White Sox

Mike Olt makes history with home run as White Sox crush Athletics

mike-olt-sox-insider-0916.png

Mike Olt makes history with home run as White Sox crush Athletics

Mike Olt made Chicago history on Wednesday night when he became the first player to hit home runs for both the White Sox and Cubs in the same season.

Olt’s 428-foot blast was one of three homers hit by the White Sox, who bounced back from Tuesday’s blowout with a 9-4 victory over the Oakland A’s at U.S. Cellular Field. Carlos Sanchez and Jose Abreu also homered in support of Erik Johnson, who went six strong innings. Since he joined the White Sox earlier this month, Olt is hitting .257/.316/.343 with a homer and two RBIs in 38 plate appearances.

“It’s very nice,” Olt said. “Definitely I just want to get out there and just get relaxed and have fun. It took me a couple of games to get back in the swing of things. Definitely looking forward to finishing strong.”

Johnson and the White Sox already held a 3-1 lead when Rob Brantly singled to start the fourth inning ahead of Olt.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Olt, who also homered for the Cubs on April 11, crushed a 1-0 slider from Oakland starter Cody Martin out to deep center for a two-run homer. None of the other 14 players to play for both teams had ever homered in the sameseason, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The White Sox have given Olt an audition as they have sure answers on the left side of the infield in 2016.

“You see the power that's there definitely, and you know that's there,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We’re just getting a look at him but knowing his history and power and things like that, you want to see him continue. I know he had some nice at bats when we got home from Kansas City, of being able to put the bat on it. Got some some big RBIs. The homer today, I think you're seeing something there.”

Tyler Saladino, who started at shortstop and has endured a similar audition, chased Martin with a double. Reliever Pat Venditte walked the next three batters, including Abreu with the bases loaded to force in a run. Melky Cabrera’s two-run double made it an 8-1 game as the White Sox sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth.

Though Johnson pitched deep into a number of counts, he took advantage of the big cushion. Johnson still walked three batters but kept Oakland at bay throughout. He allowed a run in the second inning as the A’s closed within a run but shut them down until the sixth inning when Billy Butler hit a two-run homer.

[MORE: Carroll ready to help team but also find his stolen car]

Johnson allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.

“I was aggressive in the zone with multiple pitches and especially with a lead like that you just have to fill it up,” Johnson said.

Rookie Frankie Montas struck out two in scoreless innings.

Olt was placed on waivers when the Cubs acquired Austin Jackson from the Seattle Mariners in late August. He joined the White Sox in Kansas City earlier this month and has appeared in 10 games.

Knowing the opportunity he has here is more than enough to drive Olt.

“It’s going to be some motivation for the offseason and I’m going to try to get myself in a great position to come into spring and hopefully win a job,” Olt said.

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

rodon.jpg
USA TODAY

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming. 

Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts. 

Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it. 

Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.

So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control. 

White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

avig.gif
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: