Showing posts with label Chicago White Sox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago White Sox. Show all posts

Thursday, July 19, 2018

White Sox option Charlie Tilson to Triple-A Charlotte

The White Sox on Wednesday optioned outfielder Charlie Tilson to Triple-A Charlotte.

Tilson was hitting .264/.331/.292 with 11 RBIs in 41 games with the Sox since being called up May 24. The batting average and on-base percentage are respectable, but Tilson only has two extra-base hits, resulting in that ghastly low slugging percentage.

The Sox will add an outfielder to the 25-man roster before Friday's game against the Seattle Mariners, and it's likely that one of Avisail Garcia or Nicky Delmonico will be returning from the disabled list.

Garcia has been out of action since July 8 with a strained right hamstring. The injury was not believed to be serious, and reports indicate he has been taking batting practice during the All-Star break. That said, Garcia will need to prove he can run the bases before being activated. Both of his hamstring injuries this season were suffered while running down the first-base line trying to beat out a ground ball.

Garcia was hitting .282/.297/.542 with nine home runs and 17 RBIs in 35 games at the time of his injury.

Delmonico has not played in the majors since May 18, when he broke a bone in his hand when he was struck by a pitch. He has been on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, during which he has hit .400/.500/.600 with four doubles and two RBIs in five games.

As a corner outfielder, Delmonico needs to hit for more power if he's going to stick. At the time of his injury, his slash line was .224/.333/.302 with only one home run and seven RBIs in 37 games.

Monday, July 16, 2018

White Sox (somehow) six games ahead of Royals at All-Star break

Leury Garcia
The first half of the season has been a disaster for the White Sox. They are 33-62, on pace for 106 losses, which would tie the club record set in 1970.

That's no small statement, because the Sox have been around since 1901, and they've only had three 100-loss seasons over those 117 years. We're looking at historic ineptness this summer.

Despite all that, the Sox somehow are not in last place at the All-Star break. In fact, they are six games ahead of the Kansas City Royals (27-68) in the AL Central, after winning two out of three games against the Royals over the weekend at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Here's a look back at the weekend that was:

Friday, July 13
White Sox 9, Royals 6: This game had all the elements of a matchup between two teams that are a combined 70 games below .500. There was no shortage of poor pitching and sloppy defense.

The good part for the Sox: home runs by Jose Abreu, Leury Garcia and Omar Narvaez as part of a 14-hit attack. And James Shields (4-10) pitched into the seventh inning without allowing an earned run, although another error by Yoan Moncada in the second cost Shields two runs.

The Sox took a 7-2 lead into the seventh before Shields ran out of gas, and five relief pitchers were needed to cover the final seven outs. The Royals crawled within 7-6 with two outs in the eighth, and they had two men on base when Jorge Bonifacio flied to the warning track in center field for the third out.

Fortunately, Narvaez delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to provide some breathing room, which Joakim Soria ultimately did not need. The Sox reliever earned his 14th save by retiring the side in order, with two strikeouts, in the ninth.

Saturday, July 14
Royals 5, White Sox 0: The Sox went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base against Kansas City starter Danny Duffy (5-8) and two relievers. Duffy walked three and allowed four hits over seven shutout innings, and all of the Sox hits were singles.

Give Reynaldo Lopez (4-7) some credit. At least he went 7.2 innings, but he was victimized by two home runs -- one by Bonifacio in the first and the other by the final hitter he faced, Salvador Perez in the eighth.

It was a bad, boring game and one you can just flush away. Lopez forgot to throw a shutout, and the Sox bats were silent.

Sunday, June 15
White Sox 10, Royals 1: Sox bats were anything but silent in the final game of the series. Moncada had a big afternoon, 3 for 4 with three runs scored, and he finished a triple short of the cycle. Daniel Palka opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run homer and also finished 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Garcia also had a three-hit game.

The support was plenty for Lucas Giolito (6-8), who allowed only two hits over 6.1 innings of shutout ball. He struck out eight and walked three.

For Giolito, the key inning was the first. He walked two and gave up a single to Perez, but Bonifacio was thrown out at the plate by 20 feet on that single, handing Giolito the second out of an inning in which he was struggling to find the plate. The Sox right-hander then struck out Lucas Duda to end the inning without giving up a run, despite throwing 30-plus pitches.

After that, Giolito settled in and dominated the middle innings, while the Sox bludgeoned a ragtag collection of Kansas City relievers.

It was a bad first half, but at least it ended with a lopsided win. That gives everyone something positive to take with them for the four days off over the All-Star break.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Signs of a bad offense: Low OPS

So, I was looking at the White Sox hitting statistics, and with recent slumps by Jose Abreu, Matt Davidson and Daniel Palka -- and Avisail Garcia's return to the disabled list -- the Sox don't have a single hitter with an OPS at or above .800.

