Verlander's fifth is a Sox shutout symphony

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Verlander's fifth is a Sox shutout symphony

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 10:36 p.m. Updated: 11:27 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
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Relative to the U.S. Cellular Field Massacree that took place on Monday and the series from hell in Motown two weekends ago, a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of presumptive AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander was practically a gift from the Detroit Tigers to the Chicago White Sox.

Sure, the game was hardly in doubt, but the White Sox did show some fight before falling to Verlander for the fifth time this season, including two bases-loaded rallies, as well as a first-and-third in the first. Natch, the Pale Hose stranded 10 for the game and was a perfect 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

We didnt have the big hit, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen cut-and-pasted postgame. Against a pitcher of Verlanders caliber you have to get it done before he makes his pitches.

READ: Ozzie hands out 2011 grades

The deciding blow came off the bat of Victor Martinez, who blasted a towering, three-run shot out to right to push Detroits lead to 4-0.

Gavin hit the wall after Martinezs homer, according to Guillen. He put everything into that nine-pitch at-bat.

The longball came on a 3-2 cutter, which has not only been Gavin Floyds most effective pitch this season, its been the most effective cutter in the major leagues. Yet Guillen knew that something bad might be coming after walking Bengals slugger Miguel Cabrera to get to Martinez.

I told Joey, Look at his eyes, Guillen said of Martinez. Theres a lot of pride a hitter feels when someone is walked in front of you, like, You think Cabrera is better than me? But I cant pitch to Cabrerahes the best hitter in the American League and has been for the past three years.

Catcher Tyler Flowers was bummed that Floyd was tagged with a loss over basically one pitch. Earlier in the count, Martinez twice had failed to get solid contact on Floyds cutter, fouling them off. But the third time was a charm.

Victor had a good at-bat, Flowers said. Gavin threw at lot better than four runs allowed would indicate. Victor just took advantage of the mistake.

Chicago mounted a final rally off of a tightrope-walking Joaquin Benoit, loading the bases with two out as the plate began to jump around on the setup man with a fat contract, but Benoit punched out Flowers to end any semblance of a threat with nary a run scoring.

The loss slipped the Chisox back under .500 (73-74) and raised the staffs ERA vs. Detroit to a gaseous 6.14 on the season. The Tigers, whose magic number to eliminate the White Sox is three (four vs. Cleveland), have outscored Chicago 45-6 over the two teams last 31 innings played. The shutout was the 10th of the season for the White Sox, three of which now have come at the hands of Detroit.

Six Pack of Stats

Pressure Play (highest-leverage situation): With the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning, Gordon Beckham faced 3.75 LI in a one-run game against Verlanderand struck out to end the rare threat. Tigers 1, White Sox 0

Pressure Cooker (highest total leverage faced in the game): With 2.01 pLI, Beckham faced the highest overall pressure in the game, and faltered in the face of it, going 0-for 3 with a strikeout and a game-high six men left on base.

Wauoooo of the Day(greatest win probability added, single play): Martinez turned a nail-biter into a romp with a three-run homer in the fifth, following a Will Rhymes double and intentional walk to Cabrera. The clout was good for .178 WPA added to Detroits winning effort. Tigers 4, White Sox 0

Game MVP (greatest win probability added, game): Unshockingly, Verlanders seven-inning win, with six Ks against six hits and two walks landed him with a .375 WPA for the game, tops in the contest.
Chicagos Start: Floyd started out gangbusters before Martinezs clout, but unraveled quickly from there, lasting just 5 13 innings with four hits, four runs and four walks en route to a 43 game score.

Detroits Start: Verlander became the fifth hurler in the past 45 years to win five games in a season vs. the White Sox with his tidy but relatively unremarkable 69 game score in his seven-inning effort. The other four hurlers, according to stats maven Christopher Kamka, are Jim Kaat (1966), Paul Splittorff (1973), Jim Kern (1976) and Brian Anderson (2003).

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

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

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Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

That Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have reunited is a nice story, but it won't dramatically change the mindset of the rebuilding White Sox, who earlier this week demonstrated they aren't messing around.

Abreu said in a statement issued by the White Sox on Friday that he's "very happy" about the prospect of again playing alongside Moncada, who played 12 games with the star slugger in 2012 for Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series. Moncada, 21, is the centerpiece of a four-player package acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale on Tuesday, a toolsy infielder who MLB.com has rated as the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

While the concept of Abreu mentoring Moncada has plenty of merit — the first baseman's work ethic is outstanding, and he's beloved by coaches and teammates — don't think the White Sox would hesitate to trade him if someone paid the right price. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn just spent four days at the Winter Meetings discussing how a team that just traded away its best pitcher and position player remains open to listening to all offers and is prepared to do what is must to get the franchise healthy again. 

"We're extremely open-minded on ways to continue the process that we started," Hahn said earlier this week, adding that the White Sox "have to make some painful decisions."

The White Sox have grown tired of never having all the pieces — or even more than a few — to fill the holes created by injury, poor performance, etc. They want to be flush with young talent and essentially have said anything that isn't nailed down at Guaranteed Rate Field is available with the exceptions of Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon.

The team wants to cash in on the chips it possesses.

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While they don't have a ton, the few the White Sox have could help expedite a rebuild process as the Sale and Eaton trades have shown. Those deals brought back seven players, including three who played at the big league level last season (Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez). Some of those players potentially would start 2017 in the big leagues, and that possibility increases the internal value of Abreu and starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who is equally revered among teammates and coaches for his dedication and team-first mentality. 

Having those young players see firsthand what it takes to excel in the majors from veteran teammates is invaluable. Abreu, who arrived in the United States from Cuba in late 2013, addressed that point in his statement about Moncada, who signed with Boston in 2015.

"Moncada is a five-tool player," Abreu said. "He really has everything needed to succeed, and I know that with the proper guidance of veteran players and coaches with experience he can become an All-Star caliber player."

"He is going to make a huge impact in the White Sox organization, and both the fans and the team will be thankful.

"I already spoke with him to welcome him to the team. I told him that I'm going to be there for him for everything that he needs on and off the field."

In a conference call Wednesday, Moncada said he's "thrilled" to once again play with Abreu. Whether they will hasn't yet been determined.

When asked about Moncada's 2017 starting point earlier in the week, Hahn said the 21-year still needs to develop. Moncada appeared in eight big league games last season for Boston and struggled with contact, striking out 12 times in 20 plate appearances. But that promotion came after a meteoric rise through Boston's farm system, an aggressive path that included only 45 games played above High-A. Nothing has been announced, but it appears Moncada will receive an invite to big league camp next spring and be seated near Abreu in the clubhouse. 

Still, Hahn sounds like he intends for Moncada to spend much of 2017 refining his approach in the minors. He also has demonstrated he is willing to dig deep and make more painful moves if it betters the team in the long run, all of which means the White Sox wouldn't hesitate to trade Abreu or Quintana if they get what they want.