White Sox

White Sox offense comes to life in blowout of Tigers

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White Sox offense comes to life in blowout of Tigers

DETROIT -- You know what they say about laughter, it really helps you get over a pair of lousy losses.

The White Sox offense delivered to a team in need of a light moment or two several hearty chuckles on Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Just when it appeared their bats might continue to sputter, the White Sox came to life against Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez and produced season highs in runs and hits. The outpouring helped to erase some of the disappointment of consecutive tough losses as the White Sox rolled the Detroit Tigers 12-3 in front of 39,877.

Adam LaRoche drove in four runs, including a three-run homer, and Jose Abreu had a grand slam for the White Sox, who finished with 17 hits in support of Chris Sale.

“They’re nice to have,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “But the feeling is when guys get a lot of hits like that -- that part can never be understated of how good a feeling (it is) for guys to go out there and do that against a pitcher like that and a team like this. We don’t have too many of these guys because you’re usually battling it out. It’s nice for the lineup to have one of these.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

It looked as if the White Sox might be headed for another battle after Sanchez pitched out of a first-inning jam.

But the next time through the lineup wasn’t so easy.

Adam Eaton started a third-inning rally with a leadoff walk and a stolen base. Next came Melky Cabrera’s RBI double, which was followed by Abreu’s bloop single to center field. Then came a mammoth three-run blast by LaRoche, who had struck out with two in scoring position in the first.

The fun continued in the fourth inning as consecutive doubles by Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers and a walk by Micah Johnson, one of two on the day, loaded the bases (Ramirez held up to see if Flowers’ drive would be caught). Cabrera, who tied a career-high with four hits, singled in a run before Abreu crushed an inside slider for a grand slam, his third homer of the season, and a 9-1 lead.

Cabrera, Abreu and LaRoche -- who also doubled in a run in the fifth -- combined to go 10-for-16 with six runs, 10 RBIs and two homers.

“Everybody knows what we can do or what we are able to do,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “Thank God today was a good day for us. I hope that we can keep the momentum for the next game and of course, I’m not saying we are going to score 12 runs everyday. But yeah, we can do some damage to the pitchers.”

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So far that hasn’t been the case.

The White Sox entered Saturday’s contest with 25 runs scored, the fewest in the majors. They produced two or fewer runs in five of their first nine contests.

The early performance is not quite what Ventura and general manager Rick Hahn had in mind when they signed LaRoche and Cabrera to a combined $67 million in contracts. Even so, the White Sox have maintained a confident front in the face of their struggles.

“These are the guys we knew we had the whole time,” Sale said. “I don’t know what I did for Rochie, but every time I pitch he’s hitting homers. And we know what we have in Abreu. That home run was the difference maker. He opened the game up.”

The outburst may have saved future pitches for Sale, who had to battle through a pair of tough jams in the first three innings involving Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

[MORE: 'We all missed call' from Friday's loss]

After three innings, Sale’s pitch count stood at 56. With 12 runs of support, he only needed 45 more pitches in his final three innings. Sale struck out six and gave up two runs and four hits with one walk.

Following a rough opening 10-game stretch to start, the White Sox would like to find more fits of laughter in the near future.

“It really takes all the pressure off,” Sale said. “You still have to perform and get through it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen 12 runs before. It was impressive.

“After that tough loss like yesterday, it’s nice to come here and get that deep breath, exhale a little bit and here we go.”

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease struggles early, but finishes strong in second White Sox start

Dylan Cease picked up a win in his first start, but his second did not go as well.

Cease pitched six innings Tuesday at the Royals and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk. He struck out seven, but took the loss in an ugly game for the White Sox.

The game got off to an ominous start with Eloy Jimenez getting injured on the first batter Cease faced. The White Sox defense didn’t help Cease much either with three errors (Cease had one of those on an errant pickoff throw).

After giving up six runs in the first four innings, Cease settled down to retire the final eight batters he faced. He finished with seven strikeouts against just one walk and threw 67 of his 108 pitches for strikes.

Cease struck out six in his first start and is the first pitcher in White Sox history to strike out six or more in each of his first two career appearances.

A deeper look at Cease’s numbers show his swing and miss stuff hasn’t quite caught on as expected so far. Cease got 13 swinging strikes in 101 pitches in his major league debut. He got 12 whiffs on 108 pitches on Tuesday. His slider did get five swinging strikes on 25 pitches against the Royals.

Fastball command remains a key part to Cease’s success. He only threw 26 out of 54 fastballs for strikes in his debut. Cease improved upon that with 31 strikes on 50 fastballs against the Royals.

Most of the Royals’ damage came against Cease’s fastball as well. Six of the Royals’ eight hits off Cease, including all three extra base hits, were off heaters. Cease also gave up four hits with two strikes.

There has been plenty of hype surrounding Cease since he joined the White Sox, but he hasn’t hit the ground running in the majors just yet. Having 13 days between the first two starts of his career due to the all-star break and the White Sox giving him some extra rest also isn’t the ideal scenario for a young pitcher.

Cease’s ERA is now at 5.73, which isn’t going to set the world on fire. Still, there have been enough positives in his first two starts to see where reasonable improvement could lead to Cease becoming the pitcher the White Sox expect him to be.

 

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: Next steps for the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Next steps for the White Sox rebuild

David Haugh, Sam Panayotovich and Chris Bleck join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Cubs deal World Series hero Mike Montgomery to the Royals for catcher Martin Maldonado. So what does that mean for Willson Contreras' injury? And who will get the majority of the playing time behind the plate?

10:30 - The guys look ahead to Dylan Cease's second Major League start and discuss what players should be dealt at the deadline to continue the White Sox rebuild.

16:00 - The Blackhawks deal Artem Anisimov to the Senators. Could this mean Kirby Dach can make the team on opening night?

18:30 - Robbie Gould won't be a Bear next season. Is the Bears Week 1 kicker currently on their roster?

20:00 - Did EA Sports diss Mitch Trubisky? DARN NATIONAL MEDIA!!!!

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: