White Sox

Mat Latos can't hold early lead as White Sox fall to Nationals

Mat Latos can't hold early lead as White Sox fall to Nationals

Mat Latos received plenty of runs early on Tuesday night and couldn’t hold the lead.

Afterward, he didn’t go very easy on himself.

Latos squandered two leads and his bullpen couldn’t slow down the Washington Nationals as the White Sox lost their fourth straight, falling 10-5 in front of 18,812 at U.S. Cellular Field. The team’s 19th loss in 25 games has it at the .500 mark for the first time all season. Latos (6-2) walked four batters and allowed six earned runs in 4 1/ 3 innings. Todd Frazier homered in the losing effort.

“I just felt like I was kind of fighting against myself mechanics-wise or whatever,” Latos said. “I walked, what? Three, four, five, six, seven, I don’t know. I just walked a s**t-ton of people. It was just a piss-poor effort, period, on my half.”

“I could care less about my ERA, strikeouts, you know, my own personal wins. The team gives you a lead like they did today and to just flat out blow it is absolutely pathetic.”

Twice it appeared as if the White Sox were in a good spot to begin a three-team homestand properly. No moment was bigger than when Frazier’s two-run home run in the second inning cleared the center-field fence to put them ahead 5-2. After a second RBI on a sac fly by Jose Abreu, who earlier singled in a run, Frazier jumped on a 3-0 fastball from Joe Ross and blasted it 408 feet for his 19th homer.

But Latos -- vying for the final spot in the rotation along with Miguel Gonzalez now that James Shields has been acquired -- couldn’t hold the lead. Latos intended to bounce a 1-2 split-fingered fastball to Anthony Rendon and instead caught the bottom of the zone with the hitter driving it out to left for a two-run shot to get Washington within a run.

In the fifth, Washington’s first three batters reached base (though leadoff hitter Michael Taylor was caught stealing) as Latos continued to struggle. He allowed a single on each side of his fourth walk of the night and yielded to reliever Dan Jennings.

Bryce Harper’s two-run double off Jennings put Washington up 6-5.

“You start out, their guy's struggling, get some runs and you give those back,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That's the part that takes the wind out of you. They hit the ball, too. But the free passes are going to come back to haunt you.

“You can't go out there and just give them those free passes.”

Latos previously surrendered the two-run lead he received in the first inning. He walked leadoff man David Murphy and issued a one-out free pass to Ryan Zimmerman. Rendon doubled in a run and Danny Espinosa made it 2-all with an RBI groundout.

Since he began the season 4-0 with 0.74 ERA, Latos has a 7.25 ERA and completed 36 innings over seven starts. He has allowed 50 hits, walked 18 and struck out 19 in that span.

“Struggled a little bit mechanics-wise,” Latos said. “I don’t even know. Horse-s**t performance, period.”

The night only got worse.

Along with a Tyler Saladino error, Matt Albers and Zach Duke combined for two walks, a hit batsmen and three hits (one courtesy of a Saladino double-pump that resulted in a single) and let the Nationals pull ahead 10-5. The inning lasted 32 minutes.

The White Sox offense had some similar lengthy efforts early against Ross, who lasted only four innings. Abreu singled on an 0-2 pitch from Ross after consecutive walks by Adam Eaton and Austin Jackson in the first to put the White Sox ahead 1-0. J.B. Shuck also had a bases-loaded walk to put his team up two.

Latos surrendered two runs in the second as Washington tied the game. But Abreu’s sac fly put the White Sox up 3-2 and then Frazier homered.

If the type of loss looked familiar it’s because it has happened quite frequently to the White Sox in this tail spin. They held leads in all three games in Kansas City before losing and had similar occurrences against Texas and the New York Yankees.

Now a team that once held a six-game lead sits in fourth place in the American League Central.

“We’re on the wrong side of things and it seems like we’ve been on it for the last couple weeks,” Eaton said. “We can’t just dwell on it. We have to be big boys and nobody is going to help us. Nobody is going to help us. We have to do it ourselves. Put a good foot forward and get going.”

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

The White Sox have a number of highly-rated prospects performing well in the minors and some of them will be on the move within the system in a matter of days.

General manager Rick Hahn talked to reporters ahead of Monday night's White Sox game in Cleveland, a 6-2 loss, and gave the news. Well, sort of.

He didn't include names, but he did say that "there will be many" promotions after the minor league all-star games for Double-A and both Single-A teams take place on Tuesday.

Hahn added that Chris Getz, the White Sox player development director, will address the media before the White Sox host Oakland on Thursday about the moves.

If the all-star games are a reason to wait, it's safe to think some of the players involved will be playing in those games. So who could be on the move?

Double-A Birmingham has six all-stars: Eloy Jimenez, Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick, Dane Dunning and Ian Hamilton. Jimenez is the name everyone wants to see on the move. He has torched the Southern League since getting off to a late start to the season due to injury. Hahn was asked about Jimenez, but didn't tip his hand as to whether he would be one of the promotions.

Dunning has been good in Double-A (2.78 ERA, 65 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings), but was already promoted this season so he may not be on the move again.

Single-A Winston-Salem has five all-stars: Dylan Cease, Luis Alexander Basabe, Joel Booker, Bernardo Flores and Matt Foster. Cease, 22, could be due for a promotion with a 2.89 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. There's also that outfield logjam the Dash, which won the first-half division title, have had all season.

Other than Basabe and Booker, Blake Rutherford and Alex Call are also noteworthy prospects being forced to split time in the Dash's outfield. If Jimenez is moving up to Triple-A, one or two names from this group could be on the move to take his spot in Birmingham.

This would especially make sense if highly-touted outfield prospect Luis Robert, who was supposed to be in Single-A Kannapolis for a short period before joining the Dash, is ready to move up as planned. Robert is hitting .289/.360/.400 in 13 games with the Intimidators.

Birmingham, Winston-Salem and Kannapolis were all off Monday. The various all-star games will take place Tuesday and the three teams will be off again Wednesday. The promotions could be announced Thursday ahead of Getz's scheduled media availability.

Zack Burdi is pitching off a mound again

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USA TODAY

Zack Burdi is pitching off a mound again

Zack Burdi was thought of as a college pitcher who could make the major leagues quickly after he was drafted in 2016.

The White Sox drafted him 26th overall that year and it appeared his quick rise through the minors was going to come true. Burdi reached Triple-A Charlotte by the end of 2016 and had a 2.25 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 16 innings with the Knights.

However, he had Tommy John surgery in July and hasn't pitched in more than 11 months. The 23-year-old from Downers Grove is nearing his return and had video proof.

That's Burdi throwing off a mound, which means a rehab stint might not be far behind. Burdi may not getting into the full swing of things before the minor league season ends in early September, but this is a good sign for him being ready to go for spring training in 2019.

Before going on the disabled list, Burdi had a 4.05 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 17 walks in 33 1/3 innings with the Knights in 2017.