Tagged: Carlos Quentin

Konerko is a Paul Star

Thanks to his terrific first half and a masterful marketing effort by the White Sox, Paul Konerko won the “Final Vote” to take his rightful place alongside teammate Carlos Quentin on the A.L. All-Star team.

The following quote from Konerko, about the team’s effort to get him to the midsummer classic, is something special. When was the last time a modern-day athlete expressed his gratitude in this manner?:

“The front office and the public relations people have done a great job. I feel bad that every year our team seems to have to go through this big production. And they do a heck of a job. In fact people come in here on off days when they shouldn’t be working. And I definitely appreciate that.”

Letdown Sunday

Any hope of a sweep and the chance of getting above the .500 mark were dashed big-time this afternoon by a journeyman pitcher who was 0-2 with a 5.40 earned run average in 2011 and had a lifetime 75-84 record and a 4.86 ERA going into today’s game.

In seven innings, Rodrigo Lopez, who has pitched for the Padres, Orioles, Rockies, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Cubs in his 10 undistinguished seasons, shut out the Sox with only two hits in his seven innings on the Wrigley mound and the Cubs hung on to win 3-1. Gavin Floyd was decent for the Sox, but had his usual bad inning and now has the dubious distinction of being the losing pitcher in both losses to the Cubs this season.

Offensively, The Sox scored their run against Kerry Wood in the eighth and got the tying runs on the bases, but Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol shut the door with no further damage and Marmol did likewise in the ninth. And you knew this was coming: Adam Dunn was 0-4 with a strikeout, dropping his batting average to .165. There’s really nothing left to say. We’re lucky to be only 3 1/2 games out of first with the once-potent slugger doing absolutely nothing to help the cause.

The Sox head to the South Side for three against the Royals and four against the Twins before leaving for the All-Star break.

Sox Notes of Note: Carlos Quentin was named the lone Sox All-Star with Paul Konerko still having a chance in the final online vote. In an effort to get him on the team, the White Sox have created the campaign, “PaulStar.” For the record, the club has had great success with the “final vote” in the past as fans have voted in both Scott Podsednik and A.J. Pierzynski. Although Konerko unquestionably belongs by virtue of his terrific season, it’s hard to argue with the two first basemen who did make it–Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Cabrera.

Here’s A.J. showing who he’ll be voting for:

King Felix? No Problem

The White Sox “To Do” list for the stretch of games vs. the the Mariners and A’s, beginning on June 6:

* Bounce back from the lost weekend series with Detroit…check

* Defeat Seattle’s rookie pitching sensation Michael Pinedacheck

* Find a way to beat 2010 Cy Young Award winner “King Felix” Hernandezcheck

* Overcome Mariners’ tough lefty Jason Vargas tonight for the sweep…mission pending

* Win the four-game series vs. Oakland, which begins on Thursday…pending

So far, so good, as the Sox continue their effort to accomplish everything on their check list. There’s much more to be done, but last night’s impressive 5-1 win over King Felix and his teammates was particularly satisfying.

Before the season, if you would have told me we’d be facing Hernandez without Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez in the starting lineup, I would have said we have little chance. But that’s exactly what occurred last night as the struggling (to say it mildly) Dunn and Rios were on the bench (Rios did pinch run and played defensively in the ninth) and Ramirez was given a rest in favor of Omar Vizquel.

Vizquel wasn’t simply Ramirez’s replacement, he was one of the game’s heroes. His triple drove in a pair of runs in the Sox four-run third inning. Along with Paul Konerko’s 14th homer and Carlos Quentin‘s two-run blast, his 15th, it provided more than enough offense for the victory.

And, of course, there was another virtuoso performance by the South Siders’ unlikely pitching ace, Phil Humber. ┬áThe former No. 1 draft choice of the Mets won his fifth game, allowing only a single run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings as he lowered his ERA to 2.87. Humber left the game in the eighth to a standing ovation.

Just think where we’d be without him.

Today’s Special: “Q” on a Roll

57622769.jpgWhile the back and forth continues on whether or not the White Sox should have been more cautious with Jake Peavy‘s comeback attempt, there’s a much more positive development for us to discuss.
Just days ago, Carlos Quentin was deemed a major disappointment in Cactus League play as his batting average plummeted to .167. Since he broke out with a homer, four hits and four RBIs on March 18, Quentin has been a different player. He continued his recent surge last night with a double and two singles in the 8-5 Sox victory over the Padres. Believe it or not, he’s now sporting a .326 BA.
What makes this so significant is that Quentin is one of the most important pieces of the Sox offense. With him staying healthy and reverting back to his 2008 “close to MVP” form, the lineup is as good as there is in baseball. With him out of the lineup or subpar at the plate, the South Siders are less formidable.
Sox Notes of Note:  The Sox played last night in Peoria on a day that saw most of spring training action in Arizona washed out. The inclement weather, however, caused the club to replace Mark Buehrle as the starting pitcher in favor of Jeff Marquez. Marquez, a fifth starter possibility with Peavy sidelined for a while, gave up two earned runs, five hits and a walk in four innings of work…With two more scoreless innings under his belt, Sergio Santos‘s ERA remains at 0.00…Alex Rios slammed his fourth home run of the spring, a two-run blast in the first inning.

