Tag:White Sox
Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:05 pm
 

The no-hitter out of nowhere

As Scott Miller pointed out, Francisco Liriano is as "infuriatingly inconsistent" as they come.

And the Twins have the stats to prove it.

Among the numbers the Twins looked up (or had the Elias Sports Bureau look up) about Liriano's Tuesday night no-hitter against the White Sox, this one stands out:

Of all the pitchers who threw a no-hitter at least five starts into a season, Liriano's 9.13 ERA was the highest. It's not even close. The next highest was Jose Jimenez (1999) at 6.99. Some have pointed out that Bill Dietrich had a 10.12 ERA when he no-hit the St. Louis Browns in 1937, but Dietrich was making just his second start of the season.

Other numbers from the Twins (and Elias):

-- The only other Twins no-hitter on the road was by Dean Chance, in 1967 in Cleveland.

-- Edwin Jackson became the first pitcher ever to lose to a no-hitter a year after throwing a no-hitter. Jackson is also the guy who told me last week that he wouldn't predict who would throw the first 2011 no-hitter, because "How do you ever know? Because if you'd have asked me if I was going to throw one, I'd have said, 'Never.'"

-- Liriano's two strikeouts were the fewest in a no-hitter since Jerry Reuss of the Dodgers had two against the Giants in 1980. Two pitchers have thrown no-strikeout no-hitters -- Sad Sam Jones in 1923 against the A's, and Ken Holtzman in 1969 against the Braves.

-- Liriano is the fifth pitcher from the Dominican Republic to throw a no-hitter. The other four: Juan Marichal, Ramon Martinez, Jose Jimenez and Ubaldo Jimenez.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Like Castro, Vizquel had a 3-error day -- once

NEW YORK -- The day Omar Vizquel made three errors in a game, he vowed it would never happen again.

"It never has," Vizquel said Tuesday. "So far."

So far. It's only been 17 years and one week since that April 16, 1994 game at Jacobs Field, when Vizquel's three errors helped cost the Indians a game against the Royals.

"I remember, right after that, I went 72 games without an error," Vizquel said. "It was a wakeup call for me. And I'm sure it will be for him."

By "him," Vizquel meant Starlin Castro, the Cubs shortstop who committed three errors -- all in one inning -- Monday night.

"Days like that, anybody could have," said Vizquel, now a 44-year-old utility infielder with the White Sox. "Obviously, he got out of focus a little."

Vizquel get out of focus a lot less frequently than most. Six years after his three-error game, he went through the entire 2000 season (playing 156 games) and made just three errors.

"That's crazy," he said. "It's hard to go through a season with that few errors. The hard thing is keeping the focus. And, you know, I wanted to finish with two errors."

It's fashionable these days to pretend that the traditional fielding stats are meaningless, and it's true that fielding percentage isn't the best way to measure a player's defense. But Vizquel, one of the best defensive shortstops ever, said that he always concerned himself with how many errors he made.

"That first error of the year always kills you," he said. "I remember one year, I went through spring training without making one, then went the first two months with no errors.

"You're hoping they don't call one on you [on a close play]."

Posted on: April 25, 2011 10:29 pm
 

Can Santos save the White Sox?

NEW YORK -- For now, it seems Sergio Santos is the White Sox closer.

Hey, he hasn't failed yet.

Santos recorded a four-out save in Chicago's 2-0 Monday night win over the Yankees, giving the White Sox just their second save of the season, their first since April 9. The White Sox have struggled so much that Monday's save opportunity was their first since April 13, when opening day closer Matt Thornton was charged with his fourth blown save in as many chances.

Sale also had a blown save early in the season, and while he has the only other Sox save this year, he also has a 5.79 ERA in nine appearances.

Guillen had Sale pitch to the first two batters in the eighth inning Monday, then went to the right-handed Santos with pinch hitter Andruw Jones at the plate. Eric Chavez, who hit for Jones, single, but Santos got Derek Jeter to end the eighth. Santos gave up a leadoff single to Curtis Granderson in the ninth, then got Mark Teixeira to hit into a double play and struck out Alex Rodriguez to end the game.

