White Sox

Wahoos spank Sox; Ozzie OK with future status

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Wahoos spank Sox; Ozzie OK with future status

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011Posted: 8:43 p.m. Updated: 10:30 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik Box score Photo gallery
WATCH: Humber breaks down start
READ: The 13 best games of 2011

CLEVELAND Flipping through the White Sox media guide many years from now, it will appear as if Chicago fairly dominated their second-place rivals, the Cleveland Indians, in 2011. Likewise the club will grant generations of researches cause to fact-check over a White Sox team that was just significantly under .500 at home and relatively strong on the road.

Well, both of those entrenched 2011 trends reversed themselves in the finale of the two clubs season series on Thursday night, when the Wahoos flipped the script and trounced the Chisox, 11-2. The White Sox took the 2011 season series 11-7 and were 6-3 against the Indians in Cleveland.

Cleveland jumped out to a 2-0 lead with back-to-back home runs to begin the game from Kosuke Fukudome and Jason Kipnis the fourth time in Indians history the team has led a game off so.

It was weird obviously, Ive never had that happen to me, the first two batters of the game going deep, Humber said. And all of a sudden after that, I was cruising. Then I get a two-out walk, a run scores, and I dont know. I didnt feel I threw the ball as bad as the results indicated but every time they needed a hit, they got one. I dont know. Its frustrating. Its probably a good lesson for me learning to deal with adversity.

Today he made a couple of bad pitches, manager Ozzie Guillen said. He got ahead in the count and left a couple of balls up in the strike zone. It hurt him. We cannot complain about what this kid did this year. This guy, most of the time he was out there, he gave us a chance to win. He had a year nobody thought he was going to have.

The White Sox have the second-worst ERA to the Boston Red Sox in the American League in September, approaching 6.00.

Today was very tough for everyone, Guillen said. It has been tough for our pitching in September. We have been beat up pretty good this month. Its just not him, its a few guys getting beat up pretty good. Overall, we just havent pitched well.

The White Sox rallied to tie the game at two in the fifth, but that also marked the last inning of the game the Indians failed to score.

Humber had a rough outing, but it didnt have to be that way. He gave up the back-to-back jacks, but then held the Indians hitless for the next three innings. In the fifth, Cleveland tallied another two with assistance from a strange, fan-interference double high down the line by Ezequiel Carrera a ball that rope-a-doping left fielder Juan Pierre could have nabbed for a putout. Natch, Fukudome slapped a single to center to score two, and Humber eventually saw his earned run total pushed to seven in six innings when Addison Reed relieved him in the sixth and offered up a first-pitch, three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera.

There was minor intrigue as the game waned Josh Kinney earned fractional batter defense points by, with just two outs left in this bruising series, hitting Kipnis, albeit on a bounce, and off his foot. Still, it was the boldest measure from a White Sox hurler all series long.

There were few bright spots offensively for the White Sox, but Alejandro De Aza drew three walks and scored the first run of the game for Chicago. Juan Pierre had half of the Pale Hose hits, and his 2-for-4 night set him at .319 over the past three months of the season (.285 over the full year).

The White Sox finished their road campaign at 43-38, a record that if foreseen at years beginning would have made most White Sox fans feel pretty content their ballclub was under consideration for the glittering rings come October. But their home record of 33-42 and falling sort of killed off thoughts of a six-year itch.

I dont know what it is, Humber said. Overall as a team we havent played like I thought we would play. Thats one of the results that come from it weve struggled at home. Hopefully after this year is over, we can put it behind us and get ready for the next year, because we have the talent to do what we set out to do this year. A lot of it is a matter of focus, taking an aggressive attitude into every game and not giving anything away.

I didnt know we were going to be 33-42 back home, Guillen said. Thats very important. We dont play very good at home at all, for whatever reason. On the road, we play good maybe those guys were more relaxed. I thought we would play better at home.

As for whether or not he might be facing his final games piloting the White Sox, Guillen again temporarily overlooking the fact that hes contractually obligated to manage the White Sox in 2012 wasnt overly concerned either way.

I dont want to think about it that way, Guillen reasoned. When youre managing, you come every day to the ballpark and realize that could be your last day, especially the way we played this year. But Ill come with the same approach if I come back, I come back. If not, I dont. I dont lose sleep over that whatever happens, it will be the best for the me and whoever. Come back or not, thats what God intended for me, I guess my destiny. Im counting on being back, but its a lot of things in the air. We have to get it done and see what happens.

