Tagged: Diamondbacks

We Just Can’t Beat ‘Em


Minnesota 1, White Sox 0.

There’s not much left to say. We just can’t beat the Twins, even without the majority of their starters in the lineup. We’re now 0-4 against them this season, scoring a total of three runs.

Our stay in the Twin Cities amounted to one run, 11 hits and two losses. We drop to four games under .500 and 5 1/2 in back of the division lead.

Mark Buehrle was excellent this afternoon, giving up only a Michael Cuddyer homer and three other hits. But there was more frustration on offense as we got shut out for the seventh time and grounded into two more double plays, both stalling potential rallies. The clutch hits just weren’t there–again.

Interesting pitching matchup tomorrow night in Phoenix as we reprise interleague play against the D-backs. It’ll be Edwin Jackson (4-5, 4.39) for the Sox vs. the man they gave up last summer to get him,  young Daniel Hudson (7-5, 3.82).

Questions, Questions, Questions…

Less than a week from today, the White Sox begin their regular season journey in Cleveland which hopefully will end with some level of success in October.
While it will take more than one spring training game to answer all of the questions about the 2011 Sox, both short and long term, there were six possible indicators in last night’s 7-3 Sox victory over a Diamondbacks split squad.
* Fighting it out for the last spot on the Opening Day roster, Brent Lillibridge didn’t hurt his chances by smashing a first-inning home run on the second pitch he saw.

* Will
Carlos Quentin return to 2008 form and stay healthy in the process? Time will tell, but Quentin continued his surge last night with his fifth homer of the spring and is hitting .333. Just a few days ago he was well under .200.

* The questions swirling around Adam Dunn’s dismal spring, and his shockingly high strikeout total, have been dismissed to a certain extent (at least for a while) with his two-run homer, double and three RBIs against the D-backs. Needless to say, it was nice to see.

* What kind of contribution will Lastings Milledge make? He’s exceeded expectations with his .320 BA and has had some key RBIs. He had two more last night.

* Which Gavin Floyd will show up this season? Experiencing a so-so spring, he had a quality start last night pitching seven innings, allowing three runs and eight hits.

* We know Brent Morel is a major leaguer at third base, but will he hit enough to keep his job? After a 3 for 4 night against Arizona, he’s at .317 for the spring.

