White Sox

Chris Sale, White Sox rocked by Braves

Chris Sale, White Sox rocked by Braves

Chris Sale’s All-Star tune-up on Friday night didn’t go according to plan.

In search of his 15th victory, Sale got rocked by baseball’s worst team and the White Sox couldn’t keep pace in an 11-8 loss to the Atlanta Braves in front of 26,199 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Sale — who sought to become only the fourth pitcher since 1990 with 15 wins before the All-Star break — allowed eight earned runs and 10 hits in five innings, including three homers. He also yielded a career-worst seven extra-base hits. Todd Frazier and Adam Eaton homered and the White Sox also turned their third triple play of the season in the loss.

“Pretty embarrassing,” Sale said. “It’s about as bad as I possibly think I’ve been in a while.

“I definitely would have liked to have been better tonight for the guys. We score eight runs — you got to have that game.”

Not since Toronto’s David Wells in 2000 had an American League pitcher headed to the break with 15 victories.

It didn’t take long to establish Sale (14-3) was off.

Freddie Freeman took advantage of a windy, warm evening with an opposite-field solo homer in the first. An inning later, Sale’s former batterymate Tyler Flowers put Atlanta back ahead with a two-run homer to left-center field. Flowers also had one of three straight two-out, run-scoring doubles off Sale in a four-run fifth inning in which the Braves pulled ahead 8-4. Flowers also reached against Sale on a hit by pitch in the fourth inning.

“He looked mortal,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I don't think it was as sharp and they got some good swings at him. There was some hard contact, a couple homers, it just looked like it wasn't his best stuff. There was some velocity there you'd see every once in a while. But mostly if you're missing in the middle, they're going to hit it.”

Of the 26 batters Sale faced, 13 reached base.

Flowers, who caught every Sale start in the last two seasons, noticed how much the left-hander was off the mark.

“(Sale) wasn’t as sharp as he usually is,” Flowers said. “These are the kinds of days you hope to face guys of that caliber and just try to be ready for the mistake and take advantage of it.”

It could have been even worse.

Leading 4-3, Sale put the first two batters on base in the top of the third inning. But Freeman’s soft liner to shortstop bounced in front of Tim Anderson, who trapped the ball, tagged the lead runner at second base, stepped on the bag and fired to first in time for a triple play.

The White Sox also turned triple plays on April 22 and May 10. They’re the first team since both the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s in 1979 to have turned three triple plays in a season.

It still wasn’t enough.

Atlanta added scored three times off reliever Chris Beck in the sixth inning to extend its lead to 11-6.

The output was enough to outdo the White Sox, who early on took advantage of a porous Braves defense.

Down 1-0, Melky Cabrera singled in a run in the first inning. The White Sox rebounded from a two-run deficit in the second inning on consecutive one-out doubles by Carlos Sanchez and J.B. Shuck. Sanchez advanced to third when center fielder Ender Inciarte’s throw ended up in short right field. Shuck reached when his pop up to left-center field harmlessly fell between four Atlanta defenders. An RBI single by Anderson tied it at 3 and Jose Abreu’s sac fly put the White Sox ahead 4-3.

Eaton and Frazier both hit solo home runs off Braves starter Matt Wisler in the fifth to get the White Sox within 8-6.

They also scored a run in the seventh on Frazier’s sac fly to pull within four and threatened to rally in the ninth. Abreu and Cabrera, who both reached three times each, singled to open the inning. A run scored when Frazier grounded into a double play, but the White Sox got no closer.

“This is a throwaway game,” Sale said. “This is one you are not going to get back. You just try not to, there’s nothing to take away from this game for personally. You just move on and keep grinding.”

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.