Buehrle putting past perfection in the past
Southpaw has had tough luck since entering history books
NEW YORK -- At the time when Mark Buehrle was retiring all 27 Tampa Bay hitters he faced on July 23, 2009, at U.S. Cellular Field, he didn't realize that the 18th perfect game thrown in Major League Baseball history would be used as a barometer for the left-hander's future performances.
For example, since that perfect game effort, Buehrle has a 4-10 record with a 6.72 ERA, having allowed 59 earned runs in 79 innings pitched over 18 starts. Yet, Buehrle doesn't feel any different than when he was making history on the mound or amassing a career record of 37 games over .500. That good feeling especially holds true in 2010, despite Buehrle taking a 2-3 record and 4.68 ERA into Sunday's series finale at Yankee Stadium.
"This game is a lot of luck," Buehrle said. "Look at how I'm still sitting at 4.68 or 4.70 [ERA in 2010] and it blows my mind. I feel like I've thrown the ball way better than what the numbers show.
"They are what they are obviously. In that Tampa game [on April 21, 2010], I was making pitches and they were blooping in singles. It don't show up in the linescore. It looks like I got my butt handed to me. But it definitely feels like I've thrown a lot better than having a 4.60, I'll tell you that."
After the perfect game in 2009, Buehrle picked up only two victories in the season's final two months. Buehrle made another four quality starts in which he didn't get the win during that stretch, pointing up that luck factor he previously addressed.
"Since that perfect game, I've had good and bad ones," Buehrle said. "But I feel like I've thrown the ball about the same.
"I'm going to have games where I get it handed to me, and I'll have games where I go out there and deal. I want to win every game and go deep in every game. All you can do is give your team a chance to win on the mound."
Beckham understands Guillen's comments
NEW YORK -- Gordon Beckham was doing a radio interview Friday morning when he had the chance to hear audio of "the clip" delivered earlier in the week by Ozzie Guillen.
In classic Guillen form, the White Sox manager pointed out in Texas how Beckham is not the savior of the franchise, as Guillen seems to think he has been depicted. The 23-year-old Beckham also has "a long way to go," according to Guillen, and won't be "the man" as long as he manages a ballclub on which all 25 players are the man.
Some people took Guillen's comments as somewhat of a shot at the White Sox second baseman, when in reality, it was a manager simply trying to protect his young standout. Beckham saw the latter reason as the true explanation.
"He just doesn't want everybody to think I'm capable of doing, you know, above and beyond what I can do right now," Beckham said. "What he's saying is I'm still young and need to figure out stuff. I took it as the same as last year, where he's looking out for me a bit.
"I have no problem with what he said, not at all. He doesn't want expectations to be too great, too quick. He's trying to protect me a little bit and keep expectations as low as they possibly can be, I guess."
Beckham finished the first month of the 2010 season hitting .235, with four doubles, one home run and four RBIs. He has broken free from those early struggles with two hits in each of his last two games entering Saturday, nothing more than a pure coincidence with his bat getting hot after Guillen's speech.
Playing for a players' manager such as Guillen means answering questions about diatribes from time to time, Guillen dissertations which might seem a little bit harsher than they are truly intended. But Beckham has no issues playing for a direct man in charge such as Guillen.
"I like playing for him, but I like playing in general," Beckham said. "I like playing for Ozzie. But if I had another manager, I would not know any different.
"Ozzie is the only one I know. I like playing for him and being in Chicago and playing for the White Sox and it's fun for me. I'm happy with him here."
White Sox say so long to April
NEW YORK -- Manager Ozzie Guillen has no complaints about his team's aggressive baserunning, defense or even relief pitching through the disappointing first month of the 2010 season. He simply hopes the hitting will pick up as the weather gets warmer.
But in playing through these tough times, Guillen won't let his clubhouse get down, especially not so early in the present campaign.
"The clubhouse is very loose," Guillen said. "We do everything every day. In the dugout, it seems like it's kind of quiet once in a while.
"They play hard. They play the game the way they should," Guillen said. "They're just not hitting. It's not easy when you're struggling the way we are and be running around and having fun. I know that.
"In the meanwhile, I still have a lot of faith in them. I think the lineup we have can still come through this."
Rios returns to Chicago; Cooper joins the team
NEW YORK -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was with the team Saturday afternoon in New York after missing the first four games of this road trip to deal with personal business. Center fielder Alex Rios returned from New York to Chicago for the birth of his child, and Guillen expects him to join the White Sox for Monday's home series opener against the Royals.
"Rios is kind of like [Bartolo] Colon -- very hard to find," Guillen said. "When he left, we told him, please answer the phone to see exactly how ... I just want to know how his wife and baby are. I don't care about him. I'm not going to see him until Monday. I just want to make sure everything went well."
Vizquel not acting his age
NEW YORK -- Forty-three-year-old Omar Vizquel got the starting nod at shortstop on Saturday, bringing with him eight hits in 15 career at-bats against New York starting pitcher Javier Vazquez. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Major League player to appear at shortstop at age 43 or older was White Sox legend Luke Appling (43) in 1950.
Carlton Fisk was the last White Sox player to appear in a game at 43 or older. He played at 45 in 1993.
Third to first
Saturday's win gave Ozzie Guillen 522 victories during his career as manager of the White Sox. That total ties him with Tony La Russa for third place on the all-time franchise list. ... The White Sox ended a five-game losing streak to the Yankees overall and a six-game losing streak in the Bronx. ... John Danks has limited opponents to two earned runs or fewer in each of his first five starts. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last White Sox pitcher to accomplish the feat was Jose Contreras, who did so in his first six starts of 2006. ... Guillen did not ask to have Javier Vazquez's glove examined before the start of the third, with the umpires delaying the start of the frame. "When players come to me and say something about the pitcher, that's an excuse," Guillen said. "I don't even pay attention."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.