Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’

Game 5: The unbeaten streak continues

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Sure, it’s only Cactus League play, with individuals making major contributions who won’t be part of the Opening Day roster against pitchers who have the same slim chance. But after posting an 8-4 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday at Camelback Ranch, the White Sox are much happier to be unbeaten instead of winless.

“You like the way it is. It doesn’t matter which guys are playing on which day. Even though you mix it up, they kind of keep that flow going,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “And we’re pitching well too.

“For the most part, we’re getting guys going out there and limiting things and playing defense. Guys are going up swinging the bat, being aggressive.”

Here’s a deeper look at Wednesday’s victory.

HOME RUN: As hitting coach Jeff Manto and left fielder Dayan Viciedo told MLB.com, Viciedo’s new leg kick as part of his swing will be a work in progress. Ventura agrees, although he liked the two hits Viciedo knocked out on Wednesday.

“I don’t expect him to get it right away. But I think the timing of it and the things he was having problems with last year, it’ll help that,” said Ventura of Viciedo. “Just balance and seeing pitches. I think last year he got into a mode of he was swinging no matter what.

“The leg kick gives you a little more balance of pushing you back and getting recognition and going after it. It is a work in progress but I think having thrown BP to him and watching him, you see little steps that he has taken. It’s working with two strikes.”

TRIPLE: This much is certain through the early part of Spring Training: Keenyn Walker can run. He tripled among his two hits Wednesday, basically gliding around the bases.

DOUBLE: Let’s put Conor Gillaspie in this spot, since a double is the only hit he’s missing from reaching the cycle over his last two games. Gillaspie went deep off of Collin Balester in the sixth inning, adding to his triple and single from Tuesday. He has six RBIs in two games.

SINGLE: Jeff Keppinger doubled, walked and scored two runs after replacing Adam Dunn at designated hitter. Although he has not yet played the field, Keppinger’s hitting has not suffered from a sore right shoulder. Steve Tolleson had two hits, including a double, and Ramon Troncoso threw two scoreless innings in relief.

STOLEN BASE: No, Paul Konerko doesn’t get many of these. But his home run in the fifth inning against Robbie Ross was his 18th in Cactus League action since 2006.

CALLED THIRD: Simon Castro followed Nestor Molina’s lead on Tuesday, allowing one hit and one walk over three innings.

“I feel good right now with my mechanics and everything we do,” Castro said.

“You’re looking at maturity and just being able to compete at a different level,” said Ventura of Castro. “This year I think he has command and the confidence that comes with being another year into it and control.”

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: It was a good news, bad news sort of afternoon for veteran reliever Jeff Gray. The good news was that he struck out the side in the sixth. The bad news is he also allowed three runs in the frame.

Game 4: White Sox topple Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. – The Cactus League unbeaten streak continued for the White Sox, as they scored early and often against the Rangers. Here’s a look.

HOME RUN: Conor Gillaspie believes his first hit, a two-run single to left during a six-run third, was “kind of lucky honestly.” But there was nothing lucky about his two-run triple to right during a five-run fourth, giving the new acquisition four RBIs in the victory. Even with Jeff Keppinger sidelined defensively by a sore shoulder, the White Sox look as if they have a competitive situation at third base with Gillaspie and Brent Morel.

“Again, getting him in here and getting him at-bats, that’s the biggest thing right now,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Gillaspie. “He’s a little behind, not getting many at-bats over there. So it’s catching him back up. It’s a good short swing. He’s got a little pop too.”

TRIPLE: Hector Gimenez did a little bit of everything on Tuesday. He knocked out two hits, drove in a run and threw out Elvis Andrus trying to take second on a wild pitch in the first inning. It’s early, but Gimenez looks to have a plus throwing arm, backed up by his 43.1 percent success rate (22-of-51) of throwing out base stealers with Triple-A Charlotte last season.

DOUBLE: When the White Sox acquired Nestor Molina from the Blue Jays for Sergio Santos at the 2011 Winter Meetings, it sounded as if the right-hander could be in the Majors rather quickly i.e. that upcoming 2012 season. Molina instead tried to pitch through elbow pain and had a rough debut campaign with the White Sox in 2012. He took Step 1 to getting back on the right track Tuesday by throwing two scoreless innings.

“I concentrate on throwing strikes,” said Molina through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. “If I do throw strikes early on, I’m going to get a lot of outs.”

SINGLE: Josh Phegley helped complete the scoring with a blast to left in the eighth. Jared Mitchell and Marcus Semien each knocked out another hit, and Zach Stewart fanned three over 1 2/3 innings.

STOLEN BASE: Trayce Thompson actually picked up the White Sox first stolen base of the spring and scored two runs.

CALLED THIRD: After escaping a bases-loaded, two-out situation in his first Cactus League outing, Brian Omogrosso gave up two hits over two scoreless innings. Omogrosso’s most likely big league usage, either at the season’s outset or into 2013, is in long relief.

JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: Santos Rodriguez, who received high marks from pitching coach Don Cooper for the great arm he possesses, struggled in allowing three earned runs on three hits and two walks in just one-third of an inning.

