Jackson stings Detroit in White Sox debut

227074.jpg

Jackson stings Detroit in White Sox debut

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Updated: 11:58 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

DETROIT Edwin Jackson takes some strange routes to domination.

His no-hitters run 149 pitches and eight walks. His most stellar season came in the hitting-happy American League.

And his debut for the first-place Chicago White Sox came in the form of a nine-hit, seven-plus inning gem against his former teammates, the Detroit Tigers.

It was this latest bout of dominant pitching that pushed the White Sox to a 4-1 win over Detroit, taking the second of three games in this key, four-game intradivisional series.

He did a great job and threw strikes, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. I didnt know he threw that hard, and his command was outstanding.

I was just attacking the strike zone, making them put the ball in play, Jackson said. When you do that, the odds are in your favor as a pitcher. And the defense worked behind me.

Jackson was uncharacteristically pinpoint with his pitches on Wednesday, finishing with just one walk and zero wild pitches. For a pitcher averaging four free passes per nine innings and who had tossed a National League-leading 13 wild pitches with the Arizona Diamondbacks, thats a sure sign that White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper has immediately spun some magic.

Unmoved? Consider that until Jacksons final batter, Miguel Cabrera, no Detroit hitter worked Jackson to a single three-ball count, much less a walk.

It was my mistake letting him go out for the last inning, Guillen said. He was sitting down for too long, 20 minutes. I came out of my game plan for no reason. It wasnt a good move on my part. He couldnt find the plate. I take the blame for that one.

Despite otherwise owning the plate and drawing countless short at-bats from the Tigers, Jackson was in trouble in each of the first four innings, allowing nine total baserunners. But the righty proved elusive, leaving eight men on base in those first four innings.

The way he worked his rhythm and tempo and everything, it was really nice to see, catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. As long as he throws strikes, hes going to be fine.

Chicago struck early on offense, as Juan Pierre led off the game with a single and then had his 500th career stolen base on a 3-1 count, but it was erased by Alex Rios drawing a walk on the pitch. With two on, Paul Konerko stroked a single to left, scoring Pierre.

The rest of the Chisox runs came courtesy of the long ball. The first, extending the Chicago 9s lead to 3-0, came courtesy of a Carlos Quentin missile to left in the fourth that plated Konerko as well. After the smash, the Twitterwaves were all aflutter, claiming the crack of the bat could be heard back to Chicago and all the way out to California.

Hes not far from getting back and getting very, very dangerous as a hitter, Guillen said. A couple of balls, he just barely missed. In a couple more days hes going to go back to where he was two weeks ago.

The final score came in the sixth inning, on a Konerko rocket down the left-field line.

After Jackson struggled with his control in the eighth, walking Cabrera on four pitches, he left the virus on the mound for reliever J.J. Putz to catch. Putz walked Brennan Boesch on four pitches, and after Jhonny Peralta lined out to Rios, Brandon Inge stroked a soft single to short right that triggered a bizarre chain reaction. Andruw Jones fielded the ball but fell on his throw home, where an unadvisedly aggressive Cabrera was barreling; Joness Wiffleball toss hit the pitchers mound, then ricocheted plateward to hit Cabrera as he scored. This being baseball and not kickball, the run counted, and the shutout dissipated.

That was all for Putz, who was rescued by bullpen BFF Matt Thornton. The ace lefty quickly extinguished pinch-hitters Ryan Raburn and Jeff Frazier.

In the ninth, Bobby Jenks came on for a dominating 1-2-3 save, his 23rd in 25 tries.

Jackson may only have been away from the AL Central for five months of baseball time, but after winning six games in the final two months of last season for the playoff-chasing Tigers, hes right back in the thick of thingsand on Wednesday, it was Detroit who was in the way.

We have faith in whoevers out there, said Pierzynski, who believed pitching against Detroit provided some extra excitement for Jackson. But you bring in a guy whos been an All-Star and won big games in the American League, it definitely is a plus.

Jackson disagreed with the backstops assessment of his pitching motivation on Wednesday, but that was the only way in which the pair failed to click for this perfect debut.

I didnt take any more satisfaction beating Detroit than winning the game, period, Jackson said. This is the pennant race. The key is to win every game. My job is going out every fifth day and giving our team a chance to win.

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

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.