LIVE: Pierre's single plates Ramirez, Sox tied 5-5

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LIVE: Pierre's single plates Ramirez, Sox tied 5-5

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Posted: 10:09 a.m.

(AP) -- With his current contract expiring at the end of this season, Edwin Jackson could be in line for a lucrative deal if he continues his brilliant start for the Chicago White Sox.

Trevor Cahill just parlayed an All-Star season with the Oakland Athletics into a hefty raise.

The two right-handers will both try to stay perfect on the season Tuesday night when the clubs continue their series in Chicago.

Acquired from Arizona on July 30, Jackson has enjoyed his short stint with the White Sox, going 6-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 13 starts. Control has been an issue for Jackson, who had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.6 before last season's deal, but he has displayed much improved accuracy with Chicago, striking out 97 with just 23 walks.

Jackson (2-0, 1.93 ERA) walked one and set a career high - and a franchise record for a homer opener - with 13 strikeouts over eight innings of Thursday's 5-1 win over Tampa Bay.

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"Any time I'm able to go out and get in an early rhythm and get outs quick and attack the strike zone, I like my odds," said Jackson, whose two-year, 13.35 million deal ends after the season.

Jackson, who has never won his first three starts, is 2-1 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts against the A's. He struck out six over seven innings and did not earn a decision in a 4-3 victory at Oakland on Sept. 22.

If Jackson puts the White Sox (6-4) in a save situation Tuesday, it's uncertain who will get the call out of the bullpen after closer Matt Thornton blew his third save of the season in Monday's 2-1, 10-inning loss.

White Sox left fielder Juan Pierre hasn't helped Thornton, dropping fly balls in the ninth inning of his last two appearances.

"One thing I said, in spring training and I say over and over, we got to take care of (Mark) Buehrle," manager Ozzie Guillen said after the left-hander held the A's scoreless through eight innings with just two hits - none until a leadoff single in the sixth by Kurt Suzuki, who hit the go-ahead solo homer in the 10th off Jesse Crain.

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Oakland (5-5) will try to extend its season-high winning streak to four with Cahill (1-0, 1.42) taking the ball for the first time since agreeing to a five-year, 30.5 million extension Monday. The 23-year-old will receive a 1 million signing bonus and a salary of 500,000 in 2011 before it escalates to 3.5 million in 2012.

"I came up with them and I'm just glad they gave me the opportunity to lock me up and I'm guaranteed to pitch for a while, so I couldn't be happier," said Cahill, 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA last season when he was named an All-Star for the first time.

The White Sox have hit 12 home runs and are averaging 6.3 runs with a .295 batting average, but they may not be happy to see the young sinkerballer, who has added a curveball to his repertoire since last season.

"I couldn't be happier with how that pitch has progressed," manager Bob Geren said after Cahill threw eight innings of three-hit ball in Thursday's 2-1 win at Toronto.

Cahill is 1-1 with a 3.34 ERA in five starts versus Chicago.

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is 1 for 8 lifetime against Cahill, but the AL co-player of the week is batting .421 (16 for 38) while hitting safely in all 10 games this season.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

How Rick Renteria has tried to help White Sox players combat travel fatigue

How Rick Renteria has tried to help White Sox players combat travel fatigue

They’re finally at home and Rick Renteria has implored White Sox players to relax a little.

Take a nap. Go see a movie. Run some errands.

Basically, the White Sox manager has ordered his players to do anything but arrive early to Guaranteed Rate Field the past two games. For the third time already on the 10-game homestand, White Sox players were instructed to check into the clubhouse later than normal. Renteria is attempting to help his players catch up after a trying schedule that began with 44 road dates in the team’s first 71 games.

Though it won’t be a routine practice, Renteria is aware his players have to be feeling some of the effects of a scheduled that has had them mostly away from Chicago before this week and wanted to correct it.

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“We have been traveling a lot,” Renteria said. “The reality is the body's fatigued, you're getting up early, you're packing every three days. I just thought (Tuesday) would be an appropriate time to give them a little breath. And then after the victory last night, going in they were talking a little bit about maybe doing it again today. Honestly, they're the ones that are playing the game. It's not something I'll probably do every single day, that would be impossible. We still have to get our work in. But I thought it kind of fit the moment and we allowed them to do it again (Wednesday).”

