Chicago White Sox: Francisco Liriano
Liriano responded with his best game since defeating the White Sox on June 25 as a member of the Twins, when he went seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits.
The victory was Liriano’s second of the season against his former team. He didn’t allow a hit until Trevor Plouffe's two run homer with two outs in the seventh.
The veteran pitcher had been told three different possibilities as to what role he would have over a five-day period.
“When you have bad times you just have to stay focused,” Liriano said. “You have to keep working and try to get better. I wouldn’t win anything if I get mad. If I would get mad I would do some stupid things.”
MINNEAPOLIS -- A quick look at the Chicago White Sox's 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday at Target Field.
How it happened: Francisco Liriano dominated the Twins before losing his bid for a no-hitter in the seventh inning on Trevor Plouffe's two-run homer. He struck out nine in his seven innings pitched. The White Sox staked Liriano to some early runs, with Paul Konerko driving in the first three with an RBI groundout in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third. Konerko’s 23rd home run came with Adam Dunn on base. Dunn, playing his first game in over a week, singled and walked in his first two at-bats. Gordon Beckham singled home Dayan Viciedo with the Sox’s fourth run in the fourth inning off Twins starter Samuel Deduno, who left the game in the fifth. Liriano, who had been removed from the rotation due to ineffectiveness a week ago, threw a no-hitter against the White Sox as a member of the Twins on May 3, 2011 at U.S Cellular Field. The Twins made it interesting in the ninth, scoring once off Addison Reed, but Matt Thornton came on to record the save.
What it means: Dunn’s return to the lineup gave the Sox a needed offensive boost as he finished with two hits and a walk. Liriano threw himself back into the rotation mix, which seems to change on a daily basis. A six-man mix of starters will be the job of Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper to figure out for the last 18 games of the season. The Sox increased their AL Central lead to 1.5 games over the Detroit Tigers, who began play against the Cleveland Indians after the Sox game was complete. The win was the 78th for the Sox, who won 79 games total in 2011.
Outside the box: Trainer Herm Schneider advised Ventura to use Dunn at first base in order to keep his sore right oblique loose during his first game in over a week.
Up next: The Sox will send Jake Peavy (10-11, 3.27 ERA) against the Twins’ Scott Diamond (11-7, 3.46) in the finale of this three-game series Sunday.
The White Sox and Tigers will make up Friday’s game at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday at 1:10 p.m. Gavin Floyd (9-10, 4.59) will start for the White Sox, and Doug Fister (9-8, 3.49) will start for the Tigers.
Sale was scheduled to start against Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander on Thursday. The game was postponed after a 1:02 rain delay.
“It’s just one of those, I think both sides you don’t want to start the game and kind of waste those guys going out there pitching if you don’t get nine innings in,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said after the game was postponed. “That was the concern.”
Sale was disappointed not to pitch against the Tigers, especially after he lost to them on Sept. 2.
“Obviously, I wanted to get back out here and face these guys one last time,” Sale said. “The time before that didn’t go too well. I want to get back out there and get us where we need to go. There’s not much you can do in this situation. Just get ready, head out to Minnesota and play hard there.”
Floyd and Fister pitched during the White Sox-Tigers’ series this week. Floyd picked up the loss in the Tigers’ 8-5 win over the White Sox on Wednesday. Floyd allowed four hits, three runs, one walk and struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings. Fister notched the win in the Tigers’ 5-3 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday. He allowed two hits, two runs, two walks and struck out six in seven innings.
Francisco Liriano, who was scheduled to start for the White Sox on Friday, will be skipped in the rotation and remain in the bullpen. Jose Quintana is scheduled to start on Saturday and Jake Peavy on Sunday against the Twins.
The White Sox lead the Tigers by one game in the American League Central. Monday’s game will be their final meeting in the regular season. Both teams were originally off on Monday.
Ventura did not believe there was any psychological advantage for the White Sox to be ahead in the division heading into the weekend.
“We’re going to play,” Ventura said. “It wouldn’t have mattered. We’re going to play the same way we’re going to play tomorrow no matter what.”
“It is very frustrating,” Liriano said. “They brought me over here to help them win ballgames, and so far I haven’t done that. I have tried my best, but this is baseball. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t happen.”
Liriano, a former All-Star, may be in the back of the bullpen for now, but the Sox manager Robin Ventura apparently does not have a doghouse.
“There are different things he can do,” Ventura said. “Depending on how things go he could even be starting on Friday (in Minnesota). There are options because what he has done in the past. He is a starter by nature, but he can come out of the bullpen.”
