Hope for .500? It could take a prayer for Sox

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Hope for .500? It could take a prayer for Sox

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011Posted: 9:00 p.m. Updated: 10:37 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik Box scoreValue survey: White Sox starters falter

KANSAS CITY Alex Rios strode to the plate to lead off the second inning and clocked a devastating blow into State Farms neighborhood at the back of the Kansas City Royals bullpen in left field.

The former five-tooler, slumping yearlong to the bane of Chicago White Sox fans everywhere, returned to the dugout to find manager Ozzie Guillen steadfastly in his fleet centerfielders corner greeting him with heart taps and sky kisses.

It could have been playful teasing, but Guillen is a man of steady and manifest faith, so more than likely the big smile masked a heartfelt prayer may we all return to the White Sox in 2012 and right this dastardly wrong we now are all enveloped All-In to.

Well, Rios would not have another hit in the game and the White Sox were again battered by the Royals burgeoning young offense, which dropped the Pale Hose 10-3 as Kauffman Stadium fireworks blared and fountains flared with little remorse.

Ozzie almost dropped his postgame meal when asked by a local reporter whether these first three K.C. romps were a product of prodigious offense.

When you score 30 runs in two games OK, 24 over three, what do you think is the reason? he queried with incredulity.

Zach Stewart, who was a near Mr. Perfecto just two starts ago, turned from hero to zero in a rough, five-inning, five-run, 11-hit effort.

They just battle, Stewart said, reporting that his pregame bullpen was excellent but on the mound, only his fastball was effective. Theyre always taking good swings, no matter what the count. They were putting pressure on me, and got to me in those last two innings.

And aside from Rios clout and another multi-hit (2-for-4) effort from Alexei Ramirez, there was little to highlight on the Chicago ledger.

The White Sox dropped to 73-78, reeling from a season high-tying, seven-game losing streak and finding themselves in need of a major rally to just to break even for the season. With four games still to play against Kansas City, its not completely out of the realm that the Royals just seven games behind Chicago in the standings passes the South Siders for third place in the Central.

Even Guillen himself realized that he would be on full clich alert with his rah-rah comments looking ahead to the series finale against Bruce Cy Chen, already 2-0 vs. Chicago this season.

Its not one thing people want to hear, but well get them tomorrow, Guillen smiled, to keep from shouting. Well be back here. Well try again tomorrow, and hopefully tomorrow works. When you give up 17, 18, 20 hits in one game like today, and you miss a few opportunities to score early in the game, I dont think we deserve to have a better outcome.

Guillen, still audibly fighting a head cold that has marred his entire K.C. stay, was quick to dress and head back to the team hotel, where he would spend a quiet evening with family, perhaps breaking away for a short stint for a couple of pops downstairs and a glance at the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz fight.

And before he retires for the night, there may indeed be a little prayer. Not for tomorrows forecasted rain to abate, or a thugworthy rally off Chen, or even for that contract extension hes hoping so hard for. No, Ozzie may well pray for a simple thing: The chance to see the team thats lain dormant since April Fools Day rear its head and exact some punishment, just for one single day, before the dust settles for good on this sad season.

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

How Tim Anderson's new glasses could benefit him at the plate

How Tim Anderson's new glasses could benefit him at the plate

Though he only has worn them for one game, Tim Anderson had been preparing to break in his new glasses for several weeks.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday evening that Anderson recently purchased new corrective lenses after he asked for additional testing beyond what teams normally offer. Though he’d recently worn the glasses around the clubhouse and in batting practice, Anderson didn’t break them in until Monday night. The second-year shortstop homered for the first time in nearly a month Monday and finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs in the club’s loss to the New York Yankees.

If the glasses help Anderson’s vision at the plate, the White Sox are all for it. Anderson entered Tuesday’s game hitting .253/.278/.377 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs in 285 plate appearances.

