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.

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

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USA TODAY

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson has in his mind an ideal number of times he’d strike out in a season.

“If I had it my way I’d probably strike out 20 times a year but I don’t know how you do that, really,” Davidson said before the Sox defeated the Royals 9-3 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It’s not realistic for an everyday player to go through the season with that few strikeouts, especially on a Sox team that entered Friday’s game with 1,163 of them, the second-highest total in the major-leagues behind the Rangers’ 1,168. The Sox were on pace to strike out 1,570 times, which would break the franchise record of 1,397 set last season.

Against the Royals, the Sox struck out seven times, but made more than enough contact—including three-run home runs from Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico—to win for the eighth time in their last 14 games.

With the Sox going through the trials and tribulations that come along with a radical rebuild, perhaps it’s not a surprise the team strikes out as much as it has the past two seasons. They are young, aggressive at the plate and still learning at the major-league level.

“It’s just some of the experience and learning your swing and trying to improve on it every single year,” said Davidson, who went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts Friday night. “I don’t think coming up (in the minors) everybody was striking out as much as we do here so that just shows that the competition is better and we’re just also trying to learn.

“The MLB (web site) has a section just showing how nasty pitches are,” Davidson added. “Guys are really good here. It’s just a part of learning. It’s about seeing the ball, learning the zone, learning counts and understanding when they’re going to throw stirkes and when they’re going to throw balls and also just putting the bat on the ball.”

The Sox were particularly susceptible to the strikeout when they fanned 10-plus times during an eight-game stretch from Aug. 5-13, a franchise record. They fell one game short of matching the dubious major-league record of nine consecutive games with 10-plus Ks set by the Brewers in 2017.

Sox manager Rick Renteria said the cause of all the strikeouts “depends on who you want to look at. You could look at it collectively (or) you can look at it individually. We have one of the young men (Yoan Moncada) who has quite a few under his belt, both looking and swinging (for a major-league leading 172 this season). Two-strike approach obviously is something we talk about a lot and still has to be implemented in practical terms so that it's useful. We don't want our guys swinging out of the zone. We do want them to be able to defend themselves and keep a ball in play possibly when need be.

“But I'm not thinking in regards of how (strikeouts) continue to mount and what that indicates or doesn't indicate,” Renteria added. “We look at all of our guys individually and figure out what it is we can help them with in terms of attacking that strike zone and being ready to hit.”

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

Rick Renteria proved once again that he won’t let his boys quit.

The White Sox manager pulled Avisail Garcia from Friday night’s 9-3 victory over the Royals after the outfielder failed to run hard out of the box during a first-inning flyout. It wasn’t the first time Renteria has made a point by pulling a player during a game. Garcia was yanked from a spring training contest for not running hard out of the box and Tim Anderson got the same treatment in July.

“I didn’t think (Garcia) had given me an effort on the Texas Leaguer,” Renteria said after Friday’s victory. “If the ball falls in, you have to possibly advance.”


Renteria was quick to point out that Garcia is playing with a right knee injury that the right fielder said would have to be addressed—likely with surgery—during the offseason.

“He does have a knee that’s bothering him a little bit,” Renteria said. “I told him, ‘you certainly looked like something was bothering you.’ He said, ‘I felt it click when I came out of the box.’ ‘I said you understand you can still give me a better effort out of the box (and) he said, ‘yes, I understand that. I’m feeling this.’ We addressed it a little bit. He’ll be back in there (Saturday night). He realizes he still feels he can give us a little better effort.”

Garcia, who has been on the disabled list twice this season due to hamstring injuries, said he understood Renteria’s decision. 

“I felt a click (in the knee) and I didn’t run,” Garcia said. “Even if I felt a click I can do a better effort if I want to play and I want to play. That’s why they take me out. I felt a click and I was a little bit scared about it but I’m OK.”

Renteria said it is important down the stretch to communicate with Garcia when it comes to managing his knee.

“That’s why we had the conversation,” Renteria said. “He doesn’t want to come out of the lineup. He says he can play every day, he says, ‘I can manage this, I can play through this, I’ll be fine.’ I said then give me a little more effort on some of those plays. I get it that you may feel it but if you feel it, just explain to me what’s going on and we can manage it that way. He really doesn’t want to come out. He wants to play.

“We’ve never had a problem with (Garcia),” Renteria added. “Despite a couple times here or there where we’ve taken him out, if you watch him he busts his rear end pretty much all the time. That was a rarity. At that particular point in time it was my decision to pull him out.”

Garcia said he will continue to play through the knee issue.

“I just have to keep going,” Garcia said. “But I was scared a little bit because I felt like a click. But at the same time, I didn’t run hard enough so I’m OK with it. I’m good to play.”

When asked if Garcia will get the knee taken care of following the season, he responded, “yeah, for sure. One-hundred percent.”