Game 6: Late rally grabs victory from defeat

The White Sox turned a two-run deficit into a 3-2 victory via a ninth-inning rally against the Rangers, raising their record to 2-4 overall. Here’s a look at Saturday’s first-game action.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Dylan Axelrod, Zach Stewart and Eric Stults amped up the long relief competition with two strong innings apiece Saturday. Hector Santiago seems to have a leg up for one of the three remaining relief openings, meaning it might be tough for another southpaw such as Stults to break camp as the fourth left-hander. So, it could come down to Axelrod and Stewart for one relief opening.

“I focus on what I’m doing, but you don’t want to root against anyone,” Stewart said. “I want everyone else to do good, because the better everyone else is doing, the better it makes the team around you.”

Although the regulars were gone by the ninth inning, some White Sox Minor Leaguers helped put together a three-run rally for the victory. Trayce Thompson walked, Andy Wilkins doubled and Ken Williams, Jr. delivered the two-out, game-winning single via an infield hit with the bases loaded.

Eduardo Escobar, who remains in the mix for the final position player roster spot partially because of his versatility, had two hits after starting at third base. Brian Bruney earned the victory with a scoreless ninth, giving him two scoreless innings in Cactus League action.

WHAT WENT WRONG: The White Sox didn’t get a baserunner in four innings against Texas starter Colby Lewis, and on any level of competition, those results aren’t good.

“We tried to set up Lewis, just for Opening Day, make him comfortable,” said a smiling White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who gave all the credit to Lewis.

Paul Konerko also fouled a ball off of his left knee on a seventh-inning pitch from Scott Feldman, and White Sox fans collectively held their breath as he walked around in pain. But Konerko finished the at-bat and seemed to walk normally off the field to the clubhouse when he was replaced prior to the eighth inning.

WHAT’S NEXT: It’s bonus baseball at Camelback Ranch, with Philip Humber and the White Sox taking on Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers Saturday night. It’s the second time the White Sox have faced Billingsley this week.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Williams has not had a lot of luck where health is concerned or a great deal of overwhelming success over his four Minor League seasons with the White Sox. But he did get to experience a game-winning hit with his single to center and his hustle down the first-base line in the ninth.

MOMENT TO FORGET: Pretty much the first four innings. Lewis was outstanding and efficient, needing just 36 pitches, and the White Sox didn’t seem to have much of a chance.

Game 4: Ventura wins, Dunn bashes

There were no champagne corks popping or raucous celebrations going on in the White Sox clubhouse following Robin Ventura’s first win as a manager on Thursday in Surprise. But the 6-3 victory for the South Siders still had plenty of highlights, as the White Sox improved to 1-3 in Cactus League action.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn. And … . Oh, yes, Adam Dunn.

It was just the fourth game of 2012 for the White Sox and it was Cactus League play in Arizona, after all, where the statistics don’t make their way to the back of baseball cards. But the big slugger still looks locked in at the plate in a way he never did during all of the 2011 season.

“The at-bats are more important for me looking at it,” said Ventura of Dunn, who homered on a 1-2 pitch from Neftali Feliz in the first and doubled home another run in the third. “I see his at-bats, his approach when he does it, instead of if he gets a hit. That’s all I’m really looking for right now, him having quality at-bats up there. He’s in a great spot.”

Gordon Beckham also went deep in the fourth, while Brent Morel’s two hits leave him at 5-for-8 over the first four games.

And let’s not forget about Hector Santiago, who is getting extremely close to locking up the fifth spot in the White Sox bullpen. Santiago started on Thursday and held scoreless over two innings a Texas lineup featuring Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus. Santiago struck out Cruz and Hamilton.

“I just worry about the next time to go out there. I try to do the same thing every time,” said Santiago, refusing to handicap his roster status. “I just tried to go out there and not worry about who is in the box and just hit (Tyler) Flowers right in the mitt. That’s all I was trying to do.”

WHAT WENT WRONG: Gregory Infante possesses Major League stuff, but simply has trouble getting it over the plate at times. He walked three over 1 2/3 innings on Thursday.

The biggest trouble spot was the first real injury of camp suffered by Minor League prospect Brandon Short. He dislocated his left shoulder going for a Luis Martinez double in the eighth, running into the center field wall on the attempt. Short was to have a MRI done on the injured area.

WHAT’S NEXT: It’s the first of eight meetings this season between the Cubs and the White Sox, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. CT Friday at Camelback Ranch. Chris Sale makes his long-awaited debut as part of the starting rotation, not counting his intrasquad appearance. The two teams hook up again on March 18 in Mesa, before meeting six times during regular-season Interleague action.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: The handshakes on the field at Surprise Stadium after Anthony Carter, who had good velocity on his pitches in earning the save, retired Martinez on a ground ball double play to end Ventura’s first victory. Ventura also offered up this on-the-mark postgame quote.

“It’s good to get wins just for the psyche of guys walking on the field, shaking hands,” Ventura said. “But you know, most of the guys that you want to see do it are already driving home. It’s good for the young guys to kind of finish it off and do that, but I’m concerned about those first five innings a little more than the end right now.”

MOMENT TO FORGET: Short’s injury. Otherwise, the White Sox had a pretty solid afternoon of baseball.

Saturday weather update

The game between the Rangers and White Sox is being targeted for a 7:45 p.m. first pitch. The grounds crew currently is working on the field.

For those interested, which is pretty much everyone in Chicago, the Bulls and Celtics officially are under way in Game 7 of their first-round NBA playoff series. Bulls win this game, 103-97, in my estimation.

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