were 5-1 at Seattle in 2011 and 3-0 there in 2012, but went 1-2 there last year and are 27-32 all-time at Safeco Field. This season, the White Sox are 3-6 in games west of the Rocky Mountains.

HEAD TO HEAD



The White Sox's Jose Abreu and Dayan Viciedo, both natives of Cuba, each have a home run against Mariners starter Roenis Elias, who also hails from Cuba. ... The nine White Sox hitters who have faced Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma are a combined 6-for-54 (.111) against him with 11 strikeouts. ... Mariners starter James Paxton has never faced the White Sox and has made just seven career major league starts. ... White Sox starter Scott Carroll will make his first appearance against the Mariners. ... The Mariners' Kyle Seager has just one hit against White Sox starter Jose Quintana in seven at-bats, but the hit is a home run. ... Hector Noesi faced his former team, the Mariners, on July 6, going 6 2/3 scoreless innings in an eventual 1-0 White Sox victory. ... New Mariners outfielder Austin Jackson is 18-for-45 (.400) in his career against White Sox starter John Danks, with three home runs and seven RBIs.

NOTES



The White Sox have scored just one run over their last 18 innings, a home run from Viciedo in the seventh inning Wednesday. ... Adam Eaton's availability is questionable Thursday after he crashed into the right-center field fence at full speed Wednesday and had to leave the game. ... White Sox pitchers have allowed 11 home runs over the past four games. ... While the White Sox's bullpen has been struggling, right-hander Jake Petricka has delivered a 1.08 ERA over his last nine appearances. ... The White Sox's Alexei Ramirez is on a nine-game hitting streak, hitting .395 (15-for-38) over that stretch. ... Alejandro De Aza has delivered at least two hits in five of his last six games and is 10-for-20 (.500) over that period. ... The wild-card contending Mariners are just 28-31 at home this season. ... While the White Sox's bullpen is 13th in the American League with a 4.44 ERA, Mariners relievers lead the AL with a 2.36 mark.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Thursday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.36 ERA) vs. Mariners LH Roenis Elias (8-9, 4.19), 9:10 p.m. CST
Friday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (6-7, 3.04) vs. Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (9-6, 2.94), 9:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (6-8, 4.97) vs. Mariners LH James Paxton (2-0, 2.76), 8:10 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-7, 4.93) vs. TBA, 3:10 p.m. CST

As Sox slide, Eaton won't give up fight

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
5:13
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- As bad as the Chicago White Sox have been of late – a struggle that includes the pitching staff, defense and now offense – they still have somebody willing to pay the ultimate price for success.

Adam Eaton refuses to slow down, even with the White Sox fading fast in the won-loss columns. His 11-game hit streak and 21-game on-base streak might be finished, but his full-speed crash into the right-center field fence Wednesday showed that he still has plenty of fight left in him.

[+] EnlargeAdam Eaton
David Banks/USA TODAY SportsAdam Eaton said his back suffered the brunt of the pain from his full-speed crash into the fence in right-center field.
Not only did Eaton have to leave the game in the second inning against the Texas Rangers, he required X-rays, which came back negative. Despite going face-first into the fence, his biggest issue was with his lower back.

“I’ve been better,” Eaton said. “I’ve never done that before. I’m a little embarrassed. But my back kind of took a beating a little bit there. I’m very happy that it wasn’t my head. I thought that I went into the wall pretty hard.

Eaton sounded as if he wouldn’t be able to play Thursday in Seattle, but he said he would let the four-hour flight to the West Coast determine his fate. From the way he struggled to put on his dress clothes for the plane ride, playing Thursday seems highly unlikely.

Eaton obviously hit the fence running forward in a full sprint, but the impact was so violent that the energy transfer affected his back.

“I think it was the kind of snap, coming back,” Eaton said. “As soon as I hit the wall, that was my initial feeling. I felt a little tension in the back. Not a pop but definitely felt it. It was kind of scary. (Dayan Viciedo) kind of kept trying to pick me up. I told him to leave me alone, I can’t even breathe. Let me catch my breath. It knocked the wind out of me.”

Eaton said he was glad a head injury wasn’t involved and he didn’t have a concussion, but when asked about the homestand he couldn’t think of who the White Sox played before the Ranges were in town. He also couldn’t remember how many games the team won or lost since the homestand started Friday.

For the record, the White Sox went 2-4 during the six-game home games, and the pitching staff gave up 16 runs to the Twins on Sunday and another 16 to the Rangers on Tuesday.

