Sox stuck in a rut as skid reaches seven games

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Sox stuck in a rut as skid reaches seven games

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 8:15 p.m. Updated: 9:39 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. The lifeless Chicago White Sox have fallen, and they seem unable to get up.

Manager Ozzie Guillen, flummoxed by the free-fall his club has suffered after battering foes in the first week of the season, is running out of choices. Hes lazy-susaned his bullpen, tetrised his batting order, argued calls for the sake of arguing, and tipped his cap to opposing aces.

In contrast to his feisty, foul-mouthed persona, Guillen has maintained a confident stance, supportive of his club and proud of the work theyre putting into improving. So if you think after seven straight lifeless losses and some 51 consecutive innings without holding a lead it may be time for the jefe to go Hal McRae on his club, think again.

Im not angry, he said postgame, after first instructing gathered media to just run last nights postgame tape, because his answers would be exactly the same. If we arent fighting, then I would say something, but right now the ball isnt bouncing our way.

Yet another game bounced away, this one in which bonus starter Phil Humber didnt help himself with a number of two-out or two-strike shots in foot.

I was disappointed with a couple of decisions I made with two outs (pitch selection), Humber said. Casey Kotchman, I threw two fastballs right by him, then threw him a curve, and on top of that, threw it right down the middle. It was just one of those things where Id get two out and then Id make a bad pitch, or a bad decision. Its something Ive got to get better at. As far as how I felt, I had good stuff tonight but just didnt make the right pitches at the right time.

Guillen cited Humbers work and that of the bullpen (2 23 scoreless innings from Will Ohman, Tony Pena and Chris Sale), remaining steadfastly behind his Chicago 9.

We are a few inches away from scoring a couple of runs when the Rays catch the ball, he said. I am not going to take any credit away from the Rays, they are playing well. They are playing great defense and the outfield has played very well against us. The one thing about it is they have gotten big hits and we havent.

We have hit a lot of balls hard and the Rays have made great plays, A.J. Pierzynski said. Give the Rays credit for the defense theyve played.

As the 4-1 final indicated, again, that no opponents lead is ever too small against these South Side Hitless Men, who have tallied just nine runs in the last six losses of the streak.

Only one Chisox safety ended up mattering, Carlos Quentins fourth homer of the season. The hulking right fielder continues to blister the ball (1.014 OPS) and has seen 14 of his 21 hits this season fall for extra bases.

Pierzynski was tossed from the game (for saying something not very nice to home plate umpire Brian Knight, according to Guillen) after the catcher grounded out to end the top half of the sixth inning. Although Pierzynski ended Wednesday nights game in the clubhouse, watching it on TV in his skivvies, the feistmeister unyieldingly supports the 2011 All-In Chisox.

We are fighting and clawing. We are doing everything we can, Pierzynski said. Thats the way its going right now. We need to keep fighting, keep our heads up, and do everything we can to try and win.

The pressures on, but the White Sox arent bowing.

If wed won six in a row, wed still want to win today, Humber said. Obviously, we need a winits not fun to go out there and lose, especially a few in a row. But I dont see anybody quitting in here; everybodys getting their work in. The talents going to rise to the top. Were right on the verge of breaking out; its just one of those things. Youve got to battle.

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

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

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Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

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Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."