The Chicago White Sox went 2-1 during their three games this past weekend. Opening Day is just two weeks away and many regulars are seeing increased playing time with rosters being trimmed down. The Sox were off on Monday, but Jake Peavy still got his work in. Peavy threw 97 pitches over six innings in a simulated game. Everything went according to plan, and Peavy’s fastball was reportedly the best he has had all spring.
Here’s a look at what else happened on the field.
Friday, March 15th
Final: Chicago White Sox 15 Chicago Cubs 3
On Friday, the White Sox offense erupted to score 15 runs on 15 hits versus their cross-town rivals. Obviously there is plenty to talk about after an outburst like this, but a couple of performances stood out the most. Outfielder Jordan Danks had a huge day by going 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Danks hit a 2-run homer in the second inning and recorded his other three RBIs on a pair of doubles. Danks’ strong defense and ability to play all three outfield positions make him a viable candidate for the team’s fourth or fifth outfielder. The White Sox would love to see Danks hit more consistently, but unless that starts to quickly change he may never become an everyday player. The other standout of the game was Dayan Viciedo. The “Tank” had an even better day than Danks by recording six RBIs on a grand slam in the fourth inning and a two-run double. Viciedo appears to be very comfortable at the plate with his new leg-kick designed to help him time his swing. Based on his talent, last year’s performance, and a strong spring (.353 average), I fully expect Viciedo to breakout in a big way this season. I will make my statistical predictions for the entire roster as we get closer to Opening Day, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Viciedo finished the season leading the team in home runs and RBIs.
On the mound was Gavin Floyd. As predicted in my last update, Floyd fared much better on Friday and pitched into the sixth inning. Floyd was outstanding on the afternoon, giving up just one run on four hits. He struck out five batters during his 5.1 innings of work. Floyd threw a lot of strikes, got ahead of hitters, and was able to generate some swing and misses with his off-speed stuff. It was nice to see him rebound after a rough outing and poor start to the spring. Unfortunately, inconsistency has prevented Floyd from ever maximizing his potential.
Saturday, March 16th
Final: Chicago White Sox 11 Oakland Athletics 5
The White Sox offense kept things going on Saturday by scoring in double digits for consecutive games. Jordon Danks had another solid game by recording two more RBIs on a pair of hits. Other performances of note were from Hector Gimenez and Conor Gillaspie. Gimenez entered the spring in a battle for back-up catcher with Josh Phegley, but has won the job with Phegley being optioned to Triple-A this weekend. Gimenez went 2-for-3 with a triple, three RBIs, and two runs scored. At age 30 and a career minor leaguer, it is nice to see a player like Gimenez getting a chance to play in the major leagues. Gillaspie continues to perform well wherever he is asked to play. On Saturday, Gillaspie batted second in the lineup added two RBIs to his spring total on two hits. He now has 10 RBIs on the spring and is hitting .313. Look for Gillaspie to break camp with the big club as a utility player given his production and versatility.
Chris Sale got the start on Saturday. The lefty was also named the team’s Opening Day starter over the weekend, an honor that is well deserved. Sale struggled against the A’s during his 5-plus innings of work. He allowed nine base runners while surrendering five runs and striking out three batters. The biggest thing for Sale at this point is to continue to build up his arm strength. Saturday marked the second outing in a row where Sale was able to pitch 5-plus innings. With two more spring starts scheduled before Opening Day, Sale should be fully prepared to pitch deep into games as he begins his first season as the White Sox “ace”.
Sunday, March 17th
Final: Kansas City Royals 10 Chicago White Sox 0
Well, not much to talk about in this one. The Sox offense only mustered five hits on the afternoon. The lone bright spot was Jordan Danks, who continued his hot hitting by going 2-for-2.
Zach Stewart started the game and really struggled. Stewart gave up seven runs on eight hits and three walks. David Purcey, Jeff Gray, and Daniel Moskos also pitched. None of the four pitchers are likely to make 25-man roster.
Up Next: Tuesday vs. Cincinnati Reds at 3:05pm CT (John Danks vs. Homer Bailey). This is a pretty big start for Danks as his takes the mound for the fourth time this spring. With only a few more chances this spring, Danks needs to increase his velocity and start working deeper in games. The White Sox would like Danks to be able to pitch six innings in a spring game before letting him start in a regular season contest.
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