“I think I was rushing things, trying to do too much, trying to be too fine to the plate instead of just going out there and pitching, thinking about too much stuff at one time, “Liriano said prior to Tuesday’s game. “Just trying to do my job, try to go to the bullpen and hope I can help the team win some ball games.
“I think sometimes I go out there try to do too much and I get myself in trouble. I need to relax, calm down and have some fun.”
Liriano was previously scheduled to start on Wednesday, but was replaced by Gavin Floyd, who is coming
off the 15-day disabled list. Liriano could return to the starting rotation during the team’s weekend series against the Minnesota Twins. He said he hasn’t been told by pitching coach Don Cooper when he will pitch next.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox’s starting rotation is still under a microscope after another below average outing by right-hander Francisco Liriano in Friday’s 7-5 loss to the Royals.
Liriano allowed five runs in 5 innings as a follow up to an even more suspect performance in Detroit last weekend. With 23 games left in the season, the team’s weakest link appears to be a starting staff that is struggling to give the Sox the innings necessary to get into postseason.
Liriano has not given the innings or the spark he was counted on to bring when he was traded to the White Sox on July 28. The White Sox starter has walked 11 hitters in his last two games.
“I am missing my spot,” he said. “I need to find my release point, I am throwing the ball way up or way down. It’s tough to go out there and pitch like that getting behind in the count.”
The Sox have now lost 9 of 13 against the Royals this season. A more shocking statistic has Kansas City now having earned 13 percent of its 62 victories in 2012 against Chicago.
“I feel like I am not doing my job right now,” Liriano said. “It is kind of frustrating (because) every game counts. I ‘m trying to do the best I can right now, and it just isn’t happening.”
Liriano walked the first two hitters in the sixth inning after Dewayne Wise tied the game with his seventh home run in the bottom of the fifth. Both runners scored when reliever Nate Jones failed to hold Kansas City at bay.
“I am sure he feels that it is self inflicted,” Paul Konerko said. “He knows he is better than that. You know he is taking it on his own shoulders. There are times when you think it is all your fault and it is not. As long as you are competing and battling, that’s the way it goes sometimes and you don’t have to apologize to anybody.”
The Sox have had only two quality starts from their rotation in the last two weeks.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer went through the White Sox lineup with apparent ease Saturday, allowing just four hits in eight dominant innings as the Tigers sailed to a 5-1 victory to cut the White Sox’s American League Central lead to a single game.
“No, this didn’t make any difference to me,” Liriano said. “Every game counts [the same]. I just try to give my team a chance to win a ballgame and just do my job.”
While White Sox manager Robin Ventura has preached a one-day-at-a-time approach to the season, at this point, the Tigers, who have a bigger payroll and higher profile, appear ready to make a move to take over the division lead.
“If they’re putting their heads down (they should not), because there is a long way to go and you’re still where you want to be,” Ventura said. “There is no need hanging your head because there are a lot of other places you could be. You could be like 15 or 20 games back, and nobody is going to feel sorry for you, either.”
The White Sox’s sixth straight loss to Detroit might have had an effect on a team that has as many young players as it does veterans.
“I don’t have just one answer on why we have not won a game here,” team captain Paul Konerko said. “You just have to keep playing and keep grinding. Sometimes you don’t win the games you want to but you win other games.”
With the victory, the Tigers now have won 17 of their past 20 home games against Chicago.
“Results are what you are looking for in order to be on top,” Konerko said. “We would like to get one here and be able to take the edge off.”
Sunday’s series finale doesn’t look to be any easier for Konerko and company as the White Sox match up left-hander Chris Sale against reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.
How it happened: White Sox starter Francisco Liriano continued to struggle with walks and pitch count. The left-hander allowed seven walks while giving up three runs in just four innings and one batter faced in the fifth. Liriano’s pitch count reached 100 before he came out of the game. Rookie right fielder Avisail Garcia drove in the Tigers’ third run with his first major league hit off reliever Nate Jones. The Sox offense had no answers for solving the offerings of Detroit starter Max Scherzer. Scherzer allowed just four hits through eight innings while striking out nine in winning his 15th game of the season. The White Sox scored their run in the ninth, when Orlando Hudson tripled to deep center, scoring Paul Konerko, who had doubled.
What it means: The White Sox’s lead dwindled to just one game over the Tigers in the American League Central. The Sox have lost five of the six games so far on this pivotal road trip, and it was a stressful night for the bullpen due to Liriano’s wildness. Detroit’s dominance in the season series might start to get in the White Sox’s heads, as the Sox now have lost six straight to the Tigers and nine of 13. The White Sox have lost 12 of their past 13 games at Comerica Park.
