White Sox spin Carrasco, Tribe right round

399673.jpg

White Sox spin Carrasco, Tribe right round

Saturday, April 2, 2011
Posted 2:54 p.m. Updated 4:59 p.m.

By Brett BallantiniCSNChicago.com

CLEVELAND It took the Chicago White Sox until the third inning of Fridays opener to score five runs. In Saturdays chaser, they led 5-0 after two.

This, in the infinite jest the Pale Hose have treated the 2011 season as so far, counts as progress.

Gordon Beckham had hits in both the first and second, plating two runs, featuring the second sacker's single off the right field wall, to set another apparent rout in motion.

But just like Fridays faux runaway, White Sox pitching and defense rallied against the rout. This time Edwin Jackson got a jump on his bullpen shufflin crew and gave three runs back in the second, one on a towering blast by Travis Hafner, two later with help from a curious double-error (bobble, throw) tacked to third baseman Brent Morel.

You can have some early struggles, but its always how you finish, said a confident Jackson. Both pitchers settled down. We went through the same things early in the game. As a manager, all you can ask a struggling pitcher is to regain stabilization of the game.

He put himself in trouble a lot, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. He couldnt really command how he wanted to throw the ball, but in the last couple of innings he settled down very well He gave it the best he had today.

Thats exactly what Jackson wanted to do, given his early scuffles.

The first couple of innings, I didnt really have too much, he said. I was catching too much of the plate and they took advantage of it. Its a battle, and you just keep fighting and keep your team in the game.

Meanwhile, tattered Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco settled down put a chill on the White Sox, with Bacons right-field wall single the last White Sox hit until Morel tapped out a single to right in the sixth. Morel then notched the first Chisox steal of the seasonwho had the rookie in the pool?and scoring on Juan Pierres subsequent single.

I like scoring the runs, but being on the other end, with guys in scoring position, my mind shifts to trying to drive guys in like that, Pierre said.

When Carlos Quentin drove in two runs (thats seven on the season, folks) with another deep double (his third) to right-center with two outs off of relief pitcher Chad Durbin, the lead was extended to 8-3 and led to speculation that the White Sox are only fit to maul pitchers relatively fresh from the pen.

Those runs kill teams, those add-on runs, Pierre said.

The biggest hit of the day was when Carlos hit that double late in the game, Guillen said. Good teams need to get big, two-out base hits. That was a big run.

The insurance runs also allowed Guillen to tap right into a potentially electrifying portion of his pen, the 1-2 young guns punch of Chris Sale and Sergio Santos, who came on to nail down the win for Jackson. The lefty-righty combo allowed just two hits and punched out four.

The White Sox have started 2-0 for the first time since 2005 and have now won six straight games at Progressive Field, dating to last year. A sweep looms.

Now we got to go for the white meat on the turkey now, Pierre said. Weve got em on their heels, so weve got to come out strong like we did these last two days.

Were happy right now, Jackson said, as Motley Crue blared from speakers and a video game tournament was about to tip off in the center of the room. You look around the clubhouse and its pretty loose and relaxed. Thats part of the gameyou win when you go out and have fun. Thats what were doing right now.

Morel dips into the stolen-base pool

Postgame, Morel was stunned to learn he was the owner of the first Chisox steal of the season, but in typical fashion, he played it off legit.

Any way we can score is great, he said. I was just trying to get on base with two outs. I got a good pitch to steal on. JPs been swinging the bat well, and came up clutch. A little insurance run definitely helps.

Last years major-league stolen base champion, Pierre, was cool with losing the early lead to the rookie.

I dont mind him stealing like that all the time, if he makes it, said the speedster. Its good for him, being a young guy, to have confidence to start playing the game the way we play it.

South Side Hit Men

The White Sox are hitting .363 as a team through two games, with an engorged .954 OPS. Not that anyone is complaining.

Its about having good at-bats, whether the results are there or not, Pierre said. People just want to have good at-bats throughout the lineup. This offense starts to wear on a pitcher. He looks at our lineup and says, Man, there arent too many holes in that lineup. So he has to make good pitches all day.

Guillen, thrilled by his clubs production, sees strength stretching 1-9.

