White Sox

Erik Johnson improves to 3-0 as White Sox sweep doubleheader


Erik Johnson improves to 3-0 as White Sox sweep doubleheader

DETROIT -- Erik Johnson’s second round of auditions continues to go well.

The young White Sox pitcher tied a career-high with nine strikeouts on Monday night in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. Johnson picked up his third victory in four starts as the White Sox completed a sweep of the split-doubleheader with a 3-2 win over the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Johnson allowed two runs in six innings and Jose Abreu doubled in a run and Gordon Beckham homered. Nate Jones and David Robertson combined for four strikeouts in three scoreless innings.

“(Johnson) threw great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think even when they got some guys on he was able to show some command. We got him some early runs and he was able to make it hold up.”

[MORE: Jeff Samardzija's one-hitter paces White Sox to win over Tigers]

Johnson has done nothing in September to hurt his chances for the 2016 White Sox rotation. With Jeff Samardzija headed for free agency and the White Sox considering anything to upgrade their roster, Johnson could be in line for one of possibly two spots in the 2016 rotation.

Though he needed 114 pitches to complete six innings, Johnson was in control early and worked around some trouble in the middle before a strong finish. Johnson used a slider/fastball combination early as he struck out three, including Miguel Cabrera, and retired the first six batters he faced.

“It was hard, away early,” Johnson said. “We tried to go in for effect to a lot of their hitters, and then later in the game you started doubling up on sliders and getting away from sequences we used earlier in the game.

“I felt good. It was a good first inning to put the right foot forward, and I thought I was very aggressive in the zone with fastball, slider, change. I gave up a few hits. Sometimes the aggressiveness, you’re going to run into some hits here and there.”

The International League pitcher of the year left a fastball over the middle to Alex Avila and he homered to start the third inning. Johnson gave up two more singles and a sac fly to Ian Kinsler as Detroit rallied to within 3-2. But catcher Rob Brantly nailed Rajai Davis stealing second to end the inning with Miguel Cabrera at the plate.

[RELATED: David Robertson rebounds from rough week with sharp performance vs. Tigers]

Johnson then loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning but he struck out Josh Wilson on a 2-2 fastball above the letters to strand the trio.

Johnson retired seven of the last eight he faced, including four strikeouts.

He allowed five hits and walked two.

“Those two middle innings where they were long, it’s tough because you have to find the middle ground to where you’re aggressive in the zone, but you can put guys away early, to the point they’re not fouling off pitches and you’re not going into deep counts,” Johnson said. “Sometimes that’s where it leads to bigger innings or more pitches per inning. Sometimes in the middle you’ve just got to grind things out and you fall back into a nice rhythm.”

Trayce Thompson tripled to start the second inning and scored on Avisail Garcia’s sac fly against Randy Wolf. Beckham homered later in the second to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead. Tyler Saladino tripled with two outs in the third and Abreu doubled him in as the White Sox took a three-run lead.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Johnson and his bullpen did the rest.

It was another impressive outing for Johnson late in an outstanding season as he continues to rebound from a poor 2014 campaign. Johnson had a similar season in 2013 that helped him win a job in the 2014 rotation but he only lasted five starts before he was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte.

“He’s aggressive in the zone and that’s been the biggest thing of coming back up here,” Ventura said. “He’s aggressive, coming after you and I think he has to pitch that way. It’s good to see.”

White Sox second half woes continue after getting swept by Royals

White Sox second half woes continue after getting swept by Royals

It’s safe to say the White Sox have not had a good start to the second half of the season.

The first half of the season concluded with a win against the Cubs that improved the White Sox record to 42-44. That was the team’s second-best record heading into the all-star break since 2012 and a 13.5 game improvement from the year before. Dylan Cease’s arrival had also added some buzz to the fanbase.

However, the first seven games of the second half have sucked out a lot of that buzz. The White Sox lost to the Royals 6-5 on Thursday to complete a four-game sweep at the hands of the Royals, the team with the fourth-worst record in baseball. The seven-game losing streak is the longest of the season.

Getting swept in Oakland was one thing. The A’s are currently in one of the wild card spots and Oakland has been a house of horrors for the White Sox.

