White Sox

White Sox offense continues to struggle in loss to Twins

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White Sox offense continues to struggle in loss to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- They’re 20 games in and what is expected to be a formidable offense still hasn’t surfaced for the White Sox.

Kyle Gibson did plenty and his defense did the rest as the Minnesota Twins scored on a Jose Quintana wild pitch and beat the White Sox 1-0 on Friday night in front of 22,794 at Target Field.

Gibson and Glen Perkins combined on a six-hitter as the White Sox lost their third straight and scored three runs or fewer for the 12th time in 20 games (they’re 1-11 in those contests). Quintana took the loss despite limiting the Twins to a run in seven innings.

“It’s frustrating for all of us,” said designated hitter Adam LaRoche, who went 2-for-4. “We’ve run into some pitchers last few days that aren’t overpowering, but seem to be really hitting their spots and making pitches when they need them. Tonight, (Gibson) had that downhill plane, kept the ball down and had some run on it.”

Quintana (1-2) deserved much better.

It appeared like he might earn the 42nd no decision of his career when the White Sox got the go-ahead run into scoring position in the ninth inning.

[MORE: Ventura has addressed White Sox as individuals and as a group]

With two outs, pinch-hitter Gordon Beckham singled to left field, allowing Avisail Garcia to race to third. On the play, left fielder Eduardo Escobar bobbled the ball and Beckham reached second.

But Perkins blew two mid-90s fastball past Tyler Flowers for swinging strikes and then got the catcher looking at another for strike three.

They also had the bases loaded in the second inning, but Flowers grounded into an inning-ending double play when Gibson broke his bat. The Sox also had two on in the seventh inning but Flowers hit into a fielder’s choice and J.B. Shuck popped out to third.

To add injury to insult, the Twins took away several more hits in the fifth inning. Torii Hunter robbed Conor Gillaspie of at least a double with a leaping grab at the wall in right-center field and Joe Mauer had a diving stop for a fielder’s choice on J.B. Shuck’s grounder.

“They’re just not very opportunistic tonight,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Guys had some pretty good at-bats. We swung it OK. They made some good plays on us, but we hit the ball hard. You just continue to go, continue to grind. Eventually that turns.”

Quintana’s luck has to, right?

He wiggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth inning and nearly got out of one in the fifth inning only to throw a wild pitch with two outs to allow Kennys Vargas to score the game’s only run.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Quintana faced the minimum in four of seven innings and struck out five. He walked two.

But it wasn’t enough.

“I see the lineup,” Quintana said. “The guys feel bad when they try for you in the game. Two runs or something in these 1-0 games, that’s crazy. But it’s a crazy game and try your best and hope for the next one.”

The White Sox have to hope this offense, one with a team .238/.288/.345 slash line, wakes up quickly.

They expect it will, as Alexei Ramirez and LaRoche are notoriously slow starters. They figure Adam Eaton -- who missed Friday’s game with flu-like symptoms -- can’t carry a .241 on-base percentage forever. But a team that spent $67 million on Melky Cabrera and LaRoche to bolster the offense has produced 64 runs and been shut out twice, both times by Minnesota.

“We’re going through one of those stretches where we are just not getting it going across the board,” LaRoche said. “So, it will turn. It just sucks going through it.”

 

Daily White Sox prospects update: Zack Collins hits a pair of homers

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Zack Collins hits a pair of homers

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

Double-A Birmingham

Zack Collins hit two home runs as part of a three-hit day. He drove in two runs, scored two runs and walked once in a 10-4 loss. Collins now has seven homers on the campaign with an ungodly .421 on-base percentage. He's batting .326 over his last 25 games. Eloy Jimenez had two hits and a walk, and Jordan Guerrero gave up four runs and walked five in four innings.

Class A Winston-Salem

The Dash lost both games of a doubleheader, 10-5 and 7-0. Luis Alexander Basabe, Alex Call and Gavin Sheets each picked up two hits on the day.

Triple-A Charlotte

Charlie Tilson had a hit and scored a run in a 2-1 loss.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez had a hit in a 2-1 win.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.