Two Victories and Sunshine Highlight My First Day in Paradise

60031105.jpgPARADISE — The name in the dateline isn’t a real place. It’s simply my state of mind when I’m in spring training.
Yesterday was Day 1 on my annual pilgrimage to check out the fortunes of the Pale Hose. And it couldn’t have gone better, with the exception of an unfortunate injury which I’ll explain shortly.
My plane landed in Phoenix around 1030 a.m. local time, about an hour and a half before the Sox and the Rangers were about to get it going in the latter’s winter home of Surprise. I jumped into my rental car, checked into the motel and got to the game just moments before C.J. Wilson threw the first pitch to Lastings Milledge. And did I mention the weather was gorgeous?
The Sox jumped out to a three-run lead and fell behind 6-4 before rallying for three runs in the ninth and walking away with a 7-6 victory.
The Ups:
Mark Teahen has been embarrasing in the field so far this spring, but he’s on fire at the plate in his bid to win the third base job…He was 3 for 5 against the Rangers, including a two-run homer. He’s now batting .529…Minor leaguers Michael Restovich, the late-inning DH who once played for the Twins, and Drew Garcia delivered the key ninth inning hits to pave the way to the victory…Philip Humber started on the mound for the South Siders and pitched three scoreless innings, giving up a pair of hits and striking out two…Gregory Infante relieved Humber and pitched two perfect frames while Kyle Cofield was perfect in his one inning of work…Nate Jones got the win, despite giving up a run, two hits and two walks.
The Downs:
Without question, the biggest downer was the right thumb fracture suffered by Dayan Viciedo after he was hit by a David Bush pitch in the eighth inning. It’s especially frustrating since Viciedo came into camp in great shape and making a case, both offensively and in right field, that he should make the club. He’ll be out of action three to four weeks. Oh, by the way, yesterday was his 22nd brithday…Brandon Hynick got lit up after coming in at the start of the sixth trying to protect the three-run lead. He gave up five runs, four hits and two walks.
Riding high from the come-from-behind win, my next stop was dinner with Sox communications guru Scott Reifert and then it was on to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the brand new spring training home of the Diamondbacks and Rockies located on an Indian reservation in Scottsdale, for a game under the lights with the D-backs. As I mentioned to Scott, it’s Camelback Ranch on steroids–just a spectacular venue.
The Sox completed the Thursday sweep with a 5-3 win.
The Ups:
Gordon Beckham got things off right with a two-run homer in the first inning (pictured above) and went 3 for 4 on the night…Alexei Ramirez was 2 for 4 with an RBI and former Angel can’t-miss prospect Dallas McPherson went 2 for 3 with a run batted in…Gavin Floyd  gave up only a homer to Russell Branyan in 4 2/3 innings and Sergio Santos and Brian Bruney each pitched a scoreless/hitless inning with Bruney recording the save…I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that another “up” was seeing Scottsdale residents and Sox fans Jill and Lee Weiss in the house. I’m sure their good karma made a difference.
The Downs:
While Teahen is tearing it up at the plate, Brent Morel isn’t. After his 0 for 4 last night he’s now hitting .143. I still feel confident he’ll be the starter at third because of the wide gap defensively between the two…Carlos Quentin also took the collar in four at bats and is at .136 on the spring.
Sox host the Cubs today at Camelback Ranch

Sox Bats Come Alive in Win, Tie

         Ramirez and Rios mirrored each other’s feats in games 126 miles apart

The White Sox offense finally came to life today, pounding out 28 runs and 31 hits in a split squad doubleheader separated by 126 miles. The Sox won a 12-1 drubbing of the Diamondbacks in Tucson and, after enjoying as much as a five-run lead over the Indians in Glendale, the South Siders settled for an ugly 16-16 tie when the game was called after nine innings.

Tucson Ups:
Alexei Ramirez homered in his first two at bats and added an RBI single…Ramon Castro also went deep…Brent Lillbridge doubled in three runs in a seven-run seventh…Jordan Danks collected two hits and scored twice…Edwin Jackson surrendered a lone run in 
3 1/3 innings while Chris Sale and Josh Kinney each pitched two scoreless frames…Sergio Santos pitched an unblemished  2/3 of an inning and Charlie Leesman hurled a scoreless ninth.
Tucson Downs:
Alexei committed an error, but he’s excused.
Glendale Ups:
While Ramirez clouted homers in his first two at bats against the D-backs, Alex Rios did the same at Camelback Ranch and drove in five runs…Mark Teahen went 2 for 2 with three RBIs and walked twice…Stefan Gartrell, seemingly a AAAA player, homered and singled in what was the go-ahead run in the eighth, snapping a 14-14 tie…Brandon Hynick was the only one of the six Sox pitchers NOT to give up a run. He struck out the side in the fifth in his only inning of work…Jared Mitchell, coming back from his unfortunate leg injury which caused him to miss all of the 2010 season, singled in the 16th Sox run…Dayan Viciedo went 3 for 5 with an RBI and Omar Vizquel had a pair of hits with a run batted in.
Glendale Downs:
Lucas Harrell started the game by giving up six runs, eight hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings and Gregory Infante surrendered four runs, five hits and a walk in the eighth as the Sox squandered a 14-10 lead…If this wasn’t bad enough, the Sox committed five errors. Leading the way was the human error himself, Teahen, with two throwing miscues. Granted, he was superb on offense today, but he simply can’t play the position. That’s four throwing errors in his last two games. Mr. Morel, you’ve got the job.
The Sox host the Rockies today at Camelback Ranch.

Dana Eveland (Who?) Does His Sandy Koufax Imitation

sandy koufax.jpg

Dana Eveland, who is with his fourth organization since 2005, might as well be Sandy Koufax when he faces the White Sox. He’s now 3-1 in six starts this season with two of the victories against the South Siders.
He beat them on April 15 in Toronto, allowing only two runs and three hits in six innings. Last night, in the 2-0 Blue Jay win, he hurled seven innings of shutout ball, surrendering a mere two hits. It’s either that Eveland has turned the corner since failing to stick with the Brewers, Diamondbacks and A’s or he’s simply taken advantage of our season-long offensive doldrums.
It’s reached the point in the Sox season where nobody really knows if this is a .500 team or a contender. John Danks has been the only consistent starter and aside from Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Andruw Jones, the offense, in the words of a fellow Sox fan, has been revolting. And the bullpen has suffered from the starters’ inconsistency.
We have no other choice but to wait it out and hope that a winning streak is right around the corner.
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The Springtime Ritual of Predicting the Winners

We all know that preseason predictions mean nothing–nada, zilch, zero. And while we shouldn’t take them seriously, it’s still a lot of fun–especially when the so-called experts pick your team to win.
Historically, it’s very rare when the baseball media elite pick the White Sox to win their division, let alone the AL pennant or World Series. It’s not that much different this year as the Twins seem to be the most common pick to conquer the AL Central. That said, there are a few “big name” media types among those who have picked the South Siders:
* Hall of Fame electee Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and author of the forthcoming bio of George Steinbrenner.
* Fox SportsKen Rosenthal, who somewhat tongue-in-cheek picked the Sox to win the World Series while referring to them “Team Wacko.” Think that had anything to do with our Ozzie?
* ESPN‘s Tim Kurkjian, who doesn’t exactly wear a Sox jersey on the weekends.
* Jon Heyman, he of SI, SI.com and the MLB Network.
Since I’m drinking the prediction Kool-Aid, I might as well add my two cents. Here are my divisional picks for 2010:

1. White Sox
2. Twins
3. Tigers
4. Royals
5. Indians


1. Rays
2. Red Sox
3. Yankees
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays


1. Angels
2. Mariners
3. Rangers
4. A’s


1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals


1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Brewers
4. Cubs
5. Pirates
6. Astros


1. Rockies
2. Dodgers
3. Giants
4. Padres
5. Diamondbacks

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The (Not So) Hot Stove in Indy–Day 1

The first day of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis came and went
without any blockbuster deals–with no White Sox activity. Righty Brian Bruney was dealt by the Yankees to the Nationals and All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez signed with the Nats. That was about it.

most intriguing buzz was a proposed three-way deal among the Yanks,
Diamondbacks and Tigers. According to the rumor, The Yankees would get
speedy centerfielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers along with a prospect or two from Arizona. The D-backs would get righty Edwin Jackson from Detroit and young hurler Ian Kennedy from New York and the Tigers would obtain pitcher Max Scherzer from Arizona, promising outfielder Austin Jackson and leftys Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yankees.

My point here is that as a Sox fan, you have to like Granderson and Jackson leaving the Central Division.

While the Sox were idle on the trade front, Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen were a bit chatty yesterday with the media. Here are a few tidbits that came out of their interviews:

*  KW:

“No comment” on the Sox interest in Roy Halladay. All I can say is Hmmm.

Regarding the possible signing of Scott Podsednik as
a free agent to fill the leadoff role: “If he has a sincere desire both
in terms of fit and dollars to match up, then it’s time to get serious.”

“There will be some bats available after the tender date (Saturday) so you got a lot of options…We’ve got to let it play out.”

*  Ozzie:

Indicated Carlos Quentin would most likely be moved to his natural position in right field–if Quentin is comfortable with the move.

He prefers having Gordon Beckham batting sixth or seventh.

Regarding the possibility of signing DH Hideki Matsui: We need one more
guy. It could be him. He has to show us he can play the outfield too.”