White Sox

'Why not us?' White Sox complete four-game sweep of Indians

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'Why not us?' White Sox complete four-game sweep of Indians

CLEVELAND — The Carlos Connection powered the White Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Rookie Carlos Sanchez homered for the second day in a row, and fellow beginner Carlos Rodon struck out nine as the White Sox topped the Cleveland Indians, 2-1, in front of 17,751 at Progressive Field. The victory gave the White Sox their first four-game sweep since July 2010 and improved their record to 46-50.

Rodon — who walked 44 batters in his first 70 1/3 innings — didn’t walk any in 6 2/3 scoreless innings and became the fifth straight White Sox starting pitcher to not issue a free pass, the team’s longest streak since 1972.

“Once he realizes he does have stuff that if he does happen to throw it over the plate it doesn’t mean it’s going to get crushed every time,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He made competitive pitches when he fell behind and one just landed in there and that’s what big leaguers do and he’s really turned himself into something.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: White Sox rotation extends walk-less streak to five games]

After walking 19 batters in his previous five starts (26 innings), Rodon was sharp from the outset, using all of his pitches effectively. For only the second start in 13, Rodon didn’t walk anyone, and it kept him out of trouble for most of the day.

“He did a great job getting ahead of guys,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “That’s a big thing right there. He was locating his fastball pretty well. That gave us an opportunity to get a good feel for the slider. He threw a number of good changeups in there, too. So when he’s getting strike one early, then we have a couple of things to work with.”

Rodon threw strikes on 73 of 111 pitches, including 13 of 21 with his changeup. He also threw strikes on 32 of 48 fastballs.

In the first of two instances where Rodon got into a jam, his defense bailed him out. Brandon Moss and Roberto Perez opened the third inning with a single and a double. But Jose Abreu started a rundown on a Mike Aviles grounder for the first out, and Rodon induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Jason Kipnis to end the third inning as Alexei Ramirez barehanded the grounder and flipped to Sanchez.

Ramirez also robbed Kipnis of an extra-base hit in the sixth inning.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Carlos Sanchez continues hot streak with three hits, homer]

But Rodon was otherwise effective into the seventh inning. That’s when Moss had a two-out single with a man aboard to end Rodon’s day. Jake Petricka struck out Perez to strand runners on the corners.

“He can get himself into some trouble, but what he has that most people don’t is he can get himself out of trouble,” Ventura said.

The White Sox offense did just enough to complete the sweep.

A day after he blasted his first big league homer, Sanchez hit one to nearly the same exact spot but eight feet further as his 412-foot blast in the third put the White Sox ahead 1-0.

“(It’s) not surprising,” Rodon said of the homer. “I’ve seen it before.”

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Sanchez continued a hot streak that has seen him raise his average to .221 with two more singles. The latter, with one out in the seventh, led to the team’s second run. Tyler Saladino drew his third of three walks with two outs, and Melky Cabrera singled to score Sanchez. Cabrera went 2-for-4.

The White Sox have only begun to start to dig themselves out of a massive hole with the four-game sweep. They’re still four games under .500 and appear to be on track to trade Jeff Samardzija before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline. But they’re still clinging to hope — they sit five games back in the wild-card race — after the offense has come to life and the defense has cleaned up.

“Why not us?” Rodon said. “That’s the mentality we’ve got to have. Why not us? Why can’t we do it? So just keep on winning, keep on plugging away, and this brand of baseball we’ve been playing this weekend should keep it going.”

Report: White Sox sign former Tigers catcher James McCann

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USA TODAY

Report: White Sox sign former Tigers catcher James McCann

It's no Bryce Harper or Manny Machado splash, but the White Sox reportedly made a rather substantial move on Friday.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the White Sox and former Tigers catcher James McCann have agreed upon a deal. The move is pending a physical.

Fancred's Jon Heyman reported that the deal is for $2.5 million, while The Athletic's James Fegan said it is for one-year.

McCann, 28, made his MLB debut in 2014 and has spent his entire MLB career with the Tigers. He is a career .240 hitter and posted a slash line of .220/.267/.314 in 118 games/427 at-bats with the Tigers in 2018. While he hit just eight home runs, McCann reached double digits in 2016 (12) and 2017 (13).

Offensive numbers aside, McCann is a solid defensive catcher. Since 2015, he has ranked third or better in the American League in throwing out runners, finishing second in 2016-18.

McCann's 36.8 caught stealing percentage is third best by active catchers in MLB, only trailing Yadier Molina (40.7 percent) and Martin Maldonado (37.6).

Adding McCann helps the White Sox bolster their catching depth for 2019. This offseason has seen the team lose Kevan Smith to the Angels on waivers and Omar Narvaez in a trade with the Mariners that netted potential-closer Alex Colomé.

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Who's the next White Sox Hall of Famer?

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USA TODAY

Who's the next White Sox Hall of Famer?

Harold Baines is in the Hall. Last Sunday’s announcement totally took me (and a lot of others) by surprise.

I was ecstatic to see the news. Baines was one of my favorite players growing up. I loved that iconic leg kick. When they traded him to the Rangers in 1989, nine-year-old me was devastated.

Now that Harold’s in, who should be the next White Sox Hall of Famer? Here are six candidates:

Minnie Miñoso

If you haven’t already, read this:

I’ll summarize (though you really should read it). Miñoso had power, speed and on-base ability. His career may have been delayed due to the color line. If one feels his MLB career isn’t enough, his Negro League career and his role as a pioneer for black Latino ballplayers are plenty to make up the difference.

Dick Allen

Dick Allen hit 351 career home runs. His slashline of .292/.378/.534 is very impressive, even more so when placed in the context of his era. The 1960s was a tough period for hitters. That being said, 1,749 games and 1,848 career hits don’t jump off the page. According to WAR, he’s borderline (61.3 Fangraphs, 58.7 Baseball-Reference). But when you dig a little deeper…

Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures offensive production comparing to league average and adjusting for ballpark. 100 is league average, any point above or below represents one percent above or below league average. Dick Allen had a career wRC+ of 155, meaning he was 55% better than league average for his career. That’s incredibly good. How good?

Career wRC+

(minimum 5,000 career plate appearances)

Boldface = Hall of Famer

1. Babe Ruth, 197

2. Ted Williams, 188

3. Lou Gehrig, 173

Rogers Hornsby, 173

5. Barry Bonds, 173

6. Mickey Mantle, 170

7. Ty Cobb, 165

Joe Jackson, 165

9. Stan Musial, 158

Jimmie Foxx, 158

11. Mark McGwire, 157

Johnny Mize, 157

Tris Speaker, 157

14. Mel Ott, 156

Dan Brouthers, 156

16. Joey Votto, 155

Dick Allen, 155

18. Willie Mays, 154

Frank Thomas, 154

Hank Greenberg, 154

There are 1,007 players with at least 5,000 career plate appearances. Allen is tied for SIXTEENTH. Dick Allen isn’t just on a list of good players. He’s listed among top tier all-time greats.

Billy Pierce

Pierce was arguably the best American League pitcher of the 1950s, and perhaps the third best in the Majors (behind Robin Roberts and Warren Spahn). He posted a career ERA of 3.27 (119 ERA+ 19 percent above league average) in over 3,000 innings and was one strikeout short of 2,000. He had 211 career wins and was the only pitcher during the 1950s to post a qualified ERA under 2 (1.97 in 1955).

Billy Pierce WAR Career 1950s 1950s MLB rank 1950s AL rank
Fangraphs WAR 52.5 43.6 3rd 1st
Baseball-Ref WAR 53.2 43.7 3rd 1st

Mark Buehrle

Buehrle compiled 60.3 pitching WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com. That’s the fifth most by a pitcher currently not in the Hall of Fame, behind Tommy John (62.5), CC Sabathia (62.2), Clayton Kershaw (62.1) and Andy Pettitte (60.7). He was remarkably durable; one of only eight pitchers in MLB history with at least 14 consecutive seasons of 200+ innings. The other seven are in the Hall of Fame.

He had 214 career wins; only three active pitchers have at least 200 (Bartolo Colón 247, CC Sabathia 246 and Justin Verlander 204). Buehrle tossed a pair of no-hitters (one perfect) and was a key member of the 2005 World Series championship rotation. He was a five-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glove winner. His career ERA+ of 117 (adjusted for league and ballpark; 17 percent above league average) is better than Steve Carlton (115), Fergie Jenkins (115), Phil Niekro (115), Jim Bunning (115), Robin Roberts (113), Nolan Ryan (112), Don Sutton (108), Early Wynn (107) and Catfish Hunter (104).

Joe Jackson

Among players with 2,500 career plate appearances with the White Sox, the Shoeless One is the career leader in batting average (.340). He’s also the Indians career leader in batting average (.375). His career average of .356 ranks third all-time behind Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby. He had a career on-base percentage of .423 (17th all-time).

Babe Ruth made the home run popular at the dawn of the Roaring 20s. Joe Jackson posted career highs of 12 home runs and 121 RBI in 1920, and then his career came to an end. He was banned for life because of his role in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Could he have embraced the home run craze? Could he have had a run of 30 or 40-home run seasons for the White Sox had he remained in the game? Unfortunately we’ll never know. Shoeless Joe Jackson wasn’t a mythical figure from a popular movie. He was a legitimate all-time great.

Paul Konerko

Konerko is the next White Sox star to reach the BBWAA ballot, set to make his debut in 2020. He was the heart of the 2005 offense that went on to win the World Series, taking home ALCS MVP honors. Konerko is second in franchise history with 432 home runs and 1,383 RBI, behind only Frank Thomas in both categories. Overall, Konerko had 439 HR (only 43 players in MLB history have more) and 1,412 RBI (75th all-time) with a respectable .279/.354/.486 career slashline. He had seven 30-HR seasons and six 100-RBI campaigns; a six-time All-Star. The White Sox erected a statue in Konerko’s honor in 2014 and his No. 14 was retired by the White Sox the following year.

 

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