White Sox

Similar story, same ending: White Sox lose to Tigers in extras


Similar story, same ending: White Sox lose to Tigers in extras

It was a similar story for the White Sox against the Detroit Tigers on Labor Day and it had the same ending.

Chris Sale pitched great again but the White Sox didn’t have the offense to support him in their 5-3 loss to the Tigers in 11 innings on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field in front of 18,653 fans.

Tigers outfielder Justin Upton hit the game-winning three-run homer off White Sox reliever Chris Beck in the 11th. The White Sox are now 65-72 on the year with 25 games left and have dropped their last four games against the Tigers.

In eight innings, Sale allowed two earned runs and two solo homers on eight hits while fanning eight batters. He lowered his season ERA to 3.07 and has 193 strikeouts, seven shy of a fourth straight season with 200+ strikeouts.

"I felt good today," Sale said. "Like I always say, I get out there and try to find a groove and roll with it. I credit Alex on that one. Had a good tempo, good pace and he knows those guys better than anybody. Going into a game like this you're confident with what you're doing."

Miguel Cabrera got the best of the White Sox ace, who recorded a no decision.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Cabrera opened the scoring with two solo homers in the first and third inning to put the Tigers up 2-0. It was career home runs No. 300 and 301 for Cabrera in a Tigers uniform. He capped off the day going 4-of-5, adding two singles.

Sale said that the Tigers slugger is "one of the best" hitters he's ever faced.

"You can't deny that," Sale said. "Look on the back of that card and there's pretty awesome numbers. It was back and forth. I enjoy that. I enjoy the competition. I know next time he's going to try to do the same thing and I'm going to be be trying to get after him. Would I rather not given up two home runs and all that stuff? Yeah, no doubt. But it makes for good competition."

The White Sox cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third from an RBI single by Tyler Saladino. Saladino is batting .286 with five doubles, two homers and 11 RBI in his last 18 games.

Justin Verlander had it going on right from the get-go, striking out five of the first seven White Sox batters. The Tigers starter finished the day with 11 strikeouts, tying his season high, in seven innings on eight hits. He had nine strikeouts in last week’s contest against the White Sox in Detroit.

In the seventh, Alex Avila led off the inning with a solo shot to left-center field, which knotted the game at 2. Two of Avila’s six homers this season has come against the Tigers.

"I wasn’t trying to hit a home run," Avila said. "(Verlander) just missed his location. He was trying to go away and it was more middle. With him he’s so tough because this year with as hard as he’s been throwing he’s been able to live at the top of the zone with the fastball. It’s kind of riding on you and it’s tough to gauge which one is a strike or not. A lot of times it depends on the umpire. Depending on the umpire you can have a tough day out there, plus with a three o’clock game you can’t see for six innings.

"With him you have to make sure he is down and when you get it down in the zone don’t miss it."

Nate Jones relieved Sale in the ninth and pitched a no-hit scoreless inning with three strikeouts. David Robertson also threw a scoreless tenth with a strikeout and no hits.

The damage happened in the 11th, where Beck was roughed up. Upton’s three-run homer sealed the win for the Tigers.

"I think (Beck) got the ground ball double play and then he was just probably being real careful with the next two guys," Ventura said. "Those guys have done some damage in the past and I think at that point it just seemed like he was being real careful. Then Upton gets him with the big one that really wins it for them."

Beck suffered his first loss since his major-league debut on May 28, 2015 in Baltimore.

Avisail Garcia, who went 3-for-5, tacked on a run with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Monday was Garcia's 23rd multi-hit game of the season and fourth three-plus hit game. He is also batting .327 with four home runs and nine RBI in his last 15 games against the Tigers.

The White Sox are 5-12 against the Tigers this season and have been outscored 97-70.

Potential White Sox target comes off board as Madison Bumgarner signs with Diamondbacks

Potential White Sox target comes off board as Madison Bumgarner signs with Diamondbacks

Having already lost out on Zack Wheeler, the White Sox can now scratch another free agent pitcher off the list of potential targets.

Sunday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the Diamondbacks are nearing a five-year deal with former Giants star Madison Bumgarner worth $85 million.

The White Sox weren’t heavily rumored to be pursuing Bumgarner and signing him was somewhat unrealistic. Although the South Siders are looking to add a starting pitcher or two this winter, Bumgarner enjoys hitting and therefore seemed more likely to sign with a National League team. The 30-year-old’s career OPS is .532 but he’s hit 19 homers in 11 seasons.

Adding Bumgarner would have provided the South Siders a veteran starter — one with an excellent postseason track record — to mix with their young rotation featuring Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease. With MadBum off the board, the list of major free agent pitchers continues to shrink. 

Lefties Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu are still available, but other teams that missed out on Bumgarner will shift their focus to the duo. Consequently, the White Sox will face stiff competition if they wish to sign either pitcher. Both were expected to be more affordable than Bumgarner but interested teams may be willing to offer more money to ensure they don’t come out of free agency empty-handed.

Where the White Sox turn next is to be determined. What's certain is they're running out of free agent options to upgrade their rotation.

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Indians signal big shift with trade of Corey Kluber


Indians signal big shift with trade of Corey Kluber

The Indians have won more than 90 games in each of the past four seasons, with three AL Central titles in that span, but big changes are coming in Cleveland.

With rumors of a Francisco Lindor trade still floating around, the Indians have dealt two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to Texas. The return package from the Rangers includes outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and reliever Emmanuel Clase.

DeShields Jr. is a 27-year-old speedster who has struggled offensively since debuting with the Rangers in 2015. He has a career .668 OPS with a .591 OPS in 2018 and a .672 OPS last season. For comparison, White Sox outfielder Adam Engel had a .614 OPS in 2018 and a .687 OPS in 2019.

Clase is a 21-year-old righthander who debuted with the Rangers last season. He is a hard-thrower, capable of reaching 102 mph with his fastball while also getting cut action on it. Clase had a 2.31 ERA in 23.1 innings in the majors in 2019. Still, he is only rated as the No. 30 prospect in the Rangers’ system by MLB Pipeline.

The Kluber trade is relevant to the White Sox because it’s a division power trading away a key player for younger, less established talent. It also shows the price to pay for a noteworthy pitcher in a trade.

If the White Sox fail to land a marquee starting pitcher in free agency, a trade is the next route.

The Kluber deal may have implications for the Cubs as well. Texas appears to be intent on competing with the Astros, A's and Angels in the AL West. The Rangers have been linked to free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson, and if he winds up in Texas, that would clarify possible trade partners for Kris Bryant.

Back in the AL Central, Kluber was a stud for the Indians from 2014-2018. He surpassed 200 innings each of those seasons and had a 2.85 ERA in that five-year period.

Last season, however, Kluber was limited to 35.2 innings in seven starts after getting hit by a line drive on May 1, which fractured his right arm. Even before the injury, the 33-year-old righthander struggled with a 5.80 ERA and the highest walk rate of his career (15 in 35.2 innings).

The Indians didn’t win the AL Central last season, but the fact that they won 93 games with only seven mostly ineffective starts from Kluber is a sign that he may not be as essential as he was in previous years.

Perhaps the return for Kluber is more a sign of a lack of belief in him after a tough 2019, but this level of package is something the White Sox could put together without trading a core piece of the future.

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