White Sox

LIVE: White Sox hit three HR's in 8th inning

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LIVE: White Sox hit three HR's in 8th inning

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011Posted: 11:00 a.m.

Associated Press

The Chicago White Sox are playing out the string, but Mark Buehrle is on the verge of joining some elite company.

Buehrle could reach 200 innings for the 11th straight season Wednesday night when the White Sox play the Cleveland Indians.

Chicago's left-hander is 7 2-3 innings shy of 200, a number he's reached each year starting in 2001, when he first became a mainstay in the rotation. Should Buehrle (11-9, 3.74 ERA) reach the mark at Progressive Field, he would be the sixth pitcher to have a streak that ended in 1980 or later of 11 or more seasons with 200-plus innings.

Four of the other hurlers - Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton - are Hall of Famers. The fifth, Greg Maddux, is a virtual lock for enshrinement once he becomes eligible.

While Buehrle appears poised to join that lofty group, he comes in trying to avoid his first four-start losing streak in nearly 1 12 years.

Buehrle has compiled an 11.74 ERA while dropping all three of his starts this month. He was charged with seven runs and a career-worst 15 hits in Thursday's 7-2 loss to Kansas City, exiting after 6 1-3 innings when he was struck in the left biceps by a line drive.

"I could have stayed in but there's no reason when you're getting your fanny handed to you," said Buehrle, who last lost four straight starts April 16-May 2, 2010.

Buehrle is 14-17 with a 4.81 ERA in his career against the Indians, faring slightly better - 7-7 with a 4.21 ERA - in 22 games at Cleveland.

Looking for a strong finish with his new team will be Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez (4-2, 4.56). The right-hander has won each of his last two starts, surrendering five runs and eight hits over 12 1-3 innings.

Jimenez is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in his last five starts after going 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in his first four outings for the Indians after being acquired from Colorado at the trade deadline.

"It means a lot for me, especially the way I started the season," said Jimenez, who went 6-9 for the Rockies on the heels of a career-best 19-win season in 2010. "The first two, three months of the season wasn't easy for me."

Jimenez is 1-0 with a 4.08 ERA in three starts against the White Sox this year.

The Indians and White Sox split a day-night doubleheader Tuesday to begin this four-game set.

Cleveland (76-77) took the opener 4-3 as Asdrubal Cabrera hit his team-high 24th homer - the most by an Indians shortstop since Jhonny Peralta hit 24 in 2005.

Chicago (75-79) won the nightcap, rallying from four runs down for a 5-4 victory. Alexei Ramirez's run-scoring single in the seventh provided the winning margin.

"It made the day a little bit nicer," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Cabrera. who went 1 for 4 in the second game, is 8 for 13 in his last three contests.

"I'm really happy with what I've done, but I haven't thought too much about it," said Cabrera, 8 for 28 (.211) with a double in his career off Buehrle.

Outfielder Alejandro De Aza had three hits and four RBIs in the twinbill for Chicago. He's batting .406 (13 for 32) in nine matchups with Cleveland this season.

The White Sox, who trail the Indians by 1 12 games for second in the AL Central, lead the season series 10-6.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Michael Kopech's arrival shows White Sox and a rebuild-loving fan base what progress looks like

Michael Kopech's arrival shows White Sox and a rebuild-loving fan base what progress looks like

Tangible, visible, hit-you-over-the-head obvious signs of progress have at times seemed hard to come by for the rebuild-loving legions watching the White Sox on a nightly basis during this developmental 2018 campaign.

That’s not to say there haven’t been tons of positives throughout the organization. Those who sprung for the MiLB.TV package have been able to see every Eloy Jimenez home run, and people around the baseball world found out just how fantastic Dylan Cease has been when he represented the organization at the Futures Game.

But the inconsistencies of Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, the strikeout-heavy first full major league season from Yoan Moncada and the early season demotion of Carson Fulmer have left those watching the big league team praying for some sign that things are improving.

Enter Michael Kopech.

The news that the team’s top-ranked pitching prospect, one of the top 15 prospects in baseball, will make his major league debut Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field must have seemed like an oasis in a 31-games-below-.500 desert when it was announced Sunday afternoon.

It’s sure to make for an even more hyped atmosphere than the one that greeted Yoan Moncada last July, when the No. 1 prospect in the game made his debut in a White Sox uniform. And while the architects of this rebuilding effort know the inner workings of the organization like no outsider ever could, they’re going to be part of that atmosphere Tuesday, too, part of a celebration of progress coming to the South Side.

