White Sox

White Sox win behind Jose Quintana to complete sweep of Twins

White Sox win behind Jose Quintana to complete sweep of Twins

The White Sox continued to act as a good team would on Sunday afternoon.

They took advantage of the hobbled Minnesota Twins and completed a series sweep with a 3-1 victory in front of 23,801 at U.S. Cellular Field. Jose Quintana improved to 5-1 with seven innings, David Robertson earned his 10th save and the offense provided enough to help the White Sox improve to 22-10. Avisail Garcia extended his hitting streak to nine games with two hits and two runs scored.

The Twins were without Kurt Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar, who went on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier were limited to ninth-inning, pinch-hit appearances against Robertson.

“These guys are a little banged up,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Sunday’s game. “This is not the team that we saw at the beginning of the year or even last year. One, they’ve kind of shuffled the deck somewhat, and (two), they’re injured. I think you should have an advantage at that point when a team is banged up like that. I don’t think you go into any series thinking, ‘All right, these are easy wins.’ But the way you’re playing, you feel confident that you can win those games. It has nothing to do with taking any other team lightly.”

Tyler Duffey’s offspeed pitch made it impossible for the White Sox to just roll over the hapless Twins. He mixed his curve in nicely to keep the White Sox off-balance and off the bases. Duffey faced the minimum through three innings with only Garcia reaching bases on a leadoff single in the third inning.

Down 1-0, the White Sox finally broke through in the fourth inning.

But it wasn’t easy.

Adam Eaton drew a leadoff walk and raced to third on a seeing-eye single by Jimmy Rollins. Duffey struck out Jose Abreu -- one of nine strikeouts for the right-hander -- as he spotted two curves for strikes and wiped him out with an 0-2 curve in the dirt. Rollins stole second base, which kept Frazier out of a double play on an RBI groundout to third.

Garcia — who has raised his average from .135 to .256 during this streak — doubled with one out in the fifth inning and scored on Austin Jackson’s two-out double to right center to put the White Sox up 2-1.

Garcia sparked another rally in the seventh inning when he struck out and reached on a wild pitch with one out. He scored from first on Dioner Navarro’s one-out double to right center to make it a 3-1 game.

During his hitting streak, Garcia is batting .467 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, six RBIs and 10 runs.

“It’s great,” Garcia said. “Everybody (does) a little bit. Trying to put guys on base for the big guys and trying to score for the pitchers so they can work more easily. That’s what we are here for.”

Navarro is hitting .326/.354/.604 with four doubles, a triple, two homers and 11 RBIs since he took over for Alex Avila on April 23. Avila could come off the disabled list as soon as Monday in Texas.

The run support was plenty for Quintana, who lowered his ERA to 1.38.

Quintana put two runners on base in each of the first, third and fourth innings. But he pitched around Eduardo Nunez’s game-opening double and limited Minnesota to a run in the third on Jorge Polanco’s RBI ground out.

Quintana retired the side in order in the second, fifth and sixth innings. He experienced a hand cramp in the seventh inning after a pitch to Darin Mastroianni. Quintana shook his hand after the pitch and Ventura and trainer Herm Schneider came to the mound clearing him after one warmup pitch.

Quintana yielded a two-out single but got Eddie Rosario to ground out to first to end the inning.

He allowed a run and six hits with a walk and five strikeouts in seven innings.

“I started a little slow, I missed a lot of pitches, but I tried to get the outs,” Quintana said. “It was more good after that. I feel better commanding.

“We feel really good and try to stay hot and play day by day. We’re good. Everybody’s healthy and we want to do the job.”

The defense put in more work to add insult to the Twins’ injury.

Jackson made big catches in the first and ninth. He started a double play in the first, racing in to grab Miguel Sano’s liner at the shoestrings and easily doubling Nunez off second. In the ninth, Jackson raced back to rob Oswaldo Arcia of a leadoff double versus Robertson.

“We've been through that,” Ventura said. “We understand what's going on over there.”

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

The White Sox sent down Carson Fulmer, so why isn't Lucas Giolito receiving the same treatment?

Lucas Giolito is having a rough go of things in his second year with the White Sox.

He came into the season with some pretty high expectations after posting a 2.38 ERA in seven starts at the end of the 2017 campaign and then dominating during spring training. But he’s done anything but dominate since this season started, and after one of his worst outings in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, he’s got a 7.53 ERA in 10 starts in 2018.

Giolito stuck around for only four outs Thursday, but he allowed the Orioles to do plenty of damage, giving up seven runs on six hits — two of which were back-to-back home runs to start the second inning — and three walks. He leads the American League with his 37 walks.

“I take what I do very seriously. I work as hard as I can at it,” Giolito said. “So when I experience failure like this, it’s kind of hard to deal with. All I can do is come back tomorrow, keep working on things and hopefully have a better one.”

All of Giolito’s struggles have fans wondering why the White Sox haven’t sent him down to Triple-A to work on his craft.