Getting swept by the Royals is not as easy to swallow. Even after taking these four games, the Royals are 8.5 games behind the White Sox in the standings. This is the Royals’ first four-game winning streak of the season.

White Sox pitching had some stinkers in this current losing skid, but the offense in particular has really struggled. In these seven games, the White Sox have scored 16 runs with just 10 extra base hits.

Sure, Tim Anderson is out and Eloy Jimenez went down in the first inning of the second game in Kansas City, but the offense shouldn’t be this bad.

Anderson is nearing his return and took ground balls before Thursday’s game.

Next up, the White Sox finish off the 10-game road trip with three games at Tampa Bay. Like the A’s, the Rays occupy a wild card spot.

So where are the positives?

Yoan Moncada homered on Thursday, his first since a two-home run game on July 3. It was his 17th home run of the season, matching his total from 2018 with more than two months left in the season. He finished with three hits on Thursday.

Pitching wise, Lucas Giolito had a quality start in the series opener against the Royals, but still took the loss. He will pitch against the Rays. So will Dylan Cease, who will be pitching on normal rest for the first time in his MLB career. Cease had five days between his final Triple-A start and his MLB debut on July 3. He didn’t pitch again until Tuesday.

If that isn’t enough positivity at the end to cancel out all the negativity, just remember Luis Robert is destroying Triple-A pitching.

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Ryan Goins, AJ Reed-fueled White Sox rally falls short as losing streak rolls on

Ryan Goins, AJ Reed-fueled White Sox rally falls short as losing streak rolls on

The White Sox came into Wednesday’s matchup with the Kansas City Royals looking to grab that oh so elusive first win in the second half of the season. After yet another disheartening loss, it is safe the team needs a spark to get them back on track. Ozzie Guillen shared a similar concern on White Sox Postgame Live, suggesting that something needs to be done to get the White Sox back on track. 

Kansas City struck first on Wednesday--as they did in the two previous games this series--scoring 2 runs in the 1st.

White Sox starter Ivan Nova struggled mightily with his control in this one. Nova’s final line was: 6 H, 5 BB, 6 ER in 4.2 innings pitched. The White Sox bullpen put out a decent effort--a combination of Jace Fry, Alex Colome, and Kelvin Herrera--pitched 3.1 innings, giving up 6 hits and one run. But by the time Fry entered in relief of Nova in the bottom of the 5th, the Sox were down 5-0 and Fry himself gave up the lone relief run on a Nicky Lopez single to make the score 6-0 Royals heading into the sixth.

The White Sox mounted an impressive last-ditch comeback effort led by pinch-hitter AJ Reed and new Sox shortstop Ryan Goins but alas it was too little, too late. Goins led off the scoring for the White Sox with a two-run homer in the top of the 6th for his first hit as a member of the White Sox. 

It was a heck of a first game for Goins, who joined the White Sox from the Triple-A Charlotte 

(Knights) on Wednesday. He went 2-for-3 at the plate, helping contribute to Chicago’s 10 hits on the evening. After Goins' two-run blast, the Chicago offense went quiet until the very end. 

In the 9th inning, Welington Castillo struck out swinging with Jon Jay and Jose Abreu already on-base. With Ryan Cordell up to bat next, White Sox manager Rick Renteria chose to pinch-hit for Cordell with another new member of the Sox, 26-year old AJ Reed.

The hope is that Reed will bring some solid production to the DH spot for the struggling Sox and he took a big step in the right direction on Wednesday night.

Reed’s massive 436-foot homer was a three-run blast that cut the deficit down to two runs and also created a neat piece of history in the process.


Despite the fact that Goins and Reed both hit their first home runs as members of the White Sox, Chicago came up short as the rally stopped at Reed’s three-run homer. Following Reed’s at-bat, the Royals brought in Ian Kennedy to face Yolmer Sánchez. Kennedy notched the save for the Royals after getting Sánchez to line out on six pitches, sealing the White Sox season-high six-straight loss. 

Fortunately for the White Sox, they will have the chance to get some payback right away, with their series with Kansas City coming to a close on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. CST. 

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