White Sox

Tim Anderson sparks White Sox victory over Indians

Tim Anderson sparks White Sox victory over Indians

Tim Anderson’s glove and speed aren’t the only impressive parts of his game.

The young shortstop had three hits on Monday night and drove in the go-ahead run as the White Sox pounded the Cleveland Indians 11-4 in front of 12,588 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Jose Abreu had two RBIs and Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier homered as the White Sox became only the 20th team in baseball history to score a run in each inning it batted. Miguel Gonzalez notched the 500th strikeout of his career pitched 6 2/3 strong innings to improve to 4-6.

“Give credit to T.A. — he had a heck of a game,” Eaton said. “(Three hits) there early and taking the extra base and driving some guys in. Hats off to him — he really got us going on all facets and Avisail as well — hitting the home run he had there and then putting the bat on the ball there late.”

It’s not as if Anderson’s bat hasn’t received plenty of attention since he was promoted in June. His aggressive approach constantly has him swinging at pitches and he entered Monday third among American League rookies with 93 hits in 78 games behind Texas’ Nomar Mazara (127 in 130 games) and Kansas City’s Cheslor Cuthbert (116 in 109 games).

Anderson singled in the first inning to move Eaton into scoring position and Eaton eventually scored on Abreu’s RBI groundout to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. He also singled in the third inning, stole second and scored on Abreu’s double to get the White Sox back within 3-2. After Garcia’s solo homer off Carlos Carrasco tied it in the fourth, Anderson singled to left to drive in Omar Narvaez, who had doubled, to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead. It was the 28th multi-hit effort in 79 games for Anderson, who finished 3-for-5 and is hitting .286/.305/.420 in 352 plate appearances.

A career .301 hitter in the minors, Anderson said the transition to major league pitching has been on par with his expectations. While he has struggled at times, Anderson has displayed the ability to quickly bounce back.

“It’s kind of been the same,” Anderson said. “They’ve been around the strike zone a lot. It’s kind of what I expected. Basically it all boils down to getting a good pitch to hit.

“Especially when (Eaton and I) are both swinging it well, we’re pretty much dangerous. Just to get on, me and him, that puts speed on and anything up the middle or anywhere, basically, you can score from there. It helps a lot.”

The White Sox have improved slightly with Anderson in the lineup; they’ve averaged 4.35 runs per game with him after averaging 4.0 before his promotion from Triple-A Charlotte. That included Monday’s outpouring against seven Cleveland pitchers.

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Eaton’s 13th homer made it a 7-3 game in the sixth with a solo homer to right. Tyler Saladino doubled in a run in the seventh and Eaton singled him in before Frazier blasted a two-run homer in the eighth, his 36th. Garcia started the seventh-inning rally with the third of his career-high four hits.

It’s the second time in White Sox history the club has scored a run in every inning. The other time was May 11, 1949 at home against Boston.

“(Eaton and Anderson) get dangerous,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Even with TA, the speed that gets up there on base. The way Jose has been swinging of late, you get some guys on and it turns into a nice inning for us.”

The offense made an easy winner of Gonzalez, who ran into a bit of bad luck in the second inning and allowed three runs. Jose Ramirez’s fly ball to center should have been caught but a charging Eaton scared Anderson and it dropped in for a double. Lonnie Chisenhall then beat the shift as his routine fly ball to left dropped in for an RBI single and Rajai Davis bounced one over the head of a drawn-in Frazier for an RBI double to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead.

Gonzalez was otherwise just as sharp as he has been since July 1. He entered the game with a 2.38 ERA in his last nine starts. Minus his Aug. 11 outing, when Gonzalez left injured after one-plus inning, he has averaged more than six innings per start over the past 2 1/2 months.

Gonzalez allowed three earned runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.

“It was pretty impressive to watch and be out there and be supportive for my team,” Gonzalez said of the offense. “They really picked me up back there.”

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

Lucas Giolito is having a rough go of things in his second year with the White Sox.

He came into the season with some pretty high expectations after posting a 2.38 ERA in seven starts at the end of the 2017 campaign and then dominating during spring training. But he’s done anything but dominate since this season started, and after one of his worst outings in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he’s got a 7.53 ERA in 10 starts in 2018.

Giolito stuck around for only four outs Thursday, but he allowed the Orioles to do plenty of damage, giving up seven runs on six hits — two of which were back-to-back home runs to start the second inning — and three walks. He leads the American League with his 37 walks.

“I take what I do very seriously. I work as hard as I can at it,” Giolito said. “So when I experience failure like this, it’s kind of hard to deal with. All I can do is come back tomorrow, keep working on things and hopefully have a better one.”

All of Giolito’s struggles have fans wondering why the White Sox haven’t sent him down to Triple-A to work on his craft.

“I don’t foresee that at this particular time,” Rick Renteria said when asked if Giolito could be sent to Triple-A. “I think he’s just a young man who’s got to continue to minimize the emotional aspect of crossing from preparation into the game and staying focused, relaxed and hammer the zone with strikes. And truthfully it’s just first-pitch strike and get after the next one.”

The White Sox have already sent one young pitcher down in Carson Fulmer, who was having a nightmarish time at the big league level. Fulmer’s results were worse than Giolito’s on a regular basis. He got sent down after posting an 8.07 ERA in nine outings.

But hasn’t Giolito suffered through command issues enough to warrant some time away from the major league limelight? According to his manager, Giolito’s situation is vastly different than Fulmer’s.

“I don’t see them anywhere near each other,” Renteria said. “They’re two different competitors in terms of the outcomes that they’ve had. Lucas has at least had situations in which he might have struggled early and been able to gain some confidence through the middle rounds of his start and continue to propel himself to finish some ballgames, give us six or seven innings at times. So it’s two different guys.

“With Gio, I expect that we would have a nice clean start from the beginning, but when he doesn’t I still feel like if he gets through it he’ll settle down and continue to hammer away at what he needs to do in order to get deeper into a ballgame, and that was a little different with Carson. With Carson it was right from the get-go he was struggling, and he had a difficult time extending his outings after the third or fourth because it just kept getting too deep into his pitch count and not really hammering the strike zone as much.”

Renteria is not wrong. Giolito has had a knack to take a rough beginning to a start and turn it into five or six innings. Notably, he gave up a couple first-inning runs and walked seven hitters and still got the win against the Cubs a week and a half ago. And while his first-inning ERA is 10.80 and his second-inning ERA is 12.54, he’s pitched into at least the sixth inning in seven of his 10 starts.

Renteria’s point is that Giolito is learning how to shake off early damage and achieving the goal, most times out, of eating up innings and keeping his team in the game. Those are a couple valuable qualities to develop for a young pitcher. But are those the lone qualities that determine that Giolito is suited to continue his learning process at the major league level? His command remains a glaring problem, and both he and Renteria admitted that his problems are more mental than physical.

“The one thing everyone has to understand is we have to go beyond the physical and attack a little bit more of the mental and emotional and try to connect and slow that down,” Renteria said. “Those aspects are the ones that ultimately, at times, deal in the derailment of the physical action. So if we can kind of calm that down a little bit.

“He’s very focused. Giolito is high intensity. Nice kid but high-intensity young man when he gets on the mound. You might not believe it. He’s going 100 mph. So I think it goes to more just trusting himself, trusting the process, taking it truthfully one pitch at a time.”

Well, if a demotion to the minors isn’t likely, what about moving Giolito to the bullpen? Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale dipped their toes in bullpen waters before moving to the rotation. Could a reversal of that strategy help Giolito?

Well, the current state of the White Sox starting rotation — Fulmer in the minors, Miguel Gonzalez on the 60-day DL and pitchers like James Shields, Hector Santiago and Dylan Covey, who aren’t exactly long-term pieces, getting a lot of starts — doesn’t really allow for another piece to be removed.

“I know they have done it with Rodon and Sale,” Renteria said. “The difference is we don’t have the makeup of the starting rotation that those clubs had in order to put those guys in the ‘pen. We are in a different situation right now. Moving forward, is that something we can possibly do? Absolutely. It has been done with very good success.

“Right now we are in truly discovery mode and adjustment mode and adapting and trying to do everything we can to get these guys to develop their skill sets to be very usable and effective at the major league level and we are doing it to the best of our ability.”

There could be promise in the fact that Giolito has turned a season around as recently as last year. Before he was impressing on the South Side in August and September, he was struggling at Triple-A Charlotte. Even after he ironed things out, things had gotten off to a rocky enough start that he owned a 4.48 ERA and 10 losses when he was called up to the bigs.

It doesn’t seem Giolito will be going back to Charlotte, unless things continue to go in a dramatically poor direction. Right now, these are just more of the growing pains during this rebuilding process. “The hardest part of the rebuild” doesn’t just means wins and losses. It means watching some players struggle through speed bumps as they continue to develop into what the White Sox hope they’ll be when this team is ready to compete.

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

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AP

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

In another example of how amazing Danny Farquhar’s recovery has been, the pitcher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox game on June 1.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm during the sixth inning of the team’s April 20 game against the Houston Astros. But his recovery has been astounding, and he was discharged from the hospital on May 7. Farquhar’s neurosurgeon expects him to be able to pitch again in future seasons.

Farquhar has been back to visit his teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field a couple times since leaving the hospital. June 1 will mark his return to a big league mound, even if it’s only for a ceremonial first pitch with his wife and three children. Doctors, nurses and staff from RUSH University Medical Center will be on hand for Farquhar’s pitch on June 1.

The White Sox announced that in celebration of Farquhar’s recovery, they will donate proceeds from all fundraising efforts on June 1 to the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.