Here's what we're looking at for OPS on the current Sox roster:

Davidson: .776
Abreu: .746
Omar Narvaez: .740
Tim Anderson: .723
Yolmer Sanchez: .723
Palka: .711
Yoan Moncada: .710
Kevan Smith: .692
Leury Garcia: .678
Charlie Tilson: .640
Ryan LaMarre: .634
Adam Engel: .591


Well, the Kansas City Royals (26-66) are coming into Chicago this weekend. Maybe that will be the cure for what ails Davidson and other Sox hitters. We shall see.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Carlos Rodon's ace-like stuff on display in win over Cardinals

Carlos Rodon
Carlos Rodon has been one of the most frustrating White Sox players over the past couple of seasons because he could be a star -- if he would just stop getting hurt.

Shoulder problems limited Rodon to 12 starts in 2017, and after undergoing surgery, he didn't return to the Sox rotation until June of this season -- he's made seven starts so far in 2018.

That said, Rodon (2-3) provided perhaps the best performance we've seen from any Sox pitcher this season Wednesday night. He pitched 7.1 innings of shutout ball, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out seven in a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The victory ended a six-game losing streak for the Sox (31-61).

Rodon worked at a brisk pace and threw 66 of his 104 pitches for strikes. He kept Cardinals hitters off-balance by using all of his pitches -- 56 fastballs, 23 changeups, 25 sliders.

In short, it was an ace-like performance. Rodon acted as the stopper and showed a glimpse of what he could become -- if he could just stay on the mound for a full season.

Because Rodon has been a member of the Sox for four years, sometimes we forget he's still only 25 years old. He should just be reaching his peak years, and if he consistently could put it all together, it could be a huge shot in the arm for the Sox's struggling rebuild.

Gonzalez out for the season

No surprise here: Veteran right-hander Miguel Gonzalez is done for 2018 after doctors performed a labral repair and debridement on his pitching shoulder Wednesday.

Gonzalez made only three starts for the Sox this year and lost them all, with a 12.41 ERA to boot. Thank goodness that was only a one-year contract.

The 34-year-old's recovery time is expected to be 9 to 12 months. He's certainly thrown his last pitch for the Sox, and he might not pitch again in the major leagues.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

White Sox designate Bruce Rondon for assignment, call up Jeanmar Gomez

Bruce Rondon
The White Sox were losing, 4-2, to the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning Tuesday when starting pitcher Dylan Covey left the mound.

The Sox ended up losing, 14-2. It wasn't all Bruce Rondon's fault, but a lot of it was.

Rondon threw 14 pitches, only two of them for strikes. He walked three batters, and three runs scored on his watch -- one on a bases-loaded walk and two on pitches that went all the way to the screen. It was all part of a seven-run inning for the Cardinals that put the game out of reach.

The final line for Rondon: 0.1 innings, 0 hits, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 Ks, 3 BBs.

It's hard to give up three runs without giving up a single hit, but Rondon managed to do it, after teammate Hector Santiago gave up a grand slam to Dexter Fowler and allowed all of the runners who were Rondon's responsibility to score.

As a result of this mess, Rondon was designated for assignment Wednesday, and right-hander Jeanmar Gomez's contract was purchased from Triple-A Charlotte, according to the Sox's Twitter account.

This move was overdue.

In his past 12 games, Rondon has allowed 19 runs, 18 hits and 15 walks in 7.2 innings. His season ERA is up to 8.49. This sort of incompetence cannot be tolerated even in a rebuilding year.

When Rondon steps on the mound, the game slows to a crawl and strikes thrown become a rarity. He can't even get enough people out to move games along in a losing cause. Remember this game on June 30? The Sox were trailing 6-4 in the eighth inning, but they ended up losing 13-4 after Rondon was charged with five earned runs in a third of an inning.

Frankly, Rondon should have been designated for assignment after that game, but we're talking about the Sox, who are historically slow to address problems. They gave Rondon five more appearances to try to right the ship, but now he's left them no choice but to try someone else.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

White Sox clain Ryan LaMarre off waivers; Avisail Garcia back to the disabled list

Ryan LaMarre
The White Sox on Monday claimed outfielder Ryan LaMarre off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.

I took this move as an ominous sign, after Avisail Garcia left Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Houston Astros with right hamstring tightness.

Sure enough, Garcia was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. It is the second time this season the hamstring problem has sent him to the sidelines.

It's too bad, too, because Garcia was in the midst of one of the most torrid stretches of his career. He was hitting .333 with a 1.130 OPS in 72 plate appearances since returning to the lineup June 22.

The move is retroactive to Sunday, and with off-days Monday and Thursday and the four-day All-Star break coming up next week, it's possible Garcia only will miss five games. But, since this is the second time this injury has popped up this season, I wouldn't be optimistic about Garcia returning after the minimum 10 days.

Enter LaMarre, 29, who was hitting .263 with five doubles and eight RBIs in 43 games with the Twins this season. He was added to the 25-man roster and immediately activated. He isn't much of a hitter -- a .206 career average in 72 big-league games -- but he can competently handle any of the three outfield positions.

I'm sure the hope is LaMarre can be a better stopgap outfielder than Trayce Thompson was during Garcia's previous DL stint. It's not a high bar to clear, given that Thompson batted .116 in 48 games with the Sox.

The Sox (30-60) are on a five-game losing streak after losing eight out of 10 on a road trip to Texas, Cincinnati and Houston. They open a five-game homestand leading into the All-Star break Tuesday night. The St. Louis Cardinals are in town for a two-game set Tuesday and Wednesday. The Kansas City Royals are here Friday to Sunday for a three-game series.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Jose Abreu elected to start All-Star Game despite horrible slump

Jose Abreu
First baseman Jose Abreu will become the first White Sox position player to start for the American League All-Star team since Frank Thomas in 1996.

(The Sox have had three pitchers -- Esteban Loaiza, Mark Buehrle and Chris Sale -- start the midsummer classic in years since.)

I would be more excited for Abreu if he weren't in the midst of the worst slump of his normally consistent and admirable career. In fact, if we were having this conversation about Abreu on June 1, I would have wholeheartedly endorsed his candidacy to be the starting American League first baseman.

Through May, Abreu had posted a slash line of .298/.360/.522 with nine home runs and 19 doubles. Those figures basically are right on par with his career totals of .296/.353/.515.

However, you can't ignore his subpar June and horrible start to July.

Abreu is hitting only .175/.232/.289 over his past 30 games with just two home runs. At one point in time, he was on pace to set a new club record for doubles in a season, but as I type here July 9, Abreu has been stuck on 27 doubles since June 20. Over that same span, he only has two extra-base hits -- a home run on June 27 and a triple on July 1.

This prolonged slump has dragged his season slash line down to a very un-Abreu-like .259/.315/.448.

There have been a couple years in the past where perhaps Abreu should have gotten an All-Star start but did not, so maybe this is a bit of a makeup call, or a reward for career achievement.

And there's no question Abreu is benefiting from a weak crop of AL first basemen this year. Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera is out for the year. Eric Hosmer signed with the San Diego Padres last offseason and doesn't play in the American League anymore.

Who among AL first basemen really deserves the honor? Oakland's Matt Olson? Toronto's Justin Smoak? Both those men have good power numbers, but they are both .240 hitters. Boston's Mitch Moreland? I guess he's having a decent year, but does anyone really think he's a better player than Abreu?

I wouldn't say that any of these people are slam-dunk All-Stars, but somebody had to be chosen. Turns out Abreu got elected the starter, and Moreland was chosen as a reserve.

Hopefully, Abreu will find his swing sometime in the next week's worth of games. It would be nice to see him have a good showing July 17 in Washington.

Friday, July 6, 2018

White Sox pitchers keep on walking people

Joakim Soria
The White Sox walked the leadoff hitter with a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night and got away with it.

Undeterred, they walked the leadoff hitter with a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, too, and that time the Houston Astros made them pay, rallying for a 4-3 victory.

It capped a night full of walks by Sox pitchers. Carlos Rodon walked six over six innings, and somehow he managed to allow only two runs. Reliever Juan Minaya issued the aforementioned leadoff walk in the eighth, and closer Joakim Soria (0-3) walked two in the ninth and ended up taking the loss.

Walking opposing hitters has become a big part of the Sox's identity, and it's gotten beyond the point of frustration.

Sox pitchers lead the American League with 371 walks as a staff this season, and it's not close. Baltimore ranks a distant second with 308 walks.

This isn't a new problem either: The Sox led the American League with 632 walks issued during the 2017 season -- once again easily outdistancing the Orioles, who issued 579 walks.

Even in 2016, with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana anchoring the top of the rotation, the Sox's walk rate was too high. They were third in the league with 521 walks.

Handing out free baserunners to the opposition is not a recipe for success, especially because the Sox will never be confused with having a good defensive team. Between the walks and errors, self-inflicted wounds have contributed to most of the Sox's 57 losses this season (entering Friday's play).

