Results tagged ‘ Gavin Floyd ’

Game 10: Floyd impresses in loss

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.

Game 3: Peavy gives happy all-clear after start

Make it three up, three down for Robin Ventura as White Sox manager in Cactus League competition. Here’s a look at the important factors behind the 10-6 final in favor of Milwaukee at Camelback Ranch Wednesday.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Jake Peavy felt good.

Yes, I repeat, the White Sox right-hander, scheduled to make the second start of the 2012 regular season in Texas, felt no pain—anywhere.

“I did, I did, I really did,” said Peavy of feeling good during his two innings of work. “I can’t help but have a big smile on my face.”

“You want to win the game,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of one of the silver linings from Wednesday’s setback. “But it’s good seeing Jake go out … . Good velocity.”

Brent Lillibridge continues to show himself as the utility infield favorite by playing a solid second base and knocking out one hit. He also swiped a base, presenting a solid right-handed hitting alternative at the top of the White Sox lineup.

Jared Mitchell launched his first Cactus League home run during the White Sox three-run fifth inning, and Brent Morel finished with two hits.

“He has had good at-bats,” said Ventura of Mitchell. “His confidence level coming in his at-bats, you like what you see. He’s making a good impression.”

WHAT WENT WRONG: Sure, it’s only three games into Cactus League play, but the White Sox middle relief spots could end up being a war of attrition. Nestor Molina, who is a long shot to break camp with the team, got hit hard Monday by the Dodgers, while Dylan Axelrod and Zach Stewart combined to give up six runs on six hits over four innings Wednesday, with three walks and two strikeouts. Eric Stults helped his cause with a scoreless frame against the Brewers.

WHAT’S NEXT: Hector Santiago can strengthen his case for a middle relief job during a start against the Rangers Thursday afternoon in Surprise. Gavin Floyd, Will Ohman and Addison Reed all will pitch during a morning B game, also in Surprise.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Peavy’s genuine happiness after Wednesday’s outing. It wasn’t exactly a celebration befitting a playoff clincher, but White Sox fans are hoping for about 35 healthy postgame smiles from Peavy this season.

MOMENT TO FORGET: A couple of fly balls hit off of Peavy and Axelrod, looking somewhat routine at first, ended up carrying over the outfielders for extra-base hits. It’s good to remember how hard it is to judge pitching during Spring Training in Arizona, which is what makes it tough to pick a final two or three pitchers somewhat based on performance.

Beckham not going anywhere

During a weekend at home in early August of last season, I remember one of my esteemed colleagues asking Ozzie Guillen about rumors of the White Sox reportedly putting in a waiver claim for Toronto outfielder Alex Rios.

“Who?” Guillen responded, knowing full well who Rios was, but seeming to be somewhat surprised by this bit of personnel news involving his team.

Two days later, Rios joined the White Sox in Seattle.

There’s no question Guillen runs the White Sox. He makes the day-to-day decisions about the lineup and serves as the true face of the franchise. But by Guillen’s admission, because of his candor and honesty with the media, sometimes he finds out about moves orchestrated by general manager Ken Williams right before they happen.

Guillen might say there’s no move to be made or the team doesn’t have interest in a certain player, and to his knowledge it’s an absolutely true statement at the moment, and in 48 hours, that individual is part of a five-player deal sending him to Chicago.

I’m sharing this little vignette because Guillen was questioned after Tuesday’s B game with the Dodgers about the possibility of Gordon Beckham being moved for a high-end performer, in this instance, San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez. And Guillen’s response?

“We plan to have Gordon for a long time,” Guillen said. “I don’t see why people still talking about it.”

In this case, Guillen knows exactly what’s going on. Gordon Beckham is going nowhere but to second base for the 2010 season and probably many, many years to come.

From the time Beckham was drafted in 2008, he was compared by the White Sox to having Michael Young-like potential. That potential translates into 200 hits, 40 doubles, 20 home runs, 100 runs scored, 80 to 90 RBIs and a .300 average, offensively, on a yearly basis, and solid defense in the field. And remember, Young is one of Guillen’s favorite players not wearing a White Sox uniform.

Trading Beckham as part of an Adrian Gonzalez trade, as a purely hypothetical example, makes little sense for the White Sox. You are basically getting rid of one franchise player for another who might only be in Chicago for two years. I’m not demeaning Jayson Nix or Brent Lillibridge, both capable players and would-be hypothetical replacements at second, but Beckham is a special force.

Williams has shocked people before and he might again. Let’s say, in that hypothetical mode, Williams decides to go after a big left-handed bat through the trade market, i.e., Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn, etc. I’m more interested as to what the White Sox decide to do with Daniel Hudson, who clearly is the talented young pitching every team covets, or a rising catching prospect such as Tyler Flowers, with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the last year of his contract.

Until further notice, though, let’s stop talking about Beckham going anywhere. He is one of the few near-untouchables on the White Sox roster.

“When we get something done, we let people know what’s going on about the real thing,” Guillen said. “Right now, the expectation about this guy and that guy, I like the team we have. We have a general manager who keeps things quiet, thank God. And when he makes deals, it’s for a reason.

“Every trade the White Sox want to make, people think they’re going to make with the White Sox is Gordon, (Gavin) Floyd and (John) Danks. Those names are going to come up. And we have to deal with that every time they talk about White Sox trying to make a deal. We got to stay on our toes.”

Perspective on pursuit of top talent

Here’s a little interesting side note attached to covering Ken Williams during the Winter Meetings or during really any high-traffic period where trades are the focus, whether it’s the offseason or the non-waiver trade deadline. Williams never has been afraid to pull the trigger on a big deal, make that an extremely big deal, and he’s never been afraid to listen on potential inquiries.

No player is off-limits, although some are less likely to be moved than others. Factoring in all of these particular circumstances, and it’s easy to see how the White Sox are linked to many a big-name player.

Earlier in the week, I was talking to Williams and asked him about Jake Peavy. Williams said the two had talked and that Peavy was fired up and ready to go for 2010. He said the purpose of this call to his new ace was to sort of pick Peavy’s brain about a former teammate, getting a feel as to what fit he would have in the clubhouse.

When I asked Williams if that player in question was San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez, not expecting any sort of direct answer, Williams paused and then gave me a “No comment.”

Let’s move ahead to Monday, the first official day of the 2009 Winter Meetings, and jump to the half-way point of Williams’ 20-minute session with the media. Check out this following interaction.

“If you didn’t have Jake Peavy, would you be in on Roy Halladay?” a reporter asked Williams of the Toronto ace, who is known to be on the market.

“No comment,” Williams responded with a smile.

“Are you in on Roy Halladay?” another reporter asked.

“No comment,” Williams answered, still smiling.

Either Williams is trying to acquire both Gonzalez and Halladay, judging by the similarity of his responses, or the White Sox general manager has become Major League Baseball’s consummate poker player. Before the Halladay press conference is planned at U.S. Cellular Field, though, remember the right-hander has a full no-trade clause, has expressed a desire to stay in Florida for Spring Training and would probably cost the White Sox either John Danks or Gavin Floyd, along with prospects such as Jordan Danks, Daniel Hudson and/or Tyler Flowers, as a purely hypothetical talent package in return.

And there’s no guarantee Halladay would be anything more than a one-year rental, set to earn $15.75 million in the final year of a three-year, $40 million deal. Of course, I’m taking a huge leap based on two simple words from Williams, who would have probably asked about Babe Ruth’s availability if he was running a team at that point.

Then again, it’s easy to dream about the big catch when Williams is at the helm, even though he readily admits the team is in a financial holding pattern. One reporter I was talking to on Monday night said he never would count out the White Sox.

As for the potential pursuit of Juan Pierre, the Dodgers want a starting pitcher in return for the leadoff man/outfielder and the White Sox would want a sizable portion of the $18.5 million owed him over the next two years to be picked up. Doesn’t sound like a fit.

Perfect game superstitions and the big comeback

I’ll take full responsibility for Gavin Floyd losing his perfect game during Saturday’s 5-1 victory over the Red Sox. Or at least that’s what I was comically informed by my friend Jennifer on my Facebook page, after I apparently Tweeted too many times about Floyd’s consecutive batters retired.

There probably was a way I could have worked around saying perfect game, such as Floyd has retired 12 in a row or 18 in a row or no Boston baserunners have reached base, but I’m going to side with Mark Buehrle in this matter and state that I don’t buy into the perfect game/no-hitter superstition. If a pitcher is going to throw one, he’s going to throw one regardless of what I write.

I wasn’t even here for Buehrle’s perfect game, but I talked about it with a bunch of friends as it was happening and he still finished it off. Now, I certainly respect the people who follow the no-hitter superstitions. I myself have plenty of my own, in life, in general.

Rarely, if ever, will I do anything important when the clock reads 13 minutes in the time. And when I’m singing along with a song in the car, which is not exactly easy on anybody’s eardrums, I won’t sing the words death or die. It makes for interesting lyrical changes in a song such as American Pie.

So, who am I to criticize superstitious behavior? If I must be the fall guy for Nick Green’s hit after Floyd retired 17 straight, then so be it.

–As usual, Paul Konerko seems to have the proper perspective in regard to whether the White Sox have enough time to catch Detroit. They need to make up 6 games over the final 25, with six games in their final nine coming against the Tigers.

“I think there is,” Konerko said. “I mean, it’s not going to be easy and like I said, we might need some help at some point because with those six head-to-head games with Detroit, you can’t expect to be five or six back and you have to sweep them.

“They’re a good team, so you need to kind of knock that down. But I think the best thing you can do is not think about the grand scheme of the whole season. Just think about each day and each inning and try to play as hard as we can and win that day.

“If we start creeping up on them, that would be great,” Konerko said. “But we’ve put ourselves in a hole and Detroit is a good team. It’s going to be tough, but we’ve got to keep working. We signed up for 162 here so we have to play hard every game and if it doesn’t work out, then we go home. But we have to play hard every day.”

–Jermaine Dye told me after Saturday’s game that he was ready to play on Saturday. So, the right fielder and his temporarily balky back will return to the lineup on Sunday.

–Here’s an interesting tidbit. Gordon Beckham is dining with a famous Chicago baseball legend on Saturday night. Who is it? The name will be revealed on Sunday.

–Same prediction as last year. The rejuvenated University of Michigan football team will top Notre Dame next Saturday in Ann Arbor. If the Wolverines win, I make a $200 contribution to White Sox Charities. If they lose, then the contribution is $100. White Sox Charities should benefit from Michigan’s excellence.

Thursday tidbits

Stop me if you’ve heard this tale before.

Bartolo Colon is out of action, on the disabled list with soreness in his right elbow, this time. And Ozzie Guillen is not really sure where the burly right-hander currently is rehabbing.

“No, he’s not here,” said Guillen with a laugh. “That’s hard to find out. That’s the hardest question you ask me, where is Colon?”

Guillen doesn’t see Colon pitching for the White Sox “in the next 20 days” because he has to go on rehab assignments again. Don’t look for Colon to work for the White Sox again this year, unless Jose Contreras continues to struggle, not with Jake Peavy and Freddy Garcia coming back from injuries, and Minor Leaguer Carlos Torres probably providing the same level of efficiency as the veteran.

–Shortstop Alexei Ramirez will return to the lineup on Friday against Cleveland and southpaw starter Jeremy Sowers. Ramirez conceivably could end up hitting ninth against right-handed pitchers, with Guillen not wanting to put the left-handed hitting Chris Getz and Scott Podsednik back-to-back in the lineup.

Gordon Beckham stays in the second spot until further notice.

“Every time we change the lineup, I try to get the guy hot,” Guillen said. “The day I did it with Ramirez was just because he was swinging the bat better, and plus batting second he’s going to see better pitches. That’s why I did it there. Right now, I’m going to give the most at bats to my best hitter.”

–Asked before the game, Guillen found it hard to name a season-long MVP for his team.

“Wow. They’re not playing that good. They’re not playing that bad,” Guillen said. “I think this month, Beckham. I think PK (Paul Konerko) and JD (Jermaine Dye) are playing unbelievable.

“They’re playing well. And the pitching staff, even with Mark Buehrle doing what he did, I think Matt Thornton. Matt has been our savior. There’s no doubt about it. Matt is having a tremendous year.”

–Here’s a couple quotes from Mark Buehrle, who seemingly did his one millionth post perfect game interview today on the Waddle and Silvy show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

On the recently concluded Mark Buehrle Appreciation Series:

“To me, it’s kinda weird because you don’t usually get appreciated until you retire,” Buehrle said. “They actually asked me to throw out the first pitch one game. I told them I’d still catch it but I don’t care to throw out a first pitch until I’m retired. It’s hectic and I’ve obviously been doing a lot of stuff. But it’s been well worth it.”

On the ramifications of the Peavy deal:

“Obviously, the (Padres) kept coming up and telling him he had to be moved,” Buehrle said. “But I think (John) Danks and Gavin (Floyd) and I have talked and if not this year then for next year we’re excited when he’s healthy and gets back having us four guys from the start of next season.

“Hopefully, he comes back healthy this year and we can get back in the playoffs and it’ll be a fun run. But we got some good things to look forward to the next couple of years.”

On how he would like his next perfect game celebrated:

“By not talking to the media,” Buehrle said. “Is that possible?”

Never count out Williams

The date was May 21 and my friend Beth and her friend, Sonja (not sure if that’s the correct spelling of her name, but it will be for this purpose) decided to go to Market for some food and a few beverages after the White Sox game that Thursday afternoon. Market, for those outside of Chicago or those who are tragically un-hip in the city, is the restaurant/sports bar/club where White Sox general manager Ken Williams has an ownership stake.

I mentioned to Beth that Williams might be there, and I would make proper introductions if we ran into him. But I also put out the warning that he might not be in the best of moods. After all, on that afternoon, Jake Peavy decided against waiving his no-trade clause to come from the Padres to the White Sox AND Minnesota pummeled the White Sox into submission by a 20-1 count.

But when we found Williams, sitting at a back table, holding court with the plethora of patrons and watching the Nuggets-Lakers playoff contest on television with a few friends, he couldn’t have been in better spirits. The bad loss to Minnesota can be easily brushed off-20-1 counts the same in the standings as 2-1. At that point, though, Williams must have understood what the rest of us didn’t really comprehend– Peavy said no for the moment but didn’t rule out the White Sox completely.

In hindsight, Friday’s trade by the White Sox shouldn’t have been such a surprise–even though Padres general manager Kevin Towers said he didn’t expect Peavy to be traded when he woke up that morning. You see, Williams and his staff don’t go haphazardly into making moves. It’s not like he wakes up one morning, thinks “You know what, I would like to get Player X” and suddenly starts pursuing him.

The White Sox come prepared, targeting certain players who fit the team, the city and U.S. Cellular Field, in some cases, for years at a time. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard Williams say, “I’ve been after this player for X amount of years” after a trade, well, I would have enough money to at least buy a drink at Market, maybe two.

Williams looks to have provided the White Sox with a boost to go deep into the 2009 postseason, assuming the White Sox reach the playoffs, depending on how Peavy’s right ankle recovers. Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks stand as a formidable starting quartet. He also already has taken care of his major offseason shopping where the pitching staff is concerned.

Think about it–Williams might add a fifth starter, although Freddy Garcia is coming quickly, and one reliever. Otherwise, he’s pretty well set.

I should have known Friday was predominantly too quiet for the Trade Deadline day where Williams was concerned. Then again, I shouldn’t have forgotten about Peavy from two months ago.

By the way, try the turkey burger if you make the trip over to Randolph St. and stop at Market, which I highly recommend.

