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.”

Reported promotion of Zack Collins adds another piece to White Sox rebuilding puzzle

Reported promotion of Zack Collins adds another piece to White Sox rebuilding puzzle

The White Sox rebuilding puzzle is getting closer to completion.

Zack Collins is reportedly en route to the major leagues, according to a report from Miami talk-show host Andy Slater. That adds another one of the White Sox highly rated prospects to the growing list of them at the big league level as the franchise’s contention window looks set to open relatively soon.

Collins was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2016, selected with the No. 10 pick that year out of the University of Miami. Currently ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the farm system, he’s always been praised for his offensive abilities. Last season at Double-A Birmingham, he finished the year with a .382 on-base percentage and launched 15 homers, also winning the Home Run Derby at the Southern League All-Star Game.

In 48 games with Triple-A Charlotte this season, Collins owns a .258/.382/.497 slash line with nine homers, nine doubles, 38 RBIs and 35 walks.

Collins has been lauded as a big bat, but there have been questions about other parts of his game as he’s risen through the system. From the day he was drafted, there were questions about his defensive ability, leading to speculation that he might one day end up at a position besides catcher. He’s also racked up the strikeouts in the minors, with 396 of them in 322 games over his four minor league seasons.

But the White Sox haven’t wavered in their confidence that Collins can be a big league catcher, and it looks like that’s the position he’ll fill should the White Sox call him up before the start of next week’s Crosstown series with the Cubs. Welington Castillo was removed from Sunday’s loss to the New York Yankees with back tightness. The team said Castillo will be reevaluated on Monday. With this report of Collins’ promotion, it looks like Castillo could be headed to the injured list.

Another top prospect reaching the majors adds another tangible example of rebuilding progress. Fans have been clamoring for the promotions of Dylan Cease and Luis Robert all season long, and while Collins might be a little further down in the rankings than those two, this should still please fans who, even in a season filled with positives, want to see a more rapid advancement toward the rebuild’s ultimate goal.

Collins will perhaps benefit from a lack of pressure, what with James McCann in the midst of a potentially All-Star season as the White Sox primary catcher. The White Sox could perhaps continue to lean on McCann, allowing Collins to ease into the major leagues.

But just like Michael Kopech last August and Eloy Jimenez in March, Collins’ mere arrival is a step forward in this process, one that should please fans immensely.

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Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues


Yoan Moncada continues battle with back issues

Yoan Moncada's battle with his back issues might not be as over as we thought.

The third baseman made his return to the White Sox starting lineup Sunday following a four-game layoff due to a mild back strain. But his return didn't last long. After a fourth-inning strikeout in his second plate appearance of the 10-3 loss to the visiting New York Yankees, Moncada was removed from the game with what the team announced as upper back tightness.

Moncada is described as day to day. The White Sox have an off day Monday ahead of the start of a two-game Crosstown series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.

"He's doing good. I think I'm not the only one who noticed his grimace in the swing. It made no sense to continue to expose him to that," manager Rick Renteria said after Sunday's game. "All indications are he should be ready to go on Tuesday.

"Didn't seem to put him in any predicament. Hopefully it didn't set him back. All indications are that hopefully he'll be back on Tuesday."

Moncada was removed from Monday's game against the Washington Nationals with what was initially described as back spasms. Renteria updated the verbiage to a back strain in the following days. Moncada missed Tuesday's game against the Nationals, went through a Wednesday off day and then missed the first three games of the four-game weekend set with the Yankees. His return lasted all of four innings Sunday before he was taken out again.

"Just watching the swing, watching the finish, which is what I was concerned with, getting through the ball. He's ready to get through the ball, it's just the finish. He's feeling a little something there," Renteria said. "You can't replicate it in any drill work. We've tried to do it. Everything he did was good. All the work he did was good.

"Everything we tried to do to replicate it, it wasn't existent until you get into the game, then you know. That's why I think it was a good — I don't know if you want to call it a test, but it was a test. We wanted to see where he was at. Didn't make any sense to continue to push him. Get him ready and calm it down and get him ready for the series against the North Siders."

Moncada wasn't the only White Sox hitter removed from Sunday's game. Welington Castillo, who was the designated hitter, was taken out with what the team announced as lower back tightness. Renteria confirmed after the game that Castillo's injury came on his swing in the second inning, a line drive off the center-field wall that ended up as only a single. Castillo will be reevaluated during the off day Monday.

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