Humble Quentin deflects attention
Chicago (7-5) at Baltimore (6-7), 6:05 p.m. CT
If a 2009 Most Valuable Player campaign eventually is mounted for Carlos Quentin, and early returns from his bat indicate it might be needed, don't look for the White Sox left fielder to do much speaking out on his behalf.
Quentin is as humble as he is powerful, as intense and focused as he is patient at the plate. Even on Sunday, after homering for a third straight game for the first time in his career, Quentin was more focused on his team's success and how he fits into the overall scheme of the attack.
"Balls have been getting over the fence. Some have been hit well. Some have carried," said Quentin, describing his recent power outburst. "I wasn't concerned with that. I was more focused on making sure I'm accountable with guys in scoring position and being accountable in big situations.
"All the while, you can see how effective this lineup can be, one through nine, with our potential. Everyone is trying to achieve their best potential, and we'll take that every day."
The three home runs hit by Quentin in the series vs. the Rays were all tape-measure blasts, with little doubt at the crack of the bat that they were carrying into the stands. Where Quentin's continued power potential was concerned, though, there was some doubt coming into the season.
After all, his 2008 season was prematurely cut short by a month when he suffered a hairline fracture in his right wrist after hitting his hand on a bat following a foul ball against Cleveland's Cliff Lee. Some past cases have shown a power decrease after wrist injuries, with the Cubs' Derrek Lee an example.
But that worry wasn't all too prevalent for Quentin, not when his break healed sufficiently enough where he could have been ready to play in the 2008 American League Championship Series. Quentin now has seven home runs in 11 games, compared to seven in 25 games last April, but he is far from completely satisfied.
"I'd like to stay up the middle more," Quentin said. "Hits are hits. You take them when you get them some times. You square some balls and don't get hits. And that's the story of every hitter.
"You take every one. The game can be cruel some times. It can be fruitful. You respect it and go about your business. And make adjustments and be accountable."
Baltimore is next up for Quentin and the White Sox, and the odds appear good that Quentin could add a few more home runs to the five he's hit in the first six games of this road trip. Quentin has a .300 average and two home runs in 20 at-bats at Camden Yards.
More gaudy numbers for the MVP file for Quentin, who has more home runs than any other hitter in the AL since the start of 2008. But don't look for Quentin to push that cause, just as he avoided self-praise in 2008, when he looked in line for the same award through August.
On Sunday, Quentin was more interested in talking about Gavin Floyd's pitching and the way White Sox hitters made Tampa Bay pitchers work up and down the lineup, as opposed to his 394-foot blast.Pitching matchup
CWS: RHP Jose Contreras (0-2, 6.97 ERA)
The final numbers over 5 1/3 innings might not indicate a solid start for the veteran right-hander in Detroit on Wednesday afternoon, but Contreras definitely took a step up from his first trip to the mound this season. Contreras pitched four scoreless innings before giving up two runs in the fifth via a two-out single from Placido Polanco on a 1-2 pitch, and then was charged with three more in the sixth, although only four of the five runs were earned. Contreras struck out four, walked two and threw 59 of his 96 pitches for strikes in the loss to the Tigers. Contreras posted a 2-0 record with a 1.32 ERA against the Orioles last year and has a 5-4 record with a 4.64 ERA lifetime against Baltimore. Contreras has a 2-1 mark at Camden Yards. BAL: Brad Bergesen (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
The Orioles will need to make a roster move to fill this spot, and they're believed to be choosing from Chris Waters, David Pauley and Brad Bergesen. Bergesen is likely the favorite out of that group, but both Pauley and Waters have prior Major League experience. Bergesen impressed the team's executives in Spring Training, though, and would likely be in the rotation for the long haul if he's the choice. Tidbits
Manager Ozzie Guillen could only chuckle upon finding out that Sunday marked the White Sox biggest margin of victory ever over the Rays. "You guys have a better memory than I do," Guillen said. "I just take it one day at a time." ... Jim Thome sits just four home runs short of Mike Schmidt's career total of 548, which would tie him for 13th on the all-time list. Thome also is five RBIs short of reaching 1,500 for his career. ... Brian Anderson tied his career high with three hits, doing it for the fifth time in his career. ... Wilson Betemit started at third on Sunday and gave Josh Fields his first day off this season. Guillen also wanted to get a look at Betemit's ability to play third defensively, to get a read as to how much he could be used in that spot in the future. ... The White Sox showed a true sign of class before Sunday's game, applauding for Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon from the visitors' dugout when Maddon received his 2008 AL Manager of the Year on the field. Tickets
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Wednesday: White Sox (John Danks, 1-0, 0.75) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 2-0, 4.32), 6:05 p.m. CT
Thursday: White Sox (Bartolo Colon, 1-0, 3.86) at Orioles (Adam Eaton, 0-2, 11.25), 6:05 p.m. CT
Friday: White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 2-0, 3.00) vs. Blue Jays (TBD), 7:11 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.