“I don’t foresee that at this particular time,” Rick Renteria said when asked if Giolito could be sent to Triple-A. “I think he’s just a young man who’s got to continue to minimize the emotional aspect of crossing from preparation into the game and staying focused, relaxed and hammer the zone with strikes. And truthfully it’s just first-pitch strike and get after the next one.”

The White Sox have already sent one young pitcher down in Carson Fulmer, who was having a nightmarish time at the big league level. Fulmer’s results were worse than Giolito’s on a regular basis. He got sent down after posting an 8.07 ERA in nine outings.

But hasn’t Giolito suffered through command issues enough to warrant some time away from the major league limelight? According to his manager, Giolito’s situation is vastly different than Fulmer’s.

“I don’t see them anywhere near each other,” Renteria said. “They’re two different competitors in terms of the outcomes that they’ve had. Lucas has at least had situations in which he might have struggled early and been able to gain some confidence through the middle rounds of his start and continue to propel himself to finish some ballgames, give us six or seven innings at times. So it’s two different guys.

“With Gio, I expect that we would have a nice clean start from the beginning, but when he doesn’t I still feel like if he gets through it he’ll settle down and continue to hammer away at what he needs to do in order to get deeper into a ballgame, and that was a little different with Carson. With Carson it was right from the get-go he was struggling, and he had a difficult time extending his outings after the third or fourth because it just kept getting too deep into his pitch count and not really hammering the strike zone as much.”

Renteria is not wrong. Giolito has had a knack to take a rough beginning to a start and turn it into five or six innings. Notably, he gave up a couple first-inning runs and walked seven hitters and still got the win against the Cubs a week and a half ago. And while his first-inning ERA is 10.80 and his second-inning ERA is 12.54, he’s pitched into at least the sixth inning in seven of his 10 starts.

Renteria’s point is that Giolito is learning how to shake off early damage and achieving the goal, most times out, of eating up innings and keeping his team in the game. Those are a couple valuable qualities to develop for a young pitcher. But are those the lone qualities that determine that Giolito is suited to continue his learning process at the major league level? His command remains a glaring problem, and both he and Renteria admitted that his problems are more mental than physical.

“The one thing everyone has to understand is we have to go beyond the physical and attack a little bit more of the mental and emotional and try to connect and slow that down,” Renteria said. “Those aspects are the ones that ultimately, at times, deal in the derailment of the physical action. So if we can kind of calm that down a little bit.

“He’s very focused. Giolito is high intensity. Nice kid but high-intensity young man when he gets on the mound. You might not believe it. He’s going 100 mph. So I think it goes to more just trusting himself, trusting the process, taking it truthfully one pitch at a time.”

Well, if a demotion to the minors isn’t likely, what about moving Giolito to the bullpen? Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale dipped their toes in bullpen waters before moving to the rotation. Could a reversal of that strategy help Giolito?

Well, the current state of the White Sox starting rotation — Fulmer in the minors, Miguel Gonzalez on the 60-day DL and pitchers like James Shields, Hector Santiago and Dylan Covey, who aren’t exactly long-term pieces, getting a lot of starts — doesn’t really allow for another piece to be removed.

“I know they have done it with Rodon and Sale,” Renteria said. “The difference is we don’t have the makeup of the starting rotation that those clubs had in order to put those guys in the ‘pen. We are in a different situation right now. Moving forward, is that something we can possibly do? Absolutely. It has been done with very good success.

“Right now we are in truly discovery mode and adjustment mode and adapting and trying to do everything we can to get these guys to develop their skill sets to be very usable and effective at the major league level and we are doing it to the best of our ability.”

There could be promise in the fact that Giolito has turned a season around as recently as last year. Before he was impressing on the South Side in August and September, he was struggling at Triple-A Charlotte. Even after he ironed things out, things had gotten off to a rocky enough start that he owned a 4.48 ERA and 10 losses when he was called up to the bigs.

It doesn’t seem Giolito will be going back to Charlotte, unless things continue to go in a dramatically poor direction. Right now, these are just more of the growing pains during this rebuilding process. “The hardest part of the rebuild” doesn’t just means wins and losses. It means watching some players struggle through speed bumps as they continue to develop into what the White Sox hope they’ll be when this team is ready to compete.

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1


Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

In another example of how amazing Danny Farquhar’s recovery has been, the pitcher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox game on June 1.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm during the sixth inning of the team’s April 20 game against the Houston Astros. But his recovery has been astounding, and he was discharged from the hospital on May 7. Farquhar’s neurosurgeon expects him to be able to pitch again in future seasons.

Farquhar has been back to visit his teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field a couple times since leaving the hospital. June 1 will mark his return to a big league mound, even if it’s only for a ceremonial first pitch with his wife and three children. Doctors, nurses and staff from RUSH University Medical Center will be on hand for Farquhar’s pitch on June 1.

The White Sox announced that in celebration of Farquhar’s recovery, they will donate proceeds from all fundraising efforts on June 1 to the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.