White Sox

White Sox end homestand with whimper in loss to Twins

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White Sox end homestand with whimper in loss to Twins

The White Sox have played some of their best baseball of the season in front of their home crowd.

But U.S. Cellular Field hasn't been too kind to the South Siders lately.

The White Sox wrapped up a disappointing seven-game homestand on Sunday with a 8-1 loss to the Twins, resulting in their fifth loss in seven games over that stretch.

Early inning troubles plagued the White Sox again when starter Jose Quintana gave up a leadoff home run to second baseman Brian Dozier.

The left-hander then settled down, retiring the next nine hitters before a disastrous fourth inning ensued.

First baseman Joe Mauer smacked a line drive right at Adam Eaton, but the center fielder seemed to take his eye off the ball in hopes of trying to double off Shane Robinson from second. Eaton let the ball get by him, allowing Robinson to score on the error, bringing the Twins' lead to 2-0.

“Big inning there I created,” Eaton said. “Tough ball. Goes up and it’s kind of knuckling. Play needs to be made.

“I would be lying to you if my eyes weren’t wandering a little bit. I’ve made that play 100 times. Whatever happened to that ball, it didn’t find my mitt.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Later that inning, outfielder Torii Hunter drove in a run on an infield single and allowed another run to score. Three batters later, outfielder Eddie Rosario delivered a two-run single to extend the Twins' lead to 5-0.

“He had good stuff,” Ventura said of Quintana. “But you start getting up in the zone fastball wise, these guys can hit a fastball. They’re on it.”

Jose Abreu finally got the White Sox offense going with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. It was the slugger's seventh of the season and first since May 9.

“For him, there’s more there,” Ventura said of Abreu. “We know that. This is just a rough stretch for him but he homered today and you hope that’s good things to come.”

Dozier continued his dominance over the White Sox on Sunday by smacking a three-run home run off reliever Scott Carroll in the seventh.

Twins starter Kyle Gibson was brilliant for the second time this year against the White Sox. The right-hander tossed eight innings of one-run ball, including eight strikeouts. He's only given up one run over 16 innings against the South Siders in 2015.

“Even when they got up, Gibson was pumping strikes,” Ventura said. “If he was going to give us something, a walk or a hit batter you’d take it but he jumped ahead early.”

[RELATED: White Sox hoping to find answers on extended road trip]

Adam LaRoche, who went 0-for-3 in the loss, believes the team is capable of much more and it’s hard to watch the performances they’ve had on the field.

“Extremely frustrating,” LaRoche said. “We are not just getting beat: we are beating ourselves and making good pitchers look great. It’s embarrassing.”

The White Sox failed to provide Quintana with much run support again. In his last five starts, the offense has only provided seven runs for the left-hander. 

White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia returned to the lineup after a two-game absence due to right knee inflammation and went 1-for-2. Ventura removed him from the game for precautionary reasons in the seventh.

Two rough series at home against the Indians and Twins have the White Sox doing an emotional 180 from when they arrived back home just six days ago. As they load up for Toronto with a matchup against the Blue Jays on Monday and an 11-game road trip staring them in the face, Ventura hopes the team packs a scrappy attitude to turn their luck around.

“You’re able to gain some momentum from where we started and it ended not well,” Ventura said. “Now you got to find a way to go on the road and keep grinding. These guys just need to find a way to scratch across a couple runs and make it a clean game.”

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

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USA TODAY

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming. 

Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts. 

Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it. 

Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.

So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control. 

White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: