Alex Rios put together a fine debut for the Texas Rangers on Saturday night, going 2-for-3 with a walk and having his way in a couple of big plays in their victory over Houston.
First, he hit the game-tying triple -- which really should've been a game-tying single, except Brandon Barnes made an ill-advised dive that put the go-ahead run on third. And sure enough, Rios allowed the Rangers to get ahead when he scored on a chopper to second -- which really should've been an out, except Jason Castro couldn't hold onto the ball.
The opening of the MLB.com summary caught my eye, too:
HOUSTON -- Alex Rios noticed during the Rangers' pregame stretching that his new teammates were having a great time, laughing and joking around. He asked catcher Geovany Soto if the Rangers were often like that.
"Every single night," Soto told him.
Does anybody remember laughter?
The White Sox may not be laughing, but they're not at each other's throats. I like what I've seen from Paul Sullivan so far in his new third-writer role at the Tribune. He uses anecdotes from his time on the Sox beat to fill in some history on Robin Ventura, who is apparently keeping the clubhouse intact despite the team's awful play. For instance, when Paul Konerko says that better-but-bad teams have had more poisonous acrimony:
And some of those teams were ones Ventura has played on. He has been in the middle of some of those brouhahas, whether as victim, instigator or peacemaker.
Ventura was the leader of a Sox clubhouse in the late 1990s that rebelled against the uptight and paranoid managing style of Terry Bevington. He was shoved by teammate Frank Thomas in the Yankee Stadium dugout during a game in 1996, before teammates Dave Martinez and Lyle Mouton broke it up. And in September 2002, when Ventura was with the Yankees, he and Jason Giambi broke up a clubhouse fight that began when Orlando Hernandez screamed obscenities at catcher Jorge Posada, threw down two hand weights and punched his catcher in the face.
Ventura hasn't had to be peacemaker as manager, as his personality has rubbed off on the team.
Andre Rienzo looked like a liability for the first time against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, but the White Sox have plenty of time to let him work through it. His bosses and teammates like his energy and pace, so those are two points in his favor.
Fun note: His brother made a surprise trip from Brazil to watch him pitch:
"The first time here, yeah," Rienzo said. "Oh man, I want to be better because my family is here. Next time."
"I showed better control there, and I hope I can get back to those good, good times," Rienzo said. "I’ll just keep working, man. Bad games make you work harder for the next time, and that game there will for sure make me work harder for the next one."
And if his brother is able to stay longer, Rienzo might have even more of an edge about him.
"I didn’t know he was here," Rienzo said. "The security just came out and said I had some guy who wanted to talk to me from Brazil. I said 'OK.' And in the time I go [out there], it was my brother and I said, 'Hey!' It’s crazy."
Speaking of pitchers trying to make an impression, Charlie Leesman passed his first test by throwing five innings of one-run ball. Ventura and Don Cooper both acknowledge that nerves might've played a part, and he survived the jitters well enough.
Nobody has blamed the pitching for the collapse of the 2013 White Sox, but that doesn't make Cooper feel any better about how this year has gone. That so many young starters are locked into their roles does provide some solace.