Results tagged ‘ Royals ’

Game 18: White Sox continue bashing

The White Sox bats continued their recent surge, pounding out 16 hits in a 16-4 victory over the Royals. Here’s a look at the action from this victory over their American League Central rivals at Camelback Ranch Thursday.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but Adam Dunn has had a great run in Arizona. Not only is Dunn seeing the ball great and getting tremendous results at the plate, but he also looks good playing defensively at first base.

Against the Royals Bruce Chen, Dunn hit a two-run homer in the first and then hit a grand slam during a six-run fifth. The fact that Chen is a lefty, a sort of pitcher Dunn rarely connected against in 2011, was just a bonus.

“I feel fine against lefties. I don’t feel any different than I do against righties,” Dunn said. “It’s just, I’m seeing them good and I’m getting a pitch, I’m putting a good swing on them.”

Dayan Viciedo hit three home runs in a Minor League game at Camelback Ranch, with the White Sox hoping those extra at-bats gets their left fielder into a more productive mode. Meanwhile, Jake Peavy threw six scoreless innings in that same Minor League contest against the Rangers’ Triple-A team, while Zach Stewart strengthened his case as a long relief candidate with just two runs allowed on six hits over five innings against the Royals.

WHAT WENT WRONG: With 29 runs scored in the past two victories, it’s hard to find a pitfall.

Addison Reed allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings, but manager Robin Ventura admitted that his pitch count was extended a little beyond where they had him slotted for the day. Matt Thornton threw another scoreless inning, and Ventura added Thursday that he doesn’t expect to name a closer before the team leaves for exhibition games in Houston on April 3 and 4.

“They were fine. Again, it’s what you see,” said Ventura of his closer candidates. “Addison probably stayed a little longer than we would have liked, but he got stretched out. But I thought he threw great. In the end, he was a little hot and tired. Matt threw great. They were on time with everything and where they need to be in a few weeks.”

UP NEXT: The White Sox have split-squad action in Tucson, where Dylan Axelrod gets the start against the Dodgers in the afternoon affair where all proceeds from the contest will benefit the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation. Gavin Floyd starts the night game against the Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Josh Phegley tripled with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth to finish off the White Sox scoring on Thursday. While Phegley certainly won’t break camp with the team, he continues to move his name up the list for future catching consideration.

MOMENT TO FORGET: That honor belongs to Chen, the Royals starter who gave up more runs on Thursday against the White Sox than he did in five starts total against them last year. Of course, Thursday’s effort was Cactus League related and is more about the work but still a bit frustrating.

“I don’t know what to say,” Chen said. “I mean, it was a tough first inning and last inning. I tried to make some adjustments. I really think my pitches are coming real good out of my hand. I just have to keep working. I’m not going to give in. I’m not going to make too much out of this.”

Getz, Fields move on with class

Chris Getz heard the rumors.

They started Thursday morning, when his cell phone was blowing up with calls from people who knew better than to contact him so early in the morning. Getz repeatedly hit ignore and tried to fall back to sleep, until finally checking his phone to figure out the source of this commotion.

Reports had Getz, the White Sox starting second baseman for much of the 2009 campaign, as part of a trade to the Royals that brought back Mark Teahen. The only problem for Getz was he had heard nothing remotely official from the White Sox. Actually, he had heard nothing at all.

That official announcement wouldn’t come until Friday morning, when White Sox general manager Ken Williams placed a call to the Royals’ newest infield acquisition.

A strange 24 hours indeed for Getz.

“At least it was only 24 hours, rather than anything longer than that,” Getz said. “It’s history, but I’m sure they would do it differently if they knew it was going to get out like that. Basically, everyone knew but the players.”

Josh Fields, the White Sox top pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, also was part of the deal for Teahen and cash considerations from the Royals. But whereas the move was a bit stunning for Getz, it was a welcomed change for Fields.

At 27, which Fields will turn on Dec. 14, the new father just didn’t see himself as a part-time player. He has a far better chance of proving that point with the Royals.

“I think it’s going to work out good in Kansas City,” Fields said. “I always will appreciate Chicago, being that it was my first team, the team where I first made it to the big leagues and the team that gave me the opportunity.

“In 2008, I got to experience playoff type atmosphere. Now, I’m looking forward to taking the experience I’ve had with Chicago, both the good and the bad, and putting it all together when I go with Kansas City.”

Dealing with both Getz and Fields has been a positive experience from my point of view, and I suspect most of my media brethren would agree. They were good talkers, displaying refreshing candor, and always made themselves accessible, even when they didn’t really want to be accessible. Actually, that trait has been fairly common for most of the White Sox players over the past eight years, minus one or two exceptions.

Getz had what turned out to be the unfortunate coincidence for him of attending the same university I did in Ann Arbor. Unfortunate, in that he endured countless minutes of clubhouse analysis from me on the resurgence of the University of Michigan basketball program and the disaster that is the football program under Rich Rodriguez. When I joked with him on Friday as to how I can still keep him updated during Spring Training, being that the training sites are in the same general Arizona vicinity, I think Getz suddenly wished he was traded to team who trained in Florida–or maybe out of the country.

Williams explained on Friday how there was a cash portion of this deal needing approval, which pushed back the official word to Friday, and left Getz and Fields wondering and waiting on Thursday. Obviously, Williams’ style has never been to leave his players unsure as to where they stand, and he made that clear to Getz, Fields and the media.

“You know how I feel about things getting out before it’s time for them to get out,” Williams said. “It puts players in an uncomfortable position.”

But there’s no retribution promised from Getz and Fields for their momentary discomfort. They simply want to contribute to success for their new team, just as they did for their old team.

“Really, it’s better to be wanted than to not be wanted at all,” Getz said. “When I’m out there (for Kansas City), I just want to help the team win. I’m not trying to gain vengeance against the White Sox. I’ll just do the same things I always do.”

“There’s no extra incentive. It’s a business,” Fields said. “You want to go beat up on any team we play against, and the White Sox are no different. Any time you are in the big leagues, it’s a positive experience. You dream of it as a little kid, and to get there and spend significant time, it’s positive regardless.”

Saturday in Kansas City

If the question of White Sox needs to improve the 2009 version’s playoff chances would have been posed to Ozzie Guillen a few weeks ago, when the team was struggling to reach .500, then the direct White Sox manager joked how he might have wanted a whole new ballclub on the South Side of Chicago.

When that question was brought up to Guillen on Saturday, though, he took a wait-and-see personnel approach, based on Carlos Quentin’s injury rehab beginning Saturday night with Triple-A Charlotte.

“Right now, with Carlos coming back, we’ll see how Carlos is going to be,” Guillen said. “It’s like we make another trade. Right now, I think we’re playing the way we planned to be playing. We’re playing the way we had this team playing in Spring Training.

“Pitching, play better defense – our offense, a lot of people worried about the offense, but right now we’re fine. I still have to wait and see what happens in these particular days.”

Guillen brought up how wholesale changes won’t be needed. Last year, the White Sox added Ken Griffey, Jr. to the mix at the non-waiver trade deadline, and he became a huge addition when Quentin went down with the right wrist injury and missed the season’s final month. In 2005, the White Sox added utility man Geoff Blum, and all he did was hit the game-winning home run in Game 3 of the World Series against Houston.

Youngsters such as Gordon Beckham and Chris Getz have contributed mightily from the bottom of the order, as they continue to develop. But where these sorts of late-July moves are concerned, Guillen deferred to his general manager.

“That’s Kenny’s stuff. I haven’t even talked to Kenny about the ballclub in the last week and a half,” Guillen said. “It’s easy to be a GM when you’re winning. But we have to be patient.

“Last year when we were in a pennant race, we only brought one guy, and it was Junior. The year we won, we only brought one guy and it surprised a lot of people because it was what we needed. When you’re in a pennant race you don’t need to bring names, and spend money with superstars.

“You have to bring the guy that can fit with the ballclub and is the one you really, really need, and right now we have to wait to get to that point to see what the situation is going to be and see what we need at that particular time,” Guillen said. “Then that’s Kenny’s job. I never demand any players from Kenny. We talk a lot and he knows my feelings.”

–Interesting postgame comments from Gavin Floyd Saturday on the reasoning behind his loss to the Royals, during which he threw only 54 of his 96 pitches for strikes.

“I guess my focus wasn’t exactly there completely,” Floyd said. “I just tried to keep battling and putting up zeros. I got behind a lot of hitters, the fifth and sixth inning. I wasn’t as aggressive as I usually am.”
 
Floyd’s effort on Saturday ended a stretch of eight consecutive quality starts from the right-hander.

–Scott Podsednik continues to point to his offseason training as one of the major reasons for his 2009 success

“I still feel great,” Podsednik said. “I keep saying this. My offseason conditioning and because of the conditioning that AT (White Sox director of conditioning Allen Thomas) and I go through on a weekly basis, it has been helping me out on the baseball field, without a doubt.”

–Kudos to White Sox assistant director of media relations Pat O’Connell for the truly clever lines of Saturday in the White Sox daily game notes. One header read ‘Saturday in the Park,’ focusing on the White Sox 10-3 record on Saturday’s this season, and that was followed by a note with the header, ‘You’d think it was the Fourth of July.’ You can guess the subject in this instance.

You’ll probably appreciate this combination more if you are a fan of the musical group Chicago.

–Hope everyone is enjoying their respective Fourth of July celebrations. Happy holidays!

Mark Buehrle, the comedian

Here’s a perfect example as to why Mark Buehrle is so good for baseball.

Well here’s a second example, because his victory in 2 hours, 25 minutes on Thursday in Kansas City speaks for itself.

Simply put, Buehrle enjoys the game.

For starters, I asked him after the 4-1 win if this was a perfect sort of game for the southpaw–low pitch count, making the Royals put the ball in play and only one strikeout with no walks. Buehrle smiled and quickly disagreed in self-deprecating fashion

“That’s kind of embarrassing, one strikeout,” said Buehrle, who just as quickly added that making the opposition hit the ball early in the count is the perfect way to last deep into games.

But here’s an even funnier moment.

In the eighth inning, after Mark Teahen grounded out to second for the first out, Buehrle rolled the ball toward the Royals’ dugout. I’ve seen him do this before with Jacque Jones, who got a hit off of Buehrle in Minnesota after he was about 1-for-1,000 previously, and Buehrle comically offered him the keepsake. In this instance, though, it was Buehrle who had retired one of his arch-nemeses.

With two hits earlier in the game, Teahen entered this at-bat with 22 hits in 49 at-bats against Buehrle.

“I asked him if he would sign it,” said Buehrle as to why he rolled the ball toward the Royals dugout. “I have it right there in my locker. I finally got him out. Last time here, I had (Willie) Bloomquist sign a bat for me because I finally got him out. I have a little collection of guys that own me.”

Bloomquist, who finished 1-for-3 against Buehrle Thursday, is 12-for-25 lifetime when facing the White Sox ace. Buehrle wondered aloud how one-time Royals outfielder Brandon Berger hadn’t caught on with another team just to face him, with four home runs and seven hits in 21 career at-bats against the southpaw.

Buehrle certainly doesn’t have the superstar attitude of a pitcher with a 130-89 career record. I know Zack Greinke has been lights-out this year and pitches for neighboring Kansas City, but it would seem appropriate for Buehrle to start the Midsummer Classic for the American League in front of the home faithful.

Trade particulars

Despite posting a 2.81 ERA over 10 starts for Triple-A Charlotte, Wes Whisler wasn’t exactly sitting around and waiting for his contract to be purchased prior to Saturday’s game against the Royals.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but you never know,” said Whisler, after arriving at Kauffman Stadium to begin the first Major League stint of his career. “I’m just going to go out there and control what I can control. I’m happy to be here and help out anyway possible.”
 
Whisler’s promotion was one of the offshoots from Friday night’s trade, with backup catcher Ramon Castro being sent from the Mets, with cash considerations, to the White Sox in exchange for right-handed reliever Lance Broadway. Castro, who was scheduled to arrive at game time, will wear No. 44, while Whisler will wear No. 46 on Saturday and No. 47 from that point moving forward.

Castro’s arrival could cut into playing time for starter A.J. Pierzynski, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the team’s improvement in reserve they believe to have found in Castro certainly will not force a platoon situation.

“It’s not going to be my platoon catcher, but obviously it seems like this summer will be hot and humid, and we got to keep A.J. in the best shape we can get,” Guillen said. “We’re going to upgrade there. Nothing against Corky. Corky was great for us. No doubt he catches a good game, and he did his job on the field and off the field. We improved ourselves a little bit with Castro.”

This move once again shows how general manager Ken Williams is putting his team in the best possible position to compete in an overall American League race without a clear frontrunner. Whether Whisler remains with the White Sox past June 8, when Jose Contreras figures to be called up from Charlotte to start in one of the split doubleheader games against Detroit, remains to be seen.

Broadway actually heard the news first on Friday from Whisler, his roommate in Charlotte, when the lefty told Broadway he had been called up for the first time in his career. Broadway found out about the trade shortly thereafter, leaving their Charlotte apartment vacant.

“It’s sitting there, but that’s a good thing,” said Whisler of the Charlotte apartment. “I just never knew. I’m ecstatic about things, but shocked too at the same time.”

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