Detroit brought a scorching offense to Chicago for this weekend's three-game series with the White Sox. Through two games, though, the Sox have kept the powerful Tigers offense at bay, following Friday's 5-2 win with a 5-1 victory Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.Gavin Floyd threw six shutout innings, although it wasn't all smooth sailing. While he allowed just three hits -- all to Austin Jackson -- Floyd issued three walks and hit three batters, leading to difficult spots in the second and sixth innings. In the second, a Jhonny Peralta walk was sandwiched by a pair of beanballs, loading the bases for Ryan Raburn with two outs. Floyd got Raburn to line out to center, ending the first Detroit threat. And in the sixth, Floyd issued back-to-back walks to Prince Fielder and Delmon Young with two out to load the bases before striking out Alex Avila to quash the rally. "I thought he pitched great," manager Robin Ventura said after the game. "He got into a couple of jams there, but for me, he battled and made pitches when he had to. He has been a guy throughout spring that Ive seen make the tough pitch. Hes able to do that and hes very talented. We just let him go today and he made all the pitches."Floyd did an excellent job neutralizing Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, only allowing the fearsome duo to reach base once -- with that being the sixth-inning walk to Fielder. With Jackson setting the table for the pair, Floyd's success against them was even more important. "Like they werent there," said Floyd of his plan of attack against Cabrera and Fielder. "I just tried to focus on the mitt and make pitches.""He pitched great, pounding the zone aggressive early," summed up catcher Tyler Flowers. "More importantly the pitches he missed, he missed in good spots in that they were effective as far as setting up the next pitch. "Against a lineup like that, you can't make mistakes over the heart of the plate and he did that very few times."Floyd was supported by solo home runs off the bats of Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers, whose fifth-inning shot was estimated at 423 feet. The Sox added runs in the sixth on an Adam Dunn RBI double and in the seventh on an Alejandro De Aza RBI triple. Paul Konerko smacked career home run No. 397 in the eighth, a solo blast that plated the fifth run for the Sox. It put the captain into a tie with Joe Carter for 51st on the all-time career home run list. But nearing the 400-homer marker isn't really on Konerko's radar. "I'm sure it will mean something when I'm done playing, but any time you put those milestones numbers -- it's just another homer, hopefully it comes sooner," Konerko said. "I just want to approach every day and prepare every day the same way as long as I'm playing. And when you're done playing and the dust settles, you can look back and probably enjoy some things. But any time I spend doing that, I'm not being a good teammate if I do that because I'm not getting ready for what's next. That's what I want to be doing." The Tigers' lone run came on an eighth-inning solo homer by Brennan Boesch off Jesse Crain. The same team that averaged nearly seven runs per game coming into the weekend has only scored three times in 18 innings, as a lack of timely hitting and a mini-slump from Miguel Cabrera has hampered the team's offensive efforts.Detroit's Adam Wilk, making his first career major-league start, was the recipient of some bad luck when Fielder lined a foul ball into the visitors' dugout, striking the lefty in his pitching shoulder. He departed the game with what was ruled a left shoulder contusion after throwing just 62 pitches over five fairly effective innings. The win vaulted the Sox to the top of the AL Central standings, albeit just over a week into the season. Given the Sox rough schedule to begin the season, that's at least a mildly impressive feat.
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.
Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and strained flexor tendon. Getting a 2nd opinion and could avoid surgery but even with rehab would be shut down for at least six weeks.— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 23, 2018
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.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.
The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.
The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.
From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.
Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.
Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.
How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.
But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.
You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.
Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.
Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.
But now it's game time in Arizona.
“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”