4/19/2014 12:25 A.M. ET
Lindstrom talks the talk about walks
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The White Sox bullpen had an informal meeting prior to Thursday's contest against the Red Sox, coming on the heels of Wednesday's 15-walk affair. Matt Lindstrom, the veteran leader of this crew, had mentioned the meeting on Wednesday night and said the message centered on attacking and being aggressive.
"I told the guys yesterday, 'Let's try to limit the traffic on the bases,'" Lindstrom said. "It gives the other teams momentum, especially with lineups today. Give a team momentum with these lineups, it's going to be tough. Swinging bunts, balls down the line, doubles in the gap when they do start hitting you, so you've got to limit the traffic."
Lindstrom talked about walks being bigger momentum changers late in the game than hits, with the White Sox bullpen having issued an American League-most 40. He also focused on relievers using their best stuff to put hitters away when they get ahead, a category that includes Lindstrom himself.
"That's my biggest nemesis in my career," Lindstrom said. "I can get guys with two strikes, but I don't know what to throw to punch them out or put them away and let them get back in the count.
"Then you have to go back in the zone, and instead of cutting the plate in half, it has to go to thirds and even corners. That's a big thing for us. Like I said, we need to cut down those walks. As long as we can focus on getting guys to two strikes and putting them away, take a shot out of the zone and then go right back in the zone. You have to make teams earn their way on base."
Staying a little looser as a group was discussed, before White Sox relievers turn their focus completely on the job at hand from the fifth inning moving forward.
Ramirez extends season-opening streak to 17
ARLINGTON -- Alexei Ramirez extended his franchise-record, season-opening hitting streak to 17 straight games during Friday's 12-0 loss to the Rangers.
Dating back to last season, Ramirez has hit in 21 straight games. Ramirez eclipsed Frank Thomas' mark of 15 straight games to open a season on Thursday against the Red Sox.
Ramirez lined a 0-1 pitch from Martin Perez into right field leading off the fifth for what would be his only hit of the night and just one of three for the White Sox. Ramirez is now hitting .379 for the season.
Refreshed Abreu set to make adjustments
ARLINGTON -- Jose Abreu feels fine physically and seemed upbeat and a bit refreshed on Friday evening, after not starting Thursday's series finale against the Red Sox.
In the throes of a 1-for-25 slump after Friday's series opener against the Rangers, Abreu understands that his success is predicated on making adjustments to counter adjustments already made by opposing pitchers.
"That's the time to make adjustments right now," said Abreu through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "But you know all you have to do is continue to work hard throughout the season and then at the end of the season we'll see what we got.
"I don't think they are pitching in a different way. I just have to become a little more disciplined. I have been chasing a little bit of pitches out of the zone."
Abreu received a great deal of early attention for a relatively hot start that included multi-homer games in Colorado on April 7 and at home against Cleveland on April 10, as well as 14 RBIs. His average has dipped to .213 during this current funk, but as general manager Rick Hahn mentioned during Spring Training, Abreu, or any other young player, won't be judged on a week to week or even month-to-month basis.
These slumps were expected, so they will eventually look at Abreu's overall body of work.
"Right now we are more concentrated on trying to provide collectively for the team," Abreu said. "In doing that, then I can go ahead and do my part and make adjustments on my part."
Beckham closer to return from oblique injury
ARLINGTON -- Gordon Beckham started his sixth straight game for Double-A Birmingham on Friday night, playing second base once again. His injury rehab assignment for a strained left oblique is getting closer to an end, with Beckham not feeling any soreness in the affected area.
"He's been doing good," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Beckham. "He's getting closer. You want to make sure you get a good five, six in a row where you don't feel anything, so you know, even when they do it, there are no signs. It just happens. Knowing that he's had it before, you want to just nip it."
Beckham's injury came out of nowhere during Spring Training, when he was taking swings in the batting cage after a Cactus League game on March 14. As Ventura has stated numerous times, they are working to avoid any sort of re-occurrence and a longer absence. Ventura did not address the corresponding roster move upon Beckham's return.
The assumption is that Marcus Semien or Leury Garcia would be the temporary odd-man out. But with Garcia able to play the outfield, Jordan Danks also could be in that mix.
Sale changes things up with pitch selection
ARLINGTON -- The career-high 127 pitches and the heightened competitiveness of going against Jon Lester and the Red Sox on Thursday night left Chris Sale feeling a little more sore than usual on Friday, but nothing truly out of the ordinary.
"I jumped in the hot tub, did my shoulder program, worked out, ran, threw real light today," Sale said. "Just when stuff like that happens, you have a little bit more work to do in the four days in between your next one."
Sale mentioned that pitching coach Don Cooper already had canceled his bullpen before his trip to the mound on Tuesday in Detroit, and Sale planned to go with long toss. His effectiveness has been at the same high level as his previous two seasons as a starter, but Sale's repertoire has changed a bit.
Left-handed hitters are 0-for-20 against Sale this season and hitting .180 against him over the last three years. With more right-handed hitters understandably in the opposing lineup, Sale has thrown his changeup almost twice as much as last season, according to the statistical website Fangraphs.
"Yeah, I feel like I have a lot better feel for it. It has more depth than it has in the past," said Sale of his change. "That's something I've really been working on throughout the offseason and into Spring Training. I'm going to face a lot of righties and that's something that helps me out in terms of being able to throw it 3-2 and even behind in the count.
"I'm almost more confident with that than my fastball sometimes. With the combination of fastballs in and changeups down and away, it's a little bit better for righties."
There won't be a set pitch count limit for Sale against the Tigers, although he has one planned out in his mind.
"Hopefully it's 90 through nine. That would be nice," said a smiling Sale. "But all joking aside, it's go out there and just see how it is. They are pretty good judging on me in terms of when I start coming out of my mechanics. So for me, I'm just getting ready for my next one."
Third to first
• Sale has struck out 446 batters through his first 63 career starts, which is the most in White Sox history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. It's the third-most among active pitchers, behind Yu Darvish (513) and Tim Lincecum (461).
• Paul Konerko needed five total bases entering Friday to break Frank Thomas' franchise record of 3,949.
• The White Sox faced a left-handed starter for the second straight game on Friday night, after seeing just two southpaw starters in their first 15 games.