White Sox

White Sox have been feeling the Royal Pains

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White Sox have been feeling the Royal Pains

Once upon a time, the Los Angeles Dodgers had Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. The Atlanta Braves had Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.
Well, look out world. The Kansas City Royals now have their own vaunted 1-2 pitching combo:
Bruce Chen and Jeremy Guthrie.
For two nights, these journeymen pitchers threw kryptonite at the White Sox, who mustered just two measly runs against the Royals dynamic duo in 14.2 innings.
For Chen, it was his first win since June 26. For Guthrie, his first victory since May 31.
Youre wondering why that White Sox fan showed up to work today with all those cuts and bruises? He spent most of the night banging his head against the wall.
Chen was good, but Guthrie was great -- maybe the greatest of his major league career. Seriously. He was one inning away from his very first shutout, in his 173rd major league start, the fourth longest drought for a pitcher in major league history.
That, arguably, could be the best-pitched game weve had all year, said manager Ned Yost, whose team has the sixth highest ERA in the majors.
We knew his numbers dont reflect the kind of pitcher that he is, Adam Dunn said. Youre not going to talk to anyone who knows baseball that says he doesnt have good stuff. Hes got great stuff. Usually it seems like youre going to get a pitch or two to hit, and tonight when we did, we didnt do anything with them.
So how did Guthrie celebrate after his eight scoreless innings? This little soak in the tub.
I wonder if Alexei Ramirez threw a party of his own. Hes 1-for-22 in his career against Guthrie. Hes also 1-for-22 against Chen. Who cant wait to see former Sox pitcher Brandon McCarthy pitch against them on Friday? Ramirez.
The Royals took two-of-three from the White Sox, who have got to find a way to beat this pesky last-place team. They still have nine more games against them, including next week in Kansas City. It was the first series the White Sox had lost at home since the Cubs won two-of-three at U.S. Cellular Field in the third week of June.
But if we have learned anything about this White Sox team its the word reliever Matt Thornton provided when I asked him what the key to their success has been.
Resiliency.
Theres no give with us. Thats what youve seen with us all year long, Thornton said. Even if we lose three, four, five games in a row, we bounce back, and keep getting back up.
Which has stunned every expert who predictedArmageddonon the South Side, a season with over 90 losses and a last-place finish in the AL Central. Instead, the White Sox have been in first place for 70 days, while the Tigers, who everyone (including me) thought would run away with the division, have been in first for just 24 days.
We better get real cold for them to look good, Thornton said about the experts. They have to make their preseason predictions for everything. They backfire all the time. Being an athlete, I dont really throw too many predictions out there. Were proof that the experts dont always exactly know what theyre talking about all the time.
But Thornton, an avid football fan and one of the White Sox in-house NFL experts, did made this prediction about the upcoming season:
I have the Houston Texans winning the Super Bowl this year...and Im a Lions fan.
Once upon a time, Thornton, a Michigan native, was also a Tigers fan. Somewhere inside ashoe boxor family album likely exists a photo of Matt as a child fitted in Tigers garb from head-to-toe.
But times have obviously changed.
My immediate family now is of course Sox fans," Thornton said. "They have been since the day I got over here, but I do have a lot of friends from high school and college that say, Were pulling for the Tigers, we want you to do well when youre in the game, but we want you guys to lose.
Now with 52 games remaining, the battle lines have been drawn. Its a two-team race between the White Sox and Tigers for the division title.
It has nothing to do with me growing up being a Tigers fan, Thornton said. Its a fact that thats a great team over there. Were proving to be a great team too. Weve been here all year. We have guys having great years, bouncing back from bad years last year, everyone is doing their part to win ballgames. With the mix that we have here, its going to be a fun last month and a half.

Daily White Sox prospects update: Zack Collins hits a pair of homers

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Zack Collins hits a pair of homers

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Double-A Birmingham

Zack Collins hit two home runs as part of a three-hit day. He drove in two runs, scored two runs and walked once in a 10-4 loss. Collins now has seven homers on the campaign with an ungodly .421 on-base percentage. He's batting .326 over his last 25 games. Eloy Jimenez had two hits and a walk, and Jordan Guerrero gave up four runs and walked five in four innings.

Class A Winston-Salem

The Dash lost both games of a doubleheader, 10-5 and 7-0. Luis Alexander Basabe, Alex Call and Gavin Sheets each picked up two hits on the day.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had a hit and scored a run in a 2-1 loss.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez had a hit in a 2-1 win.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.