White Sox

Struggling Avisail Garcia makes an impact robbing home runs

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Struggling Avisail Garcia makes an impact robbing home runs

Avisail Garcia isn’t producing at the level the White Sox hoped he would, but he’s still found a way to make a positive impact on two games with his play in the field.

Specifically, Garcia has robbed two home runs this summer, both of them in key situations. He took away what would’ve been a ninth inning, game-tying home run off the bat of Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis on July 4, and on Saturday against the New York Yankees he leaped to keep Didi Gregorius’ deep fly ball in the park.

Had Gregorious’ drive landed in the right field bullpen instead of Garcia’s glove, New York would’ve taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the third that would’ve altered how starter John Danks fared against the American League East leaders.

[SHOP: Buy an Avisail Garcia jersey shirt]

“He’s a big kid that’s athletic, so he’s able to get back far enough to be able to take those away,” manager Robin Ventura said. “And they’ve been big ones for us. The one in the ninth inning against Baltimore was a big one and then last night, it changes the complexity of that game if that goes over the fence.”

Still, Garcia is rated by FanGraphs’ WAR as the third-worst position player this season (-0.9 WAR, tied with Boston’s Hanley Ramirez and Detroit’s Nick Castellanos). He has the third-worst UZR (-5.3) and second-worst defensive runs saved (-9) among qualified right fielders. At the plate, he’s hitting .264 with a .670 OPS and has a .253/.295/.283 slash line since the start of July.

[MORE: Melky Cabrera emerging as clubhouse leader for White Sox]

Ventura said the 24-year-old Garcia’s issues come with this being his first full season in the major leagues.

“It’s very rare when a guy gets in the league in his first year and doesn’t have a moment or two that he goes through some struggles,” Ventura said. “He has to be able to learn, you have to withstand it and still keep your confidence and grind through it. It’s hard. It’s a hard game and you’re facing the best pitchers in the world every night.”

The White Sox dug a deep hole in the season’s first three months and need all the wins they can get in August and September to gain solid footing in the AL playoff race. For all of Garcia’s deficiencies this season, those home runs he’s robbed may have saved two wins for the White Sox — wins the team, at this point, couldn’t afford to have turned into losses.

“I try to play good defense and something for my team,” Garcia said. “If I’m not hitting, I like to play good defense because that helps the team a lot.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: What it would take for the White Sox to sign Manny Machado

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: What it would take for the White Sox to sign Manny Machado

It might be a long shot for the White Sox to sign free agent Manny Machado, but here on the White Sox Talk Podcast, we like dark horses. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber discuss what it would take to bring Machado to the South Side. Plus, is he "the" guy the White Sox are targeting this offseason? Will the Rockies listen to trade offers for Nolan Arenado a year before he reaches free agency? Plus, Chuck talks about a cost-controlled, All-Star on a rebuilding team that could be an answer at third base.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

On this day in 2005: White Sox pitchers put the CG in Chicago

On this day in 2005: White Sox pitchers put the CG in Chicago

Mark Buehrle. Jon Garland. Freddy García. José Contreras.

The 2005 White Sox had four consecutive complete games to finish off the 2005 ALCS — Contreras took his turn in Game 5 against the Angels 13 years ago Tuesday. How special was that run of starting pitching to finish that series? Consider the following six statements:

— No team has had more than two complete games in a single postseason, let alone a postseason series, since.

— There has been a grand total of four complete games in 188 postseason games (through Monday) since the beginning of 2016.

— Those 2005 White Sox remain the only team with four complete games in a single LCS (which went to a best-of-seven format in 1985).

— They are the only team since the 1968 Tigers (in the World Series) with at least four complete games in any postseason series.

— They are the only team since the 1956 Yankees (in the World Series) with at least four consecutive complete games in a series. (The Yankees had five in a row: Games 3 through 7.)

— They are the only team since the 1928 Yankees (in the World Series) with at least four consecutive complete-game wins in a series (Games 1 through 4).

Take a moment to look back and appreciate what Don Cooper’s troops were able to accomplish in that series. The way the game is played nowadays, we will never see it again.