Chicago White Sox

White Sox fall to Twins again, sit 8 out with 17 left

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White Sox fall to Twins again, sit 8 out with 17 left

Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010
Updated 12:01 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

The mood was so joyous for Minnesota, romping past the rival Chicago White Sox, you almost expected the division title to be awarded to the Twins right after the game in a quickly-assembled, Bud Selig-free ceremony reminiscent of the Chisoxs clinch of the BP Cup.

Fortunately for the White Sox, nothing was officially decided by Minnesotas 9-3 shellacking on Wednesday. But unofficially, the Chisox collective may be due for some Ambien or Zoloft this wasnt a suitable game for watching, but rather laying down and avoiding.

Were swimming right now against the current, and it keeps raining, White Sox skipper-poet Ozzie Guillen said. We dont have too much time to make up ground. We had to win two out of three, and we didnt do it.

In the back of your mind, you realize if you lose a game, youre in trouble, third baseman Omar Vizquel said.

Just as the frames flipped an evening ago, the second game of the series started off tight four innings of scoreless ball as White Sox starter Gavin Floyd dominated and Twins hurler Brian Duensing wriggled out of early jams (stranding six runners in the first five innings).

But Floyd blinked first, mainly after he tossed a 1-0 spinner that Chisox nemesis Joe Mauer sent hurtling into the right-center seats, a three-run homer that would virtually provide all the runs Minnesota needed on the night.

It was good location but just didnt move a cement mixer, Floyd said. I wanted to throw a slider there, and it just didnt move. It fell right into Mauers bat path.

Gavin was pitching well, Guillen said. One pitch to Mauer changed the game.

When it was mentioned to Floyd that Mauers last two home runs have been off of him, the righty fixed on a self-deprecating smile: Im glad he has a couple of his nine home runs off me. Apparently I need to do something different against him.

Oh, but the Twins provided more. Much, much more.

Minnesota chased its three-run fifth with identical crooked numbers in the sixth and seventh, extending to a 9-2 lead. While Mauer led the way with a 3-for-4 night (and now has 30 hits against the White Sox this season), Denard Span, Jim Thome, Danny Valencia and J.J. Hardy chipped in a pair of hits apiece.

The Twins put balls in play by all means imaginable. Hardy had an RBI single off the third-base bag. Span had a sac bunt that collapsed as if he stabbed the ball in the heart. And Michael Cuddyer recorded a single to pack the sacks that couldnt have been spun down the third-base line any better if it had been kited with string.

One thing about the Twins: They put the ball in play, Guillen said. That helps. They play the right position and go first to third, they hit behind the runner and do a lot of good things.

This year, even when something is going right for us, somehow the Twins find a way, whether its dribblers or hits sneaking down the line, Floyd said. It just seems like everything is going their way. No matter who was pitching for Chicago, they were getting base hits somehow.

Chicagos two-spot came courtesy of a Carlos Quentin bomb in the sixth, his first home run since Aug. 11. In the seventh inning, Alex Rios tapped an infield single to score Alexei Ramirez, who tripled with two down. But obviously, with 12 hits (just one short of Minnys total) and nine runners left on base, Chicago checked any semblance of efficient offense at the door.

Weve been struggling to get hits when we really need them, Vizquel said. We have to take advantage when they give us the space.

We got a few opportunities early in the game, Guillen acknowledged. We hit the ball hard, right at people.

Floyd had only 5 13 innings in him, surrendering nine hits and six earned runs and finishing his 2010 vs. Minnesota at 0-4 with an 8.06 ERA. On the flip side, while it took five Minnesota pitchers to finish the six-run win, Duensing hurled six innings of nine-hit, two-run ball to up his record to 9-2 for the season.

Pregame, Guillen had praised his troops for fighting like champs. While a titlist effort wasnt obvious on Wednesday, the mentor was nonplussed, fully backing his team.

Were not going to give up. Weve got to continue to play, Guillen said. I know its going to be very tough to accomplish what we want to accomplish, but we dont have any choice. Just keep fighting. Go out there and continue to do what were supposed to do and see what happens.

Still, with two losses down and a sweep looming, even the ever-optimistic general knows whats in store without a win tomorrow: Weve been knocked down twice. They only need one more till the fight is over. Weve got to stand up, for good.

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

Tim Anderson would like to see more fans in 'danger zone' protected by netting

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USA TODAY

Tim Anderson would like to see more fans in 'danger zone' protected by netting

HOUSTON -- Tim Anderson and Rick Renteria lent their support Thursday to extended netting after a foul ball seriously injured a young New York Yankees fan.

The day after a 2-year-old girl was struck in the face by a ball, the White Sox shortstop said he tries to ensure his own family only sits in areas covered by protective netting. That means Anderson’s wife and 1 1/2-year-old daughter rarely sit down the line or behind the dugout. Only 10 of 30 baseball stadiums have netting that extends beyond the home plate side of each dugout as per the recommendation of Major League Baseball.

“I don’t like them sitting above the dugout or down the line -- it’s kind of the danger zone,” Anderson said. “Line drives go down there all throughout the game.”