I'm told that Don Cooper is one of the best pitching coaches in the game. I'm not sure I believe that bit of propaganda at this point, but if Cooper is so great, I call upon him to get the Sox pitching staff back in the strike zone with more frequency.

At the very least, the Sox need to make the opposition earn it more often.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey has turned back into a pumpkin

Remember that brief stretch of glory when people thought White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey was turning the corner as a major league pitcher?

In a period of five starts from May 23 to June 13, Covey went 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA. He beat Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox, 1-0, on June 8 at Fenway Park. He backed that up with a 3-2 victory over Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland Indians on June 13 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

There was a glimmer of hope, but it looks as though those days are gone.

Covey has gotten shelled over his past four starts. He's 0-3 with a 13.20 ERA. He's allowed 23 runs (22 earned) on 21 hits over 15 innings. He's walked 13 men and struck out only four over that ugly stretch.

The latest Covey implosion occurred Wednesday night. He retired the first nine men he faced against the Cincinnati Reds and took a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning. But, it all went astray the second time through the batting order, as seven of the first eight Reds hitters reached base in the fourth inning.

By the time all was said and done, Covey was removed from the game without finishing the inning, and the Sox trailed, 6-3. They went out to lose, 7-4, and dropped two out of three against the NL Central-worst Reds.

Under normal circumstances, Covey's spot in the starting rotation would be in jeopardy after a horrible stretch such as this. However, with no obvious choice to replace him, chances are he remains in the mix for now.

In the meantime, let's get the notion out of our heads that Covey is going to be some sort of long-term fixture as a starting pitcher. I started to hear that from some Sox fans when Covey was pitching well, and I never bought it.

We need to call Covey what he is: roster filler. He's here until the Sox minor league system produces somebody better. Nothing more, nothing less.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Avisail Garcia swinging the bat well on current White Sox road trip

Avisail Garcia
We can't say Avisail Garcia wasn't one of the players to blame for the White Sox's miserable start to the 2018 season.

Garcia went on the disabled list April 24 with a hamstring strain, and the Sox were 5-14 at that point. During those first 19 games, Garcia hit .233/.250/.315 with only one home run and four RBIs. Not good.

The former All-Star right fielder returned to the lineup June 22 and didn't produce much his first few games back. However, since June 26, we're seeing a different hitter.

Over his past eight games, Garcia is 16 for 39 (.410 batting average) with six home runs, two triples, two doubles, 11 runs scored and eight RBIs. He even drew his first walk of the season in 129 plate appearances Tuesday in the 12th inning of a 12-8 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

It was a victory Garcia played a major role in -- he homered twice, the second of which tied the game in the top of the ninth inning against Cincinnati closer Raisel Iglesias. Throughout his career, Garcia has struggled to drive good major league fastballs to his pull side, but he had no such trouble against Iglesias, blistering a 96 mph fastball into the second deck in left field.

In Monday's game, a 5-3 loss to the Reds, Garcia homered to right field. It's a promising development to see him using the whole field, and if he can continue to swing the bat well, perhaps he will revive the debate over whether he is the right fielder of the future, in addition to the right fielder of the present.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Grinder Bash 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field -- let's visit the home clubhouse

Grinder Bash, the White Sox's annual party for season-ticket holders, was sparsely attended Saturday, perhaps because this rebuilding team doesn't have many season-ticket holders anymore.

That's fine. More room for us, and for the first time (at least in the years I've attended this event), fans had access to the home clubhouse.

You can see Yoan Moncada's locker right behind me, near the front of the clubhouse. Not surprisingly, Moncada's locker is between those of Hector Santiago and Jose Abreu, whose locker is just out of frame to the right. The Sox obviously want Moncada hanging around a couple of the veteran Latino players who have been there and done that. Let's hope for the sake of the Sox's rebuild that young Yoan gets it going soon. His batting average is down to .221 entering Monday's play; his on-base percentage is down to .289.

Danny Farquhar's locker remain full and intact, even though he hasn't been around the team as much since suffering a life-threatening brain aneurysm during a game April 20 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Notably, Farquhar has a signed Frank Thomas jersey hanging in his locker. That's a pretty cool piece of memorabilia to have. I think the entire baseball community, not just the White Sox organization and its fans, wishes Farquhar well as he continues to recover from one of the scariest situations I've seen happen at a major league ballpark.

I probably found this funnier than it really is, but I got a kick out of seeing a suitcase in Juan Minaya's locker. This guy has been up and down between the Sox and Triple-A Charlotte all season, and I can't help but wonder if that suitcase is there just in case he gets another tap on the shoulder and another plane ticket to North Carolina. Well, actually, with the way Bruce Rondon has been pitching lately, perhaps Minaya's roster spot is safer than it's been at other points during the season.

