White Sox

White Sox: Alexei Ramirez deems ninth-inning safe call incorrect

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White Sox: Alexei Ramirez deems ninth-inning safe call incorrect

DETROIT — The throw to second base was there. The shortstop was incensed by the safe call when he tagged the runner out. The umpire authoritatively ruled the runner had safely reached the bag.

Without what he believed was proper evidence from his dugout until it was too late, White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected not to challenge the definitive play in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday afternoon.

Two batters after Nick Castellanos was ruled safe at second base -- though the Detroit Fox Sports feed appeared to show Alexei Ramirez tagged him out -- Jose Iglesias singled through a drawn-in infield to give the Tigers a walkoff victory. The loss, their second straight, dropped the White Sox to 3-6.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Controversial play helps Tigers past White Sox]

“They said (Ramirez) missed him,” Ventura said of his video crew. “I wish I could actually watch it. You have to go with what your guys are going with. You could just go out and challenge it anyway, but when you get a ‘He missed him,’ you don’t challenge it.”
“You think about doing it anyway if you get a maybe. Yeah you think about doing it. I didn’t even get a maybe.”

There’s no uncertainty in the mind of Ramirez.

After Avisail Garcia -- who provided the White Sox only run with a fourth-inning solo homer -- overran the ball hit by Castellanos, he quickly picked it up and fired a strike to second. Ramirez cleanly fielded the ball and tagged the runner’s foot before swiping his glove out of the way.

While local broadcast feeds reportedly didn’t have the correct angle, Ramirez had no doubt second-base ump Brian O’Nora’s safe call was incorrect. 

[MORE WHITE SOX: Jake Petricka could be back in White Sox bullpen mix by Monday]

“He just missed the play,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I am sure that I tagged him, and I think he was in the wrong spot to see the play. For me it is clear, and I feel it. I tagged him.”

Not surprisingly, Castellanos believes O’Nora made the correct call.

“A lot of umpires, if the ball beats you there, they’ll take it for granted, and call you out,” Castellanos told local reporters. “The ball beat me there, but again, like I said, I didn’t feel a tag. So when he called me safe, I was really thrilled that he stuck with the play.”

Ventura stepped out of the dugout, waited for a sign on whether or not to challenge, and returned when he wasn’t given any indication to push for a replay. Seconds later, and apparently after pinch-runner Andrew Romine already had been announced, Ventura emerged from the dugout again. He headed to first base to speak with crew chief Jeff Kellogg and was informed the time to request a challenge had expired, that the play had been ruled over, a team official said.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans]

Even though he understood that the White Sox didn’t feel they had the proper evidence for an overturn, Ramirez was surprised the play wasn’t challenged.

“We were in the ninth inning -- you have to review the play,” Ramirez said. “I think that maybe they missed the play the first time on the video, but I am 100 percent I tagged him. If you are going to lose, you don’t want to lose in this way.”

Tigers catcher Alex Avila then bunted Romine to third on the first pitch from Duke to set up Igelsias’ heroics. Only one inning after the end of a pitching spectacle between Jeff Samardzija and David Price, the White Sox were handed another tough loss.

“You wish you can get those,” Ventura said. “But if we are only going to score a run, it’s going to be tough.”

The biggest pieces of the White Sox rebuild are on absolute fire in September, great news for 2020

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USA TODAY

The biggest pieces of the White Sox rebuild are on absolute fire in September, great news for 2020

“The 2020 season, it starts in September.”

Jose Abreu said that before August was even over, looking toward the final month of yet another losing season, yet another season without a playoff appearance on the South Side. Of course, everyone involved with this organization is hoping that changes in 2020, and with his sights on that campaign, Abreu talked about using the last month of this one to get ready for next year.

Well, if this month is really the first month of what’s next, the guys who figure to play the biggest roles on that 2020 team — in this rebuild, in general — are off to a heck of a start.

Friday night, it was the quartet of Abreu, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez powering a high-scoring win over the Seattle Mariners. The four combined to go 8-for-18 with two home runs, two doubles, a triple, seven RBIs and six runs scored.

