White Sox

Royals push past White Sox 5-4 to secure sweep


Royals push past White Sox 5-4 to secure sweep

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals are living the charmed life and the White Sox aren’t.

Part of the Royals’ luxurious existence, one that has afforded them an 11-game lead in the American League Central, is their dominance of the White Sox this season. Some it is has been good fortune.

On Sunday afternoon, the White Sox saw a convergence of both in the eighth inning as they dropped a 5-4 decision to Kansas City, their 10th loss in 13 tries against their divisional foe in 2015. With a one-run victory in each game, the Royals swept the White Sox, who have lost eight of their past 10.

“It’s always tough,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You see opportunities you have -- we’ve had some guys on third base, haven’t been able to get them in, and they all add up.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

This series was all about a very good team that added Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto at the trade deadline taking advantage of a squad that has middle at its best the entire season.

Sure, Kansas City benefitted from a series of nice bounces each of the last two days.

But they also put themselves in the correct position to receive that good luck and they have done so all season, especially this weekend.

With the score tied at 4 and one out in the eighth, Jake Petricka put himself and the White Sox in a difficult spot as Alex Rios singled and Paulo Orlando hit a ground-rule double to left center. And then, even though the White Sox had the infield drawn in and Petricka got his 2-seamer in on the hands and Jose Abreu made a nice play, the Royals still managed to take a 5-4 lead.

Omar Infante got enough of Petricka’s pitch to place it in the right spot where even though Abreu made a nice barehanded stop he couldn’t make an accurate enough throw to cut down Rios, who made a nice read and slide home.

It was the kind of play where “if everything went perfect” the White Sox would have kept the score tied. But it hasn’t been that kind of season for the White Sox, who dropped to seven games below the .500 mark. The Royals have won five of six one-run games against the White Sox in 2015.

“The team that puts the ball in play gets breaks like that,” Petricka said. “Hats off to a team that just fights like that.

“They play hard every game. We were playing just as hard, we just didn’t get the break this time. You can always say you missed an opportunity, but it’s just a break one way or another. We got ourselves into situations, they got lucky and got out of them. We just kind of missed one break.”

[MORE: Jose Abreu back to 2014 levels of production]

The White Sox didn’t answer back in the ninth against Ryan Madson and dropped 14 1/2 back of the AL Central leaders.

A series sweep looked like a mere formality after the first inning as Kansas City scored three times against Jose Quintana, including two on a homer by Kendrys Morales. But Quintana battled through and found his form, lasting into the seventh inning. Quintana allowed four earned runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

“It was hard,” Quintana said. “We played the first-place team in the division and tried to get wins, but all three games were for one run. It’s hard, but we need to come back.”

The White Sox tied the game in the bottom of the eighth against Kelvin Herrera on a two-out RBI single by Melky Cabrera. They earlier rallied from a 3-0 deficit against Danny Duffy, who lasted 3 1/3 innings. Gordon Beckham had an RBI single and Alexei Ramirez singled in two more in a third-inning rally.

But the White Sox missed out on several earlier opportunities, too. They had runners on the corners and one out in the fourth but Kris Medlen struck out Tyler Flowers and got Beckham to fly out. Adam Eaton, who scored the tying run after he doubled to start the eighth inning, drew a leadoff walk against Medlen in the fifth but was picked off first base. A night earlier, Geovany Soto was picked off second base with a full count and Abreu at the plate. The White Sox rallied back on Saturday too but came up empty.

“These guys are grinding,” Ventura said. “They’re not laying down. They continue to battle back. … We just didn’t get it done.”

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?


Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries


White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.