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.

What White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is doing to combat second-year struggles

What White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is doing to combat second-year struggles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tim Anderson got what sounds like a much-needed day off on Saturday night.

Normally soft-spoken, the White Sox shortstop was even quieter than normal during a pregame media session at Kauffman Stadium. Anderson discussed at length his struggles on and off the field after what has been another few trying days. A day after his mentor Todd Frazier was traded, Anderson bunted into a double play on Wednesday after he failed to quickly get out of the box. He also was surprisingly thrown out on an infield chopper in Friday’s loss, though his manager said that was more about Anderson’s route after he made contact. Either way, Anderson is learning how to handle the grind in a difficult season.

“It’s going to be — it was an up and down season,” Anderson said. “I’ve learned a lot. Just from on a maturity level. And just on the field. I still have to keep working and keep having fun with it.

“It’s easy to lose focus when you are not doing good. It’s something I have to keep grinding through. The game won’t stop for nobody. I have to keep playing.”

Anderson had a trying night during Friday’s four-plus hour affair played in 100-degree plus temperatures. Not only did he fail to beat out the infield chopper in the third, he also had a base running mistake to end the sixth inning. Anderson reached on a one-out single with a line drive to left. But he aggressively tried to advance from first to third on Kansas City pitcher Scott Alexander’s errant pickoff throw not noticing the ball rebounded most of the way back toward first base. Anderson got caught in the middle as Eric Hosmer quickly retrieved the ball and started an inning-ending rundown.

That play came three innings after Anderson hit an infield chopper that Alcides Escobar fielded near third base and fired to first just in time. Manager Rick Renteria said Friday he was a little surprised Anderson wasn’t safe but attributed it to his route out of the batter’s box. Renteria said it’s an adjustment the team is working on with Anderson.

“He's got a tendency to run out of the box, almost like he's going to start rounding a banana, and he does that a lot,” Renteria said. "We're trying to clean him up from going out and creating a straight line. I don't if it's because he ends up finishing his swing, he starts to fall out toward that side. But once he got down there he was busting his butt. I thought he got down there once he got himself back on track and line to try to give himself a chance and beat it out. Was I surprised? Yeah, it was close.”

Anderson said there’s been some discussion about his route from the box to first base but not a ton. He also said it’s an involuntary action.

“I don’t feel it,” Anderson said. “It’s something I’m still working on. I don’t feel it coming out of the box.

“When I get down the line a little bit, I kind of feel it. But I don’t feel it directly when I come out of the box. 

“Sometimes my finish could throw me back a little bit and kind of take me to that route.

“It’s just naturally.”

It’s only natural that Anderson is down about Tuesday night’s deal that sent Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. Frazier has taken Anderson under his wing since the second-year player arrived in the majors last June.

Anderson said Frazier helped him improve his positioning and was a constant presence with their ongoing conversation.

“It’s tough to see people like him go,” Anderson said. “He’s kind of the voice of the locker room. So, it’s kind of, I’m on my own really. Just trying to figure it out myself.” 

Anderson’s had plenty to deal with already this season. The sudden death of his friend, Branden Moss, in May is well documented. He’s also struggled at the plate and in the field as the league adjusts to him. Renteria doesn’t think any one thing is responsible for the toughest year of Anderson’s life as a professional.

“There’s probably multiple factors,” Renteria said. “There are a lot of things going on in his life this year. I think the opponents are adjusting to him a little bit more. I think he’s having to deal with the newness of trying to also make his own adjustments. I’m sure he’s frustrated at times and still trying to kind of put himself in a position where he feels good about how he’s handling his at-bats. The truth is, though that’s the nature of the game of the big leagues.

"We’ve talked about process obviously, but we’ve also talked about, you’re always going to be making adjustments, but you’re also looking at some form of a finality in terms of trying to figure out exactly where you’re at and who you are as a hitter and as a player. And even then, you’re still always evolving, because the game’s always changing; the opponent’s always changing. You’re always having to make adjustments along the way and what will be I believe a very good and long career for Timmy.”

How Yoan Moncada's first hit stacks up against all-time White Sox greats

How Yoan Moncada's first hit stacks up against all-time White Sox greats

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Yoan Moncada broke the seal in a big way on Friday night.

Facing Kansas City’s Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy at Kauffman Stadium, baseball’s top prospect delivered a three-run triple in the top of the third inning to earn his first hit with the White Sox. Moncada’s two-strike, two-out, opposite-field triple to left-center field arrived in his fifth plate appearance with the White Sox.

Below is a chart of how the top 11 White Sox in Wins Above Replacement, according to baseball-reference, notched their first hits.

Player, WAR

date | venue | inning | outs | opponent | pitcher | result | plate appearance

Luke Appling, 74.5 WAR

9/10/30 | Comiskey Park | B7 | 1 out | Red Sox | Danny MacFayden | 1B | third PA

Frank Thomas, 68.2 WAR

8/3/90 | County Stadium | T7 | 2 outs | Brewers | Mark Knudson | 3B | seventh PA

Eddie Collins, 66.6 WAR

4/14/1915 | Sportsman’s Park III | N/A | N/A | STL Browns | Carl Weilan | 1B | N/A

Nellie Fox, 46.95 WAR

5/18/50 | Comiskey Park | B7 | 1 out | Senators | Sid Hudson | 1B | fifth PA

Minnie Minoso, 41.36 WAR

5/1/51 | Comiskey Park | B1 | 1 out | Yankees |  Vic Raschi | HR | first PA

Robin Ventura, 39.37 WAR

9/12/89 | Memorial Stadium | T4 | 2 outs | Orioles | Ben McDonald | 1B | third PA

Luis Aparicio, 35.28 WAR

4/17/56 | Comiskey Park | B7 | 1 out | Indians | Bob Lemon | 1B | third PA

George Davis, 33.09 WAR

1902 | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A

Fielder Jones, 31.81 WAR

1901 | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A | N/A

Carlton Fisk, 28.8 WAR

4/10/81 | Fenway Park | T3 | 1 out | Red Sox | Dennis Eckersley | 1B | second PA