Sox Seek Series Win After Abreu and Carroll Make it a Momentous Sunday
Monday, April 28, 2014
White Sox vs. Rays at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the finale of the four-game series as the Sox (13-13) look to win the series and go over the .500 mark. Starters: RHP Andre Rienzo (1-0, 4.91) for the Sox, RHP Jake Odorizzi (1-2, 6.52) for Tampa Bay.
Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Beckham 2B, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Viciedo RF, Ramirez SS, De Aza LF, Flowers C, Semien 3B.
Plays of the Day
With his mom, dad, other family members and friends in the stands, Scott Carroll was brilliant yesterday in his major-league debut. Not only did he allow just two runs (one unearned), six hits and two walks along with three strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched, he got credit for his first victory and outdueled former Cy Young Award winner David Price in the Sox’ 9-2 win (In the photo above, Alexei Ramirez gives Scott a celebratory shower)…we broke into the scoring column with a five-run sixth inning, highlighted by Jose Abreu‘s two-run blast (he’s now got 10 homers and 31 RBI, leading the majors in both), four Tampa Bay errors and alert base running by Adam Eaton that enabled him to score while the Rays were napping…the Sox added four more in the seventh on an RBI double by Marcus Semien, a two-RBI single by Abreu and a run-scoring base hit by Ramirez…Eaton had a three-hit day, collecting three singles.
The Abreu homer:
Abreu Notes of Note
With his home run yesterday, Abreu extended his major-league record homer total for rookies through April and set the RBI mark as well…his 10 homers in April are the most by a White Sox rookie in any month and most by a Sox player in the month of April since Paul Konerko‘s 11 in 2010…his 31 RBI this month are a franchise record, surpassing Konerko’s 28 in 2002…Jose tied Zeke Bonura (1934) for the franchise record for home runs through his first 26 games and his 31 RBI are the most by a Sox player through their first 26 games and are the most in any month since Frank Thomas‘ 31 in August of 2003…Abreu is the first player in MLB history to have four four-plus RBI games in his first 26 career contests…Jose has been named co-American League Player of the Week for April 21-27, along with Seattle’s Kyle Seager. During the week, he batted .310 with five home runs, an AL-high 14 RBI, eight runs scored, an .862 slugging percentage and is the first Sox player to win the honor since Alejandro De Aza last July 8-14.
Two Abreu Tributes
…and an excerpt from a column by Jonah Keri in Grantland.com:
I’m going to start this Jose Abreu tribute by sharing a decidedly nonanalytical story.
On Friday night, I was sitting with Baseball Tonight analysts Eduardo Perez and Doug Glanville, watching the ninth inning of the Rays–White Sox game. Rays closer Grant Balfour began melting down, allowing a double, then two walks, then nearly getting into a fight with Paul Konerko. Perez started shouting at the TV, “Don’t let this get to Abreu! You’d better get out of this before getting to Abreu!” The next batter, Adam Eaton, hit what looked like a game-ending double play to second, but a slightly botched relay between Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar allowed Eaton to beat the ball by a hair. Rays manager Joe Maddon challenged the call, causing Perez to jump out of his chair. “You’re messing with Balfour’s timing now! Abreu’s going to go yard if he comes up, watch out!” Facing rookie Marcus Semien, with Abreu on deck, Balfour inexcusably started nibbling, throwing a 2-1 slider that missed the strike zone by a mile, and ultimately issuing the walk. Up strode Abreu, the 255-pound, 27-year-old rookie with light-tower power. “Game over right here!” yelled Perez. And he was right: On an 0-1 count, Balfour threw a fastball, middle-out and thigh-high. Abreu crushed it to deep right, into the Chicago night and over the wall.
The room exploded. Perez and Glanville played a combined 22 years and 1,869 games in the big leagues, enough to have seen it all. Yet they still high-fived and celebrated like one of them had just cranked the walk-off grand slam. They weren’t the only excited spectators: It’s a minor miracle that Hawk Harrelson didn’t have a coronary while calling the play, and the Spanish telecast’s “Sayonara, baby!” call was a delightful touch.
That’s the kind of impact Abreu is having. He’s got fans and former big leaguers alike predicting game-winning home runs five batters before he can even step to the plate. He’s turned a moribund White Sox team into a must-watch outfit every night. And so far, he’s making history.
Listen to Buster Olney’s ESPN.com podcast which features–in part–Robin Ventura, Rick Hahn and sportswriter Jerry Crasnick talking about Abreu. The segment on Abreu starts at 8:46 and ends at 25:52.
And here’s Jose with his fellow Cuban teammates Adrian Nieto, Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo having some fun today before the game.
Carroll Notes of Note
With his successful start yesterday, Carroll (29.215) became the oldest player to make his White Sox debut since Ernesto Escarrega (32.120) in the second game of a doubleheader on April 26, 1982, vs. the Red Sox. Here are the last few players to make their MLB debut for the Sox at 29 years or older:
* Tadahito Iguchi (30 years, 121 days) on April 4, 2005 vs. Indians
* Shingo Takatsu (35.136) on April 9, 2004 vs. Yankees
* Mike Heathcott (29.104) on August 28, 1998 vs. Rangers
* Isidro Marquez (29.346) on April 26, 1995 vs. Brewers
* Dane Johnson (31.109) on May 30, 1994 vs. Yankees
Carroll’s 7.1 IP are the most for a Sox pitcher in his major-league debut since Gerry Janeski in 1970 vs. Milwaukee…he’s also the first Sox pitcher to earn the win in his major-league debut as a starter since Lucas Harrell in July of 2010 vs Oakland.
Teammate of the Week: Adam Dunn picked up the tab for Carroll’s celebration dinner at O’Toole’s last night. There were an estimated 35 friends and family in the Carroll party.
From Ken Rosenthal, foxsports.com:
The White Sox’s pitching success took root in the late 1990s when Ken Williams was the farm director and Don Cooper the minor-league pitching coordinator.
The team developed not only a philosophy, but a continuity of instruction, teaching pitchers in the minors the same way it taught pitchers in the majors. The process became so consistent, the White Sox’s scouts came to understand Cooper’s preferred deliveries and pitch types as he ascended to the major-league job.
So, when general manager Rick Hahn sought a replacement for hitting coach Jeff Manto last offseason, his goal was to replicate the team’s pitching success on the hitting side. The hiring of Todd Steverson, a former major-league coach and minor-league manager with the Athletics and minor-league coach with the Cardinals, appears to be a positive step in that direction.
The White Sox are second in the majors in runs per game, and their offensive success is one of the season’s early surprises. Obviously, newcomers such as first baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Adam Eaton are making an impact. But shortstop Alexei Ramirez and outfielder Dayan Viciedo have shown improvement under Steverson, and Avisail Garcia also was progressing before he required season-ending surgery on his left shoulder.
Steverson’s philosophy hardly is revolutionary – he preaches “selective aggressiveness,” urging hitters to lay off pitches they can’t handle and pounce on the ones they can. Still, if Steverson turns into a pitching version of Cooper, the White Sox will be even better positioned to re-emerge as a force.
One Day Left Before Our First #SoxSocial Night of the season!
Sox Career Fair
Congrats to the Blackhawks
Another “Sox Win, Hawks Win” day on Sunday. Our hockey brethren move on to the second round in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a convincing 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Quotes of the Day
Thoughts from an unforgettable day:
“I’m on cloud nine right now. I knew I was capable of it, but it’s just awesome to finally get the opportunity and showcase my skills here at this level. It’s incredible. I put in all the hard work and just effort and stuff and to get to this level and succeed like I did, it was unbelievable. I’ve seen it so many times on TV and on movies and stuff, but to actually experience it and have that feeling myself, it was incredible.
“This has been a long road for my family and I. They’ve been through all this stuff with me ever since I was a kid, taking me to games as a Little Leaguer. For me to finally achieve my dream, my mom, she’s an angel, and she’s put in a lot of hard work taking care of me through two surgeries. It was pretty awesome.”
“I had to hide back some tears and fight through that.” (talking about his reaction to the standing ovation when he left the game).
Watch Scott being interviewed on the MLB Network:
“We’re all together. We are very happy. I feel like the whole team contributed. Just getting to know the process and the steps that Scott has had to take to get here, it’s a great thing and well deserved.”
The Sox record book shows that Robin, with 33 RBI in July of 1991, is second all-time for runs batted in a single month behind Harold Baines (36 in June of 1987). Robin was asked about Abreu, with 31 so far in April, approaching his total. With tongue firmly in cheek, he replied:
“Yeah, he’s not playing for the next five days.”
More from the skipper:
White Sox vs. Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, WCIU). Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (1-2, 3.90) for the Sox, RHP Max Scherzer (2-1, 2.45) for Detroit.
Photo of the Day
Here’s Carroll’s Mom in tears after her son left yesterday’s game to a standing ovation (top) and Scott as he meets his family and friends after the game.