White Sox

Jose Quintana rocked as White Sox swept by Diamondbacks

Jose Quintana rocked as White Sox swept by Diamondbacks

PHOENIX — Jose Quintana looked as if he might be on the way to a second consecutive gem on Wednesday afternoon before it quickly took a turn for the worse.

After three perfect frames, Quintana got hit hard in the middle innings and was forced out of the contest. The Arizona Diamondbacks offense awoke from an early slumber against Quintana to complete a sweep of the White Sox, who fell 8-6 in front of 18,002 at Chase Field. The eight earned runs allowed by Quintana are the most he has yielded in a start in two years and raised his earned-run average to 4.82.

“For us it’s also a tough thing to figure because he has been so great in his career,” first baseman Jose Abreu said through an interpreter. “It’s something that we are not accustomed to seeing from him. But he’s a hard worker and we all know how talented he is and we’re all confident in him. I think it’s just a matter of one thing for him to clean it up and to be that Jose Quintana that we know.”

None of what transpired in the first three innings Wednesday offered any indication of what was to come. The 2016 All-Star pitcher picked up where he’d left off on Friday night in Seattle when he combined with David Robertson on a one-hitter.  

Quintana’s offspeed pitchers were diving and Diamondbacks hitters had no chance. He induced checked swing after checked swing and racked up five strikeouts in three innings and even made a smooth defensive play on Gregor Blanco’s bunt-base hit attempt to start the fourth inning with the White Sox leading 2-0.

But then it all went south.

Nick Ahmed doubled to left and red-hot Paul Goldschmidt doubled to deep center to make it a 2-1 game before Chris Owings tied it with an RBI single. Things only got worse for Quintana in the fifth inning when he hit the first hitter Brandon Drury with a 1-2 pitch. Quintana then left a 1-0 fastball over the middle and Jake Lamb didn’t miss the mistake, driving it the opposite way for a two-run homer and a 4-2 lead. Four batters later, Ahmed doubled in a pair and the rout was on. Goldschmidt’s single knocked Quintana from the game.

Owings had a sac fly off Anthony Swarzak to score one inherited run and Drury singled in the other to put Arizona ahead by six.

Quintana allowed eight hits and struck out seven. The eight runs he allowed were the most he’d allowed in a start since the Detroit Tigers tagged him for nine runs on April 19, 2015.

“It’s just execution,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Most times when guys are being hit around, a lot of it has more to do with executing and location. I think it’s more pitches get out over the plate. ... Based on the swings, they were pretty good swings, so I’m assuming they were pitches out over the plate.”

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The poor outing raised Quintana’s earned-run average by nearly a point from 3.92. Even though it’s still more than two months until the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline, Quintana’s inconsistent start to the season has also almost certainly harmed his perceived trade value. Not only has Quintana pitched poorly, but shifts in the plans of other clubs could provide contending teams with more trade options. However, with teams still focused on the upcoming draft and the deadline a way off, Quintana has more than enough time to get back on track.

Quintana said he plans to do what he’s always done — discard the tough outing and move on. It’s the same way he has operated since 2012 and it has helped become a highly regarded member of the White Sox.

“Just turn the page and keep going,” Quintana said. “It’s different feeling than last year. But I feel pretty good. Never think in the past. If you have a bad day, just keep going. Keep doing, we doing good in the past. So, just keep doing my things and throw the ball well.”

One player who has continued to stay hot for more than a month is Abreu, who blasted his 100th homer on Tuesday night. For an encore, Abreu matched his career high with four hits, including a two-run homer in the sixth inning that got the White Sox to within 8-4.

Melky Cabrera had an RBI groundout in the seventh inning and Abreu singled in another to make it an 8-6 game.

But the White Sox got no closer.

Leury Garcia’s solo homer in the second inning gave the White Sox an early lead. Abreu doubled in the fourth and scored on a double play to make it a 2-0 lead.

From April 19 on, Abreu is hitting .347/.404/.677 with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs in 136 plate appearances. He’s currently on pace for 36 home runs, which would tie the career high he established in 2014.

Did the Yankees just copy the White Sox in their quest to sign Manny Machado?

Did the Yankees just copy the White Sox in their quest to sign Manny Machado?

"It's a copycat league," you'll often hear. And now the White Sox are getting copied. Kind of.

The White Sox raised a few eyebrows last weekend with their surprising trade for Yonder Alonso. Alonso, acquired from the Cleveland Indians, brings a ton of positives to the 2019 and 2020 White Sox. Their lineup needed a boost, and he gives it one. Their clubhouse needed some more veteran leadership, and he brings that. He allows Jose Abreu to take better care of his body and could have long-term benefit as a positive influence on young players.

But everyone looked past all that and noticed that he also happens to be Manny Machado's brother-in-law.

Machado is one of the two free-agent superstars the White Sox are pursuing, along with Bryce Harper, and the popular opinion on social media was that the South Siders brought in Alonso to help with their pitch to Machado. Heck, they announced the trade just two days before Monday's meeting with Machado.

Rick Hahn shot down all that, saying this was a baseball move, and the benefits of Alonso's arrival, independent of his relationship with Machado, are listed above.

But now the New York Yankees, just two days before their meeting with Machado, have gone and done something similar, hiring Carlos Beltran as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman. Why is it similar to the White Sox acquisition of Alonso? Machado's agent used to represent Beltran.

If it's not coming through, this all a bit joking, of course. Hahn had a laundry list of reasons the White Sox traded for Alonso, and Beltran has his own appeal to any team after his lengthy big league career and his recent role as a veteran leader with the Houston Astros during their championship season.

But the coincidences — or conspiracies, if you will — are a little fun to point out.

Alonso and Beltran are assets to their respective teams. But if they can help sway Machado, well that will go down as a nice added benefit.

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Top White Sox stories of 2018: Adam Engel's week of home-run robberies

Top White Sox stories of 2018: Adam Engel's week of home-run robberies

As the new year approaches, we're counting down the top White Sox stories from 2018.

Somewhat quietly, Adam Engel was a Gold Glove finalist in center field this fall.

But he had one week in August that was anything but quiet, and that week alone might have put him in the running for the annual fielding award.

In the span of seven days, Engel made a trio of jaw-dropping home-run robberies against the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.

First, on Aug. 6, he stole one away from Yankees hitter Greg Bird.

He followed that up the very next night, with this robbery of a home run off the bat of Kyle Higashioka. This theft came right near the "The Catch" sign in center field and brought to memory Dewayne Wise, who made, under the circumstances, the best catch that Hawk Harrelson had ever seen.

White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez really appreciated that one.

"I just wanted to take off my glove," he said through a team translator that day, "and go out there and kiss him."

And if that wasn't enough, Engel stole the show (literally) in the Sunday afternoon game Aug. 12, this thievery of Indians slugger Yonder Alonso — now one of Engel's White Sox teammates — the best of the bunch.

While Engel's offensive production has been slow to come along, his defensive ability has never been questioned, and spectacular plays like this show how valuable his glove can be to the White Sox moving forward.

"That’s something I take a lot of pride in, show up every day and trying to help the team win in any way that I can," Engel said that Sunday. "Defensively, it’s something I know I can count on. Just make sure to try to work on that every day. Make sure I stay sharp, and offensively hopefully I can get it going."

A season's worth of high-quality defense got him the title of Gold Glove finalist, but this week in August surely brought his skill to the attention of the baseball world.

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