“As focused as we have been, the front office and even White Sox fans, on the future and progress we feel we’re making, we’ve also been tested,” general manager Rick Hahn said on a conference call Monday morning. “We’ve talked about, going back to last offseason, this would very likely be the most difficult year of the rebuild and the patience this year would require would be a challenge for all of us. So I do think it’s important to try and enjoy these moments along the way where you do see that progress.

“We can talk all we want about how we’re only in Year 2 and that it is going to take time and there is a bright future ahead of us, but we’re all human, we’re all sports fans, we all want to see progress along the way. That has nothing to do with the timing of making a move like this, but when a move like this does occur and when the developmental reasons line up accordingly, we all should take a moment to enjoy the progress and excitement that comes.”

Those paying close enough attention knew what Hahn cautioned prior to the beginning of the season, that this was going to be the hardest part of the rebuild. Tom Petty said it first, to be fair, that the waiting is the hardest part, and that’s what 2018 was always going to be for the White Sox, a waiting game. The incredible amount of talent Hahn brought into the system needed time to develop, and in many cases it still does.

And so during that waiting came what fans and observers have seen on a nightly basis at the major league level. For the young players who are still slated to be key pieces of the team’s long-term plans, we’ve seen growing pains and the continued development that comes in the bigs. In certain cases, we’ve seen players who are fighting to make themselves a part of the long-term plans and players who simply won’t end up being a part of those long-term plans.

But few players are expected to have as a big a starring role as Kopech, hence the excitement surrounding his promotion. He’s tantalized with his last seven starts at Triple-A Charlotte, posting a 1.84 ERA with a ridiculous strikeout-to-walk ratio — 59 punch outs and only four free passes — over his last 44 innings.

While fans have been clamoring for promotions — be it of Kopech or top-ranked prospect Eloy Jimenez — for months, it’s taken this long into the season for a big one to come to the major league team. That, too, has all been part of the plan. Hahn mentioned multiple times throughout the year that how the team handled Giolito and Lopez a season ago could be a kind of template for how they handled Kopech this season. And while all three are different pitchers dealing with their own developments, Kopech will make his debut one day away from the one-year anniversary of Giolito’s White Sox debut.

In the end, though, Kopech’s promotion is the manifestation of the patience Hahn said everyone involved with this organization — him and his own front office included — had to practice this season. The White Sox waited until they knew Kopech was absolutely ready. They didn’t make a promotion to better a team that wasn’t contending for a playoff spot or to please an antsy fan base hungry to see progress happen as soon as possible. Baseball players constantly say that it’s all about execution. Well, Hahn and the White Sox executed their plan exactly how they wanted.

“Outside noise or emotion or even passion or excitement for seeing the rebuild progress has nothing to do with our decisions in terms of the timing of promotions,” Hahn said. “Each of these decisions are motivated by what’s best in terms of putting both the organization and the individual player in the best long-term position to reach their potential.

“We knew the 2018 season would be a challenging one and one in which we were going to have to not fall prey to outside influences or the influence of outside factors beyond what’s best for the organization and what’s best for our players’ long-term development. It’s going to require patience. I think you’ve seen that we’ve exhibited that this season, and we’re going to have to continue to do that throughout the coming weeks and months.

“The short-term gratification that would come from eliminating white noise or promoting a high-profile player just isn’t worth it when you consider the long-term benefits that come from us just showing the requisite patience that is required to put these guys in the best long-term position to succeed.”

Now it’s time for Kopech to execute his own plan and meet the huge expectations he has for himself and that Chicago has for him.

But for those watching the big league team, this is the hit-you-over-the-head sign of progress you’ve been waiting for, a tangible sign that the rebuild is moving forward.

White Sox Talk Podcast: White Sox call up Michael Kopech

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: White Sox call up Michael Kopech

With the big news that Michael Kopech is coming to the majors, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber talk about the decision by the Sox to bring up their top pitching prospect and the excitement that Kopech will bring to the team and the 2018 season.

Kevan Smith discusses what kind of stuff Kopech has and what it was like catching him in the minor leagues. Plus, they talk about Paul Konerko’s unforgettable day in the booth with Hawk Harrelson.

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