Showing posts with label Andre Rienzo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andre Rienzo. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Garage Sale fun at SoxFest 2016

Where do you go when you want a box of baseballs signed by Jerry Owens? How about a box of baseball signed by Andre Rienzo? Maybe a signed picture of Alex Cintron?

Well, you go to the SoxFest Garage Sale, of course!

I would never waste any of my hard-earned money on those items, but it is kind of fun to go through the rack of discounted jerseys of (mostly bad) former players.

Take this gem for example:

Can't believe that one didn't fly off the rack.

They have some current player jerseys, too, and I couldn't resist taking a photo with the jersey of my favorite cult hero/relief pitcher.

HEY HEY HEY! It's Fat Albers!

This one had to be at the bottom of the barrel, though:

Believe it or not, this was the second Ray Olmedo jersey I saw for sale at SoxFest. One of the booth vendors had one, and the guy wanted $100 for it. My friend, Brian, who took each of these three photos, asked the vendor if he was willing to barter on the Olmedo jersey. The guy said he was already bartering, and that he had knocked the price down from $150. He then added that since people don't like triple-figure prices, the Olmedo jersey could be ours for $99.

Shockingly, both Brian and I took a pass on that "deal." The vendor was trying to claim that the patches on the sleeve of the Olmedo jersey made it worth more. The jersey had the tribute to Kevin Hickey patch on there, and some other patch that I've already forgotten about.

Unfortunately for that vendor, we were not enticed, because the only thing worse than buying an Emilio Bonifacio jersey is buying an Olmedo jersey. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

White Sox acquire pitcher Dan Jennings from Miami Marlins

The last time I saw Andre Rienzo pitch in person, he gave up a home run to Minnesota outfielder Oswaldo Arcia that landed on the concourse beyond the right-field bleachers at U.S. Cellular Field. That ball had to travel at least 460 feet.

White Sox fans won't have to worry about seeing such horror from Rienzo any longer, as the less-than-mediocre right-hander was traded Thursday to the Miami Marlins in exchange for left-handed relief pitcher Dan Jennings.

The Sox already added Zach Duke to be the main lefty out of their bullpen, but it never hurts to have two left-handers around to pitch in relief. Perhaps Jennings can be that second guy.

Jennings, 27, worked in 47 games last year for the Marlins. He compiled a 1.34 ERA and 1.5337 WHIP. He allowed 45 hits and struck out 38 in 40.1 IP. At one point, Jennings had a stretch of 19 consecutive appearances where he did not allow an earned run.

I don't think I'd count on Jennings to be a high-leverage reliever. He gives up a few too many hits for that. However, he's a guy who can be used in the sixth or the seventh inning. He's also the type who will probably pitch in games where the Sox are trailing, so Duke can be saved to pitch in games where the Sox are leading.

It is important for manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper to understand that Jennings is not a left-handed specialist, so don't use him in that way. In fact, left-handed hitters have hit more than 50 points higher than right-handed hitters against Jennings over the course of his career:

Career vs. left-handed hitters: .289/.354/.403
Career vs. right-handed hitters: .238/.322/.389

The trend of being more successful against righties also can be seen in Jennings' 2014 numbers:

2014 vs. left-handed hitters: .299/.364/.390
2014 vs. right-handed hitters: .265/.326/.398

Modern managers love to use left-handed pitchers against left-handed hitters, but Jennings is one pitcher where Ventura will need to go against the conventional wisdom. He shouldn't bring Jennings in specifically to face a left-handed hitter unless that particular hitter is especially weak against left-handed pitching.

As for Rienzo, well, the 26-year-old will not be missed on the South Side after going 4-5 with a 6.82 ERA in 18 games (11 starts) in 2014. Maybe he will benefit from a change of scenery, but he was not in the Sox' plans.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Putting some numbers to the White Sox' bullpen dumpster fire

It's hard to believe right now, but things were looking up on the South Side of Chicago as recently as a week ago. The White Sox had just taken two out of three from the first-place Detroit Tigers. They had won six out of eight games and were threatening to reach the .500 mark for the first time since the second week of June.

Alas, Chicago's bullpen is still terrible. Every time the Sox have threatened to go on a winning streak, the relief corps has done something horrible to prevent that from happening.

In a season full of bullpen blowups, this week has taken the cake. The Sox have dropped five of their last six games, and they've been outscored by a ghastly 59-18 margin during that stretch. We all know the primary culprit is a bullpen that cannot get anybody out, but in case you were wondering just how bad it has gotten, let's put some numbers to the horror show.

Here are the August statistics for the eight relief pitchers the Sox have used so far this month. All numbers are through Aug. 7:

Jake Petricka: 3.38 ERA (1 ER in 2.2 IP), 1.500 WHIP
Maikel Cleto: 9.00 ERA (3 ER in 3 IP), 1.000 WHIP
Daniel Webb: 9.82 ERA (4 ER in 3.2 IP), 2.455 WHIP
Javy Guerra: 10.13 ERA (3 ER, 2.2 IP), 2.250 WHIP
Eric Surkamp: 13.50 ERA (4 ER, 2.2 IP), 3.000 WHIP
Taylor Thompson: 27.00 ERA (3 ER, 1 IP), 4.000 WHIP
Andre Rienzo: 34.71 ERA (9 ER, 2.1 IP), 6.429 WHIP
Ronald Belisario: 189.00 ERA (7 ER, .1 IP), 18.000 WHIP

You add all that up, and the bullpen has a collective 16.69 ERA for the month.

I've often been critical of Sox manager Robin Ventura for leaving his starting pitchers in too long. A couple times this week, I've thought to myself, "Ventura is leaving this guy in too long." But then I catch myself and realize he has nobody in bullpen who can make a key pitch, so it's hard to blame the manager for staying with a tiring or struggling starter at this stage of the game.

I don't think Petricka is throwing his best right now, but he's the only guy among this group pitching like a major leaguer. Everyone else in the bullpen is committing arson every single time they step on the mound. Fans should remember that if they are tempted to call for Ventura's head during this stretch of bad ball. A manager who has no options is going to come off looking like an idiot no matter what he does.

Right now, the only thing Ventura can do is pray his starter goes eight innings, and bring in Petricka for the ninth. Anything other than that seems like it won't end well for the White Sox.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Home Run Derby: Jose Abreu says no

White Sox rookie first baseman Jose Abreu ranks third in the American League with 22 home runs, and he'll likely be selected for the All-Star Game. So, it stands to reason he's a prime candidate to participate in this year's Home Run Derby.

Abreu, however, says he's not interested.

"Home Run Derby is not something I’m too crazy about," Abreu told the Sun-Times on Tuesday through a translator. "It’s a good thing, but I’m not really interested or looking forward to. I really wouldn’t want to do it. I did it in Cuba several times, and I wasn’t much into it.’’

That probably won't make a lot of fans happy. Most would want to see Abreu's prodigious power on display in the home run contest, but the slugger is worried participating in the event would screw up his approach.

"The first thing it does is affect you mentally," he said. "You go out and try to hit home runs. I'm not a guy who tries to hit home runs. I let them come whenever they come. And sometimes it messes with your mechanics."

I don't blame Abreu for not wanting to do something he isn't comfortable with, especially since this is his first season in the United States and he's still working to establish himself as a big-league hitter.

We could debate whether participating in the Home Run Derby screws up a hitter's swing, but what's the point? I can find examples of guys who declined in the second half after the derby, and I can find examples of guys who were unaffected.

Abreu knows himself better than any fan or anyone in the media, so if he says he's better off not competing in the derby, then he's right to sit this one out.

Sox make rotation change, stick with Belisario as closer

The Sox made one change in roles with their pitching staff on Tuesday, but it wasn't the one people might have expected.

Scott Carroll will replace Andre Rienzo in the starting rotation and pitch Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Rienzo (4-5) has lost his last five starts and has allowed 22 runs in 22.1 innings over that span.

Carroll (2-3) made five starts earlier this season, going 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA. Since moving to the bullpen, he has thrived in a long relief role, posting a 1.83 ERA over six appearances.

More than likely, this move won't make much of an impact. Neither Carroll nor Rienzo is a long-term solution as a starting pitcher. But, Carroll has started throwing a cutter during his time in the bullpen. He now has one more pitch in his arsenal than he did during his previous stint in the rotation. We'll see if that makes any difference in results.

Meanwhile, the team stuck with Ronald Belisario as its closer, and he earned a shaky save in the Sox' 4-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. The tying runs were on base before Belisario induced a double-play grounder that allowed Chicago to snap its five-game losing streak.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Weird injury department: Gavin Floyd breaks his elbow

I've heard a few White Sox fans suggest the team made a mistake by parting ways with veteran right-hander Gavin Floyd this past offseason.

Floyd's supporters correctly note the Sox have had a revolving door at the back end of their starting rotation. The Felipe Paulino experiment was a colossal failure. Rookie Erik Johnson couldn't find the plate and had to be sent back to Triple-A. After a two decent starts, Scott Carroll showed himself to be better suited for a long-relief role. Andre Rienzo and waiver pickup Hector Noesi have been hit or miss in their combined 19 starts. There is no question the Sox suffer from a lack of starting pitching depth.

Is Floyd better than the guys the Sox are trotting out there? When Floyd is healthy, sure, he's better, but he had Tommy John surgery last summer. He wasn't going to be ready for the start of this season, and the Sox felt they had better things to spend their money on than signing Floyd to a one-year reclamation deal. I couldn't disagree with that line of thinking.

The Atlanta Braves took a $4 million flier on Floyd, who returned to major leagues on May 6. He was pitching well for the Braves. Coming into Thursday's start against the Washington Nationals, he was 1-2 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts.

In fact, he picked up his second win of the year Thursday after firing six innings of two-hit ball in the Braves' 3-0 win over Washington. Unfortunately for Floyd, he broke the olecranon -- the bony tip of the ulna that sticks out behind the elbow -- on his first pitch of the seventh inning.

Ouch.

This is a rare injury for pitchers, but it is similar to the one that ended Detroit reliever Joel Zumaya's career in 2010. At minimum, Floyd's season is over. For their $4 million, the Braves got nine pretty good starts. Maybe it was worth it to them, but it wouldn't be worth it to a rebuilding team such as the Sox.

Doctors are saying this injury is unrelated to the Tommy John surgery Floyd underwent, but one of the reasons I didn't want the Sox to re-sign Floyd was my concern that he would get hurt again.

Floyd missed some time late in 2012 with an arm problem, and then the torn elbow ligament limited him to five starts in 2013. This is a pitcher whose career is probably coming toward the end.

While Rienzo and Noesi are no great shakes, at least they are healthy and eating up innings while the Sox rebuild. Innings are something the oft-injured Floyd just can't provide right now, and the Sox do not miss him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

White Sox option Josh Phegley, Andre Rienzo to Triple-A

Up until now, all the roster moves the White Sox had made this spring were obvious ones. Every few days, you'd see news of guys you knew weren't going to make the club being reassigned to minor league camp.

But with just 12 days remaining until the home opener, the first significant decisions of the spring were made on Wednesday as catcher Josh Phegley and pitcher Andre Rienzo were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

For better or for worse, the Sox have decided to give it another go with Tyler Flowers as their starting catcher. Manager Robin Ventura named Flowers the starter on Sunday, and that gave Phegley a pretty good idea his season would be starting in Charlotte. He seems to be taking it pretty well, though.

“I believe I'm a starter and I can be a front-line starter in the big leagues, but there just needs to be some improvement,” Phegley told the Chicago Tribune's Colleen Kane. “And I think sitting, catching every four, five days, I don't think that’s going to do me any justice. I want to play every day, and I'd like to help this club. It's everyone's goal to be a big leaguer. I want to be a starter, and going to Charlotte and playing every day is going to help my game out, so I'm all for it.”

That's the approach Phegley needs. This is a big year for him. Unlike Flowers -- who is who he is at this point -- I think Phegley still has some upside in his game both offensively and defensively. But at age 26, he's moving into an area where he's not going to be considered a prospect anymore. He needs to make that step forward and prove he can be a starting catcher in the big leagues, and he needs to do it soon.

