White Sox

John Danks, White Sox falter in home-opening loss to Indians


John Danks, White Sox falter in home-opening loss to Indians

That was a dud.

It didn’t take long to determine it, either.

John Danks and the White Sox needed only five batters on Friday afternoon to quell the fan enthusiasm that normally accompanies a home opener. A little more than an inning later, the sellout crowd at U.S. Cellular Field had been entirely removed as a potential factor.

Danks allowed five early runs and Danny Salazar and the Cleveland Indians limited the White Sox, 7-1 losers, to three hits in front of 38,019. Following four days of standout starting efforts and sound play in Oakland, Danks lasted only five innings as he allowed seven runs (five earned) and eight hits. Todd Frazier homered and singled in the losing effort.

“It’s very frustrating,” Frazier said. “We’ve been doing our jobs the last four games, and we were coming in hot. You’re going to have games like this. It happens. We couldn’t really find a groove there with everybody, and that’s the way it goes.”

For the briefest instant, Danks’ season started off well as he struck out Cleveland leadoff man Rajai Davis on five pitches. Danks entered his start with high hopes after he did a good job commanding his fastball this spring.

But the positive vibes ended quickly on Friday with consecutive first-inning singles by Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor and a Mike Napoli walk to load the bases. Danks looked like he might navigate his way out of trouble as Carlos Santana hit a 12-foot chopper in front of the plate. Catcher Alex Avila gloved it and looked to flip home to Danks only to realize he didn’t have a play. Avila then threw wildly to first base, which allowed two runs to score.

“I saw the runner in the corner of my eye was going to beat him, and I just turned and fired and tried to get at least one,” Avila said. “Usually you just hold on there. That’s the first one I’ve thrown away in quite a while.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Chance the Rapper tosses first pitch at White Sox home opener]

Avila said he didn’t help Danks any with the play. But the pitcher wasn’t about to let the veteran catcher wear the mistake that also left Napoli on third. Yan Gomes’ sac fly quickly made it 3-0, and the Indians were off to the races.

“When I peeled off, it looked like he was thinking about flipping it to me, and it got just kind of messed up,” Danks said. “Alex shouldn’t beat himself up over that. We never should have been in that position. And I certainly should have held them there.”

An inning later, Danks surrendered an RBI triple to Davis, and a Kipnis sac fly gave Salazar a five-run cushion. Any optimism left quickly disappeared, especially for Danks.

Danks looked as if he settled in after the first two innings. The left-hander set down 10 in a row into the fifth inning.

But Cleveland broke through again with four straight two-out hits, including an RBI single by Santana and an RBI double by Gomes to make it 7-1.

“I’ve been excited about this start for a couple weeks now,” Danks said. “I definitely pictured it going a lot different in my head.”

The offense, which has been prone to slumps in the early going, showed little life against Salazar.

The White Sox drew a pair of one-out walks in the second inning, but Avisail Garcia was picked of first base and Brett Lawrie struck out.

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“It was too big of a lead,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We're down by five. We need a lot more than just him scoring. So really, just shorten up and take care of it that way.”

The offense didn’t notch its first hit until Frazier ripped an 0-2 fastball from Salazar with one out in the fourth inning beyond the home bullpen in left field. Frazier’s second homer of the season got the White Sox within four runs, but they got no closer.

An effectively wild Salazar managed to hold the White Sox at bay for 5 1/3 innings. Though the right-hander walked three batters, the White Sox never mounted another serious threat.

Salazar struck out seven batters before he turned it over to the bullpen for the final 11 outs.

“This was one of those games,” Frazier said. “A little hectic day for everybody. No excuses. We’ve just got to come back tomorrow.”

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox


Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.

That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.

One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.

Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.

Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.

This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).

The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.

White Sox Talk Podcast: A.J. Pierzynski rips Manny Machado


White Sox Talk Podcast: A.J. Pierzynski rips Manny Machado

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski comes on the podcast and tells Chuck Garfien why he’d sign Nolan Arenado over Manny Machado (6:15).

Pierzynski criticizes Machado for saying that he doesn’t play hard everyday (7:08). Would he make Machado the face of the White Sox franchise? (12:30)

He also talks about how bullpenning cost the Milwaukee Brewers a spot in the World Series (14:45).

He reveals the former White Sox player who had a gift for recognizing players who tipped their pitches (21:00).  Pierzynski tells behind the scenes stories about former teammates Nick Swisher, Bartolo Colon, Gavin Floyd and more (28:00).

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast