White Sox

Peavy can't stop Sox skid

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Peavy can't stop Sox skid

In losing 2-1 to the Cubs Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox dropped their fifth consecutive series. They also dropped out of first place for the first time since the morning of Tuesday, May 29, ending their uninterrupted reign atop the AL Central at three weeks.

Jake Peavy threw a complete game, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts. Only one of the runs was earned, though, as Orlando Hudson's throwing error in the second sparked the Cubs' lone scoring rally of the inning. A few bad bounces later, and the visitors had their only tallies of the game.

After the Cubs' runs scored, Peavy wound up retiring 16 consecutive batters until Tony Campana singled in the eighth -- after which Peavy promptly picked him off. He then pitched over a leadoff triple in the ninth, holding the Cubs at bay.

Hudson struggled again Tuesday, going 0-4 with the error and four runners left on base. Third base has been an issue for the White Sox all season, but don't expect someone outside the organization to swoop in and save the position.

"Everybody can pinpoint little areas they'd like it to improve, but it has to improve with what we got," manager Robin Ventura said before the game. "It's not coming from anywhere else."

For now, the White Sox are sticking with Hudson, Eduardo Escobar and Brent Lillibridge at third base. They hope that trio will stick until Brent Morel is ready to return, although there's no timetable for the incumbent starter as he recovers from a lower back injury.

But the Sox offensive issues were hardly confined to third base. The Sox scored their lone run and loaded the bases in the second, as Cubs starter Travis Wood struggled to locate his pitches. But after Hudson popped out, Alejandro De Aza struck out, ending the threat.

The Sox put runners on first and second for Paul Konerko in the eighth, but the Sox captain flew out to right on the first pitch he saw from Manny Corpas. The scoring threat ended meekly as Alex Rios grounded out to end the frame. Carlos Marmol only walked A.J. Pierzynski in the ninth to record the save in front of just over 30,000 fans.

It was the second straight tough-luck loss for Peavy, who threw seven innings of one-run ball June 13 in St. Louis. The Sox wound up losing 1-0 to the Cardinals that night.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a walk-off home run for Cleveland -- off Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman, no less -- and Detroit downed St. Louis. The Sox are now a half-game behind the Indians and just 1 12 games ahed of Detroit in the AL Central.

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.