White Sox

Chris Sale now 9-0, White Sox end four-game losing streak with win over Astros

Chris Sale now 9-0, White Sox end four-game losing streak with win over Astros

Chris Sale has developed into a full-blown stopper.

The four-time All-Star snapped a four-game White Sox losing streak on Thursday night with a four-hit complete game in a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros in front 20,096 at U.S. Cellular Field. Sale struck out nine and walked none in a 107-pitch effort.

Sale’s third complete-game effort of the season earned him his ninth win in nine starts. He’s the first American League pitcher with a victory in each of his first nine games, relief appearances included, since Detroit’s George Uhle in 1929.

“He’s pretty darned good,” shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “What he’s doing hasn’t been done in an awfully long time. It’s special.”

Regardless of how things have gone, Sale has become the guy his teammates can count on. After a brilliant start, the White Sox had lost six of their last seven games. But before they left on Wednesday night, third baseman Todd Frazier asked Sale if he was pitching on Thursday. When Frazier learned the left-hander was starting, he told Sale they’d win.

“When you see a guy like that you raise your level,” Frazier said. “(As an opposing hitter) you understand that if I get that one pitch and I don’t do something with it, it’s basically game over, and that’s what he’s been doing, and it’s been lights out. … You see it in our defense and in our actions. We want to win those games.”

Just as he did last Friday in New York, Sale delivered. He was once again remarkably efficient, especially in the middle innings.

At one point, Sale retired 12 in a row after Evan Gattis singled with two outs in the second inning. He needed only eight pitches to retire the side in the fourth, 11 in the fifth and six in the sixth despite a two-out single by Jose Altuve. Sale only needed 11 pitches to breeze through the seventh inning and nine in the eighth even with a solo homer by Gattis that made it a one-run contest.

“Just not throwing so many anger pitches and not maxing out on every single pitch I throw,” Sale said. “You need quick innings. Sometimes when you pile up strikeouts, you get into 18, 19 pitch innings and if you are trying to get deep into games, it’s not going to work out too well. I’m just trying to hit my spots. Location, location, location.”

Sale blended efficiency with a few strikeouts. He moved from 10th place in franchise history in strikeouts into a tie for eighth, surpassing Doc White (1,067) and tying Ted Lyons at 1,073.

Sale struck out two batters apiece in the second, seventh and ninth innings. He blew Altuve away with a 94-mph fastball to start the ninth inning and finished the game with a called third strike of Tyler White, the third time he struck out the Houston DH.

Rollins has played behind other great pitchers on similar runs. The same goes for Sale as it did whenever Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke took the mound.

“You just really hoping to get them, really, one run because you know what it’s like on the other side when they’ve got a guy like that on the mound,” Rollins said. “One run for a guy like Chris, those good starters, can sometimes feel like four.”

The White Sox did just enough against Collin McHugh.

Todd Frazier reached on an infield single in the second, stole second base and scored on a two-out RBI single by Jerry Sands. Then they gave Sale some insurance in the seventh. Rollins had an infield single, stole second base and moved to third on another single by Sands. Alex Avila’s sac fly made it a 2-0 game.

Even though Sale gave back a run on the Gattis eighth-inning homer, he never lost control.

Sale had only thrown 93 pitches entering the ninth and didn’t flinch when George Springer singled with one out. Based on their conversation in between innings, White Sox manager Robin Ventura knew his trip to the mound to remind Sale to pay attention to Springer with two outs would be a brief one. It lasted about two seconds.

“He came out of the eighth and he just said it was his,” Ventura said. “That's what great pitchers do, they can be stoppers. I want him pitching all the time. Whether you're winning or losing, you like when he's going to the mound. For us, it was needed for him to go out and do what he did tonight.”

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


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.