White Sox

Jose Quintana throws eight shutout innings as White Sox blank Royals

Jose Quintana throws eight shutout innings as White Sox blank Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ho hum, Jose Quintana put on yet another pitching clinic on Tuesday night.

The newsworthy part of the contest involved the lavish run support Quintana received from his teammates as the White Sox pounded the Kansas City Royals 6-0 in front of 18,604 at Kauffman Stadium.

The White Sox started scoring early against Danny Duffy early and didn’t relent until they knocked him out with six runs allowed. The outpouring made an easier winner of Quintana, who combined with Anthony Swarzak on a four-hit shutout.

“Sometimes when you get a lot of runs early, it makes you relax,” Quintana said. “You try and get aggressive and throw the ball wherever the catcher calls and keep going. Don’t pay attention to the score and just try and get your outs.

“It’s good when you get offense early whenever you go to the mound.”

Life hasn’t been a bowl of cherries for Quintana (2-4) on the mound.

Much has been made over the years of Quintana’s struggle for run support. In spite of a career 3.43 ERA, Quintana only boasts a record of 48-50. He’s also received the most no decisions in baseball since 2012 (59).

Some have suggested the sacrifice of a live chicken to wake up White Sox bats. Others believe the team should create a Kickstarter account that accepts runs for Quintana instead of cash. Last season, each player created an individual pregame dance with Quintana designed to inspire offense for a pitcher who has received three or fewer runs in 110 of his 157 starts.

Despite facing Duffy, the White Sox found the offense early on Tuesday, which put everyone in the dugout at ease.

“It’s a great energy,” second baseman Yolmer Sanchez said through an interpreter. “We have a very good group of guys here. And we are just trying to enjoy this. Each one of us wants to help this team to win games, and when we score and we win, we feel happy.

“I’m happy when you can produce some runs for a pitcher like Quintana and you can win the game. Every time that he’s going to the mound he’s going to give you a chance to win.”

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Give him a run or two and you’ve got a shot. Give Quintana six and you’ve put your team in outstanding position to earn yet another surprising victory.

Tim Anderson and Sanchez each singled in the first inning only for Duffy to deny the White Sox. But they broke through in the second inning on three consecutive singles, the last by Geovany Soto to drive in Todd Frazier. Willy Garcia’s RBI fielder’s choice made it 2-0.

Then in third, Avisail Garcia singled in a run and Soto’s sac fly gave Quintana a four-run lead.

Duffy retired six of seven in the middle innings, but the White Sox added more cushion in the sixth. Avisail Garcia, who reached base four times in four trips, drew a leadoff walk and Soto singled him to third. The fifth run scored on Leury Garcia’s RBI fielder’s choice before Sanchez’s two-out RBI single off Chris Young made it 6-0. Sanchez finished 3-for-4 with a walk.

It’s only the 26th time in Quintana’s career he has received five or more runs in a start.

Duffy allowed 10 hits and walked two in five innings.

“The guys had a good approach,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Duffy is a pretty good chucker. They made a nice adjustment, and we were able to score early and add on.”

Quintana countered with his sharpest outing of the season.

Yes, it was against a lowly Royals offense that has produced 43 fewer runs than the MLB average of 112. But after a couple of bad innings sabotaged two of his first three starts, Quintana was outstanding. Not only did he keep pitches out of the middle of the hitting zone, Quintana hit the corners and induced a number of awkward looking swings from Kansas City hitters.

The left-hander retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced and was only one over the minimum through five innings. Quintana didn’t walk a batter until he issued a two-out free pass to Jorge Bonifacio in the seventh inning, and the Royals didn’t have two runners reach base in the same frame until the eighth. Even then, Quintana stayed sharp as he induced an inning-ending grounder off Lorenzo Cain’s bat.

Quintana allowed four hits, walked two and struck out seven in eight scoreless innings. In doing so, Quintana lowered his ERA from 5.22 to 4.10. Swarzak increased his scoreless streak to 13 1/3 innings with a strikeout in a perfect ninth.

“When you’ve got that support early that’s really good,” Quintana said. “I just keep doing my job and focus like the game is close, zero-zero, and get some quick outs and try for a complete game.”

 

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

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USA TODAY

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

For the first time since new rules came into effect in 2005, the White Sox will reportedly see a major league player suspended for violating baseball’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Welington Castillo, the team’s biggest offseason addition, will be suspended for 80 games, according to a pair of reports.

The veteran catcher was brought in over the winter to help the rebuilding White Sox in the short and long term. He had a career year offensively and defensively in 2017, and he was acquired to help develop a young pitching staff featuring big pieces of the future like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and also to swing a solid bat and help this young team learn how to win.

If Castillo proves productive over the course of his two-year deal, the White Sox have a team option that could keep Castillo on the South Side for the 2020 season. That could make him a piece of the puzzle for when the rebuild reaches its apex and the team is ready to start contending for championships. But this news has the potential to change that dramatically.

Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both having strong offensive seasons at Double-A Birmingham and figure to be the long-term answers behind the plate. But Castillo’s absence from any long-term picture could leave the White Sox without a veteran safety net in the years ahead, depending on how the team decides to react to this news in the coming seasons.

Castillo’s absence for the next 80 games could also have an impact on the development of aforementioned pitchers like Giolito and Lopez. Lopez, in particular, has been throwing really well this season, and Giolito has control issues to work through, as he leads the American League in walks. Without the veteran catcher brought in to help those guys transition to the major league level, how will the transition continue for those two pitchers?

As for who could take Castillo's place on the major league roster, the options are limited. Kevan Smith, who was edged out by Omar Narvaez for the backup-catching job in spring training, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Charlotte, placed there Tuesday. The aforementioned Zavala is also injured at Double-A Birmingham, and it seems far too early to rush Collins to the big leagues. Alfredo Gonzalez is a catcher on the roster at Charlotte. A spot on the 40-man roster would need to be freed up to bring him to Chicago.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

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