White Sox

White Sox, Royals suspended after 8 innings

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White Sox, Royals suspended after 8 innings

Friday night’s contest between the White Sox and Kansas City Royals was suspended in a 2-2 tie after 8 innings.

After the teams played in windy, wet conditions for more than four innings, umpires pulled both teams off the field in the top of the ninth. The grounds crew was constantly at work during the latter half of the game, applying dirt and raking. But a steady rain continued to fall and umpires decided to end the game, which will conclude at 1:10 p.m. on Saturday before the start of the regularly scheduled contest.

Though they continued to struggle offensively, the White Sox put together a second strong game against the defending American League champions before the contest was delayed.

Coming off the worst start of his career, Jose Quintana bounced back despite the cold, sloppy conditions.

“He battled,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “The one walk there kind of bit him. From where he was, I think right now this is the guy we're used to seeing. He battles and gives you a chance.

“They're tough, that's obvious. We're hanging in there and we're tough, too. I like our shot.”

[MORE: Jeff Samardzija on brawl: 'Nobody wants to act that way']

Quintana — who allowed nine earned runs in a loss at Detroit on Sunday — had his best command of the season. He commanded all of his pitches, throwing 63 strikes and 35 balls. 

Aside from former Sox prospect Paulo Orlando, Quintana didn’t run into much trouble. Orlando had hits in both his at-bats against Quintana, starting the third inning with a double and scoring on Alcides Escobar’s one-out single, and driving in a run with a fifth-inning single.

But Quintana didn’t get himself into many jams otherwise. He also was far more efficient, needing 21 pitches to get through two innings after he threw 42 in the first inning alone against the Tigers.

Quintana allowed two earned runs and seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts in seven innings.

The left-hander’s run support was sparing but enough to earn him the 41st no decision of his career. The White Sox — hitless in their last 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position — tied it at 1 in the fourth on Tyler Flowers’ RBI groundout. Adam Eaton then tripled to start the seventh inning and scored on Melky Cabrera’s sacrifice fly to right field.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Royals starter Danny Duffy limited the White Sox to an unearned run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The White Sox endured a scary moment in the third inning when Jose Abreu tripped over Escobar as he chased him in a rundown. Abreu applied the tag — though it took a review for the call to be properly made — and fell hard on to the ground, appearing to clutch his right shoulder. But after several minutes and the use of smelling salts, Abreu got up and stayed in the game.

Ventura’s reaction to believing his first baseman was lost?

“A heart attack,” Ventura said. “I'm just glad he's fine. Once he got over that you could tell he was fine.

“I think he landed on the foot of the base on his ribs. It kind of knocked the wind out him, and it was cold. At first I thought it was his wrist or something like that. When I got out there it was cold. I think there were a lot of things going on at the same time.”

Saturday’s forecast calls for more rain. Were it to be rained out, the White Sox and Royals would resume Friday’s contest before the start of Sunday’s regularly scheduled game.

 

Lucas Giolito relieved to be able to shed No. 1 pitching prospect label

Lucas Giolito relieved to be able to shed No. 1 pitching prospect label

GLENDALE, AZ — You don’t need a scale to see that Lucas Giolito lost some weight in the offseason. As he walks around Camelback Ranch, he just seems lighter. These pounds were shedded thanks to a certain label that has been detached from his name and his being.

“Lucas Giolito, number-one pitching prospect in baseball” is no more.

“Definitely. Big time relief. I carried that title for a while,” Giolito told NBC Sports Chicago. “It was kind of up and down. I was (ranked) 1 at one point. I dropped. I always paid attention to it a little bit moving through the minor leagues.”

Which for any young hurler is risky business. The “best pitching prospect” designation can mess with a pitcher’s psyche and derail a promising career. Giolito was walking a mental tightrope reading those rankings, but after making it back to the majors last season with the White Sox and succeeding, the moniker that seemed to follow him wherever he went has now vanished.

“Looking back on it, that stuff is pretty cool," Giolito said. "It can pump you up and make you feel good about yourself, but in the end the question is, what are you going to do at the big league level? Can you contribute to a team? I’m glad that I finally have the opportunity to do that and all that other stuff is in the rear view."

This wasn’t the case when the White Sox acquired Giolito from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade in December 2016. When he arrived at spring training last year, he was carrying around tons of extra baggage in his brain that was weighing him down. Questions about his ability and makeup weren’t helping as he tried living up to such high expectations.

“Yeah, I’d say especially with the trade coming off 2016 where I didn’t perform well at all that year," Giolito said. "I got traded over to a new organization, I still have this label on me of being a top pitching prospect while I’m going to a new place, I’m trying to impress people but at the same time I had a lot of things off mechanically I was trying to fix. Mentally, I was not in the best place as far as pitching went. It definitely added some extra pressure that I didn’t deal with well for a while."

How bad was it for Giolito? Here are some of the thoughts that were scrambling his brain during spring training and beyond last season.

“I saw I wasn’t throwing as hard. I was like, ’Where did my velocity go?’ Oh, it’s my mechanics. My mechanics are bad. I need to fix those,” Giolito said. “Then I’m trying to make adjustments. Why can’t I make this adjustment? It compounds. It just builds and builds and builds and can weigh on you a ton. I was 22 turning 23 later in the year. I didn’t handle it very well. I put a lot of pressure on myself to fix all these different things about my performance, my pitching and trying to do it all in one go instead of just relaxing and remembering, ‘Hey, what am I here for? Why do I play the game?’”

Still, pitching coach Don Cooper wanted to see what he had in his young prospect. So last February, he scheduled him to make his White Sox debut against the Cubs in front of a packed house in Mesa.

“It was kind of like a challenge," Giolito said. "They fill the stadium over there. I’m like, ‘Alright here we go."

Giolito gave up one run, three hits, walked one and struck out two in two innings against the Cubs that day.

“I pitched OK," he said. "I think I gave up a home run to Addison Russell. At the same time, I remember that game like I was forcing things. I might have pitched okay, but I was forcing the ball over the plate instead of relaxing, trusting and letting it happen which is kind of my mantra now. I’m saying that all the time, just having confidence in yourself and letting it go.”

A conversation in midseason with Charlotte Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty, suggested by Cooper, helped turn Giolito’s season around. The lesson for Giolito: whatever you have on the day you take the mound is what you have. Don’t force what isn’t there.

Fortunately for Giolito he has extra pitches in his arsenal, so if the curveball isn’t working (which it rarely did when he came up to the majors last season) he can go to his change-up, fastball, slider, etc.

It’s all part of the learning process, both on the mound and off it. Setbacks are coming. Giolito has already had his share. More will be on the way.

“You want to set expectations for yourself. You want to try and achieve great goals,” he said. “At the same time, it is a game of failure. There’s so much that you have to learn through experience whether that be success or failure. Especially going through the minor leagues. There’s so much that you have to learn and a lot of it is about development. It’s a crazy ride for sure.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: