White Sox

White Sox offense silent again in loss to Pirates

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White Sox offense silent again in loss to Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Jose Quintana didn’t get any support again on Tuesday night.

But this one can be attributed to a White Sox offense that isn’t scoring for anyone, not just him in particular.

Losers of five straight, the White Sox haven’t scored in 25 innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates shut them out again, 3-0, in front of 28,413 at PNC Park.

Shut out for the sixth time this season, the White Sox, who are now a season-worst seven games under .500, haven’t scored since the second inning on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays. The White Sox dropped to 5-28 this season when scoring three or fewer runs.

“If you are going to keep putting up zeroes, it’s tough to win games,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We have to be able to swing the bats better. You tip your hats somewhat, but some of it is a funk we are in. We have to be able to find a way out of it.”

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Quintana might wonder if he’ll ever get any run support. He’s always had the worst of it, and this season has been no different — the White Sox have scored 22 runs for the left-hander while he has been on the mound in 13 starts.

But this turn came during the middle of what has been a rut for the White Sox, who scored 10 runs on their winless five-game road trip.

Unlike Sunday, when the White Sox struggled with plenty of early chances against Tampa Bay, the last two days have been different.

On Monday, Francisco Liriano and Rob Scahill limited the White Sox to three base runners.

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Tuesday it was Charlie Morton (5-0) and Co. who got it done.

“You throw up a couple of donuts in two games here, you are not going to win,” Ventura said. “These guys have to fight their way out of it. They have to keep grinding and somehow find that groove.”

With his sinkerball working to perfection, Morton allowed four hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings. He got 12 of 21 outs via ground balls, including both times when he ran into trouble.

The White Sox looked as if they might break through in the first inning as Adam Eaton drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. But Eaton was thrown out at third on Alexei Ramirez’s chopper in front of the plate as the leadoff man overslid the base in an attempt to avoid a tag. Jose Abreu singled, but Melky Cabrera flew out and Avisail Garcia grounded out.

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Starting with Cabrera, Morton retired 17 of 18 batters. He gave up a single to Cabrera in the seventh and another to Geovany Soto with two outs. But Morton retired pinch hitter Adam LaRoche on a force out at second.

Tony Watson and Mark Melancon recorded scoreless innings to end it.

“Whether they are trying too hard or not, maybe you try harder,” Ventura said.

The Pirates didn’t have a ton of success against Quintana, but it was enough.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first, Pittsburgh broke through in the third on an RBI single by Andrew McCutchen to make it 1-0.

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Sean Rodriguez had a solo homer in the fourth inning, and Francisco Cervelli added another in the sixth. Quintana yielded both homers after allowing four all season in his previous 74 1/3 innings.

Quintana’s record dropped to 3-7 as he gave up three earned runs and nine hits in six innings.

“Everybody tries to do their best for us and day by day,” Quintana said. “Sometimes you have bad nights and bad days, but everybody tries to do the best for the team.

“Sometimes you can feel frustration because you prepare every time to win games. But that’s baseball. You try to do the best every day.”

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.