Buehrle bitten by bad start bug; Sox eliminated

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Buehrle bitten by bad start bug; Sox eliminated

rThursday, Sept. 15, 2011
Posted: 9:54 p.m. Updated: 11:19 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
Box score
VIDEO: Ozzie regrets outcome after elimination
READ: Vizquel won't retire, upset with 'mates

KANSAS CITY The last of the red-hot Chicago White Sox starters has bit the dust.

Mark Buehrle was utterly torched by the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, allowing a career-high 15 hits on the wrong side of a 7-2 romp.

The final hita liner back through the box from Alcides Escobar that hit Buehrle flush on his left pitching bicepwas the greatest insult, driving the lefty out of the game.

Its fineI think Ozzie just said, Enough, Buehrle said. I could have stayed in the game if it happened earlier in the game but he came out and said, There no reason to stay in. Youre getting your ass handed to you, lets get you out of there.

Well see how he feels tomorrow, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. But hes lucky it hit him right in the muscle. He should be fine.

Melky Cabrera continued his mastery of Buehrle, going 4-for-5 with a home run off him. Billy Butler added a round-tripper in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

It appears that the White Soxs flirtation with a six-man rotation for a fair spell of the summer did not help Buehrles stamina, as hoped. Through his first 25 starts, Buehrle had a 3.10 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 54.2 game score and 20.4 outs per start. Over his last three, games in which the White Sox have lost by a collective 33-8, the lefthander has a 12.00 ERA, 2.54 WHIP, 18.3 game score and 15.3 outs per start.

The last three outings have been very rough, very rough, a lot of balls in play, Guillen said. Hes been roughed up pretty good. For him, the biggest thing is location and changing speeds. Right now, I dont think he has that with him. Hes kind of behind hitters a couple of times.

Ozzie says don't blame Kenny

Buehrle denied there was anything behind his September swoon, attributing it to, Some bad luck. Obviously theyre hitting the balls hard and finding holes. But it seems like when I make a pitch theyre hitting the ball hard and putting it in play, and when I make a mistake, theyre crushing it.

"When things are going your way and youre missing pitches, they either foul them off or hit them at our guys. Now theyre finding holes or putting them over the fence, Buehrle said.

A.J. Pierzynski was the lone bright spot for the White Sox, going 3-for-4 and in the process tapping out the 1,500th safety of his career.

Alexei Ramirez had a ninth-inning single almost negated with Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur nearly throwing him out at first base. Ramirez gestured and appeared upset at Francoeurs challenge, but was lighthearted about the exchange after the game.

I wasn't really upset with the play, Ramirez said. Francoeur is just doing his job, and Ive got to do my job and get to first base. I'm aware of his highlights in getting guys out at first and I don't want to be one of them. I just told him that next time he's up, he better run hard because if it gets past me I'm still going after him.

The loss officially eliminated the White Sox from the 2011 postseason. But despite the dreaded X now residing next to the White Sox in the standings, Guillen doesnt foresee a change in his lineup over the final two weeks of the season.

No, were going to continue to play the guys who should be playing, he said, adding with a laugh, the kids are playing right now.

But no, weve got to go through the season. Everyone knows its a very disappointing season and very inconsistent season, but weve got to try to finish it as strong as we can. We should have played better. I thought with the club we have wed have a better season and have a better shot to win the division. But obviously, it didnt go the way we wanted it to go.

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

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

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USA TODAY

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

Adam Engel is making the most of his second opportunity with the White Sox.

Engel had his best game of the season in Thursday’s finale against the Minnesota Twins, where he went 4-for-5 with three singles, a double, and two RBIs in the White Sox 9-0 win. He became the first White Sox outfielder with a four-hit game within their first 11 career MLB games since Harold Baines (10th game) on April 20, 1980, according to CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.

"Some days you hit it, some days you don’t," Engel said. "Yesterday was the day that I hit it.”

After nearly a five-hour rain delay, the White Sox came out hot right from the get-go on Thursday. In fact, by the time Engel was ready to bat for the first time, the White Sox were already leading 4-0 and Twins starter Nik Turley had been yanked from the game.

“It was awesome,” Engel. “(The) team is winning, getting some hits. It’s a great feeling. Obviously the goal is to try and help the team win.”

[Vivid Seats: Buy your White Sox tickets here]

Engel made his major league debut on May 27 and then was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte on June 9. His wife Jaime had a child on June 12, and almost a week later, he was recalled again by the White Sox to replace an injured Leury Garcia.

Engel, who's hitting .344/.382/.406 entering Friday's game, will look to keep his hot streak going with his wife and newborn in attendance.

Mark Buehrle relishing life after baseball, and his new softball position

Mark Buehrle relishing life after baseball, and his new softball position

Mark Buehrle was known for plenty of things in his 16-year career, whether it was winning 214 games, being a five-time All-Star, throwing a perfect game and a no-hitter, winning a World Series and throwing 200 or more innings in 14 consecutive seasons. 

Now, the 38-year-old is relishing life as a dad and husband. Oh, and as the first baseman and cleanup hitter for his beer league softball team. 

Hey, Buehrle’s probably the only one on the team to hit a home run in the major leagues, in addition to that whole other list of pitching accomplishments. But socking softball dingers hasn’t given Buehrle the itch to get back into baseball, at least not yet. 

“I honestly thought I'd miss it more, the first year at home sitting on the couch and watching games and thinking, 'Man, what am I doing? I probably should still be playing,’” Buehrle said. “But the little ones have kept me busy and the wife's honey do list is not getting any shorter. But no, I enjoy being home and running the kids around and doing all the stuff we're doing. I haven't really missed it at all.”

Buehrle led the American League in complete games in 2015 and finished that year with a 15-8 record and 3.81 ERA, though he fell 1 1/3 innings shy of making it 15 consecutive seasons with 200 or more innings pitched. But he was isolated in Toronto, with his family still in St. Louis, and knew that even though he probably had more left in the tank, he didn’t want to continue playing. 

So Buehrle didn’t have a retirement tour, reportedly turned down some one-year offers and bought an RV after the 2015 season. 

“I was sitting in my apartment too much saying, ‘I’m a family guy, I’m a dad. I’m not a single college student,’” Buehrle said. “That’s what I felt like. I knew I was done that whole year leading up to it. I didn’t want to make a big deal of it. I wanted to go off in the sunset kind of quiet. I didn’t want all the attention.”

Someday, Buehrle expects he’ll want to get back into the game in some capacity. His kids are eight and nine (going on 10) years old, though, so it probably won’t be anytime soon. Unless you count getting back in the game as playing some beer league softball. 

“Right now we are so busy at home and enjoying that, I wouldn’t want to have to keep leaving again,” Buehrle said. “Eventually I would like to do something to stay involved.”