Wild White Sox dealt painful loss; limp home

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Wild White Sox dealt painful loss; limp home

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Posted: 9:22 p.m. Updated: 10:50 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

NEW YORK In the midst of an offensive bounty unseen so far in this four-game series, New York Yankees fans suddenly became so bored with a 12-3 lead they struck up a Wave.

Perhaps they needed the exercise after spending huge chunks of a six-run fifth inninga half-frame that stretched on for an extraordinary 32 minutes and padded New Yorks lead to 8-0loading up at the concession stand.

C.C. Sabathia threw seven easy innings, surrendering three runs and striking out six, to earn his second win.

We should know that when you face C.C., you should bring your best stuff, because you will be in a battle, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. He always pitches well against us. We couldn't do anything right.

In fact, with the win Sabathia has improved his winning percentage vs. the White Sox to .810 (17-4), the best mark ever for a White Sox opponent.

On the other hand, Edwin Jackson was wild, falling behind 2-0 despite carrying a no-hitter into the fifth. And from there, it only got worse.

Throw strikes, was White Sox manager Ozzie Guillens advice to Jackson. You won't get away with much if you can't hit the strike zone when you face a lineup like this. Those guys are professional hittersthey're not going to chase anything. You have to be around the plate to get them. For the last three nights, we were around the plate.

You start a game throwing strikes, and all of a sudden you cant find the zone, Jackson said. You definitely put yourself in a situation where youre not helping yourself by doing so. Youve got to come out and attack the zone, make them put the ball in play, and take your chances.

That sounds like a terrific game plan, but as Jackson acknowledged he was atrocious in its execution, needing 91 pitches to record 12 outs and walking five to help surge his ERA to his highest point as a White Sox, 5.86.

Its a matter of thinking and not letting your instincts take over, and pounding the strike zone and trying to pitch instead of just going out and throwing to the glove, Jackson said. Its definitely frustrating when you come out and feel good and all of a sudden you cant find the strike zone. Its one of those things where you really cant go out and think. You just have to let your natural instinct take over.

Tony Pena relieved Jackson and left with elbow irritation, but not before helping to extend the Yankees lead to eight. Pena and Alex Rios, who limped off the field (toe) after circling unsteadily under Robinson Canos deep fly to end the seventh, both will be examined back in Chicago and are considered day-to-day.

It was a horrible end of an 11-game road trip for the White Sox, who harbored illusions of sweeping the Gothamers just two days earlier. Chicago finishes the trip at 3-8.

Its frustrating, Jackson said. Its just one of those things where you cant get in panic mode. You just have to keep coming out and fighting. Everyone is working hard. Sometimes you just dont get it done and just have to come back, start a new homestand, and hopefully get things rolling on a positive note.

It was terrible, Guillen reflected on the road trip. We finished the way we startedvery bad. We didn't plan it that way. We thought we would play better. We knew it was going be a tough road trip because of the teams we faced, but we're not hitting. We struggled at the plate. Hopefully, we turn things around at home.

The Captain tried to keep it positive after the game. His soliloquy was convincing to the gathered media; whether it sets in with his teammates is another matter.

Overall, its a 3-8 road trip. At the end of the day, thats all that matters, Paul Konerko said. Its been bad up to this point as a whole for the season, but that doesnt mean tomorrow has to be. Its way too early to get discouraged or to say, OK, this is the team thats going to be the team for the season.

Weve had some good times already. Just going off last years teamwe sure as hell dont want to wait two months to get goingthings can turn on a dime in this game. We learned it can turn in a bad way quickly, but we have to realize it can turn the other way just as quick.

Starting strong

For the second straight night, the White Sox wasted a golden opportunity to wreak havoc early. On Wednesday, Chicago loaded the bases vs. Bartolo Colon with none out and failed to score.

Against Sabathia on Thursday, the White Sox led off the game on fireBrent Lillibridge hit a shot to short that was ruled and error, and after Alexei Ramirezs sharp single to left the Pale Hose had runners on the corners with Carlos Quentin at the plate. But Lillibridge was thrown out at home on Qs quiet tapper to third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Konerko popped out to Nick Swisher in right, and Adam Dunn flew out to Curtis Granderson in center.
Nick Swisher celebrates his seventh-inning home run, a two-run blast that put New York up 12-3. (AP)
It was the closest the White Sox came to scoring until the game was well out of hand.

