Getz, Beckham don't look like rookies
Chicago (44-42) at Minnesota (44-43), 6:10 p.m. CT
MINNEAPOLIS -- With the first half of the 2009 campaign coming to a close for the White Sox following their final two weekend contests at the Metrodome, it's safe to say that new starters such as Chris Getz and Gordon Beckham no longer can be considered rookies.
The development shown by these first-year players, through their on-field skills and through simply handling the big league lifestyle, gives the White Sox high hopes for a big finishing kick to 2009. It was team captain Paul Konerko who has explained on a few occasions how the White Sox knew they had a good chance if they arrived at the All-Star break in contention, based on the expectations for increased production as from their new talent as the season progressed.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen seems to be in agreement.
"Right now, they've helped us. They're really helping us," Guillen said. "They're going to have more experience. They're not going to panic. They know they can play in the big leagues.
"Hopefully, that makes it easier for us and for them, too. And most of the time, in the second half, you pick it up a notch."
Getz exited Friday's series opener against the Twins with a .254 average and was tied for the team lead with Scott Podsednik at 13 stolen bases. The slick-fielding second baseman was coming off of the first four-hit game of his career on Thursday against the Indians.
When Getz was asked on Friday if he was a better player, a better prepared player and had more knowledge of the game than when he began the 2009 campaign, Getz answered "yes" to all three inquiries.
"All of the above," said Getz with a laugh. "We've been through it now. I hadn't been through the ups and downs of this level before. I hadn't faced all these pitchers before. It's still baseball, but at a totally new level.
"I'd like to think that what we've learned the first half is only going to help in the second half. Also, we've played against a lot of these teams now. We know how these pitchers will attack us when we go back and see them. We have a better plan. Scouting reports can only help so much."
Beckham has 126 fewer at-bats than Getz, but as the team's top pick and eighth selection overall in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, the third baseman entered the big leagues with higher expectations. As he prepares to face Glen Perkins on Saturday evening, Beckham says the biggest personal learning curve has come in coping with failure.
"Going through the Minors and even at [the University of] Georgia, I realize you are going to fail and it's not always going to be easy," Beckham said. "I thought I understood that and the time up here has shown all that stuff is minor compared to doing that in the big leagues.
"I've talked to Paul [Konerko] and Jim [Thome] about minor things. They tell me that sometimes you have to let it go. It won't always work out or go your way."
As an example, Beckham pointed to a 2-for-19 funk over his last five games. The results weren't there, but Beckham had no problem with the way he was swinging the bat or the approach he was taking and had to remind himself not to let the weight of the world hang with every at-bat.
It's this sort of big league adjustment that leads the White Sox to believe these young standouts will help make this team better in the second half.
"The more comfortable you are, the better you play, and the less you have to worry about," Beckham said. "A lot has to do with guys in our clubhouse.
"Sometimes off the field is just as important as on the field. We get along well. It's fun. I think we are keeping the clubhouse loose. If the guys care about each other's well being and how they are doing, it can only get better. We have that here."Pitching matchup
CWS: RHP Gavin Floyd (6-6, 4.33 ERA)
Floyd had a string of eight straight quality starts come to an end on Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, where the right-hander was touched up for five runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. Entering that start, Floyd held a 4-1 record and a minuscule 1.39 ERA his past eight starts. Against the Royals, Floyd pitched no-hit ball for four innings but gave up two runs in the fifth and was charged with three runs in the sixth. Two of those runs scored on Alberto Callaspo's two-out single off reliever Matt Thornton in the sixth. Floyd has not faced the Twins this year but has a 3-3 career mark against them. He sits at 1-2 with a 4.32 lifetime ERA at the Metrodome. MIN: LHP Glen Perkins (4-4, 4.38 ERA)
Perkins became a dominant ground-ball pitcher in his last start against the Royals when he allowed just one run over seven innings. A total of 16 of Perkins' 21 outs came via a ground ball. Perkins said he had his sinker working in the start and that allowed him also to get three double plays turned behind him. The left-hander went 2-0 and allowed just two runs over 14 innings in two starts on the club's last road trip. Tidbits
Carlos Quentin's hitting during his injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte has shown that particular part of his game is Major League ready. With one hit and two walks as the Knights' designated hitter on Friday, Quentin now is batting .353 with three RBIs in six games. But Guillen wants to make sure the All-Star left fielder really pushes his running on the left foot bothered by plantar fasciitis before his return after the All-Star break. "I hope after the All-Star break we have a better idea about his running," said Guillen of Quentin. "He's the one who's going to say 'yes' or 'no.' We have to believe in him. Have faith in him. I hope he comes back because that could be the big trade we need. That guy is going to make our lineup better, and we'll see what happens." ... After the minor uproar involving the entertaining 'Where's Bartolo' saga from the past week, Bartolo Colon took the mound Thursday night for Charlotte and threw the ball fairly well, according to Guillen. "The control was outstanding, his velocity was not there and threw more breaking balls," said Guillen of Colon, who gave up one run on two hits over five innings during the Knights' 7-1 victory over Norfolk. "That's it. You know the way Colon is. He's like, 'OK, let me go out and do it.' It was nothing impressive, but it was good." With Colon still a few starts away, though, Clayton Richard will remain in the White Sox rotation at the start of the second half. It looks as if Mark Buehrle will start the second half for the White Sox at home against Baltimore next Friday, followed by John Danks, either Floyd or Jose Contreras and then Richard. This alignment leaves three southpaws in line for the lefty-heavy Tampa Bay lineup and sets up Contreras for Detroit ... A.J. Pierzynski is batting .370 on the road, ranking him second in the American League. His .310 average overall places him second behind Joe Mauer among all catchers. Tickets
Buy tickets now to catch the game in person. On the Internet
Official game notes On television
WGN On radio
WSCR 670 Up next
Sunday: White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 9-2, 3.14) at Twins (Scott Baker, 6-7, 5.31), 1:10 p.m. CT
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.