There was a baseball game on TV today!
On the mound
- Jon Garland became the first White Sox starter to strike out a batter this spring, and overall, he appeared strong. After displaying some shaky control in the first and surrendering a ringing double to Alfonso Soriano, he seemed to be featuring his change-up in the second and third. He was 'pitching' instead of 'throwing,' which is what I think he was doing in his last outing.
- Charlie Haeger relieved Garland and looked alright. He gave up a bomb to Derek Lee when he was predictably unsuccessful in trying to sneak a 3-1, 82 MPH fastball past Lee. Other than that, he appeared to be pitching about as well as you can expect in Arizona. (The second run he allowed scored on one of those trademark Mackowiak routes in the outfield, though Soriano once again smoked the ball.)
- John Danks didn't blow me away, but he showed some polish in his brief outing, throwing 14 of his 16 pitches for strikes. His fastball read 88-91 on the gun, but appeared faster than that. He tied up Jacque Jones with two fastballs in on his hands, but got away with one over the heart of the plate for the out because it was Jacque Jones in the box and Danks throws with his left hand. He didn't have enough time to establish his curveball, but it looked just as good as the Cubs #4 starter, Rich Hill earlier in the game. He closed out the inning with a nasty change-up to Koyie Hill, though I'm not sure how nasty it was because he was pitching to Koyie Hill.
- When we reacquired Gio Gonzalez earlier this off-season, I called him "John Danks minus three inches." (This was before we acquired Danks, remember.) That may not be accurate, it could be closer to 5. Gio appears shorter than advertised while Danks is at least as tall as his listed height. Their repertoires, however, remain remakably similar. While Gio was reportedly throwing 94 early in camp, his fastball was between 88-91 during today's game. Also like Danks, he did a good job of getting ahead of hitters, but Gio couldn't command his secondary pitches to put hitters away. Gio also featured an excellent changeup and nice breaking ball, but based on this one outing, he needs more polish than does Danks.
Josh Fields and Brian Anderson each had a tough day at the plate until they redeemed themselves long doubles late in the game. The hits were not equal however, as Fields double came against a one of the better right-handed relievers in the game in Bobby Howry while Anderson's was on a hanging curveball/slider from the 27 year-old fringy relief "prospect" Jason Anderson.
Fields made a great play in the field, though it's a play we've seen Crede make numerous times. The fielding deficit between Fields and Crede is narrowing, but I don't think we'll ever hear him being talked about for any Gold Gloves.
- Robert Valido, as he did last spring, demonstrated surprising control of the strike zone and worked a number of deep counts. I'm just surprised we haven't really seen this discipline show up in his minor league stats. Valido's fielding at short in this game could be described as smooth. He made things look very easy out there. He's probably back to being underrated as a prospect thanks to battling wrist injuries last year that lead to poor performance.
- Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye proved that you don't need a whole lot of practice to be able to hit fastballs over the heart of the plate. Rob Mackowiak also went deep, but I missed it so I guess it doesn't count. ;)