White Sox

White Sox rally late, topple Mariners in 10 innings

8-22-alexei-ramirez.png

White Sox rally late, topple Mariners in 10 innings

SEATTLE -- Outlandish as it may seem, the White Sox continue to cling for dear life to whatever limited postseason chances they have.

They rallied from two runs down in the ninth inning before pulling away from the Seattle Mariners for a 6-3 victory in 10 innings in front of 32,085 at Safeco Field. Avisail Garcia drew a bases-loaded walk against Danny Farquhar in the 10th inning and the White Sox scored twice more to win their third straight. Garcia’s fifth game-winning RBI of the season helped the White Sox move back within 4 1/2 games of the Texas Rangers for the second spot in the wild-card race.

“Crazier stuff has happened,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “With the pitching we have, guys are still scrapping and getting after it and that’s what you want. You want believers in there and right now they’re believing they can go out and win games.”

Saturday’s late-inning heroics should only bolster the team’s confidence.

For eight innings, the White Sox looked listless against Vidal Nuno and Tom Wilhelmsen. The White Sox went down in order in the first, fourth, sixth and eighth innings and Trayce Thompson provided their lone run with a rocket of a solo homer in the second inning off Nuno.

[MORE: Could Chris Sale strike out 300 batters this season?]

But Garcia opened a ninth-inning rally with a single to center and pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck walked against closer Carson Smith. Alexei Ramirez singled in a run to make it a 3-2 game and pinch-hitter Adam LaRoche’s RBI ground out tied it at 3.

The White Sox picked it back up in the 10th. Tyler Saladino walked on four pitches and Jose Abreu doubled him to third. Garcia followed an intentional walk to Melky Cabrera with a free pass of his own to push across the lead run.

“You’ve got more experience with what they’re going to do to you (in that situation),” Garcia said. “I saw the Saladino at-bat, (Farquhar) was a little bit wild. With that guy you don’t have to be trying to do too much because he’s a little bit wild. He throws a hard sinker, throws 95, 96, so you’re looking for a good pitch to hit and try to focus on the middle of the plate.”

A passed ball led to another run and Carlos Sanchez had an RBI fielder’s choice to make it a 6-3 lead. A month after he said Garcia needs to know the scouting report reads he’ll swing at almost anything, Ventura has seen some gains from the young right fielder.

“He’s had times where he hasn’t been very patient but we’ve seen some improvement in that,” Ventura said. “I think he’s growing up and understanding how to do that in situations.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Carlos Rodon fought through several tense spots early before the Mariners broke through in the sixth inning.

Trailing 1-0, Franklin Gutierrez’s two-run doubled to left center put Seattle ahead 2-1. Another run scored when Jesus Montero grounded into a double play.

Rodon allowed three runs (one earned), six hits and walked four while striking out eight in seven innings. But courtesy of his team’s late rally, Rodon received a no decision instead of another tough luck loss like the one he suffered in Southern California on Monday.

“Give your team a chance to win and that’s all you can do,” Rodon said. “They swung the bats today and it’s great. Maybe a little later on, but a win is a win and I’m happy.”

Despite the rollercoaster ride they’ve endured all season, the White Sox have somehow maintained an upbeat outlook. Several critical players have endured massive slumps, the offense has never found a steady rhythm and the White Sox (57-63) can’t seem to get past the .500 mark. Even so, the White Sox continue to push forward and “focus on tonight” instead of looking at the big picture.

That positivity may have paid dividends against a hapless Mariners bullpen.

Even though the White Sox never solved Nuno, who allowed a run andfive hits over 6 2/3 innings, they knew they had a chance after he left. They’re hoping their attitude pays off in the big picture, too.

“These guys have been steady all year,” LaRoche said. “From the players to the coaches, everybody affiliated with this team has stayed positive. There were some very frustrating times but you wouldn’t be able to tell in the clubhouse.”

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

renteria-817.jpg
USA TODAY

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson has in his mind an ideal number of times he’d strike out in a season.

“If I had it my way I’d probably strike out 20 times a year but I don’t know how you do that, really,” Davidson said before the Sox defeated the Royals 9-3 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It’s not realistic for an everyday player to go through the season with that few strikeouts, especially on a Sox team that entered Friday’s game with 1,163 of them, the second-highest total in the major-leagues behind the Rangers’ 1,168. The Sox were on pace to strike out 1,570 times, which would break the franchise record of 1,397 set last season.

Against the Royals, the Sox struck out seven times, but made more than enough contact—including three-run home runs from Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico—to win for the eighth time in their last 14 games.

With the Sox going through the trials and tribulations that come along with a radical rebuild, perhaps it’s not a surprise the team strikes out as much as it has the past two seasons. They are young, aggressive at the plate and still learning at the major-league level.

“It’s just some of the experience and learning your swing and trying to improve on it every single year,” said Davidson, who went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts Friday night. “I don’t think coming up (in the minors) everybody was striking out as much as we do here so that just shows that the competition is better and we’re just also trying to learn.

“The MLB (web site) has a section just showing how nasty pitches are,” Davidson added. “Guys are really good here. It’s just a part of learning. It’s about seeing the ball, learning the zone, learning counts and understanding when they’re going to throw stirkes and when they’re going to throw balls and also just putting the bat on the ball.”

The Sox were particularly susceptible to the strikeout when they fanned 10-plus times during an eight-game stretch from Aug. 5-13, a franchise record. They fell one game short of matching the dubious major-league record of nine consecutive games with 10-plus Ks set by the Brewers in 2017.

Sox manager Rick Renteria said the cause of all the strikeouts “depends on who you want to look at. You could look at it collectively (or) you can look at it individually. We have one of the young men (Yoan Moncada) who has quite a few under his belt, both looking and swinging (for a major-league leading 172 this season). Two-strike approach obviously is something we talk about a lot and still has to be implemented in practical terms so that it's useful. We don't want our guys swinging out of the zone. We do want them to be able to defend themselves and keep a ball in play possibly when need be.

“But I'm not thinking in regards of how (strikeouts) continue to mount and what that indicates or doesn't indicate,” Renteria added. “We look at all of our guys individually and figure out what it is we can help them with in terms of attacking that strike zone and being ready to hit.”

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

ricky.jpg
USA TODAY

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

Rick Renteria proved once again that he won’t let his boys quit.

The White Sox manager pulled Avisail Garcia from Friday night’s 9-3 victory over the Royals after the outfielder failed to run hard out of the box during a first-inning flyout. It wasn’t the first time Renteria has made a point by pulling a player during a game. Garcia was yanked from a spring training contest for not running hard out of the box and Tim Anderson got the same treatment in July.

“I didn’t think (Garcia) had given me an effort on the Texas Leaguer,” Renteria said after Friday’s victory. “If the ball falls in, you have to possibly advance.”


Renteria was quick to point out that Garcia is playing with a right knee injury that the right fielder said would have to be addressed—likely with surgery—during the offseason.

“He does have a knee that’s bothering him a little bit,” Renteria said. “I told him, ‘you certainly looked like something was bothering you.’ He said, ‘I felt it click when I came out of the box.’ ‘I said you understand you can still give me a better effort out of the box (and) he said, ‘yes, I understand that. I’m feeling this.’ We addressed it a little bit. He’ll be back in there (Saturday night). He realizes he still feels he can give us a little better effort.”

Garcia, who has been on the disabled list twice this season due to hamstring injuries, said he understood Renteria’s decision. 

“I felt a click (in the knee) and I didn’t run,” Garcia said. “Even if I felt a click I can do a better effort if I want to play and I want to play. That’s why they take me out. I felt a click and I was a little bit scared about it but I’m OK.”

Renteria said it is important down the stretch to communicate with Garcia when it comes to managing his knee.

“That’s why we had the conversation,” Renteria said. “He doesn’t want to come out of the lineup. He says he can play every day, he says, ‘I can manage this, I can play through this, I’ll be fine.’ I said then give me a little more effort on some of those plays. I get it that you may feel it but if you feel it, just explain to me what’s going on and we can manage it that way. He really doesn’t want to come out. He wants to play.

“We’ve never had a problem with (Garcia),” Renteria added. “Despite a couple times here or there where we’ve taken him out, if you watch him he busts his rear end pretty much all the time. That was a rarity. At that particular point in time it was my decision to pull him out.”

Garcia said he will continue to play through the knee issue.

“I just have to keep going,” Garcia said. “But I was scared a little bit because I felt like a click. But at the same time, I didn’t run hard enough so I’m OK with it. I’m good to play.”

When asked if Garcia will get the knee taken care of following the season, he responded, “yeah, for sure. One-hundred percent.”