The White Sox now sit at 76-80, not only much of a disincentive to ask Ozzie back, but a record that means the team must sweep its final homestand of the year in order to finish above .500 for the season. One player who feels fortunate to have a shot at redemption, as hes scheduled to start the last game of the season, is Humber, who in spite of Thursdays setback remains statistically the strongest starter on the Chisox staff.

I have that last day, so Id like to be driving home with a smile on my face, Humber said. But either way, its been a great year and Im definitely thankful for whats happened and the opportunities Ive had. I want to finish strong, but Im doing all I can, working hard, and I have to roll with the punches, I guess.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Sox Drawer Q&A: Is this the White Sox 'Jon Lester' offseason?

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USA TODAY

Sox Drawer Q&A: Is this the White Sox 'Jon Lester' offseason?

Back for another round of questions here in the Sox Drawer. Let's go.

Q: Do you believe this is the Sox "Lester" offseason where they make a large investment in a player for the future? Or are we still one year away from seeing this? — @BCurley3

CG: That's a question many White Sox fans are wondering about. And by the "Lester" signing, I assume you are referring to the likes of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. I'd like to think that if the White Sox have a desire to sign a big-name free agent, they will make every attempt to do it now and not wait for the 2020 free agents, even if it's coming off a 100-loss season. As general manager Rick Hahn put it in his season-ending press conference, "You can't always control when certain players become available. You can say in 2020 or 2021 we expect to be this, and we know we are going to need X. You can't look at the projected free agent and say that player will be available, much less that player will be a White Sox when the time comes." It might turn out that the White Sox don't sign that marquee free agent this offseason, but going off what Hahn said, I believe they will go all-in when their targeted "Jon Lester" is available.

Q: If you had your choice, would the White Sox sign Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado? — @Dehhmac_

CG: I'll take either. Arenado gets the edge defensively. Machado has the advantage offensively. One stat about Arenado that gives me some pause is his career home/away splits. At Coors Field, he's slashing .320/.374/.609. Away from Coors Field, he's at .263/.318/.469. He's still a great player, but his numbers are inflated due to the higher elevation in Denver. If they don't sign him to a contract extension this winter, I'm curious to see if the Rockies listen to trade offers during the Winter Meetings like the Orioles did with Machado last year. The Rockies are much more competitive than the Orioles, so they might decide to go for it one more time with Arenado. If not, a crazy Winter Meetings just got crazier.

Q: I have long expected this to be the offseason when the Sox start signing free agents. However, lately, I've heard about possible big-name trade potentials. Do you expect trades this early in the rebuild or mainly acquisition through free agency? — @ToddHertz

CG: At some point, the White Sox will probably dip into their farm system to acquire major league upgrades where they see fit. Because there were so many injuries to prospects last season, I'm not sure they've seen enough to know exactly what they have to make those kind trades just yet. However, the one position in the minors where they seem very deep right now is in the outfield. That could be an area they could subtract from to add elsewhere. I think the White Sox timed their rebuild very well with free agency. Last year's lackluster free-agent class was a great time to be on the sidelines. The next two winters will have much better talent available. The White Sox don't have much on the books and will be in a good financial position to make upgrades.

Q: After Eloy comes up in April who's the next guy in waiting and when does he come up? —  @franknacchio19

CG: With two open spots in the rotation, we could see a few prospects compete for starting jobs in spring training. Jordan Guerrero, Jordan Stephens and Spencer Adams are possibilities. All three of them finished the season at Charlotte and could be close to knocking on the door. The next big name after that would seemingly be Dylan Cease, who if he continues to pitch like he did this past season will probably be on the Michael Kopech timeline to the majors, and Kopech came up in August.

Q: If the rumors are true and the Diamondbacks dismantle their roster, which player on their roster makes sense for this White Sox team long term? —  @mr_zablocki

Q: Who would you hypothetically trade for Goldshmidt? — @DaRealScaletta​​​​​​​

CG: Looking at the Diamondbacks' roster, there aren't many natural fits with the White Sox rebuild. Where's the All-Star third baseman on a rebuilding team with a four-year, team-friendly contract? I like Zack Greinke, but he's going to be 35-years-old and has three years and $104 million left on his contract. A 27-year-old Robbie Ray would be solid, but he's under team control for only two more years. Paul Goldschmidt is an all-world first baseman with three Gold Gloves, but he's a free agent after next season. Depending on what the White Sox do with Jose Abreu, who also has one year left on his contract, maybe they go after Goldschmidt next offseason if they don't re-sign Abreu.

