White Sox

Eighth straight loss officially eliminates White Sox

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Eighth straight loss officially eliminates White Sox

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010
Updated 1:48 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

OAKLAND Before Tuesdays tilt vs. the Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen dismissed the notion that he should be embarrassed by how his team has been playing during an abominable stretch run, remaining defiant.

No, (Monday) night we were flat, he said. Besides that, weve played hard.

In spite of counsel advising the skipper to reconsider his answer, hes sticking to it.

If they quit, I will kick their (expletive). If they quit, they wont play for me, Guillen insisted postgame. Offensively, right now, were not getting anything going. Pitching, were not getting anything going. I dont think we have any quitters. We just havent played that well.

Indeed it was another flat performance by the White Soxa 7-2 loss to the Asthat yoked Chicago with a season-high, eight-game losing streak. It was no squeaker, either, as it took the rude hosts all of four innings to jump ahead 5-0. Coupled with the offensive eruption was another lights-out game by Oaklands Trevor Cahill, who handcuffed the White Sox for eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out seven. Cahill became the first Oakland pitcher in six years to win 17 games.

Oakland pummeled Chicago starter Mark Buehrle with 11 hits and five earned runs over his six innings. The relatively short outing by the veteran lefty means hell need one more appearance, of at least 1 23 innings, to stretch his streak of seasons with at least 10 wins, 200 innings and 30 starts to an MLB-best 10 straight seasons.

I dont like losing, Buehrle said. This was one of those games you cant catch a break. They were putting balls in play, finding holesI felt like I was pitching pretty decent, my fielders were diving all over the place making good plays, but it was just one of those days.

Oaklands got a good pitching staff, and the last couple guys we faced were pretty good. We attacked them today, but Buehrle got hit, Guillen said.

The big blow came with one out in the fourth, when ninth-place hitter Cliff Pennington crushed a double over left fielder Juan Pierres head, doubling Oaklands lead to 4-0. As catcher Kurt Suzuki had plated the first two As runs of the night with RBIs in the first and third innings.

The White Sox fought back, in a manner of speaking, with run-scoring groundouts, beginning in the fifth, courtesy of Brent Morel, who drove in Alexei Ramirez. One inning later, Manny Ramirez trumped the rooks raking by plating Pierre on a double-play grounder.

The fuse of a ninth-inning rally was lit by Mark Kotsay and Alexei Ramirez, capping off 2-for-4 nights with a single and a double, respectively. As manager Bob Geren yanked reliever Henry Rodriguez after his ineffective outing, calling on Craig Breslow to extinguish the fire. Breslow walked pinch-hitter Andruw Jones, packing the sacks with just one out, but Morel struck out and a groundout by pinch-hitter Paul Konerko ended the game. Oakland hasnt lost any of the 68 games this season it has led heading into the ninth.

This loss, coupled with another Minnesota win, clinched the A.L. Central for the Twins. The White Sox remain in A.L. wild card contention, at least for one more day.

I know were playing hard and trying hard, doing everything we could to finish strong, but we didnt get it done, Guillen offered as a postmortem on both game and season.

We brought ourselves back into contention and gave ourselves a chance, Buehrle said. But these past couple of weeks, we havent played well enough to deserve to be in the race.

It seems the 2010 White Sox earned Guillens eternal and unyielding respect for bouncing back strong in June, when the "Gone Fishing" sign could have been hung. But if this September swoon persists, its in the managers best interest to investigate. His Chisox went from world beaters to world-beaten at a frightening velocity, and without digging up some answers, 2011 will be a repeat, in all the wrong ways.

If nothing else, Tuesday outlined the perils of looking the other way.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant: Now this is the show South Side fans have been waiting for

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AP

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant: Now this is the show South Side fans have been waiting for

Yo-Yo and the Big Elephant sound like characters from your kid’s favorite show (or your favorite show, if you happen to be a kid).

But instead they’re the duo South Side baseball fans have been waiting for.

You might know them better as the Cuban Connection, an alliterative and far less confusing nickname that describes Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu, who in Monday night’s 10-4 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners combined for seven hits, three home runs, a double, a triple, six runs scored and four RBIs.

It was a welcome sight after the White Sox offense slumbered through a weekend series with the Houston Astros in which they mustered just two runs. Heck, this offense has been hard to find during the entire month of April. Entering Monday, it’d produced just 16 runs in its last seven games (with 11 of those coming in a single contest).

But then came Monday’s show, in which Abreu launched a pair of homers and Moncada came a single short of hitting for the cycle. That had to be a proud moment for Abreu, who’s taken his countryman under his wing since Moncada arrived in the majors last summer.

“I’m really mad at him because he had two chances to do it and he couldn’t,” Abreu joked with the help of a translator. “Seriously, I’m really happy for him. I know today was a special game for him. I know he couldn’t hit for the cycle today. But he’s going to have more chances in the future. He’s going to be good.”

This is what White Sox fans have been hoping for. It’s what they’re still waiting for, considering much of that oft-discussed team of the future is still developing in the minor leagues. But Moncada is the story of 2018 at the major league level, how development will continue for the player White Sox fans drooled over at this time last year, when he was ranked as baseball’s top prospect.

Moncada got a lot of early attention for his high strikeout total, and with another punch out Monday he’s now got 34 on the season, still one of the highest totals in the league. But his numbers are looking good in many other facets. He raised his batting average .026 points Monday alone, and he’s now slashing .240/.345/.493 on the still-young season.

Abreu, of course, is the White Sox best hitter and has been ever since he arrived from Cuba before the 2014 season. For a team in such an offensive rut, Abreu’s four-hit night Monday raised his batting average up over .300, to .308. He’s now got six homers on the season, the most on the team and one of the higher totals in the American League. While Moncada and others will spend 2018 showing the White Sox what they will be in the future, this was expected from a guy who’s been one of baseball’s most consistent hitters in the last half decade.

But the future comes into play with Abreu, too, whose consistency at the plate and his presence in the clubhouse as a mentor to Moncada and other young players make him as believable a part of those planned future contenders as any of the organization’s highly rated prospects. A contract decision will need to be made at some point, obviously, but the White Sox will tell you any day of the week how much they value Abreu, who knows exactly where this franchise is and is excited as anyone about where it’s going.

“Everybody knows we are in the process, and everybody knows what this process is about,” Abreu said. “We have a lot of young talent, a lot of young players. They are going to hit some bumps and have some struggles as a team. But I think we all know how we have to play this game. (Manager Rick Renteria) has taught us how to play this game, how to play this game representing the White Sox organization and how they play this game.

“I feel really happy. We prove today that we are able to play a good game and to show the rest how we win games. That is the way we like to play.”

Monday was a bright spot in what’s been an otherwise very tough start to the 2018 campaign. But for a team where the future is what matters most, this is what fans have been waiting to see. A game like this might not be commonplace as the summer rolls on on the South Side. But for those dreaming about Moncada and Abreu teaming to lead those contenders of the future, this was one heck of a glimpse into the crystal ball.

“That’s our goal to have big games together for this team,” Moncada said. “Having the opportunity to play with Abreu — ‘The Big Elephant’ as we call him in Cuba — it’s good for me. It’s a big honor. I feel really happy when we have these kinds of games.”

Yoan Moncada nearly hits for the cycle, Jose Abreu hits two homers and the White Sox finally break out the bats

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AP

Yoan Moncada nearly hits for the cycle, Jose Abreu hits two homers and the White Sox finally break out the bats

So, anyone out there still worried about Yoan Moncada?

The White Sox second baseman, who at this time last year was the top-ranked prospect in baseball, was the subject of much social-media frustration through the season's first few weeks. But it's safe to say he's "redeemed" himself in the eyes of fretting fans.

Monday night, he led the White Sox offensive eruption with a three-hit night that brought him just a single shy of the cycle in a 10-4 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners.

Moncada started the offensive outburst with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first inning. He doubled to start the bottom of the second and launched a solo homer to begin the bottom of the fourth. He scored all three times.

Moncada entered the game with a .214/.329/.400 slash line, though he's been hot of late. In the last seven games, he's got nine hits, six extra-base hits and three homers. He still has 34 strikeouts on the season, one of the highest totals in the majors, but he's putting up some good numbers elsewhere.

Abreu also had a red-hot Monday night, picking up four hits with a couple of homers, the 12th time he's bashed multiple long balls in a single game.

It was quite the performance for a White Sox offense that has mostly been quiet so far in 2018. They scored just two total runs in three straight blowout losses against the Houston Astros over the weekend. And while they plated 11 in that 14-inning marathon in Oakland, the three road games prior to that featured a grand total of three runs.

Monday night that all changed with the White Sox banging out 18 hits, including seven straight to start the bottom of the first, the first time that happened in the big leagues in four years.