White Sox

White Sox rally for four runs in final at-bat to top Indians, 4-3

melky-cabrera-0420.png

White Sox rally for four runs in final at-bat to top Indians, 4-3

After they struggled all night Monday, none of the White Sox hitters wanted to make the out that could crush their ninth-inning hot streak.

One by one, for seven straight plate appearances, a team reduced to nothing for eight innings put together quality trips to the plate against Cleveland Indians closer Cody Allen. It began with a one-out double and another five hits and a walk later, Melky Cabrera’s bases-loaded RBI single capped a four-run rally as the White Sox stunned the Indians 4-3 at U.S. Cellular Field. Now instead of starting a seven-game homestand with another trying loss, the White Sox hope to capture some of the good feelings created by their sudden comeback.

“Don’t be that guy, don’t get out and don’t let your guys down,” said leadoff man Adam Eaton, who singled in the ninth and also walked twice. “Hopefully it’ll have some momentum for the rest of the series.”

Including a pair of early failures Monday, the White Sox have had plenty of offensive let downs to start the season. An offense featuring two new marquee pieces had been held to two runs or fewer in six of 11 games and appeared to be headed for a seventh.

Trevor Bauer and two relievers struck out nine in eight scoreless innings.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

But none of that seemed to matter in the ninth when Alexei Ramirez doubled over the head of Indians center fielder Mike Aviles with one out to drive in two runs. Avisail Garcia, who doubled, and Conor Gillaspie, who walked, scored on the play. Both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by Allen.

Tyler Flowers and Gordon Beckham then singled, the latter driving in the tying run. Eaton, who earlier walked twice, battled back from a 0-2 count and loaded the bases with a single to left.

Cabrera then worked the count full against Allen before driving a 95-mph fastball to deep left-center field for the game-winner.

“With the Avi double and the Alexei double, then it clicked for us,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “I've been confident about this team and the potential we have. I know we have a good team.”

White Sox starting pitcher John Danks had his best start and kept the White Sox within striking distance despite making two mistakes that resulted in solo homers. Ryan Raburn hit a 420-foot homer in the second inning and Brett Hayes added one in the fifth. Michael Brantley doubled in a run in the third with the aid of Garcia’s double-clutched throw that allowed Aviles to score from first.

[MORE: Ventura accepting of his critics]

Danks gave up six hits, walked two and struck out four.

But he couldn’t keep pace with Bauer, who pitched around an early wild bout.

Eaton drew a leadoff walk in the first inning and moved up on Jose Abreu’s one-out single to right field. But Bauer struck out Adam LaRoche and Garcia grounded out to short to strand the pair.

Two innings later, Micah Johnson singled, stole second and Eaton walked. But Cabrera grounded into a double play and Abreu popped out.

[ALSO: Boras on board with White Sox plan for Rodon]

From there Bauer needed only 16 pitches to retire the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings.

The White Sox, who aside from Saturday’s 12-run outburst had 27 runs in 10 games, only had one runner reach scoring position between the fourth and eighth innings.

“The offense was flat, Bauer was good,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Any time we really had an opportunity to do anything he bowed up and got through it. There wasn’t a whole lot of opportunities there for us at-bat wise. They had a couple homers and it was pretty flat. But I’m glad there’s no clock. They couldn’t stall. You eventually have to get it and guys had some good at-bats there in the ninth.”

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

Lucas Giolito is having a rough go of things in his second year with the White Sox.

He came into the season with some pretty high expectations after posting a 2.38 ERA in seven starts at the end of the 2017 campaign and then dominating during spring training. But he’s done anything but dominate since this season started, and after one of his worst outings in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he’s got a 7.53 ERA in 10 starts in 2018.

Giolito stuck around for only four outs Thursday, but he allowed the Orioles to do plenty of damage, giving up seven runs on six hits — two of which were back-to-back home runs to start the second inning — and three walks. He leads the American League with his 37 walks.

“I take what I do very seriously. I work as hard as I can at it,” Giolito said. “So when I experience failure like this, it’s kind of hard to deal with. All I can do is come back tomorrow, keep working on things and hopefully have a better one.”

All of Giolito’s struggles have fans wondering why the White Sox haven’t sent him down to Triple-A to work on his craft.

“I don’t foresee that at this particular time,” Rick Renteria said when asked if Giolito could be sent to Triple-A. “I think he’s just a young man who’s got to continue to minimize the emotional aspect of crossing from preparation into the game and staying focused, relaxed and hammer the zone with strikes. And truthfully it’s just first-pitch strike and get after the next one.”

