White Sox

White Sox shower Jose Quintana with run support in rout of Blue Jays

White Sox shower Jose Quintana with run support in rout of Blue Jays

TORONTO — Jose Quintana took another big step forward on Friday night and the White Sox rewarded him handsomely.

And then some. And then some more.

The White Sox provided Quintana with half as many runs as they have all season on Friday night in an 11-4 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Quintana responded with seven sharp innings to earn his first victory since May 2. Melky Cabrera homered, drove in five runs and had an outfield assist for the White Sox, who finished with 14 hits as they won for the fourth time in five games.

“Wow it was a lot of runs,” Quintana said. “It was really good, (gives me) confidence and (I tried) to get my outs every inning. I wanted to throw the ball really well tonight. Needed that outing to get my confidence high again.”

Quintana has never been justly supported by his teammates. He’s the king of no decisions.

This season has seen the worst of it as Quintana entered the game with a 2.65-run support average, the worst in the majors. The White Sox had scored 22 runs this season with Quintana on the mound. They’d produced two or fewer runs for him in 10 of 13 previous starts.

But for one night at least the White Sox tried to make up for their inadequacies.

Alen Hanson, who reached base four times in five trips, singled and Cabrera walked ahead of a two-run triple by Jose Abreu in the first inning off Blue Jays starter Joe Biagini. Todd Frazier’s sac fly made it 3-0 and Biagini’s error on Tim Anderson’s infield single allowed Matt Davidson, who doubled, to score the fourth run.

The support continued in the second when Cabrera doubled in two runs and Abreu doubled him in to make it a 7-0 contest. Hanson added an RBI single in the third and Cabrera blasted a three-run shot in the fifth as well. It’s only the fourth time in Quintana’s career he has received double-digit run support.

Quintana then did what he’s supposed to with the enormous lead.

He pitched to contact. He got his team back into the dugout quickly. And he only issued two walks. The result was Quintana’s sixth quality start of the season and his best effort since throwing a one-hitter over eight innings at Seattle on May 19.

“He just kept pitching,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I thought his changeup was working really well. Pumped the strikes. Worked ahead. He did a nice job. That’s one of the better outings we’ve had in a while. And, that’s the first time we’ve given him that type of support to start the game.”

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Quintana surrendered leadoff homers in the second (Kendrys Morales) and third innings (Steve Pearce) but nothing more. He limited the Blue Jays to two runs and five hits while striking out five. The left-hander threw strikes on 61 of 99 pitches and benefitted from three double plays. Cabrera also erased Todd Frazier’s two-base error when he threw Pearce out at home on Darwin Barney’s two-out single in the fifth.

After surrendering 15 earned runs over consecutive starts, Quintana has begun to rediscover the formula that made him great the past four seasons. By hitting the corners and not leaving mistakes over the middle, Quintana has a 3.12 ERA in his past three starts. It’s what everyone has always expected from Quintana, the team’s most dependable starter since 2013.

It’s also the kind of rebound the White Sox — teammates, coaches and front office personnel — all believe Quintana is capable of making.

And on Friday they showered him with their support.

“We felt good, but we kept going to score as many runs as we can, especially for Jose,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “We were happy about it.”

Ozzie Guillén hates Nick Swisher, with his whole heart

Ozzie Guillén hates Nick Swisher, with his whole heart

If you didn't know, Ozzie Guillén has strong opinions and that includes former players he dealt with.

On the White Sox post-game show, host Chuck Garfien asked Guillén who he disliked more, Carlos Gomez or Nick Swisher.

"Oh my God, nobody can compare that with Nick Swisher," Guillén responded. "I hate Nick Swisher with my heart."

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Guillén declined to elaborate, but then added: "I think he hates me back, there's nothing wrong with that."

And finally Ozzie gave some kind of reason.

"I never talked to him, I was managing him, but I don't like the way his attitude was all fake. And I don't like fake people."

Then Chuck pointed out Swisher was only with the White Sox for one year and Guillén had thoughts about that to.

"It was one year too long," Guillén said.

Guillén doubled down and said he thinks others players would agree if they were honest, while clarifying he didn't hate him as a person and thought he was a good player.

The White Sox way wasn't the Swisher way, and there was friction.

Ozzie also admitted he might of misused Swisher.

"I played him center field and batting first or second, that guy has to be in right field batting tenth."


White Sox end streak, stay confident: 'We are going to do the pushing around'

White Sox end streak, stay confident: 'We are going to do the pushing around'

The White Sox winning streak is over.

So why was Danny Mendick so chipper after a 1-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night?

His three hits might have had something to do with it. He was just about the only offense the White Sox mustered against Adrian Houser and a pair of relievers.

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But it seemed to stem more from the different feeling surrounding this year's White Sox team.

Mendick got a taste, however small, of the rebuilding years at the tail end of the 2019 season. After Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolito and Eloy Jiménez broke out the way they did during that campaign, Rick Hahn's front office complemented them with a host of impact veteran additions during the offseason. Throw it all together, and these White Sox have the look of a potential contender, something backed up by the way they played during their six-game win streak.

That's over now, though Wednesday's game had the same kind of playoff feel that the first two games against the Brewers did on Monday and Tuesday nights. The White Sox might not have played any games that felt like these in the last three years. Now there have been three in three nights.

So yeah, something's changed.

"I’ll tell you what, just the energy in the clubhouse," Mendick said Wednesday, asked about the difference between 2019 and 2020. "When we show up to the field, there’s more confidence.

"It’s not like we are going to get pushed around. It’s more like we are going to do the pushing around.

"Everyone is just prepared. Everyone shows up to the field ready. They know the opponent. We know what they are going to bring. I feel there’s just more, how do I say this, more education. We have more veterans. We have guys who are really focused on baseball, and it brings a lot to everybody."

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The six-game win streak turned the White Sox slow 1-4 start around in a hurry. In this shortened, 60-game season, every game means so much and even modest winning or losing streaks could tug the entire season in one direction or the other. The White Sox went from getting their brains beat in by the class of the AL Central to the third best record in the American League as of Wednesday morning.

They've showed what they're capable of, too. They blew out the Kansas City Royals, scoring a combined 20 runs and knocking out a total of 35 hits in back-to-back wins last weekend. Then they went to Milwaukee and won a pair of nail-biters, getting clutch hits from José Abreu and Jiménez to back strong efforts by the bullpen Monday and Giolito on Tuesday.

Wednesday, it was one of those newly arrived veterans, Dallas Keuchel, who shone. He logged seven one-run innings, the first White Sox starter to pitch in the seventh inning this season. If it weren't for the unusually cool conditions on the South Side, the outcome might have been different. Luis Robert and Moncada dialed up back-to-back deep fly balls in the eighth inning that both could have easily gone as go-ahead homers on a normal summer night.

The clutch hits could have kept on coming. And the knowledge of being competitive — the "belief," as Giolito keeps putting it — prevented the White Sox from feeling down after another fine effort Wednesday. It will likely do so every night for the remainder of this short season.

"The thing that probably has impressed me the most is the resiliency of the club," Hahn said Wednesday. "Obviously, those of us who have watched this team over the last several years, and certainly in the early phase of the rebuild, knew that feeling that you would get early or midway through games where you would feel the lead was perhaps insurmountable. I think looking at this club through the first 10 or 11 games so far, it feels like we're not out of any ballgame, regardless of what the deficit may be.

"I think that's a great testament to not just the veterans that have been brought in, but the growth of the young guys and the mentality I'm sure you've all picked up on going back to (spring training in) Glendale."

Part of the reason additions like Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnación looked so good during the winter was the playoff experience these guys have. While the White Sox core doesn't know what it's like to win at the big league level — not even Abreu does, who played for six losing White Sox teams before signing a new multi-year deal in the offseason — these guys do. They're all veterans of pennant races and playoff runs that go all the way to the end of October. Keuchel's got a World Series ring on his resume.

Experience with the highs and lows of a winning season might not be quite as valuable in this most unusual of seasons. But before the White Sox can be championship contenders, they actually need to do some winning. After a combined 284 losses in the last three seasons, even a six-game winning streak can mean a lot.

But whether they won or lost Wednesday, it didn't seem like the result was going to sway their belief. These White Sox are here to compete and live up to the high expectations they set for themselves dating all the way back to the end of an 89-loss season in 2019.

"We've been hot, and eventually it's going to come to an end. But man, we were right in the ballgame. That's all we can ask for," Keuchel said. "Game in, game out, we know that we're going to be in those contests.

"If we can win series, that's a playoff recipe."