White Sox

Did Rick Renteria's ejection spark White Sox mid-game rally?

Did Rick Renteria's ejection spark White Sox mid-game rally?

Avisail Garcia got the heave-ho and it sent Rick Renteria into a rage on Thursday afternoon.

By the time the incident was over, Renteria got tossed, his White Sox hat had been hurled into the ground, and then retrieved, and the White Sox dugout was fired up.

White Sox players widely credit Renteria’s passion and support as a reason for their mid-game rally. The White Sox sent 10 men to the plate in the sixth inning after Garcia and Renteria were both ejected in the fifth. They scored four times en route to a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“It was like, ‘Boom,’ (Renteria) got fired up,” catcher Kevan Smith said. “Nobody wants to see one of our best hitters come out of the lineup and obviously he was very frustrated. But that just shows you what he’s preaching to us in here, what he brings to the able. It was awesome to see him get a little heated.”

Prior to Thursday, Garcia had never been thrown out of a game in his career. The ejection was the eighth for Renteria, including two with the White Sox. Down 0-2 in the count to Chris Tillman, Garcia was on the borderline of checking his swing on a slider away.

He contends he didn’t go around.

“I didn’t swing, 100 percent,” Garcia said. “That’s why I get mad. But that happens. Everybody makes mistakes.”

Paul Emmel didn’t see it the same way down at first base. The crew chief said Garcia went around, which caused the batter to throw his arms up as he started to walk back to the dugout. Garcia then paused, turned around and pointed at his own eyes as if to let Emmel know he would be watching him. Emmel immediately ejected Garcia, which brought Renteria racing out of the dugout.

“I don't think (Garcia) did anything too egregious,” Renteria said. “I'm sure (Emmel) will disagree with me. But they have a tough job to do. Again, I say with all due respect to all of them, they have a very difficult job to do and they don't want people showing them up. I get all that. But I think I sit back and try to think about all the things the players are experiencing, the pressure that they're under to perform. I want people to stay in the ballgame.

“I guess, whatever physical reaction he gave him didn't sit well so he ejected him.

“I just think that players feel passionate about what they're doing and sometimes when things do go well they express themselves and it's something I think we have to have a little thicker skin with, that's all.”

Several players said they loved Renteria’s response.

Starting pitcher David Holmberg said the ejection gave the White Sox the extra energy needed to start the game-winning rally after a quick turnaround following a long, late game Wednesday. Garcia said he appreciated Renteria’s support.

“It’s always good when your manager has your back,” he said.

Smith said he just appreciates a good hat toss. Though the StatCast data wasn’t made available, the velocity with which Renteria’s hat was fired into the ground may have rivaled that of a Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge home run. After he finished giving Emmel a piece of his mind, Renteria retrieved the hat on his way back to the dugout.

“I’ve seen a lot of things throughout my minor league career,” Smith said. “But I always love when stuff gets thrown or covered up or bases get thrown out. It’s all fun. That’s one of the things I think replay has kind of taken from the game. You don’t get to see that as much and it kind of gets you going.”

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

The White Sox need starting pitching, so why not bring in a guy with a Cy Young Award sitting on his mantle?

Dallas Keuchel is one of the two biggest names on the starting-pitching market this winter, along with Patrick Corbin, who will get more attention — and likely more dollars — because he's two years younger. But Keuchel's the guy with the track record, the AL Cy Young winner in 2015 (when he was also a top-five MVP finisher), a two-time All Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner and the owner of a 3.28 ERA over the past five seasons, during which he helped the Houston Astros transition from rebuilding to one of baseball's perennial contenders. You might have heard something about them winning the World Series in 2017.

It's true that things have been somewhat up and down for Keuchel since his Cy Young win. After posting a 2.48 ERA with a career-high 216 strikeouts in 33 starts during that 2015 season, he had a 4.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 26 starts in 2016, then a 2.90 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 23 starts in 2017 and a 3.74 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 34 starts last season. But three times in the last five years he's finished with an ERA under 3.00. In other words, he's pretty darn good.

How might he fit with the White Sox? Well, in terms of whether or not he lines up with their long-term plans. Keuchel's older than Corbin, but it's not like he's old. He'll be 31 on Opening Day 2019, and a long-term deal, which he's expected to fetch, would keep him around for another planned transition from rebuilding to contention. Keuchel — a veteran who's accomplished a lot already, including putting a World Series ring on his finger — could be viewed as a Jon Lester type for these rebuilding White Sox, a big name who buys into the front office's long-term plan and helps make those plans become reality.

And there's no doubt the White Sox are in the market for starting pitching this winter. Michael Kopech is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the White Sox decided not to pick up James Shields' option for 2019. That leaves two holes in the starting rotation. An addition like Keuchel would be a long-term one, which means the White Sox would opt to make him a safety net for their still-developing fleet of young pitchers and choose not to roll the dice on a homegrown starting staff for 2020. However, if they're confident in a quintet of Kopech, Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease, then maybe they opt for a couple one-year fill-ins in 2019. Keuchel would not be a one-year fill-in.

Keuchel could also fill the role vacated by Shields, a veteran who could help bring along the young guys in an off-the-field mentor role. His experience going through the dark days of a rebuild — he was a member of Astros teams that lost a combined 310 games from 2012 to 2014 — and coming out the other end a world champ would also figure to be of value.

Of course, the White Sox wouldn't be alone in a pursuit of Keuchel, if they were interested. Thanks to Clayton Kershaw signing a new contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he's one of the two biggest names on the market when it comes to starting pitchers. The White Sox would likely have to go through the same bidding war and pitch of planned future success they would with other big names like Corbin, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

But there's no doubt Keuchel would be an upgrade to this rotation in 2019 and could provide plenty of value for years beyond.

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it


ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports has made a habit of failing to remember the South Siders in recent years, most notably forgetting (on multiple occasions) that the White Sox did in fact win the 2005 World Series.

It happened enough times that A.J. Pierzynski had some opinions about it.

This time, the omission came in an effort to illustrate how good Mike Trout is, with ESPN researcher Paul Hembekides listing baseball players who appeared in the top four in MVP voting three or more times. Trout, the Los Angeles Angels superstar, has already done it seven times, and boy that is terrific.

But Hembekides left someone out. And that someone let him hear about it.

You tell 'em, Frank.

Yes, the Big Hurt finished in the top four of the AL MVP vote on six separate occasions: 1991 (third), 1993 (first), 1994 (first), 1997 (third), 2000 (second) and 2006 (fourth, while playing for the Oakland Athletics).

ESPN's blind spot for the White Sox doesn't end up meaning much of anything, though it's amusing that they've now managed to leave out a relatively recent World Series champion and a relatively recent first-ballot Hall of Famer.

We all make mistakes. But it's a little funny that ESPN's are, repeatedly, White Sox related.