Chicago White Sox: Gordon Beckham

Beckham refuses to put blame on rumors

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
7:17
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Gordon BeckhamDavid Richard/USA TODAY Sports"You just have to let it happen the way it's going to happen," Gordon Beckham said of trade rumors.

CHICAGO – Gordon Beckham struggles as the scouts gather to watch him play, and it would be shortsighted not to think that the latter is having a major influence on the former.

The Chicago White Sox infielder knows a trade is likely coming. He is well aware of his situation as a solid major league mainstay who is only getting more expensive as a bevy of young second-base prospects are refining their talents right behind him.

He doesn’t want to go, but also knows that a deal will possibly land him with a contender, so that isn’t all bad. Ultimately it seems as if the uncertainty of it all is bothering the 27-year-old the most.

To Beckham’s credit, though, he isn’t blaming the unknown for his struggles. He doesn’t want to make excuses. He won’t make excuses.

“There is always a chance of [a trade],” Beckham said Monday before the White Sox opened a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals. “It’s there, but that’s about it. You just have to let it happen the way it’s going to happen. It’s not one of those things I’m going to worry about. If it’s here or somewhere else, that’s what’s supposed to happen.”

As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline gets closer, the struggles only seem to mount. Beckham is batting just .083 (4-for-48) over his past 12 games. Over his past 31 he is batting .136 (16-for-117). He is no longer hitting the ball hard up the middle as he was early in the season, and the scouts have taken notice.

One major league scout noted Monday that Beckham is the perfect example of a player who just needs a fresh start with a new organization.

Beckham knows what is happening, and he is trying to block it out, but it has been difficult.

“A lot goes into it,” Beckham said about being a successful baseball player. “You come in, show up every day, you work hard, you want it to work out for you and your team. Baseball is a very unforgiving game. When you’re going well, all of a sudden it tends to not go well. It’s a tough game. But there is a lot more that goes into it than the box score.”

That seems to be Beckham’s way of saying that baseball players are human and they have distractions too. But he doesn’t say it and he won’t make that excuse, even if it is a legitimate one.

“You just have to go play the game and it’ll turn. ... It’ll turn,” he said, trailing off.

The Toronto Blue Jays were the team that was rumored to have the most interest in Beckham and have had a scout on hand for each of the four games of Chicago's current homestand.

If Beckham is dealt, the White Sox could immediately plug Marcus Semien into his spot. Eventually, though, it seems clear that Micah Johnson will be the second baseman of the future. The White Sox also have Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia, who can play second.

But right now Beckham is their man, and manager Robin Ventura is trying to get the most out of him.

“He really is focusing more on going the other way, which would help him a bit,” Ventura said. “But when you press, it’s harder to buy all in to be able to do that. You have to take baby steps, maybe give a little ground on power and things like that to get it over there.”

The answer likely lies with the calendar changing to August. Then Beckham will finally know his fate.

“I haven’t really talked to him about it but I’m sure some of that is probably there,” he said. “You hear about it enough and any kind of distraction can be it. Hopefully it’s not.”

Beckham is simply trying to keep his head up and plug along the best he can. The White Sox are the only organization he has ever known and that might all change before the next 10 days come to a close.

“Yeah, I’m not worried about that,” Beckham insisted, before quickly changing gears. “It will be tough to leave because I have always been here, but whatever happens, will happen and I’m prepared for anything.”

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 4, Astros 3

July, 19, 2014
Jul 19
9:33
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive

 
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox made it 2-for-2 in the second half, defeating the Houston Astros 4-3 on Saturday night.

How it happened: Tyler Flowers drove in two runs, the second on a go-ahead double in the fifth inning. He had three hits and reached base four times. Conor Gillaspie had an RBI. Hector Noesi gave up three runs on six hits over six innings, coughing up a long home run to George Springer and a two-run double to Jose Altuve. Zach Putnam recorded the save, his third.

What it means: The White Sox tweaked their rotation in the second half in order to break up their Nos. 4 and 5 starters, hoping it would be less taxing on the bullpen. But it was a back-end guy in Noesi who went six innings Saturday, lasting longer than front-end guy Jose Quintana (five innings) did Friday. The well-rested bullpen has still managed to deliver seven scoreless innings in two games since the All-Star break. Ronald Belisario had two scoreless innings Saturday before Jake Petricka and Putnam worked the ninth to end it.

Outside the box: Noesi retired the first seven batters of the game before the Astros’ Enrique Hernandez singled, ending the White Sox’s string of 29 consecutive batters retired going back to the second inning Friday. Quintana started the run and four relievers continued it in Friday’s victory before Noesi took the mound. The last time the White Sox had a streak close to that long was in 2012, when Philip Humber retired all 27 Seattle Mariners he faced in his perfect game.

Off-beat: The team that had the roughest night Saturday appeared to be the four-man umpire crew. Three plays went to a review in the first five innings and all three were overturned. Gordon Beckham was given first base when he appeared to be hit by a pitch, but that call was reversed. Alexei Ramirez was called out on a play at first base, but replays showed him to be safe. Finally, Jose Abreu was called safe on a force play at second base, but the replay said otherwise.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander John Danks (8-6, 3.99 ERA) to the mound Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. The Astros will counter with right-hander Jarred Cosart (9-6, 4.17) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Buyers or sellers? Hahn toes the line

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
7:07
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The second half of the baseball season might have started Friday for the Chicago White Sox, but much focus was on the nonwaiver trade deadline less than two weeks away.

The White Sox entered play Friday with a 45-51 record and are in the midst of a roster rebuild, so it seems fairly obvious they will at least explore deals that would return some more young talent.

But when asked if the White Sox are buyers or sellers, general manager Rick Hahn took pause.

"It's certainly a very fair question but also not one that I'm going to answer, which I think you can understand," Hahn said. "Look, we are not where we need to be; we know that. We are realistic about where we are today. We are realistic about where we are likely to be over the next 10 weeks or so.

"I think if there are opportunities to continue the process we started over a year ago, in terms of putting long-term pieces in place that we feel will allow us to compete on an annual basis, we will follow down those paths."

Gordon Beckham or Dayan Viciedo could be used as trade bait in the coming days, but either of them alone might not get back the kind of young, core player the White Sox are seeking.

(Read full post)

Stock Watch: Has a closer been found?

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
3:06
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive

RISING

Streaking
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.

FALLING

Slumping
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.

Series preview: White Sox at Red Sox

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
1:37
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
There is no time like the present for the Chicago White Sox to solve their recent matchup issues against the Boston Red Sox.

The White Sox will head to Fenway Park for a four-game series starting Monday night, knowing they have lost 14 of the last 19 games to the defending World Series champions.

The White Sox starters have been solid the last time through the rotation, although the weakest link of the bunch starts Monday as Scott Carroll takes the mound. Carroll, who has never faced the Red Sox, is just 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA over his seven starts this season and is 0-3 with a 6.30 ERA on the road.

If the White Sox can get through Carroll's start on Monday there could be smooth sailing ahead. John Danks, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Noesi combined to deliver a 0.87 ERA and a .190 opponents' batting average over the past four games.

Sale's start Wednesday has some added intrigue. The last time he faced the Red Sox in April, he gave up just one run over seven innings and threw 127 pitches. The bad news was that he not only lost the game, but went on the disabled list after that with a sore arm.

Of further added interest is that Wednesday's start will come one day before online voting ends for the final American League All-Star roster spot. Sale is in consideration for the spot with four other pitchers: Houston's Dallas Keuchel, Cleveland's Corey Kluber, the Los Angeles Angels' Garrett Richards and the Tigers' Rick Porcello.

HEAD TO HEAD

Paul Konerko is 7-for-15 (.467) with a home run in his career against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, but probably won't start against the right-hander Monday. Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez each have a home run against Buchholz. ... No White Sox player has more than one at-bat against Tuesday's Red Sox starter Brandon Workman. ... Konerko likely will start Thursday since he is 10-for-28 (.357) in his career against Red Sox starter Jon Lester, with three home runs. ... Scott Carroll, who starts for the White Sox on Monday, has never faced the Red Sox. ... The Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia is just 3-for-20 (.150) against John Danks, who starts for the White Sox on Tuesday. ... Members of the Red Sox's 40-man roster are batting a combined 4-for-41 (.098) against Sale, who starts for the White Sox on Wednesday. ... The Red Sox's Will Middlebrooks, David Ortiz and Pedroia are a combined 2-for-14 (.143) against Jose Quintana, who will start for the White Sox on Thursday.

NOTES



The White Sox's pitching staff has recorded two shutouts this season, with both coming in the past seven games. ... After struggling at the start of the previous road trip, the White Sox have won six of their last nine games. ... The White Sox bullpen has a 2.63 ERA over the last eight games, all while adjusting to a closer-by committee situation. ... The White Sox have a 27-24 record against teams above .500, while posting a 15-23 record against teams that are under .500, and the Red Sox are 10 games under at 39-49. ... The White Sox's offense had just two hits in Sunday's victory and have just six hits over their past two games (23 innings). ... In 13 2/3 innings since coming off the disabled list, Buchholz has allowed five runs in two starts for the Red Sox.

PITCHING MATCHUPS



Monday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (2-5, 5.05 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Clay Buchholz (3-4, 6.22), 6:10 p.m. CST
Tuesday: White Sox LH John Danks (7-6, 4.12) vs. Red Sox RH Brandon Workman (1-2, 4.17), 6:10 p.m. CST
Wednesday: White Sox LH Chris Sale (8-1, 2.16) vs. TBA, 6:10 p.m. CST
Thursday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.20) vs. Red Sox LH Jon Lester (9-7, 2.73), 3:05 p.m. CST

Closer void bites White Sox again

July, 5, 2014
Jul 5
7:35
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
White SoxBrian Kersey/Getty ImagesZach Putnam (57) got the ball with a two-run lead in the ninth and ended up with a blown save.

CHICAGO – The round-hole/square-peg Chicago White Sox bullpen failed to put the pieces together once again Saturday, as a blown save in the ninth inning led to a 3-2 defeat by the Seattle Mariners in 14 innings.

Finding arms to finish off the final three innings and protect a lead isn’t manager Robin Ventura’s only issue, but it has been a glaring weakness since spring training.

Way back in Arizona, Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom were supposed to be competing for the job, but both were felled by injuries -- Jones in his back and Lindstrom his oblique. At no point this season, really, has the closer spot been a lockdown area for the White Sox.

Operating with a closer-by-committee situation ever since Ronald Belisario was pulled from the job more than a week ago, the committee's members appear to have forgotten their lines or are failing to hit the high notes under the glare of the audition spotlight.

With a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning, Zach Putnam got the chance to put the game away, but he allowed an inherited runner from Eric Surkamp to score, then gave up the tying run on his own as three of the first five batters he faced recorded hits.

Jake Petricka, who is part of the closer committee, had already been used for one batter in the eighth inning, so he wasn’t available for the final outs. Daniel Webb was in the bullpen, but he has walked at least one batter in three of his past four appearances and four of his seven outings since the start of June.

“We just didn't get it done,” Ventura said. “Right now we're at the point where we're using different people in that spot, and every once in a while, those guys are going to give up runs. And when [they do], it's going to look like a blown save, but we're rotating around guys until somebody really emerges.”

Clearly, Ventura isn’t going to air his frustrations publicly, but it becomes awfully hard to put together a puzzle when none of the pieces fit. Ventura hasn’t had a true closer, and his best efforts to get somebody to be productive in the role haven't worked.

“I don't think the ninth should be any different for a reliever than any other inning,” Putnam said. “You've got to go out there and do your job and get outs. Today I made some pitches, a couple mistakes, but I got a few ground balls -- and there are days when those ground balls turn into outs, and there are days when they're hits and runs are scored. Today was one of those days, so you have to bounce back.”

The White Sox entered the day with 10 blown saves, around the middle of the big league pack, but their bullpen ERA of 3.83 was eighth-highest among MLB's 30 teams, and the bullpen’s 1.43 WHIP was dead last.

When it comes to the issues with closing games, is it simply a matter of the relievers not knowing what they are going to be asked to do on a daily basis?

“As relievers, it's nice to know when you're going to throw," Putnam said. "But again, when you're called upon, your job is the same, no matter what the inning is, no matter what day, the situation, what have you. I didn't get the job done today, and hopefully I'll be given another opportunity. If not, I hope the next guy gets the job done.”

Petricka could end up being asked to get the final out(s) next. But whoever gets the call, he is probably going to have even more weight on his shoulders, given that finishing off close victories has been a struggle all season.

“I think they're getting the job done,” starter Jose Quintana said after this latest blown save cost him and the team a chance at a victory. “Sometimes the game is close. Two ground ball situations, it makes it harder to throw with runners in scoring position. The bullpen has been doing a good job. It was just a tough game. We know we'll be focusing on this tomorrow.”

On a day when the White Sox could only manage four hits in 14 innings, one blown save ends up spreading the blame all around.

“Obviously, we didn't do much all day, in terms of an offense, so for them to come in and try to shut it down as best they could, I mean, it's part of baseball, it's part of playing the game,” said Gordon Beckham, who went 0-for-6 and struck out twice. “We're going to have games like this. It's frustrating, but you gotta keep battling.”

Extra Bases: Deadline offers less trepidation

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
9:00
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The non-waiver trade deadline is exactly four weeks away and the Chicago White Sox figure to be busy, even though this year's team is much improved from last year's squad.

It isn't as if the White Sox will be open to moving as many players as they were willing to give up in 2013.

While everybody seemed to be on pins and needles last July, the team now has an established young core that will remain intact once the calendar flips to August.

SportsNation

If the White Sox settle on a closer, who should it be?

  •  
    27%
  •  
    37%
  •  
    36%

Discuss (Total votes: 258)

Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Avisail Garcia aren't going anywhere. And unlike a year ago when the White Sox might have been willing to deal Alexei Ramirez, the shortstop's rebound this season figures to keep him out of any trade talk -- unless a return package is significant.

Trade candidates include Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo. Matt Lindstrom might have been in that group had he not needed surgery to heal an ankle injury.

“Yeah, I think with everybody, that [trade] stuff comes up,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It's natural for every team to have those kind of things. For us, it's just taking care of playing the game. You're looking at spurts of us where we'll play well, and then there will be a spurt where you don't do things well and you get beat.

“It has to be more consistent to be able to make an extended run at that.”

It still doesn't feel as though there is as much tension in the White Sox clubhouse this July as there was exactly a year ago, before Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain were moved.

“It was bad last year,” Ventura said. “I think that was a little more in your face. Here, you see, it's just better, as far as being able to compete with certain teams and playing better. It's been pretty inconsistent, but last year was just bad.”

Read all about it: Here is the Rapid Reaction from Wednesday’s 3-2 walk-off victory over the Angels. … Abreu won the American League rookie of the month award for the second time. … Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels is impressed with Abreu.

Keep an eye on this: With an infield single in the fourth inning Wednesday, Eaton has reached base in 25 of his past 26 games.

Question of the day: If the White Sox make moves before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, will they aim to bring aboard major league-ready players or prospects for the farm system?

Series preview: White Sox at Twins

June, 19, 2014
Jun 19
3:15
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
If the Chicago White Sox want to make a mark on the bunched up American League Central, now would be a good time to do it.

The White Sox open a four-game series at Minnesota on Thursday night and then won’t see another division team until they close out the first half with a July 11-13 series at Cleveland. Between the division series, the White Sox will face the Orioles, Blue Jays, Angels, Mariners and Red Sox.

The 35-37 White Sox are two games better in the standings than the 32-38 Twins, and while the offenses have proven to be much different, the pitching staffs have delivered like numbers.

The White Sox are fourth in the AL with 319 runs scored, while the Twins are ninth at 297. On the pitching side, the Twins have a 4.32 ERA (13th in the AL), while the White Sox have a 4.35 mark (14th). White Sox starters are last in the AL with a combined 4.69 ERA, while the Twins are tied for 13th at 4.67.

The Twins make up their offensive difference with the White Sox by committing 14 less errors and holding a .985 fielding percentage to the White Sox’s .980 mark.

But the White Sox head to Target Field knowing they have had a fair amount of success there in recent years. Since Aug. 5, 2011, the White Sox are 18-8 at Minnesota, although they were just 5-5 there last year. The series will be the White Sox’s first of three visits to Target Field in the final 3 months of the season.

HEAD TO HEAD

Alexei Ramirez is 6-for-10 (.600) against Twins starter Ricky Nolasco with six RBIs. ... Adam Dunn has six hits in 23 at-bats against Twins starter Kevin Correia and three of those hits have been home runs. ... Gordon Beckham is just 1-for-14 (.071) against Twins starter Phil Hughes, while Moises Sierra is 7-for-14 (.500) against him with five RBIs. No White Sox player has more hits against Hughes than Sierra. ... The Twins’ Joe Mauer is 7-for-15 (.467) against Jose Quintana with two home runs, while Josh Willingham is 8-for-15 (.533) against the left-hander. ... The Twins’ Kendrys Morales is 3-for-5 in his career against Hector Noesi with two home runs. ... The Twins are the only American League Central team Andre Rienzo doesn’t have a decision against. He has a 3.97 ERA against them in two starts (11 1/3 innings). ... Mauer is 20-for-53 (3.77) in his career against John Danks, but Trevor Plouffe, Kurt Suzuki and Josh Willingham are a combined 5-for-38 (.132) against the lefty.

NOTES


The White Sox were one game from a three-game sweep in the opening series of the season, but lost the finale 10-9. ... The White Sox are 18-10 against the Twins at Target Field since 2010. ... Ronald Belisario, who has been the White Sox’s closer since Matt Lindstrom was injured in mid-May, has converted his last four save opportunities. ... Dunn has reached base in 50 of his 60 games this season. ... Conor Gillaspie is batting .364 (36-for-99) over his last 25 games and has five multi-hit efforts over his last 10 games. ... Tyler Flowers was hitless in 25 at-bats before his two-run single Wednesday against the Giants. ... Adam Eaton has reached base in 13 consecutive games and is batting .333 (17-for-51) over that stretch. ... At age 30, the Twins’ Yohan Pino, will be the oldest starting pitcher to make his major league debut in franchise history when he takes the mound Thursday. The right-hander was 9-1 with a 1.92 ERA at Triple-A Rochester. ... Former White Sox prospect Eduardo Escobar is batting .303 with a .349 on-base percentage in 58 games for the Twins.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Thursday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (3-7, 3.98 ERA) vs. Twins RH Yohan Pino (MLB debut), 7:10 p.m. CST
Friday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (2-5, 5.37) vs. Twins RH Ricky Nolasco (4-5, 5.66), 7:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox RH Andre Rienzo (4-4, 5.67) vs. Twins RH Kevin Correia (3-8, 5.29), 1:10 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox LH John Danks (6-5, 3.97) vs. Twins RH Phil Hughes (7-3, 3.09) 1:10 p.m. CST

Confident Danks rolling right along

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
11:39
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- John Danks admitted Tuesday that his long road to recovery was cratered with potholes of doubt, threatening to strip him of the confidence that had served him so well.

The Chicago White Sox's left-hander never wanted to feel sorry for himself because he had to undergo shoulder surgery, since many pitchers before him went through the same issue.

But when a long rehab process turned into struggles last year, followed by inconsistencies at the start of 2014, he couldn’t help but think he might be one of those who doesn’t make it all the way back.

[+] EnlargeJohn Danks
AP Photo/Andrew A. NellesRecent mechanical adjustments and a shift to the third-base side of the rubber are helping John Danks this season.
If the past five starts are any indicator, Danks is back and as good as ever.

The left-hander went 6⅔ innings Tuesday, giving up just one earned run in an 8-2 White Sox victory over the San Francisco Giants. Over his past five outings, going back to an eight-inning scoreless outing against the New York Yankees on May 24, he has a 1.51 ERA.

“It’s been a long, frustrating road to get back to here and certainly there’s plenty to be worked on, but yeah, there were some days where you were having to fight doubt from creeping in,” Danks said. “I think I’m beyond that.”

Recent mechanical adjustments and a shift to the third-base side of the rubber have made all the difference. The better mechanics have led to better results and now Danks has a renewed sense of confidence at his disposal as well.

“You get on a nice little run, it’s a lot more fun to go out and pitch,” he said. “Certainly the adjustments we’ve made have helped and guys scoring runs have helped. I’m just gonna continue to ride it.”

Gordon Beckham was only happy to hit a two-run home run in the third inning that helped to erase an early Giants lead.

“It's awesome,” Beckham said. “He's been throwing great, and he's a great guy in the clubhouse, so he's one of those people that you cheer for and want to do well. To see him doing what he's capable of, it's nice.”

Chris Sale and Jose Quintana might have a higher profile in the White Sox’s rotation, but it was Danks who outdueled the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander last week and it was Danks who stopped a four-game losing streak on Tuesday.

“He has really gotten it together, from where he started early in the year, the frustrations he had, some mechanical stuff that you start with and then it becomes mental and all the physical stuff that comes with it,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He has pitched to where he’s always giving us a chance right now. He becomes tough when he has the feel of the changeup like that and spotting his fastball. It just seems like he has a little more on it as far as spotting his fastball.”

Things tend to come a lot easier in baseball when you’re able to just think about baseball.

“I haven’t thought about [surgery] once,” Danks said. “I’m not the first guy to go through surgery. That’s certainly not a crutch for me. I feel like I can give us a chance to win every time out. I’m trying to do that.”

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 8, Giants 2

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
10:04
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox ended a four-game losing streak with an 8-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

How it happened: The White Sox didn’t let an early deficit get to them, erupting on offense in the middle innings. Gordon Beckham got the offense started with a two-run home run in the third inning. The White Sox scored three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. Dayan Viciedo capped the scoring with a mammoth two-run home run in the fifth. John Danks gave up just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings. Giants starter Matt Cain gave up eight runs (seven earned) in five innings.

What it means: Danks has been rolling over his past five starts, not giving up more than two earned runs in any of them. The left-hander has a 1.51 ERA over that stretch and is 3-1 with a no decision in a May 24 outing against the Yankees when he didn’t allow a run over eight innings.

Outside the box: Bench coach Mark Parent appeared to have a discussion with Jose Abreu on the bench in the seventh inning. Abreu struck out and then didn’t run to first base despite the fact that the ball got past Giants catcher Hector Sanchez and rolled to the backstop. On Sunday it appeared that Abreu failed to run out a pop up along the first-base line earning another conversation with Parent.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Chris Sale (5-1, 1.97 ERA) to the mound Wednesday in the finale of the brief two-game series. The Giants will counter with right-hander Tim Hudson (7-2, 1.81) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Extra Bases: Sox get much-needed break

June, 16, 2014
Jun 16
9:00
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- An unscheduled off day seemed to do the Chicago White Sox no favors this past week, so perhaps an expected one can give them what they need.

Since a rainout Tuesday that allowed the White Sox to customize their rotation, they have gone 1-4 and have lost all the optimism that arose from a series victory over the Detroit Tigers.

SportsNation

What is the White Sox's biggest area of concern?

  •  
    56%
  •  
    30%
  •  
    14%

Discuss (Total votes: 412)

Monday will afford the White Sox another chance to get away from things and decompress. It should be useful, since starting Tuesday the White Sox open a two-game series against the San Francisco Giants, the team with the best record in baseball.