With some rough defeats in mind, manager Robin Ventura was more than appreciative for a player fighting to keep the losses from mounting, although a defeat happened anyway Wednesday. Ventura did not knock Eaton’s effort, which some might have viewed as reckless.

“He’s going after everything; that’s just the way he plays,” Ventura said. “You don’t want to take that away from him. He has done the same thing and made some great catches. That’s part of playing the game. It wasn’t necessarily silly. He thought he had a shot at it and it ended up carrying out of the ballpark. Right there, the way the wind blows, it can ride through that area and just keep sailing. He thought he had a shot at it at first.”

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Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, White Sox 1

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
4:08
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox lost for the fourth time in their past six games, falling 3-1 to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

How it happened: Adam Rosales hit two home runs to lead the Rangers to the victory. White Sox starter Chris Sale needed 111 pitches to get through six innings, giving up two runs on three hits. Dayan Viciedo hit a home run for the White Sox in the seventh inning, his 14th of the year, to match his total from last season. Rangers starter Nick Tepesch didn’t allow a run over 5 2/3 innings, winning for the first time since June 27. The Rangers won consecutive games for the first time since June 27-28 and for the first time on the road since June 13-14.

What it means: The pitching problems have been bad enough, but now there is an offensive drought to deal with. After Tyler Flowers' two-run single in the sixth inning of Monday’s game, the White Sox needed 16 innings before they scored again on Viciedo’s home run. And it isn’t like Texas has the strongest pitching staff around. The Rangers came into the game with a 4.85 team ERA, 29th among all 30 major league teams.

Outside the box: Adam Eaton left Wednesday’s game in the second inning when he crashed into the right-center field fence at full speed. Eaton was chasing Rosales’ eventual two-run home run, his first of the day. X-rays were negative and Eaton was diagnosed with a bruised loser back despite the face-first collision. He walked off the field under his own power.

Off beat: Talk about a tough-luck loser. Sale lost for just the second time all season and in those two defeats he gave up a combined three runs over 13 innings. To put in another way, Sale has a 2.08 ERA when adding up his defeat Wednesday and his only other one on June 12 at home against the Detroit Tigers.

Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.36 ERA) to the mound Thursday at Seattle in the opener of a four-game series. The Mariners will counter with left-hander Roenis Elias (8-9, 4.19) in the 9:10 p.m. CST start from Safeco Field.

'Put me in coach!' Dunn pitches ninth

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
11:49
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Like a blast from the air conditioner at the end of a stiflingly hot day, Adam Dunn supplied literal and figurative relief for the White Sox late Tuesday night.

With Chicago trailing by double digits for the second time in three games, Dunn emerged from the dugout to pitch the ninth inning. It not only caught what was left of a modest crowd by surprise, but also caused the visiting Texas Rangers to do a double take as well.

“I thought it was the lefty [Eric Surkamp] that pitched that inning before,” the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre said.

[+] EnlargeAdam Dunn
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images"I haven't laughed on a baseball field like that in a long time," Adam Eaton said of Adam Dunn's turn on the mound.
Looking at Dunn’s massive physique standing atop the mound, another thought struck the Rangers veteran.

“You know, Adam Dunn is up there [and] if he hits somebody, we can't charge [the mound] today,” said Beltre, who was almost hit by a Dunn pitch in the low 80 mph range before he worked a walk. “He was throwing power sinkers. Obviously it was too nasty for J.P. [Arencibia].”

Dunn gave up only a run, on a single by Adam Rosales, but he got Elvis Andrus to ground out, Arencibia to pop out and Rougned Odor to fly out for his three outs. The crowd roared. Catcher Adrian Nieto waited at the foul line to shake Dunn’s hand.

“He's been begging for that for a while,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You've got to give the fans what they want.”

What they would have wanted was a victory, but Ventura’s point was taken. In that situation, having Dunn pitch ended up being the best way to end a horrible day in the field.

“I haven’t laughed on a baseball field like that in a long time, ever since I was probably kicking dandelions, in my early teens,” Adam Eaton said. “It’s fun; it takes you back to the glory days and he had good sink, that’s all I can say. He was 80 mph but he had really good sink, maybe from throwing the football around all those times at Texas. That’s the only bright part for sure.”

It even coaxed a smile from starter John Danks, who was crushed for nine runs on eight hits and five walks in 4⅔ innings.