Off in the corner, here is James Shields' locker. He has nobody to his left, and nobody to his right. Has he really earned all that personal space? Yeah, he's a veteran and all, but his record is 3-9. In the past, perhaps this roomy part of the clubhouse might have belonged to an accomplished Sox player such as, say, Paul Konerko. It seems as though Shields is the guy who currently gets the royal treatment, deserving or not. Or, perhaps they just make him sit in the corner for not being very good at pitching at this stage of his career.

Here's the view from behind home plate. If you ever want to feel small, go down on the field at a major league stadium on a non-game day when the ballpark is empty. You never realize just how big a place it is until you're down at field level.

One other interesting little note: On the wall in the Sox bullpen, the relief corps keeps track of the number of calls received from the dugout. During the 2017 season, there were 888 calls made to the bullpen during the 81 home games. It looks as though the Sox are on pace to exceed that total this season. So far, 502 calls have been made to the bullpen through 43 home games. That's an average of about 11.6 a game. That puts the Sox on pace for 945.6 calls over an 81-game period. Yes, these are rough days. By way of comparison, the calls during the 2013 season only numbered in the 400s. The 2013 Sox were a bad club -- 99 losses -- but starting pitching was the strength: Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jake Peavy, the pre-injury Santiago, etc. These days, starting pitching is a weakness, and the bullpen is busy.

The other great thing about Grinder Bash: Free food and drinks, including beer, for those who choose to partake. As I said, the season-ticket base for the Sox is fewer in number than it has ever been, and those of us who have chosen to stick it out through this rebuild have earned a perk such as this.

When all is said and done, it might be one of the more enjoyable days at the ballpark in 2018. After all, we weren't walking back to our cars after a White Sox loss, which has so often been the case during this most trying of seasons.

Monday, June 25, 2018

White Sox salvage split with Oakland with Sunday blowout

Carlos Rodon
Carlos Rodon went eight innings and got the win Sunday. Yoan Moncada had six RBIs as the White Sox trounced the Oakland Athletics, 10-3.

It was cathartic, wasn't it?

The Sox recently have been through another really rough stretch of baseball, but you take the positives where you can, and Sunday's rout to salvage a split of a four-game set with Oakland was one of those days where it was OK to smile.

Here's a look back at the weekend that was:

Friday, June 22
Athletics 11, White Sox 2 (Game 1): The Sox entered this series off a 12-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians, and the "clownish" play continued in the opener of a doubleheader.

Sox starter James Shields (2-9) allowed eight runs over 4.2 innings, but only two were earned as the South Siders totaled three errors -- two by Moncada.

Oakland scored four runs in the second inning and four more in the fifth to take an 8-0 lead, so this was one over early and ugly throughout.

White Sox 6, Athletics 4 (Game 2): This probably was the best outing we've seen from Lucas Giolito (5-7) all season, as his fastball was sitting at 95 mph for much of the game, unlike the 91-92 we've become accustomed to in several of his previous starts.

Giolito's line doesn't look all that great: four earned runs allowed in seven plus innings, but he walked off the mound with a 5-2 lead in the eighth. A couple of inherited runners scored that were added to his line.

Give left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno some credit -- he entered the game with runners on first and third and no outs in the top of the eighth with the Sox clinging to a 5-4 lead. Cedeno pitched out of it, and Tim Anderson added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run.

Anderson went 2 for 4 with a double, a home run and three runs scored.

Saturday, June 23
Athletics 7, White Sox 6: Anderson continued his hot hitting with a three-run homer in the first inning Saturday that staked the Sox to an early 5-0 lead.

Alas, Oakland rallied for the win. Dylan Covey exited in the fifth inning with a groin strain -- the Sox were leading 5-2 at the time -- and the wheels came off from there. Chris Volstad allowed two inherited runners to score, and gave up two earned runs of his own.

Juan Minaya (0-2) took the loss by allowing a run in the eighth, but some poor defense was played behind him. Minaya struck out the first two hitters, and got a routine fly to right off the bat of Stephen Piscotty. OK, maybe it wasn't routine, because Avisail Garcia lost the ball in the sun. It fell for a "double."

Piscotty then scored on a two-out RBI single by Nick Martini that put the A's up, 7-6.

Oakland committed two infield errors in the bottom of the ninth. Despite its efforts to give the game back to the Sox, the South Siders could not take advantage. Matt Davidson grounded into a game-ending double play with two runners on.

Sunday, June 24
White Sox 10, Athletics 3: The turning point came in the top of the fifth inning. Oakland led, 2-0, and had runners on second and third with nobody out.

Rodon was on the ropes, but he punched his way out of it, inducing a weak grounder to third, getting a strikeout, and then a weak popout to second base.

The Sox scored five in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by Moncada's two-out, three run double. The second baseman added three more RBIs with a home run in the bottom of the sixth, as the Sox added five more runs.

Given a 10-2 lead, Rodon cruised through the eighth inning. He only struck out three, but he did not walk a batter -- note to all Sox pitchers, everything works better when you throw strikes.

Sox relievers walked three men in the top of the ninth, and Oakland scored a run, but the Sox effectively ended any doubt about the outcome when Moncada homered in the sixth.

Friday, June 22, 2018

White Sox activate Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia from disabled list

Avisail Garcia
The White Sox on Friday activated outfielder Avisail Garcia and utility player Leury Garcia from the 10-day disabled list.

To make room on the roster, outfielder Trayce Thompson was designated for assignment and infielder Jose Rondon was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

Avisail Garcia, who was placed on the disabled list April 24 with a strained right hamstring, was hitting .360 with three doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs in seven games during his rehab assignment with Charlotte.

With wet conditions expected in Chicago for Friday's doubleheader with the Oakland A's, it wouldn't be surprising to see Avisail Garcia in the DH spot. He'll likely return to right field once the weather -- and the outfield grass -- dry out.

Leury Garcia, who was placed on the disabled list May 24 with a sprained left knee, was 6 for 14 with three doubles and an RBI in four games on his rehab assignment.

It's possible Leury Garcia will see a little more time in the infield. With Rondon optioned, he's the fifth infielder, in addition to being the fourth outfielder. Leury Garcia was 9 for 9 in stolen bases before getting injured, so if his legs are healthy, he should provide a good pinch-running option late in games.

These roster moves likely end Thompson's tenure with the Sox, and if so, it will be merciful. The outfielder is 3 for 60 in day games this season, and in 130 plate appearances with the Sox, he posted a slash line of .116/.163/.215.

Thompson cannot say he did not get a fair opportunity -- he has started 13 of the Sox's 21 games in June. He's gotten fairly regular at-bats, but he ended up setting team records for lowest batting average and on-base percentage for a non-pitcher who received more than 100 at-bats in a season.

Yes, indeed, it was time to designate Thompson for assignment. His performance at the plate was making Adam Dunn's 2011 season seem competent by comparison.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease among White Sox prospects to receive promotions

Eloy Jimenez
The second half of the season begins Thursday for three of the White Sox's minor-league affiliates -- Double-A Birmingham, Class-A Winston-Salem and Class-A Kannapolis -- and it has been no secret that several Sox prospects were going to receive promotions.

I trust James Fegan of The Athletic as much as anyone as a Sox source, so here are the moves that he has tweeted out Thursday afternoon.

Top prospect Eloy Jimenez, catcher Seby Zavala and relief pitcher Ian Hamilton have been promoted from Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte.

After contributing to Winston-Salem's first-half division title in the Carolina League, starting pitchers Dylan Cease and Bernardo Flores, relievers Matt Foster and Zach Thompson and outfielders Luis Alexander Basabe, Alex Call and Joel Booker have been promoted to Birmingham.

Outfielders Luis Robert and Luis Gonzalez, shortstop Laz Rivera, starting pitchers Lincoln Henzman and Blake Battenfield and relief pitcher Tyler Johnson have been promoted from Kannapolis to Winston-Salem.

The White Sox also released veteran outfielder Michael Saunders from the organization.

And, hey, some other good news: The Sox can't lose Thursday. Thursday's game with the Oakland Athletics has been postponed because of the horrible, wet weather we are experiencing in and near Chicago.

The two clubs will play a straight doubleheader at 3:10 p.m. Friday. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Indians starting pitchers dominate White Sox in three-game sweep

Corey Kluber
Should we be surprised the White Sox got swept (again) by the Cleveland Indians? Probably not, but it still is pretty frustrating to see the South Siders put a noncompetitive product on the field.

Wednesday was one of "those days," as the Indians took a 3-0 lead three batters into the bottom of the first inning and went on to crush the Sox, 12-0.

Cleveland is 40-33 overall, including 8-2 against the Sox, which means the Tribe is a mediocre 32-31 against teams that do not play home games at 35th and Shields. I don't think Cleveland is the 102-win juggernaut it was last season, but the bottom line is the Sox are going to continue to struggle against this team until they find a way to score against the Indians starters.

Look at the lines posted by the three men who started for Cleveland in this series:

Trevor Bauer: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 8Ks, 2 BBs
Mike Clevinger: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 10 Ks, 2 BBs
Corey Kluber: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 Ks, 1 BB

So, in 21.1 innings, Indians starters gave up one run on nine hits, while striking out 25 and walking only five. That is domination.

I'm tired of seeing the Sox get dominated like this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

White Sox infielder Matt Davidson hitting better in recent games

Matt Davidson
The White Sox (24-47) have lost five games in a row, and they appear to be descending back into the seventh sector of hell.

But infielder Matt Davidson has provided a bit of a bright spot. He homered for the second consecutive game Monday, his team-leading 13th home run, as the Sox lost, 6-2, to the Cleveland Indians.

It's good to see Davidson hitting for power after returning from the disabled list. He did not play from May 22 to June 5 because of back spasms, and for some reason, he was thrown right back into the major league lineup without the benefit of a rehab assignment.

In his first seven games after coming off the disabled list, Davidson went 2 for 24 with 14 strikeouts. The slump culminated in back-to-back games in which Davidson went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts June 10 and 11.

But in the past six games, Davidson has found his swing again, going 9 for 23 with three doubles, two home runs and four RBIs. He's still struck out nine times, of course, but the high strikeout totals become more palatable when coupled with power production.

The way the Sox have handled rehab assignments, or the lack thereof, has been confusing to me as of late. Davidson came right back into the major leagues, but Avisail Garcia remains at Triple-A Charlotte after five rehab games.

In five games for the Knights, Garcia is slashing .353/.450/.706 with three doubles, three walks, a home run and six RBIs. It seems to me he's ready to return to the lineup, but the Sox are saying Garcia will play two more games in Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday, before a possible return this weekend against the Oakland A's.

Granted, Garcia hasn't played in the majors since April 23 because of a strained right hamstring. So, he missed much more time than Davidson, but if he's feeling good, it's head-scratching why he hasn't been activated.

The Sox had no problem throwing Davidson right into the mix, but they are taking their time with Garcia, for whatever reason.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Two steps back: White Sox swept at home by Detroit Tigers

Nicholas Castellanos
The Detroit Tigers are not a good road team. In fact, they are 13-20 away from Comerica Park.

But you would never know it by their performance at Guaranteed Rate Field this season, where they are 6-0 after sweeping a weekend series from the White Sox. So, the Tigers are 7-20 on the road against teams not named the White Sox.

Pathetic, and frustrating for Sox fans. It's especially frustrating after the Sox had shown signs of progress in June -- taking two out of three from the Brewers, splitting four games with the Twins, taking two out of three from the Red Sox and splitting four games with the Indians.

Now, the Sox go three games without ever taking a lead at home against the middling Tigers. Ugh.

Here's a look back at the weekend that was:

Friday, June 15
Tigers 4, White Sox 3: This game was characterized by suspect bullpen management from Rick Renteria.

The Sox trailed, 3-0, through five innings, but Omar Narvaez hit his first home run of the season, a 3-run shot in the sixth, to tie the game.

But for some reason, Renteria blew through relief pitchers Xavier Cedeno, Bruce Rondon and Luis Avilan to get three outs in the top of the seventh inning.

While those three relievers combined to keep the Tigers off the board in the 7th, it was strange that Renteria chose to play matchups when no runner reached scoring position in the inning. It was not a dangerous situation.

Then, Juan Minaya -- who is only in the big leagues because Nate Jones is on the disabled list -- was entrusted to pitch the eighth inning. Of course, Minaya immediately went single, walk to put himself in trouble.

He was allowed to stay in, perhaps because the aforementioned three relievers already had been used, and of course, the Tigers scored a run and won the game.


Saturday, June 16
Tigers 7, White Sox 5: Detroit right fielder Nicholas Castellanos was mired in a 1-for-21 slump until Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito took the mound.

Giolito took care of that, allowing a 3-run homer to Castellanos in the third and a two-run homer to him in the fifth. Both home runs came after Giolito had issued a two-out walk.

The Sox trailed, 5-0, going to the bottom of the fifth, but they rallied to tie the game. An RBI double by Tim Anderson, a two-run single by Charlie Tilson and a sacrifice fly by Trayce Thompson highlighted a four-run fifth.

In the sixth, Yolmer Sanchez tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Abreu. 5-5 game.

But Abreu missed a big chance in the seventh. He grounded out weakly to third with the bases loaded and two outs. Worse yet, he swung at two bad pitches to open the at-bat, after Detroit reliever Buck Farmer had walked Yoan Moncada and Sanchez to load the bases for Abreu.

It was a rare poor at-bat for the Sox's best hitter.

In the eighth, Detroit only hit one ball out of the infield -- a leadoff single by Victor Martinez -- but the Tigers plated two runs because Rondon walked two guys and misplayed a bunt.

It was a frustrating defeat on what could have been a feel-good day after the Sox erased a five-run deficit.

Sunday, June 17
Tigers 3, White Sox 1: Castellanos continued to punk the Sox. He got a hanging breaking ball from James Shields in the first inning and hit it out for a two-run homer.

That was essentially the game, as the Sox failed to generate much offense against soft-tossing Detroit left-handed Blaine Hardy.

Matt Davidson's team-leading 12th home run of the season provided the only Sox offense in the second inning.

But hey, Shields (2-8) went at least six innings for the 11th consecutive start, and he didn't allow the game to get out of hand.

Increase that trade value, James.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Perhaps Michael Kopech really does need more Triple-A time

Up until now, I've been a proponent of Michael Kopech getting an opportunity to continue his development at the major-league level.

However, the White Sox's top pitching prospect gave me pause with a poor performance Thursday night.

In Charlotte's 6-4 loss to the Norfolk Tides, Kopech walked eight, threw five wild pitches, hit two batters and threw only 35 of his 86 pitches for strikes. He struck out two and gave up two hits.

He only lasted three innings, and somehow, he only gave up five runs.

The control problems continue a trend for Kopech, who has had three uneven outings in row. Here is his composite pitching line from his past three starts:

11 IP, 12 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 17 BB, 14 K, 3 HBPs

OK, I'll relent and say general manager Rick Hahn is doing the right thing by keeping Kopech at Charlotte a little longer. However, I still believe Eloy Jimenez should have been promoted from Birmingham to Triple-A by now.

Indians 5, White Sox 2

I can't say Carlos Rodon's second start back from the disabled list Thursday was a bad one -- he didn't lose -- Chris Volstad took the loss in relief.

But Rodon was not sharp, so let's call the outing "laborious."

The left-hander went five innings, allowing two runs on two hits. He struck out four, walked three and hit two batters. A low point came in the third inning when he walked Yan Gomes with the bases loaded to force in the tying run.

We'd all like to see Rodon get deeper into games, but the score was tied at 2 when he left the game after five, so he gave the Sox a chance to win.

The Indians won, however, after Jose Ramirez broke the tie with a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run off Volstad in the top of the seventh. Volstad had a first base open, and he just got too much of the plate with his pitch.

I was frustrated with that outcome, because Edwin Encarnacion was the on-deck hitter for Cleveland in that situation. Although Encarnacion is an accomplished hitter, he is mired in a 2-for-19 slump.

I'd rather take my chances with him, righty-on-righty, than let Cleveland's most dangerous hitter (Ramirez) beat me.

Ramirez, in this case, burned the Sox, who settled for a split of the four-game series.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A nice, clean 14-hitter: White Sox beat Indians

White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey allowed 2.6 home runs per every nine innings in 2017. That was the highest rate among any pitcher who threw at least 70 innings -- although to be fair, Covey threw 70 innings right on the dot during his 0-7 season.

However, things have changed this year. Covey has made six starts with the Sox in 2018, totaling 35.1 innings, and he has yet to allow a home run.

Hmmm. Go figure.

Covey improved to 3-1 on Wednesday as the Sox beat the Cleveland Indians, 3-2.

The former Rule 5 draft pick gave up two runs on 10 hits over seven-plus innings, but they were all singles, and Covey survived because he did not walk a batter. Give the guy this: He's throwing strikes, and he's avoiding the big mistakes that cost him a lot of runs last season.

Sox relievers Jace Fry and Joakim Soria combined to give up four more hits over two innings, so Cleveland ended up outhitting the Sox, 14-4, but the South Siders had the edge in the column that counts.

The Sox only had four hits off Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer, who struck out 12 in 7.2 innings, but those four hits counted.

Tim Anderson walked to lead off the fifth inning, stole second and scored on triple by Charlie Tilson. Trayce Thompson's perfectly executed suicide squeeze brought Tilson home for a 2-0 Sox lead.

The Sox added a run in the sixth. After Jose Abreu doubled, Kevan Smith's two-out single made it 3-0, with Abreu sliding safely into home under a tag after a good throw to the plate by Cleveland right fielder Melky Cabrera.

The Indians got two in the eighth and threatened for more, placing runners on second and third with one out. However, Fry put out the fire with consecutive strikeouts of Cabrera and Jason Kipnis to preserve a 3-2 lead.

Soria allowed two singles in the ninth, but induced a double play off the bat of Michael Brantley to earn his 10th save.

With the win, the Sox (24-42) are now 15-15 in their past 30 games. That doesn't erase the miserable 9-27 start, but games have been more watchable as of late.