White Sox

Early homers doom John Danks, White Sox in loss to Angels

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Early homers doom John Danks, White Sox in loss to Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. — John Danks surrendered a pair of first-inning homers on Tuesday night and the White Sox never recovered.

Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols went deep early and Garrett Richards had more than enough to send the White Sox to a 5-3 loss against Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Danks allowed five runs (four earned) and five hits in seven innings as the White Sox lost for the fourth time in five tries.

“Any time we started getting momentum, Richards was good,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “The groundball was kind of unkind. It seemed like any time we got guys on and got something going, that sinker he can throw any time, he was good. We couldn’t get over that hump and get the momentum back.”

[MORE: White Sox: Progress is fine, but Carlos Rodon really wants to win]

Los Angeles created a large mound before their fifth batter had stepped to the plate.

Danks — who allowed one homer in his previous 47 1/3 innings — hit Shane Victorino to start the game and Calhoun followed with a massive, two-run homer to center to give the Angels a 2-0 lead. One out later, Pujols hammered a 0-1 curveball for his 33rd homer and a three-run lead.

Danks would settle in from there — “the stuff is there,” he said — but the damage had been done. He only allowed five hits over seven innings, allowing the White Sox to attempt a rally.

But they couldn’t make up enough ground and went on to their sixth straight road loss.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“It’s still a bad night,” Danks said. “I showed up to the ballpark to win a ballgame. I wasn’t able to do that. In the position we are in as a club, we can’t afford to get too many back. It still stings. But it didn’t do anything to my personal confidence going into my next start.”

The White Sox pushed against Richards but he never broke.

They got a run in the second on an Alexei Ramirez RBI groundout and Jose Abreu doubled in a run in the sixth to make it a 4-2 game. Adam Eaton’s RBI fielder’s choice in the seventh got the White Sox back within two with Abreu up but Joe Smith induced an inning-ending groundout.

“It’s frustrating when we have two-run ballgames, one-run ballgames,” Eaton said. “We come back late sixth, seventh and eighth, but we fall short, it’s difficult. We know it’s there that we can continue to push but we just ran into a good pitcher tonight that had good stuff. Smith comes in, gets a guy and then I roll a ball over, scored a run, but we’ve got to do some damage at that point and make up some time. But hats off to them for pitching it and a couple of key home runs for them, too.”

 

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jose Abreu didn’t come to the White Sox to be a leader. But that’s what he is as he took his spot among the best in baseball at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

Abreu is the face of the South Side baseball club and he’s had a stellar-enough first four and a half seasons in Major League Baseball to earn the distinction of a starter in the Midsummer Classic. But Abreu, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look at himself as one of the best in the game. He looks as himself as a hard-worker.

“I don’t believe that I’m the best,” Abreu said through a team translator on Monday. “I’m just a person who likes to work hard every day and try to do my best.”

That humility is nothing new to folks who follow the White Sox on a regular basis. And neither is talk of Abreu’s work ethic, the admiration of everyone involved with the team and a constant talking point from Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all Abreu’s teammates.

Abreu has become as important for his off-the-field roles as he has for his on-the-field production for this rebuilding White Sox team. He’s been described as a role model for all the young players in the organization, whether they’re on the big league roster right now or coming up through the system.

“None of them have told me that yet,” Abreu joked. “But I know that. It’s definitely a compliment, and I take it as something that makes you feel good, something that makes you keep moving forward and to keep trying to help the guys to improve and get better as a team. You feel like that is a big honor, that people think that way of you.”

As good as he feels to be held in such esteem, Abreu didn’t set out to be one of this team’s leaders when he came to the United States. And to be honest, he might not be in his current position if it weren’t for the team’s rebuilding effort. Abreu is one of the few veterans on this team.

“That was something that happened. I didn’t look for it,” Abreu said. “I was always trying to help people and trying to give advice to help people to improve. But I never tried to be a leader. If people say that because of what I do, that’s good, but that’s not something that I’m trying to force or something that I say, ‘I want to be a leader.’ No, that’s not who I am. I am just the kind of person who likes to help people, who likes to give advice.”

Abreu is seemingly the definition of what the White Sox want their next winning roster to be full of. And whether it’s the special relationship he has with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada or the role-model status he holds in the eyes of his other teammates, both current and future, he’s helping the White Sox develop those kinds of players.

Oh, and he’s generally — though this season has seen an extended slump and atypical numbers — one of the most consistently productive hitters in the game.

Who wouldn’t want all that as the face of the franchise?

“It’s all a blessing. I can’t ask for anything else,” Abreu said. “I’m a true believer that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. That’s why I work hard every day, I try to do my best, I try to improve every day and just to be a better person. Not just a better player, but a better person.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

With Jose Abreu playing in the All-Star Game, we asked some of his American League teammates about the White Sox first baseman. Justin Verlander, Craig Kimbrel and Michael Brantley rave about Abreu, explaining why he’s such a great hitter and a tough out for pitchers. 

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