“I loved seeing Adam out there,” Danks said. “Obviously it’s a pretty crappy situation to have him out there, but most importantly it saved an arm in the bullpen.

“After a game like this, hopefully it will send guys home with something to laugh about because the job I did to start the game, and the tone I set, didn’t really have us in the direction of giving us anything to laugh about. Hopefully it helps us put it behind us faster and we get ’em tomorrow, win the series.”

Dunn, who wasn’t around afterward to talk about it, obviously knew that a power sinker, even in the 80 mph range, had a chance at success. Dunn topped out at 83 mph on the radar gun.

“Honestly, for me, it's the worst at-bat in baseball,” Arencibia said. “It's a lose-lose situation. Your adrenaline is at zero and you're just trying to be as locked in as possible, and you look up there and there's Adam Dunn, you know, a guy that I've watched my whole life growing up, hitting homers and looking up to ... and now I'm facing him. He threw me an 80 mph power sinker and almost broke my bat in half.”

In the oddest turn of events of all, Dunn’s appearance on the mound actually seemed to spark a little jealousy from the team that ended up winning the game 16-0, especially after Beltre was told Dunn had been lobbying to pitch for years.

“Oh yeah? He was wanting to pitch?” Beltre said. “That's always nice. I've wanted to pitch, too. I mean, every time I ask, I never get the chance, but that was nice he got to do it.”

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 5, Rangers 3 (7)

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
10:58
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox opened a three-game series Monday with a rain-shortened 5-3 victory over the Texas Rangers, with the game called in the top of the seventh.

How it happened: Tyler Flowers had a home run and a triple, but his biggest hit might have been his two-run single with two out in the sixth inning in a steady rain that put the White Sox ahead for good. The game was called a half-inning later. Hector Noesi gave up three runs on four hits over seven innings while facing the team that designated him for assignment in April. On the day he was named both American League player of the month and rookie of the month, Jose Abreu delivered a two-run single in the third inning.

What it means: After a rough start in which he gave up three early runs, Noesi gave the White Sox the seven innings they sorely needed. The bullpen needed a night off after getting roughed up Sunday, and Noesi’s outing, combined with some timely rain, gave the group a rest. On Sunday, five White Sox relievers combined to give up 15 runs and 18 hits over the final four innings. The White Sox gave up four hits Monday after giving up 23 on Sunday.

Outside the box: Adam Eaton had two more hits Monday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He also has reached base in his past 21 contests. He had a streak earlier this season when he reached base in 20 consecutive games. Eaton is batting .448 (39-for-87) during the on-base streak and .490 (24-for-48) during the hitting streak.

Off-beat: Flowers now knows what Adam Dunn can attest to from the last homestand: The top of the U.S. Cellular Field wall is not your friend. Flowers bounced a drive to right field off the top of the wall and directly into the air in the third inning before the ball returned to the field of play. He ended up with a triple. Dunn had a similar play last month; that drive not only hit the top of the wall and bounced up, but the ball also came down on the top of the wall again before falling back onto the warning track. Dunn ended up with a double.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander John Danks (9-6, 4.50 ERA) to the mound Tuesday in the middle game of the three-game series. The Rangers will counter with right-hander Colby Lewis (7-8, 5.98) in the 7:10 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Stock watch: Eaton up, bullpen crashes

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
1:57
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Adam EatonAP Photo/Andrew A. NellesComing off a .340 July, Adam Eaton is batting .538 through three games in August.

RISING

Streaking
Adam Eaton, CF: Four months into the season and the team's new leadoff man continues to impress. A current 10-game hit streak and 20-game on-base streak is one thing, but Eaton has also helped to stabilize defense in center, a spot previously occupied by Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios. The White Sox moved starter Hector Santiago and minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs to get Eaton and at this point they have zero buyer's remorse.

Jose Abreu: 1B: Going hitless in his past two games doesn't necessarily sound like somebody on the rise, but nobody dares to call Abreu a hitter on a slide after the monster July he produced. Abreu's power numbers seemed to have cooled of late, but he had a hit in all but one July game and batted .374 during the month with a 1.099 OPS. Abreu's six home runs in July are just one more than he hit in May, when he spent two weeks on the disabled list. Blame a sore lower back that plagued him late in the month.

Starting pitching: White Sox starters own a 3.42 ERA over their past 36 starts, one of the best marks in the American League over that stretch. Since June 23, when the solid stretch began, the White Sox have lowered their overall starters' ERA from 4.77 to 4.30. White Sox lefties Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and John Danks have combined to go 25-14 with a 3.21 ERA this season in 61 combined starts (44 quality).

FALLING

Slumping
Ronald Belisario, RP: It might make more sense to simply qualify the entire bullpen as on the decline, especially after its meltdown Sunday (15 runs in four innings), but Belisario has managed to stand out from the rest. The right-hander has given up at least three runs in three of his last four outings. The former Dodgers reliever has always been an up-and-down proposition, starting slow, pitching better in the middle of the season and fading late. What is troubling is that his career 4.17 ERA in August is his worst of any month.

Eric Surkamp, RP: Give the left-hander credit for trying to adapt to a bullpen role after being called up in June from Triple-A Charlotte where he was a starter. The transition has had its rough spots. Surkamp's contribution to Sunday's bullpen troubles was two runs on four hits over one inning. He has given up a run in three consecutive outings, and four of his last five, and now has a 7.84 ERA on the season.

Gordon Beckham, 2B: A two-hit game on Saturday showed some signs of life, but since the start of July, Beckham's overall production remains alarmingly low. An 0-for-3 day on Sunday means that Beckham is batting just .149 (16-for-107) since July 1. Although he wouldn't admit it, the thought has been that the approaching July 31 non-waiver trade deadline was messing with his mind. Now that the deadline has passed, it wouldn't be surprising to see Beckham improve at the plate.

Series preview: Rangers at White Sox

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
11:19
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Expect Chicago White Sox starter Hector Noesi to have his senses on high alert when the faces the Texas Rangers on Monday.

The right-hander was a member of the Rangers earlier this season for just three games, all in relief, but it was the humiliating way that his days in Texas ended that could have Noesi wanting to prove himself.

It’s hard to fault the Rangers for designating Noesi for assignment days after he gave up seven runs on seven hits in a single inning of relief. Adding a plot twist is that the horrible outing came against the White Sox, the team that claimed him on waivers less than a week after torching him for all those runs.

If anything, Noesi might want to show the Rangers that he wouldn’t have been the guy who got pushed around so easily if given another chance. The White Sox took a flier and turned Noesi into a starter of all things, which means that he already will have some satisfaction even before he throws his first pitch Monday night.

The decision to make Noesi a starter has had its ups and downs, which is to be expected when turning a reliever into a member of the rotation on the fly. But it has worked out better than anybody could have predicted.

(Read full post)

Eaton makes up for his occasional blunders

August, 3, 2014
Aug 3
1:04
PM CT
By Sahadev Sharma
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Despite a late base-running mistake that Adam Eaton took particularly hard after Saturday’s two-run loss to the Twins, Robin Ventura reiterated Sunday morning that he appreciates his centerfielder’s aggressiveness on the basepaths.

“He rolls the dice a little bit by running hard and I think by him running hard, he puts himself in situations where he has to make that split decision whether to go or not go just because he's faster than everybody else,” Ventura said. “He gets to certain spots in the field when the ball's coming in that most people -- it wouldn't have been a problem for me, I know I would've been at first base. I think that's part of his aggressive style, and a lot of it's worked out. Every once in a while you're going to get burned by that. Do you wish that it never happened? Yeah. But in the end he's going to make more positive things happen by doing that.”

[+] EnlargeAdam Eaton
AP Photo/Andrew A. NellesAdam Eaton is having a solid first season with the White Sox on both offense and defense.
Eaton has been everything the White Sox had hoped he’d be when they acquired him a three-team deal last December with the Arizona Diamondbacks. On the season he’s putting up a strong slash line of .306/.371/.40 with 19 doubles and seven triples.
Eaton’s strong performance has helped rejuvenate an offense that had stagnated after a hot start, but has now scored five or more runs in seven of their last nine games. Add in the fact that he plays a strong center field and Eaton is certainly a welcome addition to the White Sox roster.

“When he's going well, we're scoring a lot of runs, that much is simple,” Ventura said of his spark-plug leadoff man. “I think even watching him in center field, I was not aware as good a center fielder as he is. We didn't get that report, at least I didn't. He covers a lot of ground, has a great arm, that's the stuff that you don't really know until you get somebody here. You see balls hit here the last couple years and you wonder where he's going to be at, but he gets great jumps on balls and it's been a really good find for us.”

After missing 14 games in May with a hamstring injury, Eaton came back and had some struggles late in May and into June. However, in his last 47 games, Eaton’s bat has heated up with a very impressive .911 OPS. All this despite a having a broken middle finger in his right hand that he sustained prior to the All-Star break.

“He's just been putting it on the ball. I think the injury might've helped in some way of just shortening up his swing,” Ventura said. “Sometimes when that happens, guys don't like to swing and miss so they're very conscious about making sure they make good contact. In Detroit he had a swing-and-miss that cost him about 15-20 seconds just to kind of collect himself. When guys have something like that, there just becomes a focus they're not really aware of. They're just trying to put it in play.”

De Aza, Eaton take responsibility for loss

August, 2, 2014
Aug 2
10:28
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Alejandro De AzaAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhAlejandro De Aza couldn't quite come down with Oswaldo Arcia's key two-run double in the eighth.

CHICAGO -- Adam Eaton and Alejandro De Aza each wished he could have had a play back from the latter innings of the Chicago White Sox's 8-6 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.

For De Aza, it was a line drive to left field in the eighth inning, which he regretted he was unable to catch with two out. The hard-hit ball by the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia turned De Aza around, but he still put himself in position to snatch it as he backpedalled deep in the outfield. The ball hit De Aza’s glove and fell to the ground. The two-run double put Minnesota ahead 7-6.

“It was a line drive over my head, and I just did two steps back and tried to jump and catch it,” De Aza said. “I think it hit the tip of my glove. I feel bad because I think I can make that play. Today it didn't happen. I'm going to try to work harder to not make that mistake again.”

White Sox manager Robin Ventura concurred with De Aza, but he didn’t blame him for the team’s loss.

“It’s one of those probably you look at it as he should make it,” Ventura said. “Tough play spinning around. He hit it hard. That’s the way it goes. We battled and did all the things to try to win a game, and you come up short. That’s it. There were a lot of other things that happened we could do better to win. I’m not pinning it on him. He had a good game. He could catch it, and most times he does. This time he didn’t.”

The play Eaton would rue came in the bottom half of the eighth. With the White Sox trailing by a run and a runner on first base with two out, Eaton smashed the ball off third baseman Trevor Plouffe's glove and into the left field. Eaton took off for first and never hesitated as he rounded the base and went for second. He already had three doubles in the game and a fourth was in sight.

Twins left fielder Eduardo Nunez was able to get to the ball quickly and throw. It arrived moments before Eaton, and he was tagged out to end the inning. Ventura asked for a video review of the play, but that also went against the White Sox.

Eaton blamed himself for not allowing Chicago a chance to make things interesting.

“It was stupid,” Eaton said. “Stupid on my part. I need to pick up the ball better. I saw it go off his glove and kind of thought it bounced a different direction. I thought it went toward more the warning track. It's stupid, unbelievable how dumb that was. You put your team in that position to maybe have first and third. Again, you don't pick up the baseball where it needs to be, and like I said, dumb play on my part. It was just stupid.”

As with De Aza, Ventura struggled with being upset at Eaton.

“Again, he did that earlier in the game, and it worked out great,” Ventura said. “He’s always aggressive and doing that. ... That’s the way it goes.

“Offensively, we’re putting some pressure on them and doing it. But they did the same thing. They swung the bats tonight. They did better than us tonight.”

Series preview: Twins at White Sox

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
4:21
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- They say the major leagues is extremely difficult, but Minnesota Twins starter Logan Darnell must think it’s downright unforgiving at this point.

The Twins’ left-hander will make his second career start (third appearance) Friday at U.S. Cellular Field and will have to face off against Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale for a second consecutive time.

The first meeting went predictably enough: Sale struck out 12 over eight scoreless innings, while Darnell gave up seven runs on 11 hits over five innings in his debut. Darnell, a Tennessee native, was a sixth-round draft pick of the Twins in 2010.

Sale has two months remaining in his Cy Young award push. He will enter Friday night’s game at U.S. Cellular Field with a 10-1 record and a 1.88 ERA. Sale is one of just three starters in baseball with a sub-2.00 ERA, along with the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (1.71) and the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright (1.92).

Sale is 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA over his last seven starts and is 5-1 with a 1.33 ERA and 7-0 strikeouts over his last eight starts at home.

The lefty is the first White Sox pitcher since Mark Buehrle in the 20005 championship season to open a season 10-1 for the White Sox. In addition to leading the American League in ERA and win percentage (.909), he also leads in WHIP (0.86) and opponents’ batting average (.194).

