White Sox

Peavy can't stop Sox skid

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Peavy can't stop Sox skid

In losing 2-1 to the Cubs Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox dropped their fifth consecutive series. They also dropped out of first place for the first time since the morning of Tuesday, May 29, ending their uninterrupted reign atop the AL Central at three weeks.

Jake Peavy threw a complete game, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts. Only one of the runs was earned, though, as Orlando Hudson's throwing error in the second sparked the Cubs' lone scoring rally of the inning. A few bad bounces later, and the visitors had their only tallies of the game.

After the Cubs' runs scored, Peavy wound up retiring 16 consecutive batters until Tony Campana singled in the eighth -- after which Peavy promptly picked him off. He then pitched over a leadoff triple in the ninth, holding the Cubs at bay.

Hudson struggled again Tuesday, going 0-4 with the error and four runners left on base. Third base has been an issue for the White Sox all season, but don't expect someone outside the organization to swoop in and save the position.

"Everybody can pinpoint little areas they'd like it to improve, but it has to improve with what we got," manager Robin Ventura said before the game. "It's not coming from anywhere else."

For now, the White Sox are sticking with Hudson, Eduardo Escobar and Brent Lillibridge at third base. They hope that trio will stick until Brent Morel is ready to return, although there's no timetable for the incumbent starter as he recovers from a lower back injury.

But the Sox offensive issues were hardly confined to third base. The Sox scored their lone run and loaded the bases in the second, as Cubs starter Travis Wood struggled to locate his pitches. But after Hudson popped out, Alejandro De Aza struck out, ending the threat.

The Sox put runners on first and second for Paul Konerko in the eighth, but the Sox captain flew out to right on the first pitch he saw from Manny Corpas. The scoring threat ended meekly as Alex Rios grounded out to end the frame. Carlos Marmol only walked A.J. Pierzynski in the ninth to record the save in front of just over 30,000 fans.

It was the second straight tough-luck loss for Peavy, who threw seven innings of one-run ball June 13 in St. Louis. The Sox wound up losing 1-0 to the Cardinals that night.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a walk-off home run for Cleveland -- off Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman, no less -- and Detroit downed St. Louis. The Sox are now a half-game behind the Indians and just 1 12 games ahed of Detroit in the AL Central.

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

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USA TODAY

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.

Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018

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USA TODAY

Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018

This season, Matt Davidson became the fourth player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a season opener. It definitely raised a few eyebrows, especially after Paul Konerko noted during spring training that a 40-home run season and an All-Star selection isn’t out of the question for the California native. After clobbering nine home runs (seven of them coming at Kauffman Stadium) in his first 21 games, anything seemed possible.

Unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out that way, though he did rack up his second straight 20-homer season. But it’s hard to argue that 2018 wasn’t a success for Davidson — mostly because of the swings he didn’t make.

Everything else aside, Davidson walked as often as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in 2018.

OK, the more meaningful comparison would be Davidson to himself.

What stands out is his walk rate. One hundred fifty three players had at least 400 plate appearances in both 2017 and 2018. Among them, Davidson had the second-highest increase in walk percentage this past season.

Consider this: In 2017, Davidson and Tim Anderson became (and still are) the only players in MLB history with 160-plus strikeouts and fewer than 20 walks in a season.

Davidson, while logging 20 more at-bats in 2018, had the same number of strikeouts, 165, but he increased his walk total from 19 to 52. Give him credit for that. It’s a tough adjustment to make at the minor league level let alone in the major leagues. The increased walk rate brought his on-base percentage from .260 in 2017 (well below the AL average of .324) to .319 in 2018 (a tick above the AL average of .318) and pushed his overall offensive production from 16 percent below league average (as measured by his 84 weighted runs created plus, or wRC+) to four percent above league average (104 wRC+).

And I haven’t even mentioned the most fun aspect of his 2018 season: He pitched! And he pitched well.

Thirty pitchers took the mound for the White Sox in 2018, all of whom made at least three appearances. And only one of them didn’t allow a run: Davidson.

He topped out at 91.9 MPH and had as many strikeouts, two, as baserunners allowed in his three innings of work. The two batters he struck out, Rougned Odor and Giancarlo Stanton, combined for 56 home runs in 2018. They combined for 89 home runs (and an MVP award) in 2017.

In his career, Stanton had a combined 16 plate appearances and zero strikeouts against Barry Zito, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Edwin Díaz. He struck out in his one plate appearance against Davidson.

Davidson is one of just three players with 20 or more home runs and at least three mound appearances in a season in MLB history:

— Babe Ruth (1919): 29 home runs, 17 games on the mound
— Davidson (2018): 20 home runs, three games on the mound
— Shohei Ohtani (2018): 22 home runs, 10 games on the mound

Facts are facts. Davidson is actually serious about expanding his role on the mound.

“To be honest, I would love to maybe explore that idea,” he said in July. “Pitching was a dream. As a young kid, everybody wants to hit that walk-off homer, right? I was the guy striking that guy out. That’s how I first loved the game. My favorite player was Randy Johnson and doing that.

“So, it’s something I would be interested in. I don’t know if the game would necessarily allow that or something like that. It’s something that is really close to my heart is pitching.”

Whether or not it ever happens, Davidson’s 2018 was all about finding ways to increase his value. For the White Sox, that’s a good problem to have.