Chicago White Sox

LIVE: White Sox lose lead, trail 9-7 in 9th

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LIVE: White Sox lose lead, trail 9-7 in 9th

Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 11:26 a.m.

Associated Press

The winless Tampa Bay Rays can't seem to get anything going offensively. They might want to take a lesson from the Chicago White Sox.

James Shields takes the mound opposite White Sox starter John Danks hoping to help visiting Tampa Bay to its first victory as the teams continue their four-game series Friday night.

The Rays (0-6), who finished third in the majors with 802 runs scored last season, fell 5-1 to Chicago on Thursday and have totaled just eight during their season-opening six-game slide.

"It's absurd to think you can go into some slumps and not hit the ball like this," said manager Joe Maddon, whose team was held to one run for the fifth time. "One run all the time is just hard to cope with. There's not a whole lot we can do to be creative."

Losing three-time All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria to the disabled list on Saturday with a muscle strain certainly hasn't helped the Rays, who are batting .145.

"Of course, we never expected to start this way. We've had success and we anticipate success this season," Maddon said. "What happens in the beginning of the year is more magnified than if it occurs in the middle when you've built up a little cache of wins."

In contrast, the White Sox (4-2) lead the AL with 45 runs scored and are hitting .320 after collecting 12 hits Thursday.

"Right now we're hitting in the clutch and that's very important," said manager Ozzie Guillen. "We're mixing in one run here and there. ...I think every day it's not the same guy every time. Different guys are doing the damage."

Juan Pierre improved his average to .357 with three hits, Alex Rios had two doubles and two RBIs and Paul Konerko had at least one RBI for the sixth straight game.

Carlos Quentin entered Thursday batting .500 over a five-game hitting streak but went 0 for 2.

Quentin is 3 for 17 lifetime against Shields (0-1, 2.45 ERA), who allowed four hits and two runs and struck out seven over 7 1-3 innings of Saturday's 3-1 loss to Baltimore.

"Sometimes you can look good and you don't come out with the win," said Shields, who is 2-2 with a 5.05 ERA in seven starts against the White Sox.

The right-hander, though, has enjoyed some success of late at U.S. Cellular Field, where he has gone 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last two starts.

Danks (0-1, 3.00), too, suffered the loss in his season debut despite allowing six hits and two runs and recording eight strikeouts in six innings of Sunday's 7-1 defeat at Cleveland.

Danks had compiled a 2.35 ERA en route to winning five of six starts against the Rays before surrendering eight hits and a career worst-tying eight runs in four innings of an 8-5 loss May 29.

Rays outfielder B.J. Upton went 2 for 4 on Thursday and has recorded a hit in all six games. Upton, though, is 2 for 14 with six strikeouts lifetime against Danks.

Johnny Damon, Ben Zobrist and Dan Johnson, who hit 2-3-4 in Tampa Bay's lineup Thursday, have combined for just one hit in 16 at-bats versus the left-hander.

Manny Ramirez, who spent part of last season with Chicago, missed Thursday's game because of a family matter, but is expected to be available for this one. Ramirez is 1 for 17 in 2011.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

By the numbers: Lucas Giolito showed impressive control in White Sox debut

By the numbers: Lucas Giolito showed impressive control in White Sox debut

Lucas Giolito didn't pick up a win in his White Sox debut, but there were plenty of encouraging signs. 

At the top of that list has to be his control, which was an issue that plagued the Sox No. 6 prospect in the past

Here's a closer look at his precision last night against the Twins: 

0 - Maybe the most important number of all. Giolito did not walk a single batter. 

- Giolito hit one Twin. It was Brian Dozier on the first at-bat of the game. First-game nerves? We'll chalk it up to that. 

64 - Giolito hurled 64 strikes out of 99 pitches, resulting in a strike percentage above league average

[MORE: Lucas Giolito's White Sox debut drew rave reviews

A fair number of those strikes the 23-year-old threw were hit hard, though. CSN's Dan Hayes noted the exit velocities against Giolito in the first inning: 

Although he got out of that inning unscathed, Minnesota did get to the right-hander: 

- The number of dingers slammed off Giolitio. 

The exit velocities on those, according to MLB Exit Velocity

98.9 - Jorge Polanco's fourth inning homer.