HEAD TO HEAD


The White Sox’s Tyler Flowers, Conor Gillaspie, Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez all had two hits against Darnell last Saturday. … After just seven career starts, the Twins’ Yohan Pino has already found a team he matched up well against in the White Sox. Pino has given up a combined four runs over 13 innings in two starts against the White Sox, and the Twins won both games. … Twins starter Kyle Gibson has not faced the White Sox this season, but last season he held them to three runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings of an eventual Minnesota victory. … Sale is 2-0 in two starts against the Twins this year, posting a 1.76 ERA. … In two appearances against the Twins this season (one start, one in relief) White Sox starter Scott Carroll has given up just one run and six hits over 9 2/3 innings. … The Twins’ Josh Willingham is 9-for-18 with three home runs in his career against White Sox starter Jose Quintana, but Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe are a combined 2-for-16 (.125) against the lefty.

NOTES


Jose Abreu has a 20-game hitting streak and has a hit in 38 of his last 39 games. Over that 39-game stretch, he has a .365 batting average (57-for-156), a .415 on-base percentage, 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 32 RBIs. … When Konerko reached the 4,000 total bases mark Thursday at Detroit, he became the 83rd player in major league history to accomplish the feat. … Abreu and Adam Eaton are both coming off a game when they reached base in all five trips to the plate. Eaton is batting a robust .441 (15-for-34) during a modest seven-game hitting streak. … White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper rejoined the team Friday after missing the road trip because he had vertigo. … Ronald Belisario might have flamed out in his brief stint as closer, but he does have 26 scoreless appearances this season. … Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki was signed to a two-year contract extension Thursday for $12 million, with a vesting option for 2017. … The Twins are 4-9 since the start of the second half, while the White Sox are 8-5.

PITCHING MATCHUPS


Friday: White Sox LHP Chris Sale (10-1, 1.88 ERA) vs. Twins LHP Logan Darnell (0-1, 7.88), 7:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox RHP Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.29) vs. Twins RHP Yohan Pino (1-3, 4.38), 6:10 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (6-7, 3.15) vs. Twins RHP Kyle Gibson (9-8, 3.94), 1:10 p.m. CST

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 7, Tigers 4

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
4:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive

 
DETROIT -- The Chicago White Sox pulled out a 7-4 victory Thursday to complete their series victory over the Detroit Tigers.

How it happened: Paul Konerko, making a rare start as the designated hitter, had two hits and brought in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning when he was hit by a pitch. John Danks had a rough start, but limited the damage to four Tigers runs, including back-to-back home runs from Torii Hunter and J.D. Martinez in the third inning. Jose Abreu had three hits to extend his hit streak to 20 games. He also has a hit in 38 of his last 39 games. Abreu and Adam Eaton each reached base in all five of their trips to the plate. Moises Sierra had his second four-hit game of the season. The White Sox had 16 hits.

What it means: The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, which will go a long way toward relieving some tension in the clubhouse. Gordon Beckham, who has been out of sorts as the deadline approached, figures to benefit the most from the breath of fresh air. Danks, Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez all had been mentioned in possible trades at some point this month, but none appeared close to happening.

Outside the box: Abreu’s hitting streak is the longest from a White Sox player since Carlos Lee hit in a franchise-record 28 consecutive during the 2004 season. During the current hit streak, Abreu is batting .407 (33-for-81) with four home runs and 14 RBIs. He also took sole possession of third place on the White Sox’s all-time hitting streak list for rookies, behind Guy Curtright (26 games in 1943) and Chico Carrasquel (24 games in 1950).

Off beat:
The White Sox didn’t make a deadline deal Thursday, but were witnesses to the blockbuster move that involved the Tigers. With Beckham at the plate in the seventh inning, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus came out of the dugout to call time out, and center fielder Austin Jackson was removed from the game. Jackson was headed to Seattle in a three-team deal that also involved the Rays and brought left-hander David Price to Detroit.

