Results tagged ‘ Brent Lillibridge ’
Make it eight losses in 10 Cactus League games for the White Sox, who fell victim for the sixth time against National League teams. Here’s a look at what took place:
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Gavin Floyd looked regular-season ready with four strong innings thrown against the Padres. He fanned five, including Orlando Hudson, Chase Headley and Will Venable in the first, and didn’t issue a walk.
Addison Reed earned praise for his one inning from manager Robin Ventura, who said the closer’s decision won’t officially come down until the final week of Spring Training. Eric Stults and Brian Bruney, locked in a battle with Dylan Axelrod and Zack Stewart for the final two bullpen spots, threw scoreless innings and have been unscored upon in seven combined Cactus League innings.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Charlie Leesman continues to struggle this spring, facing only four batters in the fifth and not retiring any of them, before eventually being charged with four runs. Leesman features plus-stuff but hasn’t been able to harness it since his Arizona arrival.
UP NEXT: Chris Sale takes the mound for Cactus League start No. 2 on Wednesday at home against the Angels. Sale had a solid first start against the Cubs on Friday but was hard on himself for walking Junior Lake with two outs and nobody on base in the second and then giving up a 0-2 home run to Edgar Gonzalez.
MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Jordan Danks’ bloop single to left-center in the third. It wasn’t that Danks crushed the ball, although he did have a good at-bat, but it was more about Brent Lillibridge getting a great jump off of second and making a great read on the fly ball to score easily with nobody out. The White Sox will need to be aggressive on the basepaths, among many other intangibles, in order to be successful.
MOMENT TO FORGET: The Padres’ four-run fifth. Leesman’s struggles started the frame, but errors from Lillibridge and Jhan Marinez on a pickoff attempt contributed to the rally. The White Sox finally got out of trouble on a Marinez wild pitch that bounced back off the wall to catcher Hector Gimenez and allowed him to tag out Nick Hundley before he scored.
In this day and age where all sorts of statistical rankings and ratings have replaced the tried and true “eye test,” I would like to suggest a new category.
It’s called WASLC, for short. In long form, the title would be Wins After Spectacular Lillibridge Catches. Unless the talented utility player gets traded, this category pretty much is White Sox specific.
Let me explain how it works.
On Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, before a crowd of more than 40,000, Brent Lillibridge made two spectacular catches to save the White Sox 3-2 victory, after entering in the eighth as a pinch-runner. Lillibridge put forth these efforts as the second and third outs of the ninth inning, stranding the tying run on second and the winning run on first.
So, you mark this date on the calendar, which would be April 26, and then see how many wins the White Sox rip off after Lillibridge made these catches. Sometimes all a talented team needs is one spark of momentum or one win they shouldn’t have had or almost didn’t record to turn things around and move in the opposite direction.
Lillibridge seemed to understand this point when talking to the large group of media stationed around his locker late Tuesday night.
“We needed a break like that,” said Lillibridge, who pounded his fist on the grass after making a diving catch on Robinson Cano’s line drive to right to end the game. “That’s why I was so excited. That’s the biggest thing. I’m glad I could contribute, but in the end we won.
“Making plays like that, how can you not be excited? More importantly, we got Gavin a win because of what I did and more importantly what we did to manufacture a couple of runs and Paulie’s home run was huge. We have to win these games and hopefully it gets a little easier.”
Of course, Lillibridge was speaking of Gavin Floyd’s tremendous pitching performance over eight-plus innings and Paul Konerko’s game-winning, one-out blast in the eighth off of Yankees set-up man Rafael Soriano. Lillibridge is about the team first, and his individual showing second.
Now, I know what some skeptics are thinking. The White Sox SSFROSITN, better known as Somehow Scoring Four Runs Off Soria In The Ninth, has not been at a high level after April 6, and nothing says momentum swing like putting together that kind of rally with two outs and nobody on base against one of the game’s best closers in Kansas City’s Joakim Soria.
Trust me, though. Their WASLC will be a more accurate depiction of the direction in which this previously disappointing 2011 season is moving.
Chris Getz was scratched from Saturday’s starting lineup prior to the game’s first pitch. A bruised middle finger on the second baseman’s right hand was given as the reason for his absence.
