Updated: June 10, 2008, 4:49 PM ET

  • Comment
  • Email
  • Share

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Nick Swisher got healthy against Twins pitching and homered from each side of the plate on Monday.

You Got To Keep Them Motivated

Say what you want about Ozzie Guillen and how his mouth continues to get him attention on and off the field, but his latest tirade seems to have worked. Despite being in first place a week ago, the White Sox were floundering, generally on offense, and Guillen went off on his lineup, his general manager, maybe even the fabric softener used on the uniforms, who knows? The White Sox haven't lost since, and fantasy owners are certainly pleased.

On Monday the White Sox finished off a four-game sweep of the beleaguered Twins and took all seven games on the home stand. Chicago's pitching has been strong all season, with Gavin Floyd and John Danks emerging, joining ace Javier Vazquez and a rejuvenated Jose Contreras, while the bullpen is a major strength. The offense, however, had basically been Carlos Quentin and not much else.

Nick Swisher entered Monday hitting .221 with six home runs before swatting home runs from each side of the plate against the Twins, while also taking a few walks. Swisher began the day owned in 37.9 percent of ESPN standard mixed leagues, a far cry from his draft position in round 13, but he's hitting .387 during his eight-game hitting streak and is bound to become more popular again. Paul Konerko registered two hits in each of the first three games against the Twins, then capped things Monday with a key seventh-inning home run. Joe Crede was named co-AL Player of the Week (with Milton Bradley) after hitting .611 for the week with 12 RBIs, and twice over the weekend he delivered a multi-home run game. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera got four hits to raise his batting average 12 points, and while Alexei Ramirez went just 1-for-5, he raised his batting average nearly 80 points in a week.

Whether Guillen had anything to do with all this offensive lunacy or not is problematic, but the signs of an offensive turnaround are clearly evident. The White Sox scored 61 runs on the homestand, nearly nine per game, and batted .347 in that span, slugging 19 home runs. Incredibly, only one White Sox regular failed to hit better than .200 over the past week. It was Quentin. He gets a pass though, as he's on pace for 42 home runs and 142 RBIs. Now he's got some teammates helping him out.

And it all started with a tirade.

Past editions: 6/9: Justin Masterson | 6/8: Damon goes 6-for-6 | 6/7: Felix quiets Sawx

Box Score Bits
Congrats to Ken Griffey Jr., who launched a Mark Hendrickson 3-1 pitch in the first inning Monday into the right field stands for career home run No. 600, joining only five others in one of baseball's most exclusive clubs. Griffey hadn't homered or knocked in a run in June, and he's on pace for his worst statistical campaign since 2004, despite being relatively healthy -- so don't let this persuade you to deal for him. For more on Griffey, check out last Friday's Out of the Box. … Meanwhile, yet another Reds shortstop is headed to the disabled list. Jerry Hairston Jr., a bit of a fantasy revelation for batting average and steals the past few weeks, broke his left thumb stealing second base in the first inning. Even then, Hairston wasn't done helping fantasy owners, swiping third base and scoring on Griffey's home run, but then he left the game. He's unlikely to play again in June, and will have to compete for playing time with Jeff Keppinger by then. It's always a treat in weekly leagues when you lose a player on a Monday, isn't it? … Paul Bako hit two home runs for the Reds against Florida, though it didn't quite overshadow what Griffey did. Bako now has 21 home runs in 693 career games over parts of 11 major league seasons. … Florida's Mike Jacobs hit his 14th home run of the season, an eighth-inning shot off lefty Bill Bray. Jacobs has already hit five home runs off southpaws this season. From 2005-07 he hit seven of his 48 home runs off lefties. … Richie Sexson singled twice for Seattle, raising his average to .213. May 5 was the last time Sexson's average was over that mark. … Jose Guillen finished off his fine series at Yankee Stadium with a go-ahead home run off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning. Guillen went 9-for-16 in the series with four home runs and 10 RBIs, and despite his poor April, he's on pace for 28 homers and 124 RBIs. … Rivera entered the series having permitted one run all season for a 0.35 ERA. Then he allowed a David DeJesus home run Saturday and Guillen's shot Monday. His ERA is all the way up to 0.93. I say we blame Joba Chamberlain. … Mike Mussina was overshadowed by the loss, but he threw a season-high eight innings, allowing two runs. Mussina had managed to throw seven innings once all season. … Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla has hit in 11 straight games, but he hasn't walked or stolen a base in eight June games. … Randy Johnson allowed one baserunner the first two innings at Pittsburgh, then allowed runs in each of the next four, culminating in a messy line of six hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings. Johnson certainly appeared wild, and nearly started a brawl when he yelled at Doug Mientkiewicz during a third-inning at-bat in which the Pirate twice stepped out of the batter's box with a 2-1 count. Johnson has lost two straight starts, and this is the first time he failed to strike out four or more hitters in a start since April. … Justin Upton began play with two hits in his past 57 at-bats on the road. He hit a fifth-inning infield single and walked three times. Upton's been walking all season, but striking out twice as much. … Pittsburgh's Zach Duke won his second straight start, and his five strikeouts were a season high. He entered Monday with 25 strikeouts in 12 starts, barely two per game. His 1.52 WHIP should worry you. … Hopefully you didn't have Dontrelle Willis active for his Monday bloodbath. Willis gave up a Ryan Garko three-run homer in the first inning and five more runs in the second. Willis walked more hitters than he got outs and his ERA is now in double digits, a whopping 10.32 … Opponent Cliff Lee wasn't his April self, as he allowed six hits and two walks over five innings, but he won for the fourth time in five starts anyway. Lee became the first 10-game winner in the AL. Nine-game winners Mussina and Joe Saunders pitched Monday, but failed to join Lee. … Saunders allowed three straight home runs in the second inning, as Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro took him deep. Saunders entered with a 2.63 ERA, then allowed eight runs and exited with easily his worst outing of the season and an ERA of 3.32. Ouch!


Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

Standing Out

EVAN GOES LONG
Evan Longoria, Rays
Longoria enjoyed the first multi-home-run game of his career, with shots off Joe Saunders and Darren Oliver, both lefties. Entering the game, Longoria had struggled against southpaws, hitting .149 with no home runs in 47 at-bats.

FOOTNOTE
Mark Hendrickson, Marlins
Besides getting historically posterized by Griffey's home run, Hendrickson suffered his fourth consecutive poor outing. His ERA has shot up from the 3.72 it was on May 20 to 5.76 after Monday night.
News and Notes
A year after losing the second base job to Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Barfield is back with the Indians. Cabrera did nothing to keep the job, hitting .184 in 52 games. Barfield, who hit .243 for the Tribe in 2007, didn't exactly rake at Triple-A Buffalo, batting .259 with five home runs, but he figures to be an upgrade. The Indians entered Monday last in batting in the AL at .241. … The Nationals will get Ronnie Belliard back from the DL this week, and he should regain some, if not all, playing time from Felipe Lopez at second base. Lopez doubled Monday, only his third hit of June. He's batting .237 with one home run and four steals. … Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice Monday and is expected to play Tuesday, after not hitting for the entire Mariners weekend series due to a sprained wrist. … Injured Florida left fielder Josh Willingham took batting practice and fly balls before Monday's game, and could begin a minor league rehab assignment from his back problems later this week. Luis Gonzalez has been productive in his place, as he hit .337 with 17 RBIs in May. … Ian Kennedy threw 30 pitches in a Monday bullpen session, as he recovers from a strained lat muscle. He's not guaranteed a spot in the Yankees rotation anytime soon, but he would add depth, at worst. … Ryan Zimmerman remains hopeful he can avoid surgery on the labral tear in his left shoulder, is eligible to come off the DL Tuesday, but there remains no timetable for his return. In the meantime, Kory Casto has one hit in his past 14 at-bats. … Matt Holliday should be in the lineup Tuesday for the Rockies, after going 6-for-10 in three games for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
They Wrote It

"The Rangers' front office pays a great deal of attention to the numbers. So I'm sure they realized that Ponson was unlikely to continue pitching well enough to maintain a 3.88 ERA. In his good years, [Sidney] Ponson was a power pitcher. This year he's struck out 25 hitters in 56 innings. His 1.56 WHIP is higher than his career average."

-- Rob Neyer Full Story

Transactions
• The Cardinals placed ace Adam Wainwright on the 15-day DL with a sprained finger suffered in Saturday's win. Wainwright might miss only three starts. The Cardinals could opt to let Anthony Reyes back in the rotation, and there have been rumors Kyle McClellan, formerly a starter, could get a shot. Wainwright had won three of his past four starts.

Rickie Weeks landed on the DL with a sprained knee, opening the door for a Joe Dillon-Craig Counsell platoon at second base. The Brewers weren't getting much from Weeks at the plate, though he was on pace for 115 runs scored, 19 home runs and 27 steals. That .210 batting average and .325 on-base percentage isn't helpful, though. Dillon hits lefties, though the Brewers aren't scheduled to face a southpaw until Saturday. The benched Bill Hall could also figure in at second base. Hernan Iribarren was called up from Triple-A Nashville.

• After suffering a concussion nearly three weeks ago and batting 19 times since, with four hits, Ryan Church was finally placed on the DL, retroactive to Friday. The reeling Mets will likely activate Moises Alou from the DL and hope he can play regularly.

Tyler Clippard was called up from Triple-A Columbus and lost Monday's game for Washington against Matt Cain and the Giants. The fella who started Sunday's game for the Nationals, Garrett Mock, also lost, and he was sent back to the minors. Clippard might be next, after allowing five hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.

On The Farm
• Former Orioles and Mariners lefty reliever John Parrish is no prospect at age 30, but after winning Monday he's 9-0 with a 2.65 ERA for Toronto's Triple-A Syracuse. Parrish has struck out 79 hitters in 71 1/3 innings, and if the Blue Jays don't want him, one would think Parrish will end up in the majors this season for some team.

Clay Buchholz started the game for Pawtucket, allowing six hits and two runs over three innings. Buchholz has made four starts in the minors since coming off the DL with a broken fingernail. The Red Sox don't seem in any hurry to get him back, and Justin Masterson might be joining Buchholz at Pawtucket as soon as Daisuke Matsuzaka comes off the DL.

• The Mets might want to take a look at Chris Aguila in the outfield after he hit his 17th home run for Triple-A New Orleans Monday, knocking in five runs with a 5-for-5 night. Aguila has eight home runs and 20 RBIs in his past 10 games. Yes, this is the same singles hitter who did very little in the Marlins outfield as a part-timer from 2004-06, but he's playing well and hitting for power now.