And, it appears, to earn himself a chance to keep the closing job.

"If the opportunity comes up again, we'll see how he handles it," Guillen said.


Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Peavy hoping for quick return

NEW YORK -- When the White Sox's season was falling apart last August, Jake Peavy was hurt, unable to help.

Now the White Sox are off 8-14, hurting again. For now, Peavy is still unable to help.

For now.

Friday, Peavy will make a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Charlotte, throwing 85 pitches, and he said Monday that he believes he'll need just one more minor-league start after that before he joins the White Sox rotation. That means Peavy could be pitching for the Sox as soon as May 9 in Anaheim.

Peavy insists that he learned his lesson in spring training, when he pushed too hard and then suffered a setback.

"I've got to err on the side of caution," Peavy said.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Despite .145 start, Dunn 'all-in' as Sox DH

NEW YORK -- In his first year as a full-time designated hitter, Adam Dunn is hitting .145. He has two hits, and 15 strikeouts, in his last 30 at-bats.

Maybe there's a connection there, especially for a guy who for a long time said he didn't want to be a DH.

Dunn doesn't accept that.

"It's a learning experience, but it's something I want to be good at," he said Monday. "It's a learning process, and I'm committed. I'm going to be good at it."

It may be that Dunn's slump is more related to the appendectomy that cost him seven days in early April than it is to his new role. In the four games he played before the appendectomy, Dunn was 4-for-14 with a home run and five RBI.

But Dunn admitted that the transition to DH isn't easy, and said he's still trying to develop a routine that works for him.

He's not alone. Dunn is one of four AL players adjusting to a DH role for a first time, and perhaps it's no coincidence that he and the Yankees' Jorge Posada (.153) entered play Monday with the fourth- and fifth-worst batting averages for players with 60 or more plate appearances.

Meanwhile, Victor Martinez was hitting .250 when he went on the disabled list with the Tigers, while Michael Young is off to a fast start (.356, 12 RBI) with the Rangers.

In any case, Dunn said, he has no regrets about signing as a DH.

"I'm committed," he said. "I'm all-in."


Posted on: April 25, 2011 6:29 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 10:16 pm
 

The White Sox in crisis -- as usual

NEW YORK -- Every year, we go through this with the White Sox.

Every year, we go through this with Ozzie Guillen.

"Every year at some point, somehow, I'm getting fired," Guillen said Monday.

Yes, crisis time is here again for the White Sox, although Monday night's 2-0 win over the Yankees will help a little. Now the White Sox are 2-10 over their last 12 games, matching those other Sox, who went 2-10 over their first 12 games.

But even if there was panic all over New England until the Red Sox began winning, it's safe to say that no one does crisis quite like the White Sox. The only surprise is that Ozzie hasn't said anything -- yet -- that would have people asking if this time, he really is going to get fired.

The assumption from people who know White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has always been that only something Guillen says -- something really, really bad -- could get him fired. But some of those same people are wondering this week whether this team could play poorly enough that Guillen's job would become an issue.

"Is Ozzie's voice getting old?" one of those people asked Monday.

The word in the White Sox clubhouse is that it's not, that Ozzie is the same as ever and that this is just a bad stretch of games like other bad stretches the White Sox have endured.

"He's the same guy he's been since my first year here," said Matt Thornton, now in his sixth year as a White Sox reliever. "He just has a little more gray hair, most of it my fault."

Other White Sox players and coaches say the same thing, and Guillen's pregame media session Monday was like any number of others he has held when White Sox times have been bad.

He expressed confidence in his team ("We need to go out and let the talent take over"), defended hitting coach Greg Walker ("Some [players] out there are making $12-15 million. Greg Walker's only making $100,000. We're not struggling because of Greg Walker"), and joked about his lack of a true closer ("Somebody's going to be out there, and we have to pray, because we need a win").

And, asked whether general manager Ken Williams would want to talk to him about changing coaches, Guillen said, "If they're going to blame anybody, I take the blame. If somebody's got to be fired here, it's Ozzie."

Williams arrived in New York after a flight delay ("Two and half hours with angry Sox fans," he said), and also expressed confidence that the White Sox are much better than their record.

