White Sox

Chris Sale, White Sox lose finale to Marlins 5-4

Chris Sale, White Sox lose finale to Marlins 5-4

MIAMI -- Chris Sale is still in search of win No. 15.

The victory has now eluded the five-time All-Star pitcher for six weeks, including Sunday afternoon when the Miami Marlins rallied from an early deficit to beat the White Sox 5-4 in front of 21,401 at Marlins Park. Sale allowed five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings and Miami averted a three-game sweep against the White Sox, who had the tying run thrown out at home plate on the game’s final play.

“I’m not really doing too much to help this one either,” Sale said. “It sucks. You try to do your job and go out and try to win your team a game and you don’t do that and it’s frustrating. It would be frustrating for anybody. I don’t know what my lines or stats are. I just know I’m not winning games and that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

The White Sox feel good about their chances any time Sale takes the mound. He’s developed into a front-of-the-rotation starter and one of baseball’s best pitchers.

So imagine how high their confidence must be when they support him early as they did on Sunday when the White Sox jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning.

Adam Eaton homered on the game’s first pitch and Jose Abreu singled in a run off Tom Koehler. But Koehler retired 14 of 15 batters and Sale couldn’t hold off the Marlins.

Trailing 2-0, Miami pieced together a go-ahead rally in the fifth inning with four straight singles.

A bases-loaded, game-tying single by Koehler off Sale’s foot on a 1-2 pitch took a weird hop and drove in two.

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Ichiro Suzuki then tried to move the remaining runners up with a sac bunt. Starting on second base, Adeiny Hechavarria raced all the way home as Sale didn’t cover the plate, which had been vacated when catcher Omar Narvaez went out to field the bunt.

“That was just a brain fart, really,” Sale said. “I got to be at home plate for that.”

The White Sox rallied to tie the score at 3 on a Jose Abreu double, but Miami pulled back ahead against Sale in the seventh. Martin Prado’s one-out RBI single to right gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Sale stuck out Christian Yelich, but Marcell Ozuna singled in another run off Jacob Turner to stretch the lead to two runs.

Sale allowed eight hits and walked one while striking out seven in a 110-pitch effort.

“(The fifth) inning the bottom of the lineup did a good job,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Putting it in play, stuff fell in, pitcher gets a hit. It just kind of unraveled right there.”

“(In the seventh) you’re facing Prado and no matter who’s pitching you don’t want to see him up there with guys on base.”

Down two runs headed to the ninth, the White Sox found themselves in position for a two-out rally against Marlins closer Fernando Rodney. Tim Anderson’s solo homer to left made it a one-run game and Omar Narvaez singled to left.

Adam Eaton then moved pinch runner Carlos Sanchez to second with a single to right, his third hit in five trips. Tyler Saladino followed with a two-strike bloop base hit to left and third-base coach Joe McEwing waved in Sanchez. Yelich raced over and quickly retrieved the ball and fired a perfect strike home to catcher Jeff Mathis -- who after a very quick review was determined to have not blocked the plate -- to nail Sanchez and end the game.

The tough loss left a normally loquacious Sale frustrated afterward.

“I take pride in what I do and how I handle myself and how I handle my business,” Sale said. “When I go out there and don’t get the job done, I’m going to be frustrated. I hold myself to a very high standard. When I don’t reach that, it’s unacceptable. I don’t care if it’s this, that or the other thing. I just have to be better.”

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

GLENDALE, AZ --  There’s a different Tim Anderson at White Sox spring training this year.

You can see it on his face  You can hear it in his voice.

“I’m busting out of the shell. I’m talking more,” he said as he sat down for an interview with NBC Sports Chicago (in the video above).

It’s not the new Tim Anderson. It turns out, it’s the real one that’s been there all along.

“This is me. It’s always been me. I never knew how to express myself. I feel like I’m being a lot more open,” Anderson explained. “That’s what I want to give to fans. Let them know the real me. You’re cheering for me. Why not know me? I’m being open and kind of let fans into my life.”

The White Sox shortstop has learned a lot about life in the past year. It all started in May when the White Sox were in Baltimore to play the Orioles. Anderson received a phone call at 4 a.m. It was news from back home.

It was the worst phone call of his life.

His best friend Branden Moss had been murdered in the parking lot of a Tuscaloosa, Ala., bar after helping the victim of a fight.  

The two were like brothers. Anderson is the godfather to Moss’s young daughter. Moss was the godfather to Anderson’s 2-year-old daughter.

“It was heartbreaking,” Anderson said.

While Anderson grieved, playing baseball seemed like it would be a perfect escape for his pain. Only it wasn’t. Far from it.  Baseball might have made things even worse.

In fast-paced sports like football and hockey, players don’t have much time to think. It’s react, react, react. Whatever might be happening off the field feels like a million miles away.

Not in baseball.

The game moves at a much slower speed. There’s plenty of time for your mind to wander. Thoughts kept going back to Anderson’s lost friend, taken from him in an instant.

At 23, he didn’t have the tools to deal with the emotional pain and excel at baseball at the same time.

“The year was rough. I wasn’t having fun in between the lines. I was making the game harder than it was. I was thinking too much. I was feeling sorry for myself and the list can go on. When my friend died it definitely took a lot out of me. I had a dark moment,” Anderson said. “Some days I didn’t feel comfortable coming to the ballpark because I knew it was going to be a bad day.”

Making matters worse, there were many nights when Anderson didn’t sleep. Not a wink. Still, he dragged himself to the ballpark and somehow tried to play.

The results weren’t pretty. On June 22, Anderson already had 16 errors at shortstop, most in the majors. At the plate, he was hitting .256/.284/.374 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.

He knew he was better than that. He also knew something else: He needed help.

In July, Anderson started meeting with a therapist who was able to unlock the pent up thoughts and emotions that he was burying inside him.

The therapist would write down everything that Anderson was feeling on paper and then read it back to him.

“Just going in and talking and pouring everything out of you. It lets you hear what you’ve been going through,“ Anderson said. “When she did it, it was a lot. I took what she read to me, balled it up and threw it away. I got lighter. It was a brightening. Those counseling sessions definitely helped me.”

Soon, Anderson was back to being himself both on and off the field.

In the month of August, he had 8 doubles, 5 home runs and 16 RBI.

“Woof. I was hot,” he said after hearing those stats. “That’s Tim. That’s more Tim that we need to see.”

In September, he batted .327 with 3 home runs and 9 stolen bases.

“We need a lot of that this year. That’s the way I want to go. That’s the way I want to go about it. Get back to what got me here.”

There was still an issue with his plate discipline. He had 32 strikeouts and only 1 walk in September.

“We play a tough sport as it is. They’re going to come,” Anderson said about the walks. “I mean, when I walk more, what are you going to tell me? ‘Start swinging more?’ It’s one of those things. It’s a give and take. We’ll see what happens.”

In 2017, Anderson received a crash course in adversity. What did he learn from all that pain and misery?

“Tough times happen, but they don’t last forever.”

Now that he’s survived the personal storm from last season, he wants “another shot at it. I feel like last year went left. This is new season.”

So, what does he envision for himself in 2018?

“Having fun, smiling a lot, picking up my teammates, hugging on the coaches and players. A lot of love, more so than stats,” Anderson said. “I’m fired up. I’m excited. I feel like I’m ready to lead this pack. We got a great group of guys. We’ve got a chance to do something special.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Michael Kopech tells all about his past, present and future

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Michael Kopech tells all about his past, present and future

The White Sox top pitching prospect sits down with Chuck Garfien for a revealing interview at spring training. Kopech says he almost quit the game after he got into a fight with a Red Sox minor league teammate in 2016. He goes in-depth about his desire to be great, why meditating makes him a better pitcher, his failed PED test in 2015, comparisons to Justin Verlander, possibly becoming the future ace of the White Sox and much more.