White Sox

White Sox lose fifth straight, make four errors in loss to Twins

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White Sox lose fifth straight, make four errors in loss to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- At least the White Sox can’t lose on Monday.

But they more than made up for it with a comedy of errors at Target Field on Sunday afternoon. Blown out for the third time in five days, the White Sox couldn’t pitch, hit or catch the ball in a 13-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

John Danks became the latest starting pitcher to get hit around on the road trip. He gave up seven runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings and had two of his team’s season-high four errors as Minnesota completed a four-game sweep. Winless on their five-game road trip and outscored 39-10, the White Sox are now 8-14.

“It’s a bad week, “White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.  “There’s no way around it. We played bad baseball. They were swinging it, they were doing everything. I don’t think there was anything we were really good at. We have just to check ourselves and get back after it. A lot of these guys, I know they’re battling through stuff. But you have to be better. You can’t go out there and lay and egg like that.”

The starting pitching has to improve first.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Not that the offense or defense offered much support, but the team’s starting rotation put them in an early hole for much of the road trip.

Danks (1-3) was no different, though he struck out the side in the first and pitched out of a jam in the second. The third inning wasn’t as kind as the Twins scored seven times with the aid of two Danks errors that helped knock him out.

After Danks allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, he loaded the bases by dropping a throw from Adam LaRoche, who made a diving stop behind first base. Trevor Plouffe followed with his first career grand slam and Minnesota’s offense was off and running. Danks reloaded the bases with a second error as he fielded a comebacker and skipped a throw to second base. Danny Santana followed with a two-run single under the glove of LaRoche to make it 6-0 and Danks was done.

Brian Dozier singled in Danks’ last run off Scott Carroll to put the Twins ahead by seven.

Danks’ effort wasn’t the worst of the trip in which White Sox starting pitchers went 0-5 with a 10.39 ERA. The group gave up 30 runs (25 earned) and 38 hits in 21 2/3 innings.

[MORE: Sox release first-round pick Jared Mitchell]

“It was pretty awful,” Danks said. “I set the tone. … We need to play better. The pitchers talked and we haven’t given our team too much of a chance to win a lot of our games.”

Though it may be hard to imagine, an already awful week only got worse.

“We didn’t see this coming,” Danks said.

The White Sox scored twice in the top of the fourth as Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey hit three batters, including two to force in runs, and walked another.

But the Twins kept hitting and the White Sox continued to kick the ball around. Plouffe singled in a run to make it 8-2. Micah Johnson then made a nice diving stop of Kennys Vargas -- who later homered -- but threw the ball into left field instead of starting a double play.

Minnesota, which finished with 19 hits, singled in two more runs to go ahead 10-2 and move Vargas to third.

[RELATED: Abreu says blame should be on players, not Ventura]

Geovany Soto committed the team’s fourth error as Dan Jennings’ pitch bounced to his right and the catcher, believing Vargas was coming home, flipped the ball over the pitcher’s head, which then allowed the runner to easily score.

“They came out swinging and beat us,” Soto said.

The offense matched its best output of the trip but was no match for the Twins.

A group that is last in the American League in a number of offensive categories couldn’t break through against Pelfrey early. Alexei Ramirez grounded into a double play in the second inning after consecutive hits by LaRoche and Avisail Garcia to start. Then in the third, J.B. Shuck popped out with a man at second and Jose Abreu stranded a pair with a fielder’s choice.

The Sox scored two courtesy of Pelfrey’s wild streak in the fourth. But reliever Ryan Pressly took over and got Shuck to fly out to left and struck out Melky Cabrera to strand the bases loaded.

“You sit there and scratch your head looking at it because you go through spring training and do everything we do for a month and a half and it looks like this,” Ventura said. “You want to play better baseball. You want to remember it and forget it all at the same time. Again, it has to improve.”

In order to be contenders, the White Sox must learn how to win in 2020

In order to be contenders, the White Sox must learn how to win in 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. — If the White Sox are going to start winning in 2020, they're going to have to learn how.

Certainly a talented roster will play a large role in that. But the influx of veterans this winter didn't just bring on-field capabilities. In adding Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Gio Gonzalez and Steve Cishek, Rick Hahn's front office injected this team with winners, guys who have been to the playoffs and made sizable impacts on winning clubs.

If anybody can teach the young White Sox how to win, it's these guys.

"Yasmani's been in the postseason each of the last five years, Keuchel four of the last five years and Edwin each of the last five years," Rick Hahn said after the Encarnacion signing became official in early January. "That's obviously a tremendous track record for each of them but also speaks in part to what we're trying to accomplish not just on the field but in terms of taking that next step in our clubhouse and this young core not only growing together but learning how to win and learning what it takes to be successful not only over the course of the summer but well into October, as well."

And that playoff experience is rather extensive:

— Grandal won four consecutive NL West championships with the Dodgers and went to back-to-back World Series in 2017 and 2018 before helping the Brewers reach — and hitting a home run in — the NL wild card game last season.

