White Sox

White Sox lose as Royals hit three homers off Carlos Rodon

White Sox lose as Royals hit three homers off Carlos Rodon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He has already bounced back from serious adversity once this season. Now Carlos Rodon will look to rebound from a pair of rough starts late in the year.

The White Sox starter yielded three home runs in four-plus innings on Monday afternoon as the Kansas City Royals handed an 8-3 loss to the White Sox in front of 31,502 at Kauffman Stadium. Rodon, who recently won five straight decisions, lost for a second straight start after he allowed six earned runs in a 96-pitch effort. The White Sox, who won Friday’s contest in dramatic fashion, lost their third straight to the Royals and 14th in 19 meetings this season.

Jose Abreu and Carlos Sanchez both homered in the losing effort.

“I’m going to be fresh in these last two starts, just try to finish strong and move on,” Rodon said. “These things happen. I just have to keep on having fun. Sometimes I forget this is a kid’s game and you just have to enjoy it. Sometimes the pressure gets to you, and you take it as a job. It’s not a job, although it is. Kids play this game all over the world. We all started as kids, and we just have to remember this is a kid’s game and have fun with it.”

There were no indications Rodon was in for a difficult day when he retired the side in order in the first inning on only 11 pitches.

He found trouble in the second inning and faced a stressful situation in each frame the rest of the way. He fell behind 2-1 in the second inning when he yielded solo homers to Paulo Orlando and Alcides Escobar on fastballs and had to work around a two-out double to Christian Colon. Rodon managed to strand a runner in scoring position in both the third and fourth innings.

But the stress seemed to catch up to Rodon in the fifth inning, and things got ugly in a hurry. Rodon’s throwing error on Billy Burns’ infield single put him in scoring position. Whit Merrifield then singled to put runners on the corners and stole second base. Eric Hosmer broke a 2-all tie with an RBI single, and Kendrys Morales knocked Rodon from the game with a three-run homer, a 436-foot shot to left center.

Rodon allowed eight hits in four-plus innings and has seen his ERA increase from 3.80 to 4.29 in his last two starts.

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It’s not the first time Rodon has found himself in a difficult spot this season. He was outwardly frustrated as he headed into the All-Star break injured and with a 2-7 record despite having pitched well enough to win in 10 of his first 16 starts.

But Rodon vowed to treat the second half as if he was starting from zero and expected to rebound. Until his last start, Rodon has done just that. From Aug. 6 to Sept. 9, Rodon went 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA in 43 2/3 innings, which brought his record within a game of .500.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura thinks that Rodon’s turnaround can be extremely valuable from a mental standpoint.

“You’re looking at a kid who went through a rough patch, and he’s been able to see his way out of it, see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Ventura said. “You can get buried in this game and not be able to mentally get your way out of it to where you have the confidence to go out there and commit to a pitch and locate it and be able to get people out. He has been able to do that. He’s turned a new leaf to where the belief is there. He’s showing it in his actions. Just the stuff he’s doing during games. I think that’s the important part for him taking it this far is you’re seeing it.”

The White Sox offense put up a decent fight early on but couldn’t keep pace with the Royals.

They pulled ahead 1-0 in the second inning when Todd Frazier singled in Justin Morneau, who doubled in his first at-bat in six games.

Two innings later, Abreu crushed a 3-1 fastball from Yordano Ventura for a game-tying homer to center that went over the third wall just below the massive scoreboard. But Ventura shut the White Sox down from there. Aside from the 431-foot solo homer by Sanchez in the seventh, the White Sox managed little else against Ventura, who went the distance.

“That (earlier) stretch was good,” Rodon said. “These past two games weren’t my finest. I wish I would have been better for this team, and that’s on me.”

Manny Machado's agent has had ENOUGH of these contract rumors and we can't blame him

Manny Machado's agent has had ENOUGH of these contract rumors and we can't blame him

MAKE IT STOP.

To recap: today's Manny Machado rumors started with a somewhat head-turning report that his sitting offer was 7-years and $175 million. 

That settles it. Buster Olney is trustworthy and the White Sox have offered that much money and baseball's impending work stoppage is moving on as planned, full steam ahead. 

Ha! Just kidding. That is of course not where things went from there: 

Uhhh, sure! Everyone has heard everything and yet no one knows how much money Manny Machado is about to get over how many years. This prompted Machado's agent to tweet out this piece of art:

"I have known Bob Nightengale and Buster Olney for many years and have always had a good professional relationship with both," Lozano said in a statement. "But their recent reporting, like many other rumors in the past several months, have been inaccurate and reckless when it comes to Manny Machado. I don't know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by intentionally misleading them to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons. But the truth is that their reports on the details of the White Sox's level of interest in Manny are completely wrong.

"I am well aware that the entire baseball universe -- fans, players, teams and media members alike -- are starved for information about this free agent market for all players, including Manny. But I am not going to continue to watch the press be manipualated into tampering with, not just with my client, but all of these players' livelihoods as they have been doing this entire offseason. The absence of new information to report is no excuse to fabricate 'news' or regurgitate falsehoods without even attempting to confirm their validity, and it is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere when the media does just that.

