Author Archive

Sox Back Home After 5-2 Road Trip

Thursday, July 31, 2014 

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Today’s News

This Afternoon’s Game

The Sox ended their seven-game road trip on a winning note this afternoon, defeating the Tigers, 7-4, on 16 hits. We finished the trip with a 5-2 record, winning three of four in Minnesota and two of three in Detroit.

Plays of the Day

Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 20 games today and that wasn’t all. He singled in the first inning (see photo above and click on link below), had a pair of doubles and was intentionally walked twice. Remarkably, he’s now recorded a hit in 38 of his last 39 games…Adam Eaton was 3-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, Alexei Ramirez singled and doubled with a run batted in, Paul Konerko was 2-4, including a double, scored twice and got credit for an RBI when he was hit by a pitch…Moises Sierra pounded out three singles and a double, scored a run and drove in another.

Abreu, now hitting .305 with his league-leading 31 homers and and 83 RBI, and Eaton, who upped his average to .296, both reached base five times. The last time two Sox teammates accomplished the feat was in 2010 when Konerko and Alex Rios did it in an extra-inning game. The last time two White Sox did so in a nine-inning contest was May 1, 2006, when Scott Podsednik collected four hits and a walk and Rob Mackowiak had three hits and two walks.

Ronald Belisario (1.2 IP), Javy Guerra (1.1) and Jake Petricka (1.0) pitched scoreless baseball in relief starter John Danks, who went five innings. Petricka chalked up his sixth save.

http://atmlb.com/1u49VCv   

More Abreu

Abreu has nine three-hit games this season, including four during his 20-game streak (@ckamka)…Jose’s run is the first 20-or-more consecutive game streak for the White Sox in a single season since Carlos Lee hit safely 28 games in a row during the 2004 season (ESPN)…he is the first Sox player with multiple games with two intentional walks in a season since Frank Thomas in 2000 (@ckamka).

Sox Notes of Note

With his fourth-inning double, Paulie reached the 4,000 mark in total bases, extending his franchise record (click on link below)…after undergoing back surgery earlier this season, Sox reliever Nate Jones had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow…OF Avi Garcia and reliever Matt Lindstrom begin rehab stints tomorrow at Class AAA Charlotte…before A.J. Pierzynski left Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, he and HOF inductee The Big Hurt talked about how St. Louis would be a good place for the catcher to land. Well, it came true just as Frank said and A.J. took a bit of Frank with him as he’s now wearing No. 35 in tribute to his ex-Sox teammate…Thomas’ Hall of Fame plaque will be removed temporarily from the Cooperstown shrine and displayed at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday and Sunday. Tony LaRussa‘s plaque will be available for viewing at the ballpark August 30-September 1…Jordan Danks tied Joe Borchard‘s Class AAA Charlotte’s all-time hit record last night with his 439th base hit…LHP Scott Snodgress was promoted to Charlotte from Class AA Birmingham.

http://m.whitesox.mlb.com/cws/video/v34964915/?partnerId=as_mlb_20140731_28857896

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White Sox Charities Week Begins Tomorrow

https://m.facebook.com/notes/chicago-white-sox/white-sox-host-sixth-annual-charities-week/10153045681473047

Quote of the Day

Sox GM Rick Hahn on Garcia and Lindstrom:

“Certainly Matt has the ability to help solidify the back end of the bullpen, and Avi would be a big piece in the lineup and as part of our future plans. We’ve missed them both throughout this stretch, and if and when they return to the active roster, we certainly think it’s going to be a nice shot in the arm.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Twins at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a three-game series and six-game homestand that concludes with three against the Rangers. Starters: LHP Chris Sale (10-1, 1.88) for the Sox, LHP Logan Darnell (0-1, 7.88) for Minnesota.

Photo/Videos of the Day

Here are No. 1 draft pick Carlos Rodon‘s three strikeouts in his one-inning debut with Class A Winston-Salem yesterday afternoon.

http://atmilb.com/1u1qqPB

http://atmilb.com/1u1qhf8

http://atmilb.com/1u1q8IE

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The Hits (and Homers) Keep On Coming For No. 79

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Today’s News

Tonight’s Game

White Sox vs. Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit (6:08 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Hector Noesi (5-6, 4.37) for the Sox, RHP Max Scherzer (12-3, 3.37) for the Tigers.

Noesi has made eight quality starts since joining the White Sox and has lowered his ERA from 14.21 to 4.99. He earned his second straight win on July 24 at Minnesota, allowing two earned runs in 7.2 innings of work.

Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Ramirez SS, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Viciedo RF, Gillaspie 3B, Beckham 2B, De Aza LF, Flowers C.

Plays of the Day

Highlighted by a bases-loaded double by Alexei Ramirez that cleared the bases and back-to-back homers by Jose Abreu (No. 31, with a man on ) and Adam Dunn (16, solo), the Sox scored seven runs on eight hits in the seventh inning last night to coast to an 11-4 win over the Tigers…Abreu added a single and a double and drove in four to raise his batting average to .299. He now leads the major leagues in homers, RBI (83) and slugging percentage (.632) and is tied in total bases (230)…he is hitting .351 with 14 homers, 36 RBI and a 1.075 OPS in his last 42 games… Adam Eaton and Conor Gillaspie both had three-hit nights and Tyler Flowers collected a pair of hits with two runs scored…Dunn’s homer was the 456th of his career, tying him for 35th place all-time with David Ortiz of the Red Sox…Jose Quintana claimed his sixth victory with another fine performance, allowing just two runs in six innings.

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The Streak

Abreu extended his hitting streak to 18 and has now hit in 36 of 37 games. He is the second player in club history to amass two hitting streaks of 18 or more games in the same season. The other? Second baseman Eddie Collins (21 and 22) in 1920. By the way, Collins (pictured below) was in the very first Hall of Fame induction class with the likes of Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner and Cy Young. Since 1949, the only other rookie to record two such hitting streaks in a season is Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 (21 and 23).

