White Sox

White Sox notes: Baserunning, a ridiculous 9th inning and more

White Sox notes: Baserunning, a ridiculous 9th inning and more

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A rather strange postscript to Zack Collins' brief stint in major league camp this year was that, in addition to hitting well, the young catcher also stole two bases. 

But Collins' stolen base success fits with a theme here at Camelback Ranch. The White Sox entered the second half of their split-squad doubleheader Sunday with the second most stolen base attempts (31) in both the Cactus League and Grapefruit League this spring, a product of the club's coaching staff encouraging an aggressive mindset on the base paths. 

The White Sox as a team successfully swiped bases on five of their six attempts in Sunday's 10-8 loss to the Texas Rangers, though Leury Garcia was doubled off second on a line drive and was the only player to be thrown out on a stolen base attempt. Manager Rick Renteria said those mistakes, though, will be used as a teaching tool for the rest of the team. 

"We like aggressive baserunning but recklessness is not a key to being aggressive," Renteria said. "You talk to the player and see what the thought process was. It's a matter of talking to the situation. In most instances we can pinpoint what went wrong. When we talk about it the whole team will be in there and everybody learns from that situation. And then we try to work it out in our skill work.

Outfielder Jacob May, who is in the mix for an Opening Day roster spot with Charlie Tilson's foot keeping him sidelined, leads the White Sox with four stolen bases. As a team, the White Sox have only successfully stolen bases on 64 percent of their attempts, but figuring out how to be aggressive is still something this young roster will have to learn. 

"Overall I've been pretty satisfied with how we react to line drives and run the bases. today was just an anomaly as far as I'm concerned, Renteria said. "But they happen. If we continue to work on the things we need to we'll get better and hopefully recklessness does not become a normal part of our normal operating procedure.

Two touchdowns of runs

Since this happened well past midnight in Chicago, here's a rundown of what the White Sox did in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday night:

Alfredo Gonzalez reaches on a throwing error by third baseman Erick Mejia (Jake Peter pinch-running)
Danny Hayes singles (Joey DeMichele running), Peter to third
Nick Basto singles, Peter scores, DeMichele to second, 3-2 Dodgers
Adam Engel sacrifice bunt, throwing error on pitcher Andrew Istler, DeMichele scores, Basto to third, Engel to second, 3-3
Eddy Alvarez walks
Luis Alexander Basabe singles, Basto scores, Engel scores, Alvarez to third, Basabe to second on the throw, 5-3 White Sox
Jason Bourgeois singles, Alvarez scores, Basabe scores, Bourgeois to third on the throw, 7-3 White Sox
Matt Davidson reaches on a fielding error by left fielder Yusniel Diaz, Bourgeois to third, Davidson to second
Yoan Moncada doubles, Bourgeois scores, Davidson scores, 9-3 White Sox
Peter singles, Moncada to third
Roberto Pena (pinch hitting for DeMichele) hit by pitch, Peter to second (Brett Austin pinch running for Pena)
Basto sacrifice fly, Moncada scores, Peter to third, 10-3 White Sox
Engel walks, Austin to second
Alvarez hit by pitch, Peter scores, Austin to third, Engel to second, 11-3 White Sox
Basabe sacrifice fly, Austin scores, 12-3 White Sox
Bourgeois homers, Engel scores, Alvarez scores, 15-3 White Sox
Davidson walks
Moncada grounds out

Whew. That's 14 runs in the ninth inning. The Dodgers also used four pitchers in the laughable frame. 

Quintana's WBC run comes to an end

Jose Quintana will make his way back to Arizona after Colombia were eliminated from pool play of the World Baseball Classic on Sunday. Colombia pushed the heavily-favored Dominican Republic to extra innings -- and nearly won in the ninth, if not for Jose Bautista's dramatic throw to get would-be winning run Oscar Mercado at home plate -- before losing, 10-3, in extra innings. 

Quintana, though, dazzled in his Friday start against the United States, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. White Sox relievers Nate Jones and David Robertson will continue in the WBC with the United States, which advanced from the first round of pool play with a comprehensive 8-0 win over Canada on Sunday. 

Holland fine with not facing Rangers

Derek Holland didn't get a chance to face his former club on Sunday, with the 30-year-old left-hander starting the second game of a split-squad doubleheader at Camelback Ranch against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But Holland -- who pitched for the Rangers from 2009-2016 and was a part of two American League pennant-winning teams -- wasn't overly concerned with missing out on that opportunity. 

"I didn't care," Holland said. "To be honest, it was kind of good to sleep in (for the night game against Los Angeles). I'm going to get to face them. There's no worry about that stuff. You get what you get."

Holland allowed two runs on three hits over 3 2/3 innings Sunday night, issuing three walks with four strikeouts. Catcher Bobby Wilson's two-run home run did all the Dodgers' damage. 

