White Sox

White Sox offense explodes in dominant win over Mariners

White Sox offense explodes in dominant win over Mariners

SEATTLE -- Who needs Luis Robert?

Hours after the White Sox reportedly added another potential building block for the rebuild with a massive deal, Avisail Garcia continued his not-so-fast, I’m-still-here campaign.

Garcia matched a club record with four extra-base hits, including two home runs, and drove in a career-high six runs as the White Sox pounded the Seattle Mariners 16-1 in front of 33,801 at Safeco Field. Matt Davidson and Willy Garcia also homered for the White Sox, who have never scored more runs in Seattle. Willy Garcia’s homer was the first of his career and it all came in support of Mike Pelfrey, who earned the victory with six sharp innings.

“Pretty impressive,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s been having really good at-bats. He’s driving the ball. That’s a pretty good poke to center, right-center field, whatever it was. Just in general opened up the game a little for us in the first inning with the homer and everybody kind of tacked on. That’s kind of been Avi all year long, it’s pretty consistent. He’s had very few lulls and let’s hope it continues for him.”

The White Sox would love if Saturday’s events repeated again and again like in the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’

An intense, month-long competition for the services of Robert, a 19-year-old Cuban outfielder with all the tools, ended with multiple reports that he selected the White Sox over the St. Louis Cardinals. Robert gives the White Sox another huge piece for their just-begun rebuild effort and looks like he could be ranked as high as the third overall prospect in the farm system.

The good times continued to roll in the first inning against Yovani Gallardo.

Yolmer Sanchez drew a leadoff walk and Melky Cabrera reached on an error. Jose Abreu doubled in a run and Avisail Garcia continued his onslaught against American League pitching with a three-run homer to left to make it 4-0.

[MORE: How Jose Abreu, Rick Renteria played pivotal roles in White Sox presentation for Luis Robert]

But Avisail Garcia wasn’t done yet, not even close. He crushed another home run to dead center off Gallardo in the third inning to put the White Sox up by five.

The White Sox led by eight runs -- Willy Garcia had a sac fly and Cabrera singled in two -- the next time Avisail Garcia stepped in. He ripped a hard liner over shortstop and into the gap for a two-run double and a 10-0 lead. Avisail Garcia doubled once more in the seventh inning ahead of a two-run single by Todd Frazier. He finished 4-for-5 and became the first White Sox hitter since Jermaine Dye on Aug. 2, 2007 with four extra base hits.

“I mean, I feel good, seeing the ball good,” Avisail Garcia said. “When you focus a lot of good thing happen so. It’s a long season. Keep working hard and play hard every day.

“Every year you want to get better and every year you want to improve. That’s how we play. You have to play that way every year. That’s the game you love. So you want to do good and do good things for your team.”

Avisail Garcia has flourished in what could potentially be his last chance with the White Sox. Despite showing flashes of potential, he’d never been able to sustain the last two seasons in spite of high expectations. Avisail Garcia credits an improved focus at the plate as one of the keys to his success as he has finally begun to tap into the star potential that he was labeled with since his days as a prospect with the Detroit Tigers.

He’s hitting .357/.400/.610 in 165 plate appearances.

Pelfrey took advantage of his teammate’s big day and worked quickly to get the White Sox offense back in the dugout. Pelfrey limited the Mariners to a run and four hits in six innings and struck out three.

A veteran of the AL Central, Pelfrey is familiar with Avisail Garcia’s game. He knew the potential within and thinks there might be even more to tap into.

“You see the talent,” Pelfrey said. “But until you get the chance to play with somebody, you see it day in, day out. It's always a little bit different. He's got all the talent in the world and is obviously putting it together and having a pretty good start. As big as he is and as strong as he is, there might be a couple more multi-HR games.”

Davidson also tied Avisail Garcia and Abreu for the team lead with eight homers when he blasted a two-run shot in the seventh. Willy Garcia reached the second deck in left for his first round-tripper, a 401-foot blast. He finished with three RBIs.

Every White Sox player had a hit.


The start to Lucas Giolito's 2018 season isn't getting any better: Saturday was 'about as bad as it could get'


The start to Lucas Giolito's 2018 season isn't getting any better: Saturday was 'about as bad as it could get'

Lucas Giolito has walked 19 hitters in just four starts.

Things are not going well.

That diagnosis can apply to just about every aspect of the 2018 White Sox so far. They lost in a blowout again Saturday night, this time by a 10-1 score, to drop to 4-13 on the season and 2-13 in their last 15 games. They’ve been outscored 50-15 in their last five games and 24-3 in the last 28 innings.

None of that is good.

But this rebuilding era, this developmental season was expected to have its share of bumps and bruises. What wasn’t expected was the poor play, to this point, of Giolito, who made such a great impression in his seven big league starts at the end of last season and during a dominant spring training.

On Opening Day, he said he felt like a new pitcher. He has been quite different in his first four starts of the regular season, but surely not in the way he hoped. He’s got 19 walks, just nine strikeouts and a 9.00 ERA. Saturday was his poorest outing yet: nine runs allowed, seven batters walked and just six outs recorded.

If you’re displeased with Giolito’s outing, know that he’s not happy about it either.

“Yeah, about as bad as it could get,” he said after the game. “I didn’t have a feel for much of anything. Seven walks, unacceptable. Put the bullpen in that situation, unacceptable. … It’s one of those ones that you throw away and move onto tomorrow and just continue to work on it.”

The problem is that every outing Giolito has made so far this season has approached that description. Against the Kansas City Royals, he walked four and gave up three runs in six innings. Against the Detroit Tigers, he walked three and gave up five runs in 5.2 innings. Against the Minnesota Twins, he walked five and gave up three earned runs in 6.1 innings.

Conditions have been brutal, obviously, with cold weather crippling much of Major League Baseball during this brutal first month of the season. All three of those outings came in very cold conditions, and Saturday’s game wasn’t exactly played in a tropical heat, either.

But the walks are piling up. No pitcher in baseball has issued as many free passes as Giolito.

“At this point I just need to kind of get my flow back,” he said. “I feel like my delivery, I’m not repeating much of anything. Very out of sync. So just need to go out there and kind of let it loose a little bit.”

“His first-pitch strikes were down, obviously. Kind of hard to work with batsmen when you’re behind in the count,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He tried to find his feel. … I think the walks were the biggest thing. You’ve got to command the zone, and hopefully as we continue to move forward and he continues to pitch, he continues to progress and improves on that aspect. In five days, we’ll throw him back out there and see where he’s at.”

As the losses keep coming for this team, they are easy enough to explain away as a product of the rebuild. Young players are spending this season developing at the major and minor league levels, and that doesn’t mean a juggernaut on the field on the South Side.

But the silver linings to all this losing are supposed to be progression of those young players. We’ve seen plenty of positives from the likes of Tim Anderson and Matt Davidson and Reynaldo Lopez at the major league level. And obviously each day brings more news of the fabulous feats the stocked farm system is accomplishing.

Giolito, though, is expected to be a pitcher that makes visible strides. He was so impressive at the end of last summer, throughout this spring, that he entered this season, in the opinion of plenty, as the best pitcher on the 25-man roster. And that still might be the case, but his performance hasn’t been the best. Neither have the results. Something hasn’t carried over from the spring, from the end of last year, and Giolito is still searching for what brought those high expectations in the first place.

“Obviously the mechanics have kind of gone away from where I was,” he said. “And on top of that just pressing and pressing to make it right again instead of just letting it loose.”

As Renteria said, Giolito will get another go real soon. But which Giolito will we see?

Daily White Sox prospects update: Michael Kopech strikes out 10 in latest outing


Daily White Sox prospects update: Michael Kopech strikes out 10 in latest outing

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Triple-A Charlotte

Michael Kopech struck out 10 despite lasting just five innings and not getting the win Friday night. His ERA stands at 2.40 after giving up three runs. He's up to 21 strikeouts through three outings at Triple-A this season. Charlie Tilson and Casey Gillaspie each had a hit in the 4-1 loss.

Class A Winston-Salem

Joel Booker continued his scorching start, picking up three more hits, including a triple, and raising his batting average to .364 on the season. Luis Alexander Basabe also tripled, walked twice, scored two runs and drove in a run in a 10-3 loss.

Double-A Birmingham

Ian Clarkin allowed four earned runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out only one in his 5.1 innings of work. Seby Zavala had two hits and drove in two runs in a 7-2 loss.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez had a hit in a 4-1 win.