White Sox hoping for consistency out of Floyd

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White Sox hoping for consistency out of Floyd

If there's a telling stat from Gavin Floyd's 2012 season, it's this: The right-hander led the White Sox in starts of at least six scoreless innings (6), but tied for the team lead for starts with five or more earned runs allowed (7).

For the most part, that up-and-down nature has dogged Floyd for the last four seasons. The results have been remarkably consistent, though: His ERA has never been below 4.06 or above 4.37, and he's thrown between 168 and 193 23 innings from 2009-2012.

Another constant for Floyd, who turns 30 on Sunday, has been seeing his name thrown around in trade rumors. The whispers reached such a cacophony last winter that someone created a website IsGavinFloydABlueJay.com, offering nothing more than a "yes" or "no" prompt.

While Floyd didn't go so far as to visit that URL, he hasn't been able to completely block out the noise.

"It goes in waves. Sometimes I pay attention to it, and sometimes I don't," Floyd said. "Anytime you're not sure if you're going to be with the same team that you were last year, you think about it. Ultimately, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen. You really can't ponder too much about it."

Floyd, had his 9.5 million option for 2013 picked up last October, so the upcoming season represents a true contract year. But he said he's not setting any specific ambitions for what may be his final season with the White Sox.

"I've run through so many different goals and stuff like that, I've learned over time that you just gotta live in the present and only try to focus on today," Floyd said. "How am I going to better myself, whether it's working out, looking at video and getting ready for each start. If I could just simplify it, it'll put me in the best position to be successful or consistent."

While Floyd was encouraged by the results following some late-season tweaks, there still were blips. Before throwing seven shutout innings to end the season in Cleveland, Floyd issued five walks in five innings against Tampa Bay. He bookended 7 23 shutout innings against Toronto with starts in which he walked 11 and gave up six runs in 11 23 innings.

Still, Floyd's overall body of work hasn't dipped below league average, as general manager Rick Hahn -- citing Floyd's WAR -- pointed out. But given Floyd's ceiling, those pitfalls are often what's focused on when examining his numbers.

"You can see him throw seven, eight innings of no-hit caliber ball, and then there will be some shorter outings where he gets blown up a little bit," Hahn said. "When you have that kind of stuff, when you have the ability to throw that length of shutout and quality outings, we know that's in there."

That consistency is what's been missing during Floyd's tenure with the White Sox, but he's hoping that going into 2013 without putting any pressure on himself will lead to the results his team is looking for.

"You just try to have a clear mind and ignore whatever just happened, just keep grinding it out and push because you know things will turn around," Floyd said.

White Sox' win streak ends at 6 as John Danks struggles again

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White Sox' win streak ends at 6 as John Danks struggles again

BALTIMORE -- John Danks’ margin for error just isn’t very wide.

He and the White Sox discovered that yet again on Thursday night when the Baltimore Orioles made the veteran pay for several third-inning mistakes. With several potential options to choose from, whether or not the White Sox will give him another start to find a rhythm becomes the big question.

Danks surrendered a pair of long home runs and allowed six earned runs and the White Sox fell to the Orioles, 10-2, at Oriole Park at Camden Yard in front of 14,568. The loss snapped a six-game White Sox winning streak and is the team’s first since the last start by Danks (0-4) on April 21.

At the very least, the White Sox have shown they may entertain making a change at the back of the rotation.

It was only earlier this week when the White Sox promoted recently signed starter Miguel Gonzalez to give him an opportunity. While Gonzalez showed rust in Monday’s start, he also settled in against a tough Toronto Blue Jays lineup, which allowed the White Sox to rally for a big win.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he was impressed with how Gonzalez handled himself against the Blue Jays as he made his first big league start of the season. However, Ventura didn’t make any commitments about the right-hander’s future and Gonzalez was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday as part of a four-player shuffle after David Robertson landed on the bereavement list.

But the decision to push Danks back out of the series in Toronto, a team against whom he has poor numbers, raises questions about how long the White Sox might keep him in the rotation.

The White Sox have Monday off before they start a six-game homestand on Tuesday. That means they could skip Danks’ next turn in the rotation without moving around any of their other starters.

Ventura also noted on Monday that the White Sox, off to their best start since 2006, have several options from which to choose if they need help in the rotation.

Jacob Turner has a 2.49 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings at Charlotte. Erik Johnson, also at Charlotte, has a 3.24 ERA in three starts. And there’s Gonzalez, who went 30-21 with a 3.45 ERA from 2012-14 with the Orioles before he fell off last season.

“I don’t know if we’ve necessarily had that for a while,” Ventura said.

The White Sox opted to push Danks -- who saw his ERA rise to 7.25 -- back to Thursday against Baltimore in part because of past success against the Orioles, including seven scoreless innings at U.S. Cellular Field last July.

