Chicago White Sox: John Danks

White Sox stand pat as deadline passes

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
6:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
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.”

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 7, Tigers 4

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
4:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
video
 
DETROIT -- The Chicago White Sox pulled out a 7-4 victory Thursday to complete their series victory over the Detroit Tigers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game to take minds off deadline

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
12:15
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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DETROIT -- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura had the lineup posted early outside the clubhouse doors and the names of all the usual suspects were written in black permanent marker.

There are no definitives when it comes to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but as the White Sox sat a few hours before moves were supposed to be completed, a sense of calm permeated the locker room that earlier in the month had an edge to it.

[+] EnlargeJohn Danks
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsWith the trade deadline looming, John Danks took the mound for the White Sox on Thursday.
At one point well in advance of Thursday’s afternoon game with the Detroit Tigers, when manager Robin Ventura entered the clubhouse his presence elicited a mock warning alarm from a table that consisted of Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo.

It got a grin out of Ventura, who was not there to tap a player on the shoulder and tell him to pack his bag. Discussion of the morning’s trade between the Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox was airing nearby on a television.

“I can mess with you guys, but I expect these guys to all be here,” Ventura said. “The lineup is the lineup today, unless something happens. I’ll find out then.”

Ventura’s plan to “mess with” the media, and perhaps some players, was to take the lineup card down and rewrite a new one with some names missing.

“It looks like (A’s general manager) Billy Beane had his coffee on early this morning; he’s doing most of (the trade activity). You can mess with the guys if you want to, but I’ll let the players do that. They like doing that to each other.”

John Danks was mentioned in rumors this month, with the New York Yankees possibly interested, but he warned up and took the mound in the first inning, lessening chances a deal was coming. Gordon Beckham, whose days seem to be numbered with a healthy amount of second base prospects in the organization, was in the lineup as well.

Ramirez, Viciedo, and anybody else who popped up in a rumor this month was on the field playing out the last hours before the deadline.

“It is what it is,” Beckham said about the deadline. “I mean, it’s just another day, you know. ... Yeah, it will feel good to get that behind us.”

It doesn’t mean the opportunities for deals are done. If the roster remains intact by the end of Thursday, there is always trade waivers in August. Beckham, Viciedo and even Adam Dunn could all be traded then, depending on teams’ stretch-drive needs.

But Thursday is the day that players always sweat the most.

“For them it would be good (to get past the deadline),” Ventura said. “Even for us, we’re just talking about stuff that’s all hypothetical and you don’t know what it really holds. Everybody is going to be happy to get by (this day).”

White Sox taking trade deadline in stride

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
10:14
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
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.”

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 7, White Sox 2

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
9:28
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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video

DETROIT -- The Chicago White Sox fell 7-2 to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday to even their three-game series.

How it happened: A 29-minute delay at the outset was the only thing keeping the White Sox in this one, as the Tigers emerged with a six-run first inning off Hector Noesi. The Tigers sent 11 batters to the plate in the opening frame. A day after the White Sox offense scored 11 runs against the Tigers, Chicago batters were held to seven hits against Tigers starter Max Scherzer. Adam Dunn hit a home run -- his 17th -- in the ninth inning.

What it means: So much for trying to sneak up on the .500 mark. The White Sox were aiming to move two games under .500 for the first time since June 18, when they were 35-37. Now, they stand at 52-56 after winning four times in their past six games and seven times in their past 12.

Outside the box: Jose Abreu managed to make even more noise Wednesday by extending his hitting streak to 19 games. It is tied for the third-longest hitting streak by a White Sox rookie behind the 26 games from Guy Curtright in 1943 and the 24 from Chico Carrasquel in 1950. Abreu has a hit in 37 of his past 38 games, going 0-for-4 in a July 5 contest against the Seattle Mariners.

Offbeat: It might have been an awful first inning for Noesi, but the White Sox starter could not have had an easier fourth inning. The White Sox right-hander needed just three pitches to get out of the fourth, and he even gave up a hit in the process. Miguel Cabrera singled, Victor Martinez grounded into a double play and Torii Hunter lined out. Noesi gave up one run on four hits over his last four innings of work.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander John Danks (9-6, 4.40 ERA) to the mound Thursday in the series finale. The Tigers will counter with left-hander Drew Smyly (6-9, 3.77) in the 12:08 p.m. CT start from Comerica Park.

Series preview: White Sox at Twins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEAD TO HEAD


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

NOTES


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

PITCHING MATCHUPS



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

Series preview: Royals at White Sox

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
11:22
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox will return to American League Central play this week, set on tracking down not one, but two break-even points in the standings.

The White Sox will play host to the Kansas City Royals for a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field starting Monday night with a 17-21 record in division play and a 47-51 overall record.

Monday's game is the start of a 13-game run all against AL Central rivals. After the Royals, the White Sox will head to Minnesota and Detroit, before coming home to start August with a series against the Twins.

The White Sox are currently nine games behind the first-place Tigers in the AL Central, but are just two games behind the third-place Royals. The Cleveland Indians are 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers in second place.

"(Division games) are very important, and we see it as such, especially when you're playing with guys ahead of you," leadoff man Adam Eaton said. "I'm not sure where we rank right now, but they're very important, and we'll continue to battle day in and day out and take the same approach as we did today, yesterday and the day before: Good pitching and timely hitting."

John Danks had a rocky start Sunday against the Houston Astros, but likes the team's chances in the kickoff game against division foes Monday.

"We've got to win all the games we can," Danks said. "We've dug a little hole in the first half. There's plenty of baseball left, but we've got to get on a roll. We've got the right guy going Monday."

That "right guy" is left-hander Chris Sale, who will bring an 8-1 record and a 2.08 ERA into his first start since appearing in last week's All-Star Game.

HEAD TO HEAD



The White Sox's Alexei Ramirez is just 8-for-45 (.178) against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie in his career, while Adam Eaton is 3-for-7 (.429) with two walks. ... If it seems that Royals starter Bruce Chen is always matched up against the White Sox, he must feel the same way. The left-hander's 124 2/3 innings against the White Sox are easily his most against any team and his 3.47 ERA is third-best among AL clubs, trailing only his 3.46 mark against the Tampa Bay Rays and his 2.97 number against the Toronto Blue Jays. ... Ramirez feasts on Royals starter James Shields, going 20-for-48 (.417) against him in his career with two home runs. ... The Royals' Mike Moustakas is just 4-for-20 (.200) in his career against Sale, but Alcides Escobar is 15-for-39 (.385). ... White Sox starter, and Kansas City-area native, Scott Carroll has faced the Royals twice, giving up six runs and eight hits in a no-decision in May and then giving up one run in a three-inning relief appearance in June. ... The Royals' Billy Butler might hit Sale well (14-for-37 with three home runs), but he doesn't do that much against White Sox starter Jose Quintana (5-for-24, no home runs).

NOTES

Jose Abreu has hit safely in 29 of his past 30 games and is batting .353 over that stretch. He is also on an 11-game hitting streak where he is batting .400 (18-for-45). ... Eaton is on a modest seven-game hitting streak where he is 12-for-28 (.429), and has three multi-hit efforts over his past five games. ... The White Sox's pitching staff is coming off a game where it matched a season high by allowing 17 hits. It also happened May 13 against the Oakland Athletics. ... The White Sox are just 3-5 over their past eight games. ... Conor Gillaspie is batting .419 (13-for-31) with four doubles, three home runs, six RBIs and nine runs scored over his past nine games. ... The Royals opened the second half by getting swept over the weekend in a three-game series at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. ... Guthrie, who starts the series opener for the Royals, has a 10.43 ERA over his past three outings.

PITCHING MATCHUPS



Monday: White Sox LH Chris Sale (8-1, 2.08 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jeremy Guthrie (5-8, 4.56), 7:10 p.m. CST
Tuesday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (4-5, 4.19) vs. Royals LH Bruce Chen (1-2, 6.46), 7:10 p.m. CST
Wednesday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.26) vs. Royals RH James Shields (9-5, 3.70), 1:10 p.m. CST

Rapid Reaction: Astros 11, White Sox 7

July, 20, 2014
Jul 20
5:01
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox dropped the series finale 11-7 on Sunday against the Houston Astros.


How it happened: John Danks couldn’t get through five innings, giving up seven runs on 12 hits and the Astros eventually avoided the series sweep. The White Sox still managed to tie the game in the sixth inning, but the Astros erupted with four runs off White Sox reliever Daniel Webb in the seventh to take the lead again. Jose Abreu had two hits in the defeat, extending his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games. He also has a hit in 29 of his last 30 contests.

What it means: Danks’ run of 10 consecutive impressive starts ended Sunday right where it began, opposite the Astros. On May 8, Danks gave up eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in a loss at Houston. He then went on to post a 2.69 ERA and go 5-2 in outings from May 24 to July 13. Sunday’s outing was more like the Danks from early in the season when he struggled with his command and couldn’t get a good feel for his changeup.

Outside the box: Right-handed reliever Taylor Thompson made his debut for the White Sox in the fifth inning in relief of Danks. The first batter he faced was the Astros’ Robbie Grossman, who managed to bloop a single into shallow center field for an RBI single. He retired the next four batters he faced. Thompson had a 2.61 ERA in 31 appearances at Triple-A Charlotte this season.

Off beat: With two walks in his first two at-bats Sunday, Alejandro De Aza now has more free passes than Abreu. De Aza has 25 walks, while Abreu is at 23. It’s not like De Aza is averse to taking a pitch or two, since he did have 50 walks last year and 47 in 2012. Instead, this is more an indicator of how aggressive Abreu is at the plate and how he would rather deliver a big hit than work counts, which is an area of improvement the White Sox figure to target in the future.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Chris Sale (8-1, 2.08 ERA) to the mound Monday against Kansas City in the opener of a three-game series. The Royals will counter with right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (5-8, 4.56) in the 7:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

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.

Series preview: Astros at White Sox

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
2:34
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Real progress can be seen during the Chicago White Sox's rebuild, from Adam Eaton's presence at the top of the order to Jose Abreu's production in the middle of the lineup all the way to John Danks' revival in the starting rotation.

Areas of concern still exist, no doubt, but the numbers show the White Sox are headed in the right direction.

The White Sox will open the second half Friday night against the Houston Astros with 45 victories, eight more than they had at this point last season. The White Sox didn't record their 45th victory until Aug. 12 last year.

The White Sox have a .403 slugging percentage at the break this season, compared to a .385 mark last year. Their 98 home runs are nine more than what they had at the break a year ago. But the area where their offensive improvement can be seen the most is in their 411 runs, 66 more than at this time last year.

While the Astros will enter their second-half opener 16 games under .500 (40-56), that doesn't necessarily bode well for the White Sox. Against teams under .500, the White Sox are just 18-26, while they have posted a 27-24 mark against teams above .500.

HEAD TO HEAD



The White Sox's Dayan Viciedo is just 2-for-16 (.125) against Astros starter Scott Feldman, but Tyler Flowers is 5-for-9 (.556), although all four of his outs have been by strikeout. ... The eight active White Sox players who have faced Astros starter Dallas Keuchel are a combined 3-for-22 (.136) against the left-hander. ... While Sox players have a combined 38 at-bats against Astros starter Jarred Cosart and just one extra-base hit. ... Astros batters are hitting a combined .321 (17-for-53) against White Sox starter Jose Quintana, but Jose Altuve is just 2-for-10 (.200) with four strikeouts. ... Astros batters are hitting a combined .364 (12-for-33) against White Sox starter Hector Noesi. ... The Astros' Matt Dominguez is 3-for-5 against White Sox starter John Danks with two home runs.

NOTES



White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez exited Saturday's game at Cleveland with a back injury, and did not play in the first-half finale Sunday, but he did see some action in Tuesday's All-Star Game and is expected to play Friday. ... Abreu will open the second half leading the American League in home runs (29) and slugging percentage (.630), while he is third in OPS (.972) and tied for third in RBIs (73). ... Flowers had two hits in Sunday's first-half finale, his first multi-hit game since May 23. ... White Sox third baseman Conor Gilaspie hit four home runs in his final 11 games of the first half after not hitting a HR in his first 59 games of the season. ... The White Sox's bullpen is 11th in the American League with a 3.90 ERA, 13th in saves with 19 and 14th in save percentage (59 percent). ... Before getting crushed by the Red Sox in his first-half finale, Feldman had a 3.19 ERA for the Astros in his previous six starts. ... Altuve ended the first half for the Astros as the only player in major league history to have at least 130 hits and 40 steals by the All-Star break.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Friday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.24 ERA) vs. Astros RH Scott Feldman (4-6, 4.33), 7:05 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (3-6, 4.56) vs. Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (9-5, 3.20), 6:05 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox LH John Danks (8-6, 3.99) vs. Astros RH Jarred Cosart (9-6, 4.17), 1:10 p.m. CST

Sale not listed for Astros series

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
3:19
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox announced their rotation for the opening series of the second half this weekend against the Houston Astros, and Chris Sale was not among those listed.

The White Sox will go with left-hander Jose Quintana opposite Astros right-hander Scott Feldman in Friday's second-half opener at home, while right-hander Hector Noesi will face off against left-hander Dallas Keuchel on Saturday. In Sunday's series finale, left-hander John Danks will pitch against Astros right-hander Jarred Cosart.

Sale, who pitched one inning in Tuesday's All-Star Game, will get some extra rest before returning to action. He presumably will pitch Monday at home in the series opener against the Kansas City Royals, while Scott Carroll pitches Tuesday.

The decision to give Sale some extra rest was not the only influence on how the second-half rotation was lined up. Even before the first half ended, manager Robin Ventura said he wanted to break up his three best starters -- Sale, Quintana and Danks -- who were pitching on consecutive days.

Because the bullpen is potentially used more on days that Noesi and Carroll pitch, Ventura wanted to give his relievers a built-in break instead of having them taxed on consecutive days.

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

Noesi shows Mariners what they're missing

July, 6, 2014
Jul 6
5:54
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Revenge is a dish best served in the blazing sun with a touch of humidity on the side. At least that’s how it worked for Chicago White Sox pitcher Hector Noesi on Sunday.

Noesi, who started the season with the Seattle Mariners before being designated for assignment and traded to the Texas Rangers, dominated his former teammates. He allowed just five hits over 6 2/3 innings of an eventual 1-0 White Sox victory.

[+] EnlargeHector Noesi
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhHector Noesi has been quite a find for the White Sox, as evidenced by the five-hit ball he pitched into the seventh inning against his former team Seattle.
Noesi has plenty of scores to settle since the Rangers eventually put him on waivers, which is where the White Sox moved in and scooped up the right-hander for their pitching staff. All of those moves happened before the calendar had flipped over to May.

With some new mechanical touchups recommended by pitching coach Don Cooper, the White Sox have been able to showcase a brand-new muscle car in a lineup that includes left-handers Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks.

With his career seemingly salvaged, at least to this point, Noesi has no problem acknowledging the best pitching coach he’s ever had.

“I’m going to say I’m sorry to the others, but I think, yes, [Cooper is] because every day with me he says, ‘You have to do this,’” Noesi said. “It’s not like you throw a bullpen and I’ll fix you in the bullpen and that’s it. He asks every day.”

Of course, there haven’t been many between-start bullpen sessions of late for a pitching coach to fix things.

Between last year and a handful of appearances this year, Noesi had made just one big league start since the start of the 2013 season, working primarily out of the bullpen instead.

The White Sox saw him as a potential starter down the road, but nobody could have predicted the quick transformation that has occurred.

Noesi tried to say after beating the Mariners that revenge was not on his mind. Maybe not, but it certainly was on everybody else’s.

Manager Robin Ventura acknowledged that it was probably a factor, and then there was the hand-written word above his locker supplied by one of his teammates that read, “Revenge.”

Noesi rolled his eyes and smirked when he saw it.

“He's a tough kid,” Ventura said. “He's confident, and he knows what he can do. Sometimes you get an opportunity and you run with it, and I think that's what he's done.

“Anytime you go through the route that he's been out on and you get a chance to show what you've got, he's going to do it. You tip your hat to him. He's been able to do that for us, and he's been a big lift for us.”

With Sale, Quintana and Danks all heading into the upcoming road trip pitching about as good as they have all season, having one more pitcher they can trust would have the White Sox feeling that much better about themselves.

Ventura no longer wants the three left-handers pitching on consecutive days in the second half of the season. Noesi could even find himself potentially pitching in potentially in the second or third game after the All-Star break, especially if the White Sox want to give Sale some extra rest, assuming he makes the American League All-Star team and pitches in the July 15 Midsummer Classic.

With Cooper at his side, Noesi believes he can be the pitcher he wants to be. He has the self-confidence anyway.

“Well, when I got here Cooper said, ‘I’m going to fix you,’ you know?” Noesi said. “So I believe everything he says, and he’s doing good with me. They gave me the opportunity to start and they said we just want you to go do what you have to do, so I try to take advantage of that spot right now.”

Rapid Reaction: Mariners 3, White Sox 2 (14)

July, 5, 2014
Jul 5
5:55
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox could not hang on and fell 3-2 to the Seattle Mariners in 14 innings Saturday to even the three-game series at a game each.

How it happened: The Mariners’ Brad Miller doubled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning off White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario, who was in his third inning of work. The White Sox could have won it before extra innings, but relievers Eric Surkamp and Zach Putnam combined to give up two runs that let the Mariners tie it. The White Sox broke through against Felix Hernandez in the eighth inning on an RBI double from Dayan Viciedo and a sacrifice fly from Tyler Flowers for a 2-0 lead. Jose Quintana went 7 1/3 scoreless innings, matching a season high with 10 strikeouts. Jose Abreu’s hitting streak was snapped at 18 games. The White Sox had four hits in 47 at-bats.

What it means: No matter where they turn, the White Sox can’t find somebody they can trust to close games. Matt Lindstrom struggled before going down with an ankle injury. Belisario was pitching well in a setup role, but couldn’t handle the ninth inning. Now the closer-by-committee setup isn’t getting it done either. That doesn’t even include closer candidate Nate Jones, who has been out almost the entire season with a back issue.

Outside the box: With his single to lead off the game, Adam Eaton has now reached base in 27 of his last 28 contests. He entered Saturday with a .311 batting average, five triples and 16 walks over his previous 27 games and a .343 average and a .439 on-base percentage over his previous 19 games.

Off beat: Abreu nearly clubbed his 28th home run of the season in the fourth inning, but his drive to center field was caught at the top of the wall by the Mariners’ James Jones. Had Abreu gone deep it would have been the fifth former Cy Young Award winner he had homered off after Clayton Kershaw, R.A. Dickey, Justin Verlander and David Price.

Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Hector Noesi (2-6, 5.33 ERA) to the mound Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. The Mariners will counter with right-hander Taijuan Walker (1-0, 4.50) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Danks gives all as Ventura rolls dice

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
11:59
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- It never is easy to swim through crocodile-infested waters, yet Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura managed to pull off the trick Wednesday.

With his starting pitcher at his limit and the heart of a toothy Los Angeles Angels order coming to the plate, Ventura let John Danks hang it all out on the line.

Call it part faith-building exercise and part a bullpen that has been rolling along on wobbly tires. Danks entered the eighth inning at 107 pitches. He struck out Mike Trout, got Albert Pujols to fly out near the warning track and then gave up a game-tying home run to Josh Hamilton.

An inning later, the life preserver was thrown in the form of three consecutive White Sox singles that won the game, the last coming off the bat of Leury Garcia against a five-man infield for a 3-2 victory.

[+] EnlargeJohn Danks
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh"I'm glad to be able to be sent back out there with 100-plus pitches," White Sox starter John Danks said of his late work Wednesday. "I hope the next time it turns out a little better."
And because of that hit from the little-used Garcia, Ventura’s message still came through on multiple fronts: His proven players, like Danks, will get the benefit of the doubt -- even if they might be running on fumes -- as the bullpen isn’t in the best of shape.

“He's got every bit of faith in us, so it seems at least,” Danks said afterward. “He gives us a chance to go out there. He kind of looks at it as we do, as it’s our ballgame. That certainly goes a long way when your manager has your back. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get out of the eighth, but these guys battled their butts off and it's always good to get a win.”

Ventura talked about a new-look Danks as his inspiration for taking Wednesday’s eighth-inning gamble, but that’s a mighty big roll of the dice. Danks got beat on his 120th pitch against a hitter in Hamilton who had owned him in the past. Hamilton was 7-for-16 against Danks with a home run entering the contest, not bothered by the lefty-on-lefty battle.

“Tonight you’re just looking at what you see, and you take what you’ve seen tonight, the way he’s thrown, a veteran guy,” Ventura said. “He’s pretty up front when he’s feeling good and when he’s not.

“Tonight, that pitch got him. But he pitched a great game.”

With the inexperienced Eric Surkamp as the only left-handed reliever at his disposal -- and the bullpen playing musical chairs now that Ronald Belisario has been removed from the closer role -- Ventura’s line of thinking wasn’t all that hard to read, even if he wouldn’t admit it.

“I don’t think so, just seeing what is happening,” Ventura said when asked if he would have made a different decision with a bullpen less in flux. “[Zach Putnam] didn’t throw [Tuesday], Jake [Petricka] threw a couple innings, so we were trying to hold him back somewhat.

“If we had to, [Hamilton] was going to be the last guy and we would go to Putnam for that next out and then the next inning. [Danks] was going to pitch that regardless of how it was going for the pen.”

Sure, sometimes players need to be saved from themselves, and it can be a manager’s toughest call. But a little belief can go a long way, too, even if there were other motivators involved in the decision.

“Any win's a good win,” a beaming Danks said afterward. “It's fun to watch these guys go to battle. It was kind of a punch in the gut when Hamilton hit the homer, but it seems like it didn't really faze these guys too much. I was glad to be a part of it and happy that the guys rallied in the ninth.”

While Danks didn’t get the victory, it was yet another solid outing from the left-hander who seems revitalized. He tied a career high with 10 strikeouts and has a 3.20 ERA over his last six starts.

Any doubt or uncertainty that Danks had after shoulder surgery two years ago is gone, and knowing he can throw 120 pitches in an outing helps in that department, as well.

Is it surprising to throw 120 pitches?

“Feeling how I feel, it doesn't surprise me at all,” Danks said. “I'm happy to do it and actually want to do it. I'm glad to be able to be sent back out there with 100-plus pitches. I hope the next time it turns out a little better.”

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
10 1.88 122 110
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .305
HRJ. Abreu 31
RBIJ. Abreu 83
RJ. Abreu 56
OPSJ. Abreu .992
ERAC. Sale 1.88
SOC. Sale 122