White Sox

White Sox fail to support Sale, fall in extra innings


White Sox fail to support Sale, fall in extra innings

The White Sox offense is in a funk and Zack Greinke didnt relent on Friday night.

The Milwaukee Brewers' ace kept the White Sox off the board long enough for his own offense to outlast Chris Sale as the Brewers won 1-0 in 10 innings in front of 22,798 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Rickie Weeks singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning against Jesse Crain to earn a victory for Greinke, who pitched nine scoreless innings. John Axford pitched a scoreless inning to earn the save.

Greinke and Axford combined to silence the White Sox, who scored fewer than three runs for the sixth time in nine games.

Milwaukee didnt have much luck against Sale or Addison Reed, but Crain was a different story. Aramis Ramirez started the 10th inning with a double into the left-field corner. Ramirez moved to third on Crains wild pitch, and one out later, Weeks singled past a drawn-in infield for the games first run.

The White Sox got a leadoff walk in the 10 th by Gordon Beckham but Axford struck out Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko grounded into a game-ending double play.

Sale bounced back from last Fridays outing in Los Angeles, his worst performance of the season. The left-hander kept a Milwaukee Brewers lineup that entered the game fourth in the National League in run scored off the board for eight outstanding innings.

After he allowed several deep fly balls early, Sale settled in, especially in the middle innings. He struck out five batters in the fourth and fifth innings and finished with seven. Two strikeouts were especially key after Weeks doubled with one out in the fifth inning and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sale rebounded to escape the jam with punch outs of Cody Ransom and Martin Maldonado.

Sale, who threw strikes on 70 of 109 pitches and only allowed five men on base, pitched around another double in the eighth inning and retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

Greinke was even better than his young counterpart.

The 2009 American League Cy Young winner didnt give the White Sox many chances.
Pitching even more efficiently than Sale, Greinke only allowed four runners on base through nine innings. None stayed long either, as Greinke induced double play balls in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings.

Greinke also pitched five 1-2-3 innings and retired 10 in a row and 15 of 16 at one point.

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease


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


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."