White Sox

Leury Garcia homers twice, but White Sox fall to Padres

Leury Garcia homers twice, but White Sox fall to Padres

Where would the White Sox have been without Leury Garcia on Friday night?

Aside from the first two-home run game of the utility man’s career, the White Sox offense was otherwise nonexistent again. Garcia homered twice but it wasn’t enough to prevent a sixth straight White Sox loss as they fell to the San Diego Padres 6-3 in front of 24,194 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Garcia reached base in all four plate appearances for the White Sox, who dropped to 15-18.

“We’ve been struggling the last couple of games,” Garcia said. “We keep battling. We keep playing hard and we know that they are going to turn it around.”

That the White Sox offense was led by a hitter who entered the 2017 season with a .462 career OPS instead of one of its big veteran hitters says plenty about the current state of the unit.

Not to take anything away from Garcia. He’s been outstanding through the first fifth of the season.

Playing more than ever, Garcia has excelled in part because of a drastic reduction in his strikeout rate. From 2013 to 2016, Garcia struck out in 33.1 percent of his plate appearances (102 of 308). This season, he has whiffed 13 times in 99 trips to the plate — a 20 percent drop.

After he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and was hit by a pitch on Friday, Garcia is hitting .304/.343/.489.

He provided the White Sox with a jolt of energy in the third inning, ripping a two-run homer off Jhoulys Chacin to get them within 3-2. Garcia’s seventh-inning solo shot also kept the White Sox within two runs (5-3) and knocked Chacin out of the game.

But the White Sox were otherwise unimpressive yet again.

The team’s bats have collectively gone cold after a torrid stretch that ran from late April into early May. The White Sox looked outstanding over that 11 games as they produced 65 runs during the stretch. But over the other 22 games they have played, the White Sox have scored 67 runs.

Friday’s performance was the 18th time in 33 games that they’ve scored three or fewer runs in a contest.

A huge factor hindering the White Sox season is they simply haven’t had many chances to score runs. The team’s .297 on-base percentage ranks 27th in the majors. And while it isn’t the bottom of the barrel — the Kansas City Royals’ OBP is .280 — the lack of chances isn’t helping, either.

Done in by Chacin — who allowed seven hits and three runs with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings — and four relievers, the White Sox dropped to 3-15 in contests in which they score three or fewer runs.

“I just tell them tomorrow is another day,” said manager Rick Renteria, who met with his coaches for 20 minutes after Friday’s loss. “Things that you might identify as being an issue you might just try to clean it up a little bit and try to find the solution. It’s the only way you can do it is if you hit it straight on and you talk about it and hopefully we’ll continue to kind of chip away at some of things we need to correct and we’ll move forward.

“I thought Chacin did a nice job.”

Miguel Gonzalez wasn’t as effective.

He walked four batters, including two in the first inning. Matt Szczur ripped Gonzalez’s first pitch of the night for a solo home run and Gonzalez never really recovered.

Austin Hedges’ two-out double in the third inning put the Padres ahead 3-0. Hedges hit a solo homer in the fourth in the fifth inning to give San Diego a 4-2 lead and Allen Cordoba singled in another run.

Gonzalez gave up five earned runs and eight hits in five innings and walked four.

“I was just off,” Gonzalez said. “Just felt tight. Wasn’t as loose as other times when I was out there. Just thinking too much in between pitches. Next time go out there and have fun. That’s what it’s all about. Today I was just thinking a little too much on the mound and that’s what happens. You fall behind hitters and they capitalize when you make bad pitches. And that’s what it was, I was just one pitch away from a quality start and it just didn't happen.”

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."


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."