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.”

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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.”

 

Ozzie Guillén hates Nick Swisher, with his whole heart

Ozzie Guillén hates Nick Swisher, with his whole heart

If you didn't know, Ozzie Guillén has strong opinions and that includes former players he dealt with.

On the White Sox post-game show, host Chuck Garfien asked Guillén who he disliked more, Carlos Gomez or Nick Swisher.

"Oh my God, nobody can compare that with Nick Swisher," Guillén responded. "I hate Nick Swisher with my heart."

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Guillén declined to elaborate, but then added: "I think he hates me back, there's nothing wrong with that."

And finally Ozzie gave some kind of reason.

"I never talked to him, I was managing him, but I don't like the way his attitude was all fake. And I don't like fake people."

Then Chuck pointed out Swisher was only with the White Sox for one year and Guillén had thoughts about that to.

"It was one year too long," Guillén said.

Guillén doubled down and said he thinks others players would agree if they were honest, while clarifying he didn't hate him as a person and thought he was a good player.

The White Sox way wasn't the Swisher way, and there was friction.

Ozzie also admitted he might of misused Swisher.

"I played him center field and batting first or second, that guy has to be in right field batting tenth."


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White Sox end streak, stay confident: 'We are going to do the pushing around'

White Sox end streak, stay confident: 'We are going to do the pushing around'

The White Sox winning streak is over.

So why was Danny Mendick so chipper after a 1-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night?

His three hits might have had something to do with it. He was just about the only offense the White Sox mustered against Adrian Houser and a pair of relievers.

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But it seemed to stem more from the different feeling surrounding this year's White Sox team.

Mendick got a taste, however small, of the rebuilding years at the tail end of the 2019 season. After Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolito and Eloy Jiménez broke out the way they did during that campaign, Rick Hahn's front office complemented them with a host of impact veteran additions during the offseason. Throw it all together, and these White Sox have the look of a potential contender, something backed up by the way they played during their six-game win streak.

That's over now, though Wednesday's game had the same kind of playoff feel that the first two games against the Brewers did on Monday and Tuesday nights. The White Sox might not have played any games that felt like these in the last three years. Now there have been three in three nights.

So yeah, something's changed.

"I’ll tell you what, just the energy in the clubhouse," Mendick said Wednesday, asked about the difference between 2019 and 2020. "When we show up to the field, there’s more confidence.

"It’s not like we are going to get pushed around. It’s more like we are going to do the pushing around.

"Everyone is just prepared. Everyone shows up to the field ready. They know the opponent. We know what they are going to bring. I feel there’s just more, how do I say this, more education. We have more veterans. We have guys who are really focused on baseball, and it brings a lot to everybody."

RELATED: White Sox manager Rick Renteria finally has talent — and knows what to do with it

The six-game win streak turned the White Sox slow 1-4 start around in a hurry. In this shortened, 60-game season, every game means so much and even modest winning or losing streaks could tug the entire season in one direction or the other. The White Sox went from getting their brains beat in by the class of the AL Central to the third best record in the American League as of Wednesday morning.

They've showed what they're capable of, too. They blew out the Kansas City Royals, scoring a combined 20 runs and knocking out a total of 35 hits in back-to-back wins last weekend. Then they went to Milwaukee and won a pair of nail-biters, getting clutch hits from José Abreu and Jiménez to back strong efforts by the bullpen Monday and Giolito on Tuesday.

Wednesday, it was one of those newly arrived veterans, Dallas Keuchel, who shone. He logged seven one-run innings, the first White Sox starter to pitch in the seventh inning this season. If it weren't for the unusually cool conditions on the South Side, the outcome might have been different. Luis Robert and Moncada dialed up back-to-back deep fly balls in the eighth inning that both could have easily gone as go-ahead homers on a normal summer night.

The clutch hits could have kept on coming. And the knowledge of being competitive — the "belief," as Giolito keeps putting it — prevented the White Sox from feeling down after another fine effort Wednesday. It will likely do so every night for the remainder of this short season.

"The thing that probably has impressed me the most is the resiliency of the club," Hahn said Wednesday. "Obviously, those of us who have watched this team over the last several years, and certainly in the early phase of the rebuild, knew that feeling that you would get early or midway through games where you would feel the lead was perhaps insurmountable. I think looking at this club through the first 10 or 11 games so far, it feels like we're not out of any ballgame, regardless of what the deficit may be.

"I think that's a great testament to not just the veterans that have been brought in, but the growth of the young guys and the mentality I'm sure you've all picked up on going back to (spring training in) Glendale."

Part of the reason additions like Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnación looked so good during the winter was the playoff experience these guys have. While the White Sox core doesn't know what it's like to win at the big league level — not even Abreu does, who played for six losing White Sox teams before signing a new multi-year deal in the offseason — these guys do. They're all veterans of pennant races and playoff runs that go all the way to the end of October. Keuchel's got a World Series ring on his resume.

Experience with the highs and lows of a winning season might not be quite as valuable in this most unusual of seasons. But before the White Sox can be championship contenders, they actually need to do some winning. After a combined 284 losses in the last three seasons, even a six-game winning streak can mean a lot.

But whether they won or lost Wednesday, it didn't seem like the result was going to sway their belief. These White Sox are here to compete and live up to the high expectations they set for themselves dating all the way back to the end of an 89-loss season in 2019.

"We've been hot, and eventually it's going to come to an end. But man, we were right in the ballgame. That's all we can ask for," Keuchel said. "Game in, game out, we know that we're going to be in those contests.

"If we can win series, that's a playoff recipe."


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