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White Sox offense struggles again in 6-2 loss to Indians

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White Sox offense struggles again in 6-2 loss to Indians

Even Carlos Rodon’s major league debut couldn’t wake the White Sox offense from its extended slumber.

Jose Abreu homered in the first inning and singled in a run in the eighth but the White Sox -- who got the tying man to the plate late -- were otherwise kept in check during a 6-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

Carlos Carrasco and six Indians relievers struck out 15 as the White Sox were held to two runs or fewer for the seventh time in 13 games.  

“You want to put it in play little bit more and make some people work,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think that’s part of the issue, too -- Carrasco has some great stuff.”

Carrasco and reliever Bryan Shaw brought their best in the few instances where the White Sox were primed to break through.

Tied at 1 in the third inning, the White Sox got the first two men aboard as Micah Johnson singled and Adam Eaton followed with a bunt single. But Carrasco got Cabrera --- who entered with six hits in 11 at-bats against the right-hander --- to hit into a double play and he struck Abreu out. Abreu had homered in the first inning to put the White Sox ahead 1-0, his fourth.

Abreu accounted for the team’s other run with an RBI single in the eighth to cut into Cleveland’s lead. But the White Sox left the bases loaded as Shaw took over and struck out Avisail Garcia to hold onto the four-run lead.

“Right now especially, pitchers are feeling good and they’re executing pitches really well right now,” said Johnson, who finished 1-for-3. “Carrasco threw Abreu a really good changeup. They’re executing pitches. Our guys are doing the same thing. The tides are going to turn at some point.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Rodon wasn’t able to execute as the White Sox immediately tested him.

The left-hander took over for Hector Noesi in a one-run game with runners on the corners in the top of the sixth and two outs. The team’s top prospect walked Brandon Moss on four pitches before Sox-killer Ryan Raburn blooped a 3-2 fastball into left for a two-run single and a 4-1 lead. Rodon, who gave up three hits and walked three in 2 1/3 innings, gave up two runs of his own in the seventh. He threw strikes on 29 of 60 pitches.

“Yeah a little bit of butterflies,” Rodon said. “It was fun to be out there, though. Considering.”

Noesi’s second start was much better than his first as he walked only one in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander did surrender a game-tying solo homer to Carlos Santana in the second inning and David Murphy had a solo round-tripper in the fifth to pull ahead 2-1. The Indians got a one-out single from Jason Kipnis in the sixth and Michael Brantley followed with an infield single. With Noesi at 99 pitches, Ventura elected to bring in Rodon to face the left-handed Moss.

Noesi allowed four earned runs and four hits with a walk over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five.

[MORE: Refurbished White Sox bullpen off to good start]

He kept the White Sox close but the offense went stagnant. Before their rally in the eighth, Indians pitchers set down 16 of 17 White Sox hitter starting with Carrasco’s strikeout of Abreu. Carrasco needed only 60 pitches as he struck out eight over five innings in his first game back since Cabrera lined a ball off his face in Cleveland last Tuesday.

White Sox hitters have struck out 103 times, an average of 7.9 per contest so far this season. The effort came on the heels of a 10-strikeout showing against Trevor Bauer on Monday.

“Both those guys (Bauer and Carrasco) have real good stuff and if you let them get ahead of you it’s a tough uphill battle with the weapons they have,” Flowers said. “

“We’ll come up with a new gameplan next time. They did a good job, at least in my at-bats against them. I didn’t really feel like I got any good pitches to hit.”

Tim Anderson's eventful day at the yard ends with shot at Joe West: 'Everybody knows he's terrible'

Tim Anderson's eventful day at the yard ends with shot at Joe West: 'Everybody knows he's terrible'

Talk about an eventful night at the ol' ballpark for Tim Anderson.

It looked like it was going to be a day worth celebrating for Anderson, whose developmental progress reached a milestone during the third inning of Saturday's Crosstown matchup with the Cubs. He hit his 20th home run of the season, becoming the first White Sox shortstop ever to have a season with at least 20 homers and at least 20 stolen bases.

A heck of a feat, one that should stand out when White Sox fans and observers spend the offseason discussing whether or not Anderson truly is this franchise's shortstop of the future.

But the ump show came and overshadowed all that.

The Cubs were in the process of extending their lead in the ninth inning, putting things out of reach, when the White Sox attempted a double play on an Anthony Rizzo groundball. Anderson got the force out at second base and attempted the turn in the presence of a sliding Javy Baez. His throw went nowhere near first base, going down as an error that allowed another run to score.

After the play was over, Rick Renteria challenged, spurring a review to see if Baez violated the rules by reaching his arm out in an attempt to impede Anderson from making the play. The review determined Baez did not do that. Anderson disagreed, and a conversation with famed umpire Joe West followed.

"I asked him a question, and he kind of got pissed at me," Anderson said of his interaction with West. "I asked him if he saw him reach for my leg in the replay. He asked me if I was going to argue that, and I said, ‘No, I was just asking a question.’ And after that I didn’t say anything else. He started barking at me. Kept staring me down. I gave him, 'Why you keep looking at me?' Did that twice and threw me out."

Anderson was ejected, and he was visibly livid on the field, screaming at West in the immediate aftermath of the ejection. Renteria came out after Anderson started making his way toward the dugout, still yelling, and was ejected, as well.

Now, White Sox fans are no stranger to West, who famously — or infamously, if you're a White Sox supporter — called a couple of balks on Mark Buehrle and ejected both Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen in a 2010 game against the Cleveland Indians, sending announcer Hawk Harrelson into an on-air rant against West: "He's becoming a joke to the umpiring profession."

But the White Sox are far from the only team to have their run-ins with West. Anderson was obviously familiar with West's reputation, taking a shot after the game.

"I don’t have much to say about him. Everybody knows he’s terrible," Anderson said. "But I didn’t say much and he threw me out. It’s OK."

Additionally, Anderson was adamant that Baez did indeed move his hand in violation of the sliding rules at second base — and added the review officials in New York to his criticism list.

"Yeah, definitely. You could see it in the replay," Anderson said. "That’s just one of the many that they missed in New York, I guess."

And so an eventful night for Anderson.

His criticisms of the officials will undoubtedly overshadow his joining the 20-homer club and standing alone in the White Sox 20-20 club. But those are just further examples on Anderson's growth as a player this season.

Yes, the error he made on that play was his 19th of the season, putting him among the league leaders in that category after he led baseball with 28 fielding errors last season. But he now has career highs in home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, doubles and walks. And his fielding has been noticeably improved over the last month or so, a result of the work he's put in with Joe McEwing.

This weekend, Anderson generated headlines with an argument with an umpire. This winter, he'll be generating discussion by what he's done on the field. And the latter has been impressive.

"I’ve been able to take my game to another level," he said. "I just have to continue to grow and just keep learning and keep working hard."

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson interview before his final White Sox broadcast

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson interview before his final White Sox broadcast

Hawk Harrelson sat down with Chuck Garfien to talk about his emotions prior to calling his final White Sox game.

Why has he been such an unspoken announcer in his career?  Does he have anything prepared for his final inning?

How does he want to be remembered?  That and more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: