White Sox

White Sox provide little support for Quintana in loss to Blue Jays

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White Sox provide little support for Quintana in loss to Blue Jays

Know how the White Sox have had trouble scoring runs this season?

It happened again on Tuesday night.

The White Sox offense, rebuilt with $74.5 million worth of modifications in the offseason, sputtered to the halfway point of the season with a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 17,028 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Hours after another call to action, the White Sox tossed an additional lackluster offensive performance onto the pile against Felix Doubront and three relievers. The White Sox finished the first half with a 37-44 record.

Despite eight great innings, Jose Quintana (4-8) received another hard-luck loss as the White Sox were held to one run or fewer for the 21st time. Josh Donaldson’s fourth-inning solo homer -- his sixth in five games against the White Sox in 2015 -- was the difference.

“It’s just too hard for these guys to try to win 2-1,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There’s no room for error. It’s not giving them a big lead and they sit there and kind of play with it.

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“There’s no room. You lose tonight because Donaldson hits a home run.”

The White Sox had few chances but they had the tying run at third base with one out in the ninth inning and the infield drawn in. But after his wild pitch allowed Alexei Ramirez to move to third, Toronto reliever Roberto Osuna composed himself and escaped with his fourth save. First he induced a foul out to shallow left off J.B. Shuck’s bat before Conor Gillaspie fouled out to end the contest. The White Sox have scored four runs or fewer in a franchise-record 24 straight home games. They also have scored three runs or fewer 45 times this season, winning just 10 of those contests. The White Sox, who are averaging 3.41 runs per game, are 27-9 when they score at least four runs. They’re on pace to score 552 runs in 2015.

They scored their lone run Tuesday on a two-out, game-tying RBI single by Carlos Sanchez in the second inning.

“Everybody’s still trying to put it together,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “We haven’t had that moment where a number of us are hot, so we’re still kind of waiting on that to happen and we’ve got to find ways to scratch and claw through. Tonight, we should have done a little bit better. With that performance, it’s a great job by Q to give us a chance and hold that offense down. We’ve just got to find a way.”

Though they continue to stress patience, time is clearly running out for the White Sox, who entered Tuesday 5 1/ 2 games out in the wild-card race. The bigger issues are that nine teams sit in front of them in that wild-card chase and the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline is a little over three weeks away. While the White Sox don’t intend upon a massive overhaul, key chips could be peddled away soon if and -- more likely -- when they decide to become sellers.

[MORE: Buehrle thought atmosphere at U.S. Cellular Field was 'outstanding']

The same old storyline on offense produced a replica outing for Quintana, who continued an excellent run by White Sox pitchers with a season-high eight innings pitched.

There’s not much more Quintana could do to improve his chances for victory. In his last eight outings, the left-hander has a 2.70 ERA in 53 1/3 innings. But the White Sox record is only 4-4 as they’ve scored 13 runs for Quintana while he’s been on the mound. They’ve produced 31 runs in Quintana’s 107 1/3 innings this season.

Just as Chris Sale did on Monday, Quintana kept a lethal Blue Jayslineup under wraps. Though Toronto entered the game with the most potent offense in the majors, they tallied just two runs, the latter coming on Donaldson’s homer. Donaldson is 10-for-17 against White Sox pitching this season.

The Blue Jays jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning when Reyes singled, stole second, advanced to third on a grounder and scored on Jose Bautista’s RBI groundout.

But Quintana retired nine in a row after Reyes’ leadoff hit until Donaldson’s homer and later retired 10 more consecutively. He struck out five in a row in between the fourth and fifth innings and finished with eight. Quintana allowed two earned runs and four hits.

“I’ll try next time to not give up any runs,” Quintana said. “I’ll try again to keep my games as close as I can.

“I can never (get frustrated with the offense) because it’s a long season. I try to do what is best for me every five days. I try to get a win for us every time/ just keep going. It’s the middle of the season.”

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

GLENDALE, AZ --  There’s a different Tim Anderson at White Sox spring training this year.

You can see it on his face  You can hear it in his voice.

“I’m busting out of the shell. I’m talking more,” he said as he sat down for an interview with NBC Sports Chicago (in the video above).

It’s not the new Tim Anderson. It turns out, it’s the real one that’s been there all along.

“This is me. It’s always been me. I never knew how to express myself. I feel like I’m being a lot more open,” Anderson explained. “That’s what I want to give to fans. Let them know the real me. You’re cheering for me. Why not know me? I’m being open and kind of let fans into my life.”

The White Sox shortstop has learned a lot about life in the past year. It all started in May when the White Sox were in Baltimore to play the Orioles. Anderson received a phone call at 4 a.m. It was news from back home.

It was the worst phone call of his life.

His best friend Branden Moss had been murdered in the parking lot of a Tuscaloosa, Ala., bar after helping the victim of a fight.  

The two were like brothers. Anderson is the godfather to Moss’s young daughter. Moss was the godfather to Anderson’s 2-year-old daughter.

“It was heartbreaking,” Anderson said.

While Anderson grieved, playing baseball seemed like it would be a perfect escape for his pain. Only it wasn’t. Far from it.  Baseball might have made things even worse.

In fast-paced sports like football and hockey, players don’t have much time to think. It’s react, react, react. Whatever might be happening off the field feels like a million miles away.

Not in baseball.

The game moves at a much slower speed. There’s plenty of time for your mind to wander. Thoughts kept going back to Anderson’s lost friend, taken from him in an instant.

At 23, he didn’t have the tools to deal with the emotional pain and excel at baseball at the same time.

“The year was rough. I wasn’t having fun in between the lines. I was making the game harder than it was. I was thinking too much. I was feeling sorry for myself and the list can go on. When my friend died it definitely took a lot out of me. I had a dark moment,” Anderson said. “Some days I didn’t feel comfortable coming to the ballpark because I knew it was going to be a bad day.”

Making matters worse, there were many nights when Anderson didn’t sleep. Not a wink. Still, he dragged himself to the ballpark and somehow tried to play.

The results weren’t pretty. On June 22, Anderson already had 16 errors at shortstop, most in the majors. At the plate, he was hitting .256/.284/.374 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.

He knew he was better than that. He also knew something else: He needed help.

In July, Anderson started meeting with a therapist who was able to unlock the pent up thoughts and emotions that he was burying inside him.

The therapist would write down everything that Anderson was feeling on paper and then read it back to him.

“Just going in and talking and pouring everything out of you. It lets you hear what you’ve been going through,“ Anderson said. “When she did it, it was a lot. I took what she read to me, balled it up and threw it away. I got lighter. It was a brightening. Those counseling sessions definitely helped me.”

Soon, Anderson was back to being himself both on and off the field.

In the month of August, he had 8 doubles, 5 home runs and 16 RBI.

“Woof. I was hot,” he said after hearing those stats. “That’s Tim. That’s more Tim that we need to see.”

In September, he batted .327 with 3 home runs and 9 stolen bases.

“We need a lot of that this year. That’s the way I want to go. That’s the way I want to go about it. Get back to what got me here.”

There was still an issue with his plate discipline. He had 32 strikeouts and only 1 walk in September.

“We play a tough sport as it is. They’re going to come,” Anderson said about the walks. “I mean, when I walk more, what are you going to tell me? ‘Start swinging more?’ It’s one of those things. It’s a give and take. We’ll see what happens.”

In 2017, Anderson received a crash course in adversity. What did he learn from all that pain and misery?

“Tough times happen, but they don’t last forever.”

Now that he’s survived the personal storm from last season, he wants “another shot at it. I feel like last year went left. This is new season.”

So, what does he envision for himself in 2018?

“Having fun, smiling a lot, picking up my teammates, hugging on the coaches and players. A lot of love, more so than stats,” Anderson said. “I’m fired up. I’m excited. I feel like I’m ready to lead this pack. We got a great group of guys. We’ve got a chance to do something special.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Michael Kopech tells all about his past, present and future

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Michael Kopech tells all about his past, present and future

The White Sox top pitching prospect sits down with Chuck Garfien for a revealing interview at spring training. Kopech says he almost quit the game after he got into a fight with a Red Sox minor league teammate in 2016. He goes in-depth about his desire to be great, why meditating makes him a better pitcher, his failed PED test in 2015, comparisons to Justin Verlander, possibly becoming the future ace of the White Sox and much more.