White Sox

White Sox show their spirit but fall short

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White Sox show their spirit but fall short

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011Posted: 10:30 p.m. Updated: 11:59 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
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WATCH: Humber on being hit by line drives
READ: 'X' marks a tough spot for Guillen, White SoxREAD: Six-man saving sputter out

KANSAS CITY On a night when Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen launched into a long dissertation over the hidden meaning of apparently meaningless baseball, his White Sox bowed their necks and refused to go quietly into the drizzly, chilled night.

But two comebacks werent enough to stave off a 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals, as Eric Hosmer drove a double over Juan Pierres head with one out in the bottom of the ninth off of Matt Thornton to earn K.C. the win. The White Sox have now dropped six straight, just one defeat short of their season high.

We got back in the game and had good at-bats there and a couple of big hits, Guillen said. Unfortunately, Matt couldnt shut it down. I think hes fighting through it with lefties, and both lefties Alex Gordon and Hosmer got him. Matt couldnt get it done today.

For Kansas City, it was Mike Moustakas who was the offensive star, with three straight hits (including a home run) after starting his career 0-for-35 against the White Sox. For good measure, third sacker chipped in his first career steal in the eighth.

Phil Humber started for the White Sox and did not find the same fortune as his previous two starts after returning from the DL (1-0, 1.40 ERA, 64 game score).

Besides the home run by Moustakas, he threw the ball pretty good, Guillen said. He went through a tough time late in the game and I left him in there to resolve his problem, and he did it pretty good.

If you want to put a positive spin on it, yeah, Humber agreed in discussing working out of trouble in the sixth, his last frame. It was definitely a battle. If our guys put up six runs, I expect to win the game, so Im disappointed with my performance. Obviously that was a game we should have won. Same time, tip your hat to those guys, Nos. 1-5 they have a solid lineup over there and hopefully next time I face them Ill make a few better pitches.

The righty was rocked for five runs in six innings and took a ball off his right hip leading off the sixth, as Jeff Francoeur drilled him with a single that bounded off Humber and into right field.

Its more frustrating than anything, Humber said. Paulie made the comment that Im probably due to not have a ball hit me for the rest of my career. I dont know if thats true, but its getting pretty old, to be honest with you. But I got the ball over the plate, and Francoeur did what hes supposed to do with it.

Guillen was more direct: I think we should put a screen up when hes pitching. Its scary every time he goes out there. Balls are close to him.

On the Chicago side, it was Brent Morel with yet another September home run his sixth of the month in the eighth that knotted the game up at six. Morel now has 12 RBI over his past 17 games compared to 22 RBI over his first 97.

Maybe more confidence or more at-bats, Guillen said of Morels success. He knows the pitchers better Hopefully he will finish strong and start next year and have a better season. Having confidence and knowing what youre doing; those two things together give him a lot of pop.

Alexei Ramirez was 3-for-4 and Gordon Beckham scored three runs.

On the mound, the one clear bright spot was a fourth straight scoreless appearance by Addison Reed.

Weve tried different situations, and hes handled them well, Guillen said. But I dont want to overuse somebody who is our future just to see him out there. He did a good job. Every time he goes out there, this kid impresses me more. This kid has a bright future.

WATCH: Reed's main focus is throwing strikes

With every outing I go out there, I feel a little more comfortable, other than my first inning in Detroit, Reed said. I felt pretty good, comfortable kind of realize its the same game, the plate is just as far away as it was in the minor leagues. Once I realized that, and as long as I throw my game, Ill be fine.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Chuck Garfien and Steve Stone take a look back at Mark Buehrle's perfect game. How did Buehrle do it? How did Dewayne Wise make that catch?

Plus, Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski talk about how Buehrle actually told Pierzynski before taking that field that day that he would throw a perfect game and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Though Jose Abreu and James McCann represented the team at the All-Star Game earlier this month, Yoan Moncada holds the title of the White Sox best hitter through the first 97 games of the 2019 season.

The guy who struck out 217 times during his first full season in the majors last year has been a completely different hitter this time around. Instead of looking lost at the plate, he’s the guy White Sox fans want to see at the plate in run-producing situations. He hasn’t spent much time in one of those traditional run-producing spots in the batting order, but manager Rick Renteria inserted Moncada into the cleanup spot Monday night.

And Moncada cleaned up, all right.

“I think we found our No. 4 hitter,” starting pitcher Ivan Nova said after he went the distance in a 9-1 waxing of the Miami Marlins. “A lot of times you get surprised. While he was hitting second, you're thinking and knowing, the type of hitter that he is — you're only thinking as a player, they have another way to think. But today, I think it was first time hit in fourth, and he showed.”

Moncada went 2-for-4 with the game’s biggest blow, a three-run homer in the fifth inning that blew things wide open. He drove in four runs on the night, and he flashed a potential glimpse of the future of this future-focused franchise.

Combining with Abreu, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three runs scored, Moncada showed what the middle of the order might look like for this team when rebuilding finally transitions to contending. That could come as soon as next year, and when you throw the currently injured Eloy Jimenez into that group, the White Sox could boast a fearsome 3-4-5 as soon as later this season.

“If someone is happy that we finally found a cleanup hitter, it’s me,” Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo. “Nothing that he does surprises me because I know all the talent he has. I know that he still can do more. He has been working hard. He’s a great baseball player with a lot of talent and I still think he can do more.

“What he did today is not a surprise for me. I still know he’s a great player and I think we’ve seen that throughout the whole season this year. He’s going to get better.”

Moncada has been sensational all season long, proving why the White Sox weren’t at all worried during his struggles in 2018. He owns a .304/.362/.530 slash line through these first 97 games, and his three-run blast Monday night gave him a new career high in that category after he smacked 17 a year ago. He’s six RBIs away from setting a new career high there, too. And even though he made a fielding error Monday that only briefly delayed Nova finishing off his complete-game effort, Moncada has been generally excellent at third base in his first season at that position as a big leaguer.

But putting Moncada in a run-producing spot in the order is a new wrinkle for Renteria this season. Coming into Monday’s game, Moncada had spent 63 games as the team’s No. 2 hitter and just 26 everywhere else. According to the skipper, Moncada is good enough to hit anywhere, and that’s certainly true. His eventual everyday spot in the lineup might have more to do with the hitters around him than simply what he can do by himself.

But if Moncada keeps up the kind of offensive production he’s churned out this season, maybe sticking him right in the thick of the order is what's best for the White Sox — even if those lineups of the future include big bats like those swung by Abreu, Jimenez, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn.

“For me, it's an advantage to hit in the cleanup spot having (Abreu) ahead of me,” Moncada said through Russo. “That way, you can see how the pitchers are attacking him, and you have a better idea, in those situations when you need to produce, how the pitchers are doing it. Even though he's a right-handed hitter and I hit from both sides of the plate, it's good. It's something that gives you a better idea of how the pitchers are doing, how their pitches are working.”

“He had a nice game,” Renteria said. “He can hit anywhere in the middle and the top of the order. I wish I could say I'm really a genius, but I'm not. He's got that talent. He's able to take advantage of it and today he had a nice day. He made everybody look good.”

It would make sense to see Moncada batting fourth again as this first homestand of the second half and the 2019 season roll on, but that’s up to Renteria, who has his reasons for every permutation to his lineups.

Of course, if Abreu gets ahold of Renteria's lineup card and starts writing out the batting orders, we’ll know where Moncada will be slotted.

“If I would have that decision,” Abreu said, “I would put him in the cleanup spot for the rest of the season.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.