White Sox

White Sox fall apart late in loss to Tigers

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White Sox fall apart late in loss to Tigers

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers came back from the dead on Sunday afternoon to send the 2015 White Sox further into the abyss.

After they tied it by scoring four times off Jeff Samardzija in the eighth inning, the Tigers walked off a winner as James McCann hit a solo home run off Zach Putnam to send the White Sox to a 5-4 loss in front 39,455 at Comerica Park.

The White Sox, who are off on Monday, dropped to 32-42 on the season after relinquishing a four-run lead with six outs to go. Victor Martinez keyed the game-tying rally against Samardzija with a one-out, three-run double.

“He still had something left in the tank,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Victor being a switch-hitter, you are taking your chances either way, whether you get up (Zach) Duke at that point or Put or Jake (Petricka). He still had enough in the tank to go get them and it didn’t work out.”

Samardzija was nearly flawless through seven innings with his pitch count at 86, but everything changed in the eighth.

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Trailing 4-0, McCann singled to start the tying rally and Jose Iglesias drew a taxing, 10-pitch walk against Samardzija. Ventura stuck with Samardzija as Anthony Gose singled to center and Ian Kinsler forced in a run when Samardzija hit him. Samardzija managed to strike out Miguel Cabrera on three mid-90s fastballs but Martinez ripped a three-run double to right center on the first pitch he saw from the White Sox starter to tie the game.

“I felt good,” Samardzija said. “Absolutely. I feel fine. I can pitch, man. I felt good out there. It’s just about making the pitches.”

Putnam got two outs to strand Martinez but with one out an inning later, McCann sent a 0-2 pitch into the stands to win it.

“That’s a talented team, talented offense,” Putnam said. “You have to stay sharp the whole nine innings. If you give that team one inch of breathing room they’ll jump back into a game.

“Jeff was absolutely cruising, making it look easy. He had an inning where he got some base runners -- those can yield runs very easily. He did what he should have done and Jeff pitched his butt out there, kept us in the game for 8-plus innings. But it’s a game we should have won.”

Looking for a boost against left-handed pitchers and more production from the second spot, Ventura altered his lineup and moved Jose Abreu behind leadoff man Adam Eaton.

Abreu got things going against David Price with a leadoff double in the fourth inning and he advanced to third when Yoenis Cespedes fell down retrieving the ball. Avisail Garcia gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly and cleanup hitter Melky Cabrera immediately increased the lead to two with a 450-foot solo homer to left off Price. Cabrera’s homer was his first since May 6th, a span of 208 plate appearances, and first as a right-handed hitter this season. The outfielder later singled off Price and now as 10 hits in 21 at-bats versus left-handed pitchers after he started the season 4-for-50.

Eaton started a sixth-inning rally with a triple and after Price hit Abreu, Garcia singled in a run to make it 3-0. Adam LaRoche’s sac fly gave the White Sox a four-run lead.

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For seven innings, Samardzija made it look plentiful.

He limited the Tigers to a walk and a hit over the first five innings, never allowing a runner to reach scoring position. All the while, Samardzija was economical with his pitches as he needed only 57 through five.

Samardzija worked around the first sign of trouble in the sixth with relative ease. Gose drew a one-out walk and Kinsler singled. But Samardzija retired Cabrera and Martinez on harmless fly balls and returned with a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.

Samardzija allowed four earned runs and five hits with three walks in 7 1/3 innings.

“You are looking at where his pitch count was and then they didn’t really get much going off of him,” Ventura said. “I think at that point they had two hits. He was very strong as he was going through that.

“If you pull him out and somebody gives it up, you kick yourself for that one. If you leave him in and it goes like that, you kick yourself. You just live with it.”

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.