105.5 - Kennys Vargas' fifth inning homer.

104.3 - Eddie Rosario's sixth inning homer. 

All of the homers hit were on fastballs, which was his go-to pitch according to Hayes. Here's a look at his pitch selection: 

69 - Fastballs

16 - Changeups

12 - Curveballs

The bottom line: 

4 - Earned runs Giolito gave up. 

Lucas Giolito's White Sox debut drew rave reviews

Lucas Giolito's White Sox debut drew rave reviews

Lucas Giolito’s first outing may not have netted the outcome the White Sox hoped for, but the look and feel was most definitely there.

The team’s sixth-ranked prospect showed just how much progress he’s made the over the entire season and in particular the last six weeks in his White Sox debut on Tuesday night.

Giolito was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte early Tuesday and looked poised and confident for six innings despite a heavy reliance on the fastball because his curve wasn’t where he wanted. While he yielded three home runs in a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins, Giolito and the White Sox liked what they saw.

“Excellent,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I thought it was a very positive outing.

“Lucas I thought threw the ball very, very well. Fastball was very good. He was using his breaking ball. He threw some that were a little short. But all and all, I thought his mound presence, his attack of the strike zone -- I don’t think he walked anybody, he threw a lot of strikes -- he looked very, very good to me. Very pleased.”

Once the top pitching prospect in baseball, Giolito had lost a little bit of the shine even by the time he was traded to the White Sox last December in the Adam Eaton deal. He struggled at times during a nomadic 2016 campaign with the Nationals -- he was moved seven times in all -- and saw a dip in fastball velocity as his mechanics got out of whack.

Though excited by the trade to the White Sox, Giolito admitted in spring training he wasn’t quite where he yet wanted to be. He struggled early this season at Triple-A Charlotte, posting a 5.40 ERA in his first 16 starts and often failed to pitch deep into games.

But along the way Giolito found his confidence, rediscovered his curveball and began to pitch more consistently. That was the pitcher the White Sox saw on Tuesday night, the one who despite not having his entire arsenal didn’t panic.

Working almost entirely with his fastball -- 69 of his 99 pitchers were four-seamers -- Giolito pitched at a quick pace and got into a rhythm. Giolito got 10 swings and misses, including eight with the fastball, and didn’t walk anyone.

“I felt relaxed,” Giolito said. “I felt confident the whole time.

“I feel like tonight I was able to control the game a lot better. Last year my time in the big leagues the game would speed up on me a lot. I’d walk a guy, give up a couple of base hits and start to kind of get out of control. Tonight, I felt under control, I was able to trust my stuff, it was just those mistakes.”

Giolito’s outing wasn’t perfect. He tried to go inside with fastballs three times and left them over the middle. Jorge Polanco blasted a game-tying solo homer off Giolito in the fourth, Kennys Vargas hit one off him in the fifth and Eddie Rosario hit a two-run, opposite-field shot in the sixth.

[MORE: White Sox may have discovered 'diamond in the rough' in Juan Minaya

But that he was effective enough to keep the White Sox in the game in spite of his offense, which blew bases-loaded opportunities in the second and third innings, and minus all of his pitches wasn’t lost on Omar Narvaez. Narvaez liked how Giolito competed and the way he spotted his fastball in and out, up and down.

“I think he’s going to be one of our best pitchers,” Narvaez said. “His fastball is kind of sneaky and he has a great changeup. He uses it whenever he wants to and he has a really, really good curveball.

“He made a lot of good pitches (with the fastball). Every time we worked behind he just came back with the fastball.”

Giolito threw his curveball 12 times and used the changeup 16. While he induced a few groundballs with his curve, Giolito wasn’t as effective in two-strike situations, spiking the pitch in front of the plate. Even so, Giolito felt good about what he accomplished and that’s great for the White Sox.

“I feel like I belong,” Giolito said. “I feel like my stuff plays. I’m happy I didn’t walk anyone tonight. I was able to command the fastball pretty well, but fastball-changeup was pretty much all I had. I wasn’t throwing the curveball as well as I would have liked, but I’m going to work on that for the next start and hopefully be able to command that pitch a little better.”