“You hate to see that happen. Hopefully they’ll be able to extend nets down there to protect kids because there’s a lot of kids that sit that above the dugouts that the parents don’t pay attention to during the game, they’ve got their heads on their phones.”

Prior to the 2016 season, teams were encouraged by MLB to add netting for all seats within 70 feet of home plate.

[MORE: Jose Abreu's gift to Yoan Moncada just keeps on giving

But that still leaves plenty of fans in harm’s way. It’s surprising to see incidents similar to Wednesday’s -- which involved a line drive off the bat of ex-White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier -- don’t happen more often. As Anderson noted, baseball has a lot of downtime and because there isn’t constant action sometimes fans get distracted and look at their phones. That can be a recipe for danger for those sitting near to the field.

“Balls are flying off those bats at high rates of speed,” manager Rick Renteria said. “There is a chance for injury. Fans are consumed with not only watching the game, but they’re also taking care of a lot of different things that are going on. They might not be aware of balls in flight, even though they are warned about it.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to (extended netting).”

The White Sox extended their protective netting from the home plate side of each dugout before the start of last season. A team spokesperson said the club works closely with MLB on the topic.

“No one wants to see any fan injured at the ballpark, and our hearts go out to the young girl and her family in New York last night,” White Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert said. “We felt badly for Todd Frazier as well. The White Sox work closely with MLB to continually review fan safety recommendations and the protective netting question. It's a topic that we regularly discuss with MLB, and it likely will be discussed again on a league-wide basis during the offseason as well.”

Anderson said he would approve a change.

“When you see a line drive go into the stands you definitely hope it doesn’t hit anybody,” Anderson said. “Just want to keep all the fans safe, especially the kids.”

Why Yoan Moncada's hot streak is important for the White Sox confidence and his

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USA TODAY

Why Yoan Moncada's hot streak is important for the White Sox confidence and his

HOUSTON -- Don’t think the White Sox front office isn’t enjoying every second of Yoan Moncada’s tear.

Everyone can breathe a little easier knowing there are fewer questions for baseball’s top prospect to answer headed into 2018. Pleased as they’d been with Moncada’s patient plate approach, the club desired a breakthrough before Oct. 2 for the confidence boost it would provide him alone. Moncada continued a torrid run on Wednesday night that should have him bristling with poise when he arrives in Glendale, Ariz. next February. He homered as the White Sox fell 4-3 to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“We’ve been looking for him to continue to try and make adjustments,” manager Rick Renteria said. “There was probably a point there where people were a little concerned. Truthfully, when you see some of the talent these kids have, you recognize that their skillset is going to play up, it’s just a matter of getting the repetition.”

The White Sox have been impressed with Moncada’s improved awareness as he gains more experience.

One area in which Moncada has made the most gains is pitch recognition. The book has been that second baseman has had trouble with offspeed since he arrived in 2016, hitting .154 against sliders and .238 against curveballs entering Wednesday, according to Brooksbaseball.net.

But Moncada is trending upward. The first-pitch slider from Astros starter Brad Peacock that Moncada ripped for a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fourth inning was his fifth hit of the trip on a slider or curveball in 11 at-bats. On the trip, Moncada -- who has 189 plate appearances this season -- is hitting .415/.477/.683 with three homers, eight RBIs and 12 runs in 41 plate appearances.

[MORE: Jose Abreu's gift to Yoan Moncada just keeps on giving

Given Moncada’s struggles in a brief 2016 tryout with the Boston Red Sox, having success is certainly helpful as he won’t head into another offseason wondering when it might happen for him. Moncada doesn’t compare the two situations because of playing time -- he was limited to 20 plate appearances over a month in 2016. But he agrees his recent play is good for the psyche.

“It’s important for my confidence, especially thinking about next year,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “With this run, I have been able to have more confidence and believe in myself and my talent, and I think that’s something I can carry into next season.”

“This offseason is going to be different because I’ve been able to play almost every day. I have more confidence in myself. I know the game better. Last season I had an opportunity to be at this level a little bit, but it wasn’t the same. This year is the opposite because I’ve been playing a lot and have been able to handle good and bad stretches at this level.”

While a reduction in strikeout-rate is still needed to be more effective, Moncada has begun to establish himself as a major league hitter. It’s exactly how teammate and mentor Jose Abreu hoped Moncada would spend his time this season.

“He has to get to know a lot of things at this level,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “The game, the pitchers, the culture here -- there’s a lot of little things he has to get to know here. The way you can work through it is give your best every day and try to learn as much as you can and try to use all your knowledge and to pool your knowledge on each play in the game. That’s the only way you can get results and you can build on those results and this experience for the future. I think he’s finally doing it and that’s important for him and for us thinking of the next season and beyond.”

Renteria not only likes the pitch recognition but the way that Moncada has tried to hit through the shift several times against Houston. Though the White Sox never wavered, they’re certainly happy to see Moncada produce the way they thought he eventually would.

“He’s starting to slow it down a little more,” Renteria said. “He’s starting to see more of the landscape and making adjustments in general. It’s been a good run for him. We thought he would show signs of growth at the end of the season and he’s doing that.”