First Pitch: Danks aims to ace bum tooth

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First Pitch: Danks aims to ace bum tooth

Sunday, April 3, 2011
Posted: 10:43 a.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CLEVELAND Are statistical splits available for pitching with a sore tooth?

Sabermetricians havent busted out pitches per mouth ailment (PMA) or Sore Gum Quality Starts (SGQS), so its impossible to tell how well John Danks hurls under such circumstances.

One thing is clear: The lefthander is lights-out in April.
Danks in April: 7-6 with a 3.03 ERA, .588 OPS, 1.06 WHIP and 3.11 KBB (all but the record are career month bests).
Danks vs. the Cleveland Indians: 3-6 with a 4.95 ERA, .778 OPS, 1.29 WHIP and 2.9 KBB.
Danks at Progressive Field: 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA, .740 OPS, 1.21 WHIP and 2.78 KBB. (Yes, that means the lefty is 0-4 in his career vs. the Wahoos at U.S. Cellular Field.)
Heres how the Indians line up against Danks:

1. Michael Brantley, cf
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, ss (3-12, .500 OPS)
3. Shin-Soo Choo, rf (7-19, 1.000 OPS, five Ks)
4. Carlos Santana, 1b
5. Travis Hafner, dh (4-21, HR, three RBI, .642 OPS, five Ks)
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2b (1-3, three-run homer, 1.833 OPS)
7. Travis Buck, lf (1-4, .400 OPS)
8. Jack Hannahan, 3b (0-2, K)
9. Lou Marson, c (2-5, .971 OPS, two walks, two Ks)

Pick to click? Even coming off a four-K Saturday, you have to go with Choo. But OC wins the one-hit wonder award, with a three-run knock in three at-bats, and Marson is a spot-start pick to click.

Lanky righty Justin Masterson takes the bump vs. the White Sox, who hes pitched uncommonly well against:

Masterson in April: 2-3 with a 3.89 ERA, .731 OPS, 1.54 WHIP and 2.21 KBB.

Masterson vs. the White Sox: 1-2 with a 2.41 ERA, .639 OPS, 1.24 WHIP and 2.33 KBB.

Masterson at Progressive Field: 4-8 with a 3.03 ERA, .632 OPS, 1.23 WHIP and 2.06 KBB.
Heres how the White Sox will bat against Masterson:

1. Juan Pierre, lf (6-11, 1.161 OPS career vs. Masterson)
2. Gordon Beckham, 2b (5-9. 1.111 OPS, two Ks)
3. Adam Dunn, dh (1-2, solo HR, 2.667 OPS)
4. Paul Konerko, 1b (3-14, .639 OPS)
5. Alex Rios, cf (has faced Masterson as often as any hitter: 3-18, HR, .675 OPS, four Ks)
6. Carlos Quentin, rf (0-11, four Ks, HBP)
7. A.J. Pierzynski, c (5-14, .786 OPS, two Ks)
8. Alexei Ramirez, ss (3-14, solo homer, .741 OPS)
9. Omar Vizquel, 3b (2-8, .500 OPS)

Look for a tasty day from the top of the White Sox order.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Slumping White Sox get huge boost after Miguel Gonzalez 'defended his ground'

Slumping White Sox get huge boost after Miguel Gonzalez 'defended his ground'

Every factor but one suggested there was no way Rick Renteria would remove Miguel Gonzalez in the seventh inning on Monday afternoon.

Of course, Gonzalez didn’t know that.

But even as he walked to the mound with two on and no outs in the seventh and Wrigley Field roaring, Renteria didn’t have any intention of pulling Gonzalez.

Trades and injuries have given the White Sox manager even less wiggle room with which to work than the one-run lead Gonzalez was trying to protect. As long he was convinced his pitcher was game, Renteria would stay with Gonzalez. Gonzalez acquiesced and soon thereafter the White Sox were on their way to their first victory since July 8. The White Sox topped the Cubs 3-1 and in doing so snapped a nine-game losing streak.

“I just went in there to reaffirm that we were thinking the same way,” Renteria said. “He was thinking the same way. It was kind of easy.

“He said ‘I got this.’ He defended his ground.”

[Such a mighty wallop: How does Matt Davidson's mammoth home run stack up?]

Even though he had a front-row seat for the conversation, catcher Kevan Smith had little understanding of what transpired. The rookie said Renteria and Gonzalez spoke entirely in Spanish after Jon Jay and Javier Baez singled to open the bottom of the seventh inning. Smith heard Renteria mention to Gonzalez that lefty David Holmberg was ready to face switch hitter Ian Happ. Beyond that, all Smith heard from Gonzalez was ‘bueno’ and ‘listo,’ and Renteria was headed back to the visiting dugout.

But you don’t have to be a linguist to decipher what issues the White Sox pitching staff faces after a trying month.

Prior to Gonzalez pitching into the eighth, the White Sox hadn’t had a starter complete seven innings since June 16. An already overworked bullpen has also had to deal with season-ending injuries to Zach Putnam, Nate Jones and top relief prospect Zack Burdi. And those issues have been even further compounded by the trades of Jose Quintana, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in the past 12 days.

So even though Gonzalez was on the verge of facing the top of the Cubs order a fourth time, Renteria had to stick with him so he could save top relievers Dan Jennings and Anthony Swarzak for later.

“I said ‘Just give me the ball,’ ” Gonzalez said. “ ’I’m OK. I’m fine. I’m feeling OK.’ Just walked away and I was able to get out of that jam. That was a big one.”

Smith was also happy with the decision. He liked how Gonzalez — who threw strikes on 73 of 105 pitches — had competed. Smith thought Gonzalez had great stuff and heard positive reviews from opposing hitters.

“(Gonzalez) had it,” Smith said. “The guys were coming up to the plate saying this guy has got some stuff today. It was a big moment to kind of prove that he can be a long guy, especially late in the game like that. Big pressure situation. Obviously it was getting pretty rowdy, but he stayed composed and pitched his way out of it.”

First was a five-pitch strikeout of Happ that ended with a swinging strike on a curveball. Jason Heyward then popped out to shallow center for the second out. Kris Bryant worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases. But Gonzalez jumped ahead of Anthony Rizzo in the count 1-2 before he got the star first baseman to fly out deep to center to strand the bases loaded.

Gonzalez returned in the eighth and retired one more hitter before he exited after a Kyle Schwarber single. The effort was plenty for Renteria and the White Sox, who also wiggled out of jams in the eighth and ninth inning.

“Sometimes you just don't have any other option,” Renteria said. “You just have to do what you have to do. They had a really good idea of how they wanted to attack those guys. …

“Miggy did a really nice job.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Sox win game one of Crosstown Series

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Sox win game one of Crosstown Series

Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun Times), David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Ben Finfer (ESPN Radio) join Kap to go over the exciting first game between the White Sox and the Cubs.

Plus, the latest on trade rumors linking Justin Verlander and Alex Avila to the Cubs. Do the Cubs really need to make another move?

Finally, the guys discuss whether Kyrie Irving asking for a trade out of Cleveland is the dumbest career choice, ever.