Dunn, Quentin lead slugfest on Opening Day

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Dunn, Quentin lead slugfest on Opening Day

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted 5:21 p.m. Updated 6:19 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CLEVELAND After a Cactus League campaign where their offense performed impressively in a sort of cute-gal-overdoing-makeup way, the Chicago White Sox attack snarled and bit occasional nemesis Fausto Carmona in Fridays April Fools' opener, bouncing him after just three innings of an eventual 15-10 win.

The Game in a Nutshell

Carmona was bombarded with hits from Juan Pierre (single) and Gordon Beckham (double) to start the game. Both scored, but it took six more outs for the White Sox to destroy the righthander, with towering two-run blasts from Adam Dunn and Carlos Quentin, pushing the lead to 6-0 through three.

And thats when the real damage set in, as the lead was pushed to 10 on successive two-run doubles from Dunn and Quentin. Carmona was bounced, but reliever Justin Germano fared no better, surrendering four more runs before the White Soxs fatigue from heavy-torque swinging began to set in.

One problem: the White Sox pitching staff misinterpreted the concept of All-In, figuring it meant every arm pitches into every win, because around the same time, the Wahoos began mounting a comeback.

First Cleveland dinged Mark Buehrle for four runs (yoking the veteran with a rare, poor Opening Day start after he cruised through his first 5 13 innings), then crushed free-agent acquisition Will Ohman for more earned runs (three) to outs (two). Tony Pena, Chris Sale, and Jesse Crain all had to come on to save what was once a 14-run lead.

White Hot

The White Sox offense, which compiled strong numbers in Arizona but nonetheless suffered from extreme periods of drought, clicked to nearly a historic degree for Chicago. The club lists a 17-run outburst on April 17, 1951 as its biggest Opening Day win. Fridays was undoubtedly more efficient than the offense of 60 years ago, pushing across 15 runs on 18 hits.

Finest Foe

Indians fans have a permanent state of Shin-Soo Choo fever, but catcher Carlos Santana is the real deal as well. He turned in a 3-4, homer, three-RBI day. His catchers ERA did take a bit of a hit as the dial hit 15 runs, all earned.

Magic Numbers:

3: Buehrle is now 3-0 with a 4.55 ERA in his career opening vs. Cleveland.

5: Quentins 5 RBI are the most by a White Sox player in an opener since Sammy Sosa had a two-homer, five-RBI opener at the Baltimore Orioles in 1991.

7: Brent Morel had a 2-for-5 day and stretched his hitting streak to seven games (dating to 2010).

11: With seventh- and ninth-inning Ks, Brent Lillibridge stretched his strikeout streak to 11 in his last 12 at-bats, dating back to 2010.

58: The White Sox are now 58-53 all-time in openers (14-15 vs. the Indians).
Sox Vox

I dont care about home runs, not on a team with this kind of offense. Im all about OBP.Adam Dunn, who did a little bit of both, hitting a home run and putting in a .500 OBP day in his White Sox debut.

Thats cool I would like to beat Junior.Dunn, when informed he now was tied with Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey, Jr. for most Opening Day home runs in baseball history.

When we got to 14, I said, OK, thats good, save some for Edwin Jackson tomorrow.Buehrle, on the offensive outburst.

It was a good game, to come out and swing the batsin spring training, we werent doing that. We had fun, and we were fun to watch.Beckham on the offensive attack.

I was stealing on the play, but the ball went so high, I lost it.Beckham on Dunns homer.

I didnt get three hits until June 15 last year. Wait it might have been July.Beckham on his three-hit day.

Im ecstatic. We won.Quentin, with as straight a face as imaginable for a player opening the season with five RBI.

The bullpen was a little shaky today,manager Ozzie Guillen, on the six earned runs that threw a scare into a runaway win.
First Look: Saturday

Edwin Jackson takes the bump for the White Sox, with an 11-strikeout win as his only prior appearance at Progressive Field.

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

Chris Sale ties career-high 17 wins as White Sox power past Rays

Chris Sale ties career-high 17 wins as White Sox power past Rays

Chris Sale had no trouble earning his 17th win of the season, tying his career-high set in 2012.

The White Sox offense powered past the Tampa Bay Rays 13-6 on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, improving their record to 76-81 on the season.

Sale pitched seven innings and recorded seven strikeouts. He also allowed three earned runs on eight hits. It was Sale’s 16th career game with at least seven strikeouts and no walks, according to CSN’s stat guru Chris Kamka.