Bartolo Colon out; Randy Williams up

Bartolo Colon was placed on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation retroactive to July 25, prior to Wednesday night’s series finale at the Metrodome, which basically means Clayton Richard’s exit from the starting rotation amounted to absolutely zero skipped starts.

My best guess is Gavin Floyd, who pitched Saturday in Detroit, will work the series opener against the Yankees on Thursday and Richard will pitch on Friday–both on regular rest. That leaves John Danks for Saturday and Mark Buehrle against CC Sabathia in a Sunday classic.

Ozzie Guillen didn’t want to go without a second left-hander out of the bullpen, so Randy Williams had his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte to replace Colon. Actually, with Matt Thornton home with his wife for the birth of their daughter, the White Sox had been going without a first lefty in the series.

There’s no doubt Richard has earned the right to stay in the rotation, and I’m guessing Colon might have made his last pitch for the White Sox. But that’s purely a guess on my part, and I guessed that before and was wrong, even with Freddy Garcia getting himself ready in the Minor Leagues.

Williams was one of the surprises of Spring Training as a non-roster invite. So, we will see how the southpaw produces now that he has joined the White Sox.

Eight-man rotation? Not likely

I have to give credit to Mark Gonzales, my esteemed White Sox beat writing colleague and friend from the Chicago Tribune, for coming up with a funny image following Sunday’s 5-1 White Sox victory over Detroit.

Gonzales was talking about the picture from the 2005 White Sox World Series championship run that had all the starting pitchers holding baseballs with their arm outstretched in a group shot. He suggested if the White Sox took that same picture at this point this year, there might be eight guys in the picture.

Let’s see, there’s Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jose Contreras. Then, there’s Bartolo Colon and Clayton Richard, and don’t forget Freddy Garcia getting back into pitching form with Class A Kannapolis, and Carlos Torres looking pretty solid in his one start for the White Sox. Even Aaron Poreda started for Charlotte after being optioned down, so his time can’t be too far away.

Has any Major League team ever gone to an eight or nine-man rotation? With the way Ozzie Guillen likes to match up out of the bullpen, there’s no way the White Sox will go one short in relief and even have a six-man starting staff.

But with two straight strong outings under his belt, I don’t see how Richard can be moved back to the bullpen. Some would argue how Richard has been great for two starts, but where was he the eight prior to that one? He could be just as helpful as the second southpaw in relief. In this sort of tight division race, though, you have to ride the hot hand.

So, who becomes the expendable piece? I would say Colon, with all due respect to the highly successful veteran right-hander. He looked sharp on Friday, but I think you can get what he provides from Richard or even Garcia down the line. The problem for Colon is he can’t work in relief, and I’m not sure if the White Sox are ready to cut ties with him.

It should be an interesting call to make. Then again, Richard’s trade value probably never will be as high as it is right now.

Having too many quality starters certainly is a good problem to have.

Rotation alteration?

Friday’s second-game start for Bartolo Colon at Comerica Park could have some interesting ramifications beyond the fact that a solid outing could lead the White Sox back into a first-place tie with the Tigers.

If Colon pitches well, there’s a good chance he’ll move back into the starting rotation as the team’s fifth man behind Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Jose Contreras. Clayton Richard, who has a 60-40 chance to start Sunday, according to pitching coach Don Cooper, would move to the bullpen.

“Yes, Clayton would go to the bullpen,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I need a lefty in the bullpen. Hopefully we will have Danks to throw on his normal days. That’s what we think.”

Cooper said they would know more about Danks and the troublesome blister on his left index finger later on Friday. If he’s healthy, Danks would go Monday at the Metrodome. If he’s unable to go, Danks could go on the disabled list retroactive to July 18 and Carlos Torres could come back up to replace him.

Guillen also pointed out as to how Colon will not be judged by Friday’s performance alone in regard to his rotation re-entrance.

“I don’t want to say Colon is going to throw one game and see what happens,” Guillen said. “That’s not fair. But he has to bring more to the table. We need him or someone else to step up and pitch good in that spot.”

Colon could not be used out of the bullpen, in Guillen’s estimation. Richard would give the White Sox a second left-hander with Matt Thornton.

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