White Sox

Sloppy White Sox fall to Yankees in the Bronx

Sloppy White Sox fall to Yankees in the Bronx

NEW YORK — In winning six of their first 11 games, the White Sox pitched well, played great defense and received an appropriate amount of offense. 

But none of those elements was present until it was too late on Monday night. Several missed offensive opportunities, defensive mistakes and pitches left over the plate by Derek Holland sent the White Sox to a 7-4 loss in front of 28,181 at Yankee Stadium. The White Sox stranded several early base runners, committed two errors and Holland yielded two long home runs in the series opener. Yolmer Sanchez hit a three-run homer for the White Sox, who brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning. Aroldis Chapman earned the save for the Yankees, who scored five runs in the third inning en route to their eighth straight victory.

"I have to make the adjustments," Holland said. "I wasn't getting the calls inside. I have to adjust to that. Overall I didn't do a good job of executing the way I wanted to. My stuff was great.

"When you have to live in one area, that makes it easier for them to hit the ball. I just have to make a better adjustment.

"It was a good game except for that one inning. You take that away and it's a different game. What it all comes down to, no matter what, is I have to make those adjustments."

The defense forced Holland — who allowed seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings — to make several additional pitches early on. Holland pitched out of a jam in the second inning after Tim Anderson made a throwing error. But he didn't have the same luck in the third.

With one out and a man on first, Jose Abreu bobbled Jacoby Ellsbury's slow roller to the right side and didn't get the ball to Tyler Saladino in time for the out at first. While the official scorer ruled it a hit, the play easily could have resulted in Abreu's third error. 

"I rushed it a little bit, and once you rush the play, things usually happen," Abreu said through an interpreter. "I wasn't paying attention to (Ellsbury's) speed. I just wanted to make the play quickly, and once I tried to rush it, I messed up."

Aaron Hicks then grounded into a fielder's choice for what would have been the final out. But Matt Holliday made the most of the extra out as he hammered a high 2-2 fastball for a three-run homer, a 459-foot shot to left. Starlin Castro and Chase Headley then hit consecutive doubles to put the Yankees ahead 4-0 and Headley advanced to third when Melky Cabrera booted the ball. Aaron Judge's two-out single gave New York a 5-0 lead.

Two innings later, Castro singled and Judge crushed a 2-1 curveball for a two-run homer to put the Yankees ahead by seven.

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Holland and manager Rick Renteria both referred to the left-hander's gameplan to attack right-handed hitters inside. Holland threw as many as seven borderline pitches that didn't result in a called strike, according to brooksbaseball.net. 

"He went out and tried to attack these guys a certain way, they got us a little bit, and we still managed to get the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth," Renteria said.

The White Sox offense continued to sputter until they trailed by seven runs. Abreu and Avisail Garcia both stranded runners in scoring position in the first inning. The White Sox hit into double plays in the second and fourth innings against New York pitcher Jordan Montgomery and Cabrera and Abreu stranded a pair in the sixth. 

Sanchez followed singles by Garcia and Matt Davidson to open the seventh inning with a three-run blast off Montgomery, who went six-plus innings. Sanchez also singled twice and scored on an RBI double by Kevan Smith in the ninth inning. Smith's double meant the Yankees had to call upon Chapman, who yielded a first-pitch single to pinch-hitter Leury Garcia before he induced a game-ending double play off Tyler Saladino's bat.

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).”

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

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USA TODAY

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.

The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.

The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.

While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.

Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:

And this may explain why Vieira was even available:

Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return? 

This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:

Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."