White Sox

Stewart scuffles as Sox drop finale to Indians

536676.jpg

Stewart scuffles as Sox drop finale to Indians

Sunday, Sept. 11Posted: 5:13 p.m. Updated: 6:10 p.m.

Associated Press

Box score Photo gallery

Luis Valbuena had a a big zero in the home-run column, and it was bothering him.He can rest easy now.Valbuena connected for a solo shot and Ubaldo Jimenez threw six effective innings, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.Valbuena also singled twice and scored two runs as the Indians collected 14 hits. Trevor Crowe had three singles, and Jason Donald and Lonnie Chisenhall added two hits apiece."I feel good because I was working all day in the cage and made an adjustment," Valbuena said.Valbuena drove an 0-2 pitch from Will Ohman over the wall in right in the sixth, making it 4-2 Tribe. It was Valbuena's first extra-base hit and RBI this season. He entered the game just 5 for 34 on the season at the big league level despite hitting .302 in 113 games for Triple-A Columbus."He's tough to read because he's never looked overmatched, but the numbers don't add up," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He was our best hitter in Triple-A the whole year. ... Today he had a very good day. I'm happy for Luis because he's had enough hard times up here the last two years."Valbuena especially enjoyed his first major league homer since April 16, 2010."I'm so happy because I don't want to see the zero there," Valbuena said.Crowe entered the game hitless in seven at-bats. After starting 106 games in the outfield for Cleveland in 2010, Crowe had shoulder surgery on March 30 and was activated on Wednesday."It was good to see him do that," Acta said. "He spent the whole season basically in Arizona rehabbing. ... It's nice to see him have some success so he'll have some confidence going forward."Despite the slow start since his return, Crowe felt he was about to break through."I felt like for the amount of time off, I was seeing the ball really well and it was only a matter of time before I started making some solid contact," Crowe said.Jimenez (3-2) issued five walks, but allowed just two runs and three hits. The right-hander, who was acquired from Colorado before the July 31 trade deadline, struck out two and improved to 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA over his last four outings."I felt good out there," Jimenez said. "I only had a couple of innings (when) I couldn't find the strike zone. I think I was trying to throw too many breaking balls and couldn't control them."While his command was shaky, Jimenez reached the upper 90s with his fastball, important for a pitcher who has struggled with inconsistent velocity this season."When I got to the fifth inning, I (thought the fastball) was my best pitch today," Jimenez said.White Sox starter Zach Stewart (2-4) yielded three runs and seven hits over five innings in his first outing since he tossed a one-hitter at Minnesota last Monday."I wasn't hitting spots like I was last outing, like I should have been," Stewart said. "I missed some spots. Some of my breaking balls weren't as sharp, I left them over the plate and got hit around a little bit."Alejandro De Aza went 2 for 3, scored two runs and stole two bases for Chicago. Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez each singled twice and drove in a run.Jimenez walked the bases full in the fourth, the last of the free passes issued to Brent Morel, who has drawn seven of his 14 walks this season since Sept. 1. Jimenez got Gordon Beckham on a grounder to third to escape the threat.The White Sox also left the bases full four times on Saturday."Well, you know we continue to leave people on base," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Jimenez throw 100 pitches. I never see a guy throw 100 pitches and only (allow) two runs."The Indians broke it open with three runs in the eighth against Matt Thornton. Donald drove in a run with an infield hit and Carlos Santana lashed a two-run double to right.The Indians earned a split in the four-game series between teams chasing Detroit in the AL Central. The Tigers won their ninth in a row Sunday and lead Chicago by 10 12 games and Cleveland by 11."We played right into the Tigers' hands basically," Acta said. "That what we did this series, kill each other while they continue to win."NOTES: White Sox RHP Jake Peavy will not pitch again this season. The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner will rest in an effort to come back at full strength in 2012. Peavy had shoulder surgery last season. Rookie Dylan Axelrod will start in Peavy's place on Wednesday. ... The Indians activated DH Travis Hafner (strained right foot) from the disabled list. Acta said Hafner will split time at DH with Jim Thome for the remainder of the season. ... The White Sox will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive when they open a three-game series against Detroit at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday. Rick Porcello will face Chicago's John Danks in the opener. ... The Indians' 10-game trip continues with a stop in Texas on Monday for the opener of a three-game set. Justin Masterson will start for Cleveland against Matt Harrison.Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materialmay not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

0424-chris-volstad.jpg
USA TODAY

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

Chris Volstad and Hector Santiago combined for one of the best outings by a White Sox starting pitcher this season.