With Phegley headed to the minors, that leaves Rule 5 draft pick Adrian Nieto and Hector Gimenez in camp competing for the backup catching role. I'll bet Nieto sticks, because the Sox would have to offer him back to the Washington Nationals if he doesn't. At age 24, Nieto could develop into a useful player, whereas the 31-year-old Gimenez is nothing more than a career minor leaguer.

Rienzo made 10 starts for the Sox at the end of 2013, but as expected, top prospect Erik Johnson and free-agent acquisition Felipe Paulino have pushed Rienzo out of the starting rotation. I thought Rienzo had a shot at sticking in the big leagues as a long reliever, but perhaps Sox brass sees him as a pitcher who needs to stay stretched out as a starter, so that he can be called up and step into the rotation in the event the team has an injury to one of its starting pitchers.

In other moves, pitcher Eric Surkamp was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. Pitchers Chris Beck and Cody Winiarski and infielder Andy Wilkins were reassigned to minor league camp. All of those moves were expected.

Monday, December 9, 2013

White Sox sign pitcher Felipe Paulino

Shrieks of horror were reverberating throughout the South Side Monday night as the White Sox have added an ex-Kansas City Royals pitcher to their roster.

For many fans, the scars from Andrew Sisco, Mike MacDougal and Horacio Ramirez run deep, so we can only hope Felipe Paulino fares better as a member of the Pale Hose.

Paulino, 30, and the Sox agreed on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million on Monday. The contract includes a $4 million team option for the 2015 season.

The right-hander made seven starts for the Royals in 2012, going 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA. He missed all of 2013 after undergoing elbow surgery. His lifetime statistics pretty much stink: 13-32 with a 4.93 ERA in 93 career games, 61 of them starts.

This is nothing more than a depth move. The Sox are saying Paulino will be given a shot to make the starting rotation. Assuming no trades are made, he'll be competing with Erik Johnson and Andre Rienzo for the No. 5 starting job.

More than likely, he ends up as the long man on the pitching staff, perhaps getting a spot start during a doubleheader or joining the starting rotation if somebody else gets injured.

I hope everyone enjoyed my reference to Sisco. With any luck, that will be the last time we ever mention that bum on this blog.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The White Sox are wasting a lot of quality starts

Most people think I'm crazy when I say the White Sox long-term prognosis isn't as bleak as it looks. Sure, it's hard to see the light when the team is on an eight-game losing streak and has a record of 40-67.

The Sox haven't been 27 games below .500 since 1976, the same year I was born. So yeah, this stinks.

But given this team's sorry record, would you believe it if I told you the Sox rank fifth in the American League in quality starts with 60? Their team ERA (3.98) is better than league average (4.03) too. The pitchers have been more than holding their own despite almost no run support and the horrendous defense being played behind them.

White Sox starting pitchers have an ERA of 2.68 over their last eight games. You would think that would be enough to win at least one game, wouldn't you? Well, not with this team. The Sox have scored two runs or less in six of these eight defeats. Therefore, a 2.68 ERA gets you nothing more than a 2-1 or 3-2 loss. In the other two games where the Sox did score more than two runs, their bullpen imploded. None of these losses reflect poorly on the starting rotation of Chris Sale, John Danks, Jose Quintana, Hector Santiago and Andre Rienzo.

All of these guys have been doing their jobs recently with nothing to show for it. Santiago (pictured) was the latest victim. Friday night, he held the division-leading Detroit Tigers to two runs on six hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked just one -- a strong outing on the road against an excellent American League lineup.

What did he get for his efforts? A 2-1 loss. Typical 2013 White Sox.

But, here's the silver lining: All five of those starters are under age 30 -- Danks is the old man in the group at 28. All of them figure to be back next year, and that's your starting point for trying to build a more competitive team in 2014 and beyond.

Given the choice, I'd rather have pitching and be looking for position players than the other way around. The Sox have a ton of holes in their lineup, but those can be filled more quickly and easily than holes in the starting rotation.