White Sox

White Sox relieved to bring eight-game losing streak to an end

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White Sox relieved to bring eight-game losing streak to an end

The White Sox took the first step toward regaining their confidence on Saturday.

With a 3-2 win over Texas, the White Sox snapped an eight-game losing streak that sent them plummeting toward the bottom of the American League. There’s a long way to go for a team that had playoff aspirations heading into the season with a revamped roster, but the hope inside the White Sox clubhouse is Saturday’s narrow win finally began the process of turning things around.

Elvis Andrus’ third-inning error on what would’ve been an inning-ending double play ball off the bat of Alexei Ramirez allowed two runs to score, and coupled with Adam LaRoche’s sacrifice fly earlier in the frame it was just enough support for Carlos Rodon and a bullpen that pitched in with three dominant innings.

While the White Sox still left nine on base and only had one hit in eight tries with runners in scoring position, the error by the usually sure-handed Andrus was the kind of good fortune the team had missed during its eight-game malaise.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“There’s times when things are going well you expect those breaks,” LaRoche said. “When things aren’t going well you almost expect the other team to get those breaks. It feels like nothing we do is either the right move or nothing we do is good enough. We seemed to be down late in ballgames. When things are going well, you can almost expect good things to happen and they do. It’s a confidence thing. That’s what we need to get back on that track.”

With the losing streak behind them, White Sox players said there were both frustrating and encouraging aspects to it. In five of the losses, the White Sox allowed three or fewer runs and were only blown out once — an 11-0 drubbing in Pittsburgh as the Blackhawks celebrated winning the Stanley Cup Monday night.

Pitching hasn’t been the problem, even though David Robertson’s blown save Friday night after Chris Sale’s 14-strikeout masterpiece was a gut-puncher. The White Sox offense just couldn’t get a hit when it needed to (and still didn’t Saturday), while the league’s worst defense continued to make mistakes.

“It’s just a matter of coming up with that big hit at the right time,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “If we mixed in a few more of those over the course of what we’ve done so far we’re a far better team in the standings than where we’re at.

“We’re not really panicking about it, it’s still early, but it’s getting late. It’s getting time to go. Hopefully we’re taking steps in the right direction to come up with those big hits and those big plays.”

[MORE: Rodon flashing his potential with White Sox after rebound start]

The White Sox entered Saturday with only three position players — Jose Abreu, Geovany Soto and LaRoche — having a positive WAR. The lineup is littered with established players hitting below their career averages.

While LaRoche said losing all those close games built up plenty of frustration, he finds it hard to believe the team-wide offensive malaise will continue for much longer than it already has.

“(I’ve) been saying it all year with this lineup, it’s tough to go out there and consistently not score runs,” LaRoche said, “which is what we’ve been doing.”

Whether or not the White Sox have a quick fix for its glaring defensive and baserunning issues remains to be seen. But for the first time in 10 days, the White Sox left the clubhouse Saturday with a glimmer of hope.

“Any time you go on a skid like this, it's always nice to get it,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You get that feeling away from you. But you can only feel good about it for a little while and you get back after it. You have to be able to continue momentum with it but there's a game tomorrow.”

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

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AP

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

Coming to you from Washington DC, we speak with Dylan Cease who competed in the MLB Futures Game along with his Birmingham Barons teammate Luis Basabe. 

Cease talks about the White Sox loaded farm system, what players have impressed him the most, where he gets his composure on the mound and more. 

Check out the entire podcast here:

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.