White Sox

White Sox score eight times in eighth for comeback win over Padres

White Sox score eight times in eighth for comeback win over Padres

Crooked numbers don’t get more crooked than an eight spot.

The White Sox looked doomed after the visiting San Diego Padres took a 3-1 lead with a seventh-inning homer, but the South Siders came through in the late innings for the second straight game, scoring eight times in the eighth inning to come back for a 9-3 win on Mother’s Day at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“Eight-run eighth, that doesn’t happen too often in the game of baseball,” Todd Frazier said after the game. “Guys battling. A walk here, a couple knocks here, and away we go. Everybody just battling their butt off, taking really good at-bats and waiting for their pitch. It was a lot of fun.”

After more than a week where fun was in short supply, the White Sox now have back-to-back wins in very fun fashion after slogging through a six-game losing streak.

Jose Quintana was excellent through six innings but coughed up a narrow 1-0 lead by surrendering a three-run home run to Hunter Renfroe in the seventh. Considering the White Sox ordinarily have difficulty scoring in games Quintana pitches, that looked like it might have been all she wrote.

But then came that eighth inning. After back-to-back one-out walks, Avisail Garcia reached on an error by the shortstop to load the bases and Frazier walked to force in a run that made it a one-run ballgame. After a pitching change, Melky Cabrera came through with a pinch-hit single that scored the game-tying and go-ahead runs.

That was all the clutch the White Sox really needed, but they were nowhere near done scoring off the Padres’ bullpen in the eighth, something they couldn’t do against starter Jered Weaver, who allowed one run in the first before five scoreless frames.

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Tyler Saladino followed Cabrera’s big hit by popping up a bunt that was caught by first baseman Wil Myers. But Frazier took advantage of Myers turning his back to home plate and scampered home for the fourth run of the inning.

“I’m just curious if it’s a sac fly or not. Me and Sally were trying to talk, hopefully it is,” Frazier said. “Just one of those things. You just read what’s going on, and you take a chance. I thought it was a good chance to take there. We scored, we were up two runs already with our closer coming in. I wasn’t thinking that all in my head, but I was thinking, ‘Back’s turned, take a shot,’ and he actually flipped the ball up high enough, too, where I could take three or four more steps. It worked out perfect.”

Two batters later, Willy Garcia’s single made it 6-3. After that, Leury Garcia doubled to make it 8-3. Yolmer Sanchez drove in a final tally with a base hit.

When the dust all settled on that eighth inning, the White Sox tagged four different Padres relievers for eight runs, four hits, five walks, an error and a hit batsman.

Quintana looked due for another loss, which would have been his sixth of the young season. Instead, he got no decision for the first time in 2017. As usual, the White Sox didn’t score much while he was in the game, but at least this time they made up for it with the monster eighth.

“I think they were responding,” manager Rick Renteria said. “They wanted to not allow that to be kind of the end of it. They kept battling even after that happened (the seventh-inning home run). They were still talking on the bench and getting ready to continue to battle. And then it opened up in that one particular inning and they just took advantage of it.”

Quintana finished allowing three runs on five hits and four walks in seven innings of work.

Sunday’s huge eighth inning combined with Saturday’s walk-off winner in the ninth means the White Sox now have a winning streak after that long losing streak. En route to Southern California for the start of a three-city road trip through Anaheim, Seattle and Phoenix, the White Sox have a bit of momentum on their side.

“Great momentum,” Frazier said. “We’ll take a win any way. So if we would’ve won by one run, it wouldn’t have mattered. Momentum’s right where we need it to be. Going on the long road trip, it helps us out on the flight. We get to listen to some music and enjoy a good flight.”

White Sox get lesson in why they need their own Justin Verlander type to finish off rebuild

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USA TODAY

White Sox get lesson in why they need their own Justin Verlander type to finish off rebuild

Who will be the White Sox version of Justin Verlander? Their version of Jon Lester?

The big-name veteran brought in from outside the organization to be the cherry on top of a rebuilding effort and push things into contention mode. Who will Rick Hahn & Co. bring in to play that role on the South Side?

The White Sox got a firsthand lesson in why such a player is a necessity, dominated in every sense by Verlander on Tuesday night in Houston. Verlander, who long tormented the White Sox when he played for the division-rival Tigers, took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and finished with one run, one hit and one walk allowed in eight dazzling frames. Jose Abreu's solo homer that broke up the no-hitter in the seventh was the one moment on the evening in which Verlander looked human.

That's the kind of thing Verlander's been doing since the Astros traded for him during the 2017 season, which ended with them winning the World Series. They might do it again this year, the best team in baseball halfway through this four-game series against the White Sox. And he's a big reason they've stayed atop the list of championship contenders the last two years.

Verlander's acquisition was a little different than that of Lester on the North Side of Chicago. The Cubs needed to inject some legitimacy into their rebuilding project and got it by giving Lester, who knew Theo Epstein and his front office from the Boston days, a ton of money to top their rotation. The Astros needed a similar push from one of the game's best pitchers, and they got it by trading for Verlander in a waiver deal with the Tigers. But Verlander accomplished the same goal for the Astros that Lester did for the Cubs. Even in 2019, they're two of the more reliable arms around.

The White Sox might not be ready to vault into contention mode on Day 1 of the 2020 season. Michael Kopech's next start will be just his fifth as a big leaguer. Dylan Cease won't have much more than a month or two of big league experience. Eloy Jimenez has already missed a month of developmental time. Luis Robert will likely be getting his first taste of the majors.

But adding a Verlander type to that group could make a huge difference.

Now, Verlander is one of the best pitchers ever, plain and simple, a first-ballot Hall of Famer. To suggest that kind of pitcher will be available this offseason is perhaps unrealistic. Verlander was set to be among a loaded free-agent class before he signed an extension to stay with the Astros. He wasn't alone, and that thought-to-be-loaded free-agent class is now significantly less loaded. But there are still options, and perhaps more than ever a trade looks like it might be the way to go. If the White Sox do have a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher on their wish list, Verlander's teammate and Wednesday night's scheduled starter, Gerrit Cole, is on track to be among the available free agents.

So, too, is Madison Bumgarner, who more closely fits the mold of accomplished guys like Verlander and Lester. Bumgarner's got an unparalleled amount of postseason success, but he comes with plenty of questions, too. He pitched in just 38 combined games in 2017 and 2018, and while longevity hasn't been an issue this season — he's failed to go six innings in only one of his 10 starts — effectiveness has been an issue. He's got a 4.21 ERA through 62 innings. His highest single-season ERA prior to 2019 was 3.37 in 2012.

It doesn't have to be Bumgarner. And maybe it doesn't even have to be a pitcher. The White Sox have a list of potential starting-pitching options that includes Kopech, Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and others. The Cubs and Astros couldn't craft rotations of homegrown players. The White Sox might be able to, though considering the injuries that have plagued those young arms and the current lack of major league ready starting-pitching depth, a big-time starting-pitching addition would really fortify things.

It could also add that kind of legitimacy that Lester brought to the Cubs. Get one big name to come aboard a still-emerging group, and that could draw more talent that could really kick things into high gear.

There might be no one way to do a successful rebuild, but if the White Sox want to follow the template the Astros and Cubs have used to win championships in recent years, a Verlander type would be a good way to go about doing that. The opportunity has to exist, but you'd have to imagine it's an opportunity the front office will be looking for this winter.

Certainly they're already motivated to do just that. Watching Verlander cut through their lineup Tuesday night should back that motivation up.

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: The White Sox are running out of starting pitchers. Should they bring up Dylan Cease now?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: The White Sox are running out of starting pitchers. Should they bring up Dylan Cease now?

Connor McKnight, Kevin Fishbain and Jay Cohen join Luke Stuckmeyer on the panel.

0:00- Ozzie Guillen joins the panel as the White Sox get ready to face the Astros. The guys discuss if there are any similarities between the Astros rebuild and the one the Sox are currently in.

4:00- The White Sox are running out of starting pitchers. Should they bring up Dylan Cease now?

7:00- Yu Darvish allowed 3 runs over six innings with 3 walks and 7 strikesouts. Is that considered a good start for him?

11:00- The Bears continue to unveil their top 100 players. Khalil Mack is 60th after just one season. The guys debate that and the fact that Jim McMahon is 32 spots ahead of Jay Cutler.

16:00- Scott Paddock joins Kap to talk about the fight in the NASCAR All-Star race and to preview a big few weeks at Chicagoland Speedway.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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