Chicago White Sox: Mark Buehrle

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 7, Blue Jays 5

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
4:11
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 on Sunday to win their first series since the start of August.

How it happened: The White Sox opened with a six-run first inning and then held on for the victory. Conor Gillaspie hit a grand slam to get the White Sox on the board and Jordan Danks followed with a two-run home run. Scott Carroll worked in and out of trouble to earn the victory, giving up five runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. Four White Sox relievers combined to take it the rest of the way, with Jake Petricka pitching the ninth inning to earn his ninth save.

What it means: Things haven’t gone so well of late, but the White Sox managed to make a positive out of the weekend. Not only did they win the series against the Blue Jays by taking two out of three games, the offense resurfaced in victories Friday and Sunday. And even in the game they did lose Saturday, Avisail Garcia returned to the lineup, and Mark Buehrle was celebrated in his first start as an opponent at U.S. Cellular Field. It was the White Sox's first series victory this month.

Outside the box: Showing he’s not just a batter who hits for average, Gillaspie tapped into his power side with his grand slam. It was just the fifth home run of the season for the third baseman, who hit 13 for the White Sox in 134 games last year. At the start of the day, Gillaspie’s .311 batting average was seventh best in the American League. Jose Abreu's .306 average was 10th best and Adam Eaton’s .304 mark was 11th.

Off beat: This time, manager Robin Ventura avoided an ejection when a call at home plate didn’t go his team’s way. The White Sox appeared to get Jose Reyes at the plate in the first inning when he stepped on catcher Adrian Nieto's leg and was tagged out. After a replay review, though, it was determined that Nieto blocked the plate and the run was allowed to score. On Wednesday at San Francisco, Ventura was ejected and subsequently fined when an apparent out at home was reviewed and the run was allowed to score.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Chris Sale (10-2, 2.01 ERA) to the mound Monday against Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series. The Orioles will counter with right-hander Bud Norris (10-7, 3.75) in the 7:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Buehrle, Garcia highlight night of returns

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
11:22
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- It was a night of big returns Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field as Mark Buehrle came back to pitch in his old ballpark and Avisail Garcia took the field again far earlier than what was originally projected.

It gave Chicago White Sox fans plenty to cheer about on a night that was far more energetic than most have been this season.

“It's fun to have a lot of people here, obviously,” said John Danks, who started for the White Sox opposite Buehrle and his Toronto Blue Jays. “We know the reason why and whatnot, but nonetheless it was a good atmosphere; it was fun to pitch.”

For Buehrle, the thank yous were delivered in four separate standing ovations, two before the game even began. And on multiple occasions Buehrle acknowledged those who had his back for 12 seasons on the South Side.

It seemed only fitting that when Garcia got the White Sox on the board finally with an RBI single in the sixth inning, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons removed Buehrle from the game. It was a symbolic torch passing in a lot of ways from the guy the fans came to honor in Buehrle to Garcia, who has returned to pick up where he left off when he went out with a serious shoulder injury in April.

Buehrle raised both arms in the air when he walked off the field, waving to the first- and third-base sides.

Immediately afterward, he wondered if that was the proper thing to do.

“I actually texted [Paul] Konerko and kind of apologized and said, ‘Hey, I hope nobody is pissed on the team that I tipped my hat kind of walking off the field,’ because I don’t know what the rule is as far as being a visitor and kind of tipping your hat,” Buehrle said.

“It’s one of those things that I didn’t want to piss anybody off on the other team, but at the same time the reaction I was getting from the crowd, I felt it was right.”

If anybody felt it was improper that Buehrle showed his appreciation to the outpouring of love and support, they probably will be sent lumps of coal at Christmas.

“Obviously coming out of the dugout and running out, fans started chanting and going crazy, but I just tried to focus and realize what I had to do,” Buehrle said. “The reception I got, I was kind of thinking it might be good. But what they did, coming off the field, every time I ran out, to hear people cheering, walking off around the dugout, it was exceptional.”

During Garcia’s first at-bat after four months away because of surgery to the labrum on his left shoulder, the cheers weren’t as intense as those Buehrle received. That changed eventually as the burly outfielder doubled during his first at-bat. He lined out to center in the fourth inning before his sixth-inning RBI single.

