Tagged: Robin Ventura

Is it Just a Matter of Time?

“It gets frustrating, but I think the way it’s going, the way the guys are grinding, you can’t fault them for anything.”

–Sox skipper Robin Ventura, after last night’s doubleheader loss to the Tribe

Yesterday was certainly a day to forget as the Sox dropped Game 1 to the Tribe, 8-6, largely on the imperfect outing of Philip Humber, and lost Game 2, 3-2, despite a solid performance by Eric Stults.

Humber, who now has had three bad outings since his perfecto against the Mariners, coughed up eight runs, nine hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. The silver lining, and yes there was one, was the terrific job Jose Quintana did in relief of Humber. Brought to the big club just for the doubleheader, Quintana’s major league debut was sterling as he gave up just one hit and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

In the nightcap, Stults (who also was promoted yesterday) went six innings, allowing only two runs, four hits and four walks. If only he hadn’t walked No. 9 hitter Lou Marson with two outs in the fifth that ultimately gave the Tribe a 2-1 lead.

Ventura’s frustration noted above seems to be referring to all the close games the Sox are dropping. His refusal to place blame seems to refer to the fact that the club is putting forth the proper effort. Case in point is that in both games yesterday the Sox rallied in the late innings, only to come up short.

Robin’s hope is the same as ours. That it’s only a matter of time before the Sox begin winning the close ones.

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White Sox Sweep; Next Up: A’s and Bartolo Colon

The impressive Robin Ventura White Sox brought out the broom today, completing a three-game sweep of the home-standing Mariners.

The Sox overcame another so-so John Danks effort and some shoddy defensive to defeat the Mariners, 7-4. The heroes? The resurgent Alex Rios, who went 3 for 4 with three RBIs including a triple that tied the score at four; Kosuke Fukudome, who drive in his first two runs in a Sox uniform; and the bullpen in the persons of Addison Reed (7th inning), Matt Thornton (8th) and Hector Santiago (9th), who shut down Seattle with each pitching a scoreless inning.

The South Siders head to Oakland with Rios (.333), Paul Konerko (.362) and A.J. Pierzynski (.348) sporting pretty gaudy batting averages. Add Adam Dunn‘s long balls and 14 RBIs and it’s suddenly quite a middle of the lineup.

Even though red-hot Jake Peavy is on the mound tomorrow night against the A’s, the Sox are going to need all that offense and more with the ageless Bartolo Colon on the mound. The former Good Guy has been out of this world thus far this season and last week even hurled 38 straight strikes.

Don’t look now, but the team that most dismissed in their spring predictions is 9-6 and only a half-game behind those “unbeatable” Tigers.

Two to Forget

I couldn’t bear to post my blog yesterday after the Sox meltdown Monday night against the Orioles. A 4-2 lead in the ninth should be enough, but we all know that there are always going to be a bunch of these heartbreakers during the course of the season. We just don’t want to admit it–and I couldn’t face writing about it, especially the 10-4 final score.

I had good feelings about the South Siders bouncing back last night with John Danks on the mound, but very few teams are going to win games with two, maybe three hitters, doing what they’re supposed to do. The result? a 3-2 loss.

To state the obvious, we are struggling offensively. Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham are among the culprits along with Brent Morel. And the few who are on their game,  like Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, haven’t provided enough firepower to overcome the slackers.

The new skipper is still showing confidence in the non-producers. It’ll be interesting to see how long he waits before a makes an adjustment or two.

A Night of “Firsts”

Last night in Arlington proved to be a winner for the White Sox as their nail-biting 4-3 triumph over the Rangers was built on a series of “firsts.”

For starters, it was the first Sox win of the year as they rebounded from a 3-2 defeat the day before in the season opener. It was also Robin Ventura‘s first victory as a manager, an accomplishment that earned him a beer shower from the troops. And it was rookie Hector Santiago‘s first major league save.

Aside from the “W” itself, the most satisfying “first” of all had to be Alex Rios‘s game-winning homer–over the centerfield fence.  It’s too early to make any legitimate assessements, but Rios showed that maybe there’s some potential for a turnaround from his disastrous 2011 as he slugged his personal No. 1 round-tripper.

We’ve said all along that Adam Dunn and Rios could be the keys to a Sox surprise this season. So far, so good.

Sox Will Have to Bring Their “A” Game as Tough Foes Dot April Schedule

Happy Opening Day!  And now the flurry of questions about our 2012 White Sox will begin to be answered.

The April schedule won’t be a cakewalk. First it’s three against the Rangers, beginning this afternoon, then three vs. the Tribe–all on the road–then home for three against the mighty Tigers and four vs. the Orioles. The month concludes with a six-game road trip to Seattle and and Oakland and a four-game homestand against the Red Sox.

I hate to get ahead of myself because facing the two-time defending American League champs the next three days is imposing enough. But the facts are the facts. The Sox, in need of getting off to a good start to excite the South Side fandom, have their work cut out for them.

Today, we’ll see Robin Ventura‘s managerial debut and a new lineup that will look like this:

DeAza, CF

Morel, 3B

Dunn, DH

Konerko, 1B

Pierzynski, C

Rios, RF

Ramirez,SS

Viciedo, LF

Beckham , 2B

Danks, P

One mystery is the identity of the closer. Ventura has been mum on the subject, but it seems Matt Thornton, Hector Santiago and Addison Reed are the likely suspects, in no particular order.

One game won’t make or break the season, but it sure would be nice to get out of the box with a “W” against the league champs. And it would be even sweeter if Dunn is a big part of it so he can exorcise those 2011 demons sooner than later.

As Ventura Era Begins, Hector Santiago is a Most Interesting Piece of the South Side Puzzle

Just because I haven’t posted lately, it doesn’t mean I’m not eagerly awaiting the 2012 season. And it makes it more fun when the so-called experts, who frankly don’t have much more insight than those of us fans that follow the game closely, predict doomsday for our Sox.

Things seem to be coming together with a week to go before the opener against the defending A.L. champion Rangers. The remaining roster spots are in the bullpen and on the bench.

It looks like the pen will shape up with Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Will Ohman, Addison Reed and Hector Santiago with two of the following five fighting it out for the two remaining spots: Eric Stults, Brian Bruney, Nate Jones, Zack Stewart and Dylan Axelrod. The specific roles, including the annointment of the closer, are yet to be determined. The most interesting candidates are the rookie Reed, who closed for Stephen Strasburg at San Diego State, and Santiago, a New Jersey native who has impressed everyone in Glendale with an effective screwball.

If nothing unusual happens, Eduardo Escobar has won the last spot among position players. He’s had a good enough spring and displayed enough infield versatility to prompt the Sox to send the likes of Dan Johnson, Dallas McPherson, Jim Gallagher and Jordan Danks back to minor league camp.

It’s so hard to know what this team is going to be. For now, let’s sit back, relax and watch the Robin Ventura era begin.

Will the Sox Be Pulling From the Same Rope?

I’m a week away from my annual trip to White Sox spring training to watch the Sox with my own eyes, but I like what I’m hearing from Camelback Ranch.

While Ozzie (Remember him?) is on the cover of Sports Illustrated  representing the circus that will personify the Miami Marlins, our new low-key skipper is talking about “effort,” giving positive feedback to his players and acting like this club is going to confound the so-called experts and be a major surprise in the A.L. Central. And to that point it seems the troops are responding by saying all the right things with a sense of renewed camaraderie.

I wasn’t born yesterday. I know that every team thinks they have a chance in February and March. I’m just saying that after the Ozzie years Robin Ventura‘s approach is a breath of fresh air. As big a fan I was of Ozzie’s, it’s just time for a change.

The Sox marketing slogan this year is “Appreciate the Game,” low-key like the new skipper. I have no quarrel with that, but I could have been just as satisfied with something like, “No More Drama.”