White Sox

White Sox fall to Rays, lose for sixth time in seven games

White Sox fall to Rays, lose for sixth time in seven games

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The White Sox didn’t have much luck on the offensive end on Wednesday and they had trouble catching the ball.

You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to realize that formula isn’t going to win you many games.

Too many early mistakes and not enough firepower to combat them sent the White Sox to their sixth loss in seven games as they fell 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays in front of 9,313 at Tropicana Field. Mike Pelfrey took the loss, though his defense made several key mistakes during a three-run third inning by the Rays.

“We actually have played decent baseball,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We played a couple games you could say ‘That was an ugly game.’ We’ve been in games for the rest of them, just haven’t scored enough runs to overcome some deficits. But I think the guys are still playing pretty hard. Today, that wasn’t an ugly game, we just weren’t able to score enough runs to stay ahead.”

Before Wednesday’s game, Renteria stressed the importance of clean baseball for all teams, regardless of talent.

Early on, the White Sox didn’t play clean at all.

Tim Anderson committed an error in the first inning, though Pelfrey was able to work around it and leave the bases loaded. Pelfrey stranded two more runners in the second inning to keep the White Sox ahead 1-0.

But the Rays got to Pelfrey in the third inning and his defense didn’t help matters any. Evan Longoria singled to start the third and Logan Morrison doubled. Pelfrey struck out Steven Souza Jr. and intentionally walked Colby Rasmus to load the bases. Tim Beckham followed with a single to right and Avisail Garcia bobbled the ball before his high throw allowed both runners to advance into scoring position. The bobble also allowed Longoria, who had stopped at third, to score the go-ahead run.

Rasmus then scored on Daniel Robertson’s fielder’s choice to make it 3-1 when Kevan Smith was late to apply the tag after a nice throw home by Todd Frazier. Smith thought he made the tag in time but plate ump Bill Miller called safe. The White Sox didn’t challenge, Smith saying there wasn’t enough evidence to make the call.

“I knew Frazier was going to come home if he broke,” Smith said. “There was a bat in between me and (Rasmus), so that kind of worked to my advantage. He just kind of slid around it and I think on the replay there wasn’t enough … I thought I got him in the shin/knee area in plenty of time. But if you go back and look at the replay there wasn’t enough to show that I had him before his foot got the plate and we just couldn’t challenge it.”

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Pelfrey got out of the inning and pitched into the sixth. He allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits with three walks (two intentional) and four strikeouts.

“That was maybe the worst my stuff has been since I’ve been here,” Pelfrey said. “Command was pretty shaky, and for the most part I tip my hat to them for keeping me in the zone, making me throw the ball over the plate and not chasing outside of the zone. They made it tough on me. It was a grind, an absolute grind and a struggle, but I don’t necessarily think I gave in. I kept trying to make pitches to limit the damage, but I was a little off. Tampa didn’t help the matter by grinding through it. I struggled, but we got through it.”

The White Sox scored an early run against Tampa Bay rookie Jacob Faria but didn’t have much else. Jose Abreu singled in Leury Garcia in the first to put the White Sox up 1-0.

But Faria, who made his major league debut, settled in as everything the White Sox seemed to hit hard found a glove. Garcia lined out twice hard — the hit percentage of similar balls is 73 and 80, according to Baseball Savant. Abreu also lined out to third to end the sixth inning.

In all, the five hardest hit balls by the White Sox, all with a 44 percent or better of becoming a hit, were outs. Faria allowed a run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.

The White Sox fared no better against the Rays bullpen as three relievers combined to retire eight of nine hitters.

Watch Hawk Harrelson's sign off from his final broadcast

Watch Hawk Harrelson's sign off from his final broadcast

Hawk Harrelson has been the voice of the White Sox for decades, but Sunday was his last broadcast as the play-by-play announcer of the team.

As the bottom of the ninth took place on the field, Hawk started to get emotional in the booth. He began to thank the fans for listening to him in the booth.

"The big thing is I want to thank the fans," Harrelson said. "I love our White Sox fans and I always will."

Later on, Hawk continued: "I want to thank Sox fans for giving me all those 35 years of their time."

After the game ended, players and staff from both teams came out on the field to tip their caps to Hawk.

Hawk sent it to break with one more "this ballgame is ova" call. After returning from break, Hawk gave a final thought.

"I love you all and I always will," he said. "I'll go to my grave with that. Thank you."

Watch the video above for all the memorable moments from his final broadcast.

Cubs' status as championship contender is the light that awaits at the end of the White Sox rebuilding tunnel


Cubs' status as championship contender is the light that awaits at the end of the White Sox rebuilding tunnel

Cubs Twitter and talk radio feature a lot of discussion of panic levels and fretting over playoff pitching scenarios. It’s hard for the North Siders to live up to the immense expectations they brought upon themselves by going from Lovable Losers to World Series champions.

But on the other side of town, that qualifies as a really good problem to have.

The White Sox dropped the second Crosstown series of the 2018 campaign, one that’s been dubbed the “toughest part of the rebuild.” The White Sox will once again have a very high draft pick. The Cubs will once again be playing in October.

But while they aren't fond of complimenting the team from the North Side, White Sox fans can look at the Cubs and see what they hope to see from their own team in a few years’ time. The team that they simply do not care for is the perfect embodiment of a rebuild gone right. It’s the light at the end of the White Sox rebuilding tunnel.

“That’s a good team, man,” Carlos Rodon said after the Cubs’ offense jumped all over him Sunday and forced him into his shortest outing of the season. “Hopefully, throughout this rebuild when we get to the end of it, all the pieces start falling together and we can be a championship club like that, because that’s a good team.”

The Cubs aren’t the only team the White Sox have seen this season that qualifies as a rebuild success story. The Houston Astros are the reigning champs. The Cleveland Indians are American League Central winners again. The Kansas City Royals are down again but had their own brief time as baseball’s phoenix.

But with the Cubs so close by — and the fan bases constantly jabbing one another — it’s noteworthy that the White Sox are following such a similar path. For the Cubs, five straight fifth-place finishes turned into three straight trips to the NLCS. The Cubs went from hodgepodges of veteran fill-ins to homegrown stars like Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Kyle Hendricks and Kyle Schwarber.

The White Sox have their own list of future stars, one not dissimilar from the list Cubs fans followed for years. Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech have already reached the South Side. The waiting game is still on for Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning and so many more.

The White Sox would obviously prefer fighting for a division title and playoff positioning to playing out the end of a losing season. They believe — and the Cubs are as good an example as any that there’s good reason for South Side optimism — that once all these youngsters finish their development and reach the major leagues, that that’s exactly what they’ll be doing on an annual basis.

“We see it not only in the Cubs,” Rick Renteria said, “we’ve seen it with the Astros, the Indians, a multitude of clubs that have gone through that process. The Braves. It took the Braves four years. It took the Astros four or five years.

“It’s a process that if you get frustrated along the way — which it can become frustrating because you want to win more games than not — if you really keep perspective of what you’re trying to do in the long term and really understand and appreciate what we have coming and the guys that are here working to try to remain with us, it’s hard for me to explain to the fans other than my own belief that what we have coming is going to be something that is going to be very fruitful in the near future.”

The Cubs have been through this process. They’ve been through these losing seasons. They’ve been through the waiting game with highly ranked prospects. They’ve been through it all — including watching those prospects turn into All Stars and waving to millions of celebrating fans during a championship parade.

The White Sox are in the thick of their own rebuilding process, and confidence about the future abounds. Perhaps because it’s a template that’s worked so well for several teams, including their Crosstown rivals.

“The similarities are simply that we’re going through a transition,” Renteria said before Sunday’s game. “We do have, not only these guys who are working here to try to show everybody what they’re capable of doing and what part they may play in us moving forward, but we certainly have a lot of young men who are coming up through the season that are hopefully going to be a part of who we are here in the near future.

“In that regard, that is very similar (to what the Cubs went through). I do think that some of the men that we have coming are going to be just as impactful of some of the guys they have on the other side.”