Chicago White Sox

SuperJuan: Uribe comes up clutch in World Series

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SuperJuan: Uribe comes up clutch in World Series

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010
6:12 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Some fellas just know when to step up and make an impact, and Juan Uribe - author of the three-run clout that sprinkled the last bit of dirt over Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday - is one such fella.

Scour all you wish, but you wont find Uribe on the list of top 10 game-changing plays of the Chicago White Soxs 2005 World Series run. He came close, with his heroic defensive efforts to clinch the Series for the White Sox (sprinting into the right-field stands to snag Chris Burkes foul pop for the second out and his super-quick catch-and-fire retirement of Orlando Palmeiro to end the game) both adding 14 percent to the White Sox win probability.

But in contrast to his budding reputation as a playoff hero, Uribe has been a fairly lousy postseason performer. The sleeping Giant simply knows when to pick his spots and when he picks one, he doesnt miss.

For his career, Uribe carries just a .660 OPS into Thursdays Game 2 - thats downright bad, perhaps even duck-and-cover awful. The then-shortstop batted and slugged .800 in the American League Division Series vs. the Boston Red Sox in 2005, but his main clout was a homer in the runaway Game 1 win. He put up an .806 OPS in the 2005 World Series courtesy of three doubles in 16 at-bats, but his offensive output in that series - along with every other hitter on both the White Sox and Houston Astros - was underwhelming.

But overall, you could say Uribe was consistent in the 2005 playoffs, hitting in 10 of 12 games - and one of the games where he went hitless was Game 4 of the World Series, and we all know his ninth-inning defense helped make up for that.

In 2008, Uribe was horrible for the White Sox in the ALDS vs. the Tampa Bay Rays - two hits in 12 at-bats, with five strikeouts. Coupled with his .682 OPS in the 2008 regular season, Uribes work in the 2008 playoffs helped earn him his bus ticket out of town.

This year with the San Francisco Giants, Uribe kicked off the playoffs with his worst series ever - a .205 OPS, with just one hit in 14 at-bats and five strikeouts in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. Uribe was looking just as bad in this seasons National League Championship Series, heading into Game 5 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies just 1-for-11.

But then came Game 5, when Uribe went 2-for-3 with a home run and reached base three times in four plate appearances. It was unquestionably his greatest playoff game (his .306 Win Probability Added means Uribe alone can claim about one-third of San Franciscos win). In fact, Uribes impact in Game 5 was almost twice as great as any playoff game hed ever played in.

And Wednesday, Uribe had the ultimate all-or-nothing day, chasing his greatest playoff game by maximizing his impact in the World Series opener. The burgeoning Bay Area folk hero offset three strikeouts with that three-run homer that put the game away. It wasnt his second-best playoff game, not even close - but it did wonders to expand his legend.

Uribes hustle that ended the 2005 World Series is very likely the greatest succession of defensive plays to end a Fall Classic, rightfully earning the manic Dominican a place atop the World Series monument in Champions Plaza outside of U.S. Cellular Field. But it takes nothing away from the man that not a soul in Chicago would ever have expected him to be impacting another World Series so positively, some five seasons later.

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

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Nothing is proven, Lucas Giolito will have to come back next season and show he can do this once again. But another huge development in the White Sox rebuild has been the continued development and success of Giolito late in the season.

The young White Sox pitcher added another outstanding performance to the ledger on Sunday afternoon.

Giolito pitched seven sharp innings and helped the White Sox officially avoid 100 losses in an 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. He allowed a run and five hits with five strikeouts and no walks. It’s another step in a nice turnaround for Giolito, who struggled at Triple-A earlier in the year.

“I feel like this is where I can pitch,” Giolito said. “I can pitch deep into games. I wouldn't really say awestruck or anything like that. I’d say that there’s a lot of struggles there earlier this year. I worked through those … I feel like getting the confidence back up, it’s all I really needed to feel comfortable and be ready to go.”

Some of the metrics would suggest Giolito is in line for a dropoff. While his earned-run average is 2.38, his Fielding Independent Pitching is 4.94. His xFIP is a little lower at 4.42. But the elevated numbers are in part due to Giolito not missing as many bats and striking out 6.75 batters per nine innings.

But Giolito’s big-league numbers also come at a time in which he has never pitched more. He has pitched a combined 174 innings this season, which dwarfs his previous high of 136 2/3 innings in 2016.

Despite the workload, the right-hander continues to bring good stuff. He got seven swings and misses and 10 called strikes with his four-seam fastball, which averaged 92.3 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

“He's got angle, he's got height,” manager Rick Renteria said “He's got good angle so that creates, believe or not, some deception and he can ride it up out of the zone. And then he comes out from that angle with the breaking ball or his changeup. So the angle creates some pretty good deception.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign]

Giolito has filled up the strikezone since he reached the majors partly because of belief in his stuff. He’s thrown strikes on 63.4 percent of his pitches and was even better Sunday with 65 of 98 offerings. The other part of it is trust in his defense, which made several spectacular plays behind him.

Giolito knows this is only the beginning. But he feels good after a stretch in which he has quality starts in five of six games. Over the stretch he has a 1.83 ERA and 25 hits allowed with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings.

“My confidence is there,” Giolito said. “I trust my stuff, I trust my pitches. There are things to work on, things I’m talking to (Don Cooper) about. There’s always stuff to improve, for sure. I’d say that just the confidence and everything is right where it needs to be so I’m going to continue to try and pitch like I am.”

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

When searching for why Avisail Garcia has had sustained success this season, you can’t overlook his fitter frame.

The White Sox outfielder entered a breakout 2017 season approximately 18 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. Garcia, who’s hitting .331, doubled, homered and drove in three runs as the White Sox topped the Kansas City Royals 8-1 at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday afternoon. Given the way he has performed this season, the first-time All-Star said he plans to work even harder this offseason.

“One hundred percent (better),” Garcia said. “I want to keep losing a little bit more. I want to feel way better next year.”

Garcia has provided the White Sox with a boatload of feel-good moments this season. He cut down two base runners in Friday night’s wild victory over the Royals, including on the final play of the game. Overall, Garcia has felt a difference in the field and it’s shown up in his defensive numbers. He headed into Sunday worth 2 Defensive Runs Saved after he finished the 2015 season at minus-11.

But even more of Garcia’s production has come at the plate, where he reached the 80-RBI mark on Sunday. He followed a one-out Yoan Moncada double off Ian Kennedy in the first inning with an opposite-field blast to right field, Garcia’s 18th homer.

Six innings later, Garcia doubled in a run. He’s hitting .331/.379/.504 on the season and entered Sunday worth 3.5 f-Wins Above Replacement.

“It seems likes he’s always finding barrel and like, man, that’s impressive to go up there, have disciplined at-bats and consistently get the barrel of the bat to the ball,” pitcher Lucas Giolito said.

Garcia’s play has offered him more encouragement to continue his efforts. Though he was adamant at the All-Star Game he wanted to duplicate his first-half efforts, Garcia suffered a series of injuries that bothered him throughout July. But he’s found comfort at the plate once again and knows how important a role his improved conditioning has played.

“The offseason, I have to do the same even harder,” Garcia said. “I want to do my best every year so now I have the ability to be here and trying to help my team. Just have to keep working.”