White Sox

White Sox preach accountability as losing streak comes to an end

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White Sox preach accountability as losing streak comes to an end

Though they didn’t completely rid themselves of the horrendous play that plagued their road trip, the White Sox made progress on Tuesday night.

Two days removed from a five-game trip Rick Hahn said was full of “stupid” and “poor” decisions, the White Sox brought forth some of the missing elements in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field. Jeff Samardzija delivered the goods and Conor Gillaspie capped a four-run rally with a two-run triple as the White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak. For at least one game the White Sox — who have preached accountability across the board amid calls for the firing of manager Robin Ventura — showed they’re capable of playing as well as everyone within the walls at 35th and Shields thinks they can.

“This team is far, far better than what we’ve seen the last few days,” Hahn said. “Obviously we shot ourselves in the foot with some stupid base running decisions, there was some poor defensive decisions.

“Our problems right now are amplified by the fact that we’re not scoring runs. This is a lineup that is able to score runs over the long haul. This is a starting rotation that is going to not have however many starters we have with ERAs over 5 over the long haul.”

Though it’s not likely to restore the faith of fans who have continued to call for Ventura’s head, Samardzija at least provided the White Sox with a breather.

[MORE: Source: Samardzija to begin serving suspension Wednesday]

Samardzija did what four starters couldn’t in the last turn through the rotation — keep the White Sox in the game.

Tuesday’s effort looked to be headed in that direction, too.

With the help of a first-inning error and a solo homer that bounced off Melky Cabrera’s glove over the fence (it would have been a stunning catch), Samardzija gave up two runs.

But Samardzija didn’t give up any more runs and pitched out of critical jams in the fifth and seventh innings. He allowed two earned runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

In his previous start, Samardzija allowed eight earned runs as he and White Sox starters went 0-5 with a 10.39 ERA in 21 2/3 innings on the road trip.

[RELATED: White Sox RHP Matt Albers has surgery, out 6-8 weeks]

“Everybody’s frustrated,” Ventura said. “We’re frustrated too. You understand that, but in the end we gotta focus on what we’re doing right here, and I get it. I’m frustrated. You understand where people lash out and why they do it. Again, that doesn’t stop what we’re trying to do here and the focus on playing the Tigers.

I’m not sitting here thinking of my own situation with that. We’re trying to win a game tonight. That becomes the focus.”

An offense that was outscored 39-10 in Baltimore and Minneapolis also showed a pulse. The White Sox displayed patience at the plate against Detroit’s Shane Greene, drawing four walks and knocking him out after 2 2/3 innings.

Trailing by one, Jose Abreu singled in a first-inning run to tie the score. Two innings later, Adam LaRoche tied it with a bases-loaded walk, Avisail Garcia had an RBI fielder’s choice and Gillaspie had a two-run triple to give the White Sox a 5-2 lead. Adam Eaton, who doubled to start the game, said Ventura’s steady presence is critical if the White Sox are to rebound.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“He's the type of manager you need in the clubhouse, a cool-headed manager that doesn't come in here after every loss and preach to us about how we should have done stuff,” Eaton said. “But when something needs to be said he says it. It sucks that he gets heat from wherever it may come from, but realistically it's us. We need to perform and perform for him. It's going to come sooner or later.”

The White Sox aren’t naïve enough to think one game is the elixir for their issues. They’ve been far too sloppy on the bases — Eaton probably should have tripled in the first — and they made three more errors. Aside from a bullpen that delivered two more scoreless innings, the White Sox clearly have been pressing throughout the roster. But Hahn and Ventura believe as long as the team is accountable, the ship can be righted. After all, prior to their hellish trip, the White Sox were coming off their best games of the season.

“I certainly am pleased with how our team has responded,” Hahn said. “To hear our players stand up over the last few days and say ‘Look, this is on us, we need to start performing better’ I think is a great first step to getting this thing right. … In times of adversity I think it’s more important for us to pull together and reinforce what we’re doing as a unit than to say anything specific about any individual.

“We’re in this together and the accountability is shared by all of us.”

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Yoan Moncada is Mr. Clean (up)

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USA TODAY

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Yoan Moncada is Mr. Clean (up)

Bill Melton and David DeJesus join Leila Rahimi on this edition of Baseball Night in Chicago.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Reported trade interest in White Sox relievers no shock, but is a deadline deal likely?