Sox are in Peoria again this afternoon to face the Mariners, who share the complex with Padres.

The CQ Factor

Angels White Sox Quentin Baseball.jpgAdam Dunn. Paul Konerko. Juan Pierre. Alex Rios. Gordon Beckham. A.J. Pierzynski. Alexei Ramirez. A pretty formidable offense to be sure.
But you know who could be the most important piece of all? In my opinion, Carlos Quentin.
CQ has been flying a bit under the radar in light of Dunn’s arrival, the re-signings of Konerko and Pierzynski and the emergence of Ramirez as a star. But remember that just three seasons ago he was the golden boy and a favorite to win the A.L. MVP until his unfortunate injury. And last year, considered a down year, he still slugged 26 homers and drove in 87 runs.
My Quentin theory is based on the fact we pretty much know–or we think we know–what to expect from all the players mentioned above. Because of Quentin’s injury woes, though, he’s somewhat of a wild card and actually was mentioned in trade rumors during the offseason. But a healthy, productive Quentin could make an already potent lineup an offense that is off the charts and one of the best in baseball.

SoxFest Day 2: The Chairman Explains “All In” Philosophy and Konerko Bullish About 2011

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The most fascinating news item coming out of the second day of SoxFest was Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf‘s explanation of why the Sox took the “All In” route in 2011 as opposed to entering the season with a younger, less expensive product.
Reinsdorf, who has been given a bad rap over the years for NOT spending, went above and beyond this offseason by increasing the payroll by more than $20 million.
Here are some of the comments from the man who has won seven titles–six with the Bulls and in 2005 with the White Sox–courtesy of MLB.com’s Scott Merkin:
“Last year was a difficult year. We weren’t as good as we thought we could be. Our attendance was down. Financially, it came out OK. 

“Thinking about this year, we had to make a decision for the long term: Were we better off to try to get better or were we better off to use this as a rebuilding year? That’s the thing that took us a long time to make up our mind.

“Finally, I just decided like two days before the Adam Dunn signing, ‘Let’s go for it.’ Let’s hope if we spend the money, the attendance will pick up and once we committed to Adam Dunn, then we had to be all in. Then it had to be (Paul Konerko) and we had to bring A.J. back.”

More from SoxFest:

* Another inside tidbit that was revealed yesterday involved Pierzynski. Apparently he was a phone call away from signing with the Dodgers, but because LA ownership was unavailable to approve some the of language, A.J. changed course and accepted the Sox offer through his agent. Because of the delicate nature of the circumstances, Pierzynski even called Reinsdorf to make sure the offer was real.
* In addition to relating the story behind his signing, A.J. endorsed another Sox offseason signing (via Merkin): “I told (Don Cooper), ‘We need another lefty. We need another lefty. We need another lefty.’ Going out and getting Will Ohman was huge. He can get lefties out. Look at our division with Mauer, Morneau, Choo, Sizemore…You have to have more than one lefty available to go through a lineup three times. People look at the eighth inning, but what about the sixth inning when you have the bases loaded with two out and Joe Mauer up and you have an extra lefty. Will Ohman is that guy.”

* Kenny Williams indicated that outfielder Alejandro De Aza, infielder/outfielder Brent Lillibridge and Dayan Viciedo, who is now learning how to play the outfield in addition to his previous experience at the two infield corner positions, will be fighting it out for the final utility spot on the roster. Williams also offered that De Aza is better than people think he is.
* Ozzie predicted that Carlos Quentin will revert back to his 2008 form when he was vying for the league MVP award before an injury cut his season short with a month to go. CQ slugged 36 homers, drove in 100 runs, batted .288 with a .965 OPS in ’08.
* Sox captain Konerko sees good things ahead for the 2011 Sox, as reported by Mark Gonzales in today’s Tribune: “Everyone has their opinions on who is good and who isn’t in baseball, and people have their advice and thoughts. But you’d be hard-pressed to say, ‘there’s a gaping hole there’ or ‘this is a real problem that is going to affect them.’ We’re pretty solid everywhere you look with everything you need.”

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One Big Happy Family

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Yesterday was the deadline for clubs and their arbitration eligible players to make a deal before having to confront each other in a formal hearing.
The White Sox were able to sign three key players to one-year pacts before going into what most times is a contentious process.
* John Danks agreed to a $6 million contract. He made $3.45 million last year.
* Carlos Quentin agreed to a $5.05 million deal. He made $3.2 million in 2010.
* Tony Pena agreed to a $1.6 million pact. He made $1.2 million in 2010.
The Sox payroll is now at $124 million, already a $20 million increase over last season. Maybe this will quiet Jerry Reinsdorf‘s critics, who have made it their mission to criticize the Chairman for being cheap.
Sox Note of Note: SoxFest is this weekend so there will undoubtedly be a great deal to report on Monday.
                                                                                                 

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