White Sox

Todd Frazier's homer in 10th sends White Sox past Royals

Todd Frazier's homer in 10th sends White Sox past Royals

KANSAS CITY -- The White Sox solved their late-inning woes at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night.

All it took was Jacob Turner and Dan Jennings.

Todd Frazier belted a three-run home run and the White Sox overcame a blown save by David Robertson to beat the Kansas City Royals 7-5 in 10 innings in front of 27,134. Shortly after Justin Morneau’s fourth hit, a one-out double, put a pair in scoring position, Frazier ripped a first-pitch fastball by Kelvin Herrera for his 31st homer. The White Sox won for the first time in Kansas City in four tries this season despite their fourth blown save.

“Here it’s always been tough for us,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They can scratch stuff across.

“It was a nice pushback after that, we get a couple guys on. (Jose Abreu) gets on, Morneau has a great at-bat with a double down the line, hanging in there and getting the barrel on the bat and then Frazier with the big one. Here we need all of them.”

The White Sox had been here before.

In their previous trip in May, the bullpen allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings and took the loss in all three games as the Royals swept the White Sox. Seemingly every reliever got roughed up in a horrifying series.

Robertson, who allowed six runs in a non-save opportunity in an 8-7 loss on May 28, surrendered the tying run again on Tuesday. He allowed a leadoff single to Kendrys Morales and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson stole second and scored on a two-out RBI single by Alcides Escobar. But Robertson, who has blown five of 32 tries, rebounded and retired Raul Mondesi to send it to extras.

Abreu then started a one-out rally in the 10th with a single off Herrera and Morneau yanked a double to right field to bring up Frazier. Combined with a May 9 grand slam in Texas, Frazier is the first player with two go-ahead homers in extra innings in the same season since Colorado’s Alex Gonzalez in 2010.

“It was big,” Frazier said. “We pick each other up. Dave gave up that RBI single, but we knew in our heads ‘Let’s pick the guy up.’ He’s been doing great all year. I needed that in the biggest way in the world.

“Frustrating day. Trying to find my swing a little bit. Finally, I felt a little connection. I was happy about that. I was happy I could help contribute to the team.”

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With Nate Jones having pitched a scoreless eighth, Ventura had to determine who was the next to pitch. Turner allowed one run to score, but recorded two outs in the bottom of the 10th. Jennings then struck out Eric Hosmer to end it and earn the first save of his career.

“Not the normal guys coming in at the end, but Jacob has been moving up the ladder getting in there late in the game and Jennings is tough against lefties,” Ventura said.

The blown save cost Chris Sale his 15 th victory.

In search of his first win since July 2, Sale got stronger as the game progressed. The left-hander fell behind 3-1 in the third inning after he surrendered three consecutive one-out hits, including a two-run single by Hosmer.

But Sale stranded Hosmer at third and got on a roll to retired 13 straight. He allowed three earned runs and seven hits in seven innings and struck out seven.

Much like Sale, the White Sox offense came to life after a slow start against Edinson Volquez. Trailing 3-1, the White Sox had five straight two-out singles in the fifth to pull ahead. Morneau had the last to make it a 4-3 game.

The rally had Sale and the White Sox in line for a victory until Kansas City spoiled another ninth inning. But thanks to Frazier, Turner and Jennings, Sale still had the chance to talk about a win afterward.

“We’re listening to music right now and it’s a good time so that’s all that really matters,” Sale said. “I’m not a big fan of individual stats. To be able to come back after something like that, it’s big. It says a lot about our guys, especially being here in this stadium.”

Dylan Covey attempting to right the ship via mechanics and mentality


Dylan Covey attempting to right the ship via mechanics and mentality

It was only a couple of months ago that Dylan Covey had an earned-run average of 2.22 and was being touted as a possible future stalwart in the White Sox rotation.

Fast forward to the present, when the 27-year-old right-hander is sitting on a four-game losing skid and sports a 6.06 ERA.

So what happened?

Location, location, location.

Covey has struggled to keep the ball down in the zone and has paid the price as hitters are teeing off on the high offerings.

“I just kind of got away from trying to keep the ball down in the zone and have that be my main focus,” Covey said. “Sometimes when I’m up in the zone I’m trying to be up there, but I need to get back to my bread and butter, which is pretty much being down in the zone with everything.”

The issues have been a combination of mechanics and mentality, according to Covey.

“Having good mechanics will lead to getting the ball down into the zone but more so it’s having the focus be down in the zone,” he said.

Covey’s next attempt to right the ship will be Saturday when he’s scheduled to pitch against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. Despite his struggles, which include a 1-6 record and 7.71 ERA in his last seven starts, manager Rick Renteria has continued to give Covey the ball.

“I’ve kind of been given the luxury to have a couple of opportunities and I appreciate that,” Covey said. “They see me work and they see the stuff that I have. When I can harness it and get control of it, it can be pretty good.”

Renteria said the Sox are “confident and hopeful” that Covey can turn things around.

“In real terms, he’s the one that's got to do it,” Renteria added. “He’s worked and gained a lot of experience and knowledge and had some successes this year that I think will bode well for him. Getting it down, for him is really, really important because the ball has a lot of tremendous action below the zone. We need him to do that in order to be effective and we believe he will continue to progress in that regard.”

Covey said that a stretch from May 23-June 13 when he went 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA gave him the confidence he needs to get through this difficult stretch.

“I’ve seen it this year--I’ve had the success,” Covey said. “When things are working for me I know I can be a really good pitcher. I just need to limit the mistakes and then learn to make an adjustment sooner rather than later.”

With about six weeks remaining in the Sox’s season, Covey plans to use his opportunities on the mound to secure a place on the 2019 roster.

“That’s where a lot of guys on this team are,” Covey said. “Obviously, we want to win games right now but for me, I want to finish this season strong and get some momentum going into next year and leave off on a good note. Just to have that feeling of, ‘OK, this is what I did last year and how I finished and let’s just carry on from there and pick it up from where I left off.’”

Suspended catcher Welington Castillo working his way back to White Sox with minor league rehab stint


Suspended catcher Welington Castillo working his way back to White Sox with minor league rehab stint

With about a week until the end of his 80-game suspension, Welington Castillo his making his way back to the White Sox.

The veteran catcher joined Triple-A Charlotte for a rehab assignment Friday, in the Knights' lineup for their afternoon game.

Castillo has been serving his suspension since May 24, when Major League Baseball handed down its punishment for his testing positive for a banned substance. He's eligible to return Aug. 23, just nine days before rosters expand.

The White Sox added Castillo over the offseason after he had career years offensively and defensively with the Baltimore Orioles during the 2017 season. The hope was he could provide a veteran presence and help out with the development of the team's young pitching staff — and of course that his bat could help bolster the team's everyday lineup. A two-year contract with an option for a third meant that if all went well, Castillo could be around for the start of the team's transition from rebuilding to contending, a sort of bridge to top catching prospect Zack Collins.

Things obviously did not work out as planned, and Castillo has missed months of time working with the pitchers while he's served his suspension.

Still, his return will perhaps be a welcome help to young pitchers still learning how to succeed against major league lineups, guys like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, who have had inconsistent first full campaigns in the big leagues — not to mention any young pitchers who might be called up from the minor leagues over the season's final month and a half.

As for the team's catching situation, Omar Narvaez has done very well at the plate since taking over as the starting catcher when Castillo was suspended. Since the beginning of June, Narvaez is slashing .356/.433/.559, and his season batting average of .282 is one of the highest on the team. Kevan Smith, the No. 2 catcher, is hitting .283 on the season. Castillo will return with a .267/.309/.466 slash line in 33 games he played in before being suspended.