It was a nice microcosm of what’s been happening all month.

In the dozen games the White Sox have played in September, Abreu, Anderson, Moncada and Jimenez have combined for a .363 batting average, a .431 on-base percentage, a .687 slugging percentage, 13 home runs, 18 doubles, a triple, 42 RBIs and 40 runs scored. They’ve accounted for more than 58 percent of the runs the team has scored and more than 61 percent of the runs the team has driven in.

Considering Anderson, Moncada and Jimenez are three cornerstones of Rick Hahn’s rebuilding effort and the elder statesman Abreu, with his constant declarations of his desire to remain with the team, seems a safe bet to be back in black for 2020, this is the core of this lineup moving forward playing at an extremely high level.

It’s exactly what the White Sox and their fans want to see.

Anderson is going to be dominating the headlines the rest of the way as he chases a batting title. He woke up Saturday with the best batting average in baseball, a .334 mark for the 2019 season. In September alone, he’s hitting .400.

Moncada has steadily had the best all-around offensive season of anyone on the team, quite the transformation from a year ago, when he struck out 217 times in a disappointing first full campaign as a major leaguer. In September, he’s hitting even better than Anderson, with a .435 batting average to go along with an insane .500 on-base percentage.

Jimenez has had an up-and-down rookie season, but he’s closing in on 30 home runs after smashing No. 27 on Friday night. He’s definitely in the midst of one of his better stretches right now and owns a .694 slugging percentage with five homers in September.

Abreu has been criticized by certain segments of the fan base for the noticeable dip in his on-base percentage this season. Thanks to a hot finish, it is higher than last year’s at the moment, but if the season ended today, it would be lower than the figures he posted during his first four seasons in the big leagues. But what those critics aren’t focusing on is one of the most productive seasons of Abreu’s career. He also homered Friday and is up to 33 bombs on the season, three off the career high he set as a rookie in 2014. And he’s blasted past his career high in RBIs from that same season, up to 116, which leads the American League. He's got five September homers and a .784 slugging percentage on the month.

In a season judged from the outset based on the development and performance of the team’s core players rather than its win-loss record, that’s all spectacular news for the organization moving forward into 2020. Combine all that with the strides made by Lucas Giolito and James McCann, the arrival of Dylan Cease, the expected return of Michael Kopech, the expected arrivals of Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal, plus what’s expected to be an active offseason, and this team is shaping up to have a very promising outlook for 2020.

“I’m expecting that this is it,” manager Rick Renteria said after Thursday’s game, asked if he believed the White Sox string of sub-.500 seasons would end next year. “We are trying to win. I think we talk about it, we are going through it. I know there’s still refining to do, but I’ll be honest with you. We are finishing this season, we are talking about coming into next season ready to battle, period, exclamation point. That’s what we are looking to do.”

If these four guys keep swinging the bats like this straight on into next March, that would go a long way toward proving their manager right.

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Tim Anderson now leads all of baseball in batting average

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USA TODAY

Tim Anderson now leads all of baseball in batting average

Tim Anderson’s quest for the batting title got a boost on Friday, and his quest for the AL batting title is looking more like reality by the day.

Anderson had a 2-for-5 night in Friday’s 9-7 win in Seattle to raise his batting average to .334. He is nine points ahead of Yankees second baseman DJ LaMahieu.

The White Sox have 15 games left in the season so it’s getting down to the wire.

Anderson not only leads in the AL, but also leads all of the majors in batting. He jumped ahead of Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, who had an 0-for-4 night on Friday to drop to .332.

Anderson’s evolution from .240 hitting in 2018 (and a career .258 hitter entering 2019) to leading the majors in batting average on Sept. 14 is one of the more surprising and relevant developments of the White Sox season. He’s also been fun on the field, and even on social media.

On Friday morning, MLB tweeted out a vote for best bat flip of the year and the only two in contention were Ronald Acuna Jr and Bryce Harper. Anderson (and the White Sox along with plenty of White Sox fans) jumped in the replies to call out the snub.


He then quote tweeted his own notable bat flip for comparison.


Stay fun, Tim.

 

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