Chicago White Sox

Axelrod takes the mound vs. Blue Jays on CSN

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Axelrod takes the mound vs. Blue Jays on CSN

Monday, Sept 26, 2011
Posted: 10:29 a.m.

Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays will be without their manager and the majors' home run leader when they open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.

Toronto can finish with a winning record for the fifth time in six years with two wins this week, however, the Blue Jays (80-79) expect to be without Jose Bautista, who suffered a knee bruise in Sunday's 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay.

Bautista, who leads the majors with 43 homers and is hitting .305, was chasing a fly ball in the first inning when his knee made contact with a corner of the padded doorway. He fell to the ground and was down for several minutes, but stayed in before leaving in the sixth.

"We feel like we dodged a bullet," manager John Farrell said. "It could have been something much more severe."

Farrell will also miss Monday's game for personal reasons while Colby Rasmus, who was a late scratch with flulike symptoms Sunday, is uncertain.

The team could have Adam Lind back after he missed the last three games following the birth of his child.

Also playing out the schedule is Chicago (77-82), which lost two of three to Kansas City over the weekend and is assured of its third losing season in five years.

The disappointing season has cast doubt over manager Ozzie Guillen's future with the club. He has publicly asked for an extension of his contract, but the team has been silent.

"I'm not here for stats, I'm here to win divisions," Guillen said. "As soon as they put the 'X' next to me, I'm done. That was my goal and I couldn't capture my goal."

Chicago had six hits in Sunday's 2-1 loss, but stranded seven. Adam Dunn went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .161 with 172 strikeouts.

Dunn needs 13 plate appearances in the final three games to finish with the worst qualifying batting average in big league history, surpassing Rob Deer's .179 mark in 1991. Dunn went 1 for 14 with eight strikeouts in a series against Toronto in May.

The Blue Jays won the final three games of that four-game set, and have won 21 of 27 against the White Sox overall.

Toronto sends Dustin McGowan (0-1, 6.35 ERA) to the mound for his fourth start of the season.

McGowan gave up two runs and struck out eight in five innings of a 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

"It was good," said McGowan, who is coming back from two shoulder surgeries. "It seems to get better every time. Just pounded the zone. Avoided the walk which kind of killed me in other starts."

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA against the White Sox, last facing them in 2008.

Chicago will counter with Dylan Axelrod (0-0, 4.26), who is making his third major league start and fourth appearance.

Axelrod allowed four runs, four walks and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 5-4 win at Cleveland on Tuesday.

He limited Detroit to two runs and six hits over six innings on Sept. 14 in his only start at U.S. Cellular Field.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Nothing is proven, Lucas Giolito will have to come back next season and show he can do this once again. But another huge development in the White Sox rebuild has been the continued development and success of Giolito late in the season.

The young White Sox pitcher added another outstanding performance to the ledger on Sunday afternoon.

Giolito pitched seven sharp innings and helped the White Sox officially avoid 100 losses in an 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. He allowed a run and five hits with five strikeouts and no walks. It’s another step in a nice turnaround for Giolito, who struggled at Triple-A earlier in the year.

“I feel like this is where I can pitch,” Giolito said. “I can pitch deep into games. I wouldn't really say awestruck or anything like that. I’d say that there’s a lot of struggles there earlier this year. I worked through those … I feel like getting the confidence back up, it’s all I really needed to feel comfortable and be ready to go.”

Some of the metrics would suggest Giolito is in line for a dropoff. While his earned-run average is 2.38, his Fielding Independent Pitching is 4.94. His xFIP is a little lower at 4.42. But the elevated numbers are in part due to Giolito not missing as many bats and striking out 6.75 batters per nine innings.

But Giolito’s big-league numbers also come at a time in which he has never pitched more. He has pitched a combined 174 innings this season, which dwarfs his previous high of 136 2/3 innings in 2016.

Despite the workload, the right-hander continues to bring good stuff. He got seven swings and misses and 10 called strikes with his four-seam fastball, which averaged 92.3 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

“He's got angle, he's got height,” manager Rick Renteria said “He's got good angle so that creates, believe or not, some deception and he can ride it up out of the zone. And then he comes out from that angle with the breaking ball or his changeup. So the angle creates some pretty good deception.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign]

Giolito has filled up the strikezone since he reached the majors partly because of belief in his stuff. He’s thrown strikes on 63.4 percent of his pitches and was even better Sunday with 65 of 98 offerings. The other part of it is trust in his defense, which made several spectacular plays behind him.

Giolito knows this is only the beginning. But he feels good after a stretch in which he has quality starts in five of six games. Over the stretch he has a 1.83 ERA and 25 hits allowed with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings.

“My confidence is there,” Giolito said. “I trust my stuff, I trust my pitches. There are things to work on, things I’m talking to (Don Cooper) about. There’s always stuff to improve, for sure. I’d say that just the confidence and everything is right where it needs to be so I’m going to continue to try and pitch like I am.”

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

When searching for why Avisail Garcia has had sustained success this season, you can’t overlook his fitter frame.

The White Sox outfielder entered a breakout 2017 season approximately 18 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. Garcia, who’s hitting .331, doubled, homered and drove in three runs as the White Sox topped the Kansas City Royals 8-1 at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday afternoon. Given the way he has performed this season, the first-time All-Star said he plans to work even harder this offseason.

“One hundred percent (better),” Garcia said. “I want to keep losing a little bit more. I want to feel way better next year.”

Garcia has provided the White Sox with a boatload of feel-good moments this season. He cut down two base runners in Friday night’s wild victory over the Royals, including on the final play of the game. Overall, Garcia has felt a difference in the field and it’s shown up in his defensive numbers. He headed into Sunday worth 2 Defensive Runs Saved after he finished the 2015 season at minus-11.

But even more of Garcia’s production has come at the plate, where he reached the 80-RBI mark on Sunday. He followed a one-out Yoan Moncada double off Ian Kennedy in the first inning with an opposite-field blast to right field, Garcia’s 18th homer.

Six innings later, Garcia doubled in a run. He’s hitting .331/.379/.504 on the season and entered Sunday worth 3.5 f-Wins Above Replacement.

“It seems likes he’s always finding barrel and like, man, that’s impressive to go up there, have disciplined at-bats and consistently get the barrel of the bat to the ball,” pitcher Lucas Giolito said.

Garcia’s play has offered him more encouragement to continue his efforts. Though he was adamant at the All-Star Game he wanted to duplicate his first-half efforts, Garcia suffered a series of injuries that bothered him throughout July. But he’s found comfort at the plate once again and knows how important a role his improved conditioning has played.

“The offseason, I have to do the same even harder,” Garcia said. “I want to do my best every year so now I have the ability to be here and trying to help my team. Just have to keep working.”