Wahoos spank Sox; Ozzie OK with future status

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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.

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Having experienced a playoff-like atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic, David Robertson and Nate Jones already feel prepared for the regular season. 

The two relievers returned to White Sox camp on Friday morning bearing gold medals from a Team USA WBC title run that concluded on Wednesday night with an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Robertson, who recorded the final three outs of the clinching victory, said he's glad to be back and won't need much of a tune-up to be ready for the April 3 season opener.

"Back up to speed?" Robertson said. "More like slow down and get ready for the season. I'll probably play catch (Friday). I didn't throw (Thursday), I spent the day traveling. Probably play catch today, and be ready to throw (Saturday). If I needed to throw today, I could. I feel like I'm season ready right now."

"It feels good to be back. It's been a long trip doing this WBC, so it's good to be back and relax a little bit. Have a couple days before we start the season."

Both Jones and Robertson appeared four times each for Team USA with similar results. Each allowed a solo home run but nothing else. Jones said he brought his gold medal back to camp because he isn't yet ready to put it in his safety deposit box. His favorite moments of the tournament were brought on by raucous crowds.

"Once you get a crowd chanting USA that was a pretty cool moment," Jones said. "You're proud of representing your country, and once they did that, it all kind of set in, like, ‘Wow, this is happening.'

"It's just pure excitement, everybody going crazy."

Jones and Robertson said they're pleased to have returned to the relative tranquility of White Sox camp after they lived out of a suitcase for the previous 18 days. Both were set to meet with pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Rick Renteria to discuss their upcoming schedule. Jones said he expected to throw a side session on Friday in front of Cooper to have his mechanics reviewed. Robertson last pitched on Wednesday and didn't know when he'd throw again.

"They've been busy, obviously, with Robbie finishing up the last game," Renteria said. "We'll see how the schedule lines up in terms of their usage for the remaining 9-10 days."

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Robertson is pretty sure he won't need much work. Whereas the team's closer normally waits until the first week of March to appear in a game, Robertson has pitched in plenty this spring. Each of the last four has had a ton more intensity than any normal Cactus League work.

"It felt like playoff baseball really early in the year," Robertson said. "Just coming from Miami, trying to win a couple days in there was really hard. Fans were really loud. That place was a very intense environment, and it didn't feel like you were the home team at all.

"It felt like (a home game) when we were in San Diego We were the home team there, and when we got to L.A., same thing. Although, I will say that when we were playing the Japanese, it erupted a couple times when they had some big moments in their game. It was just a lot of fun to play in this whole event. It was definitely more than I expected."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

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Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."