Wahoos spank Sox; Ozzie OK with future status

541184.jpg

Wahoos spank Sox; Ozzie OK with future status

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011Posted: 8:43 p.m. Updated: 10:30 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik Box score Photo gallery
WATCH: Humber breaks down start
READ: The 13 best games of 2011

CLEVELAND Flipping through the White Sox media guide many years from now, it will appear as if Chicago fairly dominated their second-place rivals, the Cleveland Indians, in 2011. Likewise the club will grant generations of researches cause to fact-check over a White Sox team that was just significantly under .500 at home and relatively strong on the road.

Well, both of those entrenched 2011 trends reversed themselves in the finale of the two clubs season series on Thursday night, when the Wahoos flipped the script and trounced the Chisox, 11-2. The White Sox took the 2011 season series 11-7 and were 6-3 against the Indians in Cleveland.

Cleveland jumped out to a 2-0 lead with back-to-back home runs to begin the game from Kosuke Fukudome and Jason Kipnis the fourth time in Indians history the team has led a game off so.

It was weird obviously, Ive never had that happen to me, the first two batters of the game going deep, Humber said. And all of a sudden after that, I was cruising. Then I get a two-out walk, a run scores, and I dont know. I didnt feel I threw the ball as bad as the results indicated but every time they needed a hit, they got one. I dont know. Its frustrating. Its probably a good lesson for me learning to deal with adversity.

Today he made a couple of bad pitches, manager Ozzie Guillen said. He got ahead in the count and left a couple of balls up in the strike zone. It hurt him. We cannot complain about what this kid did this year. This guy, most of the time he was out there, he gave us a chance to win. He had a year nobody thought he was going to have.

The White Sox have the second-worst ERA to the Boston Red Sox in the American League in September, approaching 6.00.

Today was very tough for everyone, Guillen said. It has been tough for our pitching in September. We have been beat up pretty good this month. Its just not him, its a few guys getting beat up pretty good. Overall, we just havent pitched well.

The White Sox rallied to tie the game at two in the fifth, but that also marked the last inning of the game the Indians failed to score.

Humber had a rough outing, but it didnt have to be that way. He gave up the back-to-back jacks, but then held the Indians hitless for the next three innings. In the fifth, Cleveland tallied another two with assistance from a strange, fan-interference double high down the line by Ezequiel Carrera a ball that rope-a-doping left fielder Juan Pierre could have nabbed for a putout. Natch, Fukudome slapped a single to center to score two, and Humber eventually saw his earned run total pushed to seven in six innings when Addison Reed relieved him in the sixth and offered up a first-pitch, three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera.

There was minor intrigue as the game waned Josh Kinney earned fractional batter defense points by, with just two outs left in this bruising series, hitting Kipnis, albeit on a bounce, and off his foot. Still, it was the boldest measure from a White Sox hurler all series long.

There were few bright spots offensively for the White Sox, but Alejandro De Aza drew three walks and scored the first run of the game for Chicago. Juan Pierre had half of the Pale Hose hits, and his 2-for-4 night set him at .319 over the past three months of the season (.285 over the full year).

The White Sox finished their road campaign at 43-38, a record that if foreseen at years beginning would have made most White Sox fans feel pretty content their ballclub was under consideration for the glittering rings come October. But their home record of 33-42 and falling sort of killed off thoughts of a six-year itch.

I dont know what it is, Humber said. Overall as a team we havent played like I thought we would play. Thats one of the results that come from it weve struggled at home. Hopefully after this year is over, we can put it behind us and get ready for the next year, because we have the talent to do what we set out to do this year. A lot of it is a matter of focus, taking an aggressive attitude into every game and not giving anything away.

I didnt know we were going to be 33-42 back home, Guillen said. Thats very important. We dont play very good at home at all, for whatever reason. On the road, we play good maybe those guys were more relaxed. I thought we would play better at home.

As for whether or not he might be facing his final games piloting the White Sox, Guillen again temporarily overlooking the fact that hes contractually obligated to manage the White Sox in 2012 wasnt overly concerned either way.

I dont want to think about it that way, Guillen reasoned. When youre managing, you come every day to the ballpark and realize that could be your last day, especially the way we played this year. But Ill come with the same approach if I come back, I come back. If not, I dont. I dont lose sleep over that whatever happens, it will be the best for the me and whoever. Come back or not, thats what God intended for me, I guess my destiny. Im counting on being back, but its a lot of things in the air. We have to get it done and see what happens.

The White Sox now sit at 76-80, not only much of a disincentive to ask Ozzie back, but a record that means the team must sweep its final homestand of the year in order to finish above .500 for the season. One player who feels fortunate to have a shot at redemption, as hes scheduled to start the last game of the season, is Humber, who in spite of Thursdays setback remains statistically the strongest starter on the Chisox staff.

I have that last day, so Id like to be driving home with a smile on my face, Humber said. But either way, its been a great year and Im definitely thankful for whats happened and the opportunities Ive had. I want to finish strong, but Im doing all I can, working hard, and I have to roll with the punches, I guess.

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

Yoan Moncada's first White Sox game had same 'special' feeling as MLB debut

Yoan Moncada's first White Sox game had same 'special' feeling as MLB debut

First came the roar from the home crowd. Then a bunch of fans in the first deck beyond third base stood to watch Yoan Moncada. The patient approach surfaced next.

Moncada made his White Sox debut on Wednesday night and although it didn’t feature any highlight reel moments, there were plenty of good signs. Moncada drew a walk in his first plate appearance and also lined out hard to center field in his last. The rookie second baseman went 0-for-2 as the White Sox lost 9-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“It was fun to watch him come in,” pitcher Carlos Rodon said. “I saw him in Triple-A for a while, he’s a great talent. It’s good to have some good defense. That first at-bat was obviously really good. Fought it back to 3-2, got that walk. Two good swings.”

“It was cool. It got very loud when he came up to the plate, as we expected. That was fun to watch.”

The hype and energy surrounding the arrival of baseball’s top prospect was easy to detect.

The amount of media members on hand to document Moncada’s first game was akin to an Opening Day crowd. Every camera was aimed on Moncada, who flew in from Rochester, N.Y. earlier in the day to join the White Sox.

News of Moncada’s promotion at 11 p.m. Tuesday boosted the announced crowd of 24,907 by 5,000 fans, according to the team. Fans arrived early, some in Moncada White Sox No. 10 jerseys direct from China, while others brought Twinkies, the second baseman’s favorite snack food. Moncada spotted some of those bearing the sugary snacks when he stepped out of the home dugout and onto the field about 45 minutes before first pitch. Moncada, a former teammate of Jose Abreu’s in Cuba, received a loud ovation as he started to stretch.

“I was excited with the way the fans treated me and how they were cheering me,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I was really happy in that at-bat and excited because all that atmosphere and the excitement in the ballpark.”

The rumble was even louder when Moncada stepped in for his first Major League plate appearance since he played for the Boston Red Sox last September. Though he quickly fell behind in the count 0-2 against Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, Moncada never wavered. He took several closes pitches, fouled off two more, and drew a nine-pitch walk.

“He had some nice at-bats,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Obviously worked a walk. Hit two balls well. He looked very comfortable. Turned a nice double play. I think he didn’t look overwhelmed. I think he ended his first day here with us as well as you could have it be. I know he didn’t get any hits but I thought he had some pretty good at-bats.”

Moncada’s second trip resulted in a groundout to first base. He fell behind 0-2 once again before working the count even. Moncada then ripped an 88-mph from Maeda down the right-field line only to have it go foul by several feet before grounding out on the next pitch.

Moncada got ahead 2-0 in the count in his final plate appearance as he faced reliever Ross Strippling. He produced an easy, fluid swing on the 2-0 pitch and ripped a 93-mph fastball for a line drive but it found the glove of center fielder Joc Pederson. The ball exited Moncada’s bat at 102.5 mph, which normally results in a hit 62.5 percent of the time, according to baseballsavant.com.

“I felt good,” Moncada said. “I think that I executed my plan. I didn't get any hits but I hit the ball hard and I executed my plan.”

“I made my debut last year but this one was special, it had kind of the same feeling for me.”

Trayce Thompson reflects upon 'two of the best months of my life' with White Sox

Trayce Thompson reflects upon 'two of the best months of my life' with White Sox

While many of the faces in the White Sox clubhouse may be relatively unfamiliar to fans, Trayce Thompson remembers them all.

Even with Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle gone, Thompson sees a lot of old friends in the White Sox clubhouse. A member of the organization from 2009-15, Thompson said his first trip back to Guaranteed Rate Field since he was traded has brought back a lot of good memories. Traded in the three-team deal that brought Frazier to the White Sox, Thompson started in center field for the Los Angeles Dodgers and hit ninth on Wednesday night.

“I won’t call him Yolmer,” Thompson said. “I played with Carlos (Sanchez) at every level. I played with Tim (Anderson) at Birmingham briefly. Tim’s an amazing kid, one of my favorites I’ve ever played with. Kevan Smith is one of my really close friends. I’ve known Matt Davidson longer than any guy on that team because we grew up in the same area. Me and (David Holmberg) were drafted together. We pretty much did everything together when we first got drafted. I’m glad to see all those guys. Luis Sierra, I know he’s one of the coaches … I lived with him when I was here.”

“It makes me happy, brings back a lot of good memories being here. And I’m happy to see a lot of my good friends that I played with kind of get an opportunity to play here a lot. It’s been fun for me to kind of follow them.”

A second-round pick by the White Sox in the 2009 draft, Thompson bloomed when he finally got his chance in the majors. Thompson arrived late in the 2015 season and slashed .295/.363/.533 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 135 plate appearances.  

“I had two of the best months of my life here,” Thompson said. “Some of the most fun baseball I’ve ever played in my life.”

It’s nearly a lifetime ago in terms of where the White Sox have been. Thompson’s White Sox manager, Robin Ventura, stepped down at the end of the 2016 season. Sale and Eaton were dealt in December, which has begun a team-driven exodus of talent.

Back problems limited Thompson to 80 games for the Dodgers in 2016, though he still managed to belt 13 home runs. Thompson said his back has been fine since March, although it requires constant maintenance. After spending much of the season at Triple-A, Thompson rejoined the Dodgers in late June and splits playing time in the outfield.

“It’s pretty special to be a part of this team,” Thompson said.

He also enjoys that some of his old teammates have moved on — and into great situations, too. For those still here, Thompson likes the opportunity his homegrown teammates have started to receive.

“It’s far different than what I became accustomed to going to big league camp,” Thompson said. “But I’m happy for Chris Sale to get an opportunity to play with a good team in Boston and happy for Q now. They’ve moved on to good teams and I’m happy for them. I’m happy for all the guys here now who have an opportunity to play. I know they’re obviously trying to win, but they’re kind of allowing the homegrown guys an opportunity, which I’m happy to see. It’s definitely a different feel.”