4/9/2014 2:11 A.M. ET
Paulino battling command in early starts
By Jack Etkin / Special to MLB.com
DENVER -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper gave a succinct critique of Felipe Paulino, who lasted 4 1/3 innings Monday and allowed nine hits, four walks and six runs in an 8-1 loss to the Rockies.
"Not enough strikes," Cooper said. "His slider's not there where we need it. His changeup wasn't there last night. His overall command wasn't there last night. Strike-to-ball ratio not nearly as good as we need it."
"The first start was fair," Cooper said. "And last night was poor."
Paulino underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2012, and last season pitched 27 2/3 innings in seven Minor League starts while in the Royals' organization.
"He's back. He's healthy," Cooper said. "He's got enough physical stuff, and now we got to get that physical stuff over the plate more. Last night, he had some trouble with two outs shutting down innings. So those are the things we're talking about working on."
On Monday, Paulino retired the first two batters he faced and then yielded a homer to Carlos Gonzalez. In the second, Paulino issued a two-out walk to the No. 8 hitter followed by pitcher Jordan Lyles' run-scoring double.
Manager Robin Ventura said Paulino's inability to stay ahead of hitters after getting an advantage has hurt him.
"He gets to the point where he throws enough strikes early," Ventura said. "Then he starts picking around, and [you] get yourself back into a hitter's count instead of a pitcher's count. These are good hitters. Any time you flip that over and give the advantage back to the hitter and you're picking around the zone and end up walking a guy, you just find yourself in trouble. Trust it. Just be aggressive."
Gillaspie an early threat throughout the lineup
DENVER -- White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie entered Tuesday hitting .389 (7-for-18) in five games with three doubles and two RBIs, and nearly as many walks (two) as strikeouts (three).
Gillespie batted fifth Tuesday, the second time this season he was in that spot in the lineup. He has also batted third twice, fourth once and sixth once.
"He's got a simple approach," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "I think he can hit either left-handed or right-handed pitchers. I'm not afraid to move him around to third or fifth or sixth. He's a good hitter. He's legit.
"I think Conor's much different this year than he was last year [in terms] of just understanding how hard it is on a daily basis to really get ahead in the big leagues. Trust it and stay with it, leave yesterday behind and focus on the stuff you can control today. Conor's in a better spot."
Dunn not likely to play Coors' spacious left field
DENVER -- Starting Adam Dunn in left field Wednesday would give manager Robin Ventura another left-handed hitter in his White Sox lineup against Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio. But putting Dunn, a below-average defensive player, in left field at Coors Field is risky.
Without naming his left fielder for Wednesday, Ventura indicated it would not be Dunn.
"It's a pretty big yard," Ventura said. "I think there were some plays last night where you had to have a fast guy to run them down. It's a big outfield."
The alley in left-center measures 390 feet. From there, the wall slants out until it meets the center-field wall, forming a small triangle in deep left-center.
"Left field here is like center field anywhere [else]," said Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who won a Gold Glove in left field last season and has extensive experience playing center field. "Whenever the ball's hit to that corner [in left-center], it's almost impossible to prevent a triple. When you go all the way out there and cut the ball and throw it to the cutoff man and the guy doesn't make third base, that's a successful play.
"It's definitely one of the hardest places to play left field. Whenever you go to a different field, it's a piece of candy when you have to play here every day."
Third to first
• Monday's 8-1 loss was by the worst of the young season for the White Sox, but Ventura knows it could have gotten truly ugly, since the Rockies banged out 13 hits and received five walks.
After starter Felipe Paulino lasted just 4 1/3 innings, Ventura was fortunate to be able to finish the game with just two relievers, Daniel Webb, who worked 1 2/3 innings and Jake Petricka (two innings).
Referring to the lopsided loss, Ventura said, "Here it can happen. You need to pitch well here. You can't walk guys. Errors and walks will kill you here, plus they've got a good hitting team. Those are just things you have to clean up to be able to compete here. With as many guys as they had on base, it could have been a lot worse.
"Here you have to forget about last night real quick. It's just a different place to play than anywhere else in the league. For guys to come in here -- what they're used to doesn't really happen."
• The Rockies started left-hander Franklin Morales. Ventura said in an American League game with the designated hitter, Paul Konerko "probably" would be the DH. But this early in the season, Ventura said first baseman Jose Abreu didn't need a day off, so Konerko wasn't in the lineup at that position.
• Second baseman Gordon Beckham (left oblique strain) did not play in either game Monday of Double-A Birmingham's doubleheader. Ventura said he had no update on Beckham, who began a rehab assignment with the Barons on Thursday as their DH but was shut down after feeling pain in his left oblique area while swinging. The Barons were off Tuesday.
• The White Sox entered Tuesday having scored 14 runs in four road games. Four of those runs came in the ninth inning Sunday at Kansas City. They then tallied a 15-3 rout Tuesday night.
Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.