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.”

White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

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USA TODAY

White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

For the biggest dreamers among the White Sox faithful, here's how this offseason might be playing out.

Rick Hahn said the team will make some additions to the pitching staff. So for those dreamers, it's a rush to the top of the list of free-agent starting pitchers, right? Why not hook one of the biggest fish in the pond?

The top of that list looks like this: Clayton Kershaw (should he choose to opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and seek a new, more lucrative one), Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin. Some might even have those last two names flipped, with Corbin, coming off an All-Star season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, second only to one of the best to ever throw a baseball.

The White Sox might not be capable of outbidding baseball's biggest spenders, and that's without even mentioning that they might simply not be looking to ink a hurler to a long-term contract. After all, that's what all those talented prospects are for, right? Assembling the rotation of the future? Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are all already part of the 2019 staff. Michael Kopech, when he's done recovering from Tommy John surgery, will join them in 2020. And Dylan Cease was just named MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year. With all that in mind, any offseason additions to the rotation for 2019 might simply be one-year fill-ins.

But fans often like to dream big, and a lot of them have Corbin on their wish list.

That's not surprising when you look at his numbers. He threw 200 innings last season and struck out 246 batters while finishing with a 3.15 ERA, those last two numbers the best of his six-year big league career. He's 29 years old and a long-term deal would figure to have him in the starting rotation as the White Sox plan to shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Just one problem: There's plenty of belief out there that Corbin's destination this winter has already been booked.

This has been a talking point for a while now, as the Yankees tried to bring Corbin to the Bronx via trade last offseason. They're expected to try to do so again, this time via free agency, as they've got a ton of money to spend. Corbin was quoted in the Nightengale story from April saying: "It would definitely be great to play there. I grew up a Yankee fan."

Sorry to burst your bubbles, White Sox fans. But don't blame me. Blame the Yankees, which seems to be becoming a frequent refrain. If Didi Gregorius' elbow injury means Manny Machado ends up in the Bronx this winter, too, White Sox fans might drop the Cubs as Public Enemy No. 1.

The White Sox have enough hurdles to clear in any pursuit of one of the game's top free agents: They have to compete with baseball's traditional big spenders, and they have to try and beat win-now pitches with a pitch of planned — though not yet arrived — long-term success. It's not like that hasn't been a winning battle before, though, as the rebuilding Cubs got Jon Lester to believe in their future and brought him in to help make their transition from rebuild to championship contention.

But throw in the hurdle of a history between a player and another team, and it makes it an even harder job.

The White Sox will be making some additions this offseason, though they might not be the ones fans are dreaming about. But not landing the winter's biggest fish doesn't mean the organization's biggest, most important dream of building a perennial contender on the South Side is going anywhere.

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Omar Vizquel's award-winning managerial debut

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Omar Vizquel's award-winning managerial debut

With the White Sox season over, we're looking back on the top 10 moments of the club's minor league season. We'll unveil one per day for 10 days, showcasing each moment in chronological order.

The moment: Omar Vizquel is named the Carolina League Manager of the Year, Sept. 13.

Vizquel became the third Winston-Salem Dash manager to be named Manager of the Year. The Dash went 84-54, the second-highest win total in franchise history and won the division title in both the first and second half.

Vizquel's season: As soon as Vizquel retired after the 2012 season, he went straight into coaching. First, he was an infield coach for the Angels in 2013. Then, he became the first base coach for the Tigers.

Vizquel remained there until taking the Dash job in the White Sox organization this season. Winston-Salem was an important post because seven of the top 10 and 16 of the top 30 prospects from MLB Pipeline's rankings spent some time there in 2018.

Vizquel was able to guide that talent to a whole bunch of winning. The Dash had the best record in the Carolina League in the regular season.

The playoffs did not go so well. The Dash got swept by the eventual league champion Buies Creek Astros in the first round.

Still, it was a successful managerial debut for Vizquel and the White Sox got to take advantage of his experience with a number of top prospects playing under him.

He may not manage the White Sox any time soon, but Vizquel's ties to the organization (two years playing with the team and now coaching in the organization) make him a possible candidate at some point in his managerial career.