White Sox

Sox offense sputters in loss

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Sox offense sputters in loss

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Tommy Milone's changeup felt the best it has yet. His cut fastball in kept Chicago's hitters off balance all night.He just wishes he could have finished what he started with a complete game - yet there's plenty of time for that."It's still early, definitely," Milone said.Pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki doubled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Milone outdueled Gavin Floyd and the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 2-0 on Tuesday night."Probably the best my arm has felt so far this year," Milone said. "Just being able to make pitches and starting hitters off with a strike and then working from there and keeping the off-speed pitches low."Daric Barton drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and Luke Hughes struck out before Matt Thornton relieved Floyd (1-3). Suzuki doubled to left and Barton scored easily, then Eric Sogard added an RBI single as the A's ended a 16-inning scoreless stretch going back to Sunday's 5-1 victory against Cleveland."I don't know how many innings it was we didn't score. It felt like 100," A's manager Bob Melvin said.Chicago's stellar pitching produced yet another strong outing on a road trip full of them, but the White Sox had their four-game winning streak snapped along with a six-game road winning streak.A night after Jake Peavy pitched a three-hitter in a 4-0 White Sox win Monday - Oakland's fourth time being blanked - Floyd did his part. On Saturday in Seattle, Phil Humber pitched a perfect game in a 4-0 win over the Mariners.Milone (3-1) matched Floyd all night until Oakland's offense finally capitalized. The A's did plenty on defense to back Floyd, turning double plays and throwing out Chicago's Brent Morel on a steal attempt in the eighth after he hit a two-out single."Against that lineup, pretty spectacular," Melvin said of Milone.Milone, acquired in the winter trade that sent All-Star Gio Gonzalez to Washington, allowed three hits over eight efficient innings, struck out five and didn't walk a batter in a 98-pitch outing. Grant Balfour finished the four-hit shutout, Oakland's fourth, for his fifth save in as many tries in a game that went 2 hours, 27 minutes."It's obviously something I want to do. I want to finish the game," Milone said. "There's not any rush to get me out there and pitch over the pitch count."Floyd, who came in with a 3-1 record and 2.35 ERA with 35 strikeouts in his previous seven career starts against the A's, allowed two hits and one run, struck out six and walked two in 7 1-3 innings."He pitched great. It's tough to pitch like that and get a loss. This one stings because your guy pitches such a good game and we couldn't do much on the offensive side," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Their guy pitched a little better. He kept us off balance and we couldn't get anything going off him."The White Sox were trying for their longest road winning streak since a seven-gamer from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6, 2010. Still, Chicago's 7-2 start away from home was the club's best since winning 10 of its first 12 on the road in 2005.Chicago's Alex Rios went 0 for 3 and had his 11-game hitting streak snapped, with Adam Dunn pinch-hitting for him in the ninth. Dunn struck out swinging to end it."I thought I was going to hit but if he thinks Adam is better there, let's go for it. We're trying to win ball games," Rios said.A's left fielder Coco Crisp was held out of the lineup after he still experienced symptoms of his recent illness after playing all nine innings Monday following five games out because of a bug and inner ear issue. Melvin said Crisp will rest through Thursday's off day and perhaps be ready Friday at Baltimore.Notes:
Humber, who pitched the 21st perfect game in major league history Saturday at Seattle, flew home Tuesday morning to be with his wife before the birth of their first child. Humber - claimed off waivers from the A's on Jan. 18, 2011, is set to pitch Thursday at home vs. Boston. ... Jarrod Parker, who grew up in Indiana as a Chicago fan, makes his A's debut in Wednesday afternoon's series finale. "I grew up a White Sox fan, so it's going to be cool," he said. ... Oakland SS Cliff Pennington and C Suzuki each had the night off, before Suzuki entered to pinch hit in the eighth and stayed in behind the plate. ... A's owner Lew Wolff watched batting practice from the field and confirmed Barry Bonds' trial lawyer, Allen Ruby, is now on the legal team for the club's efforts to build a new ballpark in San Jose.Box Score

White Sox Talk Podcast: What we've learned about the White Sox in 2019

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: What we've learned about the White Sox in 2019

A lot has happened with the White Sox this season. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber cover it all. They discuss the great (3:00), the good (14:40), the bad (20:10) and the ugly (26:20). They also rate the moves the White Sox made last offseason (32:30)

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Add another item to White Sox rebuilding to-do list: Matching Jose Berrios and dethroning the Twins

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USA TODAY

Add another item to White Sox rebuilding to-do list: Matching Jose Berrios and dethroning the Twins

Before the White Sox can worry about dethroning the Minnesota Twins — who despite the mathematically relevant presence of the Cleveland Indians appear to be steaming toward an AL Central title — they’ll have to cross plenty of other items off their rebuilding to-do list.

Rick Hahn’s front office needs to go to work this offseason, adding starting pitching and a left-handed bat of some consequence. Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal need to be promoted to the major leagues. Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease need to go from learning-on-the-job rookies to the impact players their prospect rankings said they could be.

But if the White Sox roster, perhaps as soon as next season, blossoms into one capable of contending for a division title, there’s still the matter of besting the team currently at the hop of the heap.

The White Sox lost for the 12th time in 17 games against the division-rival Twins on Monday night, with a familiar face doing a familiar thing. Jose Berrios entered the night with a 2.40 career ERA against the White Sox, and that number got smaller with his 7.1 innings of two-run ball.

Things looked like they might have gone differently, with the White Sox scratching across a run in the first inning and James McCann hitting a home run to start the second. But that’s when Berrios reverted to All-Star form, and the White Sox offense did just about nothing the rest of the way. (It didn’t help, of course, that the White Sox made some shoddy plays in the field and ran into some outs on the bases, more things that need fixing on the way to contender status.)

Berrios, with his ERA down to 3.58 after Monday’s effort, is on pace to finish with a career best in that category. He hasn’t necessarily been the kind of pitcher that Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole have been this season for the Houston Astros, but he’s a bona fide ace of an October-bound staff. And it’s those types of big-time players the White Sox will have to match and beat if they want to climb to the top of the baseball mountain.

It doesn’t look impossible, considering the White Sox already have an All-Star pitcher and an ace of their staff in Lucas Giolito, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday in the Land of 10,000 Lakes before he was shut down for the rest of the year with a mild lat strain.

But cast your mind back to the last time he threw at Target Field, when he showed how dominant he can be, even against an offense as potent as Minnesota’s. Giolito twirled a complete-game, three-hit, 12-strikeout shutout in that game and welcomed the Twins to the South Side with six innings of two-run ball in the following start.

As the Verlander-Cole Astros are showing, though, it takes more than one ace to make a run at a World Series. The Twins are going to try — and that’s no knock on their pitching staff, just pointing out that they win games and, eventually, a division title by out-slugging their opponents. White Sox fans know it well, having seen Nelson Cruz hit enough feet of home runs at Guaranteed Rate Field this season to get all the way back to Minneapolis.

And so while Giolito might be able to counter a pitcher like Berrios, the White Sox will need an offense that’s able to beat him and his homer-happy teammates. Reynaldo Lopez wasn’t awful Monday night, but five runs against him was plenty to get the Twins past the silenced White Sox.

That’s where Jimenez and Robert and Madrigal and McCann and Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu are supposed to come in. Only McCann could muster an RBI hit against Berrios on Monday. Jimenez added his 28th homer of the season off Twins closer Sergio Romo in the ninth inning.

That’s a group of hitters that, while very promising, is still developing. White Sox brass keeps telling us that as good as Moncada and Anderson have been during their breakout seasons, they will keep getting better. Jimenez is on his way to 30 homers as a rookie but has generally had an up-and-down season offensively. Robert and Madrigal have yet to taste the major leagues. There’s room for all of them to get better, to form the core of a lineup that could have even pitchers like Berrios sweating, that could go toe-to-toe with a powerful lineup like the Twins’.

But that all has to fall into place. Until it does, unseating the Twins will remain on the to-do list, behind a few more pressing matters. Until it does, Berrios will keep pitching lights out and the Twins will keep hitting balls out. Those are the kinds of things division champs do.

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