Sox hoping Humber, Floyd find consistency


Sox hoping Humber, Floyd find consistency

For as solid as Jake Peavy and Chris Sale have been at the front end of the White Sox rotation this season, Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber have been just as shaky.

Floyd showed improvement in Fridays start in the series opener against Houston, despite taking the loss.

Now Humber gets his opportunity to at least match Floyds effort in a four-hit, four-run performance in Chicagos 8-3 loss. Humber pitches today as the Sox go for the series win in the finale of the three-game, interleague series against the Astros at U.S. Cellular Field.

Humber enters at 2-3 with a 5.68 ERA. Over his past eight starts since throwing a perfect game in Seattle on April 21, Humber is 1-3 with a 7.38 ERA. Yet, hes showing signs of improvement.

Two starts ago he earned the win against Tampa Bay on May 29, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. That marked Humbers longest start of the season other than the perfect game.

You know, two starts ago in Tampa, had a good game, then last game a couple pitches cost me a good game (in last start against Seattle), Humber said Saturday. It's about being more consistent and making more quality pitches. I feel good about where I'm at, I feel like I'm close to where I want to be.

Humber has had particular trouble at home where he hasnt won in almost a year. He is 0-6 with a 5.72 ERA in his last 13 starts at U.S. Cellular. He hasnt won on the South Side since June 12 last season against Oakland.

Pitching coach Don Cooper said its a matter of both Humber and Floyd becoming steadier in their starts. The Sox remain confident in their abilities.

Him and Gavin obviously have had some rough stretches, Cooper said Saturday. I thought Gavin was better (Friday) night, but you know, a pitching slump is not like a hitting slump. He limited mistakes (Friday) night, but the ones he made, Gavin got hurt. When a guy is going good, I dont care who it is, hes throwing enough quality pitches.

When you are not, thats not happening. We have two guys that we are trying to bring out of their inconsistency to more consistency. Weve seen them good before and we know what it looks like.

The Sox and their fans hope they see that in Humber today.

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.