Second verse, same as the first; Sox flail, fall

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Second verse, same as the first; Sox flail, fall

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 7:57 p.m. Updated: 9:38 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.In the category of wheezing offense, the Chicago White Sox accept their nomination with a shrug.

It was a second straight ineffectual effort by the Pale Hose offense, traipsing gently through the start of their 11-game road trip with bats so soft youd swear they were made of Wiffle.

After David Price checked the Chisox with a four-hit gem on Monday night, James Shields matched those four and raised with a 2-1, complete-game win. At this pace, earmark a no-hitter for Wade Davis tomorrow night. John Danks fastened on a brave face in the loss, going seven innings and allowing just two runs, putting up five strikeouts against zero walks.

Tip your hat to Shields, Danks said. I made a couple of mistakes Id like to have back, but seven innings, two runs, Ill take our chances.

Danks teammates did more than toss laurels at the opposing hurler.

Danks did well, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Its a shame when you waste good pitching.

In a game like tonight, tip your cap to Danks, Paul Konerko said. He threw great. Its tough to keep putting up zeroes and getting outs when youre not seeing a lot out of your own team, so you have to hand it to Johnny there.

Two triples, one from Ben Zobrist in the first and the other from Sean Rodriguez in the fifth, were the foundation of into Tampas run-scoring innings. With zeroes weighting the White Sox down, Shields needed no more support..

The White Sox, wearing their road grays, did not have a white flag to wavebut such pomp is unnecessary when the teams hardest-hit ball came on a Gordon Beckham 300-hopper up the middlein the first inning.

The White Sox are hitting .205 over their past 10 games and have scored just 12 runs during their current, six-game losing streak.

Adam Dunn has become the poster boy for Chicagos starvation at the dish, going 2-23 with 14 strikeouts since his appendectomy. But blame, there is too much to spread.

Maybe they are trying to do too much, Guillen opined. That doesnt help. But when youre struggling, back off a little bit, relax and start to enjoy the game. We arent enjoying it right now, and that isnt a good way to play.

Danks, who spend the postgame of his previous start repeating the mantra we will win these games after a blown save erased a win for him, found a new one: We will hit.

We have seen all these guys hit, he said. These guys will score runs over the course of the year.

One of those guys, Konerko, is as professorial as youll find on a baseball diamond. He couldnt offer a guaranteed solution to Chicagos offensive problems, but he was clear on what the team couldnt do.

A little skid of a few games, its hard to do but you have to crumple up these games and throw them out as quick as you can, come back tomorrow and be ready to play, he proffered. Otherwise thats how six turns into seven losses, seven turns into eight. Just like hitting or pitching or anything else, its a game of next.

As much as it sucks not to play well, the only thing I know for sure is that if you keep thinking about it, youll continue to be bad. Other than that, there are no answers. Itll be OK when its OK. There are no guarantees. You can come out tomorrow and play as hard as you can and do everything right, but that guarantees nothing.

Just three weeks into the season, thats what the 7-10 White Sox are reduced to: No guarantees of a productive offense, a closer who can bar the door, or any end in sight to an early, dastardly losing streak.

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

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. 

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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.