White Sox

White Sox offense goes silent again in 2-1 loss to Royals

White Sox offense goes silent again in 2-1 loss to Royals

KANSAS CITY -- The White Sox not only lost another series on Thursday night, they also lost Miguel Gonzalez for at least 15 days.

The starting pitcher said he’s headed for the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin after he exited in the second inning of a 2-1 White Sox loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. A trio of young relievers pitched well in Gonzalez’s absence, but the offense couldn’t solve Danny Duffy as the White Sox dropped to a season-worst six games below. 500. Kansas City took advantage of Duffy’s complete game with two runs scored against Carson Fulmer in the sixth inning to win the rubber match of a three-game set.

“I felt it on the first pitch (of the second inning),” Gonzalez said. “After that, I didn’t have anything to push off with, no strength. I’ve done it before. That was my second time doing it on my right leg. Knowing you can’t have that strength, you can’t go out there and make it worse.”

After an up-and-down start to the season, Gonzalez has been a steady option at the back of the White Sox rotation. The right-hander carried a 2.76 ERA in his last seven starts into Thursday’s finale against Duffy. Gonzalez struck out a pair in a scoreless first inning before he suffered the injury against Salvador Perez.

Gonzalez said he suffered the same injury last season and hopes his absence is limited to 15 days.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

The scenario couldn’t have been any more difficult for the White Sox after the bullpen pitched 6 1/3 innings in Wednesday’s extra innings loss. But Michael Ynoa, Fulmer and Tommy Kahnle responded with seven sharp innings on short notice.

Ynoa got off to a rough start as he hit Perez with his first pitch and Alcides Escobar reached on an error. But Ynoa, who has shown nice flashes since he was promoted in mid-June, followed up with his strongest stretch to date. After a sac bunt moved them over, Ynoa stranded the two runners in scoring position as he ended the bottom of the second inning with a strikeout of Raul Mondesi.

The tall right-hander also set down the side in order in the second and third innings, striking out Eric Hosmer and Perez in the fourth. Ynoa didn’t walk any batters or surrender a hit in a 43-pitch effort.

Fulmer continued the string of dominance when he struck out a pair in a perfect fifth inning. The Royals scored twice to rally from a 1-0 deficit when Fulmer issued a leadoff walk in the sixth. Cheslor Cuthbert tied it with a one-out RBI triple and Eric Hosmer singled him in. But Fulmer retired four of the last five he faced, striking out three in three innings.

Kahnle struck out the side in a scoreless inning, too.

“They did a great job,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They knew they had a long way to go tonight. Michael did a nice job spur of the moment, so did Carson.”

The offense wasn’t up to the task against Duffy, who needed 98 pitches for the complete-game effort.

Duffy retired the last 11 batters he faced and only got into trouble in the second inning. That’s when he surrendered three straight two-out hits, the last an RBI single by Jason Coats. But Duffy retired Adam Eaton to end the rally and limit the damage to a run.

Duffy allowed seven hits in all and never let the White Sox have more than one runner reach base in any other frame. Down a run, third baseman Todd Frazier just missed on a 3-0 pitch in the ninth inning, flying out to deep left.

A night after the White Sox went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, stranding a pair of runners five times in a 3-2 loss, Duffy limited their opportunities. The White Sox scored three runs over their final 23 innings at Kauffman Stadium and lost a winnable series.

“They did a heck of a job,” Frazier said of the bullpen. “I’m proud of them. You know, it’s good to see that. Ynoa came in and pitched three innings and did his job. Carson gave up two runs there, but at the same time he pitched well. You give up two runs, you gotta win the game. It doesn’t matter who is pitching. We did it yesterday, too. You have to find a way to tack on.”

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

The White Sox lost Saturday night.

That’s baseball, of course, they’re not all going to be winners. And this rebuilding franchise has seen plenty of losses. But the feelings have been so good of late — whether because of Eloy Jimenez’s 400-foot homers or Lucas Giolito’s Cy Young caliber season to this point or a variety of other positive signs that make the White Sox future so bright — that losing Saturday to the first-place New York Yankees seemed rather sour.

Obviously there will be plenty more losses for this White Sox team before the book closes on the 2019 campaign. Back under .500, these South Siders aren’t expected to reach elite status before all the pieces arrive, and it would be no shock if they’re removed from the playoff race in the American League by the time crunch time rolls around in September.

But don’t tell these White Sox that an 8-4 defeat is a return to reality or a reminder that this team is still a work in progress. Even if, for a lot of players, development is still occurring at the major league level, the “learning experiences” that have been such a large part of the conversation surrounding this team in recent seasons and their daily goal of winning baseball games aren’t mutually exclusive.

“The Yankees are sitting in first place and they lost two games in a row,” catcher James McCann said Saturday night, providing a reminder of how the first two games of this weekend series went. “Just because you're expected to win and expected to be World Series contenders doesn't mean you're not going to lose ballgames. It's how you bounce back.

“And it doesn't mean you're going to win tomorrow, either. It's just, how do you handle a defeat? How do you handle a bad at-bat? How do you handle a bad outing, whatever it may be? But it doesn't mean that we step back and say, ‘Oh, we're back under .500, we're supposed to lose.’

“We expect to win when we show up to the ballpark. You can take learning experiences whether you win or lose. Do I think a game like tonight reminds us we're supposed to be in a rebuilding mode? No. We still expect to win, and we're going to show up tomorrow with that mentality.”

Maybe that’s a description of the much-discussed “learning to win” young teams supposedly need to do on the road to contender status. Maybe that can’t happen until a team figures out how to bounce back from a defeat — until it learns how to lose and how to act in the wake of a loss.

For all McCann’s certainty about the team’s expectations on a daily basis, his explanation was peppered with questions. He said he’s seen the answer to “how do you bounce back?” from this club, and his three-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday night was fairly convincing evidence that the White Sox didn’t use up all their fight just getting back to .500.

So while the White Sox know they won’t win every game — that no team will — they need to know how they handle defeat. Losing, it turns out, might end up being more instructive about when this team is ready to win.

“I think we've done a pretty good job (bouncing back),” McCann said. “You look at the road trip in Houston and Minnesota where we took two out of four from a good Houston team and then played really not very good baseball for three days in Minnesota only to come home and have an extremely good homestand.

“It's the big picture. It's not the very next day. It's not, ‘We've got to bounce back and win.’ It's not a must-win situation in the middle of June. But it's how do you handle yourself? How does a game like tonight, do you show up flat tomorrow and let it snowball into a three-, four-game spiral? Or do you fight?

“And that's what this team's been really good at doing is fighting and not giving in.”

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Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

The temperature is rising on the South Side, and if you look outside, you know it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Instead, it’s a heat wave coming from a fresh-faced 22-year-old slugger who’s crushing baseballs, igniting a fan base and screaming “Hi Mom!” to his actual mother whenever he spots a TV camera with its red light on.

Eloy Jimenez has arrived with the White Sox, and according to a New York Yankees All Star who has known him for years, the best is yet to come.

“Not this year, but next year, he’s going to be even better,” infielder Gleyber Torres said about Jimenez.

The two of them were signed by that team across town in 2013 when they were both 16 years old. They were practically inseparable back then, and they remain tight to this day.

“I talk with Gleyber pretty much every single day now. He’s kind of like my brother,” Jimenez said. “We haven’t lost that communication, and I think that’s good for us.”

Torres echoed similar thoughts about Jimenez.

“In my first couple years with the Cubs, he was my roommate every day. We’ve got a really good relationship. We’re like brothers. We are really good friends,” Torres said. “I’m just happy to see what he’s doing right now.”

Which, lately, has been just about everything.

There was that majestic home run Jimenez belted on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals that landed on the center field concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field, the two walks the next day when the Yankees decided to pitch around Jimenez as if he was a perennial All Star, and then the two-homer game on Friday: The first one gave the White Sox the lead, the second stuck a dagger into the Yankees, as well as the heart of his longtime friend.

“For sure, I didn’t like it,” Torres said with a smile about Jimenez’s two-homer, six-RBI game. “I’m not surprised. I knew Eloy before he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominican. He’s a big dude. The power is coming every day.”

How good can Jimenez be? Torres, who plays on a star-studded team with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, sees Jimenez reaching the same stratosphere.

“He can be a star for all of MLB. He’s just a young guy right now, but when he matures a little more, he can do everything.”

Jimenez is turning up the heat in Chicago, and it’s not even summer yet.

The South Side can’t wait for the sizzle to come.

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