These weren’t the names anyone expected to fit that description when the season began. But with struggles all around from James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, here the White Sox sit as they approach the one-month mark of the 2018 campaign.

Reynaldo Lopez has been excellent, no doubt about it, and Fulmer has turned in a couple nice outings, including in Monday’s win over the visiting Seattle Mariners. But against that same M’s lineup Tuesday afternoon, Volstad — who lasted 4.1 innings in a 1-0 loss — became the first White Sox starter this season not to issue a walk.

It was an important outing for Volstad, as well as for Santiago, who followed him up with 3.1 shutout innings of his own. The duo showed they’re both capable of serving as reliable fill-ins in a White Sox rotation that got a hole punched in it Monday, when Gonzalez went to the disabled list.

Shields, Giolito, Lopez, Fulmer. Those guys aren’t going anywhere. But should Gonzalez remain on the DL for an extended period of time, it doesn’t seem as if the White Sox need to be searching for options.

“Volstad and Hector both did a nice job. I thought they gave us plenty of outs, they gave us plenty of opportunity,” manager Rick Renteria said after Tuesday’s game.

But that doesn’t mean the South Siders are out of the starting-pitching woods for the remainder of this week. Shields will go in Wednesday’s finale with the Mariners. Giolito and Lopez are set to pitch in the first two games of a five-game road series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

But Saturday presents a mystery, one that doesn’t seem to have an easy answer.

Thanks to that opening-weekend snow-out, there’s a doubleheader Saturday, and while Fulmer is in line to start one of those games, who will start the other? The White Sox will get a 26th man for that day, and that spot is typically given to a spot starter brought up from Triple-A. But given the White Sox current situation on the 40-man roster, there aren’t many options, meaning a player might need to be outrighted in order to make room for a spot starter.

Let’s get this out of the way first: It seems unlikely that Michael Kopech will make his major league debut in a spot start during an April doubleheader in Kansas City. Yes, Kopech has been good in his three starts with Charlotte, sporting a 2.40 ERA with 21 strikeouts. But he’s got just six total starts at the Triple-A level, and the White Sox have made it abundantly clear throughout the last several months that the necessities of the big league team during this rebuilding season and Kopech’s readiness for the majors are independent of one another.

It makes no sense to potentially cut short Kopech’s development at the Triple-A level because the big league rotation needs a spot starter.

The options, however, are limited.

Of the seven players who have started games for the Knights this season, two are on the big league roster right now (Volstad and Chris Beck), one is Kopech and one has a 9.75 ERA (T.J. House). One is on the 40-man roster, Ricardo Pinto, who made his first start at Charlotte on Tuesday. Pinto, though, would be on short rest Saturday.

The other two are Dylan Covey, who turned in a 7.71 ERA with the White Sox last season, and Donn Roach, who has made two career major league starts, most recently giving up four runs in 3.1 innings in a spot start for the Cubs in 2015. Covey and Roach have 2.95 and 1.88 ERAs at Charlotte, respectively. But the White Sox would need to make room on the 40-man roster to bring either up, even just for a day.

While it would be on “short rest,” perhaps the most logical option is just to start Volstad or Santiago on Saturday and start the other on Sunday. Tuesday, Volstad threw 66 pitches and Santiago threw 59 pitches, neither total approaching the qualification of a heavy workload, especially considering both veterans have plenty of starting experience under their belts.

Renteria talked about how well it worked using both guys in tandem Tuesday, but he might have to split them up to staff his rotation this weekend. It would also eliminate the need to remove someone from the 40-man roster. The White Sox could just bring up another bullpen arm as the 26th man, someone like Juan Minaya, who was on the Opening Day roster.

Renteria has already shown willingness to use his pitchers outside of the traditional “every fifth day” strategy. Shields and Fulmer both pitched in back-to-back games just last week. And Fulmer’s turn was moved up when Gonzalez went on the DL, pressing him into his third appearance in six days Monday.

The mystery likely won’t be solved, at least publicly, anytime soon. We’ll likely have to wait a few days to know for sure. Until then, it’s a guessing game.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

trayce_thompson.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

Drafted by the White Sox in 2009, Trayce Thompson never wanted to play for another team but the White Sox. 

All that changed in 2015 when he was dealt to the Dodgers in the Todd Frazier trade. Now back with the White Sox, Thompson talks with Chuck Garfien about the trials and tribulations of the last few years, the whirlwind of being on 4 teams in the last 4 weeks, how the White Sox threw him a lifeline bringing him back, how he wants to make the best of this new opportunity and more. 

Take a listen here or in the embedded player below.