Chicago White Sox: Jake Peavy

As season fades, Sox reunite offensive trio

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
11:30
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The tag-team trio that was supposed to lead the Chicago White Sox's offense into the future was finally reunited Tuesday night.

Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu played in a White Sox lineup for just the ninth time this season and the first time since April 9 at Colorado, way back during the second week of the regular season.

That was the game when Avisail Garcia injured his shoulder, of course, and he originally underwent surgery that was expected to cost him the season. Credited with being a fast healer, Garcia was able to return to the White Sox on Aug. 16, but as fate would have it, Eaton was out with an oblique injury.

[+] EnlargeAvisail Garcia
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesInjuries have limited Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu to just nine games together.
The band was finally back together Tuesday giving the White Sox another look at the three central figures of their roster rebuild that started at last year’s trade deadline. The White Sox still dropped their seventh consecutive game Tuesday, but in an 8-6 defeat to the Cleveland Indians, they scored their most runs since a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 17.

The White Sox look out of gas with a little more than a month to play, but the hope is that the Garcia, Eaton, Abreu trio will spark a late-season offensive push and provide some optimism leading into the winter.

In constructing the White Sox’s triple-threat offensive core, Garcia was added first on the day before the 2013 trade deadline when he was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in the deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox.

Abreu was a six-year, $68 million free-agent signing this winter, and Eaton was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the three-team December deal that sent pitcher Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels.

“Yeah, I didn’t really notice that, but that’s right,” Eaton said about his second chance to play with a pair of heralded teammates again. “It’s going to be good. Spring training is where we got some lengthy time together. Hopefully fans will want to see us all play together [again], so it will be very exciting.”

Exciting isn’t precisely what the White Sox are looking for. If exciting is the byproduct of being productive, the club will take it. Eaton and Abreu have been able to show their value this season, and Garcia seems to have picked up where he left off when he batted a team-leading .304 from Aug. 9 last year until the end of the season.

In the eight games since he has returned, Garcia was batting just .214 before Tuesday, but his slugging percentage was .500, with two doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs. Perhaps Eaton’s return agrees with Garcia, who had a two-run double among his two hits Tuesday.

“I think Avisail Garcia is one of the more interesting young players in the league,” Indians manager Terry Francona said at the start of the current three-game series. “When they got him, I remember thinking, ‘Boy, that’s a hell of a [player],’ because he’s a really interesting young player. I mean, he runs so much better than people think he can, and there’s power in that bat and he can play all the outfield positions.

“He’s got a chance to be a really good player. And from our side of it, I guess we hope he’s not really ready to be hot and help them. And Eaton gives them kind of that spark at the top of the order. And then Abreu, being that like monster bat in the middle, man they’ve really helped their lineup a lot.

In fact, each member of the White Sox’s three-man offensive core had a hit Tuesday with Abreu picking up a hit and two walks, while Eaton had an RBI single in the fifth inning.

“It is nice,” manager Robin Ventura said of Eaton’s return from the DL. “I think any time you need a shot in the arm, it’s nice to have a guy that was in the middle of it when he was playing. I think any time you get back to some sort of normalness it’s nice, but you’re looking at a time when we haven’t really had him and Avi together very much, so it will hopefully be nice to watch.”

The White Sox’s offense had been stuck in the mud without Eaton. It scored three runs or less in 14 of its last 17 games before Tuesday, and the club went 4-9 without its leadoff man. Eaton was hitting .435 (37-for-85) in his last 22 games before he was injured.

With another offseason approaching and the White Sox still in roster-rebuild mode, the front office wants to use the impact acquisitions from last winter as a guide when moving into the colder months this year.

“That's absolutely our intent,” Hahn said of making more impact moves this offseason. “We obviously can't guarantee we're going to be able to make 'X' number of moves, and we're going to be able to hit on as high as percentage of our targets as we did last year, but it's certainly our goal to address ideally all of what we feel are our needs, before they shift, as quickly as possible.

“It has never been about, 'Hey, we got two things done, so we're good.' The fact of the matter is we didn't get everything done last offseason as we wanted to do, and we look forward to the chance coming up in the coming weeks, where we're able to get a little more aggressive in pursuing some answers out there.”

Series preview: White Sox at Giants

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
2:14
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
A struggling Chicago White Sox team has just the right guy on the mound Tuesday night as Chris Sale is set to pitch against the San Francisco Giants.

The White Sox are playing their last two interleague games of the season on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon against the Giants, and Sale is 3-0 lifetime with a 2.52 ERA in six starts against National League teams.

In fact, the last time he pitched in an interleague game, Sale earned the victory over the Giants on June 18 when he gave up three earned runs over six innings.

