White Sox

Twins rock Jose Quintana in White Sox loss

Twins rock Jose Quintana in White Sox loss

MINNEAPOLIS — The White Sox offense had a chance to help out Jose Quintana, who had his worst start of the season on Thursday night.

Even though Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu homered, the White Sox missed out on too many scoring chances. Quintana allowed seven runs and the White Sox stranded 13 base runners in an 8-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins in front of 20,329 at Target Field. The win snapped a 13-game losing streak for the Twins, who would have tied a franchise-record with 14 losses.

“The homers, especially early, five runs in one inning,” Quintana said. “I tried to stop the game after that, tried to make it so the hitters couldn’t come back. But when you give up two more runs after you retire 10 batters straight, it’s a bad one. It was a bad night for me. I’ll turn the page, and that’s it. I’ll try to just keep going with the next one.”

Perhaps the White Sox should have known how their night would go only three batters into the game. That’s when Melky Cabrera’s line-drive single produced the second out of the inning as it clipped Tim Anderson, who was standing off first after he singled. Abreu also singled, but Ervin Santana struck out Justin Morneau to strand two.

Though Frazier’s 34th homer made it 1-0 in the second, the White Sox stranded two more. They left the bases loaded in the third inning, stranded another man in the fourth and left on a pair in the fifth inning.

Despite allowing 11 hits and walking two, Santana held the White Sox to two runs.

“We left a lot of guys out there,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You look up there, we left 10 guys at one point and they cashed everybody in. When you see you left 10 guys and they didn’t leave any at one point, that really tells the tale more than Q.”

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Quintana wasn’t as lucky.

The Twins hit four straight one-out singles in the second inning and Byron Buxton followed with a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 5-1. Quintana, whose 2.77 ERA was tops among American League starters entering Thursday, then retired 10 in a row. But Minnesota got a two-out hit from Joe Mauer in the fifth inning and Trevor Plouffe homered to make it a 7-2 game.

Quintana allowed seven earned runs and seven hits with eight strikeouts in five innings. His ERA rose to 3.05.

Abreu blasted a two-run homer off Taylor Rogers in the sixth inning as the White Sox closed within 7-4.

Another highlight for the White Sox was the twin debuts of pitcher Juan Minaya and catcher Kevan Smith in the bottom of the eighth inning. Both arrived earlier in the day from Triple-A Charlotte.

“It feels great. I’ve been waiting for this a long time. Now I want to take advantage,” Minaya said.

With a little help from Smith, Minaya, who was claimed off waivers from Houston in June, bounced back after he walked the first batter he faced. With one out, Minaya struck out Kurt Suzuki and Smith fired to catch Jorge Polanco stealing second base to end the inning.

Though he knew Minaya was entering the game, Smith thought his coaches in the bullpen were kidding when they told him to take the field. Smith — who previously missed out on his debut in April when he injured his back during pregame warmups  — also lined out to center field in the bottom of the ninth.

“They were kind of smirking and laughing and I wasn’t too sure and they said, ‘Hey, you better get going,’ and I wasn’t too sure what happened,” Smith said. “But I felt comfortable as ever out there. I didn’t feel out of place. (Umpire Greg Gibson) behind the plate said, ‘You look comfortable as ever.’ That was a little confidence booster and fortunately Minaya got his first strikeout and I got my first throw out at the same time. Certainly an exciting and memorable moment.”

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the New York Yankees?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the New York Yankees?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the New York Yankees?

You know how everybody always (usually jokingly) refers to “stacked” lineups as the ‘27 Yankees? Well, it might be time to change that to the ‘18 Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers did their nickname justice this winter, adding reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and teaming him with Aaron Judge to form a power-hitting combo perhaps unseen since the Ruth-Gehrig glory days.

Now that’s not to suggest that Stanton and Judge are going to become two of the greatest baseball players in history. But it is to suggest that they’re going to strike fear into opposing pitchers, with plenty of prognosticators predicting a combined 100 homers for the duo. That’s not crazy, either, considering Stanton led baseball with 59 bombs a season ago, the highest single-season total in almost two decades, and in a runaway Rookie of the Year campaign, Judge crushed 52 homers to lead the American League.

So, you know, 59 plus 52. That’s more than 100.

And while Stanton and Judge take all the attention, the Yankees’ lineup is pretty darn good outside of those two guys, too. Gary Sanchez is one of baseball’s best offensive catchers and hit an only shabby-by-comparison 33 homers last season. Didi Gregorius has plenty of pop for a shortstop, and he smacked 25 homers last season. Brett Gardner had a strong 2017. And even two late-in-the-offseason additions to the infield, Neil Walker and Brandon Drury, form a better 8-9 combo than most teams in the AL.

There’s no need to start spreading the news, it’s already been spread: The Yankees have one of the best, most fearsome offenses in the game.

As for the pitching, well that ain’t half bad either. Luis Severino had a 2.98 ERA and 230 strikeouts last season. CC Sabathia had a 3.69 ERA in 27 starts. Midseason acquisition Sonny Gray had a 3.55 ERA on the year. Masahiro Tanaka almost hit the 200-strikeout plateau.

And that bullpen is outstanding. Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren formed as good a relief corps as you were likely to find in baseball last year.

Even with the division-rival Red Sox looking pretty good — and coming off a 93-win season — the Yanks will enter 2018 as the favorite in the always-competitive AL East. The question is how close they’ll come to being the favorite in the AL overall. The defending-champion Houston Astros still seem a hair ahead after besting the Yankees in last year’s ALCS. But the Bombers might have the preseason edge over the Cleveland Indians, especially after beating them in the playoffs last year.

Bottom line: The Yankees are really, really good. And don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of Billy Joel during the Fall Classic. "Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood ..."

2017 record: 91-71, second place in AL East, lost in ALCS

Offseason additions: Giancarlo Stanton, Neil Walker, Brandon Drury

Offseason departures: Todd Frazier, Jaime Garcia, Michael Pineda, Starlin Castro

X-factor: White Sox fans know how good Robertson and Kahnle were last season. Chapman and Betances are now household names as elite relief pitchers. But the best reliever of this whole group at the end of last season was Green, who finished the year with a 1.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 69 innings. Over his final 30 games, 47 innings, he had an even lower 1.53 ERA and 77 strikeouts. He allowed one run in September. And though he was roughed up a bit in his lone appearance against the Indians in the ALDS, he allowed just one unearned run in 6.1 innings against the Astros in the ALCS.

Projected lineup:

1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
4. Gary Sanchez, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Aaron Hicks, CF
7. Greg Bird, 1B
8. Neil Walker, 2B
9. Brandon Drury, 3B

Projected rotation:

1. Luis Severino
2. Masahiro Tanaka
3. CC Sabathia
4. Sonny Gray
5. Jordan Montgomery

Prediction: First place in AL East

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies

Ryan Cordell goes to Triple-A as White Sox seemingly figure out center field situation


Ryan Cordell goes to Triple-A as White Sox seemingly figure out center field situation

The White Sox center field situation seems to have a solution.

Ryan Cordell was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, the team announced Thursday, bringing his bid to make the Opening Day roster to an end.

Cordell had a nice spring in his first action since joining the White Sox organization in last summer's trade that sent reliever Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers. Cordell was injured after playing 68 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs last season, but he got some love from general manager Rick Hahn at this winter's SoxFest, with Hahn saying three teams had called the White Sox inquiring about the 25-year-old outfielder.

In 17 Cactus League games, Cordell slashed an impressive .317/.417/.512 with six extra-base hits, eight runs scored, eight RBIs, seven walks and only six strikeouts. That performance brought on the idea that Cordell could not only make the team out of camp but perhaps be the Opening Day center fielder, potentially beating out an improved Adam Engel for the job after Engel hit just .166 last season.

But Engel's spring numbers are even better than Cordell's. He's got a .364/.429/.682 slash line with four homers, 11 runs scored, eight RBIs and four walks. Plus, he's already well known as a strong defender in center after last season's impressive glove work. Spring stats don't mean much, but it's a good sign considering how ineffective Engel was at the plate last season.

With Thursday's news and Engel's impressive spring, it seems the White Sox have things figured out in center to start the season. Engel will likely be the starting center fielder, with utility man Leury Garcia an option there in a reserve role. Cordell and Charlie Tilson, who was sent to Charlotte earlier this spring, are sure get plenty of at-bats in the minors and could be called up should Engel struggle.

Both Engel and Cordell fall into the "see what you've got" category for the rebuilding White Sox. The future of the position figures to belong to highly touted prospect Luis Robert, who was reassigned to minor league camp along with pitchers Rob Scahill and Chris Volstad on Thursday, bringing the White Sox to 32 players in big league camp. But with the team not expected to contend in 2018, Engel has an extended opportunity to figure things out at the big league level. Should he struggle, someone like Cordell or Tilson could have a similar opportunity.