“It was great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Garcia’s return. “I think it’s a shot in the arm for us, adding another bat. I think he’s really excited. You can see it in the way he was playing.

“He’s a great player and we’re excited to have him back. I think he showed the talent that he has and why we’re excited about having him.”

Buehrle and Garcia admitted to being more nervous than they expected, although Buehrle said he was actually more anxious to talk to the media Friday.

“Honestly, I told my wife I was so glad Friday was over,” Buehrle said. “Pitching today, I knew there was going to be some emotions and nerves going, but it's just kind of what do you do.”

Garcia’s early nerves came with a little confusion attached.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 6, White Sox 3

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
9:06
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – After the Chicago White Sox’s 6-3 defeat Saturday, their series with the Toronto Blue Jays was evened at a game each.

How it happened: After Mark Buehrle and John Danks pitched to a duel over six innings, the Blue Jays scored three times against reliever Matt Lindstrom to take over the game. Buehrle, in his first start at U.S. Cellular Field since he left the White Sox after the 2011 season, gave up three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Danks gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings. Avisail Garcia had two hits and an RBI in his return to action after labrum surgery on his left shoulder in April.

What it means: The most important aspect of Garcia’s return is that he gets 40 games of big league experience down the stretch that he would have lost had he missed the entire season. The White Sox insist they are not rushing Garcia’s return and doctors have cleared every step of his rehab. It also gives the club a month and a half to see how Garcia and Jose Abreu can feed off each other in the same lineup.

Outside the box: With Garcia back, the White Sox are looking at a platoon in left field, with Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza. Viciedo got the start Saturday against the lefty Buehrle, and it could be De Aza’s turn Sunday since the Blue Jays have a right-hander on the mound. It will be interesting to see if White Sox manager Robin Ventura sticks to a strict lefty-righty platoon or if he gives Viciedo some chances against right-handed pitching.

Offbeat: There were plenty of standing ovations for Buehrle, including when he went to the bullpen to warm up, returned to the dugout after warming up, took the field in the first inning and left the game in the sixth inning. Credit the Blue Jays players for letting Buehrle take the field by himself in the first inning. Buehrle raised his arms and waved to the crowd when he left the field in the sixth.

Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Scott Carroll (4-7, 4.81 ERA) to the mound Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. The Blue Jays will counter with right-hander Drew Hutchinson (8-10, 4.60) in the 1:10 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Homecoming 'different' for Buehrle

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
7:44
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Still just a good ol’ boy from Missouri, Mark Buehrle hopes there won't be a fuss for his return to the U.S. Cellular Field mound on Saturday, but he is prepared for anything.

Buehrle will pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays opposite Chicago White Sox starter John Danks in his first outing at his former ballpark since he left before the 2012 season when he signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Marlins.

[+] EnlargeMark Buehrle
AP Photo/Kathy WillensMark Buehrle helped the White Sox win a World Series in 2005, but on Saturday he'll return to U.S. Cellular Field for his first outing as an opponent since leaving in 2012.
"I'm sure it will be different," said Buehrle, who was traded to Toronto after one year in Miami. "I'm going to try not to make it too different for myself and go out there and treat it as any other game, but I'm sure there's going to be some emotions, just different feelings pitching, getting on the mound the first time in a couple of years. I'm just going to try to go out there and get outs."

Buehrle and Danks have sent text messages back and forth in recent days agreeing that it would have really been mano a mano if it was a National League game where each of them could also come to the plate. As it is, they will make the best of it.

"I think really the only difference will be the lead up to the game," Danks said. "Me and him have sent texts and talked trash. I'm answering questions about it. But truly deep down I think tomorrow when we get to the field it will just be another typical game."

In the early going, it wouldn't be a surprise if it was Buehrle who got the biggest cheers, but as the game gets going that figures to change.

"It's nice to come back where you played for so long and hopefully get cheered. I don't know, I haven't pitched here," Buehrle said. "I remember Frank [Thomas] got cheered, his first [at-bat]. He hit two home runs and started getting booed. If I pitch too good I might get booed walking off the mound, I don't know."