"We have the ability, we have the talent," Williams said. "Call me crazy, but I happen to think we've got a pretty good team out there. They're what we think they are."

We've heard it all before, and we've seen this all before. Just last year, the White Sox started 8-13, the same record they had before Sunday's loss in Detroit.

The difference this year is that the Sox now have the highest payroll in the division (a club-record $127.8 million), and also that they pushed their players harder in spring training in hopes of getting off to a fast start.

"We got off to a slow start last year, and it ended up costing us the division," said starter Jake Peavy, who believes he needs just two more rehab starts before making his 2011 debut.

They have been here before, but has it been this bad?

Scouts who watched the White Sox over the last week described them as "uninspired" and said there was "no energy."

"They're going to snap out of it . . . I think," said one scout who has followed the White Sox for years.

You have to figure they will, because you have to figure that some of their big hitters will start hitting. While the bullpen was the problem early in the season (and while the White Sox still have just one save in seven opportunities), the biggest recent problem has been a severe lack of offense.

And while it's true that the White Sox have faced great pitching during this 2-10 slide (David Price, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Justin Verlander, and then A.J. Burnett Monday night), it's also true that they've scored just 27 runs in that span.

New designated hitter Adam Dunn had a ground ball that brought in a run Monday, but he's still hitting just .158 with 24 strikeouts in 57 at-bats. Alex Rios had a hit Monday, but that broke an 0-for-22 skid. Gordon Beckham has just one hit in his last 29 at-bats.

"Hitting is so mental," Walker said. "Right now, our team doesn't feel that good about themselves. But deep down, they know they're good."

They should be good. They should be much better than this.

But weren't we saying the exact same thing a couple of weeks back about a different group of Sox?

The Red Sox lost 10 of their first 12. The White Sox has lost 10 of their last 12.

Is it that different?

"I saw them a lot in spring training, and I thought they'd have a heck of a year," one scout said Monday.

Just to be clear, he was talking about the White Sox.


Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:45 pm
 

3 to watch: The starting pitching matters edition

In some ways, the Yankee rotation has been better than advertised.

Freddy Garcia has started twice and still hasn't allowed a run. Bartolo Colon made it to the seventh inning in winning his only start. The often shaky A.J. Burnett is 3-0 in four starts.

Put together, the Yankee starters have a 7-3 record and a not-terrible 4.62 ERA, and that's even though they've lost four other potential wins to blown saves.

Not bad, as long as you ignore that other very significant stat: innings pitched.

Put together, the Yankee starters have pitched fewer innings than any other rotation in baseball.

Normally, and not surprisingly, teams like that don't win. It's been 11 years since the team that finished 30th in starters innings had a winning record, and longer than that since a team like that made it to the playoffs.

So far, the Yankees have gotten by, in part because they're scoring so many runs (more than six a game) and in part because four scheduled off days and three rainouts have helped the Yankees rest their bullpen.

The rain may not be over, but there's not a scheduled day on the Yankees' schedule either of the next two weeks.

On the other hand, the Yankees may have something better than an off day. They've got four games the next four games against the struggling White Sox.

Only one Yankee starter this year has finished seven innings (and CC Sabathia has done it just twice in five starts). By contrast, eight of the last 10 pitchers who started a game against the White Sox have finished at least seven innings, combining for a 1.90 ERA.

So maybe this is the week things turn around for the Yankee starters.

Either that, or maybe this is the week that short outings by starters start affecting the Yankees' record.

On to 3 to watch:

1. One thing to remember about Burnett: While his 2010 season was one of the worst ever by a Yankee starter, he was 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his first six starts. So what should we make of Burnett's 3-0 record and 4.37 ERA in his first four starts this year? Maybe we'll know more after he makes his fifth start, in White Sox at Yankees, Monday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium. Why's that? Because in two years as a Yankee, Burnett has faced the White Sox twice. He lost both games, allowing 15 runs on 18 hits in just eight combined innings.