Brent Lillibridge replaced Getz in the field and in the leadoff spot. Lillibridge was scheduled to start in center and hit second against Toronto left-hander Brian Burres, with Brian Anderson in right and Jermaine Dye getting moved to designated hitter with Jim Thome receiving a one-game respite. The Getz scratch gave Jerry Owens a rare start in center, hitting ninth.
For those wondering about those wide-ranging rumors regarding the White Sox possibly acquiring Melky Cabrera, Gary Matthews, Jr. or even Juan Pierre as the team’s leadoff man/center fielder, manager Ozzie Guillen seemed to squelch that talk following Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Arizona at Camelback Ranch.
“No, we're not going [outside]," said Guillen, when asked if talk came up centering on names not in camp during the staff's daily meetings. "I don't want that to happen, I don't like that to happen. If we have to go outside the organization right now, gosh, I'm not going to say we're in trouble, but as a ballclub we have enough guys here to resolve that problem.''
So, it looks as if the final two roster spots for position players, assuming Brian Anderson is on the roster, will come from the group of Dewayne Wise, Brent Lillibridge and Jerry Owens. At this point, the White Sox will not take on any more payroll, which rules out a number of potential outside options, unless the offering franchise picks up a bulk of the contract.
–Jayson Nix still features that massive wrap around his right quad, but he told me on Wednesday that he’s definitely feeling better. His target is to be playing again on Friday, during a road game against the Padres in Peoria.
Nix hurt his right quad going for a short pop up in a game last Wednesday against the Cubs in Las Vegas and then truly felt the injury as he was going from first to third on a base hit in that same game. He has not played since.
I can attest that it was a ridiculously cold night in Las Vegas last Wednesday, and the high winds were pretty much out of control, which might have been contributing factors to the injury–at least the cold. The good news for Nix is there are still three weeks left in Spring Training for him to build off of his great start in the battle for the job at second base.
–Gordon Beckham doubled and drove in two runs on Wednesday and will start at shortstop on Thursday in Surprise. Beckham has five doubles and 18 total bases this spring, leading the team in both categories.
Here’s an interesting comment from Ken Williams that didn’t make it into my Wednesday story. In that story, the White Sox general manager admitted the team’s top pick from the 2008 First-Year Player Draft has as good of a chance as Nix, Chris Getz or Brent Lillibridge to break camp with the team BUT only as a starter at second base.
“He’s playing the game and having fun,” said Williams of Beckham. “He’s going to be a good player. He’s been impressive since we drafted him, and obviously, he was impressive before then for us to draft him.”
— The first cuts came down on Wednesday. They were INF Brian Myrow, RHP Brad Salmon and INF Sergio Santos, who were reassigned to Minor-League Camp, and RHP Lucas Harrell, who was optioned to Double-A Birmingham. With these cuts, the White Sox have 53 players in camp: 26 pitchers, six catchers, 14 infielders and seven outfielders.
–Javier Castillo returned with a bang from his stint with Panama in the World Baseball Classic. He singled and scored the tie-breaking run on Wednesday and then launced a two-run home run to put the game away. Even though Panama didn’t advance, Castillo loved his experience in The Classic.
–Ozzie Guillen had this interesting comme on Jerry Owens, whose seventh-inning single gave the White Sox the lead.
“This kid is fighting for his job,” Guillen said. “I want to see a lot of better stuff come around. The last couple of days he’s swinging the bat better.”
Owens still seemed very positive when I taked to him this past weekend for a story. Owens, now hitting .200, is out of options, meaning he is fighting for a roster spot but also probably fighting to stay as part of the organization.
— My pick of DePaul to win the Big East Tournament came up a little short. My total focus is on Michigan-Iowa tomorrow afternoon in the Big 10 Tournament.
–DeWayne Wise tripled and homered in four at-bats, while Chris Stewart and Sergio Santos both went deep during the Dodgers’ 6-4 victory over the White Sox in Monday’s ‘B’ Game. The White Sox did not bat in the bottom of the ninth because Los Angeles ran out of pitchers. Franklyn German hurled two scorless innings, while Lance Broadway gave up one unearned run and fanned three in two innings.
–Jeff Marquez is scheduled to throw during Tuesday’s day off, probably working against Minor League hitters on one of the White Sox back fields at Camelback Ranch.
–Aaron Poreda worked four innings in relief on Monday, giving up one run and striking out three. This effort follows a strong three-inning stint last Wednesday in Las Vegas against the Cubs.
The big left-hander remains in play for that final spot out of the White Sox bullpen.
“(White sox pitching coach Don Cooper) is going to continue to work with him,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of Poreda, the team’s top pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. “Hopefully, we get the best out of him and see what happens at the end of S.”
–Brent Lillibridge returned from a bout with the flu and played shortstop in the game against Cleveland, with Chris Getz playing second. Jayson Nix remains out of action with a sore right quad.
Getz’s three-run, inside-the-park home run hit in the second showed me he’s get a second gear speed-wise that I didn’t really get a chance to see last year. Getz shows good patience at the plate, and although Guillen does not want to add more pressure to what he already has, could Getz be a leadoff hitter? I think he could.
–Is this something–the White Sox are 0-5 against American League teams and 6-2 against the National League during 2009 Cactus League action.
–My original pick was Teya to win Rock of Love: Charm School Bus or whatever it’s called. I think Mindy is closing fast.
Octavio Dotel allowed two runs on three hits over one inning of work during Saturday’s 13-0 loss to the Cubs. But Ozzie Guillen believes Dotel’s effort was a marked step forward from his first Cactus League outing, when he gave up three runs to the Angels in one inning and wasn’t throwing with much velocity.
“After that first day, anything would be better,” said Guillen of Dotel. “But I don’t worry about Dotel now. Four more outings the same way, then I’ll be concerned.”
Dotel’s velocity was consistently in the 91 to 92 mph range on Saturday.
Adam Russell also struggled against the Cubs, allowing six earned runs on five hits during the Cubs’ nine-run seventh. In fairness to Russell, Brent Lillibridge was charged with an error on Luis Rivas’ possibly double-play grounder that would have considerably lessened the damage.
“He couldn’t get back to work after that error,” said Guillen of Russell. “He made some mistaks over the plate.”
Overall, Guillen was pleased that everyone got their work in and the team is getting better “little by little,” despite the final score.
So, Wednesday officially begins the Cactus League ledger for the White Sox, which means I will be in Las Vegas for the Cubs-White Sox games in one week. I’m actually going to buy a small suitcase as soon as I finish blogging.
For those not concerned with my travel plans or my future purchases at Target, which pretty much covers everyone, the contest between the Angels and White Sox also marks the start of numerous interesting position battles to be waged by the South Siders. Instead of going through the primary roster openings, let’s look at the roster as a whole.
If you assume Ozzie Guillen takes 12 pitchers, coupled with nine position player starters, then you are left with four open spots. One goes to a back-up catcher and one goes to a back-up infielder, probably Wilson Betemit, leaving Guillen with two roster openings. And then this equation becomes a myriad questions.
–Who is starting in center field? If it’s Brian Anderson, then do both Jerry Owens and DeWayne Wise make the roster or does Guillen take a second utility infielder and risk losing Owens or Wise?
–Who wins the job at second base? If it’s Chris Getz, then does Brent Lillibridge have an advantage for one of those two remaining roster spots because of his infield versatility, speed to burn AND his ability to play center? Remember, Wise, Owens, Betemit and Jayson Nix all are out of options.
–Will Guillen actually break camp with 11 pitchers, meaning only 20 roster spots are committed?
–Is there any chance Dayan Viciedo breaks camp with the White Sox?
–Can both Jose Contreras or Bartolo Colon be ready, health-wise, by the time the fourth and fifth starter’s slot comes up during the first week of the 2009 regular season? While there might be a target date for these veterans to pitch during Spring Training, Contreras just told me the other day as to how there isn’t a “Jose Contreras Comeback Day” set. When he’s ready and White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider and the rest of the team’s upper management agrees, Contreras will be out there.
Many questions to be answered, approximately 45 days to come to a decision. Tell me how you think this roster roulette shakes out.