Sox Drawer: Kenny Williams Not a Happy Camper

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Sox Drawer: Kenny Williams Not a Happy Camper

Wednesday, September 23rd

"I'm not the happiest camper here in Chicago."

Those were the words of a frustrated and, as he put it, "grumpy" Kenny Williams before Wednesday's game against the Twins. That's what happens to a general manager when he watches his team collapse under the pressure of a pennant race like the Sox have here in September.

What has disappointed him the most? Williams first mentioned the 67 unearned runs his team has given up this season (most in the American League), a plague he described as "disturbing."

His relief corps? "The names are good, but they haven't met expectations" said Williams. When asked about Bobby Jenks and whether he thinks Matt Thornton can become the closer if they don't bring back Jenks, Williams deflected the question, saying "Bobby Jenks is under contract" and claimed that his confidence in him "is still high."

Despite the Jake Peavy injury and the struggles of Alex Rios, he wouldn't take either of those trades back.

With Jim Thome gone, he's not sure if they necessarily need left-handed pop in the lineup. On-base percentage to him is more important now...not home runs. When asked if the team couldn't overcome the loss of Thome, Williams said "If they did, then we weren't strong enough to win the damn thing. We just weren't."

Kenny said he has also noticed "which players have quit and who haven't." Interesting.

When I asked him to elaborate on that, Williams would only say that when the team arrives in spring training, they'll all be on the same page in terms of fighting until the end.

Staying on that same theme, he added "I don't want to see anyone quit" the rest of the season.

So who will be here next year? Despite already being out of the race, Kenny is watching his team very closely.

A reporter asked if it's important to send the first-place Tigers a message. Said Williams, "It's important some guys send a message to me."

Auditions are underway.

Thats My Grandson

Last Sunday, my good friend Matt took his 5-year-old son Charlie to his very first White Sox game. One of the highlights of the day was taking Charlie into the gift shop to buy him a souvenir to commemorate the occasion.

While looking at a row of White Sox jerseys, Matt told Charlie he could pick one out. It was his choice. Whatever he wanted.

Charlie didnt know any of the Sox players by name, but one jersey immediately caught his eye.

I want that one, Charlie said.

You sure? Matt asked.

Yep!

And with that, Matt grabbed the 15 jersey of Gordon Beckham and took it off the rack.

I really have no idea why he chose that one, Matt later told me. Five-year-olds are mysterious creatures.

As they walked over to the cash register to pay for the Beckham jersey, a woman with reddish-brown hair came over to them.

She seemed visibly moved. Matt wasnt sure why.

Excuse me, said the woman in a sweet, southern accent. I just want you to know that Im Gordons grandmother, and I am so pleased that your son chose his jersey.

Charlie isnt the only one. Gordons jersey has lately been the Sox 1 seller.

She just happened to be Gordons 1 fan.

Preview: Chris Sale, White Sox close out series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: Chris Sale, White Sox close out series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox close out their series against the Detroit Tigers Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 11:30 a.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (15-7, 3.14 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.33 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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White Sox bullpen falters in loss to Tigers

White Sox bullpen falters in loss to Tigers

DETROIT — The 2016 White Sox expected an improved offense when they addressed two of last season’s biggest needs with trades for Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie.

While scoring is up a hair over the 2015 club, it hasn’t nearly been enough.

As they have for much of the season, the White Sox jumped out to an early three-run lead on Tuesday night but failed to put their opponents away. Their dormancy allowed the Detroit Tigers to rally back to send the White Sox to an 8-4 loss in front of 27,121 at Comerica Park. Frazier homered early before Detroit scored eight runs between the fifth and seventh innings. The Tigers look to complete a three-game sweep of the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon on CSN.

“That’s kind of been the story of our year,” leadoff man Adam Eaton said. “With runners in scoring position we haven’t been able to drive in and get the big hit. When we do that we win. When we get it done we win and when we don’t it bites us.”

