On the Farm: Gilmore comfortable with Sox

On the Farm: Gilmore comfortable with Sox

Friday, Aug. 6, 2010
3:10 PM

By Kevin T. Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

Jon Gilmore admits that 2009 was a bit of a tumultuous season for him. It was his first year with the White Sox and he was pushing just a bit too hard in an effort to impress his new team, the one that had traded for him in December 2008.

Gilmore, whom Atlanta made the 33rd overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, was just beginning to feel as if he fit in with the Braves, that he belonged at the time of the deal. He had spent a year and a half in Atlantas system, hit .291 over that stretch and rose out of the Gulf Coast League to the South Atlantic League in just over a season, offering glimpses of the hitter the Braves figured he would become after they expended such a lofty pick to get him.

Then came that early December day in 2008 when he learned that he had been traded to the White Sox, along with Tyler Flowers, Brent Lillibridge and Santos Rodriguez. The Braves, seeking to recapture some of the glory they experienced through much of the 90s, picked up Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan in the deal.

It really surprised me, Gilmore, 21, said of the deal. I know that it is part of the game. My brother-in-law Ben Zobrist got traded, too. So it means that someone wants you. But it was a surprise.

And last year, after I got traded, I wanted to make a good impression on the team that I got traded, too. That was a big part of last year. I had just gotten comfortable with the Braves and had just gotten comfortable with their staff. It was a huge change and I was starting the process over. So I put a lot of pressure on myself early on to show them who I was.

Gilmore began the season by going 0-for-18 and 5-for-48 before leveling off. The third baseman ended up hitting .274 with 67 RBIs for Kannapolis, solid numbers for the South Atlantic League but not the type of numbers expected of a top draft pick.

This season, well, lets just say things have been a little different. Gilmore is leading or close to leading the Carolina League in several categories at Winston-Salem. Hes leading the league in hits (151), at-bats (450) and games played (106). Gilmore is second on the circuit in hitting (.336) -- hes one of three WS players in the top five in that category -- and is third in runs scored 68 and fourth in total bases 190.

Heading into Fridays action, Gilmore was also riding a six-game hitting streak during which he was hitting .375 9-for-24.

Im just confident in myself this season, Gilmore said. I did a lot of work and I found a comfortable swing and I have been able to repeat it during the course of the season. It helps when youre doing well and you have that consistent swing. Ive tweaked a little bit and it has helped a lot. Ive had a good swing all year.

Ive had three or four different swings the last few years and this year Ive stayed with the same approach on my swing all year and it has helped. I have pregame stuff that I work on and I take a lot of pride in that, having the same approach every day. It really helps over the course of the season.

Gilmore added that having former big-leaguer Joe McEwing as his manager has made a big difference as well. Super Joe was a scrapper during his playing days and earned his nickname as a result of his hard work, approach and determination to show up at the park every day ready to contribute.

McEwing has imparted some of that approach on Gilmore over the last four-plus months.

When he talks, you want to listen and learn from a guy like that, Gilmore said.

Folks should be listening to Gilmore before long. Theyre already watching him and they are impressed. Dont be too surprised if he gets a taste of life in Birmingham before the season is over if for no other reason that to spice up what has been a miserable season for the Barons.

The management of the White Sox has a plan for everyone, Gilmore said. Im just going to do what they tell me. The only thing I can do is keep playing well and to the best of my ability and let them make the decision for me.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland turned in one of his best starts of the season on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the White Sox had nothing to show for it after a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.

In six innings, Holland allowed four hits, one earned run, and two walks while recording six strikeouts. He was charged with his only run in the seventh, when he allowed a single to Yonder Alonso, who came around to score after Holland had been pulled from the game.

Despite his confidence in the bullpen, which has been one of the White Sox biggest strengths this season, Holland would like to see himself go deeper into the games.

“I should be getting into the 7th and not having 110 pitches,” Holland said. “The bullpen's done a great job of picking us up in the seventh, eighth and ninth. The starters, and really pointing more to myself, we need to...I need to go out there and go longer."

Entering Sunday, three of Holland’s last four starts had been the worst outings of the season – allowing 22 earned runs over those four games. Despite the team’s 5-3 loss, Holland felt his outing was a step in the right direction.

“I felt good about everything out there,” Holland said. “(Omar Narvaez) and I were right on the same page. There were just a couple of things that got away from us. Just one of those things. Defense made the plays for us when they needed to, unfortunately we just didn't come out on top."

Manager Rick Renteria also had high praise for the 30-year-old southpaw, who bounced back from one of his shortest outings of the season.

“I thought Holland, hopefully what's not lost is Holland's outing today was really, really good,” Renteria said. “He kept us in the ballgame. They've got some kids that can swing the bat. They were putting things together. All we were trying to do at the end was minimize any damage they could produce. We weren't able to.”

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tommy Kahnle has been one of the White Sox brightest bright spots, but fell victim to some tough luck that could ding on his under-the-radar All-Star bid.

Kahnle allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday in front of 28,089 at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking only the sixth time in 31 games the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed a run in 2017.

In the eighth inning, Kahnle allowed a broken bat single to Franklin Barreto, then Ryon Healy reached on a Todd Frazier error. Khris Davis tied the game with a single to left, knocking Kahnle out of the game, and Oakland took the lead when Yonder Alonso blooped a single off David Robertson that plopped into left field out of the reach of Melky Cabrera. Consider the hit probabilities, according to Statcast, of those three hits and the error:

Barreto: 78 percent
Healy: 5 percent
Davis: 62 percent
Alonso: 2 percent

That Kahnle coughed up the lead was surprising given his stealthy success leading a strong back end of the White Sox bullpen this year. The White Sox, prior to Sunday's defeat, were 28-0 when leading after seven innings. 

"Our bullpen's doing a great (job), it really is," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think you can't take away from what they've been doing for us all year long. We've been going to them a lot."

On that improbable Alonso bloop single, Cabrera was shifted more toward center field. 

"He was actually playing a little more to the pull side than he was to the line," Renteria said. "I don't think he was going to be able to get to it, regardless of the effort he might have given us. These guys are all a little fatigued, they're a little tired right now. They're giving you what they've got right now."

Entering Sunday’s game, Kahnle’s 1.2 WAR was sixth-best American League relievers, behind Boston’s Craig Kimbrel (2.2), Houston’s Chris Devenski (1.6), Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (1.6), Los Angeles’ Blake Parker (1.4) and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (1.3). His 44.8 strikeout percentage is among the five best in baseball along with Kimbrel, New York’s Dellin Betances, Los Angeles’ Kenley Jansen and Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel.

Kahnle has been undoubtedly spectacular this year even with Sunday’s hiccup, though with Garcia seeming likely to be on the American League All-Star roster, Terry Francona wouldn’t have to take him to fill the game’s requirement. That this year’s All-Star Game doesn’t count — it’s the first since 2002 that won’t dictate home-field advantage in the World Series — could alter Francona’s roster construction to reward more starters and closers, and the Cleveland Indians manager would certainly be justified if he wanted to take his own setup guy in Miller.

The White Sox handed Kahnle the lead on Adam Engel’s first career home run (a solo shot in the third) and Jose Abreu’s dash home on a passed ball in the fourth. Starter Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Melky Cabrera added a solo home run in the ninth inning, his eighth of the season.

Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce homered off Robertson and Chris Beck, respectively, in the ninth inning to give the A’s a comfortable ending to their three-game sweep of the White Sox. Beck was hit by a comebacker after allowing that home run and left the game with a bruised left hamstring, and is considered day-to-day.