In some sense, Saturday's matchup could be a statement game for Buehrle if he wanted to look at it that way. After all, Buehrle's contract requests were not met and he departed, signing with the Marlins for four years and $58 million. The team met Danks' contract terms weeks later, signing him to a five-year, $65 million contract.

"Obviously when I didn’t sign back and they gave him that deal, obviously it came to the point they had money to spend and wanted to spend it on a younger guy," Buehrle said. "I'm not bitter. I'd have loved to spend my whole career here and still be here to this day, but it's part of the game and it happened."

(Read full post)

Series preview: Blue Jays at White Sox

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
10:32
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- While the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays start their three-game series Friday night, all eyes will be on Saturday's matchup at U.S. Cellular Field.

Longtime White Sox staff ace Mark Buehrle will finally mark his return to the mound in his old ballpark when he pitches for the Blue Jays on Saturday night. Pitching for the White Sox will be Buehrle's good friend John Danks.

A no-hitter and a perfect game are among Buehrle's highlights at U.S. Cellular Field, a ballpark he called home for 12 seasons before leaving to the Miami Marlins via free agency before the 2012 season. One year later, he was traded to the Blue Jays.

Buehrle owned the South Side ballpark for his dozen years, pitching in 205 games, 190 of which were starts. He has a career 90-54 record there with a 3.71 ERA. He also pitched 11 complete games in a White Sox home uniform, four of which were shutouts.

While the start to Buehrle's 2014 season was shades of his dominance with the White Sox, his year has taken a drastic turn. After his first 12 starts, Buehrle was 11-1 with a 2.10 ERA and well on his way to a spot on the American League All-Star team. Over his last 12 outings, though, the left-hander has gone 1-7 with a 4.76 ERA.

In four of his last five outings, Buehrle has given up at least four runs, and in his most recent outing, Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, he was only able to last 3 1/3 innings. The Blue Jays and Tigers ended up playing 19 innings that day with the Toronto bullpen hanging on for a 6-5 victory.

Buehrle has faced the White Sox twice in his career, both in Toronto. In April of 2013, Buehrle picked up his first victory as a member of the Blue Jays when he held the White Sox to two runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings.

This past June 29, Buehrle gave up just two runs on six hits over eight innings against the White Sox, but he was outdueled by Jose Quintana, who pitched seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 White Sox victory.

HEAD TO HEAD



Blue Jays rookie starter Marcus Stroman, who stands all of 5-foot-9 and weighs 185 pounds, has faced the White Sox just once, on June 28 at Toronto, and gave up two runs on two hits over 6 2/3 innings of a no-decision, in a game the White Sox won 4-3. ... Three White Sox batters have as many as six at-bats against Buehrle (Tyler Flowers, Leury Garcia, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo), with Ramirez going 3-for-6 with a double. ... Over two seasons and 35 career starts, the Blue Jays' Drew Hutchinson has never faced the White Sox. ... The Blue Jays' Melky Cabrera and Munenori Kawasaki are a combined 4-for-5 against White Sox starter Hector Noesi. ... The Blue Jays' Dioner Navarro is 8-for-20 (.400) against Danks with two doubles and a home run. ... In his only start against the Blue Jays, the White Sox's Scott Carroll have up five runs (three earned) on seven hits over five innings and took the loss on June 26.

NOTES



The White Sox went 2-4 on their six-game West Coast road trip to Seattle and San Francisco and are 57-64 on the season. ... The last time the White Sox and Blue Jays faced off, the White Sox won three games of a four-game series at Toronto. ... The White Sox have allowed 18 runs over their past five games, which is down form the 67 runs they allowed over the first seven games of August. ... Before going 0-for-4 on Wednesday at San Francisco, Alexei Ramirez was batting .341 (28-for-82) with 16 RBIs over his previous 20 games. ... Konerko remains one home run shy of tying Jason Giambi (440) for 41st place on the all-time list. ... Despite not hitting a home run since June 29, Jose Abreu is still tied for the most long balls in baseball at 31 with the Orioles' Nelson Cruz and the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton. ... The Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion, who has been out since July 5 with a strained right quadriceps muscle, is expected to return to action in this series.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Friday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (6-8, 4.67 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (7-3, 3.34), 7:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-8, 4.96) vs. Blue Jays LH Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.31), 6:10 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (4-7, 4.81) vs. Blue Jays RH Drew Hutchison (8-10, 4.60), 1:10 p.m. CST

Buehrle still lined up for Saturday start

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
4:19
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Former Chicago White Sox staff ace Mark Buehrle looks as if he will finally be making his first start at U.S. Celular Field in three years.