“The ball can travel anywhere from Shields' 69 miles per hour curveball to Chapman's 100 miles per hour fastball,” Renteria said. “It's very important to be able to see the baseball. It's obviously a split-second decision. It's very dangerous to be in there and not be able to see the ball. If that helps him, if that's a part of continuing to move forward, I hope that's part of what helps clear him up.”

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Anderson said after Monday’s game he plans to wear the lenses the rest of the season, though he didn’t think the glasses make a huge difference. Still, the fact he homered after going 96 plate appearances in between round-trippers didn’t escape third baseman Todd Frazier, who made a joke suggesting Anderson downplayed the significance. Anderson said he’s spent several days recently adjusting to the glasses in preparation for the game and wears them at bat and in the field.

“I’ve been using them in BP,” Anderson said. “Trying to get used to them.”

Renteria said players get their vision checked every spring. Anderson’s request for additional screening isn’t out of the ordinary, Renteria said.

“Timmy just told us he wanted to get his eyes checked, so he did,” Renteria said. “Obviously, he's wearing the glasses that he wears now. He's trying to get comfortable with them. He'd had them for at least 2 1/2 weeks, 3 weeks. But he's kind of been hesitant to put them on. I know (Todd Steverson) spoke to him. He's going to use them, feel comfortable with them, start using them in the workouts and BP.”

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

That the White Sox lost their fourth consecutive game doesn’t change the big picture plans of the franchise, which probably — but not definitely — will involve making at least one trade before the end of July.

Before the White Sox lost, 6-5, to the New York Yankees Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, general manager Rick Hahn met with the media and delivered the same message he’s had since trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December. The White Sox are open for business, and would like to make a number of moves to further bolster their farm system, but won’t make a trade if they don’t receive what they view to be a fair return.

“Would I be surprised (if we didn’t make a trade)? No, because I try not to be surprised by the dynamics of this market,” Hahn said. “Would I be mildly disappointed? Sure. We are here to try to improve this club.

“We feel we have certain first and desirable players that would help other clubs and may fit better on their competitive windows then they do on ours right now. And we intend to be active each day in trying to further accomplish what we set out to do a year ago at this time.

“But do we have to do it? No. That would be using an artificial spot on the calendar to force decision-making. That would be the last thing we need to do. We need to take a long term view of what we are trying to accomplish.”

Hahn didn’t name names, but Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson could be short-term fixes for contending clubs. Jose Quintana, who will start Tuesday against the Yankees, remains the team’s most valuable trade chip despite a 4.69 ERA that sits over run higher than his career average.

Frazier homered Monday and entered the game hitting .262/.351/.524 since Memorial Day. Cabrera similarly has found success after a slow start, slashing a healthy .324/.375/.482 in his previous 34 games before picking up two hits in four at-bats Monday. And Robertson, who’s been linked to the relief-starved Washington Nationals for months, has 41 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings with 11 saves.

“We want to be able to do as much as we can in our power to get this team to where it needs to be,” Hahn said. “Yes, there’s an element of competitiveness involved in that. There’s an element of patience involved in that. But at the end of the day, we have to — we get paid to be prudent in our decision making. We have to make the right decision.”

In the meantime, the White Sox looked the part of a rebuilding team with the worst record in the American League on Monday. Starter David Holmberg struggled, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings — but only two of those runs were earned thanks to errors by Holmberg, Frazier and Matt Davidson.

As the Yankees took advantage of those miscues with three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings, Jordan Montgomery retired nine consecutive White Sox batters and went on to cruise with eight strikeouts over seven innings. The White Sox – as they’ve done quite a bit this year – still showed fight late, battling back in the ninth inning.

Tim Anderson ripped a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Yankees left-hander Chasen Shreve to bring the White Sox within two. Joe Girardi quickly turned to Aroldis Chapman, who allowed a run when Jose Abreu doubled home Melky Cabrera. But the tying run was stranded on second when Avisail Garcia grounded out and Frazier flew out to end the game.