White Sox

White Sox: Could Quintana's luck finally be turning around?

White Sox: Could Quintana's luck finally be turning around?

Is Jose Quintana’s inexplicably bad luck finally starting to turn around?

It’s impossible to discern why the White Sox consistently weren’t able to support Quintana — and seemingly only Quintana, which feels somewhere between confirmation bias and the truth — from 2012-2015, in which the 27-year-old left-hander totaled the most no-decisions of any pitcher in baseball. 

But on a chilly Friday night, Quintana fired seven scoreless innings and was supported by both his offense and defense in the White Sox 5-0 win over the Texas Rangers in front of 15,486 at U.S. Cellular Field. 

Some opportunistic hitting and baserunning staked Quintana that lead. Three of those runs came in the bottom of the sixth, with Brett Lawrie flipping a two-run double to center and Jerry Sands following with an RBI single. 

In the top of the seventh, though, Texas quickly loaded the bases on a Prince Fielder double, an Adrian Beltre single and an Ian Desmond walk. It looked like Quintana might squander a rare spate of run support — the White Sox in 2015 scored five or more runs in his starts as many times (10) as they scored zero or one run — when Mitch Moreland launched a line drive toward right field. 

What followed was a remarkable 9-3-2-6-2-5 triple play. It’s the first time that sequence produced a triple play in major league history, and it was the first triple play turned by the White Sox in nearly 10 years. 

“If anybody on the field deserves to have that happen, it's Q,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I think that's a good sign. It's something he's earned with what he's been through."

Quintana was in control of things until the seventh, slicing through the Rangers’ lineup with a fastball spotted with scalpel-like precision. He retired 11 in a row between the third and sixth innings and only allowed a walk and two singles before that. 

It looked like Quintana would have to pitch without much support again, as the White Sox only scraped together two runs in the first five innings. Melky Cabrera’s heads-up baserunning — he noticed Rangers catcher Bryan Holaday couldn’t locate a ball that bounced a few feet away from him — led to a run in the second, and Adam Eaton’s double turned into a run on an Austin Jackson sacrifice bunt and Jose Abreu sacrifice fly in the third. 

A two-out rally in the sixth, though, provided Quintana with more than enough sport. Todd Frazier walked and Cabrera followed with a double, and both players scored on Brett Lawrie’s two-run double to center. Jerry Sands then followed with an RBI single to put the White Sox up by five.

The White Sox scored three or fewer runs in 15 of Quintana’s 32 starts last year, and despite a 3.36 ERA, the White Sox only went 14-18 in his starts. In the two years before that, it was worse — in the White Sox went 12-20 in Quintana’s starts and scored three or fewer runs 19 times in 2014; in 2013, the White Sox scored three or fewer runs 17 times and went 15-18 with Quintana on the mound. 

Quintana had a 3.40 ERA from 2013-2015, but still hasn’t won 10 games in a season. He’s expecting this is finally the year he breaks into the double digits. 

“I have all the confidence in me for this year, for the team,” Quintana said. “I’m thinking more than 10.”

It’s not like Quintana needs good luck to get to 10 wins, not with the way he’s pitched and continues to pitch. He hasn’t allowed a home run in 24 2/3 innings this year and has only issued five walks. 

Realistically, all Quintana needs to get to 10 wins is have better-than-terrible luck. The White Sox have scored four or more runs in three of his four outings this year. That’s a start. 

But Friday’s triple play helped, too. Who knows how things would’ve turned out had Eaton not got an excellent jump on Moreland’s line drive, or had Abreu not acrobatically tagged out Desmond, or had Tyler Saladino not decided to chase down Prince Fielder instead of Adrian Beltre. The triple play was the product of good White Sox defense and bad Rangers baserunning. 

And too, it was a bit of good fortune for a guy who hasn’t had much of it in his career. 

“That was fun,” Quintana said. “I’ve never seen that before. It happened to me, it was good luck.”

Sox Drawer Q&A: Joe Girardi, Enoy Jimenez and Chris Sale's 'infected' belly button


Sox Drawer Q&A: Joe Girardi, Enoy Jimenez and Chris Sale's 'infected' belly button

We made it above 60 degrees in Chicago today: A cause for celebration and another edition of the Sox Drawer. Questions from White Sox fans range from Joe Girardi to Enoy Jimenez (yes, Enoy) to Chris Sale’s “infected” belly button. Here we go.

Q: Jon Heyman tweeted out earlier that Joe Girardi pulled out of the Reds managerial search because he wants to wait a year for the Chicago job. Do you think he’s talking about the Sox? — @piratedwight

CG: I don’t know if the report is true or not, but what I do know is that Girardi grew up a Cubs fan and he later played for the Cubs. Put those two together and I’d assume he would love to manage them in the future. Something to consider: The main reason Yankees general manager Brian Cashman gave for firing Girardi in 2017 was that he felt he had trouble communicating and connecting with the young players. For a young, rebuilding team like the White Sox, that might be a red flag. Granted, that’s the Yankees' side of the story. Personally, I don’t think he’s interested in managing the White Sox.

