White Sox

Top 10 White Sox home games of 2016


Top 10 White Sox home games of 2016

The weather hasn’t quite warmed up in Chicago yet, but we’re just over a month until the re-tooled White Sox begin the 2016 season. With that in mind, we’re looking at the 10 best home games of the upcoming season. 

Friday, April 8 vs. Cleveland (3:10 p.m.)

The White Sox play their first game at U.S. Cellular Field in 2016 after a four-game series at Oakland against an Indians team that, like the White Sox, harbors a hope to compete for the AL Central this year. 

Tuesday, May 3 vs. Boston (7:10 p.m.) 

Boston’s only trip to Chicago comes from May 3-5, which means one last chance to see David Ortiz play before he retires at the end of the 2016 season. 

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Friday, May 20 vs. Kansas City (7:10 p.m.)

The White Sox don’t play the defending World Series champions until this May 20-22 series at U.S. Cellular Field. Given how heated things got between these two teams last year, there could be more intrigue to this series than just the White Sox trying to knock off the American League’s most recent power — even if Jeff Samardzija, who was at the center of that brawl between the two teams last April, isn’t here anymore. 

Monday, July 4 vs. New York Yankees (1:10 p.m.)

The Yankees, somewhat surprisingly, hosted (and lost) last year’s American League Wild Card game, and might have another playoff run in their aging, expensive roster. This game, and three-game series, could be big near the midway point of the season for the White Sox to help solidify themselves as playoff contenders. 

Sunday, July 10 vs. Atlanta (1:10 p.m.)

A.J. Pierzynski turns 40 at the end of the 2016 calendar year, so the White Sox three-game series against Atlanta from July 8-10 may be the final time he visits Chicago as a a player. He hit .300 in 2015, so perhaps 2016 won’t be his final season, but catchers approaching 40 generally don’t have long shelf lives. Tyler Flowers — who once again is Pierzynksi’s backup — will also return to the South Side in this series. 

Monday, July 25 vs. Cubs (7:10 p.m.)

Tuesday, July 26 vs. Cubs (7:10 p.m.)

The Cubs are projected by just about everyone around baseball to be the best team in the sport this summer, but these Crosstown series are notoriously unpredictable. And if the White Sox are in playoff contention as well? The four games between the two Chicago clubs could be a fun throwback to those heated Crosstown games of the late 1990s and 2000s. 

Monday, Sept. 5 vs. Detroit (3:10 p.m.)

The White Sox final series against Detroit — which went out and splurged on right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and outfielder Justin Upton this winter — begins on Labor Day and comes in the middle of a 20-game stretch against AL Central opponents that could make or break the White Sox playoff hopes. 

[MORE: Carson Fulmer strikes out two in White Sox intrasquad game]

Sunday, Sept. 11 vs. Kansas City (1:10 p.m.)

This matinee represents Kansas City’s final trip to Chicago, and if both teams are in playoff contention, could provide for an awfully entertaining afternoon.  

Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. Minnesota (2:10 p.m)

The White Sox end the 2016 season at home against a Minnesota side that made a surprise playoff push in 2015. If Rick Hahn & Co.’s plan comes together, this game will at best be a celebration of a playoff berth, or potentially an edge-of-your-seat afternoon to see if the White Sox reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. 

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view


As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson has in his mind an ideal number of times he’d strike out in a season.

“If I had it my way I’d probably strike out 20 times a year but I don’t know how you do that, really,” Davidson said before the Sox defeated the Royals 9-3 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It’s not realistic for an everyday player to go through the season with that few strikeouts, especially on a Sox team that entered Friday’s game with 1,163 of them, the second-highest total in the major-leagues behind the Rangers’ 1,168. The Sox were on pace to strike out 1,570 times, which would break the franchise record of 1,397 set last season.

Against the Royals, the Sox struck out seven times, but made more than enough contact—including three-run home runs from Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico—to win for the eighth time in their last 14 games.

With the Sox going through the trials and tribulations that come along with a radical rebuild, perhaps it’s not a surprise the team strikes out as much as it has the past two seasons. They are young, aggressive at the plate and still learning at the major-league level.

“It’s just some of the experience and learning your swing and trying to improve on it every single year,” said Davidson, who went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts Friday night. “I don’t think coming up (in the minors) everybody was striking out as much as we do here so that just shows that the competition is better and we’re just also trying to learn.

“The MLB (web site) has a section just showing how nasty pitches are,” Davidson added. “Guys are really good here. It’s just a part of learning. It’s about seeing the ball, learning the zone, learning counts and understanding when they’re going to throw stirkes and when they’re going to throw balls and also just putting the bat on the ball.”

The Sox were particularly susceptible to the strikeout when they fanned 10-plus times during an eight-game stretch from Aug. 5-13, a franchise record. They fell one game short of matching the dubious major-league record of nine consecutive games with 10-plus Ks set by the Brewers in 2017.

Sox manager Rick Renteria said the cause of all the strikeouts “depends on who you want to look at. You could look at it collectively (or) you can look at it individually. We have one of the young men (Yoan Moncada) who has quite a few under his belt, both looking and swinging (for a major-league leading 172 this season). Two-strike approach obviously is something we talk about a lot and still has to be implemented in practical terms so that it's useful. We don't want our guys swinging out of the zone. We do want them to be able to defend themselves and keep a ball in play possibly when need be.

“But I'm not thinking in regards of how (strikeouts) continue to mount and what that indicates or doesn't indicate,” Renteria added. “We look at all of our guys individually and figure out what it is we can help them with in terms of attacking that strike zone and being ready to hit.”

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury


Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

Rick Renteria proved once again that he won’t let his boys quit.

The White Sox manager pulled Avisail Garcia from Friday night’s 9-3 victory over the Royals after the outfielder failed to run hard out of the box during a first-inning flyout. It wasn’t the first time Renteria has made a point by pulling a player during a game. Garcia was yanked from a spring training contest for not running hard out of the box and Tim Anderson got the same treatment in July.

“I didn’t think (Garcia) had given me an effort on the Texas Leaguer,” Renteria said after Friday’s victory. “If the ball falls in, you have to possibly advance.”

Renteria was quick to point out that Garcia is playing with a right knee injury that the right fielder said would have to be addressed—likely with surgery—during the offseason.

“He does have a knee that’s bothering him a little bit,” Renteria said. “I told him, ‘you certainly looked like something was bothering you.’ He said, ‘I felt it click when I came out of the box.’ ‘I said you understand you can still give me a better effort out of the box (and) he said, ‘yes, I understand that. I’m feeling this.’ We addressed it a little bit. He’ll be back in there (Saturday night). He realizes he still feels he can give us a little better effort.”

Garcia, who has been on the disabled list twice this season due to hamstring injuries, said he understood Renteria’s decision. 

“I felt a click (in the knee) and I didn’t run,” Garcia said. “Even if I felt a click I can do a better effort if I want to play and I want to play. That’s why they take me out. I felt a click and I was a little bit scared about it but I’m OK.”

Renteria said it is important down the stretch to communicate with Garcia when it comes to managing his knee.

“That’s why we had the conversation,” Renteria said. “He doesn’t want to come out of the lineup. He says he can play every day, he says, ‘I can manage this, I can play through this, I’ll be fine.’ I said then give me a little more effort on some of those plays. I get it that you may feel it but if you feel it, just explain to me what’s going on and we can manage it that way. He really doesn’t want to come out. He wants to play.

“We’ve never had a problem with (Garcia),” Renteria added. “Despite a couple times here or there where we’ve taken him out, if you watch him he busts his rear end pretty much all the time. That was a rarity. At that particular point in time it was my decision to pull him out.”

Garcia said he will continue to play through the knee issue.

“I just have to keep going,” Garcia said. “But I was scared a little bit because I felt like a click. But at the same time, I didn’t run hard enough so I’m OK with it. I’m good to play.”

When asked if Garcia will get the knee taken care of following the season, he responded, “yeah, for sure. One-hundred percent.”