White Sox

Mike Pelfrey delivers strong performance to propel White Sox past Blue Jays

Mike Pelfrey delivers strong performance to propel White Sox past Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Four White Sox went deep on Saturday afternoon, including Mike Pelfrey.

The starting pitcher’s six innings pitched is tied for his longest outing of the season. Pelfrey provided the White Sox with only their fifth quality start in 25 games to propel them to a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 47,171 at the Rogers Centre. Todd Frazier, Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu all homered for the White Sox, who won for the sixth time in eight tries.

“Nice job by Pelf today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Threw a lot of strikes. Obviously threw his breaking ball very effectively, kept it down below the zone. His change of speed was definitely a big factor. Used his fastball when he needed to. Thought he worked ahead and was able to get out of a little traffic.

“I think that’s his best start for us to date.”

While the offense provided several rounds of fireworks, Pelfrey did the rest. Though the White Sox have limited his innings total, the veteran right-hander has provided them with about all they could ask for a player who signed a minor-league contract on April 8.

While he narrowly avoided a big inning in the second, Pelfrey was otherwise outstanding against Toronto. He recorded perfect innings in the first, third, fourth and fifth and also faced the minimum in the sixth after inducing a double play off Josh Donaldson’s bat.

Pelfrey nearly relinquished a 2-0 lead in the second inning when he yielded three hits. But Ryan Goins’ two-out double to deep center with two aboard bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. Pelfrey then stranded a pair when he got Luke Maile to ground out.

Pelfrey allowed a run and four hits in six innings while striking out five. He lowered his earned run-average to 3.56 in the process.

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“The sinker was good, had good sink,” Pelfrey said. “The curveball was maybe the best it has been, which is refreshing because the start before it was probably the worst it has been. The slider was good too, and the split I thought was good. I had all four pitches working, and the guys behind me made some plays and they hit some balls at guys, and it ended up a good day.”

Tommy Kahnle also delivered a big performance for the White Sox. Kahnle took over in the seventh with a 3-2 lead and two men aboard and induced an inning-ending double play. Kahnle returned for the eighth and struck out two giving him 48 on the season with only six walks.

“(The double play) was huge because they had the go-ahead run at what, first?” Kahnle said. “They had the tying run at second. I was coming in there just doing what I normally do, trying to get ahead — even though I got behind early — I was trying to get Goins to get that double play ball. It worked out for us.”

The White Sox offense continued to provide its pitchers early runs.

Frazier blasted a 427-foot shot off Marcus Stroman with one out in the second inning to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Davidson followed with his fifth homer of the week to put the White Sox up by two runs.

Abreu put the White Sox back up two with a solo shot in the sixth inning, his first homer since May 24. The White Sox scored a run in the eighth on Donaldson’s second error of the game and added one in the ninth on a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze by Yolmer Sanchez.

“I thought I was going to have to be pretty good because the guy on the other side, Stroman, is pretty dang good,” Pelfrey said. “Luckily, he made a couple of mistakes, and the boys took advantage of them. He’s pretty tough, but we were able to come out on top.”

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again?

He was the guy who helped bring a World Series championship to the South Side in 2005 hasn't been a big league skipper since 2012, in his one ill-fated season managing the Miami Marlins. But his name has come up as a social-media suggestion for open jobs for years, including just two winters ago when the White Sox needed to replace Robin Ventura.

But Guillen, who spent eight seasons as the White Sox manager, said on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast that he hasn't interviewed for any jobs since leaving the Marlins and discussed the trend of hiring young managers who just recently finished their playing careers.

"A couple tried, not to interview me but say, 'Can we talk to you about it?' And I knew I'm not going to be the manager of that team," Guillen told NBC Sports Chicago's Chuck Garfien. "When you look at the manager list, you're going to interview me and you have kid, kid, kid, kid, kid, Ozzie. What's the chance I'm going to manage that team? None. 'Thank you for thinking about me,' and it's cool.

"I've known I'm not going to be the guy because the list. Before, they interview you for a managing job, it's two or three or four guys. Now they've got 30. Nowadays, it's harder to become a manager than win the World Series. Because there are so many interviews.

But does that mean he'll never manage again?

"I think my time's going to come up, maybe," Guillen said. "I always think about (former Florida Marlins manager) Jack McKeon. Jack McKeon was out of baseball for 30 years and all of a sudden came out and won the World Series (in 2003). ... I hope I don't die before that. Jack was 70-plus when he was managing. But we'll see."

Guillen talked about his hopes to be more involved in the White Sox organization after the way his tenure ended back in 2011, saying he hopes to be at spring training with the team one day.

"I'd like to go to spring training with them, that's the first time I'm going to say that, just because I see everybody in baseball, they're bringing former players to the field," he said. "But the problem is, I go there, here we go. 'Why is it ... you're coming here?'

"I don't (want to be a distraction), and I never will be."

Hear more of Garfien's interview with Guillen on the White Sox Talk Podcast.

Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?


Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?

White Sox fans might have their eyes on the future, but the 2018 season has plenty of intrigue all its own. As Opening Day nears, let's take a look at the 18 most pressing questions for the 2018 edition of the South Side baseball team.

Avisail Garcia was great last year for the White Sox.

But does that mean he's a long-term part of this rebuilding team or a potential trade piece?

How Garcia follows things up in 2018 will go a long way in determining the answer to that question, as well as a perhaps more pressing one: Will Garcia still be on the White Sox when the 2018 campaign comes to a close?

Whatever your scouting-eye impressions might have been, statistically, Garcia was one of baseball's best hitters last season. He ranked second in the American League with a .346 batting average. Only league MVP Jose Altuve ranked above Garcia. The White Sox right fielder also ranked sixth in the AL with a .380 on-base percentage. His .885 OPS ranked in the top 10 in the Junior Circuit.

It was the much-anticipated breakout for a guy who's had big expectations ever since he hit the bigs as a 21-year-old in 2012, when he carried a pressure-packed comparison to Detroit Tigers teammate and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. After coming to the South Side in a mid-2013 trade, his first three seasons were impacted by injuries and featured an unimpressive .250/.308/.380 slash line with only 32 homers in 314 games.

But last season, that all changed. He had a career year, slashing .330/.380/.506 with 18 homers, 80 RBIs, 27 doubles and 171 hits. Garcia was named to the AL All-Star team and established himself as the second best hitter on a team where the best hitter, Jose Abreu, is one of baseball's most productive and most consistent.

So can he do it again? That remains to be seen, of course. The scale of the improvements in so many statistical categories make one think that Garcia being able to do it two years in a row would almost be as surprising or more surprising than him doing it just once.

But if Garcia can repeat his performance, at least in the season's first few months, he could potentially draw the eyes of numerous contending teams looking for a bat to add to their lineups. One season of production perhaps wasn't enough to demand the kind of return package Rick Hahn's front office got in return for Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana. But a few good months at the outset of 2018 could draw plenty of interest, making the question of whether Garcia will stay in a White Sox uniform for the entirety of the season a valid one.

All that being said, Garcia's situation — he's under team control for two more seasons — allows the White Sox to be flexible. Garcia's still young, entering his age-27 season. The White Sox could opt to keep a talented hitter, extend him and make him a part of the rebuilding effort, penciling him into the lineup of the future alongside younger hitters like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. Or they could wait to move him, perhaps next offseason or at the 2019 trade deadline.

But Garcia's performance will dictate how viable each of those options ends up being. He finally put it all together in 2017. In 2018, he'll have to keep it all together.