Viciedo, White Sox storm back to beat Detroit


Viciedo, White Sox storm back to beat Detroit

By Paul LaTour Contributor

The White Sox struggling offense got an unexpected boost Monday night from an unlikely source -- left fielder Dayan Viciedo.

One of three players hitting below .200 in the Sox starting lineup, Viciedo drove in a career-high four runs with a home run and two-run single as the Sox rallied for a 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field.

Zach Stewart (1-1) picked up the win relief of starter John Danks, whose home woes continued.

Viciedos home run -- his fourth of the season -- sparked the comeback in the fifth after Chicago fell behind 5-2.

He followed that with a single in the sixth to score Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski with the go-ahead runs. Brent Morel drove in Alexei Ramirez with another single to give the Sox a 7-5 lead.

Viciedos heroics came out of nowhere. He entered the game hitting .196 and had only one hit in his previous 17 at-bats, which including popping out to second in his first plate appearance Monday.

Stewarts effort cant be understated as he not only bailed out Danks, but kept the bullpen from being further stressed. The Sox used four relievers in Sundays 9-1 loss to Kansas City.

Danks couldnt make it out of the fourth inning, this after entering the night 0-3 with a 7.32 ERA over three home starts this season. But Stewart came in with three-plus strong innings in which he allowed only one hit and one walk, which set the table for Chicagos comeback.

The night got off to a rocky start for Danks, who surrendered back-to-back doubles to Prince Fielder and Delmon Young as the Tigers jump to a 3-0 first-inning lead.

Andy Dirks drew a walk and Miguel Cabrera followed with a single to set the stage for Fielders drive to center field. Alejandro De Aza misjudged the ball, taking a step in before trying to recover. But the ball sailed over his head to score Dirks and Cabrera.

Young ripped the next pitch into right-center field to score Fielder and put the Sox in the early three-run hole.

That deficit didnt last long as Adam Dunn hit a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw from starter Drew Smyly. It was Dunns 12th of the season, and first off a left-hander since Aug. 6, 2010.

The Tigers were back at it in the third, adding two runs when Jhonny Peralta drew a bases-loaded walk and Gerald Laird followed with a sacrifice fly to De Aza.

Danks exited after giving up back-to-back singles to start the fourth. He allowed nine hits and five runs with three walks, and a hit batsman in his shortest outing of the season. Only 42 of his 80 pitches were for strikes.

As Danks struggled, Smyly settled into a groove. He retired nine in a row after Dunns home run, including the final three on strikeouts. A Konerko single ended the streak with one out in the fourth.

Still, the Sox found a way back into the game behind Viciedo. Alexei Ramirez led off with a single ahead of Viciedos blast, cutting the deficit to 5-4.

Smyly left after the inning, finishing with five hits and four runs allowed with one walk and four strikeouts in his first appearance on the South Side.

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.