“Days off, depending on who you ask, they can be a good thing or a bad thing,” Adam Dunn said. “This is a scheduled day off and I don’t know how important it is, but we just need to find out a way to play better.”

(Read full post)

Sox failing to get past break-even hump

June, 15, 2014
Jun 15
5:36
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Andre RienzoDavid Banks/Getty ImagesAndre Rienzo gave up six runs in six innings as the Sox's slump continued.


CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox continue to crash into the .500 ceiling before stumbling back a few notches in a trend that has befuddled them all season.

There have been 21 times this season when the White Sox have ended a game with a .500 record, most recently Wednesday when they tagged the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander with a defeat.

The White Sox moved to 33-33 at the time, but have now lost four consecutive games, including Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Royals that completed Kansas City’s three-game sweep.

“We ran into a team in the Royals that is pretty hot,” Gordon Beckham said. “But I think it’s not necessarily us not being able to get over the hump, it’s just the way the season has gone that we just haven’t really broken through when we could have. There is no real answer as to why we get to .500 and we dip back down. Hopefully we’ll grind back to .500.”

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Royals 7, White Sox 2

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
10:36
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive

 
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox opened a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals with a 7-2 defeat Friday.

How it happened: White Sox starter Jose Quintana gave up hits to the first five batters of the game, and the Royals never looked back. Kansas City scored five runs in the first inning and was never threatened. Quintana finished the night having given up six runs on eight hits over six innings but settled down to retire 15 of the final 17 batters he faced. Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie gave up two runs on six hits over 5⅔ innings. White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton reached base in all five trips to the plate with two hits and three walks.

What it means: Jose Abreu has been off the disabled list for nearly two weeks now, but the White Sox’s offense is nowhere near in sync. Eaton has been showing signs of life lately, and Gordon Beckham is hitting well, Friday notwithstanding, but production up and down the lineup isn’t what it was earlier in the season. Tyler Flowers, who was delivering hits early, is 18-for-103 with 47 strikeouts since late April. Before going 1-for-4 on Friday, Dayan Viciedo had two hits over his previous 34 at-bats. Alexei Ramirez, who is still batting over .300, has just one extra-base hit since May 23.

Outside the box: Guthrie hadn’t won a game in his previous 11 starts, but pitching against the White Sox this season hasn’t been an issue. He beat Chicago on April 4, had a no-decision against the White Sox during his winless streak and ended the winless run Friday. He entered 6-2 against the White Sox with a 2.53 ERA since joining the Royals.

Off beat: Kansas City appears to be the new Cleveland. While the Indians gave the White Sox fits last season, the Royals are now the division team that is causing issues. The White Sox do have three victories against the Royals already, one more than they had against the Indians all of last season. But the White Sox have now lost eight of their past nine home games against Kansas City going back to last season.

Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Hector Noesi (2-4, 5.40 ERA) to the mound Saturday. The Royals will counter with left-hander Danny Duffy (3-5, 3.26) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Series preview: Royals at White Sox

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
1:37
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO – It is still hard to tell what Chicago White Sox team will show up on a nightly basis, the one that can slug and pitch its way to victory or the one that can be controlled by an ideal game plan.

On Thursday night it was the latter, although there is no shame in getting shut down by Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers, who pitched his team to a 4-0 victory.

The White Sox might not be facing anybody the caliber of Scherzer in the upcoming series against the Kansas City Royals, but they have matchups ahead against a pair of proven veterans in Jeremy Guthrie and James Shields.

The White Sox offense might get handcuffed on occasion, like it was against the Los Angeles Angels last weekend, but their games remain competitive. That credit goes to the pitching staff, especially from a bullpen that has been solid over the last month now that roles are clearly defined.

Overlooked in the pitching success has been a solid defense behind the pitchers. Corner outfielders Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo might not rate as defensive assets, but up the middle with shortstop Alexei Ramirez, second baseman Gordon Beckham and center fielder Adam Eaton the White Sox have been stingy.

“We owe it to (the pitchers) to be there every single pitch because they are putting their blood and sweat into every single pitch and for us to be on our toes behind him it shows we appreciate what they are doing,” Eaton said. “We have to continue to play good defense behind them.”

HEAD TO HEAD



The Royals’ Eric Hosmer is just 2-for-24 (.083) in his career against White Sox starter Jose Quintana. … Hector Noesi has just three innings pitched vs. the Royals in his career, the lowest amount against any American League team. … Andre Rienzo's 18 innings pitched against the Royals are his most against any team. The Royals are also the only team he has more than one victory against. … Viciedo is only 4-for-22 (.182) against Guthrie, and Ramirez is just 7-for-42 (.167). … White Sox players have combined for just 12 at-bats against Royals starter Danny Duffy, and Ramirez has the only hit, a single. … Beckham is 9-for-29 (.310) against Shields with two home runs, while Ramirez is 19-for-45 (.422) against the right-hander and also has two home runs.

NOTES



Quintana does not have a victory in nine career starts against the Royals, going 0-4 with a 4.06 ERA. … The White Sox are 5-1 in their last six games against American League Central opponents after losing Thursday’s game to the Tigers. … White Sox starters have a 3.02 ERA in 21 games since May 20. … Ramirez’s double Thursday was his first extra-base hit since May 23 against the New York Yankees. … Beckham is 8-for-20 (.400) during his current five-game hitting streak. … The White Sox are 16-12 against division teams this season after going 26-50 against them last season … Guthrie won his first two starts for the Royals this season and hasn’t won in 11 starts since. … The Royals might have a dismal .360 slugging percentage, last in the AL, but they have been swinging the bats better of late, scoring at least six runs six times in the last 13 games when they have gone 9-4.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

FRIDAY: LH Jose Quintana (3-6, 3.59 ERA) vs. RH Jeremy Guthrie (2-6, 4.10), 7:10 p.m. CST
SATURDAY: RH Hector Noesi (2-4, 5.40) vs. LH Danny Duffy (3-5, 3.26), 1:10 p.m. CST
SUNDAY: RH Andre Rienzo (4-3, 5.25) vs. RH James Shields (7-3, 3.44), 1:10 p.m. CST

Extra Bases: Central play much improved

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
8:00
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox are finding out that the American League Central can be a happy place once again.

They might have been dealt a 4-0 defeat by the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, but they already had wrapped up the series and are feeling much better about games in the division.

SportsNation

What would be the most effective lineup spot for Jose Abreu?

  •  
    1%
  •  
    57%
  •  
    42%

Discuss (Total votes: 136)

The White Sox will get the opportunity to jump right back into division play when the Kansas City Royals visit U.S. Cellular Field for three games starting Friday.

The White Sox might be a game under .500 this season at 33-34, but they are 16-12 against AL Central teams and they just saw a five-game winning streak against division foes snapped.

Last season, Chicago was a dismal 26-50 against the division, with only two victories over the Cleveland Indians. It’s only the middle of June and already the White Sox have defeated the Indians seven times.

In winning two of three against the Tigers this week (one game in the scheduled four-game series was postponed because of rain), the White Sox had to go up against Tigers pitchers Rick Porcello, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

“It was three very, very good starters so that’s what we can take away from this week,” White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton said. “Kansas City is coming to town, we’re very excited about those guys and hopefully we can win another series. That’s our goal.”

Read all about it: Here is the Rapid Reaction from Thursday’s 4-0 defeat to the Tigers.

Keep an eye on this: The White Sox are only 6-13 at home against the Royals the past two seasons, going 3-7 against them in their own park last year.

Question of the day: Hitting and pitching gets much of the credit, but how much has the White Sox defense up the middle -- shortstop Alexei Ramirez, second baseman Gordon Beckham, center fielder Eaton -- meant in Chicago's reversal from a team that finished 36 games under .500 last season to one that heads into play Friday one game under .500?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
9 2.03 110 102
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .292
HRJ. Abreu 29
RBIJ. Abreu 74
RJ. Abreu 51
OPSJ. Abreu .961
ERAC. Sale 2.03
SOJ. Quintana 115