“I think the whole team and organization takes him for granted, to be sure. I think he’s a heck of a competitor,” Adam Eaton said of Sale prior to Tuesday’s game. “He’s one of the best in the game of baseball and I think we should look at him as such. And when I say take for granted, it’s not a slander on anybody. You just get used to him going seven, eight innings, throwing 115 pitches and giving his best effort day in and day out. He’s definitely not the usual, for sure.”

The White Sox extended their winning streak to four games. The last time they won four consecutive games was July 23-26 against the Cleveland Indians and Cubs. The White Sox had winning streaks of at least four games three times in their first 33 games of the season.

Eaton went 2-for-5 with two runs, an RBI and a double in his return to the lineup after missing three games with an injury.

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Tim Anderson got things started with an RBI single in the first and RBI double in the second. Anderson also added a solo homer in the eighth inning.

Melky Cabrera hit his 14th homer of the season in the first, bumping his RBI total to 82 on the year, five shy from his career-high.

In the third, Leury Garcia smacked his first homer of the year, a three-run shot to left-center field to extend the White Sox lead to 8-2. Two more runs were scored in the fifth on a fielder’s choice and an error. Jason Coats, pinch-hitting for Justin Morneau, and Todd Frazier each had an RBI single in the eighth.

Sale issued a two-run double to former White Sox infielder Alexei Ramirez in the second and a homer to Curt Casali in the fourth.

With five games left, Ventura hasn’t decided if Sale will make one final start before the 2016 campaign ends.

However, Ventura believes that tying his 17 wins in a season is well-deserving.

“You're looking at a guy that's one of the elite pitchers in the game,” Ventura said. “You always want him to match or best his past performances. I think part of that is motivation at this point to be able to go out there and do it.

“His numbers, you look at them and they stack up with anybody. But you want him to continue to win games and you want him to surpass previous accomplishments. Every guy's trying to do that.”

If roster stays the same, Adam Eaton believes White Sox can compete in 2017

If roster stays the same, Adam Eaton believes White Sox can compete in 2017

This season hasn’t exactly turned out the way the White Sox had hoped.

The White Sox took Major League Baseball by storm after beginning the season at 23-10, which led the American League Central by six games at the time.

But since then, the White Sox have been climbing an uphill battle. They lost 20 of their next 26 games and found themselves fighting to stay above .500.

The White Sox brought in reinforcements in an effort to get their season back on track, adding designated hitter Justin Morneau (via free agency), veteran pitcher James Shields (via trade from San Diego Padres) and 23-year-old shortstop Tim Anderson (Triple-A Charlotte). 

But the White Sox still couldn’t make things click.

“I think you learn how guys struggle and how they try and get out of it,” said manager Robin Ventura. “You see guys that continue to grind through it and try to find it. Some guys find it quicker than other guys. I think the biggest thing is their ability to grind through it.”

The White Sox were officially eliminated from the postseason last Friday and will finish with their fourth straight losing season.

What happens over the offseason remains a mystery. It’s uncertain how their opening roster will look like next season.

If little changes are made, Adam Eaton believes the White Sox can still be contenders in 2017.

“There is a lot of talent here,” Eaton said. “There are a lot of good baseball players in here. It’s not the year we thought. And I think with that exact quote, ‘It’s not the year that we thought,’ if we brought the guys back I think we might have the year we thought we would have.

“The camaraderie is great in here. It’s tough to say whether people will be leaving or whether additions will be added. I’m sure moves will be made. In the game of baseball, there’s never an offseason that’s quiet, I feel like. Whatever Rick (Hahn) and the organization sees would be more functional for this team to be better and more consistent on a day-to-day basis, then that’s what they see in the team.

“If I’m in those plans, great. If not, then it kind of stinks. But if they want me in this uniform next year, I’ll be proud to wear it and I’ll put everything I have on the field again like I did this year.”

Time will tell which direction the White Sox decide to go in. Will they continue to add immediate impact players and build around the same group? Make a few tweaks? Or perhaps even tear it all down and start from scratch?

One thing is for sure, it will be a busy offseason for the White Sox one way or another.

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If the White Sox decide to make any drastic changes like trade Chris Sale — who was a hot topic of discussion around the trade deadline — Eaton knows exactly what he'd do if they faced one another.

“Take the day off,” Eaton said. “No, I don’t want to give away too much because I hope I’m never on that side. Just see ball, hit ball. Be simple. Have a simple approach off him because he can make you look foolish at times. Just have a good competitive at-bat.

“But like I said, easier said than done. He’s made a lot of people look foolish. I hope I’ll never have to do that, to be honest with you. I’d love to be on his team for the rest of my life.”