White Sox

No support for Chris Sale as White Sox fall to Red Sox

salespitchesgoodstillloses.png

No support for Chris Sale as White Sox fall to Red Sox

Chris Sale was fantastic again on Wednesday night.

His offense was not.

The White Sox couldn’t keep pace against Rick Porcello and the Boston Red Sox. Porcello and two relievers combined on a six-hitter and Travis Shaw homered off Nate Jones to send the White Sox to a 3-0 loss in front of 17,812 at U.S. Cellular Field. Sale struck out seven over seven scoreless innings but didn’t factor in the decision for the White Sox, who stranded runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Shaw blasted a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth off Jones, the first runs the reliever has allowed since he came off the disabled list.

The White Sox lost ground in the wild-card race and now trail by 5 1/ 2 games with 37 to play.

“This is definitely crunch time --- a time to get going,” Sale said. “We know what we are up against, but you know this is baseball. This is sports. This is a crazy game. Anything can happen. We aren’t giving up on the season. We definitely aren’t going to give up on ourselves or each other. This is a good group of guys. We are pulling from the same rope. Pick each other up and keep going.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Coming off 29 strikeouts in his previous two starts, Sale kept going even though he labored early against the Red Sox. He loaded the bases in the third inning and would have in the fourth as well had it not been for a pickoff of Rusney Castillo.

But Sale, who established a personal single-season high for strikeouts when he got Shaw swinging to start the fourth, pitched out of both jams andpicked up steam. He retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, pitching efficiently down the stretch.

Sale allowed five hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out seven in a 119-pitch effort.

Over his last four starts, Sale has a 1.59 ERA over 28 1/3 inningswith 43 strikeouts and seven walks. He’s allowed five runs (all earned) and 15 hits.

“Playing behind him is a treat,” White Sox third baseman Tyler Saladino said. “You’re watching one of the best pitchers in the game. He does his thing out there. It’s kind of like if he lets a guy get on base it does two things. It gets you going even more because maybe a weak ground ball you can get that double play for him because he does so much for us, I guess you could say. If a guy gets on base against him you’re even more ready, but at the same time he has the ability to get right back after the next guy. It’s just awesome watching him out there.”

Not as fun? Watching the White Sox struggleagainst Porcello, who brought his best stuff.

[MORE: Confidence breeds success for Trayce Thompson]

He didn’t allow a hit until Melky Cabrera hit a ground-rule double with two outs in the fourth inning. But Cabrera, who had three hits in fourat-bats, was stranded as Avisail Garcia flew out to right center.

Adam LaRoche doubled in the fifth inning and Carlos Sanchez had a one-out infield single. But Tyler Flowers flew out to shallow right and Josh Rutledge made a nice play on Tyler Saladino’s grounder to save run and strand the pair.

The White Sox also stranded two runners in the sixth inning as Garcia struck out and LaRoche flew out.

Porcello allowed five hits and struck out five over seven innings.

Robbie Ross Jr. and Junichi Tazawa each had a scoreless inning for the Red Sox.

“Any time you have Sale out there and he's throwing up zeroes, you want to scratch something across to get something going,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “So yeah, that becomes frustrating.”

“We couldn't get anything going. We finally got in some situations and got someguys in scoring position but that's as sharp as we've seen him, definitely. He was matching Chris, if not bettering him.”

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

1015_patrick_corbin.jpg
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.