White Sox

White Sox put themselves in 'tough spot' in loss to Twins

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White Sox put themselves in 'tough spot' in loss to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- This isn’t where the White Sox envisioned themselves come September 1.

Instead of competing for a postseason spot, the White Sox continue to harm themselves with poor play. Instead of beating up on Minnesota, the Twins have beat up on them.

Even though they rallied from four down on Tuesday night, the White Sox dropped another critical game, 8-6, as several late errors doomed them against the red-hot Twins at Target Field.

Zach Duke and Tyler Saladino each had errors in the eighth inning as Minnesota, which started the day one back of the second wild-card spot, scored four times against the White Sox bullpen. The White Sox have lost 10 of 14 meetings with the Twins this season.

“I literally did nothing to help us win a game today, and it’s borderline embarrassing,” Duke said. “If I give up one, OK, but I gave up three. It puts us in a really tough spot. It’s hard to swallow.”

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Duke is hardly why the White Sox are 61-69 after 130 games.

Despite a large cash infusion of talent in the offseason, this team has failed to consistently put it all together for more than a few days at a time.

One day it’s the offense that struggles. Then the pitching staff, which has carried the most weight, falters for a day or two. Then the defense takes over.

On Tuesday it was the defense’s turn.

The White Sox had managed to work around a rough start by Chris Sale and found themselves ahead headed to the bottom of the seventh, 5-4. Sale retired Joe Mauer to start the inning but exited with 113 pitches.

Minnesota rookie Miguel Sano quickly tied the score with a 401-foot solo homer to left off Nate Jones.

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An inning later, Eduardo Escobar doubled off Duke, who made an ill-advised throw to first on Kurt Suzuki’s bunt that got away, allowing Escobar to score the go-ahead run. Saladino then couldn’t handle Byron Buxton’s hot shot, which set up two more runs.

The White Sox scored once in the ninth and had the tying runs aboard for Jose Abreu flew out to center against Glen Perkins.

“Defensively, at the end, that’s what you are disappointed about,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You didn’t get it done that way. It’s tough. They’ve been battling. They’ve been tough on us all year. But the execution there at the end just didn’t get it done.”

Sale looked as if he was on his way to another rough start against the Twins, who had produced 17 of the 61 earned runs he has allowed this season in four starts before Tuesday. Whereas Sale has a 2.68 ERA against everyone else this season, he was 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA in four starts against Minnesota.

The Twins scored four times in the second to break open a scoreless game.

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But Sale kept the situation from snowballing and the White Sox rallied.

Sale struck out 10 -- his 13th start this season with at least 10 -- and allowed four earned runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one.

“We came back and fought,” Sale said. “You just want to give your team a chance to win and not let it snowball and make things worse.”

The White Sox rally began in the fifth when Adam LaRoche singled and Twins starter Tyler Duffey walked the next three batters, including Tyler Flowers with the bases loaded. Adam Eaton, who went 4-for-5, singled in two more to cut the lead to 4-3.

An inning later, Avisail Garcia’s two-run homer off Casey Fien gave the White Sox a one-run lead.

But it wasn’t enough to overcome the late mistakes.

“We continue to put ourselves in situations to be one hit away, so as long as we’re in those situations, we still have a chance,” Duke said. “The team never backs down and never rolls over. It’s encouraging to watch us grind out and come back in games, and then to give it up like I did tonight, it hurts.”

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.