White Sox

Derek Holland hit hard as White Sox fall to Rays, drop series

Derek Holland hit hard as White Sox fall to Rays, drop series

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The White Sox starting rotation could use James Shields in the worst way right about now.

Derek Holland was the latest White Sox starting pitcher to get hit hard when he got roughed up on Thursday night. Holland allowed three home runs and put the White Sox in a huge hole from with which they could not climb out of against the Tampa Bay Rays. Avisail Garcia blasted a three-run homer, but it was too late for the White Sox, who fell 7-5 to the Rays in front of 8,971 at Tropicana Field. Holland allowed six earned runs for the White Sox, whose starting pitchers have a 7.90 ERA in six games on the team’s current 1-5 road trip.

“Whatever the opposition does, we just have to counter it,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s hard to do that in the big leagues every single day, but they’ll get better. Our starting rotation is better than it has shown over the last seven or eight days. We’ll continue to make improvements, no doubt about it, but we have to keep pushing. We have to keep playing. We can’t quit. It’s a long season.”

Holland retired the side in order in the first inning, but it was the only easy frame he had all evening. The lefty issued a one-out walk in the second inning to Tim Beckham and Kevin Kiermaier doubled him in to make it 1-0. The inning might have been worse if it weren’t for Tampa’s poor base running. Kiermaier was thrown out in a run down on Daniel Robertson’s fielder’s choice and Robertson also got cut down trying to race to third while the White Sox tracked down the lead runner.

Derek Norris belted his first homer of the night to lead off the third inning and put the Rays ahead 2-0. Three more singles later, including Evan Longoria’s dome-aided pop up to right, put Tampa up by three runs.

Norris stretched the lead to 5-0 when he belted a two-run shot off Holland in the fourth inning and Peter Bourjos followed with a solo homer to stretch the lead to six.

It was the second straight rough turn for Holland, who gave up eight runs in Detroit on Friday.

Collectively, White Sox starting pitchers have yielded 25 runs (24 earned) and 40 hits in 27 1/3 innings since leaving Chicago. Starters have also walked 14 and struck out 17.

“No excuse,” Holland said. “I have to pitch better than that. Too many walks is the most frustrating thing and if you make a mistake, these guys will capitalize. A very frustrating day for me. I’m not happy with that.”

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Thursday was the second rehab outing for Shields, who allowed a run and four hits in five innings for Triple-A Charlotte. Prior to heading out on his rehab assignment, Shields said he hoped he’d need only two starts before he could return to the White Sox.

Much like they have all season, the White Sox didn’t give in despite the deficit. Todd Frazier said Renteria held an in-dugout pep talk in the fifth inning. Frazier led off the inning with a single and Tim Anderson walked, but the White Sox didn’t score.

But they did in the sixth as Garcia followed consecutive singles by Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu in the sixth inning with a colossal three-run blast to center (446 feet) to make it a 6-3 game. Garcia — who’s hitting .330/.368/.553 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs — singled in the eighth inning and Frazier (three hits) followed with a two-run shot off the left-field foul pole to get the White Sox within a run. Anderson doubled and stole third base but was left stranded.

Colby Rasmus gave the Rays a two-run cushion with a solo homer off Gregory Infante in the eighth inning.

“That’s how we’ve been playing all year and Ricky kind of got in us a little bit in the dugout, saying ‘We’re professionals, let’s go. Pick it up a little bit,’ ” Frazier said. “Kind, that was right before I got the single so we kind of kick-started ourselves a little bit to play the game, keep playing. We fought our way back. We had a chance to tie it or win it. True grit, that’s how we’ve been playing. We’ve got to do that a little earlier and a little more often.” 

White Sox' Luis Robert not feeling pressure of Rookie of the Year hype

White Sox' Luis Robert not feeling pressure of Rookie of the Year hype

Of all the White Sox players this season, the spotlight has shined brightest on Luis Robert, but he says that’s not the reason for his recent five-game slump. In fact, Robert doesn’t even see himself as a new face of the franchise, despite all the hype surrounding his MLB debut and hot start to the season.

“I honestly don’t feel that way,” Robert said via team interpreter Billy Russo. “I just think that I’m the new guy.”

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It’s clear the pressure didn’t affect Robert earlier in the year as he notched at least one hit in his first six games, and racked up 14 hits through 10 games. As the impressive performances at the plate mounted, so did the buzz around the young centerfielder. But Robert insists he doesn’t think about it, even though he’s slashing a lowly .158/.200/.211 over his last five games, and out of the lineup for the first time in his career on Monday.

“I know everyone’s trying to talk about me, about my option for Rookie of the Year and that kind of stuff,” Robert said via Russo. “But for me I just feel like another guy for this team. I don’t feel that pressure, that attention. I know that it’s there, but I don’t think about that.”

So is this mini-slump due to an adjustment in the way pitchers are approaching Robert at the plate? Again, Robert says no.

“Pitchers have been attacking me the same way since the season started. I didn’t have good results the last few days, but I just have to keep working. There’s nothing different that they have done against me. It’s just a matter of results.”

Robert has shown a remarkable ability to adjust to a pitcher’s approach mid-game. Now it’s time to see how he adjusts to a little major league adversity.

RELATED: White Sox at quarter pole: Injuries, starting-pitching woes cloud rest of 2020


White Sox-Cardinals series, amid COVID-19 outbreak, still scheduled to play

White Sox-Cardinals series, amid COVID-19 outbreak, still scheduled to play

At least one sign points to the St. Louis Cardinals returning to play soon enough to play the White Sox this weekend.

The White Sox announced on Monday that the start time of their Saturday game against the Cardinals had been pushed back from a day game to a night game.

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While that isn’t extraordinarily newsworthy on it’s own, it does indicate that MLB still intends for the Cardinals to travel to Chicago to play the White Sox. St. Louis hasn’t played since July 29, since nine players and seven staff tested positive for COVID-19, according to CBS Sports.

While things can certainly change quickly, if everything remains the same the Cardinals will make up two games against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 13. The White Sox were previously scheduled to play the Cardinals that day, so they will now have an off day on Aug. 13 and will begin their series against St. Louis on Aug. 14.

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