White Sox

LIVE: Morel's shot knots White Sox with Royals

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LIVE: Morel's shot knots White Sox with Royals

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011
Posted: 10:31 a.m.

Associated Press

Kansas City has long been eliminated from postseason contention, but that has not kept the Royals from stringing together a rare winning streak.

The Royals look to win six in a row for the first time in more than two years while trying to hand the Chicago White Sox - just now mathematically eliminated themselves - a sixth consecutive defeat Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Melky Cabrera had four hits and came within a triple of the cycle while rookie catcher Salvador Perez came a home run away from achieving the same feat as Kansas City (65-86) beat Chicago 7-2 on Thursday.

Though the Royals have secured an eighth straight losing season, they have won a season-high five in a row with a young lineup that expects to compete in the future. Kansas City has not won six straight since May 2-7, 2009.

"Up and down the lineup we're doing well," said designated hitter Billy Butler, who hit a three-run homer in the series opener.

Cabrera is batting a career-high .303 and has already set personal bests with 18 home runs and 82 RBIs. He's hit .407 (22 for 54) with three home runs and nine RBIs in 12 games versus Chicago in 2011.

"You can pretty much look at any game and he's made a difference for us offensively," Butler said.

With Cabrera's double Thursday, he, Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon have made the Royals the first team in major league history to have three outfielders with 40 or more two-baggers.

Perez, batting .318 since making his major league debut Aug. 10, is 15 for 36 during a nine-game hitting streak.

It's uncertain if Felipe Paulino (3-6, 4.10 ERA) will be part of the Royals' plans in 2012, but he takes the mound for this contest after a strong outing in last Saturday's 4-2 victory at Seattle. He allowed two solo homers but matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in seven innings.

The right-hander gave up three runs and struck out nine in seven innings of a 5-3 win at Chicago on July 5.

Paulino faces a White Sox (73-76) club that has dropped 11 of 16 and was eliminated from the AL Central race Thursday.

"It's a very disappointing, very inconsistent season," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I have regrets. Regrets we didn't play better. I thought we had a better shot to win the division."

A.J. Pierzynski recorded his 1,500 career hit while going 3 for 4 in the series opener, but is 11 for 51 (.216) in 13 games since coming off the disabled list from a broken wrist.

Scheduled Chicago starter and ex-Royal Philip Humber (9-8, 3.43) saw his 13 1-3-inning scoreless streak end Saturday when he allowed two runs in six innings of a 7-3, 10-inning victory over Cleveland. The right-hander is 1-0 in two starts since coming off the disabled list due to a facial contusion, yielding two runs over 13 innings.

Humber, who went 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in eight appearances for the Royals in 2010, is making his first start against his former team. He threw two scoreless innings of relief at Kansas City in April.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Frank Thomas

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Frank Thomas

White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas came on the podcast to talk with Chuck Garfien about his past, baseball's present and the future of the White Sox. He talks about his first major league hit (a stand-up triple!), how fame affected him when he was a player, his appearance on David Letterman in the 1990s and more. 

Plus, what was wrong with the baseball this past season? Thomas has some ideas and tells Garfien how many home runs he would have hit with that baseball in his prime. He talks about working with Alex Rodriguez at FOX and what it was like whenever girlfriend Jennifer Lopez came to visit in the studio.

Thomas praises the White Sox rebuild and reveals an idea he presented to GM Rick Hahn about where all the top prospects should play this upcoming season. He describes what it was like going to Roy Halladay's funeral, if he sees the White Sox signing Manny Machado in 2019 and much more.

Listen to the full White Sox Talk Podcast right here:

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

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Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

The Cubs made the Jose Quintana deal knowing it would have been more difficult to give up Dylan Cease if he was already performing at the Double-A level, and that the White Sox organization would be a good place to continue his education as a young pitcher.

While Eloy Jimenez keeps drawing ridiculous comparisons – the running total now includes Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz – Cease is more than just the other name prospect from the deal that shocked the baseball world during the All-Star break.

“We still project him as a starter,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during this week’s GM meetings in Florida. “He certainly has the stuff where it’s easy to envision him as a potential dominant reliever. But to this point – for the foreseeable future – we deal with the starting and continue to develop him as a potential front-end arm.”

The Theo Epstein regime still hasn’t developed an impact homegrown pitcher, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from winning 292 games, six playoff rounds and a World Series title across the last three seasons, while still being in a strong position to win the National League Central again in 2018.

Without Quintana and his affordable contract that can run through 2020, Epstein’s front office might have been looking at the daunting possibility of trying to acquire three starting pitchers this winter.

While surveying a farm system in the middle of a natural downturn, Baseball America ranked seven pitchers on its top-10 list of prospects from the Cubs organization: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Alex Lange, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Thomas Hatch and Jen-Ho Tseng.

So far, only Alzolay, an Arizona Fall League Fall Star with seven starts for Double-A Tennessee on his resume, and Tseng, who made his big-league debut in September, have pitched above the A-ball level.

Cease – who went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA for Class-A Kannapolis in his first nine starts in the White Sox system – has a 100-mph fastball and a big curveball and won’t turn 22 until next month. That stuff allowed Cease to pile up 126 strikeouts against 44 walks in 93.1 innings this year, putting him in the wave that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

“Ideally, we have a lot of guys we project to be part of the future, very good, championship-caliber rotation,” Hahn said. “In an ideal world, there’s not going to be room at the inn for all of them. You only have five in that rotation and some of these guys will wind up in the bullpen. In reality, as players develop, you’re going to see some attrition.”

One spot after the White Sox grabbed Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Cubs did Kyle Schwarber’s below-slot deal, using part of the savings to buy out Cease’s commitment to Vanderbilt University ($1.5 million bonus for a sixth-rounder) and supervise his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Cease was never going to be on the fast track to Wrigley Field, and now the White Sox hope he can be part of the foundation on the South Side, where it’s easier to sell a rebuild after watching the Cubs and Houston Astros become World Series champions.

“It doesn’t change really for us internally in terms of our commitment or focus or our plan or our timeline or anything along those lines,” Hahn said. “I do think, perhaps, it helps the fan base understand a little bit about what the process looks like, where other teams have been and how long the path they took to get to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series (was). In Chicago, many fans saw it firsthand with the Cubs.

“There are certainly more and more examples in the game over the last several years to help sort of show fans the path and justification for what we’re (doing).”