Q: Tell a Yolmer story. — @NJBooth20

CG: Yolmer was wearing this cool T-shirt in the clubhouse this past season. On the front, it said "play hard" with a photo of him making Mickey Mouse ears. On the back it said "have fun," and there's the photo of him pouring Gatorade all over himself. I asked him if I could have one of those T-shirts. He said, "50 dollars." I countered with, "How about 30?" With perfect comedic timing, Yolmer came back with, "Make it 10." He might not be the best bargainer in the world, but Yolmer Sanchez is definitely one of the funniest people around.

Q: Why did Nagy run the ball on 3rd and 4?? — @rypie182​​​​​​​

CG: Not sure.

Q: Can I leave a voicemail? Too drunk to tweet. — @HurriKayne26​​​​​​​

CG: Rough Bears game.

Q: Who will be the biggest surprise and/or the greatest improvement for next season's team? — @nicklicious33​​​​​​​

CG: Good question. If he's able to come back, I can think of one person in particular who would be quite an incredible surprise in 2019. That's Danny Farquhar. At home in California recovering from his near-death brain aneurysm, Farquhar is training with the hopes of pitching in the majors again, possibly as soon as 2019. I wouldn't put it past him. He's a special person who has been defying the odds since that horrific night in April. It would be great to see!

Thanks again for all of your questions. We'll do it again next week.

Sorry, White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

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USA TODAY

Sorry, White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

For the biggest dreamers among the White Sox faithful, here's how this offseason might be playing out.

Rick Hahn said the team will make some additions to the pitching staff. So for those dreamers, it's a rush to the top of the list of free-agent starting pitchers, right? Why not hook one of the biggest fish in the pond?

The top of that list looks like this: Clayton Kershaw (should he choose to opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and seek a new, more lucrative one), Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin. Some might even have those last two names flipped, with Corbin, coming off an All-Star season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, second only to one of the best to ever throw a baseball.

The White Sox might not be capable of outbidding baseball's biggest spenders, and that's without even mentioning that they might simply not be looking to ink a hurler to a long-term contract. After all, that's what all those talented prospects are for, right? Assembling the rotation of the future? Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are all already part of the 2019 staff. Michael Kopech, when he's done recovering from Tommy John surgery, will join them in 2020. And Dylan Cease was just named MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year. With all that in mind, any offseason additions to the rotation for 2019 might simply be one-year fill-ins.

But fans often like to dream big, and a lot of them have Corbin on their wish list.

That's not surprising when you look at his numbers. He threw 200 innings last season and struck out 246 batters while finishing with a 3.15 ERA, those last two numbers the best of his six-year big league career. He's 29 years old and a long-term deal would figure to have him in the starting rotation as the White Sox plan to shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Just one problem: There's plenty of belief out there that Corbin's destination this winter has already been booked.

This has been a talking point for a while now, as the Yankees tried to bring Corbin to the Bronx via trade last offseason. They're expected to try to do so again, this time via free agency, as they've got a ton of money to spend. Corbin was quoted in the Nightengale story from April saying: "It would definitely be great to play there. I grew up a Yankee fan."

Sorry to burst your bubbles, White Sox fans. But don't blame me. Blame the Yankees, which seems to be becoming a frequent refrain. If Didi Gregorius' elbow injury means Manny Machado ends up in the Bronx this winter, too, White Sox fans might drop the Cubs as Public Enemy No. 1.

The White Sox have enough hurdles to clear in any pursuit of one of the game's top free agents: They have to compete with baseball's traditional big spenders, and they have to try and beat win-now pitches with a pitch of planned — though not yet arrived — long-term success. It's not like that hasn't been a winning battle before, though, as the rebuilding Cubs got Jon Lester to believe in their future and brought him in to help make their transition from rebuild to championship contention.

But throw in the hurdle of a history between a player and another team, and it makes it an even harder job.

The White Sox will be making some additions this offseason, though they might not be the ones fans are dreaming about. But not landing the winter's biggest fish doesn't mean the organization's biggest, most important dream of building a perennial contender on the South Side is going anywhere.