White Sox

Chris Sale sets franchise record but White Sox get shut out by Royals

Chris Sale sets franchise record but White Sox get shut out by Royals

Chris Sale set a new franchise record on Sunday afternoon by becoming the first White Sox pitcher to have 200-plus strikeouts in four consecutive seasons, but the White Sox offense had only two hits in their 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field in front of 20,107.

The White Sox ace fanned 12 more batters, increasing his strikeout total to 205 this season. Max Scherzer is the only other pitcher with 200-plus strikeouts in each of his last four seasons, according to CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.

Sale enjoys the accomplishment, but his mind is taking him somewhere else.

"I don't want to act like it's not cool or like I'm unappreciative of it, but there's not a single part of me that wouldn't give all that to be in the playoffs four years in a row," he said.

It was Sale’s 34th career game with 10-plus strikeouts, also a team record. He has twice as many than Ed Walsh, who is second on the list with 17, according to Kamka.

Sale believes that this is the strongest he's ever been at this time of year.

"I feel good. There was a lot of work that went into that, not only by myself but people I'm surrounded by," Sale said. "It starts in the offseason and then gets into spring training. I like where we're at right now, the way my body's feeling and how it's reacting. You just try to keep riding it out."

Sale pitched eight solid innings and allowed two runs – both solo homers – on eight hits and one walk. Homers came from Kendrys Morales in the second and Eric Hosmer in the sixth. Hosmer’s home run was the third of his career off Sale, the most the White Sox southpaw has allowed by a left-hander.

The White Sox are 2-8 in Sale’s 10 starts since the All-Star break despite nine being quality starts. Sunday’s outing lowered his overall ERA to 3.03 on the season.

With three or four starts remaining, manager Robin Ventura thinks Sale still has a shot to win the American League Cy Young Award. As for Sale, he's not really thinking about it.

"Like I said before, I let all that stuff work itself out," Sale said. "I go up there and I pitch for this team, and I pitch for my teammates and the fans and myself. Anything other than that, I don't worry about it."

Sale (15-8) pitched himself out of a couple big jams in the fifth and seventh. He allowed the first two batters to get on in the fifth, but struck out the next three to escape the inning unscathed. Again in the seventh, Sale gave up a single and a double to lead off the inning. But he struck out the next batter and forced a double play to end the inning.

"He gets in a jam he can strike people out," Ventura said. "I think that’s where he reaches for a little bit more and goes after. I think his slider is sharper at that point. He’s learned to kind of pace himself and go along but he always has the ability to strike people out. That’s what makes him dangerous, that’s what makes him good.

"For him to wiggle himself out of it, he doesn’t need anybody else to help him with that. He can do it."

The White Sox offense didn’t do him any favors, either.

Their only two hits of the afternoon came from Adam Eaton – in the first and ninth inning. The White Sox bats were shut down for a majority of the game.

"(Royals starter Ian Kennedy) was working the corners really well," Eaton said. "Working the corners, doing what he does. He sinks it, he cuts it and he's got a good curveball. That kept us off-balance today. That's no excuse. Sale goes out and pitches a heck of a game, does what he does, we need to scrap across a few runs.

"We've been swinging the bats well, though. Not to say that one day out of five we can falter. With that being said, we've got to do better for Sale."

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The team's best chance came in the third inning, where the White Sox failed to capitalize with the bases loaded after three batters reached on walks.

The White Sox stand at 68-74 on the season and are on the verge of their fourth consecutive losing season.

With the offseason approaching, it's uncertain what the future holds for Sale and the White Sox. If it were up to him, he'd like to stay here in Chicago.

"That will shake out on its own," Sale said. "I wear this uniform with a lot of pride, and I hope I can continue to do that."

Sale is in the prime of his career and continues to be more dominant as time passes. But even at 27 years old, Sale believes his best days are still ahead of him.

"I'm a very competitive person," Sale said. "I enjoy competing against other people but against myself, as well. Every year, it doesn't matter who you are, you could be the best of the best or the worst of the worst, and you still want to be better.

"You look at a guy over in L.A. with (Clayton) Kershaw, you think you've seen it all, and he just gets better. You take after that and you watch people around you and you just keep working hard and try to be better every time out no matter what the result last time was."

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.