The White Sox have already sent one young pitcher down in Carson Fulmer, who was having a nightmarish time at the big league level. Fulmer’s results were worse than Giolito’s on a regular basis. He got sent down after posting an 8.07 ERA in nine outings.

But hasn’t Giolito suffered through command issues enough to warrant some time away from the major league limelight? According to his manager, Giolito’s situation is vastly different than Fulmer’s.

“I don’t see them anywhere near each other,” Renteria said. “They’re two different competitors in terms of the outcomes that they’ve had. Lucas has at least had situations in which he might have struggled early and been able to gain some confidence through the middle rounds of his start and continue to propel himself to finish some ballgames, give us six or seven innings at times. So it’s two different guys.

“With Gio, I expect that we would have a nice clean start from the beginning, but when he doesn’t I still feel like if he gets through it he’ll settle down and continue to hammer away at what he needs to do in order to get deeper into a ballgame, and that was a little different with Carson. With Carson it was right from the get-go he was struggling, and he had a difficult time extending his outings after the third or fourth because it just kept getting too deep into his pitch count and not really hammering the strike zone as much.”

Renteria is not wrong. Giolito has had a knack to take a rough beginning to a start and turn it into five or six innings. Notably, he gave up a couple first-inning runs and walked seven hitters and still got the win against the Cubs a week and a half ago. And while his first-inning ERA is 10.80 and his second-inning ERA is 12.54, he’s pitched into at least the sixth inning in seven of his 10 starts.

Renteria’s point is that Giolito is learning how to shake off early damage and achieving the goal, most times out, of eating up innings and keeping his team in the game. Those are a couple valuable qualities to develop for a young pitcher. But are those the lone qualities that determine that Giolito is suited to continue his learning process at the major league level? His command remains a glaring problem, and both he and Renteria admitted that his problems are more mental than physical.

“The one thing everyone has to understand is we have to go beyond the physical and attack a little bit more of the mental and emotional and try to connect and slow that down,” Renteria said. “Those aspects are the ones that ultimately, at times, deal in the derailment of the physical action. So if we can kind of calm that down a little bit.

“He’s very focused. Giolito is high intensity. Nice kid but high-intensity young man when he gets on the mound. You might not believe it. He’s going 100 mph. So I think it goes to more just trusting himself, trusting the process, taking it truthfully one pitch at a time.”

Well, if a demotion to the minors isn’t likely, what about moving Giolito to the bullpen? Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale dipped their toes in bullpen waters before moving to the rotation. Could a reversal of that strategy help Giolito?

Well, the current state of the White Sox starting rotation — Fulmer in the minors, Miguel Gonzalez on the 60-day DL and pitchers like James Shields, Hector Santiago and Dylan Covey, who aren’t exactly long-term pieces, getting a lot of starts — doesn’t really allow for another piece to be removed.

“I know they have done it with Rodon and Sale,” Renteria said. “The difference is we don’t have the makeup of the starting rotation that those clubs had in order to put those guys in the ‘pen. We are in a different situation right now. Moving forward, is that something we can possibly do? Absolutely. It has been done with very good success.

“Right now we are in truly discovery mode and adjustment mode and adapting and trying to do everything we can to get these guys to develop their skill sets to be very usable and effective at the major league level and we are doing it to the best of our ability.”

There could be promise in the fact that Giolito has turned a season around as recently as last year. Before he was impressing on the South Side in August and September, he was struggling at Triple-A Charlotte. Even after he ironed things out, things had gotten off to a rocky enough start that he owned a 4.48 ERA and 10 losses when he was called up to the bigs.

It doesn’t seem Giolito will be going back to Charlotte, unless things continue to go in a dramatically poor direction. Right now, these are just more of the growing pains during this rebuilding process. “The hardest part of the rebuild” doesn’t just means wins and losses. It means watching some players struggle through speed bumps as they continue to develop into what the White Sox hope they’ll be when this team is ready to compete.

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

0421-danny-farquhar.jpg
AP

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

In another example of how amazing Danny Farquhar’s recovery has been, the pitcher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox game on June 1.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm during the sixth inning of the team’s April 20 game against the Houston Astros. But his recovery has been astounding, and he was discharged from the hospital on May 7. Farquhar’s neurosurgeon expects him to be able to pitch again in future seasons.

Farquhar has been back to visit his teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field a couple times since leaving the hospital. June 1 will mark his return to a big league mound, even if it’s only for a ceremonial first pitch with his wife and three children. Doctors, nurses and staff from RUSH University Medical Center will be on hand for Farquhar’s pitch on June 1.

The White Sox announced that in celebration of Farquhar’s recovery, they will donate proceeds from all fundraising efforts on June 1 to the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.