Danks wasn’t able to match that showing this time around even after Todd Frazier’s two-run, first-inning homer gave him a cushion with which to work.

Had it not been for a fantastic relay from Austin Jackson to Jimmy Rollins to Hector Sanchez to throw out Chris Davis on Adam Jones’ two-out RBI double in the first inning, Danks would have given back the lead.

While Danks pitched a perfect second inning, he wasn’t as fortunate in the third. Danks walked Caleb Joseph to start the inning and Manny Machado’s one-out double to right tied it at 2. Davis then launched a two-run homer to right-center field and Mark Trumbo followed with a solo shot to put the Orioles ahead 5-2.

Danks put up zeroes in the fourth and fifth innings, but exited after he surrendered a leadoff double to J.J. Hardy in the sixth. Hardy scored during a five-run Orioles’ rally against Jake Petricka that blew the game open.

Danks allowed nine hits and walked two while throwing strikes on 56 of 96 pitches. 

Back with White Sox, Carlos Sanchez handled demotion well

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Back with White Sox, Carlos Sanchez handled demotion well

BALTIMORE -- He may have been disappointed when he was sent to Charlotte last month, but Carlos Sanchez hasn’t let it affect his play.

Sanchez’s play at Triple-A has been so good that he’s back with the White Sox, at least temporarily.

The White Sox promoted the middle infielder on Thursday after they placed closer David Robertson on the bereavement list. Sanchez, who appeared in 120 games for the White Sox last season, is hitting .309/.356/.469 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 89 plate appearances at Charlotte.

“It’s never a good feeling for a guy trying to make the team,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He played well enough in spring training, but you make decisions based on what you need on the roster and it’s a tough one. But he’s always handled that well. Any time he’s gone down there he has gotten his work in.”

Sanchez said he tries to avoid looking at the big picture, which helps him remain focused on a daily basis. After they acquired Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier in the offseason, the White Sox no longer had an everyday role for Sanchez, who spent most of last season at the starting second baseman. Because he’s only 23, the White Sox told Sanchez they wanted him to play every day and continue to improve. He has taken the message to heart.

“They don’t want to keep me here just to be on the bench,” Sanchez said. “They need me to play every day to keep developing my game, and I took it.

“I feel really good. My game is really good right now, so I’m just going to try to help the team. Whatever they need, I’m going to be there for my team.”

 

White Sox will be without closer David Robertson until Sunday

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White Sox will be without closer David Robertson until Sunday

BALTIMORE -- The White Sox feel like they’re in the best position possible to handle the temporary loss of David Robertson, who they’ll be without until Sunday.

The White Sox closer has been placed on the bereavement list to attend the funeral of his father-in-law, who passed away earlier this week after battling cancer.

Robertson -- who has eight saves in nine tries and a 0.87 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings this season -- closed out Wednesday night’s four-run win over the Toronto Blue Jays even though it wasn’t a save opportunity. He joined his family on Thursday, which allowed the White Sox time to promote both Daniel Webb and infielder Carlos Sanchez. Sanchez replaced Robertson on Thursday while Webb joined the team on Wednesday after Miguel Gonzalez was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte.

“We knew a few days ago, so I thought he handled it great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “As tough as the news is, he knew he was going to need three days. He was with us for a couple of days after he got the news. He pitched in a game and gave us the opportunity to kind of maneuver a little bit. For him to get through this, all the way around it was the best you could hope for.”

The White Sox have utilized a 13-man pitching staff for a big chunk of their current stretch, which includes 19 games in 19 days. But with an off day around the corner, the White Sox chose to go back to a 12-man staff and call upon Sanchez, who could be necessary if any of their four games against the Baltimore Orioles are rained out.

Though Nate Jones is a likely option at closer, Ventura didn’t commit to how he’d manage his ‘pen in Robertson’s absence. He also listed Matt Albers and Zach Duke as potential options. And, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka have experience in the role dating back to the 2014 season.

Jones picked up his first career save during the team’s last homestand.

“We just talked about treating it just like any other inning, no matter who it is,” Jones said. “We have to close out the sixth, we have to close out the seventh. Even though it’s the final three outs of the game, it’s a little bit different. A lot of people put emphasis on it. But that’s what we’re going to try and do -- just treat it like it’s the whatever inning.”

The White Sox bullpen has been outstanding this season. The group leads the major leagues with a 1.32 ERA. Over the past nine games, White Sox relievers have only allowed two earned runs in 24 2/3 innings (0.73 ERA).

“Those guys have handled it as well as you can,” Ventura said. “They feel for Robby. In a lot of ways they want to help him out as well. Robby is a good teammate and part of this is being able to flow with it. I think these guys are going to step up. That’s what you do.”