Although official pitching probables have not been released for the three-game series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox in Chicago that beings Friday, Buehrle is listed as Saturday’s probable on the team’s official website, bluejays.com.

In 12 seasons with the White Sox, Buehrle went 161-119 while posting a 3.83 ERA. He threw a perfect game, another no-hitter, was a four-time All-Star and won three Gold Glove awards. He started and pitched in relief during the 2005 World Series when the White Sox defeated the Houston Astros.

The fan favorite bolted for the Miami Marlins as a free agent after the 2011 season and was traded to the Blue Jays the following year.

Buehrle has twice pitched against the White Sox in Toronto, but he has never pitched for the opposing team at U.S. Cellular Field.

On June 1, Buehrle was 10-1 with a 2.10 ERA for the Blue Jays after 12 starts. His 12 starts since then, though, have been the polar opposite, as he is just 1-7 with a 4.76 ERA.

In his last start Sunday, the left-hander lasted just 3 1/3 innings while giving up five runs to the Detroit Tigers. That game ended up going 19 innings, with the Blue Jays rallying for a 6-5 victory.

Buehrle in line to pitch at Cell

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
9:22
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- After three years away, it finally looks like Mark Buehrle will get a chance to pitch at U.S. Cellular Field again.

The left-hander -- who had a no-hitter, a perfect game, a World Series ring and 161 victories in a White Sox uniform -- is in line to pitch Aug. 16 when the Toronto Blue Jays play in Chicago.

Buehrle, who is 11-7 with a 3.11 ERA for Toronto this season, is scheduled to take the mound Tuesday at home against the Baltimore Orioles, then would be in line to pitch Sunday at home against the Detroit Tigers.

The Blue Jays do have a day off Aug. 14, the day before the three-game series starts against the Chicago White Sox, so there is always a chance Toronto can adjust its rotation, but if everybody stayed in line, Buehrle would pitch in the middle game of the Aug. 15-17 series on the South Side.

Worries of a rainout aren’t warranted, since the Blue Jays only play at home and at Seattle before they come to Chicago, and both stadiums have retractable roofs.

Buehrle last pitched at U.S. Cellular Field on Sept. 27, 2011, when he fired seven scoreless innings against the Jays in an eventual 2-1 White Sox victory. He has faced the White Sox twice as a member of the Blue Jays, with both of those games coming in Toronto.

Series preview: Twins at White Sox

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEAD TO HEAD


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

NOTES


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

PITCHING MATCHUPS


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

Five years later, Buehrle feat stirs senses

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
2:34
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
"Alexeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiii … Yes … Yes … Yes … Yes … Yes … History!"
-- White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson, on the air, at the completion of Mark Buehrle's perfect game, July 23, 2009.


CHICAGO -- A day bathed in bright sunshine greeted the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon, just as it did five years ago to the day when Mark Buehrle delivered his perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The left-hander, who couldn't throw a fastball through a wet paper bag, or so it seemed, used pinpoint control and his patented cutter to dispatch the Rays in order through nine innings.

It went 27 up and 27 down for a slice of history as Buehrle became the second White Sox pitcher, at the time, to deliver perfection. Charles Robertson had already done it in 1922, and Philip Humber repeated the feat three years later.

With 26 outs in the books, the Rays' Jason Bartlett was the final batter. He hit a ground ball to the left of shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who fielded the ball cleanly and threw to first base to end the game.

And what were Ramirez's thoughts before Bartlett came to the plate?

"I was hoping it wasn't coming at me," Ramirez admitted Wednesday through an interpreter. "If anything, I was hoping it was a fly ball, just not a grounder. I hadn't been feeling well. I had gotten a little injured before that. I was hoping it wasn't a grounder."

Buehrle finished his masterpiece in a tidy 2 hours, 3 minutes for his second career no-hitter. He blanked the Texas Rangers in 2007. But this was a perfect game, reaching the rarified air that only 20 other pitchers have in the history of the game.

And while the nerves must be on edge for the pitcher, at least they can dictate the game from the mound. The fielders end up playing an agonizing waiting game.

"I just tried to play my game and try not to make a bad play or think about it that much," Ramirez said. "When you get to the ninth inning, that's when you feel the pressure, when you feel like this is happening and trying to do everything you can to make sure Mark gets this."

Ramirez calls Dewayne Wise's ninth-inning grab at the left-center field the best catch he has ever seen. The only permanent sign of Buehrle's feat at U.S. Cellular Field is the small block lettering at the top of the wall in left-center that reads "THE CATCH."

Ramirez, though, doesn't need much to take his mind back five years ago.

"I remember it often," Ramirez said. "Whenever I see Buehrle, we signal each other and we recall that day and it's just such a special occasion that not that many pitchers have accomplished it. I remember it often."

Stock watch: Abreu's charge continues

June, 30, 2014
Jun 30
11:08
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Jose AbreuAP Photo/Jeff HaynesJose Abreu reached 25 home runs in fewer games than anyone in major league history.

RISING


Streaking
Jose Abreu, first base: Nearly three months into the season and the rookie continues to look like a veteran. Abreu is currently riding a 14-game hitting streak, with six home runs and 13 RBIs over that stretch. He is also batting .351 (20-for-57) over that time. Entering Sunday’s game he was the only player in major league history to hit 25 home runs over his first 68 big league games.

Left-handed bats: Leadoff man Adam Eaton has delivered a hot streak to coincide with Abreu’s run, batting .375 (21-for-56) over his last 15 games, with a .462 on-base percentage. Neither Alejandro De Aza or Adam Dunn started Sunday in Toronto against Mark Buehrle, but De Aza is batting .365 (23-for-63) with six doubles over his last 20 games, while Dunn has four home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 19 games.

Hector Noesi, starting pitcher: The right-hander heads into Monday’s start against the Los Angeles Angels with a 2-1 record and a 3.44 ERA over his last six outings. He has pitched at least seven innings three times over that stretch. All this from a pitcher who was claimed off waivers in April as a reliever. Since the White Sox acquired him, Noesi has lowered his ERA from 14.21 to 5.07.

FALLING


Slumping
Fifth starter: An 8.87 ERA over his last five starts got Andre Rienzo kicked out of the starting rotation and into the bullpen. His replacement, Scott Carroll, didn’t fare much better. Carroll took a spin in Rienzo’s rotation spot on Thursday at Toronto and gave up five runs on nine hits over five innings. The last time the White Sox won a game with Rienzo or Carroll starting was May 20.

Ronald Belisario, relief pitcher: Since taking over the closer role on May 20, the right-hander has posted an 8.76 ERA over 14 appearances (12 1/3 innings). Just how hard has Belisario been getting hit since switching into his new role? Opposing hitters have a .457 batting average on balls in play against him since his move to closer. Before the move, that number was .250.

Conor Gillaspie, third base: The lone lefty bat not delivering of late, Gillaspie has gone hitless in his last 12 at-bats. He got a much-needed break against the lefty Buehrle on Sunday. Gillaspie is also 1-for-17 over his last four games, but still will carry a .317 batting average into the homestand. It has been one of his few dry spells this season after already delivering hitting streaks of 11, 10, eight, seven and six games.

Extra bases: Buehrle matchup in works

June, 19, 2014
Jun 19
9:00
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Just when the Chicago White Sox finally looked to be enjoying their own hitter-friendly ballpark in the warmer weather, now comes a whopper three-city road trip.

The White Sox will open an 11-game tour on Thursday night with the first of four games at Minnesota. From there they travel to Baltimore for three tilts and Toronto for another four contests.

SportsNation

What American League Central team stands to give the White Sox the toughest time between now and the end of the season?

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    1%
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    33%
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    62%
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    4%

Discuss (Total votes: 321)

If the weather holds out between now and the last weekend of the month, former White Sox staff ace Mark Buehrle is lined up to face his old team on June 28 at Toronto.

How much the White Sox will be scoring runs by then remains to be seen. The White Sox were third in the American League with 168 runs in home games, but were 11th with 144 runs on the road. It comes as no surprise that they are 20-18 in their own park, even after a four-game losing streak this past weekend. They are just 14-19 in road games.

In Chris Sale’s opinion, the White Sox simply need to attack the upcoming games with reckless abandon.

“Our guys, they’re tough,” Sale said after his victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. “They just keep grinding. We know we didn’t play well against Kansas City [over the weekend], but put it behind you and you keep going.

“The schedule keeps going and it doesn’t stop. If you want to look in the rear-view mirror and wallow on that, you’re going to get beat a lot more. These guys seem to stay with it and grind it out.”

The White Sox also return to division play Thursday. And with American League Central teams bunched up so tightly, every win over the most common of opponents will weigh large.

“We’re where we kind of want to be,” Adam Dunn said. “Obviously don’t want to be six, or seven, or whatever back we are, but we’re right there playing good baseball. Baseball is a 162-game season, and I can see this division coming down to that 162nd game, actually.”

Read all about it: Here is the Rapid Reaction from Wednesday’s 7-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants. … After meeting with the coaching staff over a baserunning miscue Tuesday, Jose Abreu rebounded in fine style Wednesday. … Former manager Ozzie Guillen was in attendance Wednesday.

Keep an eye on this: The White Sox are 18-10 at Minnesota’s Target Field, where they open a four-game series Thursday. Chicago went 6-3 there in 2011, 7-2 in 2012 and 5-5 last season.

Question of the day: After hitting his 20th home run Wednesday, what are the chances Abreu catches Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 home runs in a season?

Rapid Reaction: Padres 4, White Sox 1

May, 30, 2014
May 30
10:13
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox fell 4-1 to the San Diego Padres on Friday in the opener of a three-game interleague series.

How it happened: John Danks was solid but was outdueled by Padres starter Ian Kennedy. Danks gave up a home run to Cameron Maybin in the third inning and allowed the go-ahead run to score in the fifth inning on a wild pitch. The lefty went seven innings, giving up his two runs with eight hits and a walk. The White Sox scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning. Conor Gillaspie had two hits. Kennedy gave up one run and four hits over six innings. The Padres added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning on a two-run home run by Yonder Alonso.

What it means: Danks continued the White Sox's run of impressive outings from the starting staff. Over the last 10 games, White Sox starters have an impressive 2.19 ERA. Opponents are also batting .200 (45-for-225) over that stretch.

Outside the box: Gillaspie might not win player of the month honors for May, but he definitely deserves strong consideration. The left-handed hitter entered Friday's game with a .400 batting average in May (26-for-65), along with a .951 OPS so he certainly is doing all he can. But he has only six extra-base hits since May 1 and none of them are home runs. In the stats that are tied to the production of others, he has six RBIs and eight runs scored.

Off beat: Mark Buehrle is two teams removed from his days with the White Sox, but there were visions of him Friday. In the third inning, Gordon Beckham charged a bunt from the Padres' Everth Cabrera but didn't have time to field the ball, switch it to his throwing hand and get it to first baseman Adam Dunn. So Beckham flipped the ball with his glove right off the turf, all while on the run, to get the out. Buehrle pulled off a similar play on Opening Day 2010, but with a higher degree of difficulty since that one hit off his foot, he chased it down he flipped it backward, between his legs.

Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Andre Rienzo (4-1, 3.95 ERA) to the mound Saturday against San Diego in the middle game of the three-game series. The Padres will counter with right-hander Tyson Ross (5-4, 2.97) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Sale has fifth best Cy Young odds

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
1:45
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Chris Sale finished sixth in the Cy Young Award voting in 2012 and fifth in 2013, and according to the betting odds this year, he isn’t projected to move any higher.

According to the betting website bovada.com, the Chicago White Sox's Opening Day starter has the fifth best odds of winning the 2014 Cy Young Award at 12-to-1, tied with the Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Moore and the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander.

The Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish is considered the odds-on favorite at 8-to-1, while the Tampa Rays’ David Price is second at 9-to-1. The Boston Red Sox's Clay Buchholz and the Tigers’ Max Scherzer are tied for third at 10-to-1.

Sale’s first two years in the White Sox rotation have been an unquestioned success. He is 28-22 in 59 career starts with the White Sox, but his success in that role is better reflected in his 3.06 ERA as a member of the rotation.

When he became a starter, the move was done to make him the left-handed mainstay in the rotation after the departure of Mark Burhele. As for Buehrle’s Cy Young odds this season, the Toronto Blue Jays lefty is listed at 75-to-1

Of the 26 position players whose odds were listed for AL MVP, none were members of the White Sox. The Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout is the favorite at 5-to-1, while the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera is next at 6-to-1. The 26th player on that list is the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter at 100-to-1.

Sale gets the opener ... obviously

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
3:06
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Like the result from a study group formed to determine the color of the sky, or data showing how this is one of the coldest Chicago winters on record, the Chicago White Sox also went ahead Monday and stated the obvious.

[+] EnlargeChris Sale
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastChris Sale will make his second straight Opening Day start for the White Sox.
Chris Sale will be the team’s Opening Day starter for the second consecutive season, manager Robin Ventura told reporters in Arizona. Sale was on the mound Monday in Phoenix against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pitching coach Don Cooper had already suggested that Sale would get the opener, but he was reluctant to go on the record, until the manager talked about it first.

“Just what he’s done in the past and what you expect him to do, he’s the logical choice,” Ventura told reporters. “He deserves it.”

After today, Sale’s spring schedule will have him pitch Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, then March 20 in a minor league game (the White Sox don’t have a Cactus League game that day), and March 25 against the Colorado Rockies. He will then get an extra fifth day of rest before pitching on Opening Day, March 31 at home against the Minnesota Twins.

(Read full post)

No gold for rusty White Sox gloves

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
3:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox did not have a single Gold Glove Award nominee in 2013 and there isn’t a soul who thinks they got robbed.

After a 2012 season when they were one of the best defensive teams in baseball, the White Sox flipped the script in 2013 and were one of the worst. When three Gold Glove candidates were announced at each position Friday, the White Sox were nowhere near the list.

Even second baseman Gordon Beckham, who was making noise in 2012 as a potential Gold Glove winner down the road, finished with a .975 fielding percentage in 2013 that wasn’t even in the top 10 at his position in the American League.

The Houston Astros, who fielded a young and inexperienced roster this past season, had the most errors in the AL with 125 and were last in fielding percentage at .979. The more experienced White Sox had just four fewer errors than the Astros and were only one point better in fielding percentage, finishing second to last in both categories.

The White Sox are making a defense a priority with offseason moves.

In 2012, the White Sox not only had an AL-low 70 errors, their .988 fielding percentage was tied with the Seattle Mariners for best in the league. While such a drastic change could have been blamed n a turnover in personnel, the White Sox only made changes in two positions (third base and catcher), although they dealt with a number of injuries at nearly every position.

About the closest the White Sox got to a Gold Glove nominee this year was in the pitching category, where Mark Buehrle was nominated yet again, but this time as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Buehrle won a Gold Glove in each of his last three seasons with the White Sox and continued that trend in the National League last season when he moved to the Miami Marlins.

And the nominees are:

AL catcher: Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Salvador Perez.
AL first base: Chris Davis, James Loney, Eric Hosmer.
AL second base: Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia.
AL third base: Manny Machado, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre.
AL shortstop: Yunel Escobar, Alcides Escobar, J.J. Hardy.
AL left field: Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Dirks, Alex Gordon.
AL center field: Adam Jones, Lorenzo Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury.
AL right field: Nick Markakis, Josh Reddick, Shane Victorino.
AL pitcher: Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Doug Fister.

N, catcher: A.J. Ellis, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina.
NL first base: Paul Goldschmidt, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo.
NL second base: Darwin Barney, Mark Ellis, Brandon Phillips.
NL third base: Nolan Arenado, Juan Uribe, David Wright.
NL shortstop: Ian Desmond, Andrelton Simmons, Troy Tulowitzki.
NL left field: Carlos Gonzalez, Starling Marte, Eric Young Jr.
NL center field: Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen, Denard Span.
NL right field: Jay Bruce, Jason Heyward, Gerardo Parra.
NL pitcher: Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright.

The winners will be announced live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jose Abreu
BA HR RBI R
.317 36 107 80
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
WC. Sale 12
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208