Q: Who do you want the Sox to draft with the 3rd pick? Do some research. — @Frankie_OConnor

CG: If you look at most mock drafts right now, you’ll see high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. going first, followed by Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman (Nick Madrigal’s teammate) and Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers. Rutschman’s stock went way up because of his play in the College World Series, where he was named the Most Outstanding Player. Langeliers won a Gold Glove in 2018, named the best defensive catcher in Division I. He nailed 70 percent of would-be base stealers. Umm, I’ll take that.

The White Sox took Zack Collins with the 10th overall pick in 2016. White Sox scouting director Nick Hostelter always says “take the best player available.” Would they draft another catcher with their top pick again? Possibly.

You know what, why don’t we hear from Hostetler himself? I asked him to describe the talent level at the top of next year’s draft.

“Overall the ‘19 draft has a little bit of everything up top,” Hostetler said. “There are some interesting high school bats and arms, as well as some college bats and a few college arms that are intriguing. I’m not sure there’s a clear top five at this point, but as we’ve seen in past years, the guys sitting at the top of all the lists and mock drafts today usually change come the first Monday in June.”

In other words, let’s talk again in June. The best part about this? The White Sox will be in position to grab a very talented player for their future.

Q: After the most recent international signing of Eloy Jimenez’s brother, Enoy, do you think he could get close to the level of Eloy? Eloy wasn’t a known prospect until a few years ago, keep in mind. — @Dehhmac_

CG: In case you missed it, the White Sox signed Eloy’s 17-year-old brother to a baseball contract Sunday. Eloy posted a photo of him and his smiling brother wearing a White Sox hat and jersey.

By the way, if you do a Google search for “Enoy Jimenez,” Google will ask: “Did you mean Eloy Jimenez?” Even Google can’t believe it.

We don’t know too much about little Enoy. I say little because he’s tiny compared to his big brother. See the video we found on YouTube which was posted a couple of weeks ago. Enoy is wearing a White Sox retro tank top and a Charlotte Knights hat. If anything, he’ll fit right in at SoxFest. Seriously, he has some great baseball DNA, so he’s got that going for him. He’s an infielder. That’s about all we know. As MLB Trade Rumors put it, “scouting information on the younger Jimenez brother is virtually non-existent.”

Q: We know that Rick Hahn plays things close to the vest. In your opinion, do the White Sox view Matt Davidson as a viable two-way option? Personally, I'd like to see how he does in close games. — @emm528

CG: I know Davidson is quite serious about it. I’m not sure about the White Sox side of things. When I asked Don Cooper during the season about the possibility of Davidson having a more permanent role in the bullpen, he seemed skeptical about the idea. That said, if Davidson comes to spring training and impresses the coaching staff, they might be open to it. Davidson told me in September that he needs to train his body during the offseason so he could handle the workload as a pitcher. He just basically winged it in emergency duty last season. At one point after one of his appearances, he needed around two weeks for his body to get back to normal. It’ll be interesting to see if he can pull it off.

Q: You got to be by the dugout for most home games this year. What’s something that goes on in the dugout during a game that fans at home wouldn’t know? — @PeteCha56613119

CG: Davidson likes to throw gum at me.

Q: Chris Sale. Discuss. — @sccerlaw​​​​​​​

CG: If you’re asking about Sale getting an infection from a belly-button ring, he was joking. Sale likes to have fun with the media. Remember in 2014, when he tried to work in a specific word during his postgame media scrums? He said things like juxtapose, acquiesce, capitulated, ruminate, amalgamation. Waiting to hear what his next Harvard vocabulary word was one of the highlights of a rough fourth-place season. Sale did miss his start in Game 5 of the ALCS because of an unspecified stomach illness. Keep in mind, he’s probably taking medication for an inflamed shoulder. But he says he’s 100-percent ready now for Game 1 of the World Series.

Q: If the White Sox win the World Series next year will you get a belly button ring? — @vlamas05​​​​​​​

CG: Sure.

Q: Why don't the White Sox have a museum in the park? About 1/3 of the league does and most of those teams have half the history the Sox do. — @Gnome89​​​​​​​

CG: Good question. For this one, I went right to the source and asked Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“We used to have a small museum that fans could walk through which was attached to our team store," Boyer said. "Years ago, we converted that space as demand for a wider selection of retail products grew. We do have a museum-like historical display in the Magellan Scout Seats and have put many of the significant moments in our history on the columns leading to the sections on the 100 level. This past season we had a Negro League Museum traveling display in the Chicago Sports Depot.

"We continue to look for ways to display our history, and the Depot may very well be the best place, but, at this point, there are no plans for a permanent museum location.”

Q: Who do you see the White Sox going after in free agency this year? — @Grank2410​​​​​​​

CG: I wrote about my top five free agents last week. I don’t know for sure who the White Sox will sign, but I’d like to see them add a veteran hitter or two who have playoff experience, who know what it takes to win and can impart that on the young hitters.

Q: When will the Sox change their uniforms? — @ckottlarock​​​​​​​

CG: Personally, I’d wear the 1983 throwbacks for every game, home and away. But that’s just me.

Q: Can we please not get Machado? Can we get Nolan Arenado instead? — @drobaseball555​​​​​​​

CG: Rick Hahn, if you’re reading this, @drobaseball555 wants Arenado. Got it?

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

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.