Sale is also coming off just his second defeat of the season, though. He gave up just two runs on three hits over six innings Wednesday against the Texas Rangers so that defeat was more a result of the White Sox being held down by Rangers pitching.

Sale is 10-2 with a 2.14 ERA this season and is making a Cy Young Award push, despite spending time on the disabled list earlier this season with a sore arm muscle.

On the road this season, Sale is 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA over six starts, five of which have been quality. Sale also has 39 strikeouts in those six road outings.

HEAD TO HEAD



The only active White Sox player who has faced Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong is Adam Dunn, who is 2-for-6 against the right-hander, with a home run and four walks. ... Giants starter Jake Peavy faced the White Sox on April 15 as a member of the Red Sox, giving up just one run on three hits with eight strikeouts over six innings against his former team, as Dunn hit a third-inning home run. ... White Sox starter Scott Carroll, who has never faced the Giants, is 0-1 in two outings against National League teams this season, with a 8.22 ERA. The Giants’ Buster Posey is 2-for-2 against Sale, while Gregor Blanco is 3-for-5.

NOTES



The White Sox have lost five of their past six games and seven of their last nine. ... The White Sox have been outscored 60-17 over their last eight games, totals that show the White Sox’s issues are in more than one area. ... After going 1-for-4 on Sunday at Seattle, Jose Abreu has a hit 28 of his past 29 road games and is batting .391 over that stretch with nine home runs and 24 RBIs. ... The White Sox are now 1-3 over a stretch of 15 consecutive games where they will face teams with winning records. They also have 19 of their last 22 games in August against teams above .500. ... The White Sox are 31-28 against teams with winning runs this season and 25-35 against teams under .500. ... The White Sox's Conor Gillaspie enters the series against his former organization with a .318 batting average, seventh best in the American League, and a .362 on-base percentage that is 17th best in the AL.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Tuesday: White Sox LH Chris Sale (10-2, 2.14 ERA) vs. Giants RH Ryan Vogelsong (7-8, 3.77), 9:15 p.m. CST
Wednesday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (4-7, 4.81) vs. Giants RH Jake Peavy (0-3, 4.82), 2:45 p.m. CST

White Sox stand pat as deadline passes

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
6:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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DETROIT – A Chicago White Sox team still in the midst of a roster rebuild was unable to take advantage of trade deadline player movement Thursday.

Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo and John Danks were all trade possibilities, but no deals went down. The asking price on Alexei Ramirez was said to be too high for suitors, while Adam Dunn remains a possibility to be moved during the trade waivers period in August.

“If there was something there we would have done something,” manager Robin Ventura said. “We know people are making moves all over the place, but like (what was) said earlier, we probably expected to have these guys in here today and tomorrow, and that’s what we’ve got.”

At this point last year, the White Sox had already added Avisail Garcia, doing it July 30 when Jake Peavy was sent to the Boston Red Sox. In August of last year, the White Sox pulled off a move that sent Alex Rios to the Rangers. That deal not only freed up some cash, but also brought back Leury Garcia in return.

In the offseason, center fielder and leadoff man Adam Eaton was brought into the mix via trade and Jose Abreu was signed. The White Sox also traded closer Addison Reed for third baseman Matt Davidson, but that move has yet to yield a return since Davidson remains at Triple-A Charlotte.

The White Sox still have areas of the roster that could use bolstering. Their bullpen has gone through some difficult times and the back end of the rotation has proved to be vulnerable. Moving forward, the White Sox still need to decide if Viciedo is the answer in left field and if Tyler Flowers is their guy at catcher.

None of those needs were met Thursday, but it didn’t mean the White Sox would not see the awkward trade process first-hand. In the seventh inning, with Beckham at the plate, the Tigers pulled center fielder Austin Jackson out of the game because he had been traded to the Seattle Mariners.

Tigers starter Drew Smyly already had been told that he was headed to the Tampa Bay Rays, with former Cy Young Award winner David Price headed to Detroit.

“It was odd,” Ventura said. “At first I thought the pitcher might have been hurt, but we’ve seen that before when deals were going down. I don’t know how many minutes it was before (the deadline). But when you see that happen, I’m sure it’s weird for them. It’s odd in the middle of the game even for their team to have that happen. You can tell it affects some guys.”

An inning after the trade, the White Sox added two runs to help wrap up a 7-4 victory.

Beckham, who acknowledged that the past few weeks have been awkward, looked comfortable when he doubled in a run in the second inning. But, otherwise, the White Sox have insisted that nobody was feeling any trade-deadline pressures.

“Truthfully, it wasn’t even a topic of conversation in here between anybody,” Danks said. “There’s nothing anybody can do about it. It’s part of the game, and, yeah, I don’t think that had any effect on any of us, to be honest.”

Now comes August, when players who go through trade waivers can be moved. The restrictive nature of the process tends to reduce the anxiousness.

“The deadline doesn’t mean you can’t get (a trade) done,” said Dunn, who could end up being an August target of a team in need of left-handed power. “If you are worried about that, you aren’t worried about what you are supposed to be worried about. I mean, personally, I don’t ever think about it. I know a lot of times a lot of guys read stuff they probably shouldn’t read and start believing it.”

While Thursday brought the official end to this deadline, indications are that White Sox players knew there might not be a deal as far back as a week and a half ago. It could help to explain the 5-2 record on their just-concluded road trip to Minnesota and Detroit, as well as their eight victories in 13 games since the All-Star break.

“They were pretty good today as far as being able to not really pay attention to it,” Ventura said of his team that pounded out 16 hits. “I think even this road trip, two weeks ago it was probably in their head a little bit, and this road trip was good.”

Now comes a six-game homestand against Minnesota and Texas and maybe a chance for some guys to cancel that pending order for moving boxes.

“It ended on a good note,” Ventura said of the road trip. “Guys swung the bat today, even early on putting pressure on. And you’ve got a guy like Moises (Sierra) swinging like he did. Any time the bottom of your order is swinging like that you have a chance to score some runs. I wouldn’t say (Danks) was particularly sharp, but we battled through it.”

White Sox taking trade deadline in stride

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
10:14
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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DETROIT -- On the one-year anniversary of Jake Peavy’s trade to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, all was quiet with the Chicago White Sox.

That 2013 trade, which is now fondly known as the deal that brought Avisail Garcia to the South Side, signaled the start of the White Sox’s current roster rebuild, which is in full swing with Jose Abreu at first base and Adam Eaton in center and at the leadoff spot.

It also was announced Wednesday that Garcia is headed out on a minor league rehab assignment, with a return later this season still possible.

With this year’s non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching at 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, the White Sox don’t look to be in position to make much of a splash.

Gordon Beckham’s struggles, which have lasted well more than a month now, have crashed his market.

Dayan Viciedo had off-and-on interest, John Danks won’t yield both the salary relief combined with the prospect the White Sox are looking for, and nobody is willing to meet a steep price on Alexei Ramirez.

Adam Dunn is more likely to be moved in August through trade waivers, if at all, than in July.

If teams want to buy what the White Sox are selling, perhaps a final-day agreement can be brokered. Nothing pushes a deal to fruition like a set deadline.

After Wednesday’s 7-2 defeat to the Detroit Tigers, Beckham said the passing of the trade deadline will take a weight off his shoulder. But he added that he still has plenty more to deal with if he wants to start being productive again.

“I’m definitely not going to blame my struggles on the trade deadline; it is what it is,” Beckham said. “It’s been a little different, but you know what, I mean, honestly, I played so bad, unfortunately, I don’t know how much of a chance the White Sox have to trade me. So, that’s the unfortunate thing for them."

Teams interested in second basemen, such as the San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays, did have scouts in Detroit this week. But Beckham wasn't feeling like a wanted man.

“Obviously, I hold myself to a high standard and really haven’t achieved that this month," he said. "It’s just been frustrating. We’ll see what happens and go on to August.”

In regard to the deadline, White Sox manager Robin Ventura was asked which would be better: To know who he has on the roster moving to August? Or to not have to be asked trade questions any longer?

“Probably being asked about it,” Ventura said. “At this point, I expect the faces we have in there I will see the next few days. So just keep playing.”

The White Sox were handcuffed by Tigers starter Max Scherzer on Wednesday, but the day before their bats delivered a double-digit run total in an easy victory. That kind of game on Tuesday would not have been possible for the White Sox around last year’s deadline, as stress and uncertainty seemed to rule each day.

“Last year was different,” Ventura said. “This year, guys aren’t really concerned about it. I think they were a few weeks ago. Right now, it seems like a little bit lighter mood than it was when there was a lot of talk two weeks ago. It’s a little quieter right now. And I think guys are pretty loose for it being the trade deadline.”

Extra Bases: Deadline offers less trepidation

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
9:00
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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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?

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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?

Keppinger cut shows Sox mean business

May, 14, 2014
May 14
4:06
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Jeff KeppingerKelvin Kuo/USA TODAY SportsJeff Keppinger didn't live up to the expections the Sox had when they signed him before the 2012 season.
Hungry to continue their roster rebuild, the Chicago White Sox elected to eat some salary with Wednesday’s decision to designate Jeff Keppinger for assignment.

