White Sox

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

chris-sale-09-05-16.jpg

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.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

0520-reynaldo-lopez.jpg
USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

0130_carlos_rodon.jpg
USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

Carlos Rodon's return to the South Side is coming soon.

The top-five draft pick recovering from last fall's shoulder surgery made his first rehab start Saturday with Class A Kannapolis and threw well. Rodon allowed just one run on three hits in his five innings of work, striking out six and walking none.

The White Sox announced Sunday that Rodon's second rehab start will come Thursday with Triple-A Charlotte.

As for the exact date Rodon returns to the big league roster, it's unknown at this point. General manager Rick Hahn said that Rodon will make multiple rehab starts. One might look to the pitcher's recovery from a spring injury last year as a guide. Rodon made four rehab starts in June before debuting with the White Sox on June 28.

This recovery is different, of course. Rodon is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on May 28.