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Rookie of the Year Race: One Man’s Opinion

http://www.si.com/mlb/2014/07/24/awards-watch-rookie-year-jose-abreu-billy-hamilton

Sox Notes of Note

No. 1 draft pick Carlos Rodon (shown below warming up today) made his Class A Winston-Salem debut this afternoon. He pitched one inning in relief, allowing two runs, a hit and two walks with three strikeouts. He threw 33 pitches, 19 of which were strikes…White Sox starters are 11-2 with a 2.55 ERA and .224 average in the last 19 road games…the Sox and Comcast SportsNet will host the “In the Zone with Hawk and Stone” game broadcast on Wednesday, August 6 as Chris Sale is scheduled to be on the mound vs. Texas at 1:10 p.m. Sox announcers Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone will broadcast the game from the “K Zone” in Section 154 (date is subject to change if there are any adjustments in the Sox rotation).

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In :60… Learn More About Adam Eaton

http://m.mlb.com/cws/video/topic/12427112/v34373237/?partnerId=as_cws_20140730_28783386

Quote of the Day

Robin on Abreu:

“For everyone who thought they’d pound him in and he wouldn’t pull anything, he’s using the right-field line and hitting homers to right. That’s the biggest thing he’s done from the start of the season. We’re over the fact it’s his first year. He comes every day, prepared, ready to work and it’s a very mature approach.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Tigers at Comerica Park (12:08 p.m., CT, WGN). Starters: LHP John Danks (9-6, 4.40) for the Sox, LHP Drew Smyly (6-9, 3.77) for Detroit

Photos of the Day

Here’s a couple of Abreu heat maps that show that his hot zones are getting bigger and deeper all the time. (Thanks to @msimonespn, @ckamka and @darenw).

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Catch a Tiger by the Tail

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Today’s News

Tonight’s Game

White Sox vs. Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit (6:08 p.m., CT, CSN) as the Sox try to gain some ground in the AL Central in the opener of a three-game series with the division leaders. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.15) for the Sox, RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-4, 3.45) for the Tigers.

“Q” will be making his 22nd start of the season and 13th on the road. Six of his last seven starts have been quality and he is 2-0 with a 1.70 ERA, 49 strikeouts and a .188 opponents average during that period. He had a no decision in his last start on July 23 vs. the Royals, allowing just one run on seven hits while striking out three in seven innings. 

Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Ramirez SS, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Viciedo RF, Gillaspie 3B, Beckham 2B, De Aza LF, Flowers C.

Tomorrow is Today

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Sox Notes of Note

Over the span of his hitting streak, Jose Abreu has the following slash line: .345/.389/.648 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs and 28 RBI…Tyler Flowers began wearing glasses on July 9. Since then he’s .395/.439/.658 with seven doubles, a homer and seven RBI…Sox starters own a 3.11 ERA since June 23, the third-best mark in the American League and fifth-best in baseball…Class AAA Charlotte first baseman Andy Wilkins has been named the International League Batter of the Week for the second straight time. He is hitting .483 with eight doubles, 12 homers. 30 RBI and 24 runs scored in his last 21 games. Wilkins leads the IL in homers (26), RBI (70), extra-base hits (53), total bases (217) and home run ratio (14.69) and ranks second in slugging percentage (.568)…I was in Cooperstown Sunday and didn’t post Adrian Nieto‘s first major-league homer. He deserves a mention here, so here it is:

http://m.mlb.com/video/v34859563

Quote of the Day

During the Legends of the Game Roundtable in Cooperstown yesterday, Frank Thomas was asked who among the Hall of Famers he most enjoyed spending time with over Induction Weekend. He answered without hesitation, “Hank Aaron,” and added that Aaron was Frank Sr.’s favorite player. “My Dad used to say to me, ‘You’re pretty good, but you’re no Hank Aaron.'”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Tigers at Comerica Park (6:08 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Hector Noesi (5-6, 4.37) for the Sox, RHP Max Scherzer (12-3, 3.37) for Detroit.

Photo of the Day

One of our special guests in Cooperstown for Induction Weekend was Jeff Torborg, who was the manager of the White Sox when The Big Hurt made his debut.

Baseball fans will remember that Torborg was a fine major league catcher who caught two no-hitters (Nolan Ryan’s first of seven and the one by Bill Singer) and a perfect game (Sandy Koufax). Thanks to diehard Sox fan Jacqueline Buzard, here’s a photo of the catcher’s mitt Torborg used in all three games. It is prominently displayed in the Hall of Fame Museum.

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A Monumental Day for White Sox Fans

Monday, July 28, 2014

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The Big Hurt From the Heart

Cooperstown, NY — On a day when six baseball legends were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas distinguished himself by addressing the estimated crowd of 48,000 with a heartfelt and tearful acceptance speech that focused on his family, his teammates and many of the people who helped him along the way.

Thomas was greeted loudly and enthusiastically by the large throng of loyal White Sox fans who made the trip here for yesterday’s ceremony. Choruses of “Let’s Go White Sox” and the repetitive refrain of “Big Hurt, Big Hurt, Big Hurt” could be heard everywhere on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center.

An emotional Thomas thanked his mother, his siblings, his wife Megan, his five children, and gave a poignant tribute to his late father Frank Sr., who he said meant everything to him. “My Dad always said, ‘You can be something special if you really work at it. I took it to heart pops. Look at us today.”

Frank gave thanks to his Columbus, Ga. high school coach Bobby Howard for setting his foundation for life. He acknowledged his college coach at Auburn, Hal Baird, who treated him like a professional before he was one and former Tigers’ football coach Pat Dye who saw Frank’s talent on the diamond and encouraged him to play baseball exclusively. He talked movingly about how important his former agent, the late Robert Fraley, was to him and mentioned several others who have been instrumental in his life.

Thomas described his special relationship with White Sox hitting coach Walt Hriniak who told him that anyone can be good, it’s the special ones who want to be great. Frank said he really missed Hriniak when he left the Sox, but admitted he continued to hear his words: “Keep your effing head down and finish, Frank.”

When talking about the White Sox, among those Frank saluted were Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf (“you did a lot for me and you still mean a lot to me”), Eddie Einhorn, Kenny Williams and some folks who were responsible for drafting him like Larry Himes and Al Goldis and his first manager, Jeff Torborg. He credited those managers who followed and thanked Ozzie Guillen for getting him his only World Series ring. He gave special thanks to Hawk Harrelson for giving him The Big Hurt nickname, which Frank said changed his life forever. He also was kind enough to give a couple dozen or more shout-outs to former coaches and other Sox personnel who have worked behind the scenes–people like trainer Herm Schneider, who Thomas said always gave him the best possible care, as well as Vinnie Fresso, the current Sox clubhouse manager, and even a certain PR man.

The most unique part of Frank’s speech was his verbal montage that included a long list teammates through the years, estimated anywhere from 138 to 166. As many as Frank named, because of limited time he had to delete about 50 for the final version. 

Thomas also thanked the city of Chicago and said they made The Big Hurt who he was, adding that he enjoyed every moment he played with the Sox.

Frank began his speech thanking the Hall of Famers on the dais for letting him into the club and gave a bit of advice that he repeated at the conclusion of his talk:

“There are no shortcuts to success. Hard work, dedication, commitment and staying true to who you are.”

Below is the transcript of Frank’s speech (top link), which may have changed a bit during the actual delivery, and a video clip of his talk:

http://bit.ly/1AneOuT

http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/6003532/v34858697/?c_id=mlb

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A Thoughtful LaRussa

It came as no surprise that Tony LaRussa had some thought-provoking observations, including some about his time with the Sox:

–Talking about his years in Chicago, Tony said: “It was a wonderful experience. With the White Sox, we had this unique opportunity. The best example was a game in New York against the Yakees. Tom Seaver is going for his 300th win. Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk is catching him. To be part of that and to watch him pitch a complete game…” He also talked about the 1983 Sox who went to the postseason for the first time since 1959 and the leadership of Greg Luzinski and Jerry Koosman.

–He talked about the presence of hitting coach Charley Lau and preaching the three T’s–Team, Tenacity and Toughness.

–He said that highly respected baseball man George Kissel, also acknowledged in Joe Torre‘s acceptance speech, advised him how to approach a career in baseball: Love the game and learn it. “And for the next 35 or 36 years, it was always about loving the game and learning it, ” Tony said. “And it’s incredible. The more you learn, the more you love it. And the more you love it, the more you want to learn.” 

–LaRussa on managing: “Preparing is like studying for a test, the players take the test.”

–He said, “…I’ve been very, very fortunate. And the more I think about it, I’ve never put my arms around the fact that being really lucky is a Hall of Fame credential.”

–And: “I am personally uncomfortable on this stage. But I believe I finally came to a resolution. I was in three great situations. Great. And I believe the way to accept this tremendous honor is as a representative of all those mentors, coaches and members of the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals.”

Here’s a video clip of Tony’s speech:

http://m.cardinals.mlb.com/stl/video/v34857179/?partnerId=as_mlb_20140727_28578556

The 2014 Hall of Fame Class of Six

Here they are: Bobby Cox, La Russa, Tom Glavine, Thomas, Greg Maddux and Torre, the largest class since 1971.

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An Enormous Crowd Witnessed History

Yesterday’s crowd was the third largest crowd in Hall of Fame history (photo courtesy of South Side Sox).

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Sox Fans Everywhere Took Pride in Frank’s Induction

Here’s one of them. This is Stanten Jones, the White Sox rep in the MLB Fan Cave, watching his hero.

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Hall of Fame Notes

Hank Aaron got the biggest applause of all the Hall of Famers, receiving a standing ovation…a tribute and moment of silence honored two Hall of Famers, Tony Gwynn and Ralph Kiner, who passed away in the last year…The final count of Hall of Famers in attendance was 50, out of the 66 still alive …Chairman Jane Forbes Clark mentioned that there are now 306 members of the Hall of Fame out of all of those who have been involved in the game over 138 years.

From Columbus, Georgia to Cooperstown

http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/42160142/v34711467?partnerId=ed-8479843-728460313

Sox Win Series in Minny, Abreu Extends Hitting Streak

While we were focused on Cooperstown the past few days, our eyes, of course, were also on the Sox in Minnesota where we took three of four from the Twins. Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 17 yesterday and has now hit in 34 of his last 35 games. The Sox are in Detroit beginning Tuesday for a three-game series. 

Photos of the Day

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A Day For The Ages

Sunday, July 27, 2014

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Induction Sunday

Cooperstown, NY — After months of anticipation, the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will begin today at 12:30 p.m., CT, at the Clark Sports Center, which is located just a mile south of the Hall.

During the ceremony, we will hear from our Sox-connected inductees Frank Thomas and Tony LaRussa, pitching greats and former Braves teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and elite managers Bobby Cox and Joe Torre as they are officially are inducted into baseball’s shrine. The newest inductees will be welcomed by 55 of the 66 living Hall of Famers, who have made the trip here to be part of the festivities.

Frank and Tony: The Day Before

The six inductees spoke to the media yesterday in advance of today’s ceremony. Here’s a sampling of comments from Frank and Tony.

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Frank-ly Speaking

On the Hall of Fame experience as a whole:

“It’s really very stressful. A lot goes into it. I’m overjoyed, but the nerves are there. It’s just a different feeling. This is bigger than any ball game that I’ve every played in. Tomorrow will be magical. Just seeing the stage today, the field and thinking about all those people out there, it will really be special.”

On thinking about entering the Hall during his playing days:

“You never think about the Hall of Fame. It’s something you can’t control. As a player you just go out and play ball.”

On his speech:

“I’ve been doing a lot of traveling with my TV work and each night when I get back to my hotel room I add a few lines and add some names. It’ll be from the heart, giving credit to the people who got me here.”