The White Sox thought they added serious bite to an offense that finished at or near the bottom of the American League in 2015 in most of the major categories. Frazier was acquired in a three-team deal from the Cincinnati Reds and Lawrie came over from Oakland for two-minor leaguers. On top of the acquisitions of Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche a year earlier, Frazier and Lawrie were expected to bolster positions in which the White Sox finished last in OPS in the majors last season.

To an extent, the plan has worked. The White Sox entered Tuesday having increased their scoring average to 4.07 runs per game, up from 3.84. But even with that improvement, the White Sox started play 13th among 15 AL clubs in runs scored and 63 runs below the league average.

They also were 13th in home runs (131), slugging percentage (.402) and OPS (.717).

Part of their struggles can be attributed to injuries — Lawrie has been out since July 22 and Austin Jackson has been gone since early June. The unexpected retirement of LaRoche also left the White Sox short on left-handed power in the middle of the lineup and forced Cabrera from the second spot to fifth to provide balance. And some can be attributed to down years by several key veterans, including the performance with runners in scoring position by Jose Abreu and Frazier.

But even the White Sox thought they’d be a better run-scoring team than they have proven through 131 games.

“I think we did,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You lose Rochie at the beginning of the year, and that changed the left-handed dynamic of what our lineup would have been like. But you still expect guys to hit a little better and score more runs than we’ve done. We haven’t held up our end of the bargain.”

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Their end of the bargain left the White Sox vulnerable on Tuesday. Frazier’s two-run homer and an RBI groundout by Eaton in the second inning had the White Sox in command. But Daniel Norris struck out Tim Anderson to strand a runner at third.

Then in the fourth, Norris got Tyler Saladino to fly out to shallow right, which prevented the runner on third from tagging. After Eaton walked, Norris got Anderson to ground into a fielder’s choice.

Even though Norris’ pitch count was sky high, the White Sox failed to knock him out of the game. That allowed the Tigers to rally back against Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Albers and Jacob Turner.

“They seem to add on,” Ventura said. “They don’t stop adding on that extra run. A guy on third with less than two outs, they’re able to get it in. That’s been an Achilles heel for us.”

It’s also been a source of frustration, Eaton said. The White Sox look around the room and feel like they have a talented group, especially now with Justin Morneau solidifying the middle. But once again, that group didn’t keep their foot on the pedal and paid the price.

“They just continue to plug away,” Eaton said. “Their offense is good enough to come back from any deficit. Hats off to them, but we’ve got to keep adding on. We got on Norris early and got his pitch count up, but we’ve got to keep knocking on the door. We didn’t keep on it enough and knock him out real early.

“Top to bottom I think we have a pretty good lineup. It is frustrating when you don’t get that big hit and vice versa for the big pitch.”

White Sox closer David Robertson's foundation big part of MLB's Louisiana flood relief efforts

White Sox closer David Robertson's foundation big part of MLB's Louisiana flood relief efforts

DETROIT — David Robertson’s charitable foundation is at the head of Major League Baseball’s drive to help victims of this month’s Louisiana floods.

High Socks for Hope, which Robertson created with his wife, Erin, received a $62,500 donation on Tuesday from MLB and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, which made a joint $250,000 contribution.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which was established by former Louisiana State players, also received $62,500 and The American Red Cross got $125,000.

The Robertson’s foundation originally was formed to help victims of an April 27, 2011 tornado that rocked Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Birmingham, resulting in 64 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries.

“We’ve evolved over the years,” Robertson said. “Passing time we’ve worked toward helping a lot of the veterans and now MLB has been gracious enough to give us this donation and we’ve already got people on the ground there feeding thousands of people, both volunteers and those who are down there who have lost everything. We’re going to continue to help out as much as we can down there. We’re not a monster of an organization, but we do what we can, we stretch every dollar and with this generous donation we’re going to find a way to help those that have been affected by this terrible flood.”

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White Sox pitcher Anthony Ranaudo pitched at LSU and has been active in raising funds, too.

“It’s good to see young guys getting involved in stuff like this because the game doesn’t last forever,” Robertson said. “But these charities can keep going and there’s always a chance for us to give back and we’re given so much as baseball players that it’s only fitting that we return the favor.”