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USA TODAY

Reported trade interest in White Sox relievers no shock, but is a deadline deal likely?

The reported interest in White Sox relievers is not surprising.

The White Sox have some good relievers and don’t appear destined for a playoff race in 2019. Teams that do have the look of contenders can always use relief help. It makes all the sense in the world that those teams would look toward the South Side.

But this year is different for the White Sox. Yes, much like the 2017 and 2018 seasons — when Rick Hahn’s front office shipped away a hefty hunk of the team’s bullpen each summer — the schedule might not spin into October. But there have been so many positives during the first three and a half months of the campaign that it looks like next season’s schedule could.

The future is arriving fast, and if the White Sox see themselves as potential contenders in 2020, then maybe they could use their major league relievers more than they could use the prospects they’d get in exchange at this season’s trade deadline.

That’s this team's approach to this deadline in a nutshell, one heavily influenced by the contract situations of those aforementioned relievers.

According to The Score’s Bruce Levine, closer Alex Colome is “on the radar of most clubs” and there are multiple teams interested in late-inning man Aaron Bummer.

Again, not surprising. Colome has spent the majority of his first season in a White Sox uniform as a dominant closer and currently owns a 2.33 ERA to go along with his 21 saves, a total eclipsed by just eight other pitchers in baseball, only four of whom play in the American League. Bummer, meanwhile, has a pencil-thin 1.73 ERA and has given up just seven earned runs all season.

But whereas Hahn traded away the about-to-expire contracts of Joakim Soria, Luis Avilan, Xavier Cedeno, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Tyler Clippard in each of the last two summers — as well as the still-under-control David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in 2017 — Colome and Bummer are still under team control into 2020, a season in which the White Sox might want to include them in their plans for a contending bullpen.

In years past, it might’ve been about getting something for players who weren’t part of the team’s future plans. Now the trade candidates people are discussing are part of those plans, making it more unlikely that the White Sox would give them up.

Of course, the contract status alone does not completely eliminate the possibility of a deal getting done before the end of the month. Hahn always talks about the likelihood of such things with the caveat that an offer could come along that would knock his, well, socks off and a previously believed to be unimaginable thing suddenly could become reality.

But unlike being obviously sellers in 2017 and 2018 — two seasons in which they lost a combined 195 games — the White Sox are simply in a different situation now. Things are looking up, even if the win-loss record stands below .500, thanks to the first-half performances of Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, James McCann and Tim Anderson, not to mention the two relievers who could fill the roles of closer and setup man on a contending White Sox team next season. Add Luis Robert, Michael Kopech and Nick Madrigal to that mix — as well as any outside addition that might arrive this winter — and a potentially contending roster starts to take shape.

And if that’s what Hahn is building for the 2020 season, including Colome and Bummer would be wise, considering the alternative is doing his own round of relief shopping at this time next year.

There are other trade candidates to discuss that live outside the bullpen, but the overarching conclusion remains the same.

Abreu surely would garner the interest of many contenders out there, the first baseman on pace to set new career highs in home runs and RBIs. But he seems to be a big part of the White Sox plans moving forward, even if his current contract status has him heading to free agency at the end of the season. But he loves this team, and this team loves him. Some fans have pitched wild scenarios in which Abreu gets traded for a nice prospect package only to return via free agency this winter. But would those same fans have created similar scenarios involving Mark Buehrle or Paul Konerko? Because it sure seems the White Sox hold Abreu in the same esteem as those franchise icons.

What about someone like Leury Garcia? He’s been a solid presence at the top of the White Sox lineup all year. But he’s under team control past 2019, as well, and his versatility would certainly be a nice addition to Rick Renteria’s 2020 tool chest.

There potentially exist outside chances that a team would want to take a flier on a veteran like Ivan Nova (fresh off a complete game Monday night) or Jon Jay. But how much could reasonably be expected in return for a guy with an ERA north of 5.00 or a guy who’s only played in 20 games this season?

And so while reports of interest predictably generate excitement over potential moves, the White Sox are just not in the same position they’ve been in the last two summers, when moves were a necessity to set up the future. Now, the future is coming and coming quickly and it’s coming whether players on the current major league roster are traded or not. In fact, some of these trade candidates are part of the reason the future is coming as fast as it is.

The trade deadline always has surprises in store, so don’t completely sleep on Hahn and his front office. But don’t expect the same kind of moves we saw in 2017 and 2018.

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