Sox Drawer: Will Santos be the man?

Sox Drawer: Will Santos be the man?

Friday, April 22, 2011
Posted: 7:37 p.m. Updated: 7:55 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

White Sox fans who have been asking, even pleading for Sergio Santos to be the White Sox closer, you might soon get your wish.

Santos, who has yet to give up a run in the regular season (9 23 innings) and spring training (same number: 9 23 innings) received praise from manager Ozzie Guillen before Fridays game, hinting that he might start handing the ball to the young pitcher in save situations.

"Now I have confidence in Santos," Guillen said. "I dont mind closing a game with Santos if three righties are at the plate. I dont mind at all. You talk about (Miguel) Cabrera, Magglio (Ordonez) and (Austin) Jackson, you might see Santos in the ninth. Thats the way were going to go to right now when we start to set everything ready to go.

It takes a certain personality to be a successful closer. Its easily one of the most isolating, pressure-packed jobs in sports, ranking right up there with hockey goalie and field goal kicker.

You need to have the right kind of DNA to handle the ninth inning stress, not to mention the ups and downs. Judging by his career so far, a player who was able to transform from a struggling shortstop to a lights-out pitcher in a matter of weeks, he might have the right genetic code to succeed.

"This kid (Santos) is hungry," Guillen said. "This kid wants to be good. I know everybody else wants to be good, but this kid is hungry. He knows he has good stuff. He knows he is a great candidate to be a closer. Thats all it takes - the confidence, cockiness, arrogance - however you want to call it. This kid has the good potential to be that."

Santos showed the traits Guillen spoke about on the first day of spring training. When the team reported to Glendale, the competition for White Sox closer was thought to be between Matt Thornton and Chris Sale. But not to Sergio, he went out of his way to say that he wanted it as well.

If left-handed batters are set to come up in a close game in the ninth, Guillen said he will decide between Thornton and Sale. But if righties are due up, Santos will be the guy.

But first the White Sox need to be in position to actually use their closer. Yes, its been a while.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Preview: Cubs look to bounce back vs. Giants tonight on CSN

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Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

Luis Robert the latest high-end acquisition for White Sox

For Joe Maddon, Cubs winning World Series came down to Giant comeback in SF and avoiding Johnny Cueto in elimination game

Carlos Rodon 'getting closer' but still without time frame for return

Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?

MMQB's Peter King's thoughts on Trubisky, Howard, White and the Bears offense

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

PHOENIX -- The red-hot White Sox ran into Zack Greinke on Monday night.

He cooled them off in a hurry.

Greinke struck out 12 hitters and Daniel Descalso blasted a three-run home run off Miguel Gonzalez as the Arizona Diamondbacks sent the White Sox to a 5-1 loss in front of 18,333 at Chase Field. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the White Sox, who had scored 24 runs in their final two games against the Seattle Mariners.

“(Greinke) keeps the ball down out of the zone a lot,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s kind of enticing. He keeps the ball in the hitter’s area and it ends up falling out. It’s one of those things that you’ve got to try to get him up. Our approach was to try to make him throw a lot of strikes. He ended up hammering the strike zone early and then finally he just came into a groove.”

Descalso’s three-run shot off Gonzalez was one of two pitches the White Sox right-hander would have liked back. After Gonzalez walked Chris Owings with two outs in the fourth inning, his only free pass of the night, he left the curveball over the middle and Descalso deposited it in the right-center field stands to break a scoreless tie.

He also left a pitch up to Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth inning and the All-Star first baseman ripped it for a solo shot.

But overall Gonzalez rebounded from his previous two starts when he walked nine batters. He was sharp for three innings as he faced one over the minimum. He just missed to Owings in the fourth, which brought up Descalso.

Gonzalez allowed five runs (four earned) and seven hits in five innings.

“You see what happens when you walk guys,” Gonzalez said. “That wasn’t in a good situation to walk the guy. You have to keep grinding, keep making my pitches. Really two pitches were the ones that hurt me tonight. A lot of positives. Nothing to worry about. Keep working hard and things are going to go my way.

“Sometimes things don’t go your way. Those two pitches, if I take those back, you never know. It’s a different ballgame.”

Not only did Greinke strike out a dozen hitters, he limited the White Sox to four hits in 8 2/3 innings.

Omar Narvaez had two hits, the first coming after Greinke opened the game by retiring seven straight batters. Leury Garcia homered off Greinke with one out in the fifth inning to break up his bid for a shutout.

It was quite the turnaround from when the White Sox bashed Yovani Gallardo and Chris Heston on consecutive days in Seattle. The White Sox scored a combined nine first-inning runs in winning three of four against the Mariners.