White Sox

Cut-fastball key to Miguel Gonzalez's improvement with White Sox

Cut-fastball key to Miguel Gonzalez's improvement with White Sox

Miguel Gonzalez has thrown his cut-fastball more in July than ever before.

The White Sox pitcher thinks the way its complements his repertoire has been critical to his most consistent month in the majors since 2014.

Not only is he 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in five starts in July, but Gonzalez has increased his strikeout rate by three percent with 26 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings.

The improvement has helped Gonzalez, who next starts Saturday at Minneapolis, develop into either a good back-end rotation option for the White Sox and perhaps even a trade chip. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Miami Marlins scouted Gonzalez on Monday when he outpitched Jake Arrieta.

“It has been helping me this year,” Gonzalez said. “Hitters see a fastball out of the hand and at the end it’s already on them. That’s been a big change for me and it’s helping a lot. I’ve been seeing better results.”

His catchers have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cutters Gonzalez has thrown. In four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Gonzalez threw 19 cutters. The pitch is a staple for White Sox hurlers under Don Cooper and Gonzalez took his regular slider and started to throw it harder once he signed a minor-league deal with them in April.

So far this month, Gonzalez has thrown the cutter 119 times, which accounts for 24.59 percent of his pitches, according to brooksbaseball.net. Batters have hit .188 and are slugging just .313.

“It made sense to where if I throw a fastball inside, located, and then I throw that cutter, it’s going to make it a lot harder for a lefty, or a righty, to react on,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve seen swings where they get jammed or break a bat or they swing and miss because they think it’s a fastball and it’s three or four miles an hour slower.”

Always more of a contact pitcher, the addition has -- in the short term -- increased Gonzalez’s strikeout rate to near league average. Before July, Gonzalez struck out 17.1 percent of the batters he had faced in his career. This month, the rate is 20.2 percent.   

Cooper is pleased with the development of Gonzalez. He’s also not surprised to find that Gonzalez’s name has appeared in recent Hot Stove chatter along with James Shields, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, among others.

“Every year this comes up,” Cooper said. “It’s not the first time. People come and go. Trades do happen. Heck, when (Mark) Buehrle left that was a tough one because that was 10 years there. So if Buehrle can leave,anybody can leave. I’ve always said the names change, but the job doesn’t.”

Gonzalez is happy with his current location. He didn’t know what to expect with the White Sox when he signed in April. Suffice it to say, the experience has been better than he could have hoped.

“When you have a free mind, stress free, and you’re on a new team, new environment, things tend to change a little bit and in a good way,” Gonzalez said. “That’s how I feel. I feel comfortable with the team. They welcomed me and now it’s paying off. Hopefully we can get into a nice little stretch and win, a little streak going. That’s what we need right now.”

Yoan Moncada goes to Carolina Panthers preseason game: 'Don't understand anything'

moncada-624.jpg
USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada goes to Carolina Panthers preseason game: 'Don't understand anything'

Yoan Moncada just started his rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte and it didn’t take him long to enjoy a night in Charlotte.

The Knights had a home day game on Friday. Moncada went 1-for-5 in his first game action since suffering a hamstring strain on July 30.

With the Knights game ending in the afternoon, Moncada had the freedom to go to the Carolina Panthers preseason game at night.


The Panthers lost 27-14 to the Bills, but a peak at Moncada’s Instagram story from the day showed he may not have really understood what was going on.


The 24-year-old Cuban was decked out in a Panthers jersey. He still may be learning football though.

 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

White Sox Talk Podcast: The Bill Walton Game

walton-still.jpg
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The Bill Walton Game

Bill Walton called the White Sox/Angels game with Jason Benetti, and for one night baseball broadcasting was turned upside down. Chuck Garfien and Ozzie Guillen talk about what Walton brought to the broadcast. Ozzie speaks with Walton on the pregame show. They play the best Walton clips of the night and much more.

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

White Sox Talk Podcast

Subscribe: