Ballantini: Six-man savings sputter out

Ballantini: Six-man savings sputter out

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011Posted: 8:48 p.m. Updated: 9:10 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
The Chicago White Sox ran out a six-man rotation as of Jake Peavys return on May 11 and have flirted with it for the balance of the season since then, most recently returning to it by choice (strong starts from Phil Humber and Zach Stewart) and necessity (two doubleheaders in the span of 15 days).

The wisdom of sticking with the unorthodox approach wasnt only driven by starters merit but the thought that few starts at midseason could pay off with stronger finishes in the dog days.

Coincidence, bad luck, or failed wisdom, the six-man rotation did not pay such stretch-run dividends.

For the season, White Sox starters have averaged a 51.5 game score, 4.12 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 19.0 outs per start. But if the season is cut off after games of Aug. 29, those marks improve to 52.7 game score, 3.88 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 19.2 outs per start.

In the stretch from August 30 to September 15, the rotation has averaged a 42.4 game score, 4.64 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 16.9 outs per start. Trim the recent slump more narrowly, to the last nine starts of the season (Sept. 7-15), and the other peripherals hover around the same but the game score average drops to a paltry 39.9.

We did everything for them, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said before Fridays game. We shuffled one to another to make sure those guys feeling strong. I dont think Coop, or myself can be blamed, that we didnt do the right thing for them to finish strong, because we did. We had many meetings about that situation because in the past Mark Buehrle kind of tended to lay down a little bit, Gavin Floyd struggled, Peavy was injured, Humber never threw that many innings in the big leagues. We did the right thing for them to finish strong. Right now theyre scuffling, but we put those guys in the best situation. We thought we were going to be in pennant race all the way to the end and thought it would help them.

Humber did not appear to be helping matters, with five runs (four earned) in the first four innings of Fridays game vs. the Kansas City Royals, lining up a game score of 32 to that point.

Ozzie twitterpates dangerously late

In eerie foreshadowing, Ozzie Guillen Jr., oldest son of Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, remarked to media gathering in the managers office before Thursday nights game: Dont tweet after 10 p.m.

The son cited an adage that is akin to not picking up the phone for make a call and drunk dialing, referring to the concept of having less clarity in what you write as day turns to night.

Jr.s warning came into play on Thursday night, when his father got back to the team hotel and saw New York Mets manager being attacked by Harold Reynolds on the MLB Network for postgame comments that were critical of his players.

Reacting to Reynolds calling for Collins to be fired, Guillen let loose on Twitter, saying Thas all job is easy to judge manager from the studio, and U dont know what happen. His third tweet on the subject, as Guillen Jr. tried to ease him away from his tweeting phone, said, I know I play the game.

I dont know Terry Collins, a great baseball man, but I dont know him personally, Guillen said before Fridays game, explaining his tweets. But when you hear those comments he should get fired because hes not a players manager and you ask for a guys head?

Guillen thought Collins comments were childs play compared to what he typically says after a disappointing loss.

I stayed up till 1 oclock in the morning to see what Collins said because I think it will be fun, like, Wow, I might learn something from this, Guillen said. I didnt see anything. He just said the players arent playing good. They got swept and left so many people on base. What does the manager have to say? Why cant we get mad? Why cant we say whats on our minds? Why do people say, Well, the players arent going to play hard for him. Theyre going to hate him. Well, at the end of the day, if the players dont play hard for you, youre going to get fired I see the comment Collins made, and thats in diapers compared to the comments that I make. I know analysts are getting paid to criticize people, but when you call for somebodys head, thats different.

Among Guillens final comments directed at the MLB Network was a gem and probably a truthful one at that, given how in demand his services are for postseason analysis is whenever the White Sox arent involved.

Is if my english was better I be doing what u doing lol but you guys cant do what I doing or terry lol lol.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giovanni Soto pitched to Geovany Soto at White Sox camp on Monday morning, and the Internet loved it.

The veteran catcher and rookie pitcher, who share similar names and have been friends for two years, worked together during live batting practice. The unrelated pair, who both hail from Puerto Rico, said they’ve been confused for each other several times since reporting to camp last week. Each has also heard the other’s name being called out and thought it was for them, which has led to more confusion. But those mix-ups haven’t limited their enjoyment of the situation, either.

“It’s kind of surreal that he has the same name, last name,” Geovany Soto said. “It’s kind of weird calling him Gio and he’s calling me Geo. It’s kind of weird.

“With the physicals, doctors, the people for the drug testing, we’ve been confused in all three of those. I’m expecting that to happen. Hopefully I can get a big check on his name and cash it.”

The social media world isn’t alone in its enjoyment of the topic as both players smiled while discussing it on Monday.

Giovanni Soto said the players met two seasons ago when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the catcher was in his first stint with the White Sox. They grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other in Puerto Rico and now spend time together in the offseason. But what has made the scenario even more confusing is that White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito is seated only a few stalls away from Giovanni Soto in the clubhouse.

“It’s kind of weird, especially in the clubhouse and on the field because when someone says Geo, we turn around to see if it’s for him or for me,” Giovanni Soto said. “And we also have Giolito, and people call him Gio. It’s weird, but it’s funny too.”

Both Sotos could make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Geovany Soto, who signed a minor league contract in January, is the most experienced catcher in camp and is favored to win a job. Giovanni Soto, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in November, is one of several relievers competing for a spot and could make the club if the White Sox decide to carry two left-handers in the bullpen. And while Giolito is expected to start the season at Triple-A, he could reach the majors at some point causing more pandemonium.

“There’s a lot of Geo going on with Giolito, Giovanni and then me,” Geovany Soto said. “And can get pretty hectic. But yeah, it’s fun for us.”