Talk about your changes in company policy.

When the White Sox were in sell-off mode last season, a big priority in making deals was finding trade partners who were willing to take most, if not all, of a player’s entire salary in a deal. With the Jake Peavy and Alex Rios deals, not to mention the Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton trades, the White Sox shed some $37 million-plus in future earnings, making that savings as attractive as the players who were being acquired.

What Wednesday’s move seems to signify is that guaranteed at-bats for infielders like Conor Gillaspie, Marcus Semien, and even Gordon Beckham, are worth the estimated $7.5 million the White Sox are set to pay Keppinger through the 2015 season.

(Read full post)

Reed didn't take trade personally

May, 9, 2014
May 9
8:16
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- As a closer, Addison Reed's job is to roll with the punches, so he met the winter trade that sent him from the Chicago White Sox to the Arizona Diamondbacks with his own brand of resiliency.

He does not, however, feel that he was being made a scapegoat for some of the White Sox troubles last season in being shipped off in exchange for infielder Matt Davidson.

“I didn’t take it personal, didn’t think that it was my fault,” Reed said Friday during his first trip to U.S. Cellular Field as a visiting player. “They needed a guy who could play third base and Davidson, he’s a heck of a player. He’s really good. I didn’t take it personal. I didn’t think it was my fault. It was just a trade and I’m glad to be here now.”

Reed was prepared for the possibility of being traded even before last season ended. Roster changes already were underway, with players including Jake Peavy and Alex Rios being moved to new teams.

[+] EnlargeAddison Reed
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsAddison Reed has 10 saves in 11 chances for Arizona, though he entered Friday with a 4.08 ERA.
“It seems like everybody that started the year with that team wasn’t on it at the end of the year,” Reed said. “It was a whole new clubhouse but that’s what happens when things go bad. You’ve got to make some changes and I don’t remember how many people were traded, but I remember at the trade deadline coming into the clubhouse and every day it seemed like there was somebody new in the clubhouse.”

Typically a traded player can return to his old ballpark the next season and catch up with friends, but the White Sox offseason bullpen overhaul didn’t really allow for that. Because Nate Jones is out with an injury, Matt Lindstrom is the only White Sox reliever with whom Reed spent significant time.

“I kind of wanted to brace myself for [a trade] because I was so close with everybody there,” Reed said. “I knew that there was a possibility I might be getting traded. I was trying to brace myself and look at all the positive ways I could. It’s part of the game, it’s part of the business.

“I don’t like to say this, because hopefully that’s the only time you’re going to get traded, but the way baseball goes, guys are traded three or four times in their career. So after the first one I don’t think it will be as difficult if it happens again.”

Reed continues to save games in his own tightrope fashion. He has 10 saves in 11 chances, but he also has a 4.08 ERA and two losses in 18 appearances. Opponents have hit four home runs off him this season, and the right-hander even seems to have abandoned his slider in stretches.

If there was one thing Reed was always good at, it was forgetting about yesterday’s outing, good or bad, and moving on to today. He seems to have used the same mindset after the trade.

“Guys in this clubhouse are awesome, coaches are unbelievable,” Reed said. “It’s the same as [with the White Sox]. There’s not one guy that I don’t like. It’s kind of a like a family atmosphere kind of like it was over in the White Sox clubhouse. Everybody gets along with each other and you have open communication with the coaches.

“The biggest thing is you get to live in Arizona year-round now. It’s a plus. That was the weirdest thing, after spring training ended, everybody’s getting on planes to go to their city, and I drove home just like any other day. That was really nice, but it’s gone well. It has been a smooth transition.”

Dunn hits HR; Peavy says bat broke

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
10:00
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Perhaps over postgame refreshments late Tuesday night, Adam Dunn told his buddy Jake Peavy exactly how he was able to take him deep for a home run Tuesday.

Peavy, who was starting for the Boston Red Sox, probably didn’t want to hear anything about it, especially since he thought he actually had his former Chicago White Sox teammate beat.

“I mean his bat broke; we broke his bat,” Peavy said after his first start at U.S. Cellular Field since the White Sox traded him to the Red Sox in a three-team trade July 30. “You normally will take your chances when that happens. Most people aren't as strong as he is. He always said this ballpark played big to fair, and I'm going to go ahead and go on the record and have fun with him tonight, tell him that in big to fair ballparks, broken-bat homers don't get out.”

It didn’t get any better for Peavy and his Red Sox teammates. The White Sox scored a run on an error in the ninth inning to walk off with a 2-1 victory.