The White Sox and Tigers might be rivals, but there was a playful spirit in the air Thursday. Danks hit Hunter with a breaking ball, with both players laughing about it as Hunter limped away. Ramirez playfully swatted at Miguel Cabrera's glove on a play at first base, and when a foul ball bounced back on the field near the White Sox’s on-deck circle, Beckham playfully swatted it away from Alex Avila as if it were still a live ball. Plenty of competitiveness remained, with the interaction showing a mutual respect between the teams.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Chris Sale (10-1, 1.88 ERA) to the mound Friday against Minnesota in the opener of a three-game series. The Twins will counter with left-hander Logan Darnell (0-1, 7.88) in the 7:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Series preview: White Sox at Twins

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
11:34
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The last time the Chicago White Sox rolled into the Twin Cities to face the Minnesota Twins, they limped out in the midst of their worst losing stretch of the season.

The White Sox were just 4 1/2 games out of first place on June 19 when they arrived at Target Field. Then were then swept in a four-game series, saw the losing streak extend to five games at Baltimore, and after a victory over the Orioles, they lost the next two games.

Things turned around to end a series at Toronto, but the White Sox started their longest road trip of the season with a 1-7 record, and by June 26, they were 9 1/2 games out of first place. They currently stand 10 back at 48-54.

Going back to a four-game losing streak June 12-15, the sweep by the Twins came in the middle of a stretch where the White Sox lost 12 times in a span of 15 games.

In that June 19-22 four-game sweep at the hand of the Twins, all the games were competitive. The White Sox lost three games by one run and one game by just two runs.

That series helps to magnify how competitive White Sox games have been this season. Out of the 102 games the White Sox have played this season, 64 have been decided by three runs or less, the most recent coming Wednesday when they were beaten 2-1 by the Kansas City Royals.

The White Sox are 30-34 in those games decided by three runs or less, going 19-17 in one-run games, 7-10 in two-run games and 4-7 in three-run contests. Since 2012, the White Sox are 69-73 in games decided by a single run.

HEAD TO HEAD


While the White Sox's Gordon Beckham is just 2-for-17 (.118) against Twins starter Phil Hughes, Moises Sierra is bating a robust 8-for-16 (.500). ... The White Sox's Dayan Viciedo is 6-for-11 (.545) with a home run against Twins starter Kevin Correia. ... Twins starter Yohan Pino made his major league debut at age 30 on June 19 against the White Sox, giving up two runs on five hits over seven innings in a no-decision. ... The Twins' Kendrys Morales is 3-for-7 (.429) with a home run against White Sox starter Hector Noesi. ... Joe Mauer is 22-for-56 (.393) with eight RBIs against White Sox starter John Danks, while striking out eight times. ... In 10 starts against the Twins over the past three seasons, White Sox starter Chris Sale is 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA and has 37 strikeouts in 38 innings. ... White Sox starter Scott Carroll has just one appearance against the Twins, an impressive 3 2/3-inning relief outing where he gave up two hits and no runs.

NOTES


Viciedo was a late scratch from Wednesday's game against the Kansas City Royals with hamstring tightness and is day-to-day. ... Over the White Sox's past 18 games, 12 have been decided by three runs or less and they are 5-7 in those contests. ... The White Sox's Jose Abreu is batting .377 (20-for-53) during his current hitting streak and has a hit in 31 of his last 32 games, going 0-for-4 in a July 5 home game against the Seattle Mariners. ... Adam Eaton had a nine-game hitting streak come to an end in Wednesday's game against the Royals. … The White Sox's Adam Dunn has recorded an RBI in three consecutive games, the fourth time he has done that this season. ... The White Sox's Tyler Flowers is 9-for-15 (.600) with four doubles and three RBIs over his last five games. ... The Twins are undecided for their starter on Saturday, but it could be Kyle Gibson (8-8, 4.19), who missed his last outing with back stiffness. ... The All-Star Game host Twins were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays to start the second half, but are coming off a 2-1 series victory over the Cleveland Indians. ... While White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson attends Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Frank Thomas and Tony La Russa this weekend, Steve Stone will share the booth with Tom Paciorek.

PITCHING MATCHUPS



Thursday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (4-5, 4.55 ERA) vs. Twins RH Phil Hughes (10-6, 4.05), 7:10 p.m. CST
Friday: White Sox LH John Danks (8-6, 4.35) vs. Twins RH Kevin Correia (5-12, 4.76), 7:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox LH Chris Sale (9-1, 2.03) vs. TBA, 6:10 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.520 vs. Twins RH Yohan Pino (1-3, 4.63), 1:10 p.m. CST

White Sox's goal: A bullpen like KC's

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
6:00
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHCAGO – Eventually the White Sox would like to have a bullpen that is the envy of the league, or in other words, have one that closely resembles what the back end of the Kansas City Royals' relief corps looks like.

