White Sox

Ventura confident veterans will jump-start White Sox offense

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Ventura confident veterans will jump-start White Sox offense

A revamped, and somewhat expensive, lineup was supposed to electrify the White Sox offense in 2015 and become a perfect complement to a dominant pitching staff that boasts the likes of Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija and Jose Quintana.

But the sluggers on the South Side have yet to flip the switch and see what this offense truly looks like when it’s clicking on all cylinders on a consistent basis.

White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was thought of as an ideal No. 2 hitter in the lineup when he signed this offseason, has only hit .245/.293/.277 with one home run and 15 RBIs. Designated hitter Adam LaRoche (.218/.358/.355, four home runs, 16 RBIs) has yet to find his home-run stroke between Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia in the lineup.

The South Siders entered Sunday’s showdown with the Minnesota Twins tied for last in the majors with 26 home runs. They also ranked second-to-last in runs scored (146), ahead of only the Philadelphia Phillies (145). White Sox manager Robin Ventura has faith in the veterans in the clubhouse and knows what his group is capable of doing at the plate.

“It’s not been what we have wanted so far,” Ventura said. “But you’re looking at guys and their track record and what they’ve done in their careers, you expect some more home runs out of them. Hopefully when it warms up, we have a chance to do that.”

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get a Jose Abreu jersey right here]

One of the reasons the White Sox power numbers have been down so far this year is the hitting of Abreu. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year hasn’t necessarily struggled at the plate, as he’s hitting .283 with a .812 OPS, but the home runs haven’t come just yet. In his rookie campaign, he hit 15 home runs in his first 44 games. Over 40 games this year, he only has six.

Ventura isn’t worried about his star hitter because of the quality cuts he’s been putting on the ball. But with the secret out that Abreu is a mature and dangerous hitter, he’s been seeing every hurler’s best pitches.

“He’s gotten into that category where people give their best stuff when he’s up,” Ventura said. “He’s going to see the guy’s best slider, curveball, best fastball running him in. You have to be in an elite category for that, and he’s earned it.”

With eight games over the next seven days on the road, White Sox hitters will need to support a pitching staff that could see a lot of arms being used. Ventura knows from his playing days that it might be a late-game hit that could get the whole lineup going and heading in the direction that everyone envisioned at the start of the season.

“This last home stand we’ve had some one-run games where you have the chance to win the game in your last at-bat,” he said. “Some we did, and some we didn’t. You want that confidence to keep going. You want it to feel like you’re going to do it every time, but you’re not going to. You have to keep your level of confidence and professionalism as you go along then you’re going to make it happen.”

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.

That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.

One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.

Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.

Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.

This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).

The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.

White Sox Talk Podcast: A.J. Pierzynski rips Manny Machado

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: A.J. Pierzynski rips Manny Machado

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski comes on the podcast and tells Chuck Garfien why he’d sign Nolan Arenado over Manny Machado (6:15).

Pierzynski criticizes Machado for saying that he doesn’t play hard everyday (7:08). Would he make Machado the face of the White Sox franchise? (12:30)

He also talks about how bullpenning cost the Milwaukee Brewers a spot in the World Series (14:45).

He reveals the former White Sox player who had a gift for recognizing players who tipped their pitches (21:00).  Pierzynski tells behind the scenes stories about former teammates Nick Swisher, Bartolo Colon, Gavin Floyd and more (28:00).

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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