White Sox

On The Farm: Winston-Salem Completes Sweep

On The Farm: Winston-Salem Completes Sweep

Friday Sept. 10, 2010
11:00 PM

By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
It took a bit longer than the Dash would have liked but Jose Martinez punctuated a riveting affair at Grainger Stadium Friday with the 12th-inning homer, giving Winston-Salem a 10-5 victory and a series sweep of Kinston in the opening round of the Carolina League playoffs.

The Dash will now play for the Mills Cup Championship against the winner of the Potomac-Frederick series which Potomac leads, 2-1. The finals are set to begin Monday.

Jon Gilmores RBI single in the ninth inning tied the score at 5-5, where it stayed until the 12th. Gilmore got the winning rally started with a single and was followed by Seth Loman, who also singled. After Ozzie Lewis popped out to first, Martinez sent a Matt Langwell offering over the wall in left for the three-run blast that would put the Dash in position to win a record 12th Mills Cup crown.

T.J. House came on for the Indians and fared no better. He walked Luis Sierra and then allowed an Andrew Garcia double that put runners on second and third. Greg Paiml followed with a two-run double to cap the inning and complete the sweep. The Tribe went down in order in the bottom of the inning with Bo Greenwell flying out to Martinez to end the game.

Paiml finished with three hits and three RBIs while Gilmore had three hits, drew a pair of walks, drove in a run and scored twice. Brandon Short, who was activated off the disabled list earlier in the day, had two hits, including a homer, and two RBIs.

Jacob Rasner allowed one hit over four shutout innings to earn the victory. Nate Jones had started but after walking six was gone after 323 innings. Charlis Burdie pitched two scoreless innings before Taylor Thompson surrendered three eighth-inning runs. Brandon Kloess also allowed a run in the eighth and would have been on the hook for the loss had Gilmore not tied the score in the ninth.

Great Falls Rookie
The Voyagers were among the hottest teams in the minor leagues heading into Fridays Pioneer League playoff opener at Helena. But the Brewers quickly quieted Great Falls, earning a 5-3 victory at Kindrick Legion Field before the best-of-three series shifts back to Cetene Stadium Saturday night.

Great Falls had won six straight and 15 of 17 to close the regular season. It had won Northern Division titles in both halves of the regular season. The Voyagers had even won 10 of the 16 games played between the two clubs this year.

But Stephen McCray, a 16th-round pick out of Tennessee, allowed four runs on five hits in three innings, putting the Voyagers in a hole from which they wouldnt recover. He had a 0.87 ERA in 10 13 innings against the Brewers this season but was in trouble right from the outset.

Great Falls scrapped its way back, scoring single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings but wasnt able to sustain anything against Erc Marzec, the Helena reliever who tossed one-hit ball over three shutout innings in relief of winner Matt Miller.

Mike Blanke had three hits and an RBI for the Voyagers.

CUBSTennessee AA
The Smokies struck back in a big way at visiting West Tenn Friday night, erupting for an 11-1 victory to even their Southern League playoff series at a game apiece. Game Three is slated for Saturday night at West Tenn. It will be the only game that the Diamond Jaxx will host.

Tennessee erupted for 16 hits and scored nine of their runs in the sixth through eighth innings. The fifth through ninth hitters in the Smokies lineup accounted for most of the damage, going 14-for-23 with three homers and nine RBIs. Tennessee hit four homers in the game.

Russ Canzler led the hit parade with four hits and an RBI. Robinson Chirinos had three hits, including a homer, two RBIs and three runs scored. Tony Thomas had three hits, including a homer and three RBIs while Matt Spencer had two hits, including a homer and three RBIs. Brett Jackson added a solo homer.

Chris Carpenter earned the victory, allowing a run on four hits over six innings while the game was still a nail-biter. He tied a season high with eight strikeouts, picking up his first win since Aug. 7.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at [email protected].

Yoan Moncada has gone from 'strikeout heaven to impactful bat heaven'

moncada-915.jpg
USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada has gone from 'strikeout heaven to impactful bat heaven'

Yoan Moncada is finishing off a breakout season and he has gotten there with a different approach at the plate.

When Moncada came up through the minors and even in his first two years in the majors, he was known for drawing plenty of walks. At every stop of the minors and in each of his first two seasons with the White Sox, Moncada walked in well north of 10 percent of his plate appearances.

This season, which is inarguably his best in the majors, he has 39 walks in 510 plate appearances. After Moncada added three hits in Sunday’s 11-10 loss to the Mariners, he is now hitting .308/363/.537 with 23 home runs, 72 RBIs and 75 runs scored.

Sunday's 3-for-5 game added to his red-hot September. Moncada is hitting .436/.492/.636 in 14 games this month. He's not the only White Sox hitter on fire this month.

Before the game, White Sox manager Rick Renteria talked about Moncada’s different approach.

“He’s going to be a 30-homer type guy,” Renteria said. “I think his on-base percentage is good. I think people look at the numbers in terms of the base-on-balls, the total numbers that are down, but he’s gone from strikeout heaven to impactful bat heaven, so to speak, and I think there’s going to be a balance in between where he’s going to continue to have those walk numbers, on-base numbers and be a pretty significant impactful player as a third baseman.”

That strikeout heaven Renteria referred to is another big difference for Moncada this year. After striking out in 32 percent of his plate appearances in 54 games with the White Sox in 2017 and whiffing a whopping 217 times last year (33.4 percent), Moncada has cut down on that number. He has 139 strikeouts this year, which is down to 27.2 percent.