Thanks to a solid start by James Shields, the Royals only needed two innings from their relievers to hold back the White Sox in a 2-1 victory Wednesday, but those final two innings are where Kansas City does its best work, with setup man Wade Davis and closer Greg Holland.

Don’t be fooled by the Royals’ 3.48 ERA in the bullpen that is 13th-best in all of baseball. There might not be a finer setup man than Davis, who improved to 6-4 on Wednesday, and they have a dependable closer in Holland, who recorded his 26th save. Holland was an American League All-Star earlier this month.

“That's a good bullpen,” said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who had two hits off Shields and never got a chance against Davis or Holland since they combined to retire all six batters they faced. “It seems like once they get to the seventh, it's a challenge to get a runner on base, much less try to get a run in. That makes it more important to take advantage of the situations early on.”

Contrast that to the White Sox’s plan and there couldn’t be two more different scenarios. The White Sox rotate their closer and setup man on a daily basis, a plan done out of necessity since nobody has been able to hold down the ninth-inning spot.

Zach Putnam, Jake Petricka and Daniel Webb have been trusted with the late innings for White Sox manager Robin Ventura, with none of the three holding a steady major league job before this season. Matt Lindstrom had the closer job first before an ankle injury, with Ronald Belisario taking it over only to struggle and be removed, even though the White Sox didn’t have a set replacement.

Bullpens can typically be rebuilt easier than other parts of the roster, but getting a dynamic back end won’t come easy. A key target area for the White Sox at next week’s trade deadline will be the bullpen. And what they can’t fix at the end of the month will be addressed moving forward and on into the offseason.

Since the calendar last year has been about revamping the offense by getting Avisail Garcia, Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton, the same type of targets, only on the pitching side, will be sought next. It will tough to find an arm like Davis' though.

When the right-hander walked Conor Gillaspie to start the bottom of the eighth in Tuesday's game, it snapped his streak of 18 consecutive batters retired. He also had eight consecutive hitless innings before Paul Konerko singled in the same inning Tuesday. Davis still didn’t give up a run in that game and came back with another scoreless inning Wednesday.

Konerko’s two-out hit Tuesday also prevented the Royals’ relievers from putting together a streak of nine consecutive hitless innings, otherwise known as a bullpen no-hitter.

Royals manager Ned Yost, who isn’t afraid to boast about his bullpen, was asked if he could think of anybody in baseball who has a better group of relievers.

“Not off the top of my head,” he said. “We're pretty good.”

Ventura would like to say the same one day, but it’s going to take some growth of from the current group, much better health and some key new additions heading into next year.

“They’ve got some good arms out there, so early on you’re wanting to do anything you can to add a little pressure and push a little bit to score,” Ventura said. “Not only to defend, but to be able to score.”

Sox still working on learning curve

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
12:16
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Nearly four months into a transition season, the Chicago White Sox are still working on consistency.

When one part of their game is hot, all other areas seem to retreat, making it more than obvious why they are sitting at 48-53 on the year and have not been as high as .500 since June 11, when they were 33-33.

[+] EnlargeScott Carroll
Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY SportsScott Carroll pitched decently Tuesday, but things caught up to him eventually in a home loss to the Royals.
After June 11, the club went through its roughest stretch of the season, immediately losing four consecutive before ultimately dropping nine out of 11 games and 11 out of 14.

The White Sox are better after pulling out of their tailspin with three consecutive victories at Toronto to end June, but a serious win streak has continued to escape the club.

On Tuesday, in a 7-1 defeat to the Kansas City Royals, there was no part of the White Sox's game that stood out. A lackluster offense was to be expected with Jose Abreu getting a day off, and the team is still trying to get a handle on the back end of the rotation.

Scott Carroll got his first start of the second half, and, while he was solid through five innings, things finally caught up to him in the sixth, when the Royals broke loose.

The White Sox started the day a mere 5½ games out of the final wild-card spot, but their focus is better spent on matching up starting pitching with solid offense, great defense and smart baserunning for an extended period.

"We've played relatively well all season, but it seems like bad luck came our way or we've struggled in certain situations," Adam Eaton said. "But if we can have one good month where we catch fire …"

(Read full post)

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.12 158 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAC. Gillaspie .309
HRJ. Abreu 32
RBIJ. Abreu 90
RJ. Abreu 65
OPSJ. Abreu .956
ERAC. Sale 2.12
SOC. Sale 158