Other notes from Rangers 10, White Sox 8:

-- Zack Burdi allowed his first runs of the spring on a three-run home run to Rangers minor leaguer Cesar Puello with two out in the eighth inning. Burdi allowed two hits with a walk and a strikeout, too, after firing 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his first four Cactus League appearances. 

-- In addition to his two stolen bases, May picked up a pair of hits to raise his spring batting average to .385 and his OPS to .929.

-- Leury Garcia had four hits in five at-bats to raise his spring batting average to .400. Like May, we're dealing with small sample sizes of spring training games, but for a guy who only has 65 major league at-bats since the end of the 2014 season, Garcia's success at the plate is at least somewhat encouraging. 

Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018


Daily White Sox prospects update: Gavin Sheets hits his first homer of 2018

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

Class A Winston-Salem

Gavin Sheets hit his first home run of the season in a 12-4 loss. While it's taken him this long to hit his first ball out of the park, Sheets has a .380 on-base percentage and his 24 walks make for one of the top 10 totals in the Carolina League. Blake Rutherford doubled in this one, while Sheets, Rutherford, Alex Call and Luis Alexander Basabe combined to draw five walks.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez and Evan Skoug each had a hit in a 9-3 win.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had two hits in a 9-3 loss.

James Shields is having a stellar May and making comeback wins possible for the White Sox


James Shields is having a stellar May and making comeback wins possible for the White Sox

If you haven’t checked in with what James Shields is doing in a while, your opinion of the veteran pitcher’s performance might need some updating.

Shields didn’t exactly win the confidence of White Sox fans during his first two seasons on the South Side. After arriving in a midseason trade with the San Diego Padres in 2016, he posted a 6.77 ERA in 22 starts, during which he allowed 31 home runs. He followed that up with a 5.23 ERA and 27 home runs allowed in 2017.

And the 2018 season didn’t start out great, either, with a 6.17 ERA over his first five outings.

But the month of May has brought a dramatic turn in the vet’s production. In five May starts, he’s got a 3.27 ERA in five starts, all of which have seen him go at least six innings (he’s got six straight outings of at least six innings, dating back to his last start in April).

And his two most recent starts have probably been his two best ones of the season. After allowing just one run on three hits in 7.1 innings last Thursday against the Texas Rangers, he gave up just two runs on five hits Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

The White Sox, by the way, won both of those games in comeback fashion. They scored four runs in the eighth against Texas and three in the eighth against Baltimore for a pair of “Ricky’s boys don’t quit” victories made possible by Shields’ great work on the mound.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said after Tuesday’s game. “It’s our job as starters to keep us in the game as long as we possibly can, no matter how we are hitting in a game. At the end of the game, you can always score one or two runs and possibly win a ballgame like we did tonight.”

The White Sox offense was indeed having trouble much of Tuesday’s game, kept off the scoreboard by Orioles starter Kevin Gausman. Particularly upsetting for White Sox Twitter was the sixth inning, when the South Siders put two runners in scoring position with nobody out and then struck out three straight times to end the inning.

But Shields went out and pitched a shut-down seventh, keeping the score at 2-0. Bruce Rondon did much the same thing in the eighth, and the offense finally sparked to life in the bottom of the inning when coincidentally presented with a similar situation to the one in the sixth. This time, though, the inning stayed alive and resulted in scoring, with Welington Castillo, Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez driving in the three runs.

“I’m out there doing my job,” Shields said. “My job is to try to keep us in the game. And we had some good starters against us that have been throwing well. If I can keep them close, we are going to get some wins and get some wins throughout the rest of the year like that. That’s the name of the game.”

Shields’ value in this rebuilding effort has been discussed often. His veteran presence is of great value in the clubhouse, particularly when it comes to mentoring young pitchers like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, among others. Shields can act as an example of how to go about one’s business regardless of the outcomes of his starts. But when he can lead by example with strong outings, that’s even more valuable.

“I’m trying to eat as many innings as possible,” he said. “We kind of gave our bullpen — we taxed them a little bit the first month of the season. We are kind of getting back on track. Our goal as a starting staff is to go as deep as possible, and in order to do that, you’ve got to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

“Not too many playoff teams, a starting staff goes five and dive every single game. My whole career I’ve always wanted to go as deep as possible. I wanted to take the ball all the way to the end of the game. And we’ve done a pretty good job of it of late.”

It’s a long time between now and the trade deadline, and consistency has at times escaped even the brightest spots on this rebuilding White Sox roster. But Shields has strung together a nice bunch of starts here of late, and if that kind of performance can continue, the White Sox front office might find that it has a potential trade piece on its hands. That, too, is of value to this rebuild.

Until that possibility occurs, though, the team will take more solid outings that give these young players an opportunity to learn how to come back and learn how to win.