White Sox

White Sox bullpen locks down Dodgers to claim victory

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White Sox bullpen locks down Dodgers to claim victory

LOS ANGELES -- Alexei Ramirez opened the scoring with a two-run single and scored the go-ahead run for the Chicago White Sox, who blew a lead to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second straight game before coming back to beat them 5-4 on Saturday night.Philip Humber (3-4) threw 99 pitches over five laborious innings, but got the victory after allowing four runs and nine hits. The right-hander, one of 22 pitchers to throw a perfect game in the majors and the only one to do it after undergoing Tommy John surgery, is 2-4 with a 7.47 ERA in 10 starts since his gem on April 21 at Seattle.Addison Reed, the sixth Chicago pitcher, posted his eighth save in as many chances with a perfect ninth to help end a three-game skid by the AL Central leaders.Chad Billingsley (4-5) was charged with five runs and eight hits in six innings before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter. The right-hander was coming off consecutive road victories against Philadelphia and Seattle in which he allowed a run over seven innings each time. Before that, he went a career-worst nine straight starts without a win, including five no-decisions.After blowing a four-run lead, the White Sox went back in front 5-4 in the fourth with an unearned run. Ramirez was plunked on the left elbow after he squared around to bunt, then stole second and advanced when second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. misplayed Orlando Hudson's grounder for an error. Ramirez scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Alejandro De Aza.The Dodgers, whose 41-25 record is still the best in baseball, threatened in the bottom of the fourth after Billingsley led off with his second single of the game - and Los Angeles' final hit. Humber walked NL RBI leader Andre Ethier with two outs, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch that sailed over Hairston's head as catcher A.J. Pierzynski set up his target on the outside corner. But shortstop Ramirez came to Humber's rescue with a diving catch in front of second base on a popup that Hairston hit off the fists.The White Sox made the most of their opportunity in the second, taking a 3-0 lead on a two-run single by Ramirez and a run-scoring single down the right field line by Humber - his first major league hit.Alex Rios made it 4-0 in the third with a two-out RBI triple that was misjudged at the warning track by Elian Herrera, who was starting in center field for only the fifth time since making his major league debut on May 15.But the Dodgers tied it with four runs in the bottom half, getting a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Hairston and two-out RBI singles by Bobby Abreu, A.J. Ellis and James Loney. In Friday night's series-opening 7-6 victory, the Dodgers overcame a 5-1 deficit with a five-run sixth.Box score
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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."