White Sox

White Sox can't score for Jose Quintana, fall 1-0 to lose seventh straight

White Sox can't score for Jose Quintana, fall 1-0 to lose seventh straight

NEW YORK -- The White Sox played for a run late in Monday’s contest and the strategy backfired.

Looking to break a scoreless tie in the seventh inning, the White Sox called for a bunt with No. 3 hitter Melky Cabrera at bat with two on and none out. Cabrera executed the bunt perfectly, but surrendering the extra out proved costly as New York Mets starter Matt Harvey retired Todd Frazier and J.B. Shuck in order to strand the runners.

Half an inning later, Neil Walker homered off Jose Quintana and the Mets sent the White Sox to their seventh straight loss with a 1-0 defeat in front of 38,339 at Citi Field. Quintana lost for the fifth time in 10 decisions despite limiting New York to a run and six hits in seven innings. The White Sox have lost 15 of 19 and are now only sit two games above .500.

“I think (bunting is) the right choice,” Frazier said. “I’m there to get RBIs. A lot of people complain he’s bunting. No. I’m the 3-4 hitter. I’m supposed to get those runs in. He did his job, got the guys over.

“You got an opportunity to get runs in with less than two outs put the ball on the ground or hit it as deep as you can. On my end, it’s frustrating when you get pitches to hit and don’t do nothing with them.”

Harvey didn’t resemble the guy who recently has faced scrutiny about whether or not he deserves to be in the major leagues. Working with a mid-to-high 90s fastball he located well, you’d have been hard pressed to believe you were watching a pitcher who brought a 6.08 ERA into the contest.

But Harvey finally looked as if he might crack in the seventh inning.

The right-hander has struggled all season in his third trip through the order as opponents have a 1.326 OPS during that round of plate appearances. That’s compared with a .666 OPS in the first pass and an .844 in the second round.

Adam Eaton got the third trip through started nicely with an eight-pitch walk and Jose Abreu jumped on a first-pitch fastball to single to left to put two on for Cabrera, who was at that point 0-for-2.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura called for a sac bunt and Cabrera squared on a first-pitch ball. Two pitches later, Cabrera pushed the pair into scoring position. But the play also took the bat out of Cabrera’s hands.

Harvey then needed only three pitches to induce a foul pop out off Frazier’s bat and Shuck grounded out to eliminate the threat.

“With the way both guys were pitching, you figured one run was going to do it, so you’re trying to get him in scoring position,” Ventura said. “You’re able to get a guy in scoring position and get one at first, and if you get two, you’re looking good.

“(Frazier) knows what to do in that situation, but he just popped it up. He was trying to either hit something in the air or hit a ground ball and get that run. But it’s tough going right now.”

It didn’t get any easier as Walker led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo homer to left to put the Mets ahead for good. That’s essentially how it has gone for the White Sox in this spell. Of their 15 losses, two have come by two or fewer runs.

“It ran a little bit to the middle,” Quintana said. “I tried to go away.

“He was looking for a fastball, and he’s a pretty good hitter, and that’s a mistake for me.”

Mets relievers Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia set down the final six White Sox in order to hand Quintana another loss he didn’t deserve.

The left-hander made it clear early on he was up to the challenge against Harvey. With his team in need of another big start, Quintana struck out the side in the second inning and four straight overall.

He pitched out of trouble in the fourth inning with a double play and limited the Mets’ chances until the seventh. Even after the Walker homer, Quintana -- who struck out seven -- pitched out of another jam, stranding two to keep the White Sox within striking distance.

But those efforts went unrewarded once again. Frazier said he should shoulder the blame, not Ventura.

“There’s no way, it’s me,” Frazier said. “Put the ball in play and stop popping the ball up. Find a way to get it on the ground, hit it as far as you can. I got a fastball to hit, I got two of them. You don’t get that often, especially with a guy like Harvey throwing.

“He missed his spot and I missed my swing. So that’s on me.”

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.