White Sox

Kyle Lobstein limits White Sox as Tigers avoid sweep


Kyle Lobstein limits White Sox as Tigers avoid sweep

Alexei Ramirez bore the frustration of another trying day for the White Sox offense on Thursday afternoon.

He grounded into a key double play that helped Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Kyle Lobstein escape his only real trouble spot. Lobstein limited the aggressive White Sox chances and the Tigers provided timely hitting of their own to avoid their first sweep at the hands of the White Sox since 2008 with a 4-1 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

Lobstein pitched 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball as he and closer Joakim Soria combined on a five-hitter. Jose Quintana took the loss after he allowed two runs in five innings with eight strikeouts.

“I feel a little bit frustrated because I wasn’t able to help the team,” Ramirez said through an interpreter after going 1-for-3. “It’s frustrating because this is baseball and it’s all about the win.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Micah Johnson beginning to settle in with White Sox]

After a workmanlike performance, Quintana appeared as if he might be headed for a victory when the White Sox rallied for a run in the bottom of the fourth. Taking advantage of an Ian Kinsler error, the White Sox got consecutive singles from Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia — who had the game-winner on Wednesday — to tie the game. Adam LaRoche then drew a seven-pitch walk against Lobstein to load the bases with nobody out.

But Alexei Ramirez swung at the first pitch — an 88-mph fastball — and hit a hard grounder that Nick Castellanos fielded before he stepped on third and fired home in time to tag Abreu out. Gordon Beckham followed with another hard grounder, but Miguel Cabrera corralled it to end the inning.

“Alexei hits it hard and it's just right at somebody,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That's the way the game goes sometimes. You'd like it a little more up the middle and get something more out of that, but we had some opportunities off him in that inning. Other than that, Lobstein was good. He really had everybody off balance, he was getting ahead early and working both sides of the plate.”

The fourth inning was the only real threat the White Sox could muster. They only got one other leadoff man aboard on Micah Johnson’s eighth-inning single and he was immediately erased when Adam Eaton grounded into a double play. Lobstein recorded 13 of 20 outs on ground balls, limiting his opponents to five hits and two walks. His only run allowed was unearned.

“We hit a number of them hard, we just didn’t find a lot of holes with them and timely hits didn’t happen,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “ That’s kind of how it goes sometimes.”

So far this season the low-scoring offense has been a dominant theme.

While the White Sox scored 12 runs the previous two games, both victories, this was the 15th time in 25 contests they have scored three runs or fewer. They are 1-14 in those games.

Yet another poor showing with the bats led Quintana to a second straight hard-luck loss. He needed 69 pitches to get through the first three innings as he carefully navigated around the middle of the Tigers lineup.

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Quintana allowed a first-inning run on a wild pitch with two outs before stranding two with a strikeout of J.D. Martinez. He also needed 10 pitches to retire Yoenis Cespedes with two in scoring position and two outs to end the third.

Quintana nearly got out of trouble in the fifth inning but Beckham couldn’t glove a Miguel Cabrera grounder and had to settle for the out at first instead of a double play, which allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Quintana allowed four hits and walked two, throwing strikes on 71 of 107 pitches. The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the eighth inning off Dan Jennings, who allowed his first runs since Opening Day.

The White Sox knew coming in some of their hitters are slow starters, namely Ramirez and LaRoche, who has begun to come around. Ramirez has hit the ball hard the past few games but still isn’t there, carrying a .202/.240/.281 slash line with no homers and 9 RBIs. He said the key is to stay focused on the present and not worry about the past — that they can’t give up on that theory, no matter how frustrated they are.

“We have to keep the faith and the confidence that we are getting better sooner rather than later,” Ramirez said. “We have to keep doing that until we get the results we want and the consistency we want.”

Sox Drawer Q&A: Joe Girardi, Enoy Jimenez and Chris Sale's 'infected' belly button


Sox Drawer Q&A: Joe Girardi, Enoy Jimenez and Chris Sale's 'infected' belly button

We made it above 60 degrees in Chicago today: A cause for celebration and another edition of the Sox Drawer. Questions from White Sox fans range from Joe Girardi to Enoy Jimenez (yes, Enoy) to Chris Sale’s “infected” belly button. Here we go.

Q: Jon Heyman tweeted out earlier that Joe Girardi pulled out of the Reds managerial search because he wants to wait a year for the Chicago job. Do you think he’s talking about the Sox? — @piratedwight

CG: I don’t know if the report is true or not, but what I do know is that Girardi grew up a Cubs fan and he later played for the Cubs. Put those two together and I’d assume he would love to manage them in the future. Something to consider: The main reason Yankees general manager Brian Cashman gave for firing Girardi in 2017 was that he felt he had trouble communicating and connecting with the young players. For a young, rebuilding team like the White Sox, that might be a red flag. Granted, that’s the Yankees' side of the story. Personally, I don’t think he’s interested in managing the White Sox.