— Keuchel reached three out of four postseasons with the Astros, including in his Cy Young season of 2015 and the team's now-controversial World Series season of 2017, and won an NL East title with the Braves in 2019.

— Encarnacion played in three of the last five AL Championship Series and won AL Central crowns with the Indians in 2017 and 2018.

— Gonzalez played in four postseasons with the Nationals and made the NLCS with the Brewers in 2018.

— Cishek pitched with the Cubs team that played in the NL wild card game in 2018.

Considering even the White Sox team leader, Jose Abreu, has never finished a major league season above .500, all this new playoff experience adds something that was sorely missing.

"You've got to have the talent, and we have the talent on this team," Encarnacion said. "This team makes me remember the team that we had in 2015 with the Blue Jays. A lot of young talents, a few veteran guys and we put everything together and this team is going to be right.

"The team has to be together. If you're going to win, we've got to be together like a team. Pick up your teammates. That's why you have to stay together. If your teammate does something wrong, you're going to feel it and you're going to want to do something to help them out. That's all about it.

"This team makes me remember what we had in Toronto. ... This team has the talent to compete in the division and win."

That 2015 Blue Jays team won the AL East and made it to Game 6 of the ALCS before being eliminated by the eventual world-champion Kansas City Royals. Encarnacion hit 39 homers and drove in 111 runs that season, a set of numbers that would be good news for the White Sox half a decade later.

But in addition to that production, the White Sox could reap the benefits of Encarnacion's playoff experience. The same goes for what they can glean from Grandal, Keuchel and Gonzalez.

"I think that these guys in particular have played a huge role in postseason play in terms of actually performing and being in the limelight. I think their presence in and of itself and probably some of the conversations that they suddenly have with the group play a big part," manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday at Camelback Ranch. "I think that's one of the things that we're hoping to take advantage of. For us, it's a really important time, because now we're trying to take those young men that have developed and are putting themselves on the map, as very good Major League Baseball players trying to take it to the next place.

"And it's like anything too, those moments you can't replicate until you get there. So everybody deals with them differently. Hopefully we're able to deal with them positively. And they have some guys in that I've gone through it that will help them be able to make some adjustments."

The winning-experience ingredient has been added to the interesting gumbo that is the 2020 White Sox, a team that has designs on bringing October baseball to the South Side for the first time in more than a decade. All these veterans can serve as resources for the young guys and teach them what is necessary to be a contender along the way.

And these veterans can feed off the talent of those same youngsters to drive toward another addition to their postseason resumes.

"Once you get a little taste of the playoffs, that's why you play is to get that feeling," Keuchel said. "As much as you want to replicate it in the regular season, for guys who have no playoff experience, I think the regular season is that feeling. But there's another feeling to it that pushes you and wants you to be a better player.

"Ultimately I told Rick Hahn this: I said, 'Four out of the last five years, I've made the playoffs, and I don't expect any of these three years (during the contract with the White Sox) to be any different.'" 

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Tim Anderson starts YouTube channel to fix baseball's 'kind of bad' marketing'

Tim Anderson starts YouTube channel to fix baseball's 'kind of bad' marketing'

Tim Anderson asserted himself as one of the flashiest young players in baseball last season. Now, he’s taking his personality to YouTube.

The White Sox shortstop posted the first video to his channel on Saturday and has posted two more since. In the first, he explained why he started the channel.

“The reason we’re starting it is because, you know man, the marketing game is kind of bad in baseball, so who’s going to create that lane? I’m going to create that lane and give people behind the scenes,” Anderson said. “Everybody knows that the next five to six years are going to be dope, going to be great. Everybody is talking about the South Side. We got the pieces. Everybody’s excited. It’s going to be fun.”

Bold, as always, from Anderson. He didn’t hold back about baseball's “kind of bad” marketing of the game and its players. He’s not the first to complain about it, but he was blunt.

“I’m to the point now in life, I’m trying to capture everything,” Anderson said. “I don’t want to miss nothing. That way when I do turn 70 or 80 all I gotta do is be like ‘pop that in, let me see what I was doing in my 20s, in my 30s, in my 40s.’ It’s about capturing every moment in my life.”

So far, all we’ve seen are spring training workout videos but Anderson says he will talk about big moments in games during the season.

“I’m just going to be as real as I can be, and I feel like YouTube is the best way to go about it and connect with my fans,” Anderson said. “We’re going to give you those conversations before games when we ride to the field or we’re going to give you those conversations that we’re talking about the game that happened before, like what you did. We’re going to give you those conversations on how you feel in those moments when you do those things on the field, whether it’s bat flip or pimp a home run. We’re going to give you that. We’re going to give you everything.”

The next time Anderson makes a big play or is involved in a controversial moment, he might be airing out his thoughts for the world to see on his YouTube channel. This could get interesting.

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