Liriano's numbers don't tell the whole story

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Liriano's numbers don't tell the whole story

Francisco Liriano has a 3-10 record. That doesn't look good. It also doesn't matter.

Five of those losses came during Liriano's first six starts, after which he was demoted to the Twins' bullpen with a 9.45 ERA and 19 walks in 26 23 innings. Since his return to the rotation May 30, Liriano is 3-5. He's allowed either one or two runs in five of those 11 starts, and is 2-2 in those outings.

In his previous two starts before the White Sox scored seven off him July 23, Liriano struck out 25 in 14 innings while allowing six runs. He lost both starts.

Liriano's win-loss record really isn't relevant, especially in a discussion of how he'll fare going forward. He's coming from the Twins, who enter Sunday with the second-worst record in the American League, to the White Sox, who have the third-best record in the league.

We can't completely sweep Liriano's first six starts under the rug, but it's worth noting that Liriano allowed more runs from April 7 through May 7 (30) than he did his his 11 starts after returning to Minnesota's starting rotation (29).

Here's a comparison of two unnamed pitchers over their last 11 starts:

Pitcher A: 66 IP, 3.68 ERA, 79 K, 29 BB, 6 HR, .595 opponent OPS
Pitcher B: 76 IP, 3.79 ERA, 71 K, 18 BB, 10 HR, .704 opponent OPS

Both are now White Sox starters. Pitcher A is Liriano, Pitcher B is Jake Peavy.

Of course, over the entire 2012 season, Peavy has been much better than Liriano. Nobody's doubting that. But since his move back to the rotation, Liriano has been comparable to Peavy, who earned a bid to the All-Star Game and has been mentioned in early Cy Young chatter this season.

On the surface, the White Sox are getting a starter who's 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA. But those numbers are hardly fair. If Liriano can continue this success over his next 11 starts, he'll provide an incredible boost to the playoff chances of the White Sox.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

Gio, Geo and Gio: White Sox spring training has its own version of 'Who's on First?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Giovanni Soto pitched to Geovany Soto at White Sox camp on Monday morning, and the Internet loved it.

The veteran catcher and rookie pitcher, who share similar names and have been friends for two years, worked together during live batting practice. The unrelated pair, who both hail from Puerto Rico, said they’ve been confused for each other several times since reporting to camp last week. Each has also heard the other’s name being called out and thought it was for them, which has led to more confusion. But those mix-ups haven’t limited their enjoyment of the situation, either.

“It’s kind of surreal that he has the same name, last name,” Geovany Soto said. “It’s kind of weird calling him Gio and he’s calling me Geo. It’s kind of weird.

“With the physicals, doctors, the people for the drug testing, we’ve been confused in all three of those. I’m expecting that to happen. Hopefully I can get a big check on his name and cash it.”

The social media world isn’t alone in its enjoyment of the topic as both players smiled while discussing it on Monday.

Giovanni Soto said the players met two seasons ago when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the catcher was in his first stint with the White Sox. They grew up about 20 minutes apart from each other in Puerto Rico and now spend time together in the offseason. But what has made the scenario even more confusing is that White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito is seated only a few stalls away from Giovanni Soto in the clubhouse.

“It’s kind of weird, especially in the clubhouse and on the field because when someone says Geo, we turn around to see if it’s for him or for me,” Giovanni Soto said. “And we also have Giolito, and people call him Gio. It’s weird, but it’s funny too.”

Both Sotos could make the team’s Opening Day roster.

Geovany Soto, who signed a minor league contract in January, is the most experienced catcher in camp and is favored to win a job. Giovanni Soto, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in November, is one of several relievers competing for a spot and could make the club if the White Sox decide to carry two left-handers in the bullpen. And while Giolito is expected to start the season at Triple-A, he could reach the majors at some point causing more pandemonium.

“There’s a lot of Geo going on with Giolito, Giovanni and then me,” Geovany Soto said. “And can get pretty hectic. But yeah, it’s fun for us.”