With good pitchers you have to take advantage, Guillen said. When they're right, they have the stuff to shut you down. We let him off the hook, and then he was CC. We know we were going to face a tough pitcher out there. When you lose an advantage early, that is what you get.

We kind of had him on the ropes early, Konerko said. Hes turned into a great pitcher. He used to throw real hard and have some dominant stuff. He still throws hard enough but hes really very well-rounded. He has more of a repertoire now where he can do some things he didnt used to be able to do. You give a guy a lead like that, hes gone.

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

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

That Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have reunited is a nice story, but it won't dramatically change the mindset of the rebuilding White Sox, who earlier this week demonstrated they aren't messing around.

Abreu said in a statement issued by the White Sox on Friday that he's "very happy" about the prospect of again playing alongside Moncada, who played 12 games with the star slugger in 2012 for Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series. Moncada, 21, is the centerpiece of a four-player package acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale on Tuesday, a toolsy infielder who MLB.com has rated as the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

While the concept of Abreu mentoring Moncada has plenty of merit — the first baseman's work ethic is outstanding, and he's beloved by coaches and teammates — don't think the White Sox would hesitate to trade him if someone paid the right price. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn just spent four days at the Winter Meetings discussing how a team that just traded away its best pitcher and position player remains open to listening to all offers and is prepared to do what is must to get the franchise healthy again. 

"We're extremely open-minded on ways to continue the process that we started," Hahn said earlier this week, adding that the White Sox "have to make some painful decisions."

The White Sox have grown tired of never having all the pieces — or even more than a few — to fill the holes created by injury, poor performance, etc. They want to be flush with young talent and essentially have said anything that isn't nailed down at Guaranteed Rate Field is available with the exceptions of Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon.

The team wants to cash in on the chips it possesses.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

While they don't have a ton, the few the White Sox have could help expedite a rebuild process as the Sale and Eaton trades have shown. Those deals brought back seven players, including three who played at the big league level last season (Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez). Some of those players potentially would start 2017 in the big leagues, and that possibility increases the internal value of Abreu and starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who is equally revered among teammates and coaches for his dedication and team-first mentality. 

Having those young players see firsthand what it takes to excel in the majors from veteran teammates is invaluable. Abreu, who arrived in the United States from Cuba in late 2013, addressed that point in his statement about Moncada, who signed with Boston in 2015.

"Moncada is a five-tool player," Abreu said. "He really has everything needed to succeed, and I know that with the proper guidance of veteran players and coaches with experience he can become an All-Star caliber player."

"He is going to make a huge impact in the White Sox organization, and both the fans and the team will be thankful.

"I already spoke with him to welcome him to the team. I told him that I'm going to be there for him for everything that he needs on and off the field."

In a conference call Wednesday, Moncada said he's "thrilled" to once again play with Abreu. Whether they will hasn't yet been determined.

When asked about Moncada's 2017 starting point earlier in the week, Hahn said the 21-year still needs to develop. Moncada appeared in eight big league games last season for Boston and struggled with contact, striking out 12 times in 20 plate appearances. But that promotion came after a meteoric rise through Boston's farm system, an aggressive path that included only 45 games played above High-A. Nothing has been announced, but it appears Moncada will receive an invite to big league camp next spring and be seated near Abreu in the clubhouse. 

Still, Hahn sounds like he intends for Moncada to spend much of 2017 refining his approach in the minors. He also has demonstrated he is willing to dig deep and make more painful moves if it betters the team in the long run, all of which means the White Sox wouldn't hesitate to trade Abreu or Quintana if they get what they want.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score) and David Schuster (670 The Score) joined David Kaplan on the SportsTalk Live panel for Thursday's show.

Baseball’s winter meetings are over. Could Rick Hahn have done more this week? Plus which closer will have a better season- current Cubs closer Wade Davis or former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman?

How much upheaval will there be on the Bears’ coaching staff this offseason? Plus are the Bulls in slump or are we finally seeing the real team show up?

Listen to this episode of the SportsTalk Live podcast here: