White Sox

White Sox listless in loss to Indians


White Sox listless in loss to Indians

CLEVELAND - The White Sox already are a much better team than they were at any time in 2013 and for much of 2014.

With a boatload of talented additions, the White Sox clearly have more than enough talent to win. They proved it on Wednesday afternoon when they did everything they could to lose but still found themselves in striking distance late in the game.

But if the White Sox want to leap from pretenders to contenders, they’ll have to be more proficient, something they only did sparingly in a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Whether it was starter John Danks not escaping the fifth inning, more sloppy defense or the offense failing in the clutch, including a critical ninth-inning sequence, the White Sox have myriad reasons why they aren’t headed for Detroit on a four-game winning streak.

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“Just execute,” centerfielder Adam Eaton said. “When we have an out, get it. When we have a play to be made, when a bunt needs to get down, it needs to get down. It’s when you don’t do that you’re not going to win games. That was the story today.”

The White Sox didn’t deserve to be as close as they were in the ninth inning against Cleveland closer Cody Allen. They committed an error, couldn’t convert on several other tough balls, and the offense had stranded eight runners.

But another staunch effort by the bullpen had the White Sox within two with the tying runs on after Allen walked Emilio Bonifacio to start the ninth inning and hit Micah Johnson.

With Melky Cabrera, Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche looming, White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected for Eaton to bunt. But Eaton couldn’t get the bunt down and fouled off a 2-2 pitch for a strikeout.

Ventura stressed he kept the bunt sign on even with two strikes, believing Eaton would convert. But just like the rest of the game, the White Sox didn’t come through.

“You expect him to get that down,” Ventura said. “Even in the past, he’s done it with two strikes. He’s comfortable doing it. You just have to be able to get it down and get it over to the third baseman and move everybody up.

“But all the way around, I think Johnny actually pitched all right. We didn’t do him many favors behind him. A lot of miscues that lead to runs, and they end up biting you at the end. We had a lot of opportunities. We had the one inning we really put some pressure on, didn’t get anything out of it. …

“We have a lot of guys we just left on base.”

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Cabrera and Abreu left the runners stranded just like Eaton, though Cabrera ripped a ball to the left side only for Indians shortstop Jose Ramirez to make a nice stop and almost turn a double play. Then Allen struck out Abreu for the final out with runners on the corners.

The White Sox also left a pair on board in the eighth inning and came up empty after loading the bases with one out in the fourth against Indians starter Trevor Bauer.

Despite all their issues, Eaton lamented his execution, noting he’s comfortable even with two strikes and understood Ventura’s strategy.

“I’m not swinging the bat well,” Eaton said. “Even though I feel pretty good in there and am putting decent swings on the ball, I see if we get runners on second and third they have to make a decision with Melky, throw to him because Jose is on deck. Melky is a professional hitter who can drive in two runs and tie the game and now we’re rolling. Say he gets a hit and we have runners on first and third and Jose is up, another run is going to get in. But it all starts with me and when I don’t get it done it’s … it is what it is.”

That’s about how Danks summed up his afternoon.

The left-hander gave up a pair of hard-hit balls in the fourth inning, consecutive doubles by Ryan Raburn and Lonnie Chisenhall, the latter driving in two runs.

Danks didn’t get much help from his defense.

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Geovany Soto’s throwing error in the third gave Cleveland the extra out it needed to go up by a run on Michael Bourn’s RBI groundout. Then with two outs in the fifth, Danks had Jason Kipnis picked off only for Abreu’s throw to get past Johnson into center field. Carlos Santana followed with a single to make it 4-0.

“We’ve got to play better to win ballgames,” Danks said. “It’s one game. Try to get one Friday.

“Felt good. Felt like I had good enough control with all the pitches and was able to change speeds, just found some holes and got beat on a couple of mistakes.

“That’s baseball and it happens. You get plenty of balls hit on the nose that’ll be caught so you try not to worry about it too much. But it’s certainly frustrating.”

The next Mark Buehrle? Maybe Dallas Keuchel is best bet for White Sox in free agency

The next Mark Buehrle? Maybe Dallas Keuchel is best bet for White Sox in free agency

SAN DIEGO — We've talked a lot about Madison Bumgarner. We've wondered why the White Sox aren't more heavily linked to Gerrit Cole. We watched as they made the high bid for Zack Wheeler, only for him to take less money to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Maybe the best answer for the White Sox starting-pitching problem is someone else entirely. Maybe it's the next Mark Buehrle.

That's a comp that ought to get White Sox fans excited. After all Buehrle is one of the biggest icons in franchise history, a tremendous pitcher, defender and World Series winner. Well, Dallas Keuchel fits those descriptions, too, and it led to one bold prediction from one of the most plugged-in people in the game as the Winter Meetings got started Monday.

"My prediction is — not sourced reporting, this is a prediction — that Dallas Keuchel is a White Sock (by the end of the Winter Meetings)," MLB.com's Jon Morosi said on the White Sox Talk Podcast. "He reminds me — his ability to field the position, lefty — there’s a little Buehrle there with Keuchel. I think that he fits, and I would hope that’s part of the White Sox sales pitch to him.

"I look at Buehrle and Keuchel as being similar pitchers, both athletic. There’s something about Keuchel pitching in that uniform that looks right to me."

OK, so maybe it's less of a comp and more of a hunch, but indeed there are similarities between the two. They're both four-time Gold Glove winners. They both won a World Series, Buehrle with the White Sox in 2005 and Keuchel with the Houston Astros in 2017. They're both left-handed, something that the White Sox could use right now to balance out their right-handed heavy rotation.

Perhaps most importantly for the White Sox, Keuchel is presently available. He's one of three oft-discussed mid-tier free-agent pitchers, along with Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who could be on the White Sox radar in the wake of Wheeler's decision to pitch in Philly. Rick Hahn's front office showed with its reported high bid for Wheeler that it's willing to spend big to add to the rotation. Perhaps the gargantuan sum speculated to go to Cole is a tad outside the realm of possibility — for many more teams than just the White Sox — but Keuchel could be the guy the team's been trying to find to pair with Lucas Giolito at the top of the rotation.

Keuchel has the experience of going through a rebuild and coming out the other end a world champion, helpful in telling these young White Sox how to get it done. He's done something Buehrle never did: capture a Cy Young Award, which he won in 2015. More recently, he helped lead the Atlanta Braves to an NL East championship, posting a 3.75 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 112.2 innings over 19 starts in 2019.

Most importantly, perhaps, Keuchel would provide stability and reliability in a rotation that, while talented, has plenty of question marks. Will Giolito's transformation be permanent? Will Michael Kopech be the same flamethrower he was prior to Tommy John surgery? Will Dylan Cease shake off a rocky first taste of the big leagues? Will Reynaldo Lopez find some consistency? Will Carlos Rodon be able to contribute much in 2020?

Keuchel comes with far fewer question marks, and hearing his name next to Buehrle's should give White Sox fans a clearer picture of what he could bring to the South Side.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins to discuss Gerrit Cole and the Sox meaning business this winter


White Sox Talk Podcast: MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins to discuss Gerrit Cole and the Sox meaning business this winter

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber are at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins them to discuss the latest on Gerrit Cole (0:30) and the White Sox meaning business this winter (3:00). Plus, Jon says who he thinks is more likely to land in the Sox outfield: Marcell Ozuna or Nicholas Castellanos? (5:00)

When all is said and done, what will the White Sox do this week? The four guys give their predictions. Morosi expects a big name, free-agent starter to come to the South Side. (12:00)

Chuck, Guff and Vinnie then discuss what is fact and fiction about Marcell Ozuna (18:00) and have more of the rumors from Day 1 of the Winter Meetings.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast