At least White Sox’ bullpen is getting job done
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org September 22, 2012 11:44PM
Alex Rios congratulates Paul Konerko, who hit a solo home run in the second inning. | Christine Cotter~AP
SOX AT ANGELS
The facts: 2:35 p.m., CSN,
The starters: Gavin Floyd (10-10, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jered Weaver (18-4, 2.79).
Updated: October 24, 2012 6:55AM
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Sox’ recent hitting woes — in particular a .188 average with runners in scoring position over the last 15 games and 3-for-30 over the last four — have overshadowed everything else that’s going on with the team as it tries to hold off the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.
One thing manager Robin Ventura hasn’t lost much sleep over lately is the all-important performance of his bullpen, which owned a 1.19 ERA over the last eight games through Friday. In eight games before that stretch, relievers allowed 26 runs and 47 hits over 322/3 innings.
In the specialist role, Donnie Veal has become a valuable piece against lefties, who were 0-for-25 against him through Friday. He was working on a run of 13 straight scoreless appearances. Nate Jones (8-0, 2.52 ERA) owned the longest consecutive scoreless outings streak — 17 — in the AL. And lefty Matt Thornton (4-8, 3.21), who did give up a game-winning hit to the Royals’ Eric Hosmer on Thursday, has had nine straight appearances without being charged with a run.
So, all in all, it seems to be coming together at a good time.
“For the most part, yeah, especially when you have a guy like Jones coming in and throwing so well, eating a couple of innings in the middle of the game,’’ right-hander Jesse Crain said. “And having a guy like Brett [Myers] who comes in and throws strikes, it’s huge. We’re all throwing well; we all have confidence. That’s the biggest thing: We feel we can go out there and beat anybody.’’
Keep pushing on
With nine hits in his previous four games, including two leadoff homers and a double, leadoff man Alejandro De Aza has rediscovered his swing. It came from keeping his front shoulder in, he said. And it may have had something to do with Dewayne Wise pushing him for playing time, too.
“To me, I like that,’’ De Aza said of having Wise around. “A guy like him, he’s a great teammate, great person. He came to play. He’s doing good, which is awesome. Anybody who can help the team should be here, that’s how I think.’’
Ventura stuck with the right-handed bat of Dayan Viciedo, who’s batting .229 in September, over the lefty Wise in left field.
“For Tank [Viciedo], he’s getting closer to what he should be doing,’’ Ventura said. “[Friday] night was a big hit for him, to shorten it up and not think he has to hit a home run every time up.’’