On his hitting style:

“I was a hitter, not just a home run hitter. I was about scoring runs, driving in runs. I knew I had to do something to help the team every night. (Sox hitting coach) Walt Hriniak had a whole lot to do with my approach in my first eight years in Chicago and me being here in Cooperstown. It was all about discipline. You knew you had to work hard every day.”

On his Dad, Frank Sr., who has passed away:

My Dad was my man. He saw something in me and it was push, push, push, all the time–he got me off that couch. Without him I wouldn’t be here. I keep thinking what a big smile he would have if he were still here. He’d be running around with No. 35 on his back, that’s the kind of person he was.”

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The World According to Tony

On the role of a manager:

“I’ve been with coaches in other sports and we talk about how our first responsibility is to create a frame of mind for the players. Once you have their attention you can go from there. I think I had a feel for it, but I got better and better over the years.”

On his time with the Sox, notably 1983 when the club won the AL West by 20 games. It was also the team’s first playoff appearance since the AL pennant-winning year of 1959.

“1983 was a magical year. We had big personalities, great leaders like Bull (Greg Luzinski) and Kooz (Jerry Koosman) and a great coaching staff.”

On Frank:

“He was the type of hitter that you had to take out of the game. He hit for power, average, hit to all fields. He was a marked man.”

On Harold Baines and the Hall of Fame:

“My heart aches for him. If he had only been healthy enough to get 3,000 hits.”

On his managerial career with the Sox, A’s and Cardinals:

“Thirty years and three great places. How lucky I’ve been.”

Yesterday’s Award Presentations

Yesterday afternoon the Hall of Fame Awards presentation took place at Doubleday Field, for years the site of exhibition games between American and National League teams. Author Roger Angell received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Former player and broadcaster Joe Garagiola, who was not in attendance, won the Hall’s Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award and Texas Rangers’ broadcaster Eric Nadel was honored with the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.

The Parade of Legends

With thousands of fans lining the streets cheering them on, the Hall of Famers rode down Main Street last evening in trucks en route to the Museum. Here’s Frank and his wife Megan waving to the crowd.

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Main Street

Cooperstown’s main drag was again all abuzz yesterday with activity on another bright, sunny day. In addition to the thriving businesses we mentioned yesterday that were teeming with fans, other establishments enjoying the presence of the baseball faithful the past few days are the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, Mickey’s Place (as in Hall of Famer Mantle), Shoeless Joe’s and the Batter’s Up Restaurant. Again, where else can you find these places?

Among the former players signing yesterday were Pete RoseAndre DawsonMaury WillsDenny McLain, Bert Campaneris, Frank Howard, John RockerRyan Klesko and many of the players who signed earlier in the week that we mentioned yesterday.

Among the oddest sights yesterday on Main Street? Somebody I could swear was Babe Ruth and the craziest Harley you ever saw.

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A Hall of a Party

The White Sox hosted a party for Frank and Tony last night at Cooperstown’s Templeton Hall with friends and family celebrating the occasion. The Big Hurt took to the microphone upon his arrival and expressed what an honor it is to be entering the Hall. He also admitted his “knees will be knocking,” but is looking forward to the big day. Tony talked emotionally about his days with the Sox and led the crowd in singing “Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye.”

Frank

A Sox Fan’s Delight

Museum exhibits I thought you’d like to see.

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And While We’re in Cooperstown…

The Sox won their third straight last night with a 7-0 whitewash of the Twins. We go for the sweep of the four-game series today. Chris Sale was in vintage form. He won his 10th game of the season against a single loss via a brilliant five-hit shutout, which included a dozen strikeouts over eight innings–and he lowered his ERA to a miniscule 1.88…Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run homer, Conor Gillaspie was 3-4 with a double two runs scored, Tyler Flowers singled and doubled and drove in a pair and Adam Eaton had two singles, two RBI and scored a run. Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a ninth-inning single. He has now recorded a hit in 34 of his last 35 games.

Photos of the Day

I guess you could say it was SoxFest East yesterday on Main Street.

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Hall of Fame Confidential

Saturday, July 26, 2014

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Remembering The Big Hurt

Cooperstown, NY — A few people have asked me to pass along some of my memories of working with soon-to-be official Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. I started with the White Sox on July 22, 1991, so Frank was actually the last active Sox player to pre-date my arrival (which I guess only means that I am old). As I thought about my experiences with the greatest right-handed hitter I ever saw day-in and day-out, my memories tended to come back as quick bullet points, so here they are:

- His immense size upon meeting him. He is a large man.

- His big smile.

- His ability, early in his career, to hit breaking balls as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen.

- His raw strength. The ball just kept going when he hit it.

- Frank’s natural tendency to hit the ball with power to right center field, especially early in his career.

- Just how good he was during his MVP seasons.

- His incredible patience at the plate.

- His streak of reaching base, not just in consecutive games but consecutive plate appearances.

- Frank’s photo shoot with Sports Illustrated in the batting cage.

- His famous back-to-back photo shoot with Ken Griffey Jr. that also appeared in SI.

- His “Big Hurt” logo and Reebok line of shoes.

- His Home Run Derby performance in Pittsburgh at the All-Star Game.

- His ASG home run in Texas, the first by a Sox player.

- His long home run off the railing in left center field.

- Looking through the old Baseball Encyclopedia, along with colleague Dan Fabian, as we searched for other players to have generated the stats Frank did (this exercise took us days in the 1990s; now it could be done in seconds on a computer).

- The impressive list of names we did compile … Williams, Gehrig, Ruth, Foxx.

- His deserving of a third MVP Award in 2000.

- His ability to hit long, majestic home runs to left field later in his career.

- His tendon injury to his arm.

- Frank on the field in Houston celebrating a World Series Championship.

- His two home-run return to U.S. Cellular Field as an opposing player.

- Working with Frank as we planned his sculpture.

- His reaction when we unveiled that sculpture in left field at U.S. Cellular Field.

- Meeting with Frank to discuss the Hall of Fame vote.

- The reaction of Frank and his family and their excitement the day the Hall of Fame called.

- Looking forward to tomorrow as Frank takes his well-deserved spot among baseball’s greats.

Main Street

Strolling down Main Street in Cooperstown yesterday afternoon among thousands of fans dressed in caps and jerseys of almost every big-league team, it was still easy to spot White Sox fans, who were out in full force in earth’s version of baseball heaven. Where else would you find Yastrzemski Sports, the Where It All Began Bat Co., the Doubleday Cafe, the Short Stop Restaurant, Baseballism Cooperstown and the Seventh Inning Stretch, pictured below?

And in different locations on Main Street and around the corner on Pioneer Street, baseball legends were signing autographs. During the time I was there, Orlando Cepeda, Wade Boggs, Tom Lasorda, Darryl Strawberry, Dale Murphy, Gaylord PerryReggie Jackson, Lou Brock and Doc Gooden were all available for their John Hancock. And in front of the CVS Pharmacy, of all places, there were Rollie Fingers, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal and Rickey Henderson.

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Will the Real Frank Thomas Please Stand Up?

Perhaps the most confusing moment of the day was hearing someone yelling out that the “Original Frank Thomas” was signing at a nearby Main Street storefront (pictured below in the Pirates’ cap). For those of a certain age, you’ll remember there was indeed another quality major leaguer named Frank Thomas, an outfielder/first baseman/third baseman who was a three-time National League All-Star and hit  286 homers in 16 major-seasons with seven NL teams in the 1950s and 1960s.

I’m sure it was a bit confusing for the fans, especially on the same weekend that our Frank Thomas is being inducted into the Hall. But that Frank seemed to be having a good time.

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Honey, We’re Spending our Anniversary in Cooperstown

George and Becky Wilcox of Darien, IL and their three children were planning on spending their 12th wedding anniversary tomorrow, July 27, on vacation in California–until that is, The Big Hurt was elected to the Hall of Fame in January.

Both long-time Sox fans, George and Becky quickly changed their plans to make a trip to the east coast and made sure they would be in Cooperstown when Frank was inducted.

“Being here is special,” George said while taking in the sights and sounds of Main Street yesterday. “We’re fortunate to be alive when the greatest player in Sox history goes into the Hall of Fame. I wanted us to share it as a family.”

The Wilcox kids are 10-year-old daughter Gracie, eight-year-old son A.G. and six-year-old daughter Anna. Being of a younger generation, their favorite player is Paul Konerko and they are hoping there is another trip to Cooperstown in their future.

Oh, by the way, if you think their pilgrimage here is the consummate definition of Sox loyalty, the following might top it. George, a sportswriter for the Pioneer Press, and Becky, a high school teacher at Hinsdale Central, were married at U.S. Cellular Field, then known as New Comiskey Park.

Happy Anniversary and many more to the Wilcoxes, pictured below:

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Neighbors

A group of Sox staffers who are here to document the color and excitement of Induction Weekend via photographs, video and social media are staying in three private houses in the center of town. And they couldn’t have better neighbors. Next door to two of the homes is a house where former Thomas teammates Aaron Rowand and A.J. Pierzynski and their families arranged to stay while here to honor Frank. As I posted yesterday, Aaron, A.J. and Jermaine Dye all attended a party for Frank last night.

As you may have heard, A.J.’s stay in Cooperstown was short-lived as was his stint on the unemployment line. He left late yesterday afternoon to join the St. Louis Cardinals, who happen to be in Chicago playing the Cubs. Something tells me Frank will understand.

The Wisdom of Buck O’Neil

In 2008, the Hall of Fame honored the legacy of Buck O’Neil, a legend in the Negro Leagues whose contributions to baseball spanned eight decades, with the creation of the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. O’Neil was the first recipient, which is given every three years. Former Sox GM Roland Hemond was the winner in 2011 and this year’s honoree is Joe Garagiola.

In anticipation of Sunday’s acceptance speeches, here is O’Neil’s priceless speech when he was honored in ’08 with the award named after him.

http://www.shermanreport.com/flashback-buck-oneils-hall-of-fame-speech-in-2006/

Meanwhile in Minneapolis…

Good news travels fast and all of us were happy to see that the Sox won their second straight against the Twins last night, 9-5, while collecting 17 hits. It was our 50th win of the season.

Plays of the Day: John Danks won his ninth game of the year, tossing seven solid innings. Jose Abreu hit a three-run homer, his 30th, and Alexei Ramirez (No. 9) and Tyler Flowers (No. 6) hit solo shots.

Photo/Video of the Day

ESPN Insiders pay tribute to the Hall of Fame Class of 2014 (artwork courtesy of ESPN).

http://es.pn/1pV7UG1

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Baseball’s Shrine Awaits Thomas and LaRussa

Friday, July 25, 2014

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Todays News                    

Cooperstown, NY — I’m here in the spiritual home of baseball, awaiting one of the landmark days in White Sox history as Frank Thomas and Tony LaRussa will join the pantheon of the game’s greats on Sunday when they are inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Thomas and LaRussa will be joined in the HOF Class of 2014 by pitching greats Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux and elite managers Bobby Cox and Joe Torre. A huge throng of fans, perhaps in the neighborhood of 60,000 or more, will make their way to this upstate New York village to celebrate the newest enshrinees.

After being selected as the club’s No. 1 draft pick in 1989 (7th overall) out of Auburn University, The Big Hurt established himself as the greatest hitter in the history of the White Sox franchise and with 83.7 percent of the vote became the first Sox player to be elected to the Hall on the first ballot. LaRussa began his managerial career in a White Sox uniform and managed one of the club’s most memorable teams–the 1983 “Winning Ugly” Sox that won the American League West by 20 games.

For the next few days my goal is to share with you the sights and sounds of Induction Weekend, primarily as it relates to the Sox inductees. So, if you aren’t able to make the trip yourself, I’ll try to be your eyes and ears and provide you with an inside look at what promises to be a very special time.

In Good Company

There will be a couple dozen in the White Sox contingent this weekend. Among them will be Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Senior Executive Vice President Howard Pizer, fellow Senior Vice Presidents Tim Buzard and Brooks Boyer, Senior Director of Community Relations Christine O’Reilly and Director of Media Relations Bob Beghtol.

Also included in the Sox party will be former Sox manager Jeff Torborg, Frank’s first major-league skipper; Larry Himes and Al Goldis, the General Manager and Director of Scouting and Player Development when Frank was drafted; and the man who coined the nickname, “The Big Hurt,” Hawk Harrelson.

Others with Sox connections that will be here this weekend are former Sox GM Roland Hemond and ex-Sox stars Jermaine Dye, Aaron Rowand and A.J. Pierzynski, who all played with Thomas on the 2005 World Champions.

Additionally, The Hall of Fame has announced that 55 of the 66 living Hall of Famers will be in Cooperstown this weekend.

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How and Why Frank Reached Cooperstown 

* Career .301 hitter with 495 doubles, 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI, 1,667 walks, a .419 on-base percentage and .555 slugging percentage in 2,322 games over 19 seasons as a first baseman/designated hitter with the White Sox (1990-2005), Oakland (2006, ’08) and Toronto (2007-08).

* Won the 1997 American League batting title with a .347 average.

* One of four players in major-league history with a career .300 average, 500 home runs, 1,500 RBI, 1,000 runs scored and 1,500 walks. Hall of Famers Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams are the others.

* One of 12 players in major-league history to win consecutive Most Valuable Player awards (1993-94). He was honored as an unanimous selection in ’93.

* Won four Silver Slugger Awards (1991, 1993-94 and 2000) and named American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2000 and 2006.

* One of four players to drive in at least 100 runs in each of his first eight full major-league seasons, joining Hall of Famers Al Simmons (1924-1934), Williams (1939-1949) and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols (2001-2010).

* Only player in major-league history to bat .300 or better with at least 20 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 walks and 100 runs scored in seven consecutive seasons (1991-97).

* One of seven AL right-handed hitters to top the league in average and on-base percentage in the same season (1997); Nap Lajoie (1901), Jimmie Foxx (1938), Luke Appling (1943), Frank Robinson (1966), Edgar Martinez (1995) and Miguel Cabrera (2011, 2013).

* Led the AL in average (1997), slugging percentage (1994), extra-base hits (1992, ’94), walks (1991, ’94-’95) and on-base percentage (1991-92, ’94, ’97). He also tied for the AL lead in doubles and walks (1992) and extra-base hits (1994).

* He was a five-time All-Star (1993-97) and won the Home Run Derby in 1995.

* Hit 11 grand slams and recorded 33 multi-homer games, including a career high three homers on September 15, 1996 at Boston.

* Hit 40-plus home runs five times, drove in 100-plus runs in 10 seasons and drew 100-plus walks 10 times.

* Holds numerous White Sox career records including home runs (448), RBI (1,465), walks (1,466), runs (1,327), doubles (447), extra-base hits (906), on-base percentage (.427), slugging percentage (.568) and OPS (.995).

* Announced his retirement from baseball on February 12, 2010 at U.S. Cellular Field.

* His No. 35 was retired by the White Sox on August 29, 2010. A bronze sculpture of his likeness was unveiled on July 31, 2011.

* Won a World Series ring with the 2005 World Champion White Sox.

How and Why Tony Reached Cooperstown

* As a major-league manager from 1979 to 2011, first with the White Sox (1979-86) and later with the A’s (1986-95) and Cardinals (1996-2011), LaRussa guided his teams to three World Series titles, six league championships and 12 division titles in 33 seasons. 

* Tony’s teams won 100 or more games four times and he was named the BBWAA’s Manager of the Year in his league four times. 

* LaRussa managed 5, 097 games in the big leagues, joining Connie Mack as the only other major-league manager at the 5,000 game level. 

* His 2,728 wins as a manager ranks third all-time in major-league history, behind only iconic skippers Mack and John McGraw.

* He is one of only two managers (along with Sparky Anderson) to win World Series titles in both leagues and the only skipper to win All-Star Games in both leagues.

And the Others Before Them

Here is a list of other Hall of Famers who played for the White Sox…

Roberto Alomar (2003-04)

Luis Aparicio (1956-62, ’68-70)

Luke Appling (1930-50)

Chief Bender (1953)

Steve Carlton (1986)

Eddie Collins (1915-26)

Jocko Conlan (1934-35)

George Davis (1902, ’04-09)

Larry Doby (1956-57, ’59)

Johnny Evers (1922)

Red Faber (1914-33)

Carlton Fisk (1981-93)

Nellie Fox (1950-63)

Goose Gossage (1972-76)

Clark Griffith (1901-02)

Harry Hooper (1921-25)

George Kell (1954-56)

Ted Lyons (1923-42, ’46)

Ed Roush (1913)

Red Ruffing (1947)

Ron Santo (1974)

Ray Schalk (1912-28)

Tom Seaver (1984-86)

Al Simmons (1933-35)

Ed Walsh (1904-16)

Hoyt Wilhelm (1963-68)

Early Wynn (1958-62)

…and those who managed the Sox.

Frank Chance (1924, did not manage due to illness)

Hugh Duffy (1910-11)

Bob Lemon (1977-78)

Al Lopez (1957-65, ’68-69)

An Epic Journey

Enjoy watching Frank’s trip to Cooperstown with Chuck Garfien earlier this year. 

http://www.csnchicago.com/white-sox/frank-thomas-journey-hall-fame-comes-full-circle

Note of the Day

Thomas, who was born on May 27, 1968, is the youngest living Hall of Famer at 45 years of age.

Must-See TV, Etc.

MLB Network will broadcast the induction ceremony live on Sunday from 12:30-3:30 p.m., CT, and events throughout the weekend in Cooperstown. Sirius XM satellite radio will cover the ceremony nationwide and it will also be streamed live at www.baseballhall.org.

Quotes of the Day

Sox Skipper Robin Ventura on his long-time teammate Thomas:

“You are appreciative when you see his career and the numbers that go with it. But the fact that most of it was done in a White Sox uniform is special. There are not many of them that are in. For him to do it and have that productivity over that period of time, win MVPs and things like that, he was a dominant player in his era. That will stand the test of time as far as his place with the White Sox.”

Harrelson on the The Big Hurt:

“Watching Frank hit was something I’ve never seen before and never seen since. When he first came up he was a big, imposing figure at the plate. But it wasn’t Frank’s strength that made him great. He was basically a line drive type hitter whose line drives went over the wall. It was his mindset. He was smart and he worked his rear end off. And he was at a 2-0, 3-1 count almost every time. Do the math, who’s going to hit the most, a guy who hits 2-0, 3-1 in his career or 0-2 or 1-2? The last time I saw someone do that was Yaz (Carl Yastrzemski) the year he won the Triple Crown in 1967. For an eight-year period Frank was the best righthanded hitter I’ve ever seen and he put up numbers that nobody else approached.

Reinsdorf on LaRussa:

“Tony is one of top two or three human beings I’ve ever known in my life, he’s just a wonderful, wonderful person. I’ve only known two people who would do something to help a friend even if it was bad for him. I’ve seen Tony do that. You can’t have a more loyal friend, you can’t have a guy that supports his friends more than Tony does. He’s a brilliant manager, a brilliant baseball guy, but he’s an even better human being in my opinion.

“What made Tony a great manager? Preparation. He calls it slowing down the game. He was always thinking ahead to possible situations that could arise. So when they did arise, he didn’t have to figure out what to do, he already made his decision. His teams were always fundamentally sound, they worked extremely hard during spring training and during the season. He also always surrounded himself with the best possible coaches evidenced by his staff with the White Sox, which probably was the best coaching staff ever put together. And most important for any manager, he got the guys to play hard for him.”

The Gang’s Back Together

And here’s Aaron, Jermaine, Frank and A.J. celebrating at a party honoring Thomas in Cooperstown last night.

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Photos of the Day

The Hall calls.

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First of Four in Minnesota

January 24, 2014

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Today’s News

Tonight’s Game

White Sox vs. Twins at Target Field, Minneapolis (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a four-game series. Starters: RHP Hector Noesi (4-6, 4.55) for the Sox, RHP Phil Hughes (10-6, 4.05) for Minnesota.

Noesi will be making his 16th start since joining the White Sox. He has made seven quality starts and has lowered his ERA from 14.21 to 5.21. He earned his fourth win in his last start on July 17 vs. the Astros, allowing three runs on six hits over six innings.

Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Ramirez SS, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Viciedo RF, Gillaspie 3B, Beckham 2B, De Aza LF, Flowers C.

Play of the Day

Another no-decision yesterday can’t diminish the latest outstanding performance by Jose Quintana. Though the Royals scored the winning run in the top of the ninth for the 2-1 victory, “Q” was brilliant in his pitchers duel with James Shields. Jose yielded just a run, seven hits and a pair of walks along with three Ks in seven innings of work. He is now 2-0 with a 1.70 ERA with 49 strikeouts over his last seven starts (six quality) and has allowed only three earned runs or less in 18 of his 21 starts…Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double (he’s batting .377 during the streak) and has hit safely in 31 of his last 32 games…Tyler Flowers, who singled twice, is 9-15 (.600) with four doubles and three RBI over his last five games…Moises Sierra, who doubled yesterday, is 11-40 (.275) with four doubles in his last 12 starts.

Roster Moves

Before tonight’s game, the Sox placed reliever Zach Putnam on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and recalled Andre Rienzo from Class AAA Charlotte.

Paciorek in Booth This Weekend

With Hawk Harrelson heading to Cooperstown, NY, for Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, Tom Paciorek with join Steve Stone in the TV booth for the series with the Twins.

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The Truth about Chris Sale

From Jonah Keri in Grantland.com:

If we’re going to spill thousands of words about Clayton Kershaw, it seems only fair to do the same for Chris Sale. Yes, Kershaw plays for a more glamorous and successful team, and yes, he’s been dominating a little longer than his fellow lefty. Still, compare the 2014 stat lines and it’s tough to ignore the similarities: Right now, Sale looks like the AL version of Kershaw.

To toast Sale’s excellence, here are some fun facts about one of the best and most underrated pitchers in the game:

• Sale leads all left-handed AL starters with as many or more innings pitched in ERA (2.08) and FIP (2.48).

• Opposing batters are hitting .190 against Sale, with a .237 on-base percentage. Both of those marks lead the AL. Opponents are slugging .271 against Sale, second only to the Angels’ Garrett Richards.

• Sale ranks second in the AL in strikeout rate (28.3 percent), trailing only Yu Darvish; second in swing-and-miss rate (12.5 percent), trailing only Masahiro Tanaka; and sixth in walk rate (4.4 percent).

• In 14 starts, Sale has allowed more than three runs only once: a seven-inning, five-run affair against the Angels, the top-scoring team in baseball.

• Left-handed batters are hitting .118/.183/.132 against Sale. When Sale gets two strikes against lefties, he throws his slider away, and those hitters take a seat. 

The White Sox are headed in the right direction as GM Rick Hahn’s roster makeover continues behind Sale and the great Jose Abreu. Take the $68 million deal that binds Abreu to the team through 2019, and the $32.5 million pact that locks up Sale through 2017, and the White Sox boast the best pair of long-term contracts in all of baseball.

And Don’t Forget “Q”

From @ckamka: The most quality starts by a left-handed pitcher in 2014:

Jose Quintana, Sox   16

David Price, Rays       15

Jon Lester, Red Sox   15

Scott Kazmir, A’s        15

Ceremonial First Pitches

http://blog.richardroeper.com/?p=6402

Quote of the Day

The Weekend Schedule

I will be in Cooperstown this weekend celebrating the Hall of Fame inductions of Frank Thomas and Tony LaRussa so I will be posting from there on all of the Hall of Fame festivities.

Here is the schedule for the remainder of the weekend series against the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis: 

Friday:  LHP John Danks (8-6, 4.35) for the Sox, RHP Kevin Correia (5-12, 4.76) for the Twins (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN).

Saturday: LHP Chris Sale (9-1, 2.03) for the Sox, TBA for the Twins (6:10 p.m., CT, WGN).

Sunday: RHP Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.52) for the Sox, RHP Yohan Pino (1-3, 4.64) for the Twins (1:10 p.m., CT, CSN).

Photo of the Day

…And we know it won’t be his last!

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It’s “Quintana Time” in Rubber Match with KC

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Today’s News

This Afternoon’s Game

White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, WGN) in the rubber match of the three-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.26) for the Sox, RHP James Shields (9-5, 3.70) for Kansas City.

Quintana ranks among the American League leaders in quality starts (T5th, 15), HR/9.0 IP (5th, 0.43), opponent slugging percentage (8th, .334) and opponent OPS (8th, .625). He is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA, 48 strikeouts and a .169 opponents average in his last six starts. He is tied for second in the AL with eight no decisions this season and leads MLB with 35 no decisions since 2012.

Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Beckham 2B, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Ramirez SS, Gillaspie 3B, De Aza LF, Flowers C, Sierra RF.

Play of the Day

Adam Dunn hit his 15th home run of the season and 455th of his career in last night’s loss to the Royals (click on link below for video). The Sox slugger is currently in 35th place on the all-time list.

http://atmlb.com/1txCurN

Sox Notes of Note

Congratulations to Tyler Flowers on the birth of his second child. Tyler left the ballpark right after Monday night’s game to be with his wife Nancy, who gave birth to son Brantley Cole…Hawk Harrelson will be in Cooperstown this weekend for the Hall of Fame inductions of Frank Thomas and Tony LaRussa.

It’s Just the Beginning

No. 1 draft pick Carlos Rodon made his professional debut last night with the Sox’ Arizona Rookie League team. The lefty hurler was clocked at 96 mph in his one inning of work, allowing a run and two hits while striking out one. It was his first time on the mound since May 16.

Quote of the Day

Adam Eaton has been named the White Sox winner of the 2014 Heart and Hustle Award, it was announced yesterday by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.

One player from each of the 30 major-league clubs was selected for “his passion for the game of baseball and who best embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game.” Former players do the voting and the overall winner will be announced on November 18.

Here’s Adam talking about the honor: 

“I’m pumped. My wife and  talked about it today, and it’s my first big-league trophy, which is kind of cool. I’m honored. If you’re playing the right way and healthy, and doing what you should be doing, you should definitely compete for that trophy every year. I’m very pleased…You’ve got to play hard every day, and I’m blessed to have the opportunity, and I’m excited.”

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Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Twins at Target Field, Minneapolis (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a four-game series. Starters: RHPHector Noesi (4-6, 4.55) for the Sox, RHP Phil Hughes (10-6, 4.05) for Minnesota.

Photo of the Day

Five years ago today, Mark Buehrle pitched the 18th perfect game in MLB history.

http://atmlb.com/1A5XWbI

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Carroll Looks to Continue Winning Ways

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Today’s News

Tonight’s Game

White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Scott Carroll (4-5, 4.19) for the Sox, LHP Bruce Chen (1-2, 6.46) for KC.

Carroll is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA over his last two starts. He tossed five scoreless innings on July 12 vs. Cleveland before leaving with lower back stiffness and allowed just one hit over 6.2 scoreless IP in his previous outing on July 7 at Boston.

Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Ramirez SS, Gillaspie 3B, Viciedo LF, Dunn DH, Konerko 1B, Beckham, 2B, Sierra RF, Nieto C.

Plays of the Day

Chris Sale was his usual brilliant self in his first start since the All-Star break in last night’s 3-1 win over the Royals. He allowed just a single run, seven hits and two walks along with eight strikeouts as he won his ninth game and lowered his ERA to 2.03…Chris is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last three starts and is 7-1 with a 1.90 ERA at home this season…the bullpen did its part as well as Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless eighth and Jake Petricka (shown below with Tyler Flowers after the final out) did likewise in the ninth while chalking up his fourth save…Adam Dunn drove in a pair of runs in the first innng with an opposite field single against the shift and Gordon Beckham brought home a run with a sixth inning sac fly…after getting on base four times on Sunday with two hits and two walks, Adam Eaton reached base three more times last night with two singles and a walk, lifting his batting average to .284…Jose Abreu‘s seventh-inning double extended his hitting streak to 11 games and he has now hit safely in 30 of his last 11 games.

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For Starters, This is Pretty Impressive

White Sox starters own a 3.18 ERA since June 23, the best mark in the American League and fourth-best in the MLB during that span.

Look Who Was Signing Today at Brookfield Zoo

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Quotes of the Day

Sale, who has always been a team-first guy, on his Cy Young Award candidacy:

“I don’t really pay too much attention to any of that. I have a job to do and I have to focus on doing that and winning games. We’re right in the hunt right now. These are the dog days, and you’ve got to bear down. Now is not the time to be thinking about yourself or some trophy or whatever.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, WGN) in the finale of the three-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.26) for the Sox, RHP James Shields (9-5, 3.70) for Kansas City.

Photo of the Day

What could be better than watching the Sox win while wearing your Adam Eaton t-shirt on “Free T-Shirt Monday?”

The remaining dates of the new promotion will be August 4 vs. Texas, featuring an Abreu t-shirt, August 18 vs. Baltimore, highlighting Sale, and September 8 vs. Oakland featuring Paul Konerko.

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