A case of Jekyll and Hyde for Gavin Floyd


A case of Jekyll and Hyde for Gavin Floyd

On Friday against Houston, Gavin Floyd looked like the pitcher he was during a four-start stretch in late April through early May.

Unfortunately for the Sox, at times he also looked like the pitcher hes been in the four starts since that good stretch.

Floyd tied a season-high in strikeouts with nine, but gave up two home runs and four runs in Chicagos 8-3 loss at U.S. Cellular Field.

(Friday) was a big step for me, Floyd said. I felt great. It just felt like I was going out there having fun, attacking the mitt.

The Astros struck for a run each in the first and second inning, both times the result of Floyd losing out to the lead-off batter. Firs,t it was a double to Jose Altuve to start the game. He later scored on a sacrifice fly.

Then Floyd surrendered a 428-foot shot to Brett Wallace to open the second. Floyd was tagged again in the fifth when Jed Lowrie stroked a two-run home run.

Floyd now has surrendered 14 home runs, including six in his past two starts. Only the Angels Ervin Santana has allowed more in the major leagues.

Its just his location, and maybe the count, manager Robin Ventura said of Floyds propensity for giving up home runs. You fall behind and you give the guy the ability to sit on it and go after a fast ball and thats going to happen. So his location needs to be better when there are hitters counts.

Floyd has allowed a home run in five consecutive starts, including six over his past two. Pitching at U.S. Cellular Field -- known as a hitters park -- doesnt help. But Floyd wasnt using that as an excuse.

Youve just got to make better pitches, Floyd said. The ball does fly out of here, but Im not going to try to be less aggressive.

Still, it was a marked improvement for Floyd over the past month. He entered Friday 1-2 with an 11.44 ERA in his previous four starts. In the four starts prior to that, Floyd was 2-1 with a 1.26 ERA.

Floyd said he was able to get all four pitches in for strikes Friday, his fastball, slider, changeup and curveball. Ventura said the curve was especially important.

Thats the pitch he has to have control over on the outer half to be able to run his fastball in, Ventura said. (Friday) he was doing that, but they (still) got him a couple times.

White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success


White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success

In our next installment of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien is joined by Chris Kamka and Slavko Bekovic to discuss how White Sox fans are dealing with success on the North Side.

Later, White Sox fan and CSN producer Ryan McGuffey talks about his experience producing Cubs content. Finally, Cubs fan Nate Poppen shares his thoughts on Frank Kaminsky wearing a Steve Bartman jersey to the United Center before a Bulls-Hornets preseason game.

Check out the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast here:

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

Statistical analysis will weigh more heavily on the White Sox coaching staff’s daily decisions after Joe McEwing was elevated to Rick Renteria’s bench coach on Friday.

McEwing -- whose influence led to a 957 percent increase in defensive shifts utilized from 2013-16 -- replaces Renteria, who was named the team’s new manager on Oct. 3 after Robin Ventura announced he wouldn’t return.

Former player development director Nick Capra replaces McEwing as third-base coach while Curt Hasler was promoted from minor-league pitching coordinator to replace bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen.

McEwing’s promotion is another sign the franchise will stress the use of statistical analysis when constructing its lineup, etc., a move Ventura suggested was in progress when he said the White Sox needed a new voice. Renteria likes how he worked with McEwing last season and suggested analysis would have a big impact on their day-to-day operations.

“All the information that is provided to us plays an important part in how we move forward,” Renteria said. “We look at outcomes, which are the statistical analysis aspects. But then we are also trying to stay ahead of the curve. We do a lot of video work, trying to see if guys are changing their approaches. In terms of the shifts, we did incorporate shifts, but we also did some modifications as was to be expected when you see guys changing approaches with two strikes and things of that nature or runners in scoring position -- all those different aspects that come into play.”

Similar to many organizations, the White Sox have drastically modified how they align themselves defensively over the past four seasons under McEwing and general manager Rick Hahn. According to FanGraphs, the White Sox went from being ranked 27th in shifts implemented in 2013 to ninth by 2014 with an increase from 102 to 588. The White Sox shifted 1,079 times last season and McEwing has been instrumental in that transformation, several team sources said. It’s reasonable to expect analysis will be used more often in lineup construction and game strategy under Renteria, too. He didn’t shy away from the use of statistical analysis when he managed on the other side of town in 2014, Cubs third-base coach Gary Jones said last week.

“It’s part of our daily preparation,” Jones said. “Rick is good with it as we are right now. It was definitely a part of the equation, no doubt.”

[RELATED: White Sox announce coaching staff changes] 

Renteria cited familiarity when asked why he didn’t go outside of the organization for coaching staff hires. McEwing has long been held in high regard within the franchise and interviewed for managerial openings in Houston and Texas in 2014. Renteria suggested McEwing’s work ethic -- and how he works -- had a big impact on his promotion.

“Having sat side by side (with McEwing) going over a lot of game reviews and studying the opposition and setting up defense, I got to know him quite well,” Renteria said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s in there early looking for anything that will give us an edge. His managing experience and coaching experience also allows him an opportunity to be able to serve me well.

“It’s a good fit. We both are kind of high energy. Joey might be a little higher energy than me and I didn’t think that was possible. He brings a lot to the table.”

The White Sox announced the rest of its staff -- first-base coach Daryl Boston, pitching coach Don Cooper, hitting coach Todd Steverson, assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks and bullpen catcher Mark Salas -- would return in 2017.