White Sox

Danny Duffy dominates as White Sox can’t support Jose Quintana

Danny Duffy dominates as White Sox can’t support Jose Quintana

Despite taking the field on a warm afternoon with conditions conducive to hitting, the White Sox could only futilely flail away at their defending World Series champion opponents.

Jose Quintana lost his sixth straight game as the White Sox fell, 4-1, to the Kansas City Royals Saturday afternoon in front of 31,183 at U.S. Cellular Field. It was another start for the 27-year-old left-hander that featured a head-scratching lack of run support.

Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy dominated over his six innings of work, littering the box score with K’s as he racked up a career high 10 strikeouts. The only White Sox run came when Avisail Garcia flipped an RBI single to right with two outs on the ninth.

The White Sox failed to capitalize in the first inning against Duffy, when Adam Eaton walked and Jose Abreu singled to begin the game. Melky Cabrera then decided on his own put down a bunt — seemingly to get a hit, as he tried to push it past Duffy to the right side — but was unsuccessful at reaching base. Todd Frazier struck out and Brett Lawrie flied out to end the threat.

“(Duffy’s) really become effective with his changeup,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He's always had a good curveball but the changeup, especially today, I think is the best we've seen him. With the conditions today and not being able to get anything in the air and not really getting anything hard off him, that first inning, we had a shot there and he snuffed that out. After that he was in control.”

Frazier absorbed responsibility for not bringing in a run in that situation, which he said could’ve changed the complexion of the afternoon.

“(It) takes one pitch, one at-bat to change the whole outcome of the game,” Frazier said. “For me, the first inning was big. That changed everything.”

The White Sox didn’t record a baserunner after Frazier walked in the third inning until his one-out single in the ninth — a stretch of 17 consecutive outs. The White Sox finished the afternoon with 13 strikeouts, one short of a season-high set June 1 against the New York Mets.

The Royals made Quintana pay for a handful of mistakes, with Cheslor Cuthbert belting solo home runs in the third and eighth innings and Kendrys Morales ripping a solo homer in the right field bullpen in the fifth. Those were half the hits recorded by Kansas City, though, and Quintana finished his eight innings with 10 strikeouts and no walks.

The White Sox haven’t scored more than three runs in any of Quintana’s 17 losses since the beginning of the 2015 season and scored one or fewer for the 13th time.

“Everyone in this clubhouse feels awful when we can’t produce for him,” Eaton said. “Just in general our offense hasn’t been that lively here lately. So that has something to do with it as well. But we gotta get going offensively. We really do. It’s been stagnant on the basepaths. You don’t even have an effective at-bat, top to bottom, it hasn’t been there. Our pitching staff has been giving us good outings, so we gotta step it up offensively.”

Right-hander Tyler Danish made his major league debut in the ninth and allowed a run on a walk and two hits in two-thirds of an inning.

The White Sox still haven’t won three games in a row in over a month (the last was May 7-9), while Kansas City ended and eight-game losing streak on Saturday. 

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.