Everybodys feeling good at the plate, even Alex Rios 0-for-8 on the season but seeing a sure first inning home run cut down by a powerful gust blowing in from left field, he said. The thing about baseball is, try to keep it as long as you can, stay on the same path, and make sure youre not changing anything.

Pierre agreed.

When you score runs, you just want to keep em coming, he said. We did a good job of that, Beckham getting that good knock, adding on, Q getting a big knock late, adding on.
A.J. Pierzynski visits the mound to talk with Edwin Jackson with the hurler in a jam during the second inning. Jackson struck out Shin-Soo Choo to get out of the frame and had seven strikeouts over his six innings of work. (AP)
Guillen knows the secret of why the White Sox have started out incendiary at the plate.

Nobodys trying to pull the balleverybodys staying the middle of the field and not trying to do too much, he said. This team is going to strike out a lot, but right now theyre not helping the pitchers by swinging at bad pitches. Theyre making them throw the ball over the plate.

Jax and SABR

The righty had no explanation for his mastery of the Indians at Progressive Field, where he improved to 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA in seven career starts.

I have no clue, he said. I never really keep up with stats.

Jackson is 8-1 lifetime vs. Cleveland, with a 2.70 ERA.

Tooth troubles

John Danks gets the start in the series finale on Sunday, but he wasnt at the ballpark for long on Saturday. After the national anthem, the lefty had to spend an hour in the dentists chair to have an old root canal reworked.

He went in there, cleaned it up a little, said Danks, typically upbeat and chill in spite of his tooth woes.

The oral emergency wont knock Danks out of his start tomorrow.

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

Starting to blossom: White Sox prospect Dane Dunning flourishes behind attacking style

Starting to blossom: White Sox prospect Dane Dunning flourishes behind attacking style

Dane Dunning has begun to cast aside the doubts of some observers who wondered when he was drafted last June if he’s a starting pitcher or a reliever.

The White Sox felt pretty certain Dunning -- the team’s No. 10 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com -- would start even though he pitched out of the bullpen more often in three seasons at the University of Florida. They were absolutely thrilled when they were able to include the Washington Nationals’ 2016 first-round draft pick along with pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez in the return for Adam Eaton.

Through four starts at Single-A Kannapolis, Dunning has only strengthened the club’s assertion with a scorching hot start that could likely soon lead to a promotion. After six more scoreless innings and seven strikeouts on Wednesday, Dunning is 2-0 with a 0.35 ERA.

“I talked to scouts who really think Giolito and Lopez are relievers and at the time of the trade thought ‘Don’t be surprised if Dunning is the best starting pitcher of those three guys in the long run,’” said MLB.com’s Jim Callis. “He’s got stuff. He’s not going to light up the gun like those guys can. But he’s got a fastball with life and he’s got three pitches. He’s legit. He very well could go from being the third guy in the trade for Eaton to the best guy.”

The only thing that has slowed down Dunning this month is the weather. Originally scheduled to start Sunday, Dunning’s fourth turn was wiped out by rain for three consecutive days. The layoff could explain Dunning’s -- ahem -- rust on Wednesday morning when he threw only 58 of 88 pitches (66 percent) for strikes and limited Hagerstown to two hits and a walk while striking out seven.

All Dunning has done is fill up the strike zone this season. He has thrown strikes on 246 of 354 pitches (69.5 percent). Through 26 innings, Dunning has allowed two runs (one earned), 13 hits and two walks with 33 strikeouts.

“He really commands the fastball well to both sides,” Kannapolis catcher Seby Zavala said. “He doesn’t get behind too many hitters. He attacks with the fastball. And if you can locate that fastball, you’re going to do pretty well, especially at this level.”

Dunning is hopeful his attacking style would work at every level. As he noted, Hall of Fame hitters are successful only three out of 10 times.

“The odds are in my favor 70 percent of the time,” Dunning said. “I’m OK with those odds.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

“Big leaguers, they miss down the middle at times and they get away with it. They miss up at times and they get away with it. Baseball is a game of failure. A hitter’s going to fail seven out of 10 times. Once you realize those odds, you just pound strikes and if you’re able to locate it, that helps in your favor.”