So the strikeouts have gone down along with the walks. Moncada’s overall numbers are clearly better so it appears the tradeoff has been worth it.

“I think he’s taking into account more situational type things,” Renteria said. “Instead of taking that borderline pitch that they would call a strike, for example, he might be more inclined to create a productive out and drive in a run and put the ball in play.

"It’s more baseball-oriented, not just numbers wise. It’s a baseball situation in which he is now understanding a little bit more, I have a chance to impact this in a positive way. (If) I don’t swing the bat, it’s a called third strike, I’m walking into the dugout and my guys are still out  there on the bases. I got a pitch I can handle, I can still manage. Put the ball in play, score that run and we score another point, it puts us in a better position. Ultimately it’s about scoring runs.”

Renteria emphasized that he didn’t want Moncada chasing pitches as he tries to be more aggressive. However, going after borderline pitches that are hittable instead of trying to work a walk as one of the most dangerous hitters on the team isn’t always the best approach.

“If you look at his at-bats, he’s not a chaser,” Renteria said. “He doesn’t put balls in play that are a foot (outside), he doesn’t do that. There are balls that are manageable, hittable, things that he can either get a base hit out of or put in play to create a particular run. It’s more situational awareness that he’s become better at, which I think has helped him improved some of his numbers offensively.”

In other Moncada news, he got hit by a throw after stealing a base in the seventh inning .The throw bounced and hit Moncada in the side as he was sliding into second. After being in obvious pain, Moncada stayed on the bases, later came around to score and finished the game.

 

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The biggest pieces of the White Sox rebuild are on absolute fire in September, great news for 2020

0914_yoan_moncada.jpg
USA TODAY

The biggest pieces of the White Sox rebuild are on absolute fire in September, great news for 2020

“The 2020 season, it starts in September.”

Jose Abreu said that before August was even over, looking toward the final month of yet another losing season, yet another season without a playoff appearance on the South Side. Of course, everyone involved with this organization is hoping that changes in 2020, and with his sights on that campaign, Abreu talked about using the last month of this one to get ready for next year.

Well, if this month is really the first month of what’s next, the guys who figure to play the biggest roles on that 2020 team — in this rebuild, in general — are off to a heck of a start.

Friday night, it was the quartet of Abreu, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez powering a high-scoring win over the Seattle Mariners. The four combined to go 8-for-18 with two home runs, two doubles, a triple, seven RBIs and six runs scored.

It was a nice microcosm of what’s been happening all month.

In the dozen games the White Sox have played in September, Abreu, Anderson, Moncada and Jimenez have combined for a .363 batting average, a .431 on-base percentage, a .687 slugging percentage, 13 home runs, 18 doubles, a triple, 42 RBIs and 40 runs scored. They’ve accounted for more than 58 percent of the runs the team has scored and more than 61 percent of the runs the team has driven in.

Considering Anderson, Moncada and Jimenez are three cornerstones of Rick Hahn’s rebuilding effort and the elder statesman Abreu, with his constant declarations of his desire to remain with the team, seems a safe bet to be back in black for 2020, this is the core of this lineup moving forward playing at an extremely high level.

It’s exactly what the White Sox and their fans want to see.

Anderson is going to be dominating the headlines the rest of the way as he chases a batting title. He woke up Saturday with the best batting average in baseball, a .334 mark for the 2019 season. In September alone, he’s hitting .400.

Moncada has steadily had the best all-around offensive season of anyone on the team, quite the transformation from a year ago, when he struck out 217 times in a disappointing first full campaign as a major leaguer. In September, he’s hitting even better than Anderson, with a .435 batting average to go along with an insane .500 on-base percentage.

Jimenez has had an up-and-down rookie season, but he’s closing in on 30 home runs after smashing No. 27 on Friday night. He’s definitely in the midst of one of his better stretches right now and owns a .694 slugging percentage with five homers in September.

Abreu has been criticized by certain segments of the fan base for the noticeable dip in his on-base percentage this season. Thanks to a hot finish, it is higher than last year’s at the moment, but if the season ended today, it would be lower than the figures he posted during his first four seasons in the big leagues. But what those critics aren’t focusing on is one of the most productive seasons of Abreu’s career. He also homered Friday and is up to 33 bombs on the season, three off the career high he set as a rookie in 2014. And he’s blasted past his career high in RBIs from that same season, up to 116, which leads the American League. He's got five September homers and a .784 slugging percentage on the month.

In a season judged from the outset based on the development and performance of the team’s core players rather than its win-loss record, that’s all spectacular news for the organization moving forward into 2020. Combine all that with the strides made by Lucas Giolito and James McCann, the arrival of Dylan Cease, the expected return of Michael Kopech, the expected arrivals of Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal, plus what’s expected to be an active offseason, and this team is shaping up to have a very promising outlook for 2020.

“I’m expecting that this is it,” manager Rick Renteria said after Thursday’s game, asked if he believed the White Sox string of sub-.500 seasons would end next year. “We are trying to win. I think we talk about it, we are going through it. I know there’s still refining to do, but I’ll be honest with you. We are finishing this season, we are talking about coming into next season ready to battle, period, exclamation point. That’s what we are looking to do.”

If these four guys keep swinging the bats like this straight on into next March, that would go a long way toward proving their manager right.

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