White Sox

Axelrod recreates college game success


Axelrod recreates college game success

KANSAS CITY -- Dylan Axelrod found himself in a familiar place when he entered Friday nightSaturday mornings marathon White Sox game.A little more than five years ago, Axelrod, then a pitcher at UC Irvine, was the only pitcher available for the Anteaters, who played Cal State-Fullerton.Just like the June 18, 2007 contest, Axelrod emerged victorious early Saturday after he delivered two scoreless innings in a 9-8 White Sox victory over the Kansas City Royals. Alexrod pitched 4 13 scoreless innings for Irvine in 2007,who prevailed in 5 hours, 40 minutes. The White Sox beat the Royals in a tidy 5:23.It was the same situation, Axelrod said. I pitched four innings and finished the game and I was like the last guy with no one else left.Axelrod threw 31 pitches in the White Sox second-half opener, which leaves his status for Tuesday in Boston up in the air. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Saturday hes not certain whether the team will start Axelrod of flip-flop him with Philip Humber, who is set to come off the disabled list and start on Wednesday.Its subject to change, but its pretty much the same right now, Ventura said. Especially with Axe going last night, seeing how hes feeling. (Swapping the pitchers is)possible right now. Again, were just going by how theyre feeling and setting them up.Axelrod said he had a strange feel in the seventh inning of Fridays game that he might be needed. After Hector Santiago recorded the final out of the 11th inning, Axelrod received approval from pitching coach Don Cooper to prepare, just in case.We had used quite a few guys already, Axelrod said. Just like weird thoughts started entering my mind, like it might happen. And then once Hector went in, I asked Coop, Should I go down there? You think you guys are going to need me? There were several times Ventura was certain the White Sox wouldnt be around long enough to need Axelrod. The White Sox had the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth inning but only forged a tie against Royals closer Jonathan Broxton.And White Sox relievers got out of several tricky situations, including Santiago retiring Mike Moustakas on a slow grounder in the 11 th inning with the bases loaded.I know we found ourselves defensively in situations where we didnt like the situation we were in, and somehow we got out of it, Ventura said. Thats part of the game I think is fun. Even though it doesnt look good. You can get out of it. Theres no clock for them to run it out.

Daily White Sox prospects update: Zack Collins hits a pair of homers


Daily White Sox prospects update: Zack Collins hits a pair of homers

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Double-A Birmingham

Zack Collins hit two home runs as part of a three-hit day. He drove in two runs, scored two runs and walked once in a 10-4 loss. Collins now has seven homers on the campaign with an ungodly .421 on-base percentage. He's batting .326 over his last 25 games. Eloy Jimenez had two hits and a walk, and Jordan Guerrero gave up four runs and walked five in four innings.

Class A Winston-Salem

The Dash lost both games of a doubleheader, 10-5 and 7-0. Luis Alexander Basabe, Alex Call and Gavin Sheets each picked up two hits on the day.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had a hit and scored a run in a 2-1 loss.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez had a hit in a 2-1 win.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'


Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.