White Sox

Makeup doubleheader won't be easy for White Sox


Makeup doubleheader won't be easy for White Sox

BALTIMORE -- They’ve been diplomatic and said the right things but the White Sox will face a hardship when they return in late May for a makeup doubleheader.

At the same time it was announced the two teams would play their series finale in an empty Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Wednesday afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles also said that games cancelled Monday and Tuesday would be made up in a May 28 doubleheader.

Riots across Baltimore on Monday night that resulted in 200-plus arrests and 159 fires have led city and state officials as well as Major League Baseball and the Orioles to cancel the first two games of the series. The White Sox have been more than happy to assist the process to ensure the safety of players and fans as well as making sure that law enforcement resources aren’t tied up at the ballpark. But without any say in the matter, the White Sox are now adding a fourth city and two games to an 11-day road trip that starts in late May and ends in early June.

“It’s not ideal, but we’ll try to find a way to make it as easy possible on everybody,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “We’ll make it work. It’s not ideal, but people are dealing with a lot more serious stuff than that right now so we’ll make it work.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: White Sox prepare to face Orioles in empty stadium]

The scheduling is less than optimal for the White Sox.

Originally, the White Sox were scheduled to have days off on May 28 and June 1. But now the team is set to play 18 games in a 17-day span beginning May 15. Instead of having two days off on a trip that begins in Toronto on May 25, heads to Houston and concludes in Arlington, Texas on June 4, the White Sox must return to Baltimore for a straight doubleheader that begins at 4 p.m. EST on May 28.

Hahn said the decision is left up to the scheduling team.

After the announcement was made, White Sox players said they aren’t bothered by the additional trip.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Dan Hayes sets the scene of unrest in Baltimore]

“Not out of the ordinary stopping at a place for one day,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “It will be energetic with all the traveling. We have a good time traveling with each other. It will be exciting because of rarity of situation.”

Outfielder Adam Eaton experienced a similar trip with the Arizona Diamondbacks in late 2013. But in that instance, Arizona had to fly half way across the country and then head back to the East Coast.

This trip should be much easier, Eaton said.

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“It's over and done before you know it,” Eaton said. “You get in, sleep for a couple of hours and play the game and you're gone. You're in and out.

“Something you have to do and take in stride.”

The White Sox have done just that over the past few days as they’ve ingested several days worth of harrowing events. Hahn said what has transpired has put the team’s issues in perspective and they’ll deal with their impending travel woes in the same manner.

“We realize we’ve got to make some sacrifices and one of them is going to be that off day,” Hahn said. “Look, there’s more serious concerns than an off day right now. We get it and we’ll deal with it as that road trip unfolds.”

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

The White Sox lost Saturday night.

That’s baseball, of course, they’re not all going to be winners. And this rebuilding franchise has seen plenty of losses. But the feelings have been so good of late — whether because of Eloy Jimenez’s 400-foot homers or Lucas Giolito’s Cy Young caliber season to this point or a variety of other positive signs that make the White Sox future so bright — that losing Saturday to the first-place New York Yankees seemed rather sour.

Obviously there will be plenty more losses for this White Sox team before the book closes on the 2019 campaign. Back under .500, these South Siders aren’t expected to reach elite status before all the pieces arrive, and it would be no shock if they’re removed from the playoff race in the American League by the time crunch time rolls around in September.

But don’t tell these White Sox that an 8-4 defeat is a return to reality or a reminder that this team is still a work in progress. Even if, for a lot of players, development is still occurring at the major league level, the “learning experiences” that have been such a large part of the conversation surrounding this team in recent seasons and their daily goal of winning baseball games aren’t mutually exclusive.

“The Yankees are sitting in first place and they lost two games in a row,” catcher James McCann said Saturday night, providing a reminder of how the first two games of this weekend series went. “Just because you're expected to win and expected to be World Series contenders doesn't mean you're not going to lose ballgames. It's how you bounce back.

“And it doesn't mean you're going to win tomorrow, either. It's just, how do you handle a defeat? How do you handle a bad at-bat? How do you handle a bad outing, whatever it may be? But it doesn't mean that we step back and say, ‘Oh, we're back under .500, we're supposed to lose.’

“We expect to win when we show up to the ballpark. You can take learning experiences whether you win or lose. Do I think a game like tonight reminds us we're supposed to be in a rebuilding mode? No. We still expect to win, and we're going to show up tomorrow with that mentality.”

Maybe that’s a description of the much-discussed “learning to win” young teams supposedly need to do on the road to contender status. Maybe that can’t happen until a team figures out how to bounce back from a defeat — until it learns how to lose and how to act in the wake of a loss.

For all McCann’s certainty about the team’s expectations on a daily basis, his explanation was peppered with questions. He said he’s seen the answer to “how do you bounce back?” from this club, and his three-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday night was fairly convincing evidence that the White Sox didn’t use up all their fight just getting back to .500.

So while the White Sox know they won’t win every game — that no team will — they need to know how they handle defeat. Losing, it turns out, might end up being more instructive about when this team is ready to win.

“I think we've done a pretty good job (bouncing back),” McCann said. “You look at the road trip in Houston and Minnesota where we took two out of four from a good Houston team and then played really not very good baseball for three days in Minnesota only to come home and have an extremely good homestand.

“It's the big picture. It's not the very next day. It's not, ‘We've got to bounce back and win.’ It's not a must-win situation in the middle of June. But it's how do you handle yourself? How does a game like tonight, do you show up flat tomorrow and let it snowball into a three-, four-game spiral? Or do you fight?

“And that's what this team's been really good at doing is fighting and not giving in.”

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Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

The temperature is rising on the South Side, and if you look outside, you know it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Instead, it’s a heat wave coming from a fresh-faced 22-year-old slugger who’s crushing baseballs, igniting a fan base and screaming “Hi Mom!” to his actual mother whenever he spots a TV camera with its red light on.

Eloy Jimenez has arrived with the White Sox, and according to a New York Yankees All Star who has known him for years, the best is yet to come.

“Not this year, but next year, he’s going to be even better,” infielder Gleyber Torres said about Jimenez.

The two of them were signed by that team across town in 2013 when they were both 16 years old. They were practically inseparable back then, and they remain tight to this day.

“I talk with Gleyber pretty much every single day now. He’s kind of like my brother,” Jimenez said. “We haven’t lost that communication, and I think that’s good for us.”

Torres echoed similar thoughts about Jimenez.

“In my first couple years with the Cubs, he was my roommate every day. We’ve got a really good relationship. We’re like brothers. We are really good friends,” Torres said. “I’m just happy to see what he’s doing right now.”

Which, lately, has been just about everything.

There was that majestic home run Jimenez belted on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals that landed on the center field concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field, the two walks the next day when the Yankees decided to pitch around Jimenez as if he was a perennial All Star, and then the two-homer game on Friday: The first one gave the White Sox the lead, the second stuck a dagger into the Yankees, as well as the heart of his longtime friend.

“For sure, I didn’t like it,” Torres said with a smile about Jimenez’s two-homer, six-RBI game. “I’m not surprised. I knew Eloy before he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominican. He’s a big dude. The power is coming every day.”

How good can Jimenez be? Torres, who plays on a star-studded team with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, sees Jimenez reaching the same stratosphere.

“He can be a star for all of MLB. He’s just a young guy right now, but when he matures a little more, he can do everything.”

Jimenez is turning up the heat in Chicago, and it’s not even summer yet.

The South Side can’t wait for the sizzle to come.

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