White Sox

Road Ahead: White Sox take on baseball's best in St. Louis


Road Ahead: White Sox take on baseball's best in St. Louis

The White Sox head to St. Louis for a two-game set with the Cardinals, who own the best record in baseball. CSN's Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton weigh in on how the South Siders can have success in Missouri in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Honda Dealers.

The White Sox are struggling, there's no doubt about that.

So a date with the best team in baseball could be problematic. But as Bill Melton explains, perhaps the White Sox can fly under the radar and sneak up on the NL Central-leading Cardinals this week in St. Louis.

"It is the best team in baseball. And you know what happens a lot of time when a team comes down and plays against a contending team, sometimes that contending team kind of lays back," Melton said.

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One way to challenge the Redbirds? With great pitching. And the White Sox starting rotation has been pretty good despite the team's poor record. That includes Chris Sale, who's been excellent over his last several starts. He's racked up double-digit strikeouts in his last seven outings and eight of his last nine.

"It's really going to be an issue of who's going to pitch in that series. I still believe in this starting staff, and when you've got a couple of guys on this starting staff that can have a couple of big-time games, a lot of strikeouts, they can make it pretty tough on the Cardinals," Melton said. "I know the Cardinals right now are probably the best team in baseball, no question about it. They've got some pretty good starters themselves and a very good bullpen.

"(Sale's string of starts is) not as good as (Max) Scherzer's run, no question, but I want to put it about No. 2 in baseball. As far as having a run, I haven't seen three or four starts like this where he was so dominating. And all his stuff was working. Even when Minnesota hit him, his stuff was working. He has a tough time with the Minnesota Twins, but when his stuff works, it's kind of like Nintendo baseball or in the backyard. He's really — not only overpowering — but he gets good hitters like Joe Mauer ... he gets them out pretty easy."

Hear more from Melton on the White Sox in the video above.

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?


Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.