White Sox

Chris Sale, White Sox lose finale to Marlins 5-4

Chris Sale, White Sox lose finale to Marlins 5-4

MIAMI -- Chris Sale is still in search of win No. 15.

The victory has now eluded the five-time All-Star pitcher for six weeks, including Sunday afternoon when the Miami Marlins rallied from an early deficit to beat the White Sox 5-4 in front of 21,401 at Marlins Park. Sale allowed five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings and Miami averted a three-game sweep against the White Sox, who had the tying run thrown out at home plate on the game’s final play.

“I’m not really doing too much to help this one either,” Sale said. “It sucks. You try to do your job and go out and try to win your team a game and you don’t do that and it’s frustrating. It would be frustrating for anybody. I don’t know what my lines or stats are. I just know I’m not winning games and that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

The White Sox feel good about their chances any time Sale takes the mound. He’s developed into a front-of-the-rotation starter and one of baseball’s best pitchers.

So imagine how high their confidence must be when they support him early as they did on Sunday when the White Sox jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning.

Adam Eaton homered on the game’s first pitch and Jose Abreu singled in a run off Tom Koehler. But Koehler retired 14 of 15 batters and Sale couldn’t hold off the Marlins.

Trailing 2-0, Miami pieced together a go-ahead rally in the fifth inning with four straight singles.

A bases-loaded, game-tying single by Koehler off Sale’s foot on a 1-2 pitch took a weird hop and drove in two.

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Ichiro Suzuki then tried to move the remaining runners up with a sac bunt. Starting on second base, Adeiny Hechavarria raced all the way home as Sale didn’t cover the plate, which had been vacated when catcher Omar Narvaez went out to field the bunt.

“That was just a brain fart, really,” Sale said. “I got to be at home plate for that.”

The White Sox rallied to tie the score at 3 on a Jose Abreu double, but Miami pulled back ahead against Sale in the seventh. Martin Prado’s one-out RBI single to right gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Sale stuck out Christian Yelich, but Marcell Ozuna singled in another run off Jacob Turner to stretch the lead to two runs.

Sale allowed eight hits and walked one while striking out seven in a 110-pitch effort.

“(The fifth) inning the bottom of the lineup did a good job,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Putting it in play, stuff fell in, pitcher gets a hit. It just kind of unraveled right there.”

“(In the seventh) you’re facing Prado and no matter who’s pitching you don’t want to see him up there with guys on base.”

Down two runs headed to the ninth, the White Sox found themselves in position for a two-out rally against Marlins closer Fernando Rodney. Tim Anderson’s solo homer to left made it a one-run game and Omar Narvaez singled to left.

Adam Eaton then moved pinch runner Carlos Sanchez to second with a single to right, his third hit in five trips. Tyler Saladino followed with a two-strike bloop base hit to left and third-base coach Joe McEwing waved in Sanchez. Yelich raced over and quickly retrieved the ball and fired a perfect strike home to catcher Jeff Mathis -- who after a very quick review was determined to have not blocked the plate -- to nail Sanchez and end the game.

The tough loss left a normally loquacious Sale frustrated afterward.

“I take pride in what I do and how I handle myself and how I handle my business,” Sale said. “When I go out there and don’t get the job done, I’m going to be frustrated. I hold myself to a very high standard. When I don’t reach that, it’s unacceptable. I don’t care if it’s this, that or the other thing. I just have to be better.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

With Jose Abreu playing in the All-Star Game, we asked some of his American League teammates about the White Sox first baseman. Justin Verlander, Craig Kimbrel and Michael Brantley rave about Abreu, explaining why he’s such a great hitter and a tough out for pitchers. 

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

All Star of the present Jose Abreu trying to help Yoan Moncada become the All Star of the future for White Sox

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USA TODAY

All Star of the present Jose Abreu trying to help Yoan Moncada become the All Star of the future for White Sox

WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the White Sox wait for their All Stars of the future to develop, Jose Abreu is representing the club at the All-Star Game in the nation’s capital.

Abreu, elected by the fans to be the American League’s starting first baseman Tuesday night, might represent the White Sox present, but he’s a key part of their future, as well. While his contract situation remains a mystery — the team would need to extend him in order to keep around past the 2019 season — he’s helping to develop the players who are planned to make up the next contending group on the South Side.

No player is more under Abreu’s guiding hand than Yoan Moncada, his fellow Cuban who just a season ago was the No. 1 prospect in baseball. Moncada’s development from top prospect into star of the future is the biggest storyline of the season for the White Sox. And Abreu, the role model in this clubhouse, is in part tasked with helping Moncada do just that.

“Our friendship is special,” Moncada said through a team translator last week. “We’re always talking about everything, having fun. He gives me advice, and I always try to make fun of him. Our relationship has been for a long time. We were friends in Cuba. And now we are rejoined here. It’s just a very good relationship. I’m blessed having him here.”

“He’s a Cuban, and it’s always special to play with a fellow Cuban countryman. He’s a great kid,” Abreu said through a team translator Monday. “I think that it’s a blessing. The White Sox did all that they could do for us to play together. I’m just enjoying the moment and every day with him. It’s special. It’s definitely a very special feeling.”

Abreu is often lauded by White Sox brass as the perfect example of what they want their young players to become. His incredible production makes that an easy comparison: He put up at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first four major league seasons. But it’s what he does outside the lines that gets the highest praise. Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all of Abreu’s teammates constantly talk about his work ethic, his routine, his dedication to getting better and the way he goes about his business.

Moncada’s noticed. And he sees Abreu’s latest accomplishment — getting picked as an All-Star starter — as vindication that, yes, Abreu’s methods certainly work.

“Knowing him, knowing all the effort that he puts into his preparation, his work ethic, all that work that he puts into his preparation is paying off and he’s recognized with this election,” Moncada said. “That’s something that motivates you, something that lets you know that if you do things the right way, you’re going to get rewarded. For me, it’s a motivation, and I feel really honored to share this team with him.”

Moncada’s first full season in the bigs hasn’t gone smoothly. He’s had his hot stretches — including the last couple weeks; he’s slashing .356/.453/.644 since July 2 — but he’s also had long periods of struggles. Certain aspects, such as a propensity for striking out and making errors at second base, have been constants throughout the campaign.

Renteria refers to the mistakes and the poor results as teachable moments. Does he have a proxy teacher in Abreu?

“I tell him to enjoy the game,” Abreu said. “Enjoy the game, have fun, be a little more focused on the situation of the game. But I think the key is to have fun.”

Mostly, though, Abreu is convinced that Moncada will blossom into the kind of player White Sox fans hoped he would when he brought that top-prospect track record to the organization in the Chris Sale trade. The expectations are undoubtedly high, but Abreu’s been seeing Moncada meet them for some time. The two have known each other since the younger Moncada was 17 years old.

“I think that he was born with special abilities to play this sport,” Abreu said. “Before I met him, there were a lot of people talking about him in Cuba because of his abilities, the talent that he has. And when I met him, it was a very special moment. As soon as I met him, I realized, ‘Wow, what people say about him is true.’ His body type, his ability to play the game. He’s special.”

So will the All Star of today and the All Star of tomorrow one day share the All-Star stage?

“I would like to have that opportunity. Let’s pray to God to have that opportunity,” Abreu said. “If that happens, that would be really special for us.”