White Sox

Sox drop series finale to Porcello, Tigers

734220.png

Sox drop series finale to Porcello, Tigers

CHICAGO (AP) Gerald Laird homered among his three hits to back a strong outing by Rick Porcello and lead the Detroit Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the White Sox on Sunday, snapping Chicago's four-game winning streak.Porcello (1-0) was sharp against an aggressive Chicago lineup. He allowed five hits, struck out four and didn't issue a walk in 7 2-3 innings.Laird homered to left against Chris Sale (1-1) leading off the third. Detroit added single runs in the fifth and sixth, both runs scoring on wild pitches, and two in the ninth.The White Sox brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Jose Valverde struck out Dayan Viciedo to end the game.Sale breezed through the first but struggled to command his off-speed pitches after that, racking up 102 pitches in five-plus innings. He struck out five and walked two, managing to keep the damage to a minimum.Prince Fielder doubled, scored and drove in a run for Detroit. Delmon Young added two hits and is batting .350 over 243 lifetime at-bats against the White Sox.Laird hit a wind-aided double in the fifth, then singled and scored in the ninth, in addition to his first home run of the season.Viciedo hit his second homer for Chicago, a solo shot in the eighth. A.J. Pierzynski singled in a run in the ninth.Eduardo Escobar singled to chase Porcello in the eighth. Reliever Joaquin Benoit then walked Alejandro De Aza before striking Brent Morel to end the threat. Morel chased a pitch in the dirt on a full count.Adam Dunn doubled twice for Chicago. Paul Konerko doubled against Porcello and improved to 8 for 20 lifetime against the righty, who racked up 12 of his 23 outs on groundballs.Jhonny Peralta scored on Sale's wild pitch in the fifth and Fielder came home on reliever Nate Jones' wild pitch an inning later.The Tigers tacked on two runs against the Chicago bullpen in the ninth, on RBI singles by Ramon Santiago and Fielder.Detroit salvaged the last game of the three-game weekend series, winning for the 22nd time in 30 games against the White Sox. The Tigers have won 12 of their last 18 at U.S. Cellular Field.After scoring 40 runs while winning five of their first six games, the Tigers scored just three runs in dropping the first two games of this series.NOTES: Konerko has a hit in all eight of Chicago's games this season. . Tigers outfielder Clete Thomas was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. Thomas made Detroit's opening-day roster and played in three games before being designated for assignment last week. . Brandon Inge (left groin strain) got his first start of the season as Detroit's designated hitter. He is expected to get regular duty at second base this season, which is not one of the five positions he's played thus far during his 12-year big league career.

Eloy Jimenez not worried about his hip but admits frustration with rookie-year injuries

Eloy Jimenez not worried about his hip but admits frustration with rookie-year injuries

It doesn't sound like Eloy Jimenez's bout of hip soreness that kept him out of the lineup for the first two games of this weekend's series with the Texas Rangers is anything to be concerned about.

But for a player who loathes being limited to sitting and watching, it's just the latest injury-related bummer during a rookie season that's seen several of them.

General manager Rick Hahn started his press conference Thursday with the news that Jimenez was scratched from the starting lineup, delaying the on-field reunion of three of the team's young core players. Jimenez, Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada, all three of whom have sat through lengthy stays on the injured list this summer, have played just one inning together since late June.

With the season in late August, that's not great.

That's not likely to have cascading negative effects on the White Sox ability to contend in 2020 or the individual developments of each player. After all, Anderson and Moncada remain in the midst of breakout seasons. Anderson's been smoking hot in August, with a .400/.419/.567 slash line on the month. Moncada returned from the IL on Thursday and promptly banged out a pair of extra-base hits, including a two-run homer.

Jimenez hasn't had the same level of success as the two guys on the left side of the infield, though that hasn't been a massive surprise. While expectations were sky high — any more missed time from Jimenez will directly impact the chances of my overzealous preseason prediction of 36 home runs coming true — it's not at all shocking to see any player, even one with as much potential as Jimenez, go through rookie-year growing pains. Just look at what Moncada went through in his first full season in the big leagues in 2018.

Jimenez's "struggles," if you want to call them that, haven't been quite as pronounced as Moncada's thanks to the sheer fact that every time Jimenez launches a ball to dead center he provides a thrilling glimpse of the future, of the player he's supposed to be one day. There have been stretches of that player, but they've been slowed or flat out stopped by injuries.

The two big ones, the ones that landed Jimenez on the IL, aren't expected to be recurring problems. The first, as manager Rick Renteria will be quick to remind you, came when Jimenez made a play he shouldn't have attempted to make, trying to, as Renteria put it, "climb a wall" while going after a home-run ball. The second one was of the freak variety, him banging his elbow into Charlie Tilson in the outfield.

But whether they'll repeat themselves or not, those injuries brought his momentum at the plate to a halt. A slow first few games had Jimenez's batting average at .167 and his on-base percentage at .231 on April 5. In the 15 games that followed, he owned a .273 batting average and a .322 on-base percentage. That momentum was stopped by the first injured-list stint, which lasted nearly a month.

After returning, Jimenez had a great month of June, with a .284/.340/.602 slash line to go along with eight homers in 24 games. But by the middle of July, he was on the IL again after whacking his funny bone in that collision with Tilson. The numbers have not been good since he came back from that absence: a .235/.257/.439 line in 24 games.

"Little bit, yeah," Jimenez said Friday, asked if the injuries have been frustrating. "Because they started to happened when I was starting to feel good at the plate."

"He's obviously had a couple of things go on," Renteria said. "Anytime you have an interruption, it can throw the rhythm off a little bit, but he's still making adjustments just like anybody else and learning how to do it at the major league level. He'll be fine."

Just like there are no long-term concerns over Jimenez's hip, Renteria showed there are no concerns over Jimenez's long-term prospects as a dominant bat in the middle of the White Sox batting order of the future. It certainly wouldn't be unexpected, come 2020, to see Jimenez make a jump similar to the one Moncada made this season.

But in the middle of a season spent learning what big league pitchers are trying to do against him, the injuries haven't helped Jimenez.

He's surely hoping this brief absence stemming from the hip issue is the last of them in 2019.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

In stellar return from injured list, only Yoan Moncada's pride hurt in embarrassing tumble

In stellar return from injured list, only Yoan Moncada's pride hurt in embarrassing tumble

On the day he returned from a weeks-long stay on the injured list with a hamstring strain, the sight of Yoan Moncada face-planting coming out of the batter's box was enough to make an entire fan base hold its breath.

Fans weren't alone, either. Asked if his heart skipped a beat when Moncada hit the ground in the seventh-inning, manager Rick Renteria went a step further.

"Two beats," he laughed.

Moncada was fine, it turned out, hurting nothing but his pride on that embarrassing tumble. The longest lasting effect will be the continued ribbing from his teammates. Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez wouldn't let him hear the end of it before, during or after the third baseman's postgame meeting with the media.

"They've been all over me about that," Moncada said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "They say I have weak legs and I need to more work in the gym.

"Everything's good. I have a scratch on my knee, but it's OK."

Other than that on-field folly, Moncada was stellar in his first game back from the IL. He blasted a homer into The Goose Island in his second trip to the plate, a two-run shot that kind of busted things open in what was a dominant 6-1 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers. He added a double in his third at-bat.

Moncada's 2019 slash line is up to .303/.359/.545 after picking up those two extra-base knocks Thursday night, continuing a breakout season that's seen him go from 217 strikeouts in 2018 to the White Sox best hitter a year later.

The 2019 season is about the development of the young, core guys much more than it is about the win-loss record at the end of the year. Moncada is one of those young, core guys, and his big season has been one of the things that has fans and onlookers thinking about 2020 as the year that could see the White Sox move from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Moncada and the rest of these young White Sox have a handful of weeks remaining in the 2019 to create some momentum for 2020. While offseason additions, the return of a healthy Michael Kopech and the eventual arrivals of top-ranked prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal will have plenty to do with changing the landscape over the coming months, Moncada and Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez and James McCann and Jose Abreu and Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease can move the ball closer to the goal, to borrow a sports metaphor from a different sport, with their efforts over the next month and change.

For Moncada, the easiest way to do that is to simply stay on the field.

"I think our goal right now is just to stay healthy and play as free as we can," he said before Thursday's game. "Just try to do the things we know we can do and just take advantage of being healthy and being on the field.

"I think we're going to have a strong finish to the season and hopefully we're going to carry that to next season."

Fans know that importance, too, still waiting for the young trio of Moncada, Anderson and Jimenez to all play together in a full game for the first time since late June. That was supposed to happen Thursday, before Jimenez was scratched from the lineup with some mild hip soreness that neither general manager Rick Hahn nor Renteria seemed too concerned about.

But that heightened alertness for the health of these young, core players caused that brief second of panic when Moncada hit the dirt Thursday night.

Thankfully for the White Sox, Dr. Renteria got to the bottom of things rather quickly.

"It looked awkward, but you could tell he stumbled out of the box," Renteria said. "He was staying down there for a little bit. That’s when I started getting concerned.

"But when I go out there, he gets up right away. I said, 'You are little embarrassed right now, aren’t you?' He said, ‘No, it’s my knee.’

"I said, ‘You are embarrassed.' And he started smiling. That’s all it was. He was fine."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.