2. When Jered Weaver beat the Rangers last week, he became the first pitcher since Dave Stewart in 1990 to go 5-0 in his team's first 18 games. Stewart went on to make it 6-0 in the A's first 22 games that year. Weaver can't do that, but he'll go for 6-0 in 23 games when he starts in A's at Angels, Monday night (10:05 ET) at Angel Stadium. One note of caution: Weaver has just one win in his last 11 starts against the A's, dating back to September 2007. Weaver has a tough opponent in Gio Gonzalez, who has a 1.80 ERA through his first four starts.

3. As Scott Miller points out in Weekend Buzz, the Red Sox have recovered quite nicely from their 0-6, and then 2-10, start. In fact, if the Sox follow up their weekend sweep in Anaheim by winning their first two games in Baltimore, they could have a winning record by the time they finish Red Sox at Orioles, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at Camden Yards. That's basically unheard of. While teams have recovered from 2-10 starts to finish over .500 (and even to win 100-plus games), it usually takes a month, or two months, or even three months. The Red Sox have a chance to do it in 11 days. It's a nice pitching matchup Tuesday, with Josh Beckett facing Jeremy Guthrie.

Posted on: April 22, 2011 10:01 am
 

3 to watch: The 'No extra significance' edition

Some Reds try to play down their new-found rivalry with the Cardinals.

"There's no extra significance at all," Jay Bruce told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Oh yeah? Tell that to Brandon Phillips.

When the Reds' team plane landed in St. Louis on Thursday night, Phillips went straight to his Twitter account .

"Just landed in St. Louis! Sad face," he posted. "But these wins will make me happy!"

One hour later, he was at it again, saying he told teammates that the best thing to eat in St. Louis was Lunchables.

No extra significance?

How about those T-shirts they're selling in St. Louis , the ones that read "Mike Leake stole this shirt for me"?

Look, we know rivalries can be overblown. Most teams don't really hate each other as much as the fans would like them to. Players change teams. As Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters Thursday, it's not like the Reds have anything against Lance Berkman or Ryan Theriot.

Besides that, the Cardinals and Reds know better than most teams that head-to-head meetings often don't decide division titles. The Cardinals won 12 of 18 games against the Reds in 2010 -- including six of the final seven -- and the Reds still won the National League Central.

But please don't tell me that these games have "no extra significance."

On to 3 to watch.

1. As we mentioned in the last 3 to watch, the Indians and Royals are on top of the American League Central -- right now. And one scout who just finished watching the White Sox said they "look uninspired" and "look like they're still going through spring training." Perhaps they'll look more inspired this weekend in Detroit, starting with White Sox at Tigers, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Comerica Park. Mark Buehrle (5-0 in his last eight starts against the Tigers) faces Justin Verlander (5-0 in his last five starts against the White Sox). It's the first Buehrle-Verlander matchup in more than three years, since an April 2008 meeting when the White Sox won, 13-2, in a game where Nick Swisher and Pudge Rodriguez were the two leadoff hitters.

2. Mike Leake won't be starting in this weekend's Reds-Cardinals series. Chris Carpenter will be. All he's done against the Reds is win each of his last 10 starts, dating back to 2006. Last year alone, Carpenter was 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA against the Reds. He goes against Travis Wood in Reds at Cardinals, Saturday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Busch Stadium. The Fox network even thought enough of the matchup to send its top crew (Guess the Yankees and Red Sox aren't playing this weekend). ESPN even noticed. "We haven't been on the Sunday night game in I don't know how long," Baker told the Enquirer.

3. Remember when John Lackey was the Angels' ace? Remember when it seemed like another black mark against Angels owner Arte Moreno that he allowed Lackey to leave as a free agent, the same winter the Angels tried but failed to trade for Roy Halladay? Now Jered Weaver and Dan Haren are a combined 9-0 with a 1.20 ERA, while Lackey carries a 9.82 ERA into his start in Red Sox at Angels, Sunday afternoon (3:35 ET) at Angel Stadium. That's not to say the Angels couldn't use more rotation depth. While Weaver and Haren are 9-0 (going into Haren's Friday night meeting with Jon Lester), the rest of the Angels pitchers are 3-7.

 
 
 
 
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