White Sox

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tommy Kahnle has been one of the White Sox brightest bright spots, but fell victim to some tough luck that could ding on his under-the-radar All-Star bid.

Kahnle allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday in front of 28,089 at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking only the sixth time in 31 games the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed a run in 2017.

In the eighth inning, Kahnle allowed a broken bat single to Franklin Barreto, then Ryon Healy reached on a Todd Frazier error. Khris Davis tied the game with a single to left, knocking Kahnle out of the game, and Oakland took the lead when Yonder Alonso blooped a single off David Robertson that plopped into left field out of the reach of Melky Cabrera. Consider the hit probabilities, according to Statcast, of those three hits and the error:

Barreto: 78 percent
Healy: 5 percent
Davis: 62 percent
Alonso: 2 percent

That Kahnle coughed up the lead was surprising given his stealthy success leading a strong back end of the White Sox bullpen this year. The White Sox, prior to Sunday's defeat, were 28-0 when leading after seven innings. 

"Our bullpen's doing a great (job), it really is," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think you can't take away from what they've been doing for us all year long. We've been going to them a lot."

On that improbable Alonso bloop single, Cabrera was shifted more toward center field. 

"He was actually playing a little more to the pull side than he was to the line," Renteria said. "I don't think he was going to be able to get to it, regardless of the effort he might have given us. These guys are all a little fatigued, they're a little tired right now. They're giving you what they've got right now."

Entering Sunday’s game, Kahnle’s 1.2 WAR was sixth-best American League relievers, behind Boston’s Craig Kimbrel (2.2), Houston’s Chris Devenski (1.6), Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (1.6), Los Angeles’ Blake Parker (1.4) and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (1.3). His 44.8 strikeout percentage is among the five best in baseball along with Kimbrel, New York’s Dellin Betances, Los Angeles’ Kenley Jansen and Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel.

Kahnle has been undoubtedly spectacular this year even with Sunday’s hiccup, though with Garcia seeming likely to be on the American League All-Star roster, Terry Francona wouldn’t have to take him to fill the game’s requirement. That this year’s All-Star Game doesn’t count — it’s the first since 2002 that won’t dictate home-field advantage in the World Series — could alter Francona’s roster construction to reward more starters and closers, and the Cleveland Indians manager would certainly be justified if he wanted to take his own setup guy in Miller.

The White Sox handed Kahnle the lead on Adam Engel’s first career home run (a solo shot in the third) and Jose Abreu’s dash home on a passed ball in the fourth. Starter Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Melky Cabrera added a solo home run in the ninth inning, his eighth of the season.

Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce homered off Robertson and Chris Beck, respectively, in the ninth inning to give the A’s a comfortable ending to their three-game sweep of the White Sox. Beck was hit by a comebacker after allowing that home run and left the game with a bruised left hamstring, and is considered day-to-day.

White Sox pitching prospect Ian Clarkin goes to Cubs on waivers

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AP

White Sox pitching prospect Ian Clarkin goes to Cubs on waivers

Ian Clarkin, one of the return pieces in the seven-player swap with the New York Yankees in 2017, is no longer with the White Sox organization after being picked up by the Cubs on waivers Tuesday.

Clarkin, a 23-year-old left-hander, was no longer ranked as one of the top 30 prospects in the White Sox loaded farm system.

He split time between Class A Winston-Salm and Double-A Birmingham in 2018, struggling at the latter stop to the tune of a 5.64 ERA in 68.2 innings. He made 18 appearances there, only 10 of which were starts.

The deal that sent David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier to the Bronx was the biggest of a flurry of trades made by the White Sox in the summer of 2017. But after Clarkin's departure to the other side of town, outfield prospect Blake Rutherford is the only member of the four-player return package still with the White Sox organization. Major league reliever Tyler Clippard was dealt to the Houston Astros later that same season. Outfield prospect Tito Polo became a minor league free agent this offseason. And now Clarkin is gone on waivers.

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White Sox add four to 40-man roster, protecting prospects from Rule 5 Draft

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MLB.COM

White Sox add four to 40-man roster, protecting prospects from Rule 5 Draft

The White Sox added four of their valued prospects to the 40-man roster Tuesday, protecting them from selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft.

Dylan Cease, Seby Zavala, Kodi Medeiros and Jordan Stephens were the four additions to the 40-man, which the team announced sat at 38 after those moves.

Cease, MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year, was a no-brainer addition following his sensational 2018 campaign. He posted a 2.40 ERA and struck out 160 opposing batters in 124 innings over 23 starts between Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. He's currently ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the organization.

Zavala got off to a hot start in 2018 before cooling down following a promotion from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte. With the Barons, he slashed .271/.358/.472 with 11 home runs in 56 games. But in his 48 games with the Knights, he slashed just .243/.267/.359 with two home runs. Zavala is currently ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the organization.

Medeiros came over from the Milwaukee Brewers in the midsummer trade that sent Joakim Soria out of Chicago. The 2014 first-round pick made seven starts at Double-A Birmingham after the trade and posted a 4.98 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 22 walks in 34.1 innings of work. Medeiros is currently ranked as the No. 19 prospect in the organization.

Stephens split time between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in 2018. All together, he finished the year with a 4.23 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 28 starts. Stephens is currently ranked as the No. 20 prospect in the organization.

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