Sox Go for Third Straight Win Tonight; GM Hahn Talks Past, Present and Future

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Today’s News

Tonight’s Game

White Sox vs. Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, WCIU). Starters: RHP Erik Johnson (0-1, 4.50) making his second career start and first at home for the Sox, RHP Rick Porcello (11-8, 4.76) for Detroit.

Sox Starting LIneup: De Aza, CF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Gillaspie, 3B; Viciedo, LF; Phegley, C.

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The State of Our Sox

As the Sox returned to Chicago, General Manager Rick Hahn spoke to the media before last night’s game about a variety of subjects:

Reflecting on the season that has been and looking towards the remainder of the year…

Rick: I’m not spending a lot of time thinking about what could have been.  Our focus is more on getting the most out of the next 20 games and seeing some of the young guys contribute.  We’d like to see them demonstrate what they are capable of doing and then hit the ground running in the offseason.  

On what he is looking for and expecting from the young players as the season comes to an end…

RickWe want to see how they compete, prepare and go about their business.  Even how they fare against adversity, because sometimes you learn even more about a person’s makeup when they struggle.  This last road trip and the remainder of the schedule has had some meaningful games for our opponents (playoff contenders) and by playing our young guys in these games against good competition we hope to see them prepare themselves to play in meaningful games for us in the not too distant future.  

On being competitive…

RickThe Boston Red Sox are the most recent example of a team and model of going from worst to first in the standings.  The core of pitching we have along with some of our young players give us what we believe will be one of those shorter paths to getting back to the competitiveness we expect and where we want to be in the standings.

On the futures of Robin Ventura and Paul Konerko…

Rick: Robin is already signed for next year so there’s really nothing to discuss along those lines.  With Konerko, we’ve said this since Spring Training that similar to the last two times where he’s entered the final year of his contract, we will sit down together after the season ends, (when) he knows what he wants to do and we will have a conversation, in private, about the future and how everyone fits.  

On the development of the farm system this season…

RickWe are real pleased with the young pitching.  Erik Johnson, (Jake) Petricka and (Daniel) Webb have had nice seasons.  Marcus Semien had a real good year.  Micah Johnson led the minor leagues in stolen bases, so he’s another player that had a good year.  We entered the season knowing we had a fair amount of outfield depth and good pitching depth as well.  We’ve seen some of those pitchers take the next step which we had hoped, however maybe not the outfielders as much as some infielders, who have stepped forward this year.    

On what has set the 2013 White Sox backward and what needs to improve in 2014…

RickUnfortunately, we have a number of areas that we need to upgrade.  Being at the bottom of the league in runs scored, obviously the offense is something at the top of the list.  Also how we performed defensively and on the base paths have been well below our expectations and well below acceptable.  We have a fair amount of work to do and we realize that.  With the way the season has gone we’ve given ourselves some extra time to prepare for what we want to do.  We were able to take care of some of that at the trade deadline and hopefully come October and November we can continue on that path.  Free agency, trades and the farm system are all parts of that.

On the way he views the farm system in regards to how Kenny Williams may have…

Rick: The farm system has two major purposes: One, providing impact talent for Chicago and two, providing trade assets to acquire impact players for Chicago.  I don’t think that’s any different than any other general manager views their farm system.    

On the experience of this season as a whole…

RickI’m no different from any fan or anybody in the front office or locker room that has suffered through a season that has been gut-wrenching.  It has been very difficult.  I try to look at in perspective that what we have in front of us now is a tremendous opportunity.  We have a chance to address some of the issues we have and, frankly, we’re at an advantage in pitching as well as a bit of a blank slate in a lot of the areas we need to get better in.  I view it as a trying season but it also as an opportunity to get better in the near future.    

Assessing the catcher situation this season…

RickTyler’s (Flowers) surgery was about as minor as we expected.  It will take about 2-3 months to recover but it shouldn’t be a long-term issue for Tyler.  With any young catcher or any young player you are going to have ups and downs.  I would say with Tyler we probably haven’t seen enough to make a final determination if this is the type of player he is.  The injury probably factored in with some of his performance as the pain, which was manageable early, became greater late in the season before we shut him down.   Obviously, we haven’t hit as well and gotten the offensive production out of catcher that we’ve anticipated.  Josh (Phegley) or Tyler haven’t really approached their ceiling in terms of what we think they are capable of offensively.  The two of them, along with (Hector) Gimenez when he was here, deserve a fair amount of credit for how the pitching staff has preformed.  That’s a large part of the job that tends to get overlooked especially when a catcher isn’t hitting.  We are certainly pleased with the preparation and game planning.  That aspect has been solid, but there’s certainly room for improvement.  

Speaking of the Future, the 2014 Sox Schedule was Announced Today

We announced our 2014 regular-season schedule today, with Opening Day on Monday, March 31 vs. Minnesota at U.S. Cellular Field (3:10 p.m. CT).  The opener is part of a three-game series (with an off day on April 1) against the division-rival Twins.  The club opens the season at home for the second consecutive season and seventh time in the last 10 years.

Here’s the entire ’14 schedule (it’s still subject to change):

http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=cws#y=2014&m=3&calendar=DEFAULT

Barons Head to Southern League Championship Series

The Birmingham Barons, the White Sox Class AA affiliate, defeated the Tennessee Smokies, a Cubs affiliate, last night in the decisive Game 5 of the Southern League North Division playoffs. The Barons are now on their way to the league’s championship series against the Mobile BayBears, a Diamondbacks farm club. The best-of-five series begins tomorrow night at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile.

In last night’s Barons’ triumph, 2B Micah Johnson, 3B Cody Puckett, DH Brandon Jacobs and C Mike Blanke each collected a hit and RBI. SS Tyler Saladino had a pair of singles and CF Jared Mitchell doubled and scored twice. Nestor Molina got credit for the win and Cody Winiarski got the save.

Sox Broadcasters and the Ford C. Frick Award

White Sox broadcasters Hawk Harrelson, Steve Stone, Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson and Hector Molina are all candidates for the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award. The five Sox announcers will be considered as part of the new “High Tide Era,” which will reflect broadcasting contributions made during the regional cable network era from 1980-present.

Play of the Day

The Sox chalked up their second win in a row last night and prevented Detroit starter Max Scherzer from winning his 20th game. Chris Sale was magnificent, shutting down the Tigers, 5-1, allowing the lone run on four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in eight innings of work…Conor Gillaspie had a pair of doubles, Dayan Viciedo collected two singles and an RBI, Paul Konerko drove in a pair with a base hit and Josh Phegley singled in a run. 

Quote of the Day

@SouthSideSox on last night’s win:

“Enjoyable game. Probably one of the best this year.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the finale of the three-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (7-6, 3.70) for the Sox, RHP Anibal Sanchez (13-7, 2.61) for Detroit.

Did You Know…

that with his eight strikeouts last night, increasing his season total to 207, Chris became the fastest pitcher in franchise history to 200 strikeouts in a season, joining Wilbur Wood and Gary Peters as the only lefties in Sox annals to record at least 200 strikeouts in a single-season? 

Photo of the Day

Sale: As good as it gets.

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