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 agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.