Despite his approach, many observers weren’t sure if Dunning would start as a pro. A reliever his freshman season at Florida, Dunning made 14 starts in his second year before mostly pitching in relief as a junior. He had the burden of pitching in a Gators rotation that included fellow first-round pick A.J. Puk and second-rounder Logan Shore.

“If I went to really any other SEC school I would have been a Friday night starter,” Dunning said. “But on the other hand, it humbled me a bunch and I learned a lot by starting and going out of the ‘pen.”

Still, Dunning faced a bunch of interview questions during the draft process about whether he wanted to start or relieve. An American League scout who took in Dunning’s April 18 outing at Asheville doesn’t think Florida knew what it had in Dunning, who posted a 3.32 ERA and struck out 170 in 160 collegiate innings.

But amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said the White Sox suspected Dunning would start all along. Hostetler attended one of Dunning’s five starts in 2016 and liked the combination of the right-hander’s 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame and his stuff. The White Sox nearly selected Dunning with the 26th pick in the draft but instead grabbed reliever Zack Burdi as they believed they might need a big arm out of the bullpen in the majors later that season. Washington took Dunning 29th overall.

“He showed three pitches, the ability to command all three pitches, physical build, strength,” Hostetler said. “And when he did start last year he showed the ability to go deeper into games. He maintained his stuff through it. And I felt with not only the physical size, but the stuff, that was going to translate and he was going to start.

“He’s pretty aggressive, he’s always been that way. He’s a pretty dialed in kid. He’s in the game, the whole game. There’s no distracting him. He kind of looks like what we expected him to be.”

Though he is more comfortable in the five-day routine for starters, Dunning jokes that he gets jealous of position players being on the field every day. Still, he doesn’t find the uncertainty that comes with relieving as appealing but appreciates the experience. Dunning knows that experience could supply him with a fallback plan. But if he’s given the choice, Dunning prefers to be a starting pitcher.

“I can get in more of a groove,” Dunning said. “Mainly, it’s just to help the team get wins and that’s my ultimate goal out there if I’m starting or coming out of the bullpen. If I’m starting, just put on a good performance for my team, get the game going. If I’m coming out of the ‘pen, it’s hold the lead and get my team W’s.”

CSN will televise eight Charlotte Knights games this summer

knights.png
Laura Wolff

CSN will televise eight Charlotte Knights games this summer

Good news, White Sox fans.

CSN is going to televise eight games this summer of the Charlotte Knights, the White Sox Triple-A affiliate.

“The White Sox have sent us an outstanding roster of prospects this season,” said Charlotte Knights Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski. “We’re thrilled that CSN Chicago will be airing several of our games to showcase that talent while also giving viewers an extended look at BB&T Ballpark and the city of Charlotte.”

It's no secret by now that the White Sox have one of the best farm systems in baseball, much of where their talent plays for Charlotte.

The Knights feature an elite group of young stars such as Zack Burdi, Carson Fulmer, Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, and Reynaldo Lopez.

Below is the full TV list:

Wednesday, May 3 10:00 a.m. vs Norfolk (Orioles) LIVE
Thursday, May 4 6:00 p.m. vs Norfolk (Orioles) LIVE
Sunday, May 7 1:00 p.m. vs Gwinnett (Braves) SDD-7p on CSN
Saturday, May 27 6:00 p.m. vs Buffalo (Blue Jays) LIVE
Sunday, May 28 6:00 p.m. vs Buffalo (Blue Jays) SDD-7p on CSN
Thursday, June 15 6:00 p.m. vs Louisville (Reds) LIVE
Saturday, June 17 6:00 p.m. vs Indianapolis (Pirates) LIVE on CSN+HD
Sunday, June 18 1:00 p.m. vs Indianapolis (Pirates) SDD-7p on CSN

The announcers for the games are still to be determined.

[VIVID SEATS: Buy White Sox tickets right here]

Our CSN White Sox Insider Dan Hayes went on a minor league tour last week to check in with the team's farm system.

Check out the latest news from the White Sox minor league system:

White Sox prospect Zack Collins takes a major step toward making it as a big-league catcher

Fun and fluid: Drill sharpens White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada's defensive skills

White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer: 'Our time is coming soon'

White Sox think Michael Kopech's maturity will help him overcome early fastball command issues