White Sox left searching for answers, fall five back

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White Sox left searching for answers, fall five back

Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010
Updated 12:11 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

MINNEAPOLIS You cant say these havent been exciting games. But unfortunately for the White Sox, its excitement that is filed more in the heartbreaker category than the thriller one.

Filed again under the former was Wednesdays tilt, in which the Minnesota Twins rallied from a 5-3 deficit to defeat Chicago, 7-6, pulling five games ahead in an AL Central race that is all-too-rapidly reaching the finish line.

Theres no concern, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. The Twins play good against everybody. Thats why theyre in first place.

The White Sox pushed Minnesota ace Francisco Liriano from the game after he burned through 106 pitches in just five innings, yet in a series where neither team has seemed to enjoy prosperity, Pale Hose starter Gavin Floyd gave the lead right back, surrendering seven earned runs over 5 13 innings to take his second straight loss.

When a teams hot, theyre hot, Floyd said. I had good stuff, but apparently not good enough.

The Twins again jumped on Chicago early and threatened to bury the White Sox with instant offense, Joe Mauer doubling home Denard Span, then Michael Cuddyer singling home Mauer for a 2-0 first inning lead.

It is what it is, said second baseman Gordon Beckham. Theyre very good. We bring the infield in, and I dont think Mauers double is a hit if were back. That was just sort of the story of the night.

Similar to Tuesdays game, Chicago fought back, with Andruw Jones driving a monster, 436-foot shot to center that plated three and gave the White Sox a 3-2 lead.

I didnt think Liriano was going to mess around after walking A.J., Jones said of looking for a sweet fastball on his three-run blast. But it was too early in the game to think we had the advantage. We know theyre not going to give up.

Early on we had Liriano on the ropes, could have scored more runs, and couldnt get it done, was how Guillen summarized it.

The back-and-forth continued with Jason Kubel singling home Span to tie the game at three in the bottom of the third, and the White Sox pushing back for two in the fifth on Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski RBIs.

Mauer launched a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning-his first at Target Field-that barely cleared the wall in left, drawing the Twins to 5-4. One frame later, Delmon Young, Danny Valencia and J.J. Hardy batted in runs that pushed Minnesotas tally to seven and its lead to two.

They just find holes, find where our players arent, all the time, Floyd said, grin-grimacing at his tough luck in the sixth. I had a couple of bad pitches, and sometimes you hope those go at fielders. I just try to execute and hope for the best. It wasnt the best today.

Every time we come back, they score more, said Jones, who noted that through work with White Sox batting coach Greg Walker hes hitting more like he did during his Atlanta Braves heyday. But weve got to keep battling. Theyre on a good hot streak and everything is going their way.

Juan Pierres fourth hit of the night drove home Beckham, and it appeared that another game-tying rally on Minnesota closer Matt Capps was in the offing. But Capps extinguished Alexi Ramirez and Rios on corner grounders, and the Twins escaped.

Every game we play vs. Minnesota is a one-run game, Jones said. You look back and wonder if you could have just gotten that one more run, it would be different.

In spite of the heartbreaker, Chicago remains positive in light of a suddenly huge deficit and the hourglass reading just 43 games remaining, and four vs. the Twins.

Were not worried, but its tough, Jones said. We fought a long way to get where we want to be, and after one bad week, were down five games in the standings. Weve got to come back and get one game, then look forward to the next series.

Today and yesterday were big games for both clubs, Guillen said. Weve got to be ready for tomorrow and change things. Hopefully, this thing goes to the end. Theres a lot of season left, its a big game tomorrow again.

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

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

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The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”

Preview: White Sox host Yankees tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox host Yankees tonight on CSN

The White Sox take on the New York Yankees tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: James Shields (1-1, 4.26 ERA) vs. Luis Cessa (0-2, 6.57 ERA)

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