No fooling, Sox loss sets record for April futility

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No fooling, Sox loss sets record for April futility

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Posted: 9:12 p.m. Updated: 10:15 p.m.

Associated Press

No. 9 hitter Robert Andino supplied some power, aggressive baserunning and a great play at shortstop to help the Baltimore Orioles send the Chicago White Sox to yet another defeat.

Andino's antics were pivotal in the Orioles 6-2 victory Saturday night, but manager Buck Showalter pointed to the work of reliever Mike Gonzalez as the key.

The hard-throwing lefty pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam with only one run scoring in the sixth. He struck out Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski to stop a potential big inning by the struggling White Sox, who've lost 14 of 17.

"Gonzalez was the star," Showalter said. "Big momentum swing with Dunn coming up there. I said, 'Let it loose, let it hang out, let's go.'

"He's always emotionally into it. Nobody is a robot that doesn't have emotions. Everybody pulls for him. (The offense) fed off his success as much as he did."

Leading 2-1, the Orioles tacked on four runs in the eighth, an inning featuring a passed ball and error on Chicago catcher Pierzynski, some daring baserunning by Andino and a two-run single by Vladimir Guerrero.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen missed the game, completing his two-game suspension for tweeting comments about an umpire after he was ejected three nights earlier in New York. Bench coach Joey Cora ran the team for the second straight game.

With or without their manager, the White Sox can't win and finished April 10-18 - the most losses in April in franchise history. They've dropped four straight.

"The league is not going to be feeling sorry for us or wait for us or nothing. We are going to have to play and play through it and start winning some ballgames," Cora said.

Baltimore's Chris Tillman (1-2), who had to skip his previously scheduled start because of a sore groin, had a 2-0 lead and was pitching well into the sixth when he gave up singles to Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin and walked Paul Konerko to load the bases with no outs.

Showalter went to the bullpen for Gonzalez, who struck out Dunn looking. Alex Rios then hit a fly ball to medium center field and Adam Jones made a strong throw to the plate that appeared to be in time to get Ramirez, but Orioles catcher Jake Fox couldn't hold the ball, making it 2-1. Gonzalez then fanned Pierzynski to end the threat.

Phil Humber (2-3), who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his previous start against the Yankees, had another solid outing, giving up three hits and two runs in seven innings.

"Our job is to gout there and go deep in the ballgame and keep us close and give our offense a chance," Humber said. "Right now we're not scoring a whole lot of runs, but I think that is going to turn around, I really do. I've got all the faith in the world in these guys. ... Hopefully it turns around for us pretty quick."

Andino led off the third with his first homer of the season - and seventh in parts of seven major league seasons - to put Baltimore up 2-0. The Orioles took an early lead when Brian Roberts doubled to lead off the game, went to third on a fly ball and scored on Humber's wild pitch, a low delivery that eluded Pierzynski.

"I wish I could take one pitch back, the one to Andino," Humber said. "Other than that pitch and not being there to cover home in the first inning that kind of bit us there. Other than that I threw the ball pretty well."

Andino also blunted a Chicago rally in the fourth when the White Sox had first and second and no outs. He made a diving stop on Rios' grounder behind the bag and started a double play with a nice flip to Roberts.

"He's been playing good shortstop," Showalter said.

Andino singled in the eighth off Matt Thornton and stole second. When Roberts struck out, the ball got by Pierzynski, who retrieved it and threw low to Dunn at first. Dunn caught the one-hop throw but his relay to the plate was too late to get Andino, who scored all the way from second.

"I came around third aggressive," Andino said. "He might throw the ball. In this game, anything happens.... Once I saw the ball hit the dirt, I made up my mind."

Nick Markakis followed with a single and Derrek Lee walked to load the bases before Guerrero delivered a two-run single past third. Luke Scott's sacrifice fly made it 6-1 and Thornton was booed as he left the mound.

Rios hit his first homer of the season in the ninth to make it 6-2.

NOTES

The Orioles have won four of their last five. ... Guillen said he watched Friday night's 10-4 loss on TV. He said that more difficult than from the dugout because he has to watch replays and can still hear the booing. He said he was in the parking lot and then went home Friday night. "It was painful to watch as a fan," he said. ... Dunn, who underwent an appendectomy and was 7 for 61 over his previous 17 games, got his first start at first base for the White Sox after serving for 20 games as a DH. He went 1 for 4 Saturday night. ... RHP Jake Peavy (shoulder) is scheduled to make his next rehab start on May 5 for the White Sox's Triple-A Charlotte team and throw 100 pitches. ... Orioles' DL update: SS J.J. Hardy (left oblique) hit off a tee, ran the bases and took ground balls Saturday. RHP Justin Duchscherer (left hip) threw 30 pitches in batting practice and said he felt great afterward. LHP Brian Matusz (back) threw 45 pitches in a side session Saturday and reported no problems.

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

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

Bobby Howry wasn't aware of the fact he was part of one of the more infamous transactions in White Sox history until a few years after it happened. 

In 1997, with the White Sox only 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians, general manager Ron Schueler pulled the trigger on a massive trade that left many around Chicago — including some in the White Sox clubhouse — scratching their heads. Heading to the San Francisco Giants was the team's best starting pitcher (left-hander Wilson Alvarez), a reliable rotation piece (Doug Drabek) and a closer coming off a 1996 All-Star appearance (Roberto Hernandez). In return, the White Sox acquired six minor leaguers: right-handers Howry, Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, left-hander Ken Vining, shortstop Mike Caruso and outfielder Brian Manning. Only Foulke had major league experience, and it wasn't exactly good (an 8.26 ERA in 44 2/3 innings). 

Howry was largely oblivious to the shocking nature of the trade that brought him from the Giants to White Sox until, before the 1999 season, he was featured in a commercial that referenced the "White Flag trade."

"I don't even know if I knew it was called that before then," Howry recalled last weekend at the Sheraton Grand Chicago at Cubs Convention. 

The trade was a stark signal that youth would be emphasized on 35th and Shields. Both Alvarez and Hernandez were set to become free agents after the 1997 season, and the 40-year-old Darwin wasn't a long-term piece, either. With youngsters like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee rising through the farm system, the move was made with an eye on the future and maximizing the return on players who weren't going to be long-term pieces. 

Sound familiar? 

It's hardly a perfect comparison, but when the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in December for four minor leaguers — headlined by top-100 prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech — it was the first rebuilding blockbuster trade the organization had made since the 1997 White Flag deal. Shortly after trading their staff ace at the 2016 Winter Meetings, the White Sox shipped Adam Eaton — their best position player — to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects featuring two more highly-regarded youngsters in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. 

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

And there still could be more moves on the horizon, too, for Rick Hahn's White Sox (Jose Quintana has been the subject of persistent rumors since the Winter Meetings). But for those looking for an optimistic outlook of the White Sox rebuilding plans, it's worth noting that the club's last youth movement, to an extent, was successful.

Only Howry (3.74 ERA over 294 games) and Foulke (2.87 ERA, 100 saves over 346 games) became significant long-term pieces for the White Sox from those six players brought over in 1997. And it wasn't like Schueler dealt away any of the franchise's cornerstones — like Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Robin Ventura — but with future starters in Lee, Ordonez and Chris Singleton on their way the White Sox were able to go young. A swap of promising youthful players (Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko) proved to be successful a year and a half later. 

And with a couple of shrewd moves — namely, dealing Jamie Navarro and John Snyder to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin — the "Kids Can Play" White Sox stormed to an American League Central title in 2000. 

"It was great," Howry said of developing with so many young players in the late 1999's and 2000. "You come in and you feel a lot more comfortable when you got a lot of young guys and you're all coming up together and building together. It's not like you're walking into a primarily veteran clubhouse where you're kind of having to duck and hide all the time. We had a great group of guys and we built together over a couple of years, and putting that together was a lot of fun."

What sparked things in 2000, Howry said, was that ferocious brawl with the Detroit Tigers on April 22 in which 11 players were ejected (the fight left Foulke needing five stitches and former Tigers catcher/first baseman Robert Fick doused in beer). 

"About the time we had that fight with Detroit, that big brawl, all of a sudden after then we just seemed to kind of come together and everything started to click and it took off," Howry said. 

The White Sox went 80-81 in 1998 and slipped to 75-86 in 1999, but their 95-67 record in 2000 was the best in the league — though it only amounted to a three-game sweep at the hands of the wild-card winning Seattle Mariners. 

Still, the White Flag trade had a happy ending two and a half years later. While with the White Sox, Howry didn't feel pressure to perform under the circumstances with which he arrived, which probably helped those young players grow together into eventual division champions. 

"I was 23 years old," Howry said. "At 23 years old, I didn't really — I was just like, okay, I'm still playing, I got a place to play. I didn't really put a whole lot of thought into three veteran guys for six minor leaguers." 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox 2016 first round pick Zack Collins joins the podcast to talk about his future with the White Sox, when he hopes to make the big leagues and the doubters who question whether he can be a major league catcher.   He discusses comparisons with Kyle Schwarber, his impressions of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, why his dad took him to a Linkin Park concert when he was 6 years old and much more.