Detroit brought a scorching offense to Chicago for this weekend's three-game series with the White Sox. Through two games, though, the Sox have kept the powerful Tigers offense at bay, following Friday's 5-2 win with a 5-1 victory Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.Gavin Floyd threw six shutout innings, although it wasn't all smooth sailing. While he allowed just three hits -- all to Austin Jackson -- Floyd issued three walks and hit three batters, leading to difficult spots in the second and sixth innings. In the second, a Jhonny Peralta walk was sandwiched by a pair of beanballs, loading the bases for Ryan Raburn with two outs. Floyd got Raburn to line out to center, ending the first Detroit threat. And in the sixth, Floyd issued back-to-back walks to Prince Fielder and Delmon Young with two out to load the bases before striking out Alex Avila to quash the rally. "I thought he pitched great," manager Robin Ventura said after the game. "He got into a couple of jams there, but for me, he battled and made pitches when he had to. He has been a guy throughout spring that Ive seen make the tough pitch. Hes able to do that and hes very talented. We just let him go today and he made all the pitches."Floyd did an excellent job neutralizing Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, only allowing the fearsome duo to reach base once -- with that being the sixth-inning walk to Fielder. With Jackson setting the table for the pair, Floyd's success against them was even more important. "Like they werent there," said Floyd of his plan of attack against Cabrera and Fielder. "I just tried to focus on the mitt and make pitches.""He pitched great, pounding the zone aggressive early," summed up catcher Tyler Flowers. "More importantly the pitches he missed, he missed in good spots in that they were effective as far as setting up the next pitch. "Against a lineup like that, you can't make mistakes over the heart of the plate and he did that very few times."Floyd was supported by solo home runs off the bats of Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers, whose fifth-inning shot was estimated at 423 feet. The Sox added runs in the sixth on an Adam Dunn RBI double and in the seventh on an Alejandro De Aza RBI triple. Paul Konerko smacked career home run No. 397 in the eighth, a solo blast that plated the fifth run for the Sox. It put the captain into a tie with Joe Carter for 51st on the all-time career home run list. But nearing the 400-homer marker isn't really on Konerko's radar. "I'm sure it will mean something when I'm done playing, but any time you put those milestones numbers -- it's just another homer, hopefully it comes sooner," Konerko said. "I just want to approach every day and prepare every day the same way as long as I'm playing. And when you're done playing and the dust settles, you can look back and probably enjoy some things. But any time I spend doing that, I'm not being a good teammate if I do that because I'm not getting ready for what's next. That's what I want to be doing." The Tigers' lone run came on an eighth-inning solo homer by Brennan Boesch off Jesse Crain. The same team that averaged nearly seven runs per game coming into the weekend has only scored three times in 18 innings, as a lack of timely hitting and a mini-slump from Miguel Cabrera has hampered the team's offensive efforts.Detroit's Adam Wilk, making his first career major-league start, was the recipient of some bad luck when Fielder lined a foul ball into the visitors' dugout, striking the lefty in his pitching shoulder. He departed the game with what was ruled a left shoulder contusion after throwing just 62 pitches over five fairly effective innings. The win vaulted the Sox to the top of the AL Central standings, albeit just over a week into the season. Given the Sox rough schedule to begin the season, that's at least a mildly impressive feat.
After a wild day at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Chuck Garfien and Dan Hayes discuss John Lackey hitting four White Sox batters and also play Hawk Harrelson's epic on-air rant directed at the Cubs pitcher.
"Jeff the Sox Fan" appears on the podcast and suggests what he thinks Jose Abreu should have done to Lackey when he was hit for a second time.
While they taped the podcast, Anthony Swarzak was traded to the Brewers. What kind of return did the White Sox get? Garfien also interviews White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about losing Quintana to the Cubs, why he can't watch Quintana and Chris Sale pitch in different uniform, when some minor leaguers like Reynaldo Lopez will be called up and more.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
The White Sox jumped out ahead of a crowded reliever market once again and traded Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
The White Sox acquired 25-year-old outfielder Ryan Cordell from the Brewers in exchange for the veteran reliever, a baseball source confirmed. The No. 17 prospect in the Brewers farm system, Cordell was hitting .284/.349/.506 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season.
A nonroster invitee to big league camp this spring, Swarzak was 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA, one save and 52 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings this season. He’s the third reliever the White Sox have traded since the second half began as they also dealt David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees with Todd Frazier on July 18.
TA free agent after the season, Swarzak has fared extremely well in high-leverage situations, stranding 26 of the 35 runners he had inherited. He pitched in two high-leverage spots in the team’s previous two games, earning his first career save Monday. Swarzak, whose 9.68 strikeouts per nine is a career high, also earned a hold on Sunday in Kansas City.
“I’ve been waiting for that opportunity for a long time,” Swarzak said of Monday’s save. “It’s nice that I went in there and got it done. You think about that moment for years and then it finally happens. You just are trying to take a step back and reflect on what just happened, and I’ll be able to come in tomorrow and be ready to go.”
Two American League scouts said Monday that Swarzak still had good trade value even though he’s viewed as a rental. While he wouldn’t likely net the White Sox a top-150 prospect, they could wrangle a “good” minor-leaguer in a deal. One element that could have potentially derailed the White Sox was an abundance of strong relief options in the market, perhaps as many as 20 pitchers.
After the White Sox traded Robertson and Kahnle, general manager Rick Hahn indicated they moved the pair early in anticipation of a competitive marketplace when they acquired Blake Rutherford and others from the New York Yankees. The Baltimore Orioles are a team that could have wreaked havoc on the relief market if they decide to sell -- something one AL source said they’ve gone back and forth on every day -- because they could flood it with Zach Britton and others.
The move is the third made by the White Sox in a span of two weeks, including the trade of Jose Quintana to the Cubs on July 13. The White Sox still have several veterans on the roster who could draw trade interest, including starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez.
“We are still open for business,” Hahn said last week.
Today’s Knuckleball’s Jon Heyman first reported the deal that sent Swarzak to the Brewers. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal initially reported the teams’ were discussing a trade for Swarzak.