White Sox

Sanchez's clutch triple helps White Sox outlast Tigers in extras


Sanchez's clutch triple helps White Sox outlast Tigers in extras

DETROIT -- Carlos Sanchez has proven to the White Sox how capable he can be with his glove. On Thursday afternoon, the rookie finally showed them what he could do with his bat, too.

Having already made several nice defensive plays, the White Sox second baseman delivered a critical hit when he cleared the bases with a two-out triple in the 10th inning of an 8-7 win over the Detroit Tigers in front of 40,355 at Comerica Park. Sanchez went 2-for-5, including a three-run triple off Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson survived two-bases loaded jams to even the team’s record at 2-2 on the road trip.

“I think it’s going to give him a world of confidence,” leadoff man Adam Eaton said of Sanchez. “For any baseball player, especially a guy who’s not doing all that well at the plate but brings the glove every day, it’s huge.

“It’s a day that we needed it.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Robin Ventura - Adam Eaton 'understands' what he needs to do]

Though they broke through in a Tuesday night victory, the White Sox have had a shortage of hits in clutch situations in June and it looked like Thursday may be no different.

With one out in the 10th, Chamberlain walked Melky Cabrera and hit Avisail Garcia. But he struck out Alexei Ramirez on three sliders out of the zone before pinch hitter J.B. Shuck had an infield single to load the bases.

Sanchez, who entered the game with a .410 OPS, quickly fell behind 1-2 in the count before he ripped a slider to the wall in right to score all three. It’s the first big hit of the season for Sanchez, who has a decent track record in the minors. Not only did he hit .250 in 104 plate appearances with the White Sox last season, Sanchez owns a .288 career average in the minors.

“My offense hasn’t been good but now it is getting better,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “I got the big hit today for the team and its important for me and the team also because we won the game.”

They almost didn’t.

Robertson loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 10th and Justin Holaday singled in two runs. One out later, the White Sox intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera to reload the bases for Josh Wilson, who entered the game as a pinch runner for Victor Martinez in the ninth. Robertson struck out Wilson for his 15th save in 19 tries.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Carlos Rodon struck out seven batters over five laborious innings but gave up a pair of two-run homers to Kinsler and J.D. Martinez. Sanchez helped Rodon get out of a first-inning jam when and Gordon Beckham, who started a short, turned a double play against Victor Martinez. Three innings later, Sanchez cut down Nick Castellanos at the plate on a Jose Iglesias grounder with the infield playing in.

But Sanchez’s best play came against Cabrera in the sixth when he snagged a hot shot off the slugger’s bat to start a 4-6-3 double play.

Adam Eaton, who went 2-for-4 with a walk, homered off Alfredo Simon to start the game. The White Sox took a 3-2 lead in the second inning when Cabrera singled and Garcia doubled to deep center. Tyler Flowers also had an RBI single.

The White Sox added two runs in the fifth against Simon on a two-run double by Adam LaRoche. But the Tigers bullpen took over as Bruce Rondon struck out Abreu and LaRoche with two on in the seventh and kept the White Sox scoreless until Sanchez’s heroics.

“Everybody is pulling for him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You feel good for him that he got a couple of hits today. He has been playing great defense. We turned a couple of double plays there with him, they show up big any time you are keeping them from adding on or getting close to you. Everybody is feeling good for Sanchy right now.”

Let's compare birthday boy Dan Pasqua to Daniel Palka


Let's compare birthday boy Dan Pasqua to Daniel Palka

Daniel Palka was a phenomenon in 2018. But before there was Daniel Palka, there was Dan Pasqua. You might have heard the Palka/Pasqua comparisons on White Sox game broadcasts or within White Sox fan circles. Both are lefty sluggers with a similar build: Palka listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Pasqua at 6-foot-0 and 203 ppounds. Both led the White Sox in home runs in their age-26 seasons: Pasqua with 20 in 1988, Palka with 27 in 2018. And hey, they have the same first name and last initial!

Pasqua, nicknamed “The Hammer,” turned 57 years old Wednesday. Let’s learn a few more things about him.

— He was a teammate of John Elway (for four games with Oneonta of the New York-Pennsylvania League in 1982), Bo Jackson (with the White Sox from 1991 to 1993) and Michael Jordan (for four games with Birmingham of the Southern League in 1994).

— He was the 1985 International League MVP with the Columbus Clippers.

— He homered in his MLB debut on May 30, 1985, with the Yankees

— He was Sports Illustrated’s 1987 preseason pick to lead the American League in home runs. He finished with 17, only 32 behind Mark McGwire.

— He hit a Comiskey Park roof shot on May 30, 1989.

— He hit the last triple (and had the last RBI) in Comiskey Park history on Sept. 30, 1990.

— He hit a 484-foot home run, the third-longest by a White Sox player in Guaranteed Rate Field history, on April 27, 1991.

— He finished his MLB career with 117 home runs, tied with all-time great outfielders Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Ichiro Suzuki.

And finally, let’s compare Pasqua to Palka statistically. Since Palka had 449 career plate appearances through the end of the 2018 season, here's the duo's numbers through their first 449 career MLB plate appearances.

Could Manny Machado's NLCS shenanigans impact White Sox potential free-agent pursuit?


Could Manny Machado's NLCS shenanigans impact White Sox potential free-agent pursuit?

"It's a dirty play by a dirty player."

That was Christian Yelich, the all-but-sure-to-be NL MVP, describing Manny Machado, who's about to become one of the best-paid players in baseball history, after Game 4 of the NLCS, a game in which Machado once again grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Machado's Los Angeles Dodgers and Yelich's Milwaukee Brewers have played four games in this NLCS, and after three of them, the focus has been on Machado. Not because of his bat or his glove but because of lack of hustle and certain methods on the base paths that weren't exactly on the up and up.

After Game 2, he was criticized for not hustling on a ground ball to shortstop. In something straight out of a public-relations person's nightmare, he defended himself by saying that hustling really isn't his cup of tea. During Game 3, he twice attempted to break up double plays by interfering at second base and was, upon review, busted for it the second time. In extra innings in Game 4, he appeared to intentionally drag his leg across Jesus Aguilar's at first base. That play cleared the benches, got Machado called "dirty" in the Brewers' clubhouse and earned him the reputation of postseason villain.

And so Machado's impending free agency gets to be discussed in a brand new light. There's now more baggage attached to the 26-year-old superstar with a fantastic bat and a stellar glove.

The question is: Will the White Sox, one of many teams that could be mulling a contract offer worth hundreds of millions of dollars, care?

As much as it’s talked about building a perennial contender of the future by developing the on-field skills of their fleet of highly touted prospects, the White Sox brain trust has discussed developing a culture, a way of doing things, to go along with all that talent and all that skill. Unsurprisingly that conversation has focused on the oft-used phrase of “doing things the right way.”

Does what Machado has been doing count as “doing things the right way”? It seems easy to assess that it doesn't. It's far more difficult to determine whether it will end up making a difference or not.

Not hustling is one of Rick Renteria's biggest bugaboos. He sat down multiple players on multiple occasions throughout the 2018 season — starting with Avisail Garcia in a spring training game and including a veteran like Welington Castillo as well as a young star like Tim Anderson — for not running to first base on pop ups and line outs and ground outs. Would Renteria's tune suddenly change if Machado and his preference for not hustling arrived on the South Side in what would surely be the biggest free-agent deal in club history?

Renteria got fired up over the issue at the end of July, when he benched Anderson for not hustling on what the shortstop believed was a line out.

“We tell these guys, don’t assume anything. ... It’s as simple as that, and he understands it. He knows it. We’ve talked about it. He comes out of the box, he doesn’t stand there. But we just reiterated to make sure that you allow the umpires to make the calls and you allow the other clubs to go ahead and ask for reviews. We run.”

But asked about not running out his ground ball in Game 2, Machado shared pretty much the opposite philosophy.

"Obviously I'm not going to change, I'm not the type of player that's going to be 'Johnny Hustle,' and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen," Machado told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. "That's just not my personality, that's not my cup of tea, that's not who I am."

What about Machado's interferences at second base? It was that exact play that sent Anderson into an on-field tiff with umpire Joe West during the second Crosstown series of the season just last month. Javy Baez slid into second base, and Anderson thought Baez did something he shouldn't have, raising his arm to interfere with a double-play turn, that sequence of events ending with Anderson screaming at West on the field. Would Anderson be cool with playing alongside — and potentially vacating his position at shortstop for — an infamous interferer?

And what about being a "dirty player," a villain? The White Sox always seemed fine — heck, they loved it — having one of baseball's greatest irritants in A.J. Pierzynski on the roster. Perhaps no player wore the "villain" title as a badge of honor more than the catcher on the 2005 World Series team. But remember that Pierzynski took the punch, he didn't throw it. Being baseball's version of a "villain" and being a guy who makes dangerous plays that could hurt somebody are two different things.

The point being: Do Machado's actions in this postseason series make him anathema to the "Ricky's boys don't quit" mantra? If the White Sox were to turn a blind eye to the events of this NLCS, would it qualify as a betrayal of their quest to establish a high-effort, high-character culture?

Or do they value that culture so much that they stay away from Machado this offseason?

Here's Rick Hahn from September of last year.

"It’s the culture that Ricky and his coaching staff have been able to create in that clubhouse. I cannot tell you how many various fans have stopped me, or emailed me or mentioned to me that they’ve never been this excited over a 60-win team. Or they’ve never been excited about a team that isn’t going to the playoffs. And I think so much of that is based on how Ricky and the coaches have them playing day in and day out. You see them fighting for 27 outs, you see them prepared every night. Sure, we’re going to get out-manned at portions during this process, but the fight and competitiveness and the style of play is the kind of thing that is going to endure year in and year out. And that is extremely important for us to establish at the big league level for all of us."

Machado's talent would make any team he's a part of more competitive. But for the White Sox, who talk an awful lot about hustling and refusing to quit, perhaps all these postseason shenanigans make it so Machado just isn't their cup of tea.