Baseball Notebook

Daily Baseball Blog

Freddy Garcia Sparking White Sox Hot Streak

Freddy Garcia won for the eighth time in his last nine starts as the White Sox defeated the Nationals 6-3 on Sunday afternoon extending the White Sox winning streak to six games and evening their record at 34-34.

Freddy Garcia’s 2010 season started slowly as he ended April with an 0-2 record with an ERA of 5.87 after four games. Since then he has won eight of his last nine starts and has been a stabilizing force for the White Sox starters.

Garcia was 3-4 and posted a 4.34 ERA for the White Sox while making only nine starts for the team in 2009. When spring training started he was expected to battle Dan Hudson for the fifth spot in the rotation but Hudson was sent to the Charlotte Knights during spring training.

Nobody is calling Garcia the ace of the staff but he has pitched like the ace of the staff this season with his 8-3 record and winning 20 games is within the realm of possibility for the 33 year old Venezuelan righthander.

He has pitched at least six innings in 10 of his 13 starts and has been 5-1 against first or second place teams.  He has been the stopper for the White Sox with seven of his eight wins coming after a loss. Yesterday was his first win of the season coming after a win.

The White Sox were hitting .225 earlier this season but were among the team leaders in home runs. Now they are hitting fewer home runs but the team is hitting .247.

The low point for the 2010 White Sox was on June 5 when they were 23-32. Since then they have played 11-2 baseball.

Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy and John Danks have won their last two starts while Gavin Floyd hasn’t won in his last five starts but has allowed only three runs in his last three starts encompassing 22 innings.

Juan Pierre is hitting 50 points lower than last season with his .248 average but has stolen 27 bases but has to improve on his .194 average in the last 10 games. Alexei Ramirez still isn’t hitting well with only a .238 average in his last 10 games.

Alex Rios has hit consistently with a .344 average in May and a .328 average in June. With 20 stolen bases and 13 home runs he has the best chance of any major leaguer to join the 30-30 club this season.

Paul Konerko hasn’t homered in his last ten games but is hitting .366 and has driven in 10 runs in his last ten games. He hit only .233 in May but is hitting a torrid .390 in May.

Gordon Beckham still can’t quite get going in the 2010 season. He is hitting .205 but one encouraging sign for Beckham is that he is hitting doubles again after not hitting one from April 29 till June 9. He had a stretch in June when he hit five doubles in eight games.

Carlos Quentin is hitting .270 in his last 10 games but hasn’t homered since June 11. He is only hitting .216 for the season but is second on the the White Sox behind Konerko in runs batted in with 37.

Andruw Jones has seen his average drop each month of the season from .259 in May, .208 in April and .107 in June with three hits in 28 at bats this month.

A.JPierzynski has shown improvement each month going from a .169 average in April, .241 in May to .333 in June.

Mark Kotsay has been all over the place this season with his average hitting .108 in April, .261 in May and back down to .194 in June.

Omar Vizquel has caught fire in his last ten games hitting .333. He is hitting .400 in day games and .222 at night. Most righthanded hitters thrive when facing lefthanders but not Vizquel who is hitting only .176 against lefthanders.

The six game winning streak may have come at the expense of last place teams with three game sweeps of the Pirates and Nationals but the wins have to be confidence boosters for the White Sox.

They will face a real test when they host the Braves coming in for a three game series starting on Tuesday. They will be starting John Danks, Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd then they face the Cubs with Jake Peavy, Freddy Garcia and John Danks taking the mound against the Cubs.

It was only a week or two ago that it looked like the White Sox would finish no higher than third place in 2010 but after this current hot streak they look like they are ready to be serious contenders for the AL Central crown.


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