Chicago White Sox

Eighth straight loss officially eliminates White Sox

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Eighth straight loss officially eliminates White Sox

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010
Updated 1:48 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

OAKLAND Before Tuesdays tilt vs. the Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen dismissed the notion that he should be embarrassed by how his team has been playing during an abominable stretch run, remaining defiant.

No, (Monday) night we were flat, he said. Besides that, weve played hard.

In spite of counsel advising the skipper to reconsider his answer, hes sticking to it.

If they quit, I will kick their (expletive). If they quit, they wont play for me, Guillen insisted postgame. Offensively, right now, were not getting anything going. Pitching, were not getting anything going. I dont think we have any quitters. We just havent played that well.

Indeed it was another flat performance by the White Soxa 7-2 loss to the Asthat yoked Chicago with a season-high, eight-game losing streak. It was no squeaker, either, as it took the rude hosts all of four innings to jump ahead 5-0. Coupled with the offensive eruption was another lights-out game by Oaklands Trevor Cahill, who handcuffed the White Sox for eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out seven. Cahill became the first Oakland pitcher in six years to win 17 games.

Oakland pummeled Chicago starter Mark Buehrle with 11 hits and five earned runs over his six innings. The relatively short outing by the veteran lefty means hell need one more appearance, of at least 1 23 innings, to stretch his streak of seasons with at least 10 wins, 200 innings and 30 starts to an MLB-best 10 straight seasons.

I dont like losing, Buehrle said. This was one of those games you cant catch a break. They were putting balls in play, finding holesI felt like I was pitching pretty decent, my fielders were diving all over the place making good plays, but it was just one of those days.

Oaklands got a good pitching staff, and the last couple guys we faced were pretty good. We attacked them today, but Buehrle got hit, Guillen said.

The big blow came with one out in the fourth, when ninth-place hitter Cliff Pennington crushed a double over left fielder Juan Pierres head, doubling Oaklands lead to 4-0. As catcher Kurt Suzuki had plated the first two As runs of the night with RBIs in the first and third innings.

The White Sox fought back, in a manner of speaking, with run-scoring groundouts, beginning in the fifth, courtesy of Brent Morel, who drove in Alexei Ramirez. One inning later, Manny Ramirez trumped the rooks raking by plating Pierre on a double-play grounder.

The fuse of a ninth-inning rally was lit by Mark Kotsay and Alexei Ramirez, capping off 2-for-4 nights with a single and a double, respectively. As manager Bob Geren yanked reliever Henry Rodriguez after his ineffective outing, calling on Craig Breslow to extinguish the fire. Breslow walked pinch-hitter Andruw Jones, packing the sacks with just one out, but Morel struck out and a groundout by pinch-hitter Paul Konerko ended the game. Oakland hasnt lost any of the 68 games this season it has led heading into the ninth.

This loss, coupled with another Minnesota win, clinched the A.L. Central for the Twins. The White Sox remain in A.L. wild card contention, at least for one more day.

I know were playing hard and trying hard, doing everything we could to finish strong, but we didnt get it done, Guillen offered as a postmortem on both game and season.

We brought ourselves back into contention and gave ourselves a chance, Buehrle said. But these past couple of weeks, we havent played well enough to deserve to be in the race.

It seems the 2010 White Sox earned Guillens eternal and unyielding respect for bouncing back strong in June, when the "Gone Fishing" sign could have been hung. But if this September swoon persists, its in the managers best interest to investigate. His Chisox went from world beaters to world-beaten at a frightening velocity, and without digging up some answers, 2011 will be a repeat, in all the wrong ways.

If nothing else, Tuesday outlined the perils of looking the other way.

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

Look away, White Sox fans: Chris Sale makes history

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USA TODAY

Look away, White Sox fans: Chris Sale makes history

This one may sting a bit, White Sox fans.  

On Wednesday evening, former White Sox ace Chris Sale accomplished a feat that no other American League pitcher has since 1999. The current Red Sox left-hander whiffed his 300th batter of the season, becoming the first A.L. hurler since Pedro Martinez to do so. 

Sale reached the impressive milestone in a dominant eight-inning, 13-strikeout gem. Vintage. 

Overall on the season, he's posted a 2.75 ERA with opponents hitting a mere .203 against him. Before his postseason debut in October, Sale has a shot at leading two franchises in season strikeout totals: 

The consolation on the South Side is that the prized prospect acquired in the Sale blockbuster had a pretty nice night himself. Yoan Moncada drilled a two-run blast in Houston, his seventh since being called up from Triple-A Charlotte on July 19. 

The great trade debate wages on. 

Jose Abreu's gift to Yoan Moncada just keeps on giving

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu's gift to Yoan Moncada just keeps on giving

HOUSTON -- Yoan Moncada took Jose Abreu’s advice to switch to a lighter bat and the White Sox rookie has been on a tear ever since.

The veteran first baseman thought Moncada would benefit from a slightly smaller piece of lumber and purchased it. Moncada began to use the bat at the start of the team’s current 10-game road trip and has since produced the best stretch of his career. Moncada is hitting 432/.488/.649 with 16 hits, including a triple, two home runs, six RBIs and 11 runs scored in 37 plate appearances.

“I just thought he wasn’t using the bats for him to take advantage of his swing,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “These new bats have better balance with the weight and are a little shorter than the other ones. I just did it thinking of him taking advantage of his power, his hands and to feel more freedom in his swing.”

Neither Abreu nor the White Sox have wavered in their faith in Moncada since his promotion from Triple-A two months ago. Baseball’s top prospect flashed plenty of talent in spring training and further convinced them by showing a consistently good eye at the plate after arriving in the majors.

But while Moncada had his share of highlights early on, he still hadn’t begun to receive the desired results on a consistent basis. Abreu saw him missing his pitch from time to time and suggested that Moncada use a smaller bat.

Moncada previously a 34-inch, 32-ounce bat. The ones purchased by Abreu are 33 1/ 2-inches and 31 ounces. Moncada has said the bats have produced a more fluid swing and he feels like he has a stronger swing since.

[MORE: Top 10 storylines from the White Sox minor league season] 

Manager Rick Renteria thinks it’s a combination of the new bat and Moncada having a better understanding for how teams are approaching him at the plate.

“Lighter bats can help you manipulate the barrel a little more, keep you on the ball,” Renteria said. “You don’t think you have to force yourself to get out in front too much. You can allow the ball to travel and do what it does, so you can see it as much as possible. Just in general, the at-bats and the experience and the sequence of pitches he’s been seeing over time now, he’s starting to understand and get a feel for hitting in the big leagues.”

Abreu said his own bat size has varied during a red-hot second half depending upon how he feels. Moncada’s mentor started the season with a 34-inch, 32-ounce Albert Pujols-model bat, but also began to use the 33-inch, 33 1/2-ounce at the All-Star break.

Abreu has enjoyed watching his protégé have consistent success over the past nine days.

“I knew he had the talent,” Abreu said. “I never had a doubt about it. It was just a matter for him to get to know this process and to get to know the league and for him to use the proper tools to take advantage. We are just seeing what he’s capable of doing and it’s a good sign for him building for next season.”