Outside the box: Manager Robin Ventura took advantage of September call-ups, matching up relievers to hitters in order to keep the game close. Ventura used four relief pitchers to pitch to eight Detroit hitters in the fifth and sixth innings. ... DH Adam Dunn was scratched from the Saturday lineup with a strained oblique. Dunn was injured Wednesday in Baltimore. He likely will miss Sunday’s matchup with RHP Justin Verlander. Veteran Dan Johnson went 1-for-3 in place of Dunn. Johnson had not played in the majors in 2012.
Up next: The matchup of the season has 15-game winner Chris Sale (15-5, 2.81 ERA) and Verlander (12-7, 2.80) going head to head on ESPN’s "Sunday Night Baseball."
The Chicago White Sox did themselves in during their 4-3 road loss when three of their pitchers combined to walk seven hitters over eight innings. Francisco Liriano walked four in five innings, Jesse Crain walked two in one inning and Brett Myers walked one in two innings.
Liriano settled down for a bit, but his problems arose again in the sixth inning. He gave up a walk and a single to the inning’s first two hitters, and White Sox manager Robin Ventura turned to Crain in relief.
“I got to eliminate those walks,” said Liriano, who has walked three or more hitters in four of his six starts for the White Sox. “I have to make some better pitches and get ahead of the count and not do too much and just throw more strikes.”
Crain wasn’t any better. He walked the first two hitters he faced, and the Orioles were handed a run. It was the third consecutive appearance where Crain had less than his best stuff. He previously allowed a home run in 1 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees on Aug. 21 and allowed three runs in a 1/3 inning to the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 19.
Myers was sharp when he first came in, but he walked Mark Reynolds in the eighth inning, and Nate McLouth made him pay for it with the game-winning home run.
Myers was as upset with the walk as he was with the home run. It was just his fourth walk in 20 appearances since joining the White Sox.
“I can’t walk a guy in that situation,” Myers said. “It came back and bit me in the rear. … I made a mistake (to McLouth) and he got it. I’d like to get it back, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.”
Monday marked the third time in the last eight games the White Sox’s staff combined for seven walks. They lost 5-2 to the Royals on Aug. 19 and defeated the Yankees 9-6 on Aug. 20 after walking seven hitters. Their team high is nine walks in a game this season.
Here’s a quick look at the Chicago White Sox's 4-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Monday.
How it happened: Nate McLouth hit a two-run home run off White Sox reliever Brett Myers in the eighth inning to put the Orioles ahead 4-3 and snap the White Sox’s six-game winning streak. It was just the third time Myers allowed a run in 20 appearances with the White Sox. McLouth had three RBIs on the night. The White Sox led 2-1 in the sixth inning and 3-2 in the eighth inning and surrendered both leads. Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer for the White Sox. It was his 12th homer in 51 games since joining the team. White Sox starter Francisco Liriano allowed six hits, two runs and four walks in five innings. Jim Johnson notched his 40th save for the Orioles.
What it means: The White Sox lost a ½ game to the Detroit Tigers and now are two games ahead of them in the American League Central. The Tigers had Monday off.
Outside the box: The White Sox’s last five games have all been decided by one run. The White Sox are 22-16 in one-run games this season.
Up next: Chris Sale (15-4, 2.65) will start for the White Sox on Tuesday, and Chris Tillman (6-2, 3.71) will start for the Orioles.
A night earlier, Ventura had to pull starter Gavin Floyd after 2 1/3 innings because the Yankees’ formidable lineup got to him early. On Tuesday, starter Francisco Liriano appeared headed toward that same fate.
Liriano understood as well as anyone if he didn’t emerge a different pitcher in the second inning it was going to be a long night for the White Sox and a bullpen which had already been taxed on Monday.
Liriano came through. He held the Yankees scoreless over the next five innings, giving up just four more hits and did his part in the White Sox’s 7-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field.
CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago White Sox's 7-3 win over the New York Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday.
How it happened: White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis may have changed uniforms since leaving the Boston Red Sox, but he showed he can still torment the Yankees. Youkilis hit his third career grand slam Tuesday to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning. White Sox starter Francisco Liriano had trouble with the Yankees in the first inning, allowing two runs, but he settled down to pick up the win. He allowed six hits, two runs, three walks and struck out seven in six innings. Paul Konerko also homered for the White Sox, giving them 37 home runs in August, and Dewayne Wise had a career-high four hits. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter hit a home run on the game’s first pitch.
