The Chicago White Sox picked up a victory, but dropped a pair while playing three games in four days to start the week. Outside of the three games, starters Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy also got some work in during simulated games on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. With the White Sox off on Tuesday, Quintana threw 75 pitches during five innings. The outing reportedly went well and Quintana was able to work on all of his pitches. On Wednesday, Peavy was supposed to start against the Indians, but the White Sox opted for the simulated game instead. Peavy threw 81 pitches and was able to work on pitching out of a slide-step for three innings, something he probably wouldn’t have been able to do in a spring game.
Here’s a recap of what else happened earlier this week.
Monday, March 11th
Final: Chicago White Sox 3 Colorado Rockies 1
On Monday, the White Sox offense did not need to do much with the Rockies only managing one run. Paul Konerko launched his 5th home run of the spring in the second inning off of starter Drew Pomeranz to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Konerko has been red-hot of late and is among the league leaders in homers this spring. Gordon Beckham drove in a run with one of his two hits in the 3rd to give the White Sox pitchers all the support they would need.
Starter Chris Sale was on the hill this afternoon, and was very effective. The lefty gave up just the lone run on a homer as he pitched into the sixth inning. In all, Sale gave up three hits and struck out two batters in his 5-plus innings of work. Sale was the first Sox starter to pitch five innings this spring and appears ready for the season to begin. Coming off of his newly signed contract extension, Sale seems to be the likely choice to be the team’s Opening Day starter on April 1st in Kansas City. As of now, manager Robin Ventura has not named his ace, but Sale’s pitching schedule has him on pace to pitch in the opener. Reliever Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning and stranded an inherited base runner from Chris Sale. Jones will be one of the hard-throwing right-handed options that Ventura has to turn to out of the bullpen.
Wednesday, March 13th
Final: Cleveland Indians 5 Chicago White Sox 2
On Wednesday, the White Sox offense was silent. Alexei Ramirez and Dewayne Wise each had two hits on the day, with Wise accounting for the Sox lone RBI. Ramirez is hitting .409 this spring, but don’t expect that continue given his age (31) and prior history. At this point in his career, the Sox know what kind of player they have in Ramirez. In addition to his stellar defense, expect his average to hover around .275 with 10-15 homers and 70 RBIs.
On the mound, the White Sox gave prospects and minor league pitchers a chance to compete versus some major league hitters. One name that stood out was starter Andre Rienzo. Rienzo was coming off an impressive outing for the Brazilian national team in the World Baseball Classic, and pitched well on Wednesday. During his three innings of work, Rienzo allowed two runs on three hits, a walk, and struck out a pair of hitters. According to MLB.com, Rienzo is the 9th ranked prospect in the White Sox farm system and is coming off of an impressive 2012 campaign. After serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for PEDs, Rienzo was very effective at two levels of minor league ball. Rienzo pitched a total of 103.1 innings and struck out 113 batters. With a strikeout-to-walk ratio as good as that, a .206 opponents’ batting average, a 1.16 WHIP, and a 2.53 ERA, Rienzo appears to have a bright future.
Thursday, March 14th
Final: Los Angeles Angels 12 Chicago White Sox 4
On Thursday, the White Sox offense was ineffective and the pitching staff wasn’t any better. Offensively, the lone bright spots were a Dewayne Wise solo home run, and a Tyler Flowers double that raised his average to .316 on the spring. Many White Sox fans are concerned about Tyler Flowers, but he deserves a chance. Yes, Flowers has a career batting average of .205, but that is only in 273 career at bats, or half a season. Flowers was also able to manage 12 home runs and 29 RBIs with those limited at-bats, so the potential for producing runs is definitely there. While he was serving as A.J. Pierzynski’s primary back-up for the better part of two seasons, it is still important to remember that Flowers was once considered at top prospect. At age 27, Flowers should be at his peak and I am intrigued to see what he can do with everyday at-bats.
John Danks took the ball on Thursday and the results were not pretty. Danks gave up six runs on seven hits, a walk, and struck out two in 3.1 innings. While he certainly struggled, there were some bright spots for Danks. After giving up a lead-off bomb to Mike Trout, Danks was able to strike Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo on a pair of nasty change-ups. Danks also was able to jam a few right-handed hitters with his cutter down-and-in to produce some weak outs in a 10 pitch 2nd inning. After the game Danks admitted that his velocity isn’t where he would like it yet, but he still has time to improve on that. Again, health is the key for Danks right now, and he could be ready to be the teams 5th starter out of the gate. If he isn’t, still look for Danks to make his season debut in mid-April, barring any setbacks.
Up Next: Friday vs. Chicago Cubs at 2:05pm CT (Gavin Floyd vs. Scott Feldman). Look for Floyd to rebound from his previous performances as he should be able to pitch five innings with his pitch count increasing every start.
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