Sox Eye Series Win Before Heading to Boston
Sunday, July 6, 2014
This Afternoon’s Game
White Sox vs. Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the rubber match of the three-game series and finale of the six-game homestand. Starters: RHP Hector Noesi (2-6, 5.33) for the Sox, RHP Taijuan Walker (1-0, 4.50) for Seattle.
Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Beckham 2B, Gillaspie 3B, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Ramirez SS, Viciedo RF, De Aza LF, Nieto C.
Plays of the Day
Jose Quintana was brilliant in his duel with Felix Hernandez yesterday afternoon, but neither pitcher was around at the end as the Mariners outlasted the Sox, 3-2, in 14 innings. It was 0-0 heading into the eighth as the Sox scored twice off of King Felix on the strength of a Conor Gillaspie triple, a Dayan Viciedo RBI double and a Tyler Flowers sac fly, but Seattle tied it in the top of the ninth…Quintana threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and a lone walk while striking out a season-high 10.
Of Special Note: Eaton’s Web Gem
For the second day in a row, Adam Eaton flashed some spectacular leather. This one is really special and deserves a separate shout-out.
All-Star Rosters to be Announced Tonight
Tune in to ESPN tonight at 6:00 p.m., CT, for the unveiling of the American and National League All-Star rosters. Good luck to Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez and Chris Sale. Here’s hoping they are all in Minneapolis for the Midsummer Classic on July 15.
My Excellent Adventure in the DR
A few days ago I had the chance to do something everyone working in baseball should do. I zipped down to the Dominican for a day as White Sox general manager Rick Hahn held a July 2 signing day press conference at the Hotel Plaza Naco in Santo Domingo. Hahn, along with our head of international operations Marco Paddy, welcomed four young men to the Sox organization: catcher Jhoandro Alfaro and infielders Felix Mercedes, Ricky Mota and Amado Nunez. The photo above shows Paddy (with the microphone) at the presser with Hahn looking on.
Here are a few random observations from my short time there, which included a trip to the White Sox academy in Boca Chica.
· Try to avoid boarding a plane at O’Hare airport just before a massive storm hits, grounding you for three hours.
· Don’t plan on sleeping well in the Miami airport hotel.
· It helps to have people like Marco and our scouts in the DR to drive and get you around.
· Driving in Santo Domingo is an experience filled with u-turns, traffic and crazy moped/motorcycles zooming in, through and around you.
· The kids at each team’s academy are so young. It was like watching a very talented soph/jr. high school baseball team.
· You have to try the yucca.
· Even though we were a long way from home watching on a Spanish-language feed in a fairly quiet hotel bar, Tim Howard was still outstanding.
· There are always a lot of ways to get to any one place and all of them generally include traffic.
· The water is beautiful.
· The people are incredibly hospitable.
· Our coaches and staff at the academy really care about the kids.
· It is steamy – meaning games start early – but there always seemed to be a sea breeze blowing.
· I am told that Baseball people in the DR always eat at David Crockett’s steakhouse. I asked “why in the world would I go to the DR to eat at a steakhouse when I live in Chicago?” It was explained to me that you had to eat there, that there was a big wooden horse outside (that info was wrong, so there was no need for a raised eyebrow about a horse being outside a steakhouse). It was a cow, long since removed. One scout with us said he had been coming to the DR for 15 years and ALWAYS ate here. Here and across the street at the brand-spanking new Applebee’s, proving scouts are scouts no matter where they are.
· Reality set in at the press conference when I told Mercedes I would see him in Chicago. Wait, I thought. Even if this kid comes very fast, it’s still going to be six or seven years before he’s playing in the big leagues at the early age of 22-23. Talk about putting perspective on the development of young baseball talent from the Dominican.
· All that said, it truly was worth it for me and for the organization to have Hahn take the time and show his (and our) commitment to enlarging our footprint in the Dominican and Latin American countries by showing up and welcoming these future stars into our organization.
· Order the filet. It’s outstanding.
Barons in First Place, Ravelo Extends Hitting Streak to 22
The Birmingham Barons moved into first place in the North Division of the Southern League for the first time this year with a 13-3 win last night over the Tennessee Smokies. The Barons are now 10-6 in the season’s second-half race and lead the Smokies by a half-game. 1B/DH Rangel Ravelo, now batting .316, extended his hitting streak to a league-high 22 games with this two-run homer.
It’s a “One Dog” Birthday
Happy Birthday No. 51 to former Sox outfielder Lance Johnson.
Quotes of the Day
What’s behind Jose’s success? Here are some interesting answers:
White Sox vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston (6:10 p.m., CT, WCIU) in the opener of a four-game series and seven-game road trip leading up to the All-Star break that concludes in Cleveland. Starters: RHP Scott Carroll (2-5, 5.05) for the Sox, RHP Clay Buchholz (3-4, 6.22) for Boston.
Photo of the Day
The Sox have certainly caught World Cup fever. Yes, that’s Alexei in the Lionel Messi jersey.