White Sox

White Sox: Could Quintana's luck finally be turning around?

White Sox: Could Quintana's luck finally be turning around?

Is Jose Quintana’s inexplicably bad luck finally starting to turn around?

It’s impossible to discern why the White Sox consistently weren’t able to support Quintana — and seemingly only Quintana, which feels somewhere between confirmation bias and the truth — from 2012-2015, in which the 27-year-old left-hander totaled the most no-decisions of any pitcher in baseball. 

But on a chilly Friday night, Quintana fired seven scoreless innings and was supported by both his offense and defense in the White Sox 5-0 win over the Texas Rangers in front of 15,486 at U.S. Cellular Field. 

Some opportunistic hitting and baserunning staked Quintana that lead. Three of those runs came in the bottom of the sixth, with Brett Lawrie flipping a two-run double to center and Jerry Sands following with an RBI single. 

In the top of the seventh, though, Texas quickly loaded the bases on a Prince Fielder double, an Adrian Beltre single and an Ian Desmond walk. It looked like Quintana might squander a rare spate of run support — the White Sox in 2015 scored five or more runs in his starts as many times (10) as they scored zero or one run — when Mitch Moreland launched a line drive toward right field. 

What followed was a remarkable 9-3-2-6-2-5 triple play. It’s the first time that sequence produced a triple play in major league history, and it was the first triple play turned by the White Sox in nearly 10 years. 

“If anybody on the field deserves to have that happen, it's Q,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I think that's a good sign. It's something he's earned with what he's been through."

Quintana was in control of things until the seventh, slicing through the Rangers’ lineup with a fastball spotted with scalpel-like precision. He retired 11 in a row between the third and sixth innings and only allowed a walk and two singles before that. 

It looked like Quintana would have to pitch without much support again, as the White Sox only scraped together two runs in the first five innings. Melky Cabrera’s heads-up baserunning — he noticed Rangers catcher Bryan Holaday couldn’t locate a ball that bounced a few feet away from him — led to a run in the second, and Adam Eaton’s double turned into a run on an Austin Jackson sacrifice bunt and Jose Abreu sacrifice fly in the third. 

A two-out rally in the sixth, though, provided Quintana with more than enough sport. Todd Frazier walked and Cabrera followed with a double, and both players scored on Brett Lawrie’s two-run double to center. Jerry Sands then followed with an RBI single to put the White Sox up by five.

The White Sox scored three or fewer runs in 15 of Quintana’s 32 starts last year, and despite a 3.36 ERA, the White Sox only went 14-18 in his starts. In the two years before that, it was worse — in the White Sox went 12-20 in Quintana’s starts and scored three or fewer runs 19 times in 2014; in 2013, the White Sox scored three or fewer runs 17 times and went 15-18 with Quintana on the mound. 

Quintana had a 3.40 ERA from 2013-2015, but still hasn’t won 10 games in a season. He’s expecting this is finally the year he breaks into the double digits. 

“I have all the confidence in me for this year, for the team,” Quintana said. “I’m thinking more than 10.”

It’s not like Quintana needs good luck to get to 10 wins, not with the way he’s pitched and continues to pitch. He hasn’t allowed a home run in 24 2/3 innings this year and has only issued five walks. 

Realistically, all Quintana needs to get to 10 wins is have better-than-terrible luck. The White Sox have scored four or more runs in three of his four outings this year. That’s a start. 

But Friday’s triple play helped, too. Who knows how things would’ve turned out had Eaton not got an excellent jump on Moreland’s line drive, or had Abreu not acrobatically tagged out Desmond, or had Tyler Saladino not decided to chase down Prince Fielder instead of Adrian Beltre. The triple play was the product of good White Sox defense and bad Rangers baserunning. 

And too, it was a bit of good fortune for a guy who hasn’t had much of it in his career. 

“That was fun,” Quintana said. “I’ve never seen that before. It happened to me, it was good luck.”

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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.

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.