Though he’s unaccustomed to the practice, Todd Frazier doesn’t mind it. White Sox players have been allowed to arrive at the park on consecutive days at 5 p.m. for the 7:10 p.m. starts.

Even so, many players were already in the building by the time media access to the clubhouse began at 4:30 p.m. Frazier said players simply have to be a little more efficient in preparing for the game.

“It’s good,” Frazier said. “You get to spend more time with the family. If you can get a nap in there, that helps too. Getting to the ballpark, you feel like you have more time than you really have, but you work in the cage, get warmed up and away you go. It’s like high school. You get to the field an hour before the game, get a quick stretch, talked to the guys about what did you do last night, how’s what’s her name doing, hang around and then we go to work.”

White Sox catcher Kevan Smith has a ball after drawing first career walk

White Sox catcher Kevan Smith has a ball after drawing first career walk

Rookie Kevan Smith wanted his first career walk in the worst possible way on Tuesday night.

The White Sox catcher was so intent upon ending a lengthy walk drought to start his career that he determined to lean in against one of the hardest throwers in the league.

Ahead 3-0 in the count with one out in the ninth inning against New York Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Smith inched closer to the plate. The four-pitch walk Smith drew in career plate appearance No. 130 not only ended the second longest walk-less streak to start a career since 1990, it also jumpstarted a game-winning White Sox rally. Smith was afforded plenty of time to enjoy the moment, too, as manager Rick Renteria immediately pulled him for a pinch runner.

“Oh yeah (I knew),” Smith said. “One hundred percent. I got way on the plate and was like, ‘You’re either going to hit me or walk me’ because I’m not letting this one slide. I’ve been to a few 3-0 counts, but finally got the first one out of the way. Everybody was laughing at me.

“It was a celebratory thing. I got to come off the field on my first one.”

Smith’s moment was worthy of a celebration.

Whereas Tim Anderson’s base on balls-free stretch to start his career got a ton of notoriety in 2016, Smith’s received almost none despite the fact that he soared past Anderson. A highly touted rookie known for his aggressive approach at the plate, people kept close tabs on Anderson’s stretch when he went 85 plate appearances without a walk to start his career. But Smith eclipsed that mark with a strikeout in his lone trip to the plate on June 9. It wasn’t until 44 plate appearances later that Smith could walk the walk.

Since 1990, only Jeff Francouer had gone longer among all major leaguers when he didn’t draw a free pass until his 131 plate appearance in 2005. Smith tied the Yankees’ Oscar Azocar (who walked in his 130th trip in 1990) when he ended the seventh inning with a strikeout against New York starting pitcher Luis Severino.

Other notable White Sox players with lengthy walk-less streaks to start their careers include: Jeff Abbott (84, 1997-98), Dayan Viciedo (83, 2010) and Josh Phegley (83, 2013).

“Dang,” Anderson said with a smile. “Nobody made a big deal about his though.”

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Similar to Anderson, Smith has always been fairly aggressive at the plate. His career walk-rate in the minor leagues is 8.7 percent (195 in 2,229 plate appearances). But that aggression hasn’t prevented Smith from finding offensive success during his third stint in the majors. After going 5-for-42 to start his career, Smith has heated up, hitting .313/.322/.422 with six doubles, one home run and eight RBIs in his last 87 plate appearances.

“The more at-bats he gets up here it's natural to start getting a little more comfortable,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He's certainly showing that he's able to do a few things at the plate. He's handling at-bats more a little more calmly.”

The calmer demeanor has helped Smith stick to an approach in which he has confidence. In seven minor league seasons, Smith carried a .285/.361/.449 slash line. He believes staying with what works will be the key to whether or not he can continue to perform.

“I think what makes guys successful up here is they stick to their approach,” Smith said. “I always use (Joe) Mauer as an example. He stays so true to his approach and looks for what he wants to hit that it’s almost frustrating as a catcher and a pitcher. But there’s a reason he’s been around for so long and I’m envious of what he does in the box. I’m just going to keep trying to get as comfortable as I can and strive for that approach each game and each at-bat.”