Chicago White Sox

White Sox show their spirit but fall short

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White Sox show their spirit but fall short

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011Posted: 10:30 p.m. Updated: 11:59 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
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WATCH: Humber on being hit by line drives
READ: 'X' marks a tough spot for Guillen, White SoxREAD: Six-man saving sputter out

KANSAS CITY On a night when Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen launched into a long dissertation over the hidden meaning of apparently meaningless baseball, his White Sox bowed their necks and refused to go quietly into the drizzly, chilled night.

But two comebacks werent enough to stave off a 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals, as Eric Hosmer drove a double over Juan Pierres head with one out in the bottom of the ninth off of Matt Thornton to earn K.C. the win. The White Sox have now dropped six straight, just one defeat short of their season high.

We got back in the game and had good at-bats there and a couple of big hits, Guillen said. Unfortunately, Matt couldnt shut it down. I think hes fighting through it with lefties, and both lefties Alex Gordon and Hosmer got him. Matt couldnt get it done today.

For Kansas City, it was Mike Moustakas who was the offensive star, with three straight hits (including a home run) after starting his career 0-for-35 against the White Sox. For good measure, third sacker chipped in his first career steal in the eighth.

Phil Humber started for the White Sox and did not find the same fortune as his previous two starts after returning from the DL (1-0, 1.40 ERA, 64 game score).

Besides the home run by Moustakas, he threw the ball pretty good, Guillen said. He went through a tough time late in the game and I left him in there to resolve his problem, and he did it pretty good.

If you want to put a positive spin on it, yeah, Humber agreed in discussing working out of trouble in the sixth, his last frame. It was definitely a battle. If our guys put up six runs, I expect to win the game, so Im disappointed with my performance. Obviously that was a game we should have won. Same time, tip your hat to those guys, Nos. 1-5 they have a solid lineup over there and hopefully next time I face them Ill make a few better pitches.

The righty was rocked for five runs in six innings and took a ball off his right hip leading off the sixth, as Jeff Francoeur drilled him with a single that bounded off Humber and into right field.

Its more frustrating than anything, Humber said. Paulie made the comment that Im probably due to not have a ball hit me for the rest of my career. I dont know if thats true, but its getting pretty old, to be honest with you. But I got the ball over the plate, and Francoeur did what hes supposed to do with it.

Guillen was more direct: I think we should put a screen up when hes pitching. Its scary every time he goes out there. Balls are close to him.

On the Chicago side, it was Brent Morel with yet another September home run his sixth of the month in the eighth that knotted the game up at six. Morel now has 12 RBI over his past 17 games compared to 22 RBI over his first 97.

Maybe more confidence or more at-bats, Guillen said of Morels success. He knows the pitchers better Hopefully he will finish strong and start next year and have a better season. Having confidence and knowing what youre doing; those two things together give him a lot of pop.

Alexei Ramirez was 3-for-4 and Gordon Beckham scored three runs.

On the mound, the one clear bright spot was a fourth straight scoreless appearance by Addison Reed.

Weve tried different situations, and hes handled them well, Guillen said. But I dont want to overuse somebody who is our future just to see him out there. He did a good job. Every time he goes out there, this kid impresses me more. This kid has a bright future.

WATCH: Reed's main focus is throwing strikes

With every outing I go out there, I feel a little more comfortable, other than my first inning in Detroit, Reed said. I felt pretty good, comfortable kind of realize its the same game, the plate is just as far away as it was in the minor leagues. Once I realized that, and as long as I throw my game, Ill be fine.

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

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Nothing is proven, Lucas Giolito will have to come back next season and show he can do this once again. But another huge development in the White Sox rebuild has been the continued development and success of Giolito late in the season.

The young White Sox pitcher added another outstanding performance to the ledger on Sunday afternoon.

Giolito pitched seven sharp innings and helped the White Sox officially avoid 100 losses in an 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. He allowed a run and five hits with five strikeouts and no walks. It’s another step in a nice turnaround for Giolito, who struggled at Triple-A earlier in the year.

“I feel like this is where I can pitch,” Giolito said. “I can pitch deep into games. I wouldn't really say awestruck or anything like that. I’d say that there’s a lot of struggles there earlier this year. I worked through those … I feel like getting the confidence back up, it’s all I really needed to feel comfortable and be ready to go.”

Some of the metrics would suggest Giolito is in line for a dropoff. While his earned-run average is 2.38, his Fielding Independent Pitching is 4.94. His xFIP is a little lower at 4.42. But the elevated numbers are in part due to Giolito not missing as many bats and striking out 6.75 batters per nine innings.

But Giolito’s big-league numbers also come at a time in which he has never pitched more. He has pitched a combined 174 innings this season, which dwarfs his previous high of 136 2/3 innings in 2016.

Despite the workload, the right-hander continues to bring good stuff. He got seven swings and misses and 10 called strikes with his four-seam fastball, which averaged 92.3 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

“He's got angle, he's got height,” manager Rick Renteria said “He's got good angle so that creates, believe or not, some deception and he can ride it up out of the zone. And then he comes out from that angle with the breaking ball or his changeup. So the angle creates some pretty good deception.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign]

Giolito has filled up the strikezone since he reached the majors partly because of belief in his stuff. He’s thrown strikes on 63.4 percent of his pitches and was even better Sunday with 65 of 98 offerings. The other part of it is trust in his defense, which made several spectacular plays behind him.

Giolito knows this is only the beginning. But he feels good after a stretch in which he has quality starts in five of six games. Over the stretch he has a 1.83 ERA and 25 hits allowed with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings.

“My confidence is there,” Giolito said. “I trust my stuff, I trust my pitches. There are things to work on, things I’m talking to (Don Cooper) about. There’s always stuff to improve, for sure. I’d say that just the confidence and everything is right where it needs to be so I’m going to continue to try and pitch like I am.”

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

When searching for why Avisail Garcia has had sustained success this season, you can’t overlook his fitter frame.

The White Sox outfielder entered a breakout 2017 season approximately 18 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. Garcia, who’s hitting .331, doubled, homered and drove in three runs as the White Sox topped the Kansas City Royals 8-1 at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday afternoon. Given the way he has performed this season, the first-time All-Star said he plans to work even harder this offseason.

“One hundred percent (better),” Garcia said. “I want to keep losing a little bit more. I want to feel way better next year.”

Garcia has provided the White Sox with a boatload of feel-good moments this season. He cut down two base runners in Friday night’s wild victory over the Royals, including on the final play of the game. Overall, Garcia has felt a difference in the field and it’s shown up in his defensive numbers. He headed into Sunday worth 2 Defensive Runs Saved after he finished the 2015 season at minus-11.

But even more of Garcia’s production has come at the plate, where he reached the 80-RBI mark on Sunday. He followed a one-out Yoan Moncada double off Ian Kennedy in the first inning with an opposite-field blast to right field, Garcia’s 18th homer.

Six innings later, Garcia doubled in a run. He’s hitting .331/.379/.504 on the season and entered Sunday worth 3.5 f-Wins Above Replacement.

“It seems likes he’s always finding barrel and like, man, that’s impressive to go up there, have disciplined at-bats and consistently get the barrel of the bat to the ball,” pitcher Lucas Giolito said.

Garcia’s play has offered him more encouragement to continue his efforts. Though he was adamant at the All-Star Game he wanted to duplicate his first-half efforts, Garcia suffered a series of injuries that bothered him throughout July. But he’s found comfort at the plate once again and knows how important a role his improved conditioning has played.

“The offseason, I have to do the same even harder,” Garcia said. “I want to do my best every year so now I have the ability to be here and trying to help my team. Just have to keep working.”