What it means: The White Sox remained two games ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. The Tigers defeated the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Outside the box: With Tuesday’s win, the White Sox clinched the season’s series with the Yankees. The last time they accomplished that was in 2003.
Up next: The White Sox will start Chris Sale (14-4, 2.72) against Yankees starter Phil Hughes (12-10, 4.23) in the series finale on Wednesday.
Here's a quick look at the Chicago White Sox's 7-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday:
HOW IT HAPPENED: The White Sox used five home runs and an effective Francisco Liriano to win their series against the Blue Jays. Moises Sierra got the Blue Jays on the board first with a two-run home run in the second inning. Dewayne Wise cut into the lead in the third inning with his second home run in as many nights before Dayan Viciedo and Tyler Flowers hit back to back solo shots in the fifth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Liriano was strong, allowing just the two runs over 6 1/3 innings, striking out six. He retired 15 of the last 17 batters he faced and did not allow a hit after the second inning. Alex Rios gave the Sox some breathing room with a three-run home run off Darren Oliver in the eighth inning, and Alexei Ramirez followed with a solo homer for a 7-2 lead.
WHAT IT MEANS: The White Sox won three of four from the Blue Jays, their first series victory in Toronto since Aug. 4-6, 2006. They are now a season-best 13 games over .500 and have won 15 of their past 22 games. They lead the second-place Detroit Tigers, who were idle on Thursday, by 2 1/2 games.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: Manager Robin Ventura expects Paul Konerko to be back in the lineup Friday against the Kansas City Royals. Konerko has missed the past week after suffering a mild concussion on Aug. 7 against the Royals. ... A.J. Pierzynski, who got a night off from catching as the designated hitter, saw his 16-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-4 night.
NEXT: The Sox will send Chris Sale (14-3, 2.70) to the mound against the Royals' Luis Mendoza (6-8, 4.37) in the 7:10 p.m. CT opener of a three-game series in Kansas City.
The problem was 10 hitters later his night became one he’d like to soon forget.
An inning later, someone else may as well have taken over Liriano’s body as he looked nothing like the pitcher who threw the first two innings. The Athletics batted around their lineup while Liriano allowed four hits, five runs, two walks and hit one batter in the third inning.
Liriano’s woes continued in the fourth with a sixth run, and his evening was over at 3 1/3 innings.
“I think I was trying to do too much in the third inning,” said Liriano, who received a no-decision in the White Sox’s 9-7 loss. “Missing my spot on almost every pitch. I was getting behind the count.
“I was feeling good the first two innings. The first couple innings I was hitting my spot, throwing a lot of fastballs down away and down in. I don’t know. Everything changed.”
It was his worst start of the four he’s had with the White Sox since joining the team in late July. He had allowed a total of four runs in his previous three starts for them. It was also his worst start since the White Sox knocked him around for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings when he was still with the Minnesota Twins on July 23.
Youkilis bruised: White Sox manager Robin Ventura said third baseman Kevin Youkilis did not have a fracture in his left foreman after being hit by a fastball from Athletics reliever Grant Balfour in the ninth inning.
Youkilis appeared in pain after being hit by the pitch and the team’s physician met him at first base, but he remained in the game.
“Yeah, he’s got a nice welt on there, but it’s not fractured or anything,” Ventura said. “We’ll see how it is in the morning, but he’s got a pretty good sized welt on there.”
Flowers and Pierzynski co-exist in the lineup: Catcher Tyler Flowers normally only gets a chance to play when A.J. Pierzynski is out of the lineup, but Saturday was different as Pierzynski was made the designated hitter and Flowers caught.
Flowers took advantage of his unique opportunity and had a career-high three hits. He was 3-for-3 with a double, home run and three RBIs. He also was hit by a pitch.
“It’s nice, I guess,” Flowers said of his individual performance. “I’d rather have the win. Like I said at the beginning, defense and my pitchers are the priority. It’s not as good as if we had won the game.”
Thornton struggled: Reliever Matt Thornton blew his fourth save and lost his eighth game of the season when he allowed two runs in the eighth inning.
The White Sox had an 8-7 lead when Thornton entered the game in the eighth inning. Thornton allowed a solo home run to Jonny Gomes, a single to Yoenis Cespedes and a single to Chris Carter before being removed. Brett Myers replaced Thornton and allowed a single to score Cespedes.
“It’s frustrating,” said Thornton, who has a 3.88 ERA. “I felt I threw the ball well again. I made one mistake to Jonny Gomes, and I gave up two runs, and there was nobody on base when I made the mistake to Jonny Gomes. It’s really frustrating. We’ve been playing well. I didn’t do my job tonight.”