White Sox

White Sox stun Tigers with four in eighth to win second straight

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White Sox stun Tigers with four in eighth to win second straight

Their ace got hit hard and they stranded nine runners through the first seven innings on Wednesday night. Given everything that occurred the week before, nobody would have been surprised if the White Sox wilted against the Detroit Tigers and tried to salvage a series victory on Thursday afternoon.

But the belief everyone wearing black and white has consistently talked about, that things would eventually turn in their favor, materialized against Joba Chamberlain in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The result was an improbable, two-out rally as the White Sox batted around to top the Tigers 7-6 at U.S. Cellular Field. Melky Cabrera blasted a game-tying, three-run homer and Avisail Garcia provided the White Sox with their sixth straight two-out hit, a single to center to drive in the go-ahead run.

“We’re a very confident team regardless of what we’ve been through this past week,” rookie Micah Johnson said. “No one thinks we’re out of it in the dugout whatsoever. … The sense of confidence we have is pretty unbelievable. Everyone just passed the torch down to the next guy and everybody in the lineup gets up and it’s like, they’re going to get a hit.”

[MORE: Carlos Rodon ready to make first MLB start Saturday]

Though they had a good approach and knocked Detroit starter Alfredo Simon out after five innings and three runs, the White Sox didn’t have much to show for their effort. Through seven innings, the White Sox stranded nine base runners.

Everything changed against Chamberlain.

“It hurts every time you don't get one,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It's almost like golf when you miss a birdie, you feel like you really don't get that many opportunities. For us, they just kept putting it together.”

Johnson, who said he was “amped” after the first three-hit game of his career, singled with two outs. Adam Eaton, who also reached three times, lined one off the glove of third baseman Nick Castellanos into left field for a hit.

Cabrera then rocketed a 1-1 slider from Chamberlain into the right-field bleachers to stun a crowd subdued by 13 combined walks between the two teams.

But the White Sox didn’t stop there.

Jose Abreu singled to left and Adam LaRoche, who had two hits and a walk, singled him over to third base. Even though he fell behind 0-2 in the count, Garcia singled to center to complete the comeback.

“We needed that,” said Garcia, who was looking for a slider. “We needed to come back like that late in the game. If we keep doing that, we are going to be good for us.”

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The turnaround is a nice change of pace for Sale, who has done most of the heavy lifting for the White Sox the past two seasons. On a night in which he was off, the offense took care of Sale.

After he established a career record for runs allowed in his past outing, Sale tied a career high with five walks.

Not only did Sale walk batters, he didn’t have his customary command, making two-strike mistakes to Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera and the duo made him pay. Martinez hit a two-run homer on a 0-2 changeup to give Detroit a 3-1 lead. Two innings later, Cabrera singled with two strikes to drive in a run as the Tigers moved ahead 4-3. Sale escaped a fifth-inning jam but got back into trouble again in the sixth, which resulted in a run.

All things considered, catcher Tyler Flowers thought Sale played a key role. He was noticeably off and things could have been much worse. Instead, Sale limited the Tigers to five runs despite putting 12 men on base in 5 1/3 innings.

Combined with the bullpen, Sale gave the White Sox a chance to hang around -- something the team has been insisting all along is what matters right now.

Sale thinks Wednesday’s win can only boost confidence even more.

“It definitely feels good,” Sale said. “When you’re down in the dumps and all of a sudden you turn it around, you win a game like we did tonight, I think it’s going to help our morale and our mentality and give us a jolt going forward.”

 

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.