White Sox

Chris Sale improves to 8-0 as White Sox top Yankees

Chris Sale improves to 8-0 as White Sox top Yankees

NEW YORK -- With another big cushion courtesy of his offense, Chris Sale cruised to his eighth victory in eight starts on Friday night.

Sale took advantage of two early crooked numbers and the White Sox rebounded from a pair of tough losses with a 7-1 victory over the New York Yankees in front of 34,264 at Yankee Stadium. Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run homer and Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu each drove in two runs for the new-and-improved Sale, who became the fourth White Sox pitcher to ever win his first eight starts. Sale, who at one point retired 15 straight batters, needed only 99 pitches for his second complete game of 2016.

“Any time Chris gets (run support) he’s going to be extremely tough,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Tonight, not gearing it up [unless] he had to. He can go get it, but for him this is a different guy. He can strike people out, but you’re seeing a more effective guy who can go deeper into games. The last couple of years he wouldn’t have been able to do this, finish off games.”

The White Sox haven’t had much of an offense to brag about the past few seasons.

While more proof is needed, and another left-handed bat would be swell, the White Sox have been a tough out the past 17 games. Entering Friday, they scored 94 runs in a 16-game span after only producing 61 in their first 19 contests.

The White Sox broke through in the second inning against Yankees starter Luis Severino (0-6), who needed a nice defensive play with two outs in the first inning to rob Melky Cabrera of an RBI single.

Alex Avila got them going with an RBI double in the second inning and Abreu singled in two more with two outs to make it a 3-0 game.

The White Sox poured it on in the third inning when Eaton, who reached base in four of five trips, doubled in two and Rollins followed with a second-deck homer to right to make it 7-1. It’s the fourth straight start in which the offense has produced at least six runs for Sale, who entered ranked 26th of 147 starting with a per game run support average of 5.47.

“You’re not going to hear me complain,” Sale said. “When the guys go out there and do that, it takes the pressure off you and your main goal after that is just throwing strikes. I was using my defense and I started getting to where I was abusing them a little bit.

“It takes the pressure off of you as a pitcher.”

Sale makes it sound as if he has eased off the accelerator.

He hasn’t.

He continues to attack the strike zone and keep hitters off balance by adding and subtracting fastball velocity to go with a nasty slider and changeup. The combination has produced a lot of weak, early contact and a plethora of quick innings.

Sale allowed a Chase Headley homer in the second inning to make it 3-1, but bounced back fast.

He retired the side in order in the third inning on five pitches and never looked back. Sale needed only nine pitches in the fifth, 11 in the sixth and 11 in the eighth. The low pitch count and an overworked bullpen made it an easy decision for Ventura to send Sale back out for the ninth inning.

“It's something we had talked about in spring training, as far as adding that,” Avila said. “A guy like him, he can strike guys out. You want him to take that next step where he can be that ace, going out for that seventh, eighth, ninth inning is huge. It's huge over the course of a season, being able to give the guys in the bullpen a blow, being that guy that stops a losing streak. There's gonna be times where he's gonna need to just air it out. That's the way it is. But being able to pitch at different speeds gives him another pitch, we're able to get quick outs that way and kind of pick and choose when you need to go get a strikeout.”

After Brett Gardner’s second-inning single, Sale retired 20 of 21 batters into the ninth. He allowed a run and six hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

Sale joins Eddie Cicotte (who won 12 straight in 1919), John Whitehead (eight in 1935) and Jon Garland (eight in 2005) as the only White Sox to win their first eight starts.

“I wouldn’t be here without these guys,” Sale said. “When your team puts you in a position like that, it makes it a little bit less stressful.”

Sox Drawer Q&A: Joe Girardi, Enoy Jimenez and Chris Sale's 'infected' belly button

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USA TODAY

Sox Drawer Q&A: Joe Girardi, Enoy Jimenez and Chris Sale's 'infected' belly button

We made it above 60 degrees in Chicago today: A cause for celebration and another edition of the Sox Drawer. Questions from White Sox fans range from Joe Girardi to Enoy Jimenez (yes, Enoy) to Chris Sale’s “infected” belly button. Here we go.

Q: Jon Heyman tweeted out earlier that Joe Girardi pulled out of the Reds managerial search because he wants to wait a year for the Chicago job. Do you think he’s talking about the Sox? — @piratedwight

CG: I don’t know if the report is true or not, but what I do know is that Girardi grew up a Cubs fan and he later played for the Cubs. Put those two together and I’d assume he would love to manage them in the future. Something to consider: The main reason Yankees general manager Brian Cashman gave for firing Girardi in 2017 was that he felt he had trouble communicating and connecting with the young players. For a young, rebuilding team like the White Sox, that might be a red flag. Granted, that’s the Yankees' side of the story. Personally, I don’t think he’s interested in managing the White Sox.

Q: Who do you want the Sox to draft with the 3rd pick? Do some research. — @Frankie_OConnor

CG: If you look at most mock drafts right now, you’ll see high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. going first, followed by Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman (Nick Madrigal’s teammate) and Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers. Rutschman’s stock went way up because of his play in the College World Series, where he was named the Most Outstanding Player. Langeliers won a Gold Glove in 2018, named the best defensive catcher in Division I. He nailed 70 percent of would-be base stealers. Umm, I’ll take that.

The White Sox took Zack Collins with the 10th overall pick in 2016. White Sox scouting director Nick Hostelter always says “take the best player available.” Would they draft another catcher with their top pick again? Possibly.

You know what, why don’t we hear from Hostetler himself? I asked him to describe the talent level at the top of next year’s draft.

“Overall the ‘19 draft has a little bit of everything up top,” Hostetler said. “There are some interesting high school bats and arms, as well as some college bats and a few college arms that are intriguing. I’m not sure there’s a clear top five at this point, but as we’ve seen in past years, the guys sitting at the top of all the lists and mock drafts today usually change come the first Monday in June.”

In other words, let’s talk again in June. The best part about this? The White Sox will be in position to grab a very talented player for their future.

Q: After the most recent international signing of Eloy Jimenez’s brother, Enoy, do you think he could get close to the level of Eloy? Eloy wasn’t a known prospect until a few years ago, keep in mind. — @Dehhmac_

CG: In case you missed it, the White Sox signed Eloy’s 17-year-old brother to a baseball contract Sunday. Eloy posted a photo of him and his smiling brother wearing a White Sox hat and jersey.


By the way, if you do a Google search for “Enoy Jimenez,” Google will ask: “Did you mean Eloy Jimenez?” Even Google can’t believe it.

We don’t know too much about little Enoy. I say little because he’s tiny compared to his big brother. See the video we found on YouTube which was posted a couple of weeks ago. Enoy is wearing a White Sox retro tank top and a Charlotte Knights hat. If anything, he’ll fit right in at SoxFest. Seriously, he has some great baseball DNA, so he’s got that going for him. He’s an infielder. That’s about all we know. As MLB Trade Rumors put it, “scouting information on the younger Jimenez brother is virtually non-existent.”


Q: We know that Rick Hahn plays things close to the vest. In your opinion, do the White Sox view Matt Davidson as a viable two-way option? Personally, I'd like to see how he does in close games. — @emm528

CG: I know Davidson is quite serious about it. I’m not sure about the White Sox side of things. When I asked Don Cooper during the season about the possibility of Davidson having a more permanent role in the bullpen, he seemed skeptical about the idea. That said, if Davidson comes to spring training and impresses the coaching staff, they might be open to it. Davidson told me in September that he needs to train his body during the offseason so he could handle the workload as a pitcher. He just basically winged it in emergency duty last season. At one point after one of his appearances, he needed around two weeks for his body to get back to normal. It’ll be interesting to see if he can pull it off.

Q: You got to be by the dugout for most home games this year. What’s something that goes on in the dugout during a game that fans at home wouldn’t know? — @PeteCha56613119

CG: Davidson likes to throw gum at me.

Q: Chris Sale. Discuss. — @sccerlaw​​​​​​​

CG: If you’re asking about Sale getting an infection from a belly-button ring, he was joking. Sale likes to have fun with the media. Remember in 2014, when he tried to work in a specific word during his postgame media scrums? He said things like juxtapose, acquiesce, capitulated, ruminate, amalgamation. Waiting to hear what his next Harvard vocabulary word was one of the highlights of a rough fourth-place season. Sale did miss his start in Game 5 of the ALCS because of an unspecified stomach illness. Keep in mind, he’s probably taking medication for an inflamed shoulder. But he says he’s 100-percent ready now for Game 1 of the World Series.

Q: If the White Sox win the World Series next year will you get a belly button ring? — @vlamas05​​​​​​​

CG: Sure.

Q: Why don't the White Sox have a museum in the park? About 1/3 of the league does and most of those teams have half the history the Sox do. — @Gnome89​​​​​​​

CG: Good question. For this one, I went right to the source and asked Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“We used to have a small museum that fans could walk through which was attached to our team store," Boyer said. "Years ago, we converted that space as demand for a wider selection of retail products grew. We do have a museum-like historical display in the Magellan Scout Seats and have put many of the significant moments in our history on the columns leading to the sections on the 100 level. This past season we had a Negro League Museum traveling display in the Chicago Sports Depot.

"We continue to look for ways to display our history, and the Depot may very well be the best place, but, at this point, there are no plans for a permanent museum location.”

Q: Who do you see the White Sox going after in free agency this year? — @Grank2410​​​​​​​

CG: I wrote about my top five free agents last week. I don’t know for sure who the White Sox will sign, but I’d like to see them add a veteran hitter or two who have playoff experience, who know what it takes to win and can impart that on the young hitters.

Q: When will the Sox change their uniforms? — @ckottlarock​​​​​​​

CG: Personally, I’d wear the 1983 throwbacks for every game, home and away. But that’s just me.

Q: Can we please not get Machado? Can we get Nolan Arenado instead? — @drobaseball555​​​​​​​

CG: Rick Hahn, if you’re reading this, @drobaseball555 wants Arenado. Got it?

Thanks everyone for all of your questions. We’ll do it again next week.

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.