"Moving forward, I will continue to respect the CBA's prohibition on negotiations through the media and hope that others would do the same."

It is extremely amusing that a power broker like Dan Lozano 1. is faking outrage about negotiating in the media 2. acting like leaked reports that perhaps sway team perception is a thing that has never happened before Machado. 

White Sox Team of the Future: Second base

White Sox Team of the Future: Second base

What will the next championship-contending White Sox team look like?

That's what we're setting out to determine (or at least make a guess at) this month. Ten members of our White Sox content team here at NBC Sports Chicago put our heads together to try to project what each position on the diamond would look like in one, two, three years. Basically, we posed the question: What will the White Sox starting lineup be the next time they're capable of playing in the World Series?

That question can have a bunch of different answers, too. We didn't limit ourselves to players currently a part of the organization. Think the White Sox are gonna make a big free-agent addition? Vote for that player. Think the White Sox are gonna pull off a huge trade? Vote for that player. We wanted to see some creativity.

A first-round draft pick isn't assured to rocket through the farm system. Jake Burger, the White Sox first-round pick in 2017, hasn't played above Class A Kannapolis, thanks in part to a pair of Achilles tears last year. Zack Collins has spent two and a half years in the White Sox system after they spent a first-round pick on him in 2016. Carson Fulmer, the first-round pick in 2015, did move quickly through the system, but his long-term major league future is a question mark after he struggled mightily at the big league and Triple-A levels in 2018.

Nick Madrigal might be different.

In fewer than 40 games as a pro after the White Sox used the No. 4 pick on him last summer, Madrigal played at three different levels and showed what made team brass call him "the best all-around player in college baseball." It's why he's our second baseman of the future.

Madrigal has more than a couple things going for him. He's touted as a Gold Glove type defender on the middle infield. He doesn't strike out, like at all, doing so just five times in 173 minor league plate appearances. He reaches base often (a .353 on-base percentage) and hits for a high average (.303 batting average). He has plenty of experience playing winning baseball, earning a College World Series championship with his Oregon State teammates in 2018.

All that makes his future not only look bright but makes his future look near.

The White Sox, of course, aren't putting a timeline on when Madrigal could reach the majors. They don't do that with any of their prized prospects. But Madrigal seems to be on the fast track, whether that's just because he was advanced from playing high-level college ball for so long or because he's just really good. He's likely to play at the Double-A level in 2019, and if he succeeds there, who knows? Rick Hahn always says the good ones have a way of changing the team's plans. Could Madrigal rapidly reach the bigs and help the rebuilding White Sox transition from rebuilding to contending in the next year or two?

Regardless of when he arrives, the White Sox are obviously high on Madrigal's abilities. The question is which position he'll be playing when he gets to the South Side. The good news for the White Sox is that Madrigal brings versatility on the infield. He spent time at second and short at Oregon State. He almost exclusively played second base in the minors last season.

“I’ve worked on different positions throughout my life in the infield,” Madrigal said when meeting with reporters in September. “When my dad hit me ground balls, I made sure to take them from both sides of the bag, just to make sure I had that in my back pocket. I’ve played a lot of shortstop my whole life.

“When I was really young I caught, so I feel like I’ve played almost every position on the field and I feel comfortable doing that.”

Last time he caught, he was 11., so let's focus on the middle infield. The White Sox are talking about moving current second baseman Yoan Moncada over to third, not necessary because Madrigal is on the way, but that's part of it. Of course, if Manny Machado picks the White Sox, the entire infield alignment could be thrown into disarray.

But Madrigal seems to have the stuff to be the second baseman of the future. The question then becomes how quick can he get here?

Other vote-getters

Yoan Moncada. Moncada is obviously the second baseman of the present, and the guy who isn't too far removed from being the No. 1 prospect in baseball is very much a part of the White Sox long-term plans. Fans might have soured on his potential after his 217 strikeouts last season, but the White Sox see it as a step in his path to big league stardom. Where that will be, though, is not set in stone. As mentioned, the team has discussed moving him to third base, in part because Madrigal is on the way and could provide an elite glove at second. Moncada made 21 errors at second last season. Should Machado arrive on the South Side, however, Moncada might get the opportunity to stay at second. Or he might go to third anyway. Or he might stay at second if the White Sox don't get Machado. They're undecided.

Starlin Castro. Here's creativity in action. One of our voters sees the second baseman of the future arriving as a free agent after either the 2019 or 2020 season (he's got an option for 2020). Currently a Miami Marlin, Castro's been a Cub and a New York Yankee, too. He's already logged nine big league seasons and has done so to the tune of a career .281/.321/.411 slash line. That might not leap off the screen, but considering the White Sox could be loaded elsewhere on the diamond, Castro could be a nice piece to finish off the lineup, if need be. He's only two years removed from a career-best .792 OPS and his fourth All-Star appearance. Is Castro at the top of folks' free-agent wish lists? Probably not. But he certainly could be an under-the-radar move that helps complete a contending roster.

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