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.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Chuck Garfien and Steve Stone take a look back at Mark Buehrle's perfect game. How did Buehrle do it? How did Dewayne Wise make that catch?

Plus, Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski talk about how Buehrle actually told Pierzynski before taking that field that day that he would throw a perfect game and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Though Jose Abreu and James McCann represented the team at the All-Star Game earlier this month, Yoan Moncada holds the title of the White Sox best hitter through the first 97 games of the 2019 season.

The guy who struck out 217 times during his first full season in the majors last year has been a completely different hitter this time around. Instead of looking lost at the plate, he’s the guy White Sox fans want to see at the plate in run-producing situations. He hasn’t spent much time in one of those traditional run-producing spots in the batting order, but manager Rick Renteria inserted Moncada into the cleanup spot Monday night.

And Moncada cleaned up, all right.

“I think we found our No. 4 hitter,” starting pitcher Ivan Nova said after he went the distance in a 9-1 waxing of the Miami Marlins. “A lot of times you get surprised. While he was hitting second, you're thinking and knowing, the type of hitter that he is — you're only thinking as a player, they have another way to think. But today, I think it was first time hit in fourth, and he showed.”

Moncada went 2-for-4 with the game’s biggest blow, a three-run homer in the fifth inning that blew things wide open. He drove in four runs on the night, and he flashed a potential glimpse of the future of this future-focused franchise.

Combining with Abreu, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three runs scored, Moncada showed what the middle of the order might look like for this team when rebuilding finally transitions to contending. That could come as soon as next year, and when you throw the currently injured Eloy Jimenez into that group, the White Sox could boast a fearsome 3-4-5 as soon as later this season.

“If someone is happy that we finally found a cleanup hitter, it’s me,” Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo. “Nothing that he does surprises me because I know all the talent he has. I know that he still can do more. He has been working hard. He’s a great baseball player with a lot of talent and I still think he can do more.

“What he did today is not a surprise for me. I still know he’s a great player and I think we’ve seen that throughout the whole season this year. He’s going to get better.”

Moncada has been sensational all season long, proving why the White Sox weren’t at all worried during his struggles in 2018. He owns a .304/.362/.530 slash line through these first 97 games, and his three-run blast Monday night gave him a new career high in that category after he smacked 17 a year ago. He’s six RBIs away from setting a new career high there, too. And even though he made a fielding error Monday that only briefly delayed Nova finishing off his complete-game effort, Moncada has been generally excellent at third base in his first season at that position as a big leaguer.

But putting Moncada in a run-producing spot in the order is a new wrinkle for Renteria this season. Coming into Monday’s game, Moncada had spent 63 games as the team’s No. 2 hitter and just 26 everywhere else. According to the skipper, Moncada is good enough to hit anywhere, and that’s certainly true. His eventual everyday spot in the lineup might have more to do with the hitters around him than simply what he can do by himself.

But if Moncada keeps up the kind of offensive production he’s churned out this season, maybe sticking him right in the thick of the order is what's best for the White Sox — even if those lineups of the future include big bats like those swung by Abreu, Jimenez, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn.

“For me, it's an advantage to hit in the cleanup spot having (Abreu) ahead of me,” Moncada said through Russo. “That way, you can see how the pitchers are attacking him, and you have a better idea, in those situations when you need to produce, how the pitchers are doing it. Even though he's a right-handed hitter and I hit from both sides of the plate, it's good. It's something that gives you a better idea of how the pitchers are doing, how their pitches are working.”

“He had a nice game,” Renteria said. “He can hit anywhere in the middle and the top of the order. I wish I could say I'm really a genius, but I'm not. He's got that talent. He's able to take advantage of it and today he had a nice day. He made everybody look good.”

It would make sense to see Moncada batting fourth again as this first homestand of the second half and the 2019 season roll on, but that’s up to Renteria, who has his reasons for every permutation to his lineups.

Of course, if Abreu gets ahold of Renteria's lineup card and starts writing out the batting orders, we’ll know where Moncada will be slotted.

“If I would have that decision,” Abreu said, “I would put him in the cleanup spot for the rest of the season.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.