Q: Who do you want the Sox to draft with the 3rd pick? Do some research. — @Frankie_OConnor

CG: If you look at most mock drafts right now, you’ll see high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. going first, followed by Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman (Nick Madrigal’s teammate) and Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers. Rutschman’s stock went way up because of his play in the College World Series, where he was named the Most Outstanding Player. Langeliers won a Gold Glove in 2018, named the best defensive catcher in Division I. He nailed 70 percent of would-be base stealers. Umm, I’ll take that.

The White Sox took Zack Collins with the 10th overall pick in 2016. White Sox scouting director Nick Hostelter always says “take the best player available.” Would they draft another catcher with their top pick again? Possibly.

You know what, why don’t we hear from Hostetler himself? I asked him to describe the talent level at the top of next year’s draft.

“Overall the ‘19 draft has a little bit of everything up top,” Hostetler said. “There are some interesting high school bats and arms, as well as some college bats and a few college arms that are intriguing. I’m not sure there’s a clear top five at this point, but as we’ve seen in past years, the guys sitting at the top of all the lists and mock drafts today usually change come the first Monday in June.”

In other words, let’s talk again in June. The best part about this? The White Sox will be in position to grab a very talented player for their future.

Q: After the most recent international signing of Eloy Jimenez’s brother, Enoy, do you think he could get close to the level of Eloy? Eloy wasn’t a known prospect until a few years ago, keep in mind. — @Dehhmac_

CG: In case you missed it, the White Sox signed Eloy’s 17-year-old brother to a baseball contract Sunday. Eloy posted a photo of him and his smiling brother wearing a White Sox hat and jersey.

By the way, if you do a Google search for “Enoy Jimenez,” Google will ask: “Did you mean Eloy Jimenez?” Even Google can’t believe it.

We don’t know too much about little Enoy. I say little because he’s tiny compared to his big brother. See the video we found on YouTube which was posted a couple of weeks ago. Enoy is wearing a White Sox retro tank top and a Charlotte Knights hat. If anything, he’ll fit right in at SoxFest. Seriously, he has some great baseball DNA, so he’s got that going for him. He’s an infielder. That’s about all we know. As MLB Trade Rumors put it, “scouting information on the younger Jimenez brother is virtually non-existent.”

Q: We know that Rick Hahn plays things close to the vest. In your opinion, do the White Sox view Matt Davidson as a viable two-way option? Personally, I'd like to see how he does in close games. — @emm528

CG: I know Davidson is quite serious about it. I’m not sure about the White Sox side of things. When I asked Don Cooper during the season about the possibility of Davidson having a more permanent role in the bullpen, he seemed skeptical about the idea. That said, if Davidson comes to spring training and impresses the coaching staff, they might be open to it. Davidson told me in September that he needs to train his body during the offseason so he could handle the workload as a pitcher. He just basically winged it in emergency duty last season. At one point after one of his appearances, he needed around two weeks for his body to get back to normal. It’ll be interesting to see if he can pull it off.

Q: You got to be by the dugout for most home games this year. What’s something that goes on in the dugout during a game that fans at home wouldn’t know? — @PeteCha56613119

CG: Davidson likes to throw gum at me.

Q: Chris Sale. Discuss. — @sccerlaw​​​​​​​

CG: If you’re asking about Sale getting an infection from a belly-button ring, he was joking. Sale likes to have fun with the media. Remember in 2014, when he tried to work in a specific word during his postgame media scrums? He said things like juxtapose, acquiesce, capitulated, ruminate, amalgamation. Waiting to hear what his next Harvard vocabulary word was one of the highlights of a rough fourth-place season. Sale did miss his start in Game 5 of the ALCS because of an unspecified stomach illness. Keep in mind, he’s probably taking medication for an inflamed shoulder. But he says he’s 100-percent ready now for Game 1 of the World Series.

Q: If the White Sox win the World Series next year will you get a belly button ring? — @vlamas05​​​​​​​

CG: Sure.

Q: Why don't the White Sox have a museum in the park? About 1/3 of the league does and most of those teams have half the history the Sox do. — @Gnome89​​​​​​​

CG: Good question. For this one, I went right to the source and asked Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“We used to have a small museum that fans could walk through which was attached to our team store," Boyer said. "Years ago, we converted that space as demand for a wider selection of retail products grew. We do have a museum-like historical display in the Magellan Scout Seats and have put many of the significant moments in our history on the columns leading to the sections on the 100 level. This past season we had a Negro League Museum traveling display in the Chicago Sports Depot.

"We continue to look for ways to display our history, and the Depot may very well be the best place, but, at this point, there are no plans for a permanent museum location.”

Q: Who do you see the White Sox going after in free agency this year? — @Grank2410​​​​​​​

CG: I wrote about my top five free agents last week. I don’t know for sure who the White Sox will sign, but I’d like to see them add a veteran hitter or two who have playoff experience, who know what it takes to win and can impart that on the young hitters.

Q: When will the Sox change their uniforms? — @ckottlarock​​​​​​​

CG: Personally, I’d wear the 1983 throwbacks for every game, home and away. But that’s just me.

Q: Can we please not get Machado? Can we get Nolan Arenado instead? — @drobaseball555​​​​​​​

CG: Rick Hahn, if you’re reading this, @drobaseball555 wants Arenado. Got it?

Thanks everyone for all of your questions. We’ll do it again next week.

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.