Peas in a pod when they were with the White Sox, Dunn admitted that the matchup against Peavy was a bit awkward. But it didn’t take much for the meeting to turn businesslike.

By the end of the first at-bat, Dunn had taken Peavy into the seats in right field.

“It’s weird, but it’s only weird early,” Dunn admitted. “Then after one pitch it’s kind of, ‘All right, you really are trying to get me out’ kind of deal. I think the competiveness takes over.”

The career numbers reveal Dunn has had a tough time against Peavy. He entered 5-for-31 with 11 strikeouts. But in the previous three games he had been 5-for-11 with two doubles. Even with the recent success, Dunn was not going to claim bragging rights.

“Yeah, first of all, you haven’t checked the numbers because I have no bragging right against him,” Dunn said. “But, yeah, that was a good win and seemed like we kind of let him off the hook in the second and third inning. And whenever you let a guy like that who’s got stuff like he’s got off the hook, it can be a long night ... and it was for the most part.”

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 2, Red Sox 1

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
11:02
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox pulled off their second consecutive walk-off victory, beating the Boston Red Sox 2-1 on Tuesday.

How it happened: Alexei Ramirez scored the winning run on a throwing error by Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts that first baseman Mike Carp was unable to dig out of the dirt. Rookie starter Erik Johnson gave up only one run on a home run by Daniel Nava in the fourth inning. Former White Sox starter Jake Peavy went six innings, giving up a run and three hits. That run came on Adam Dunn's third home run of the season, a blast into the right-field seats in the second inning. Peavy was over the 50-pitch mark after two innings but settled down to throw 113 in his six innings.

What it means: The rotation's next generation met the former generation and Johnson was able to deliver the best outing of his young career. The right-hander went toe-to-toe with Peavy by setting a career high with nine strikeouts and matching a career best with 6 2/3 innings. In two starts against the White Sox since joining the Red Sox, Peavy has given up a combined three runs over 13 innings.

Outside the box: White Sox manager Robin Ventura issued an unsuccessful replay challenge in the second inning. Jose Abreu appeared safe at first base when the Red Sox's Mike Napoli seemed to pull his foot off the bag, but replays were inconclusive and Abreu remained out. The play was even more costly for the White Sox when Dunn followed with his solo home run -- which would have produced two scores had the call been overturned.

Offbeat: Peavy and Dunn were very close when they played together for the White Sox. So Dunn's home run will give him bragging rights when they hang out again. The next time up, Peavy walked his buddy. And to let him know he was keeping an eye on him, Peavy threw over to first base, twice, even though Dunn was essentially standing on the bag the whole time.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander John Danks (1-0, 4.15 ERA) to the mound Wednesday against the Red Sox in the middle game of the series. Boston will counter with left-hander Clay Buchholz (0-1, 6.97) in the 7:10 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Series preview: Red Sox at White Sox

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
1:31
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Jake PeavyAP Photo/Elise AmendolaJake Peavy has a 2.13 ERA in two starts this season with the Red Sox.
CHICAGO -- The early-season tests only get harder for the Chicago White Sox as the World Series champion Boston Red Sox roll into U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday for a three-game series.

Along with the opportunity to measure themselves against last year's best, this series also represents the return of Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski.

The sometimes contentious battery mates on the South Side came to Boston from different routes. Peavy was traded to Boston on July 30 of last year as the White Sox roster reshaping began in earnest. A three-team deal, that also included the Detroit Tigers, had Peavy going to Boston, Avisail Garcia going to the White Sox and infielder Jose Iglesias going to Detroit.

In an odd twist, it is the youngsters Garcia and Iglesias who are out with injuries, while the often-injured Peavy is going strong with a 2.13 ERA in the early part of the season.

Pierzynski signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox this offseason after finishing up a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers last season. The durable catcher played in another 134 games last season, while collecting 529 at-bats. He batted a solid .272 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs. In 11 games this year, he is batting .314 with one home run and four RBIs.

While the setting might look the same to both former White Sox players, the product on the field will certainly require a double-take. Aside from stretches in 2012, the White Sox have struggled to put runners on base and to deliver the clutch hit. The 2014 White Sox have been the antithesis of that.

Heading into Tuesday night's series opener, the White Sox lead all of baseball in runs scored with 80, on-base percentage at .356 and are second in OPS at .816. Alexei Ramirez leads the AL in hitting with a .420 batting average, a whopping 35 points higher than the next closest player, the Minnesota Tiwns' Jason Kubel. Ramirez also leads in hits (21) and OPS (1.143).

Peavy will pitch in the series opener Tuesday and after his outing is finished he can resume his friendship with a number of players on the White Sox. Starting Wednesday he will get a chance to watch his old buddies from his former rotation take the mound.

"I told Chris Sale, 'I know you wanted Old Man Peavy but you're going to get our left-hander [Jon Lester] Thursday night," Sale told ESPNBoston.com. "If you want to be the best left-hander in the league, you got to surpass this guy that we're throwing at you.

"Chris Sale is such a good kid, one of my dear, dear buddies. I pull for him, keep in contact with him on a weekly basis. I tried to be the best role model I could be, the best friend I could be period. He's young, kind of in the same place I was. He had a son at a very young age, we kind of walked through the same path of life. Both from the South, him Florida, me Alabama, we hit it off.

"Johnny Danks, the same way. The three of us are really close."

Pierzynski remains a fan favorite on the South Side, and his bond to Chicago, which started in 2005, remains strong.

"I don't think you can beat Chicago in a lot of things," Pierzynski said. "Lake Shore Drive is about as good as it gets. The city's clean. Nice people, they look out for you and take care of you."

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Paul Konerko could start in Wednesday's game, especially since Clay Buchholz will be on the mound for the Red Sox. Konerko is 7-for-15 (.467) lifetime against the left-hander with a home run, three RBIs and two walks. ... The Red Sox's Mike Napoli has 27 career at-bats against Danks, who is scheduled to start Wednesday, and has 13 strikeouts with a .222 batting average. ... Peavy and Adam Dunn are good friends. So how have they fared against each other? Dunn is 5-for-11 with two doubles in his last three games against Peavy, but just 5-for-31 with 11 strikeouts lifetime.

NOTES



Alexei Ramirez has a hit in all 13 White Sox games this season and needs a hit in two more games to tie Frank Thomas' club record for longest hit streak to open a season. ... White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton has multiple hits in five consecutive games, the longest such streak for the team since Alex Rios did the same in 2012. ... Conor Gillaspie is on an 11-game hitting streak. ... Jose Abreu has four home runs and 14 RBIs for the White Sox, but is just 1-for-11 over his past three games. ... Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedrioa (wrist) and closer Koji Uehara (shoulder) are day to day. ... The Red Sox won last year's series 4-2 and have won 12 of the past 16 games played between the teams going back to 2011.


PITCHING MATCHUPS



Tuesday: Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy (0-0, 2.13 ERA) will face White Sox right-hander Erik Johnson (0-1, 9.58).
Wednesday: Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz (0-1, 6.97) will face White Sox left-hander John Danks (1-0, 4.15).
Thursday: Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester (1-2, 2.57) will face White Sox left-hander Chris Sale (3-0, 2.66).

Year in review: Best and worst of 2013

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
11:47
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Avisail GarciaDavid Banks/Getty ImagesThe arrival of Avisail Garcia this summer was the start, in earnest, of the White Sox's rebuilding plan.
CHICAGO -- It stands to reason that a 99-loss season would carry more disappointment than joy, as the Chicago White Sox came nowhere near expectations in 2013.

The Detroit Tigers were expected to be the class of the American League Central, but the White Sox figured to at least put up more of a fight than they did. And when it came to the White Sox's fight, the Cleveland Indians saw none of it while dominating the season series in historic proportions.

The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline presented mental challenges as the White Sox plummeted toward rock bottom in a miserable season, but reason for hope arrived in the first of multiple player acquisitions over the next six months that were designed to reshape an aging and flawed roster.

BEST MOMENTS

5. Dressed to impress: You know it's a bad year when the alternate uniforms are a highlight. The White Sox used home Sunday games to sport their "Winning Ugly" duds from the 1983 season, creating a new adage that if you can't play well, you might as well look good. The uniforms were a hit with the players as well, with Jake Peavy electing to wear them for what he expected to be his last outing with the White Sox. The White Sox actually earned a 7-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers in that July 25 game. Peavy was traded five days later.

4. Pick six: Alex Rios went on a hit parade on July 9 at Detroit, collecting six hits in a nine-inning game to tie an American League and a White Sox record. The season was long lost at that point, but the offensive uprising provided at least a little bit of convincing for trade suitors that Rios could help their cause. On Aug. 9, the White Sox moved Rios to the Texas Rangers in a deal that brought them speedy infielder Leury Garcia, while also providing $16 million in current and future salary relief.

[+] EnlargeJose Abreu
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastThe White Sox signed Jose Abreu this offseason and hope he can add some power to the lineup.
3. Spending plan: Shedding salary was key in opening the checkbook again to sign Cuban slugger Jose Abreu. Sure, the jury is still out on the power hitter, but many reports say he grades out as a better overall hitter than both Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. His signing would not have come without unloading massive amounts of cash from the Rios and Jake Peavy trades, not to mention the expiring contracts of guys such as Gavin Floyd and Jesse Crain, and the pay reduction that came from Paul Konerko's new one-year deal. Not only were the White Sox able to take a chance on Abreu at $68 million, they are also poised to spend far less than they did in 2014, leaving them more room to rebuild the roster in the near future.

2. Setting sale: So much for that bounce year in 2013 that some predicted after Chris Sale dramatically increased his innings total the previous season. The staff ace went from 192 innings in 2012 to 214 1/3 this past season while turning in a nearly identical 3.07 ERA as he did the year before (3.05). He finished fifth in the Cy Young Award voting despite his 11-14 record that was mostly run-support influenced, and his four complete games were tied for the AL lead. Add to all that Sale’s two scoreless innings in the All-Star Game as he became the first White Sox pitcher to post a victory in the contest since Mark Buehrle in 2005.

1. Let the rebuild begin: Sifting through the rubble of their lost season, the White Sox's front office was able to cobble together some remaining valuable pieces and use them to start over. Although other deals already had been made, the rebuild really started to take shape July 30 when Avisail Garcia arrived, from the division rival Detroit Tigers no less, with the White Sox sending Peavy to the Boston Red Sox in a three-team deal. Garcia settled in quickly, delivering a .304 batting average in 42 games with a .447 slugging percentage. His 21 RBIs over the final two months projected out to 81 over a full season, not bad on a team that struggled to put together scoring threats.

WORST MOMENTS

5. Cleveland rocked: In winning only twice against the Indians in 19 chances, the White Sox posted their worst record and most loses against Cleveland in a season-series. Thanks to the White Sox, the Indians were actually in playoff contention late in the season. The low point during a 14-game losing streak to the Indians: Dropping a doubleheader by scores of 19-10 and 9-8 with the agony lasting 7 hours, 53 minutes to set a major league record for time in an 18-inning twinbill.

4. Empty-handed Quintana: Pitcher Jose Quintana is a prime example of why it's dangerous to judge a pitcher by his win-loss record. The left-hander was 9-7 over 33 starts, leaving him with an American League record 17 no-decisions, despite posting an impressive 3.51 ERA. Blame a lack of run support for his issues. How bad was it? Three separate times in 2013 he delivered seven scoreless innings only to be left with a no-decision each time. In June, he became the first pitcher in American League history to start six games in a month and not get a decision in any of the outings.

3. Leaky defense: The best defense in the major leagues in 2012 was nearly the worst in 2013 as the White Sox finished with a .980 fielding percentage (121 errors), a year after posting a .9883 mark (70 errors). The White Sox's 2013 fielding percentage left them 29th in baseball with only the Houston Astros (.979) worse. The White Sox were nearly the first team since the 1915 Philadelphia A's to go from the best fielding percentage one year to the worst in the next season.

2. Aches and pains: Before the season started, the White Sox used the disabled list less than anybody in baseball over the previous 12 seasons, and the next best team in the category wasn't even close. Apparently the law of averages caught up with them in 2013. Injuries to Floyd and Crain provided challenges for the pitching staff, while position players Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo and Konerko all lost time. The White Sox used the disabled list 13 times during the season. Konerko mainly dealt with a lower back problem but actually had multiple issues that led to 14 fewer home runs and 21 fewer RBIs than in 2012, and a whopping 19 home runs and 51 RBIs fewer than he had in 2011.

1. Broken bats: The firing of hitting coach Jeff Manto hardly came as a surprise after the White Sox coughed and sputtered their way to the 11th worst batting average (.249) in the AL, the 14th worst on-base percentage (.302) and the 13th worst slugging percentage (.378). They were also last in walks with 411. Always a team that could knock the ball out of the park when it had to, the White Sox finished with 148 home runs, with only the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals posting a lower total. It's no surprise that the White Sox's rebuild has included power guys such as Garcia, Abreu and Matt Davidson.

Sox starting the slow rise from the ashes

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
5:39
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Finally elevated enough to be able to look down at rock bottom, the Chicago White Sox were able lament Wednesday's missed opportunities against the Detroit Tigers while still knowing that a better brand of baseball has arrived.

The White Sox just completed their first winning homestand in three months, and while it might not prove that things are permanently on the rise, it is finally a sign that the club wasn't as bad as their recent 10-game losing streak, and 13 defeats in 14 games suggested.

Bottoming out never is a graceful thing to do, and the healing process can have its issues as well, but in going 6-4 in the last 10 home games, the White Sox look to be in a better place, even though they lost four veterans in trades and, more recently, just left 15 runners on base in a 6-4 defeat to the Tigers on Wednesday.

"It's kind of a different team right now," manager Robin Ventura said. "We have some new players and it becomes a different mix of who you're playing. It's good. It's good they're starting out this way."

(Read full post)

Rienzo accepts torch from Peavy

August, 1, 2013
8/01/13
11:16
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Andre Reinzo AP Photo/Tony DejakAndre Rienzo, who takes over Jake Peavy's spot in the rotation, is scheduled to start Sunday in Detroit.
CLEVELAND -- Before Jake Peavy departed for Boston, he bestowed one last gift on the Chicago White Sox and Andre Rienzo will be forever grateful.

The former White Sox veteran pitcher pulled aside the young kid who now owns his spot in the White Sox's rotation and became a calming influence.

Rienzo admitted that his mind was spinning and with his energetic nature, the Brazil native was simply too hyped up to relax. Peavy helped ease the process for Rienzo.

"Man, Jake what I can say about Jake?" Rienzo said Thursday. "Jake is an unbelievable pitcher and an unbelievable person. Before the game he calmed me and said what [hitters] like, what kind of balls and how to pitch them. He's an unbelievable guy and the little time I have with Jake, I learned a lot. He helped me a lot."

(Read full post)

White Sox need more than a tuneup

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
10:22
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CLEVELAND -- Like that old clunker in the driveway, the Chicago White Sox are dusty, with chipped paint and four flat tires.

If Tuesday night's Jake Peavy trade started the process of finding new parts to make "Old Reliable" purr again, Wednesday was the night to realize just how trying it will be to complete the rebuild.

The White Sox probably are not as bad as their current run of six consecutive defeats and losses in nine of their past 10 games, but they also aren’t ready to dominate any time soon.

Addison Reed, who has proved to be vulnerable of late, coughed up two ninth-inning runs after the White Sox had scored two of their own in the top of the inning, and Dylan Axelrod gave up the game-winning home run to the Indians' Carlos Santana, the first batter he had faced in eight days.

The concept was that once the non-waiver trade deadline passed, the White Sox might be a relaxed team again with no more uncertainty. The reality is they are all over the place, with an inconsistent offense and a bullpen that is showing the kind of cracks it did when it got off to a slow start to the season.

After trading pitchers Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Peavy, the White Sox need to work their way into a flow again, so at the very least the front office can get a better assessment of what kind of players it has heading toward the offseason, when more rebuilding will occur.

The bullpen was supposed to be the strength of the club, with Reed locking down the ninth inning after Nate Jones had cleaned up the eighth. In the end, it was a tall order for a pair of young pitchers who are still expected to anchor the relief corps moving forward.

Wednesday was Reed’s fifth blown save in 31 tries, with the Indians proving to be a particularly difficult endeavor. He not only gave up the tying runs in the ninth on Wednesday, but also gave up four runs to Cleveland on June 28 in a defeat during the second game of a doubleheader.

Reed has looked out of sync of late while not getting regular chances to close games during the White Sox’s struggles. But on Wednesday he made no excuses.

“I feel great,” Reed said. “Things aren’t working out the way I want them to.”

Things aren’t working out how anybody with the White Sox wants them to, and now the Sox will move forward with a roster that is missing three veteran pitchers.

“There’s no answer,” Reed said. “When things are going bad, they’re going bad. It’s something new every night. Tonight, it was 100 percent my fault. Just got to hang with them and get after them tomorrow.”

For the White Sox, it’s all about tomorrow and getting that former prized possession back on the road again.

“I don’t think any of us have an answer for it or else we would have changed and figured it out,” Reed said. “It’s part of the game. I wish I knew how to fix it or what to do about it.”

White Sox not finished paying Peavy

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
5:52
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CLEVELAND -- The Chicago White Sox aren't exactly free and clear when it comes to paying Jake Peavy for services rendered.

The White Sox traded Peavy to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night in a three-team that also included the Detroit Tigers. Part of the deal stipulated that the Red Sox pick up all of the remaining money owed to Peavy, who is still must be paid a third of the $14.5 million he is making this year and all of the $14.5 million he is owed next year.

There remains another $4 million, though, that the White Sox will still be paying to their former pitcher. When Peavy's contract was renegotiated by the White Sox shortly after the 2012 season, the White Sox bought out the $4 million option from his old contract.

They then agreed to defer it in four $1 million installments that run from 2016 to 2019. The Red Sox are not picking up that money.

"That was earned at the time of the contract and that's the obligation of the Chicago White Sox," Hahn said. "That's like a signing bonus. He's already earned that money, but in terms of his annual salaries, no cash went with that to Boston."

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.17 208 174
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .317
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208